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  #1  
Old 08-27-2014, 06:20 PM
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1979 F350 4x4 Supercab resto-mod build thread

I guess it's time for a build thread... probably 2 years late but o well. I'm going to glaze over most things. If anyone wants more info about any modifications or what not I will add them or create their own thread.

Here is the first day I got it. $2000, saved it from becoming a donor to an early bronco for the axles. Drove it home 200 miles that day. Odo read 95000 and from my guess it hasn't flipped over. Got to love small towns... Called the previous owner saturday morning cause it was close to where I was (had driven from seattle to central Or to look at a truck that turned out to be a train wreck). He said he was at work... but the keys were in it and feel free to take it for a test drive... Never actually met the previous owner!

Click the image to open in full size.

The truck at some point had an engine fire so the hood was cooked and warped. There was rust in the floorboards, drip rails above the door and cab corners.

replaced the floorboards

Click the image to open in full size.

I don't have any pictures of the cab corners being replaced but it was just a little bit of rust so I didn't even buy corners, just formed some sheet metal to match and welded it in.

The drip rails were bad but not super bad, cut out the rust and welded back in sheet metal. It also had a few pin holes along the upper windshield area.

Next issue was the hood, kinda always wanted to go fiberglass and found a good deal on a hood and fenders. This is where things start to go away from stock. The hood is a "drop center" hood and is a good 3" lower than the factory hood at the nose. This didn't leave any room for the FORD letters that usually go on '78 and '79 trucks... the fix will be to put a '77 grill on (more on that later). The fenders are not any wider but they do have larger wheel well openings for added clearance. The fit was pretty good, had to add about 1/4" to the top part of both fenders to match up to the door lines. The hood sat a little low in the center buy the cowl so I put a rubber bumper there that could be adjusted to line up everything.

Hood with OEM fenders
Click the image to open in full size.

Fiberglass fenders with all trim test fit. Here you can really see how much bigger the wheel opening is with the trim installed.

Click the image to open in full size.


Next step was paint. Stripped down the whole truck, inside and out. Everything was painted separately except for the doors, they stayed on.

Before paint...

Click the image to open in full size.

After (wheel and tire test fit too... not enough offset so got wheels with 5.5" backspacing not 4")

Click the image to open in full size.

Somewhere in there I did a rear shackle flip and just finished getting super duty springs on the front last night. Now it needs shocks and the sway bar ties lengthened.

After paint came interior. I made the decision when I first got the truck that it needed some modern stuff. Power window, power mirrors, power antenna, over head consol, power seats and a custom dash.

Made some power window regulators using late '90's explorer window motors matched to the original regulator arm.

Click the image to open in full size.

sliced up the door a bit but it used 2 of the factor holes and then I had to weld in a tab to pick up the new 3rd hole.

Here is the new power regulator.

Click the image to open in full size.

Added power locks next, they came from the same explorer that then window motors came from. Super easy install, one bolt through the back wall of the door into the explorer mount and then welded a tab onto the factory door rod. At this point I also added a keyless entry system. Got it cheep and it works but I'm not super happy with it... going to have to keep looking for a better one some day.

Click the image to open in full size.

For power mirrors I used a set from a 90's chevy conversion van. They are stainless steel and the cover that goes over the mounting plate fit the ford door contour with just a bit of trimming and still used the door to cover gasket. The mirror arm needed to be revised and re-bent and the fold in stops needed to be changed so the mirror wouldn't fold in and hit the door. I think they look ok at best but they are the best thing I could find that was powered which is more inportant to me than how they look.... (See post #10 for pic)

I also put in a power antenna. It uses the factory hole and the motor sits in the cowl drain area. The opening hole needed a bit of work to be recontoured flat at the hole and able to use the threaded cap that holds the height of the antenna. I have to admit I did this in bondo (max is .125" thk)... I suppose some day it might crack but I sure hope I did a good enough job! (again no pic now, will get one soon)



Started off with getting seats from a 2005 GMC Envoy. Acutally got all 3 rows of seats, hoping to turn the 3rd row seats into a center consol that flips up to a seat. The second row seats will probably donate their leather to make a shift boot and other covers.

Here is what the seats look like (stolen internet photo). They are two tone dark oak and lt oak. (picture kinda looks gray and they might be but mine are light and dark tan)

Click the image to open in full size.

If you haven't guessed by no I have no problem mixing any other manufactures parts into this thing. When it's all done there will be parts from dodge, gmc/chevy, toyota and mazda just in the interior.

Now that I had the seats I bought 10 yards of gmc light oak vinyl and 5 yards of gmc dark oak to cover the interior. I have never liked the factory door panels so those were the first to go. They were replaced with these. You can also see that the whole cab floor was bedlinered. I used Al's liner and it seemed to work pretty good but it took 2 gallons to cover the cab and I'm not sure that's even thick enough. It looks good though and matches the interior really well.

