F150 4x4


























1977 F150 4X4






I am the proud owner of a 1977 F150 short bed 4X4. I purchased it from a fellow I knew from work for a mere 500 bucks on a whim, he was moving and I thought it looked cool, mean and nasty. It was in extremely rough shape when I got it (The hood, right front fender and passenger door were banged up pretty bad, not to mention the obvious mechanical needs).and therefore sat for a few years..(5 or 6 think). I was trying to get it going (it would run, badly, so I was going to tune it with plugs, points, cap rotor, wires, etc) when I realized the 400 was getting NO oil to the top of the valve train.



















Click to enlarge
77 F150


  It was then that it all started....One thing led to another and I ended up with a rebuilt 429 on the C6 automatic. Then my attention turned to the steering. The previous owner had super swampers on the truck and they had taken their toll on the steering all the way from the cheesy chrome little 12 inch steering wheel to the spindles. I tried to find the correct replacement parts from wrecking yards, and wasted a lot of time. Finally, in desperation I hauled all the parts I had for steering and took a look at all the options I had at my disposal...A complete setup from column to rack and pinion off a Ford Fairmont (no wheel)...another from a Mercury Bobcat wagon and yet another from a 88 Mercury Sable....Nothing truck-ish. However, by combining parts of all these, as well as the column from the truck (that was the only part still useable) I came out with a nice factory appearing setup, (along with a Torino wheel) All that got me to the other side of the firewall, from there I had to improvise more, with a couple donated joints from friends and a little 3/4 solid rod we got rid of the fiber joint and the trashed u-joint that was there. This was all connected to the beautiful power gearbox from RedHead. The only way to go with a steering gearbox, don’t waste your time in wrecking yards, just call these folks at RedHead, they rebuild these gearboxes right, replacing the bushings with bearings and all, and they are great to do business with. We scored on 2 sets of 245 75/R 16 tires at the local tire shop, all 70% and better, one set off road tread, one set mud/snow highway combo. We installed them on a couple sets of 16 inch plain white spoke rims, and AH I like those, much better than the swamper stuff. From there I couldn’t stop yet...I hadn’t reached the wheels...I had to find a pitman arm, and tie-rods. The only thing I thought was still good was the drag link. (I later found this was bad too). This led me right to the front axle. Which I had been trying to ignore. The previous owner had somehow broken the knuckle at the end of the axle, which meant removing the spindle and axle from the right front. Luckily the housing was still good and I found the Dana numbers on the tube to order the new inner and outer axle as well as new universals for both sides, new bearings all around, and new seals. I had to replace the upper and lower ball joints and finally the spindles were ready to be replaced. The cheesy plastic lockouts did not look good, so a nice pretty set of Warn brass lockouts made it look like there might be some hope yet. While I was down there working on all the steering I couldn’t help seeing the axle bushings all squirty from the leak master 400, so I pressed onward, with a new neoprene set of bushings for the front axle struts they went in nice and really tightened things up nice. To do this the shocks and springs had to be disconnected so while I was there I installed a set of Firestone Coil Rite bags into the springs. I was planning to pull a rather large trailer with this truck. New rotors and calipers went in before the jacks were let down and a LARGE sigh....$$$$ EEESH and ouch. I am a really cheap guy, and this is stressing me BAD. (I’m not into 4 wheeling I keep telling my self) I will NEVER take this thing where it might break.....























Gooseneck Hitch


  The whole reason I needed this truck in running condition was to pull a 30 foot flatbed gooseneck with shop tools and “stuff” because we were moving the shop. (Little did I realize the enormous undertaking ahead). The trailer ended up weighing in at over 30,000 lbs, but I didn’t know that yet.....
























   I needed a gooseneck hitch in the truck, so I decided on the B&W Turnover ball hitch, I had to use a universal kit because they don’t make one for the older trucks that just bolts in. I added a plate into the frame to strengthen the F150 frame to take the weight I thought I was looking to pull...(maybe 15.000?...at most 18?) Then the hitch went in and was reinforced with extra bracing provided by the Firestone brackets for the Ride Rite bags. I happened on a set of Ford 1 ton cube van springs the right width and swapped them while I was there. The spring mounting bolts had been run loose so I welded plates into the frame mounts to relocate the hole in the proper place and used new longer grade 8 bolts all the way around.

























