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Ford F3 Project

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Old 11-20-2017, 03:37 AM
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Ford F3 Project

Howdy. Y'all might remember me as the chump making a replica of Stubby Bob who came around asking for steering geometry dimensions.

And the long and the short of it is i've wanted to get a simple project car for a while. Cut my teeth on something that isn't a jaguar trackday car build or something. And while browsing craigs list, this things came up. Went and inspected it, and it was basically everything i wanted.



Near as i can tell it's a '49 F3, and it's almost entirely complete, lacking only the engine, transmission, seat and steering box. The frame is rock solid, the body rust is negligible (the spot on the front next to the left hand frame rail is easily the worst of it) And despite how the rain makes it look, is altogether basically ideal for a canadian truck.

My basic plan was to make it a quasi dailyable truck, in the sense that it's something i can just go out and drive if i need to. Which means modern power, 12 volt conversion, seat belts etc. However, before i dive head long into what i had intended to do, i figure i'd run it by more experienced hands before i make any real stupid mistakes.

So my basic plan is this. Apologies for the heresy, but i only really know chevy powerplants, and i know that the smallblock vortec is easily the best bang for your buck you can possibly get, especially for a "modern" engine. So i intended to get a cheapy late 90's chevy with a 5.7 Vortec smallblock with a turbo 400, strip out the engine and transmission, rebuild the motor (bearings, gaskets, rings etc), convert it from EFI with a dual plane intake and MSD ignition, rob the donor truck of belts, (possibly seats), all the 12 volt parts and any other little tidbits that might come up. Mock up the engine/transmission geometry, design up mounts for both in solidworks and have them fabricated elsewhere, since i didn't want my first fabrication adventures to be on something as vital and precise as motor mounts, and slap in the power plant.

Meanwhile, i also want to do a disc conversion in at least the front for obvious reasons. There seems to be a few kits out there, if anyone has any specific recommendations that would be appreciated. And then there's the issue of the rear end.



I had expected the one piece rear end, as the truck was advertised as an F1, but it turned out to be an F68, which means it has the two piece rear end, which i don't know anything about. Now the one piece f1 diff would've absoulutel been gone, since i'm not putting up with a locked rear end. And my original intent was to pull a rear end out of a much later truck, ideally with an LSD in it. Presumably a 9 inch of some description. However, this is the two piece. And while i have no idea what condition it's in at the moment, since i've yet to pull it apart, presuming it's in good condition, would this be acceptable/workable to just leave on the truck?

My fear is if i shouldn't leave it on there, finding a rear end that will accept the stock spring setup (even if i replace the springs) would be very difficult without a moderate amount of fabrication. New seats, some sort of setup for the spring clamp bracket for the new rear end etc. And i was hoping for some advice on that. As well as any advice on the swap itself. Are there any more ideal swaps, are there any great problems with the smallblock chevy swap beyond the heresy, and is there any great words of advice someone in my position should hear before they start?
 
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Old 11-20-2017, 05:14 AM
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Glad you're back. There are a couple of bits I can offer before the more experienced hands pipe up.

The brake drums on F2/F3s can greatly limit the wheel choices because of the drum size. So you'll want to take a gander at what you have as it sits. Additionally, the gearing in the differential are ideal for a slow, strong load hauler - not so good for a daily driver. This reference is mostly about the half ton trucks, but there are some useful items for the bigger versions: https://www.ford-trucks.com/articles...rential-swaps/
 
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Old 11-20-2017, 06:25 AM
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Based on your grill color and ss grill strips I would be betting it is a 48
Ed
near Philadelphia
 
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Old 11-20-2017, 06:53 AM
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Add my welcome. Given your package of other changes, a rear axle swap is an obvious next step. But first, I’ll explain why. Your Timken has a 4.86/1 gear set which would limit highway speeds. Next, you have 14” Lockheed rear brakes (new drums are NLA) that necessitated bigger 17” wheels. The wheels Ford used are two part having outer rims today called the “widow maker”. The trade name for them is “Firestone RH-5”. A Google search for those terms would be a good safety move.

A rear axle from a 1972 or earlier F-250 is a bolt in fix. You could also do a 9” from the same era to allow use of the more common five lug front disc brake kits. Whichever path you take be alert to matching the bolt patterns front and rear.

