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1948 - 1956 F1, F100 & Larger F-Series Trucks Discuss the Fat Fendered and Classic Ford Trucks

1952 Ford F4 to F1 Conversion

 
  #1  
Old 04-25-2014, 05:12 PM
VineMan
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1952 Ford F4 to F1 Conversion

I am rebuilding a 1952 Ford F4 and was looking for some FTE input. I picked this up from a guy about an hour away from where I live here in Kansas. He bought it from his friend's father, but opted to sell it because he already has a similar project. We ended up having to crank it onto our trailer with two 2in straps and a come along after our winch snapped. Well worth it though!





The F4 has a surprisingly clean frame and cab, and the flathead in it runs once I get a new fuel line. Really seems like a run of the mill farm truck. I thought I would open this thread for some advice on the build ahead.

If I understand correctly, the F4s are a tad longer than the F1-F3s. Because this is what I’ve got in front of me, I'd like to cut the frame down so the dimensions can hold an F1 bed. Yet to come into a suitable bed though.





After that, I plan to throw in a 9in rear end, get rid of the widow makers, and someday swap the flathead out for something bigger - essentially making this a retrofitted F4-F1 conversion. I saw another thread about an F3-F1 clone (very cool: https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...-f1-clone.html), but it is fairly new. Maybe these threads will link up down the road.

Any input on how I should handle the suspension, steering, front/rear end with mind toward my future plans? And/or any troubles I might face with cutting the frame. The guy I bought it from mentioned I should weld in some support along the frame to make it a little less giving, but I haven’t seen anyone mention that in the posts I’ve read thus far.

Definitely appreciate any thoughts you might have!
 
  #2  
Old 04-25-2014, 05:26 PM
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There are a lot of differences between the F1 and F4 frames, suspensions, wheels, brakes, etc...

There's more to it than chopping 20 inches out of the frame. The frames are a different shape. See the hump in the rear of the F1 at the rear axle? The F4 goes basically straight back.

There are no shocks on the F4, the springs all around are much different. I didn't catch the rating on your F4, but mine is rated at 10,000 GVWR. If yours has that rating, it has extra spring leaves.

You'll see in your two drawings there's a 6 inch height difference to the top of the frame.

The bumper on the F4 is bigger than the F1.

The stock wheels on the F4 were 18" or 20", but those are widow makers and have to be replaced for safety reasons with either 19.5" or 22.5" tubeless or 20" tube wheels.

F1 wheels won't fit over the drums of an F4. And while you can replace both axles (IFS in the front, maybe) and the 9" in the rear (maybe) it would be more practical to find a frame for an F1 and swap cabs. I say maybe because I've never heard of anyone putting either IFS or a 9" on an F4.

I've never heard of anyone converting an F4 to an F1. These may be some of the reasons.
 
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Old 04-25-2014, 05:50 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I've been following your Besty thread for awhile. This F4 has been affectionately dubbed, Darla. I haven't solidified my plans yet and that's partly my reason for this thread. The truck is here, the plan is still developing.

There are definitely plenty of differences between the F1 and F4 dimensions I need to address (and finish my homework on) before doing anything. I was thinking I would swap the whole rear end to get rid of the dually. That will allow me to address the the widow makers, brakes, and lug patterns from a non-stock perspective. I guess I haven't sold myself on the conversion, but my post above is what I've been drafting in my mind. Ultimately, I'd like a bed. A shorter frame would be nice too. Obviously working with an F1 would be better, but this is what I've got.
 
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Old 04-25-2014, 05:56 PM
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Here's your answer. And it's in Kansas too! Complete F1 frame.

Ford F1 COMPLETE Chassis 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1951 1951 ROLL

If you want an F1, this is going to be the fastest, cheapest and surest way to do it.

You can swap the cab, engine & transmission over, find a new front clip and bed, and you're done.

Well, you're never really done...
 
