My 16 year old son and I are looking for a truck for him and we came across this 78 f-150 4x2 auto. The price is $1200 we are going to look at it today. From the pictures it looks pretty soilid The description says no rust runs and drives but 351m engine needs lower crank pully. What should I be looking for on this old truck as far as common problems.
Another place to look for rust is the floor pans, cab corners and above the wheel arches on the bed.
If you check the floor pans, do it from above, not from underneath. The carpet or floor mat gets wet underneath and the rust starts from the top side. The pans can look great from below but from above there will be scale, rust and pin holes. Bring a phillips screw driver and remove the door sill trim plate and pull up the carpet to check.
Rear cab corners, you just have to kinda' push and probe with your finger and look very carefully to see if any rust is starting to bubble up.
Wheel arches, just look really good, like the cab corners.
Overall, if it's in decent shape $1200 is a fair price. The pulley shouldn't be hard to locate if it needs to be replaced. It's unusual for them to go bad though. The seller might be talking about the harmonic balancer. These are two piece units that are bonded together with a rubber ring. Sometimes this goes bad and you need to replace the balancer. Rock Auto (FTE Sponsor) has rebuilt units for around $75.00.
I would really investigate into why it needs a "lower crank pulley" or what ever that problem is. Make sure it does run before you spend a dime.
If its a F150 as the add states, it will be a 1/2 ton with 5 lugs nuts, I can not see the lug nuts for the hub cap.
I can see that something has been tapped into the master cylinder....might be old school trailer brake set up? Yep there it in to the left of the steering wheel on the bottom of the dash. So it has been towing something in its life.
Also I bet a camper might of been on it with the tie down in the rear bumper and the carpet, look under that carpet.
Look for rust in the bed fenderwells, ck the front cab mounts, from the outside, up behind the plastic inner fenderwheel liner. If it has been setting due to the eng issue, seals do dry out and then could have a tendency to leak about the time it gets back DD status.
The possible eng issue would make me leary paying $1200 if you are not real wrenchy, but looks like a solid truck overall.
First relax, I know you're excited but really, do not show your enthusiasm to the seller! Act as if it is easy come, easy go.
Here are some basics for checking out one of these rigs. Lots of mental notes to take! A written checklist is also OK to bring with you if needed.
Basic Visual Inspection
Do a bumper to bumper visual inspection.. this is also time to go on “Visual Hack Patrol” – All those so-called “repairs” made by previous owners. Look for duct tape, household wire nuts, electrical tape, wood screws, wires that go to nowhere.
Any leaks on the ground? What about the drum backing plates or the pinion seal(s).
Look for loose, missing, or broken hardware like lugs, lug nuts, fender and bumper bolts, and bell housing to engine bolts. Feel around for soft or cracked hoses – radiator hoses degrade from the inside. Crimp it with your hand and it should have the same firmness all the way around.
How do the bushings look? Rock the truck back and forth.. any squeaks???
Are the tires evenly worn?
Engine oil check.. Is it full and relatively clean. Or does it smell musty and old?
Coolant.. is there an oily sheen? Does it look like milkshake?
Check level of auto trans, power steering, and brake fluid.
Ask if there is anything on the engine that has been heli-coiled.
Note any newish parts.
Check for brake pressure. Pedal low? Pedal sinks to floor?
Turn on the ignition system (no engine start). Turn on everything - blower motor, exterior, instrument, and interior lights, turn signals, hazards, heater controls, blower fan, wipers, etc. Does everything work? What about the gas gauge?
Fire it up and let’er cook (idle). Any leaks? Ticking sounds? Exhaust leaks?
Squeeze the radiator hoses... they should not be pressurized. Hard hoses may mean a blown head gasket.
Take it for a test drive and note how it tracks, turns, accelerates, and stops. Note the temp gauge reading....
Do a panic stop with your hands off the wheel... does it track straight without assistance?
Park it and let it idle for about five minutes to check if it overheats. What does the temp gauge read?
Shut it off for 10 minutes and then restart it. Hopefully it starts right up. If not, then it can be a vapor lock, a carb that needs to be rebuilt, or defective ignition components like an ICU or coil.
Also take note how clean or unkept the sellers property is or even their own vehicles. That's a sign on how detail-oriented they are.
That 351M power (slight chuckle), well its a V-8 just the same, might make owning a 4 or 6 banger in the future a hard thing.
Yeah Rich, I've only owned one vehicle in my entire life that had less than eight cylinders. That was a '64 Falcon with a 170 cu in six. It cost $4.00 to fill the (14 gallon) tank and I would run all week on it, which was a good thing because, it was so slow, it would take me a week to get anywhere.
There are TWO different harmonic balancers for 1977/78 F100/350 351M: A/T is different than M/T.
The harmonic balancer bolts to the crankshaft, is composed of an inner damper and outer pulley.
At the factory, a rubber gasket is placed between the pulley and damper, then the 3 parts are pressed together forming a one piece assembly.
Over time, the gasket age cracks and/or shrinks, causing the outer pulley to begin to "walk away" from the inner damper.
If not noticed in time, the pulley can fly off, taking assorted outer accessory pulleys and belts along with it. May end up in the radiator core. Not pleasant!
Accessory outer pulleys bolt to the harmonic balancer, were used with P/S and/or A/C and/or dual belt alternators and/or T/E (Thermactor Emission).
There are FOUR possible outer pulleys for 1977/79 F100/350 351M/400, these have an ID engineering number stamped on them.
One of the outer pulleys has 2 sheaves (grooves), another has 3 sheaves and two others have 4 sheaves.
Note: This truck has Speed Control, it might also have the desirable tilt steering wheel...which is operated by pressing the T/S handle forward.
Bill / Retired Ford Parts Manager / SoCal Chapter Member / Part number research: 1928/2001 trucks & 1928/89 passenger cars.
Thanks all for your great advice. The truck was a no go, cab seemed solid but the bed had a lot of rust but the show stopper was when I was able poke my finger through the frame and cross members I never even lifted the hood so I never got a look at the pulley. The search goes on....
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