1956 Ford F-100: The Build That Wasn’t

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1956 Ford F-100

This old F-100 project didn’t start out as a ‘build,’ but it quickly turned into one.

Build threads are plentiful in the Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums, mostly because they’re, well, fantastic. We all love to watch old trucks rise from the junkyard and take on a new life at the hands of their owners. These threads aren’t just inspirational, they’re also informative and educational. And there’s nothing more satisfying than watching a build take shape.

But this thread, started by FTE member ingo, isn’t exactly what you’d call a “build” thread. Instead, he likes to call it a “modification” thread. And yet, even though he refuses to call it a build thread, you’ll still find plenty of inspiration here. Because the plan (at first, anyway) is to take a once proud 1956 Ford F-100 and underpin it with an entirely new suspension.

“After asking a lot of questions over the last several years here in this forum, I thought I’d let you guys know what I’m “building” now. My truck’s original suspension was worn out and in need of an overhaul. I thought about overhauling the original axles with leaf springs or putting something new (IFS, 4-link) in. But eventually, I decided to go with brand new stuff.”

Is there anything more satisfying than installing shiny new parts on an old truck? We think not. We’d say the OP made the right choice, and it wasn’t long before he was ripping in to his classic F-100.

“First, I ordered a TCI Custom IFS. Then we started disassembling. The truck was/is a big block, which will become an issue for me later. I’ve also got a No Limit 4-link and a Ford 9″ out of a Lincoln Versailles.”

At this point, work on the F-100 was moving along feverishly. Which is pretty easy when you’ve got such a sweet lift, after all.

“Next, I removed the old master cylinder and got a new master/booster. Cut the boxing plates and welded ’em in. Then I welded the TCI front cross member. After the IFS cross member was welded, I set the engine in the same position where it sat before. But this didn’t work because the cast oil pump is too close to the steering rack. I was sure the original oil pan wouldn’t fit, but the oil pump!? So I moved the engine 1 5/8″ forward and raised it 1 inch. Later, I will weld a custom oil pickup and an oil pan by myself.”

But as anyone who’s ever tried to install new parts in an old F-100 already knows, there were plenty of other problems yet to be tackled.

“The lower control arm bolt is rubbing the steering rack dust boot. I cut the brackets and welded them on the upper side. Then I notched the cross member and tilted the rack. That will give me some room between the rubber boot and bolt. Plus, it will help me between the steering shaft and header. Next, I removed the motor mounts and cut new ones out of 4×4″ tubing.”


Next, it was time to fabricate an oil pan for the F-100 project. The OP used the bottom section from an old pan and made the rest from bare sheetmetal. After a good bit of trial and error, the custom piece was good to go. Next, it was on to the rear suspension, which got mocked up and C-sectioned. And since the old engine needed an overhaul, he just went ahead and ordered a new one.

“I decided to buy a new engine. It’ll give me better weight distribution with aluminium heads and manifold, which saves about 120 pounds on the front end. Not to mention the performance upgrade And yes, I guess that will also bring a broad grin to my face on the first ride.”


And so began the build thread that wasn’t supposed to be a build thread. In addition to a new engine, the OP decided to completely rewire the entire truck, replace the wheels and tires, and install a new bed. And we’re guessing that’s only the beginning. Because like a tasty bag of chips, once you start fixing and modifying stuff, it’s hard to stop!

Be sure and keep up with ingo’s “build” thread here, and drop him a few words of encouragement!

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Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other sites.

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