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Old 04-25-2014, 06:05 PM
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I would add if you're going through the trouble of swapping bodies onto the F-1 chassis dump the transmission and go with a T-5. That F-4 has the heavy 4 speed, the T-5 will be a friendlier tranny. While pulling the transmission pull the "Hogshead" from the F-4 tranny, you can use it to mount the T-5 tranny onto the flattie.
 
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:47 PM
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And if you've been following this forum, you know the id number that proves ownership is stamped into the frame.
And welcome to the forum.
 
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:56 PM
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My opinion... if you want an F1, then buy an F1! Otherwise, you'll just end up spending more money and time converting your F4 into an F1 and then probably sell it at a loss.

Not trying to be harsh... just realistic.
 
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Old 04-26-2014, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by 51PanelMan View Post
My opinion... if you want an F1, then buy an F1! Otherwise, you'll just end up spending more money and time converting your F4 into an F1 and then probably sell it at a loss.

Not trying to be harsh... just realistic.
Ditto. Stu
 
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Old 04-26-2014, 09:11 AM
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Vineman....
Looks like a pretty solid base you have there... You mentioned my thread in your post, I haven't started on mine yet Other than some disassembly.. I will get really into it later this summer.... As far as converting a f4 to f1 I can tell u this it may be cheaper in the long run to find a decent f1 .... BUT it can be done just prepair to spend a fairl amount of money on the process of conversion alone.... You have to look at the overall end product u want and base your decisions from there.... I know in my case and most likely yours, it will be an entire suspension upgrade since nothing on the larger trucks will work with the f1... I'm looking at a 4 link in the rear with coil overs , And an explorer 8.8 out of the junkyard... And the front you have a few options but I'm looking at a Jag front end ... I figure ballpark numbers for a rolling frame to be around 1000-1600 it will be a roller but final cost of wheels and tires not figured in it will be on junkyard wheels until then.... That's a lot of cash there and it will be doing all the work myself...

Bottom line it can be done and don't let anyone tell u otherwise it's just about how much money and time your willing to invest... Just a little food for thought there.... Good luck........ Zach
 
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:06 AM
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And I was reticent in my first response to your questions.

Welcome to FTE!

I suppose my opinion on getting the F1 chassis is partly based on my desire to see another F4 restored as an F4, and not converted to something else.

Good luck with Darla, whatever you decide to do.
 
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:27 AM
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I see no problem with expressing your view as long as it doesn't turn mean. Everyone has an opinion and when asked you have the right to voice it. Heck, I've gotten some heat for my opinion although all I stated was that dn't like something, which was the truth.

I also like seeing the big trucks being kept in their original form but there are times when money and even the condition of the vehicle warrants a major revision. I don't see any problem with using the F-4 sheet metal on a decent F-1 chassis. It would be the easiest way to go. Also, there isn't any difference by doing this than the person who buys an F-1 that has a rotted out cab and buying a larger truck to us the cab. Just kind of backwards, I guess, but just the same.

I personally think F-4s are the ideal big truck to restore. First, they are a little more rare than the smaller and larger trucks. They are kind of the Edsel of the truck line. They really didn't have a niche they fit into. They were too big to use for small deliveries and not big enough to do big deliveries. What I do like about them is they have the big truck look with the dually wheels but don't have the problems of the larger truck of having the double walled frame that is prone to rust between the layers and they are quite a bit lighter so they are a little more economical to operate.
 
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Old 08-21-2014, 12:13 PM
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Along the same lines what other trucks will a F-6 front sheet metal fit?
I've got one with perfect front metal and cannot get a title for it.
I know the cab is the same.
Thanks,
TractormanBill
 
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Old 08-21-2014, 12:57 PM
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F-2 to F-6 use the same fenders.

Www.fatfenderedtrucks.com/partsinterchange.html
 
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Old 08-21-2014, 01:00 PM
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Thanks Bob.
TractormanBill
 
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Old 08-21-2014, 01:00 PM
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Thanks Bob.
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