   During all this fixing I was still driving it regularly. I found how great it was to go fishing in places few bother with. The terrain is not bad, even though it is a lake bed. A few 2 wheel drives make it there, and those only that know the area. Lake Ketchelus is known as “Stump lake”, just east of the top of Snoqualmie Pass alongside I-90 in Washington state. It is on Federal land, built back in the New Deal days of Roosevelt. The fishing isn’t all that great, but it’s fun to just go troll in the peace and quiet. There are silvers, trout, and plenty whitefish..(yuk) There is a nice trail above the lake that leads to a tunnel through the mountain that is a mile long, standing in one end you can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel...unlike working on the truck....

























   Somewhere along the line I needed a carburetor, the Motorcraft was dying and a royal pain in the butt. I took a deep breath and purchased a new Holley Street Avenger 770. A sweet carb, blowproof power valve, idiot proof adjustments, really a leap from the old Holley’s. the adjustable power valve works great, change the spring in minutes and it can be adjusted to the vacuum of the engine adjusting for the cam, and lack of idle vacuum. Since I installed it I haven’t had to mess with it at all. The old Holley’s I used to mess with daily, this is a thumbs up to Holley for using their heads and listening to us. I would actually use this instead of an Autolite.






















Air Pump
Air Gauges


 Next went in a Tachometer salvaged from my old truck, and the compressor and gauges mounted into the dash for the Firestone bags. I decided against the mechanical gauge set that would have gone in due to time and lack of room. With the shifter and the brake control and CB and all, just too much wiring and hassle. We checked the Ford gauge against a real gauge and we had 65 lbs of oil pressure at an Idle, that’s good enough for me. The temp has hardly ever gone up to midrange, and it has never puked water, yup that’s good for me. I had replaced the clutch fan when the engine went in. You could turn it and tell right off it was bad, and I don’t trust them much, so I got a heavy duty one from Napa. A set of spot lights had been setting on our shelf for some time so I put them on the brush guard cause they looked good, (and really put out serious light).  Hey, this is looking like a 4X4...Tame, but nice.























Once all the steering and front suspension was done I was checking out the 4X and oops popped the rear driveline in the damn parking lot, idiot, I guess better here than in the hills. It was a crappy job someone had done on hashing the end on the tube. I found enough spare parts to fix both drivelines in our piles, and welded them nicely. I do need to get a new CV on the front one someday...when I was there doing the drivelines, I noticed something wrong...the yoke from the front output of the transfer case was ...loose...Hmm, I put a socket on it and...it wasn’t very loose, but I got a little movement around 200 foot lbs  and the yoke got tight, that’s suspisious ....I looked the other way...and stuffed the driveline on. I hate this 4X stuff...($$$)

























   I have been driving my truck for a few years now. We moved the trailer some 25 miles or so. It was a terrible experience I’d like to forget...Low range, Low gear, full throttle 5000+ rpm all the way, just ugly. I have never seen a big block strain its guts like that. My daughter was along for the first part of the trip, and at one point exclaimed...Theres sparks coming out of the truck!!! We were climbing a hill, about 10% grade up to the Pine Lake area. She was seeing the exhaust, I think there wasn’t a speck of rust in the pipes after that...All I had to fix was one crushed u-joint (which WAS new) the needles were powdered and dust. WOW. That’s scary. I still shudder.....Thats one tough pile of parts.






















77 Dodge 203


   Well, the transfer case is suddenly making noises. Strange...yet somehow expected. The 203 has had a kit of some sort installed, we’ll see what type when I get it torn down. I picked up a used 203 for a song at a garage sale yesterday (5-25-2003) and am going to attempt to use parts from it to get back going again. I have a deadline of mid June, we’re going camping for a whole week, the first vacation over 3 days in 4 years. This has to get done quickly. Here are the pages on the 203 I put together while researching and stumbling through this project.






















Axle Adventure


Hmm, I got sidetracked. While checking out the transfer case to see where the noise was coming from I pulled the driveline loose and found the rear diff had a LOT of slop in it. I was planning on taking the diff out any how due to the leak, so I guess this makes another reason why. I started here rather than at the 203. Looks like the trailer did a bit more damage than first expected, the pinion gear was worn beyond anything I’d ever seen. Here are the pages I put together on the rear axle

























-Mike Tuesday, May 27, 2003

























Update - Mike - July 31, 2010

Well, I used this truck for a few years and we ended up moving to Texas so I had to sell it... Sad Day, (Actually I traded it for a pile of parts for another project...) See the next project still in the works... K-10 Caravan


























[F150 4x4] [429-Pre-Holley] [77 F-150] [77 Dodge 203] [New Process 203] [9" Ford Rear Diff]




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