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Starting on rolling chassis and drive train...

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Old 12-27-2008, 11:20 AM
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Starting on rolling chassis and drive train...

After much debate and a lot of measuring, I have decided to proceed with my plans to harvest the complete front and rear suspension and drive train from a '97 Aerostar with electronic controlled 4WD that I recently acquired. I bought it over a month ago and I finally got it hauled home last weekend. I have a very nice frame from a ''53 that is straight and square as well as completely stripped of all bolt on components. My plan is to start by grafting the front and rear suspension to this frame and then adding the drive train as well as other components while taking measurements from the two other complete '53 F-100's and an extra cab I have. I will be able to do lots of checking and measuring as the extra cab will allow me to periodically set it on the chassis for mocking up and testing for fit.

I would like to start by sandblasting the frame down to bare metal when I get a good day outside and then coating it with some kind of temporary coating to avoing flash rusting. I want something that won't interfere with welding and later permanent coating. This will afford me some time to harvest and clean up all the Aerostar components that I will be using. I also plan to do some reinforcing and boxing of the frame but I won't know exactly what extent that will be until I start to do the work.

The transmission needs work so I will do a complete rebuild. I have found a source for heavy duty aftermarket components. I still need to get a 5R55E TRANSMISSION MANUAL which I am currently advertising for here and on Craig's list. I have learned that there are a number of aftermarket mods available for the engine too. I will probably rebuild it but I don't know how far I will go with the mods.

The basic goal of this project is to come up with a practical and somewhat economical platform to sit either one of my pick up bed and cabs on or a panel truck if I am ever lucky enough to find one. I like the 4.0 V-6 and it seems to be a decent performer although it's not a racer. I'm thinking a 20 MPG truck that is good in snow and totally Chick Friendly to operate. To see the Aerostar and the frame, CLICK HERE and you will find them on the website.

Although I am committed to this project I am always open to suggestions about how certain things should be done. If anyone here has experience with working on or modifying the engine and tranny I would like to hear from them. I have been told the 5R55E tranny is a good one if set up right and I have had a number of years experience with the 4.0 in terms of service and use.

When I get started ai plan to document the work progress on my website.

Later Folks...
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Old 12-27-2008, 12:17 PM
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Just my personal prefference but I believe I would do as much fab and welding on the frame as I could before the sandblasting then disassemble and blast and paint.
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Old 12-27-2008, 12:46 PM
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Respectfully, I agree, for a couple reasons.
1: weld splatter
2: weld-through primer....it can be used, but wouldn't be very cost effective on a complete frame.

If there are "pockets" where you think you'll need a blasting before welding, a spot-blaster gun might work. Then weld-thru primer ( I use U-POL), weld, then sand, and a recoat of a primer when done. Then when you are satisfied, you can get the whole thing blasted and primed (epoxy) in one shot. Where the sandblaster might not reach in those "pockets", then you already have that area covered, and just a touch-up with a primer and top coat is all that's needed.
I learned this when we got my friend's 76 High-boy f250 back from the blaster/primer place, and looking up under the crossmembers and shackle mounts, he missed those areas.
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:00 PM
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well alright dave !! way to go ! i was wondering about when you were gonna get started . personally i have NEVER had any luck with the blue oval v-6's . i think i might be to rough on 'em ...mine , despite being well maintained , 3.8 and 4.0's , ate head gaskets . dunno why just liked to . i was told and lokked it up and it appears to be because of really thin castings . by the way i dont think i'll be using the spare tire mount dave off that 55 frame . what ya got ya wanna trade ?????? dont know it's value , and i'm sure you got a bottle of dr. goodwells miracle elixir / snake oil laying around huh ????
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by 52 F3 View Post
Just my personal prefference but I believe I would do as much fab and welding on the frame as I could before the sandblasting then disassemble and blast and paint.
Yeah, I kind of thought about that, and it may end up going that way. You do make a valid point.

Later man...
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:46 PM
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Respectfully, I agree, for a couple reasons.
1: weld splatter
2: weld-through primer....it can be used, but wouldn't be very cost effective on a complete frame.

