Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I guess if you know what you're looking at, you can't have too much information on the dash. Using this motto, I long ago converted the cluster to include the oil pressure gauge and ammeter. Pickups typically had dummy lights, but when the Bronco was introduced in 1966, it used the same cluster, but replaced the lights with gauges. I've also seen an F600 of the era with the amp/oil gauges. Converting the cluster is easy. I basically put my speedometer in the bronco cluster housing with the accessory gauges already in place, since the housings for the dummy light clusters are different. I chose to keep my speedometer because throughout the years of Bronco production, Ford kept changing the font of the speedometer and I like the original best.

This is the tach I bought. It's a mechanical 4000 RPM tach which is completely useless, except that it is brand new and period correct. They were used in the big trucks with torquey engines that made all their power below 3500. I found a company who specializes in disassembling them, changing them to modern movements, and changing the artwork to reflect it. While it's not a cheap process, it's nearly impossible for a DIYer like myself. The gauge is crimped together and replacing the artwork would be nearly impossible for me. If they agree to do the work, I'll post their web info here.
The vacuum gauge is the most under-rated gauge that is nearly never seen on cars that aren't running a turbo or supercharger. This is odd since the gauge tells you so much about how the condition of the engine and how well the carb is tuned for the application. It's also a great gauge for watching fuel economy and it does some pretty cool things while you drive.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Small Parts Sandblasting Part 1

I blasted the seat riser brackets, steering column, door access panels and the instrument cluster holder. Everything came out good but I have a long way to go.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Recovering the Seats

The Passenger's Seat:Disassembled:
New Foam
Leaving my Mark:
Finished Seat Back...almost. Overnight last night, the seat back developed a wrinkle, seen in the upper left corner just above the inset pattern. It should be a major pain in the butt to redo. This seat back took me the entire duration of the movie Cars to do. It's never taken me so long to recover a seat, but I opted for new foam. The seat bottom needs to be welded up and blasted clean before I can upholster it.
Blue was never a factory color for the Pickups with the Ranger package. I think it was only beige, red or black. I also went with 1965 upholster rather than 1966. I like the '65 not having the faux woven inset pattern and I prefer the shade of blue available in 1965 over the 1966. The interior will be mostly blue with some white. The dash and painted parts of the doors will be white. The carpet, dash pad, door panels and door access panels will be blue. My hog ring pliers need to be replaced as well with a better quality set.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Replacement Suspension

The donor vehicle:
Why someone would want cop car engines is beyond me...with their high mileage, hours and hours of idling and jackrabbit starts I'd consider them scrap...but I'm glad they did because it makes getting the suspension crossmember a breeze to get out.

Still assembled:

I found the replacement suspension today. It comes from a 2004 Crown Victoria police car. The benefits are rack and pinion steering, modular engine support, bigger police brakes, modern suspension geometry, modern braking, and getting rid of the tried and true Twin I Beam setup. The entire setup dropped out of the donor car in about 20 minutes because it's held in by four bolts, the steering shaft and a few bolts in the trailing end of the lower control arm. I picked up the kids, put them to bed and disassembled everything. Apparently, someone at the police garage thinks every bolt should be torqued to 500ft/lbs. It was very, very difficult to get all this stuff apart. It took almost 2 hours and one of the hubs is still stuck in the spindle. Tonight, I'll have to make a list all the replacement parts to make this stuff like new again.
Everything else:

There is a brace on each side of the top of the crossmember that stabilizes the top of the spring pocket to the top of the frame rail. Remove them only after the two main support bolts on each side have been removed from underneath. This piece can hold the entire setup up and make removing the main support bolts a lot easier.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Front Suspension Removal

After work tonight, I removed the front suspension completely. This sounds like a big job, but Ford switched to a system they called "Twin I Beam" in 1965. Basically, instead of one straight axle in the front of the truck, they gave each wheel its own axle which was suspended at the opposite side of the truck and directly beneath the floor of the cab at the rear through what they called radius arms. It provided a much smoother ride over a straight axle since bumps in the road could be absorbed by one side of the suspension rather than the entire front. The system is prone to alignment issues as components wear and it won't quite give me the ride I'm going for.
It all drops out by removing one nut on each radius arm, one bolt at the end of each I beam, two small bolts holding on the springs, the brake lines and the shocks. That's it.
I had to pull the truck out from the wall to get around to the driver's side. SWMBO has already staked her winter claim to the garage insisting that the truck not encroach the space her car will occupy when the first frost hits.
Next, I'll remove the slushbox and monster 460. The truck was originally an I6 3 speed. I'm not totally set on the powerplant and transmission yet, but there's plenty of time to decide. After that, it's off with the cab for the frame work.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Driver's door finally arrived

I was getting the run around from the eBay seller on the driver's side door. I got a jumbled up message Monday saying that his laptop was all screwed up and that UPS wasn't sure when the package would arrive. He first thought Friday, then Monday and then Tuesday. It's odd that UPS would have told him they were unsure since as soon as a package enters their system, they usually know when it will be delivered. Perhaps he was using UPS as a scapegoat for not shipping the door for over a week after payment? I don't know. He told me not to have it blasted either, since it is such a good door. It needs to be cleaned up like everything else...
Hopefully I can get it to the blaster Friday after work since I'll be out of town for a few days.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Clean Steel Comes Back Home

It was a major pain in the butt since the bed was 3" wider than the trailer. Next time, I'll measure. The Passenger's side door made it as well tucked neatly in the bed. The blaster guys were nice enough to stay late so I could meet them after work. While there, I also picked up the cab, fenders, inner fenders, stone guard and upper grille panel. Overall the cab did well considering what one might expect of a truck in the rust belt, but not like I had hoped since I imported it from a drier world. There were a number of repairs made to it before I got it to patch a few holes (which I will redo) and to cover up the rust near the drip rails. I've found two kinds of truck parts. Straight, rusty ones and beat up, rust-free stuff. In this case, I'll take the dents since the original cab lost its overall structural integrity from rust.

And now for the damage:
Drip rail damage will be repaired. I may shave off the drip rails when I make these repairs.

More damage, bumps and bruises:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rear Frame Cleaning

Today, after 9 hours of cleaning the garage, I decided to take everything off the rear half of the frame rails. This includes the rear brake drums, springs, brake cables and the exhaust. I also had to remove a bunch of random nuts and bolts that were just screwed into the frame rails. The bolts for the springs were a bear to remove and they had rusted into the bushings for the springs. The springs are trash and need to be replaced.
The blaster called and said that the cab, fenders, inner fenders, and a few other parts are clean and ready to be picked up. I'll drop off the bed when I go to pick up the cab and parts.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I picked these up today...Originally, the Ford Ranger was a trim package on the 1965 F100 and used off and on until the 80s as Ford's top interior package. In 1965-66 it meant the truck received Mustang bucket seats with special brackets on the bottoms to make them fit in a pickup. Since I don't like the bouncy bench seats in old pickup trucks, the Mustang seats seemed like a viable option. I've not completely decided whether to use the two bucket seats pictured or to use the original Mustang bench front seat I have in the garage. Either way, the truck will probably have a Mustang seat in it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Back in the day...

Here are a few pics of the truck running around back when I was driving it. I think these are 2003-2004.
I actually used it a few times to commute back and forth to college about 40 miles each way in 2004.