Another modification you’ll probably want to make is the installation of a new dual master cylinder which could be a front disc/rear drum system. Stu
 
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:03 AM
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Welcome from Maine.
I'm currently building a '49 F3.
I notice your truck has parking brake cables instead of a transmission band style brake - so in addition to changing the rear axle to get away from the 4:86 gears you'll have to consider a retrofit so that you have a working emergency/parking brake.
I was able to find a '72 F250 Dana 60 rear axle for my truck and it did bolt in pretty nicely. The parking brake cables were another story, and it is a fitment issue I haven't fully resolved yet. But if you remove your Timken axle, make sure you save any and all brake parts including the cable clamps on the backing plates in case you need them later to refit to a newer axle. And if your rear drums are still good, someone else can use them since they are very hard to find. I sent some parts of my old axle to a member here from England for example.
Again welcome and enjoy the build.
Tom
 
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:22 AM
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Welcome to another BC member - whereabouts are you in this rather large province? We are in North Vancouver, where they keep the rain.

It sounds as if you are working to stay as stock as possible with the suspension and axles. You don’t mention swapping to an IFS, so does that mean you’re staying with the straight axle? We did go with a disc kit from mid-fifties in the front, and added a vacuum brake assist.

We swapped out the rear end (‘50 M68 which should be the same vehicle with a Mercury badge, I think) for an early-90s Explorer 9” (oops - as corrected by Bill - see below - this should read 8.8") rear-end, so went modern 5-bolt 17” wheels on all corners. The rear springs only required moving the perches, so that was a fairly basic swap. We did remove a bunch of leafs to give a better ride, and to drop the rear end a bit.

Looking forward to your updates.
 
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by dcavan001 View Post
We swapped out the rear end (‘50 M68 which should be the same vehicle with a Mercury badge, I think) for an early-90s Explorer 9” rear-end...
No Explorer of any year has a 9" rear axle. Explorer would have the Ford 8.8" integral rear axle.

9 inch: 1957/79 misc Passenger Cars; 1957/83 F100; 1965/67 E100 Super Van; 1966/86 Bronco; 1969/74 E200; 1975/86 F150; 1975/87 E100/150; 1980 Granada/Monarch/Versailles.

1959/67 F100's with Limited Slip have the Dana 44 rear axle .. Some 1976/79 F100/150 could also have the Dana 44.3 rear axle .. 1983/86 F100/150/Bronco could also have the 8.8."
 
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:07 AM
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You are right Bill - it was 8.8, from a '92 Explorer - I've just got used to referring to it as 9"
 
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Old 11-21-2017, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by truckdog62563 View Post
Add my welcome. Given your package of other changes, a rear axle swap is an obvious next step. But first, I’ll explain why. Your Timken has a 4.86/1 gear set which would limit highway speeds. Next, you have 14” Lockheed rear brakes (new drums are NLA) that necessitated bigger 17” wheels. The wheels Ford used are two part having outer rims today called the “widow maker”. The trade name for them is “Firestone RH-5”. A Google search for those terms would be a good safety move.

A rear axle from a 1972 or earlier F-250 is a bolt in fix. You could also do a 9” from the same era to allow use of the more common five lug front disc brake kits. Whichever path you take be alert to matching the bolt patterns front and rear.

Another modification you’ll probably want to make is the installation of a new dual master cylinder which could be a front disc/rear drum system. Stu
I knew about the widowmakers. I thought they looked like this. I looked at the wheels on the truck and any identifying information was rusted/worn beyond legibility.



These are the wheels on the truck right now. Are you certain they're widowmakers? I was going to replace the rims as an act of pragmatism anyway, but man if they're widowmakers, i'm damn glad you told me. Do i have to take any special precautions when removing them? Or is it the danger simply when the tire pressure rapidly changes, thus affecting the "worn in" seal of the retention/mating flange?

Frankly, i'm convinced i'll be replacing the whole rear end anyway, so if those are the split rims, i think what i'm going to do is remove the rear end as one piece, roll it into a corner of the property and let the tire pressure slowly drop to zero over a long period of time. My real area of expertise is with steam locomotives, and if there's one thing i've learned from that, it's that you just do not **** around with pressure vessels, particularly old poorly designed ones that want to kill you. I'm gonna be tip-toeing around these things.