If there are "pockets" where you think you'll need a blasting before welding, a spot-blaster gun might work. Then weld-thru primer ( I use U-POL), weld, then sand, and a recoat of a primer when done. Then when you are satisfied, you can get the whole thing blasted and primed (epoxy) in one shot. Where the sandblaster might not reach in those "pockets", then you already have that area covered, and just a touch-up with a primer and top coat is all that's needed.
I learned this when we got my friend's 76 High-boy f250 back from the blaster/primer place, and looking up under the crossmembers and shackle mounts, he missed those areas.
Hi Scott,
You make some of the same points 52 F3 did and they are valid, as I noted in my reply to his post. I don't have a significant problem with spatter when using the MIG and I expect I will use that exclusively on this. Maybe I shouldn't admit it but I doubt if I'll be going for show quality here, so minor blemishes can be tolerated. I tend to be a lot more concerned about the engineering aspect than the cosmetic aspect. I have used that spatter resistant stuff in the rattle can with stick welding with rather good results. I imagine that using it with MIG would be even better. I have found that the sandblasting doesn't get rid of of those heavy spatter beads. I usually end up grinding them off or using a Tiger Disc on them.

Since I do my own blasting I thouight it would be easier to get it done on a nice but cool day as I have to get all bundles up with protective clothing and it just beats me on a warm day. If I wait I am sure the warm weather will be upon me. I would just take it and have it done in spite of the fact I have my own equipment but the places around here take forever to get anything like this done because they try to sandwich the job in between their big jobs. That was the reason I bought the equipment in the first place. Another reason is as you pointed out, they tend to miss places.

Nothing is carved in stone here an all is subject to change. That is one reason I look to you guys for input. All my ideas are not the gems of intelligence even though they seem like good ones in the beginning.

Later Man...
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:55 PM
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Sounds like a good game plan. If you're doing your own blasting, then you'll have no problem with those "forgotten" areas, lol. You may find the engineering part to take the most time and thought. I've been working on drawing up motor mounts all day today myself.....my brain hurts!
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 55 f350 View Post
well alright dave !! way to go ! i was wondering about when you were gonna get started . personally i have NEVER had any luck with the blue oval v-6's . i think i might be to rough on 'em ...mine , despite being well maintained , 3.8 and 4.0's , ate head gaskets . dunno why just liked to . i was told and lokked it up and it appears to be because of really thin castings . by the way i dont think i'll be using the spare tire mount dave off that 55 frame . what ya got ya wanna trade ?????? dont know it's value , and i'm sure you got a bottle of dr. goodwells miracle elixir / snake oil laying around huh ????
Actually I do have some of that elixir here. It's what keps me going Man. Seriously, I don't know what to say. Eventually I will be getting rid of one or maybe two rolling chassis from the '53's but even they have their problems. The one I got from Walford had the axel start to pull out when we were moving it with another vehicle. We had to jack it up twice in 75' to shove it back in. Those old rear ends must have clips in them like a Chevy.

Funny you should mention the problems you have had with the V-6's. My experience has been quite the opposite. we have two Taurus's with 3.0's and a '95 Exploder with a 4.0. I also had an '87 Aerostar with a 3.0. I never had a problem with any of them. I even towed a cabin cruiser for a year with the '87. I wouldn't mind having a sbf V-8 on this but since the tranny is dependent upon the ECM with the 4.0, I doubt I could get anything to work right. I just thought this would be sort of unique. Like I said, it would be Chick Friendly and therefore my wife would drive it. My other '53 is going to be manual 4WD with a manual 4sp. The first thing she would say is what is the extra pedal for?

Later Man...
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:19 PM
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Sounds like a good game plan. If you're doing your own blasting, then you'll have no problem with those "forgotten" areas, lol. You may find the engineering part to take the most time and thought. I've been working on drawing up motor mounts all day today myself.....my brain hurts!
Maybe you need a cookie break. Did you get rid of any of that snow? It was actually 70 degrees F. here today. We don't see that in late December around here. A few days ago it was 5 degrees F. and I expect to see more of it.

Later Man...
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Old 12-28-2008, 08:35 AM
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My expereince with the 4.0 has been good. I had a 4.0 90 ranger and now have a 2003 4.0 Ranger. The Aerostar must have the pre sohc heads? There is a difference with the sohc heads (personal obstervation having had both).
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Old 12-28-2008, 01:53 PM
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My expereince with the 4.0 has been good. I had a 4.0 90 ranger and now have a 2003 4.0 Ranger. The Aerostar must have the pre sohc heads? There is a difference with the sohc heads (personal obstervation having had both).
I don't really know much about the engine or is't history. I'm also not aware of then situation with the heads. My son tells me there is actually some after market performance stuff available for them.

Later Man...
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