Click the image to open in full size.

I am in the middle of covering all the OEM plastic panels in these vinyl colors... I started off using the can of 3M spray adhesive you can see in the previous picture.... Please don't ever use this stuff! I never even got the covered panels into the truck, they started pealing apart in less than 2 weeks. So I am now waiting for the glue to completely separate before I try it again with much better adhesive (DAP Weldwood Landau Top & Trim High Heat Resistant Contact Cement)

OK next post (maybe tonight but probably tomorrow) will cover the dash and headliner and other small things
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2014, 07:30 PM
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Subscribed!! Nice work so far...I am in the middle of restoring mine (79 F350 4x4 SC). I will start a build thread soon but I really like your thoughts/upgrades.

I like the color combo you picked, I almost went with the same combo but decided to go with black & silver
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:55 PM
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Jeremy Tschetter
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:53 AM
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When you get to the interior more, I want to know as much as possible on the overhead console. Took a couple hours of googling, but I am guessing it is out of a Suburban or Tahoe? Are you putting a stereo head unit in it?
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:20 AM
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I would like more pics of your interior and exterior. Nice truck looking great
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  #6  
Old 08-28-2014, 11:00 AM
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Here is a quick video of how the power windows work. The window switch is out of a toyota van and the door lock switch is out of a mazda van (I think)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/81397067@N00/14654809312
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  #7  
Old 08-28-2014, 11:16 AM
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Subscribed. I'm more of a stickler for original interiors, but I do like your headliner and door panels. Also, I can appreciate the amount of work and effort that's been put into it.
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Old 08-28-2014, 11:17 AM
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Thanks for the build thread and thanks for the interior cab light info in the other thread.

I also like the looks of your EB, I like those too.
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  #9  
Old 08-28-2014, 12:23 PM
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For the dash I wanted custom gauges and lots of them! haha actually I just wanted to add an air pressure gauge for the onboard air, dual fuel guages so I knew what was in each tank and a tach. This led me to a custom dash bezel because the oem one isn't very conducive to adding extra gauges into it. I really wanted a look that if you didn't know these ford trucks well you wouldn't think it was a different dash.

I figured the best way to get this is to vacuum form a textured abs dash bezel...

I started with a old file cabinet.
Click the image to open in full size.


Don't have any other pictures of building the oven but I used r-13 insulation and created a double wall using 20ish gauge sheet metal. I also used the guts from a free oven (heat element, fan, timer, window). The oven does great, heats to over 400 which is plenty (abs forms at 325 or so), doesn't get too hot on the outside (except for the window) and is plenty big to do lots of fun projects.

Here is the final product. The radiator is so when I connect a shop vac (or 2) to pull vacuum the air coming into them isn't hot (a fan is run across the radiator)

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.


For the tool to form the bezel I experimented with wood for a while but just couldn't get it right. Finally moved to a metal tool and it worked great!

Click the image to open in full size.

And here is the final product...
Click the image to open in full size.

I am going to run a flip out lcd screen nav system for a radio and the screen would cover the heat controls in the stock location. So for this dash the heat and radio have been switched with the radio now on the top. I could never get the dash to have the radio bump out all as one so it's a separate piece but it doesn't look too bad. I will probably play around with moving parts in the mold to see if I can form the bump out all in one but for now this is it.

the big hole to the left is going to be a switch panel.
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

So here is the finished product. At this point I also took out the entire dash to replace the dash pad and paint the dash to match the interior colors.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:29 PM
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Here are are the power mirrors I went with, again they only look ok but they were the best thing I could do that was 70's-ish, chrome and power. I also like the mounting pad better than the 90's broncos ones, those always seemed like they were too thin to me to not get bend or torn off.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:36 PM
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Headliner, dome lights and overhead consol.

The truck had the original headliner, it was torn up and warped but provided a good pattern for a new one. I like the plastic idea that has been done before but I didn't like the fact that they need a splice seam down them due to available sheet sizes... so I went with fiberglass.

Got a sheet of 5x5 1/4 foam board to use as a flat mold, outlined the shape on this too.
Click the image to open in full size.

The foam board has a pretty smooth surface to it so I lightly sanded it with some 800 (don't know if this actually did anything or not) and then put a bunch of coats of car wax on it to act as a mold release. I went with 5 layers of 7781 fiberglass weave (which is a 8.9oz cloth and is .009"thk per layer) and a low cost polyester resin.

Click the image to open in full size.