Originally Posted by dcavan001 View Post
Welcome to another BC member - whereabouts are you in this rather large province? We are in North Vancouver, where they keep the rain.

It sounds as if you are working to stay as stock as possible with the suspension and axles. You don’t mention swapping to an IFS, so does that mean you’re staying with the straight axle? We did go with a disc kit from mid-fifties in the front, and added a vacuum brake assist.

We swapped out the rear end (‘50 M68 which should be the same vehicle with a Mercury badge, I think) for an early-90s Explorer 9” (oops - as corrected by Bill - see below - this should read 8.8") rear-end, so went modern 5-bolt 17” wheels on all corners. The rear springs only required moving the perches, so that was a fairly basic swap. We did remove a bunch of leafs to give a better ride, and to drop the rear end a bit.

Looking forward to your updates.
I'm in north van for another week. I'm still a student, so i'm living with my dad. And he's moving up to the sunshine coast, and until i can land a job at a game/film studio, me along with him. My other hobby car is pretty distinct, so if you've seen me around you'd probably remember it.

And yeah i want to keep the build as simple as possible. I don't want to mess around with adding new suspension set ups or anything of the like. The powerplant swap is enough for me right now.

Besides, you do enough stuff like that, and you're not building an old truck, you're building something else that's wearing the skin of an old truck. And y'know, at that point why bother?
 
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Old 11-21-2017, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Harlow View Post
I knew about the widowmakers. I thought they looked like this. I looked at the wheels on the truck and any identifying information was rusted/worn beyond legibility.



These are the wheels on the truck right now. Are you certain they're widowmakers? I was going to replace the rims as an act of pragmatism anyway, but man if they're widowmakers, i'm damn glad you told me. Do i have to take any special precautions when removing them? Or is it the danger simply when the tire pressure rapidly changes, thus affecting the "worn in" seal of the retention/mating flange?

Frankly, i'm convinced i'll be replacing the whole rear end anyway, so if those are the split rims, i think what i'm going to do is remove the rear end as one piece, roll it into a corner of the property and let the tire pressure slowly drop to zero over a long period of time. My real area of expertise is with steam locomotives, and if there's one thing i've learned from that, it's that you just do not **** around with pressure vessels, particularly old poorly designed ones that want to kill you. I'm gonna be tip-toeing around these things.
The RH-5 widow maker rim was fitted to both DRW and SRW center discs. SRW in 17”, DRW in 18”, and 20” sizes. On the SRW styles the side ring is located on the back of the rim assembly when mounted on the truck, and thus would blow inward if a failure occurred. Removing the valve cores renders them harmless. Another thing I do to keep my hands out of the way is to drill holes into the tread areas of dead tires to allow air pressure to escape.

This below picture shows you the back of an F-3’s 17” widow maker. The center disc is riveted to the raised joint of the base rim. Stu

 
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Old 11-21-2017, 09:49 AM
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I don't recall seeing that Jag (our neighbor has a mid-80's, wine-colored, that is very similar), but I sure know where that picture was taken. We like to go to the car shows there - what a great location for that with the city in the background.

We get up to the sunshine coast occasionally - I'll PM you when we do that next time - it would be great to see your project.
 
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Old 11-21-2017, 01:16 PM
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Old 11-21-2017, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by dcavan001 View Post
I don't recall seeing that Jag (our neighbor has a mid-80's, wine-colored, that is very similar), but I sure know where that picture was taken. We like to go to the car shows there - what a great location for that with the city in the background.

We get up to the sunshine coast occasionally - I'll PM you when we do that next time - it would be great to see your project.
Ah cheers. Apart from doing some things to keep it from rusting, It's gonna be sitting under a tarp for the next six months though so ain't much to look at.
 
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Old 12-10-2017, 02:34 PM
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Finally took the truck home. Turns out it's a bad idea to buy a roller while moving. Who knew?
 
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Old 12-19-2017, 02:29 AM
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So i'm lookin' for a replacement steer box and column. I was hoping there's a compatable recirculating ball power unit i can plumb to the new motor. I've got the actual steering arm and linkage, just missing the box and column. Anyone have any recommendations, or is it just a "go to the junkyard and pray" sort of deal.
 

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