This ended up working great, it's flexible and bends to all the required corners but once installed it's strong enough to not need any support screws in the middle. The tool side (foam board side) is super smooth and could easily be prepped and painted if desired. The headliner turned out to be really easy to make and took way more time to dry than I spent making it. I know these supercab liners are not available in reproduction so if anyone needs one I could make some more for just the material cost and shipping (shipping might be a killer though).

For covering it I went with a tan headliner material from the local fabric store to give a modern look and feel and it would allow me to wrap the overhead consol and map light to match.

Click the image to open in full size.

The overhead consol and back map light/dome light are from a late 90's suburban/tahoe. The consol has two map lights, two flip down storage areas and a 3 button garage door opener that can be programmed to the garage. The headliner for the suburban is flatter than the ford is in the front so that area of the bezel that surrounds the consol needed to be built up some. I don't have any pictures of how this was done so I'll try to describe it. I cut two 12" long by 2" tall triangles from 1/8" abs (one per side, left and right), bonded the long end to the consol and then using a head gun rolled the plastic around the front corner to increase the heigth of consoles bezel. I then covered it in the headliner material.

Here is the console and a really bad drawing on the same picture. Above the black line is added material.
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

The area in front of the map lights will be used for air pressure gauges for the overload bags (haven't added those to the truck yet)

The rear seat map lights bezel got wrapped in the same headliner material but when it was mounted up the dome light part came way to close to the headliner so I cut out the dome light area and mounted a plate that holds 14 led's. This matches the led light that got installed in the factory dome light and doesn't produce anywhere near the heat of the oem bulb.

Click the image to open in full size.

Well that's it for the interior for now. I have the mounts for the seats built and will be installing them and the interior panels sometime soon. I picked up a rear view mirror with a compass and temp gauge built in (same truck the console and map light came from) so that needs to be wired in. I also need to recover the sun visors to match the seats and hope to be adding lighted vanity mirrors to them.
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Old 08-28-2014, 04:32 PM
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Man you have a think for custom interior work! I have only seen two guys on here really pull off a modern interior. The truck looks great, keep up the good work
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:46 PM
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No problem 77&79F250, the eb is a lot of fun, the paint is dying so it's due to go olive drab this weekend or next.

Thanks 61Steven, it's been a LOT of work and a learning experiance but hopefully it will turn out as good in real life as it looks in my head.
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Old 09-02-2014, 11:09 AM
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Did some trim restoration this weekend. I got all the trim for the whole truck done. Don't have a picture of it all laid out but here is what it looked like to start with, good shape with only a few dents but very faded.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Removed the anodizing with Instant Power hair and grease remover.
Click the image to open in full size.

I brushed it on and let it sit for a few minutes then I would reapply for a few more minutes (maybe 10 min total). It didn't look like it was doing anything at first but then it would start to bubble and the trim would turn a natural aluminum gray color. Had to be careful not to let it sit while bubbling or it would get an uneven anodizing removal, this is why I kept recoating and moving the stuff around with the brush. On a side note make sure you use a synthetic brush! Don't have any pictures of this process, it was a bit too much work to not deanodize the camera!

After making the anodizing melt away it was time to buff parts.
Click the image to open in full size.

I'd had this buffer sitting around for a long time but was scared to wire up the VFD and work with 3 phase.... Turned out to be fairly easy and wow is it nice to have speed control over the buffer! It's rated at 3/4hp but it sure feels stronger than that (or maybe I'm just use to over rated, cheap grinders and such). This has plenty of power to hurt you (and yes it snagged one part and smacked the back of my hand really well... at least it didn't bend the trim to a point that I couldn't unbend it!)

There is a night and day difference between old and now polished!
Click the image to open in full size.

Now I just have to find a place to anodize all the trim pieces and the grill. If anyone knows a place in the seattle/everett area please post up!
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Old 09-02-2014, 11:20 AM
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77&79F250 has much to be proud of77&79F250 has much to be proud of77&79F250 has much to be proud of77&79F250 has much to be proud of77&79F250 has much to be proud of77&79F250 has much to be proud of77&79F250 has much to be proud of77&79F250 has much to be proud of77&79F250 has much to be proud of77&79F250 has much to be proud of
"Instant Power Hair and Grease Remover" and now we know...thanks.

Looking good that's for sure.
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77 351M auto, a/c, add a leaf 33x12.50's
78 (79 headlights) 460 4 spd, 4", a/c and 35's
79 351M 4spd 6" Skyjacker Edelbrock-Holley-Hedman 35's
99 Ranger 4x4, 98 Expedition 4x4, 73 Bronco Hillbilly-Bug
71 Bronco 302 35" Boggers 5.58 gears spool/locker
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Old 09-02-2014, 11:20 AM
 
 
 
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