Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If it wasn't drivable then...

Her point of view

All I can say is....stress relief. It is amazing to me how demolition can relieve stress. Just the idea of tearing into something without having to worry about the end result. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to totally destroy his truck, but to disassemble it was fun. I even got to take out the seatbelts-with a little muscle from the husband-of course.
I did ask Mike if he would be able to move the truck if need be. I mean after all the dash is completely gone along w/all of the interior parts. He assured me that a 5 gallon bucket would work as a seat to move the beast. I want to video that for future reference! Anyway I figure if he gets to take pictures of me, I get to return the favor. Here he is in his "man" moment doing what men before him have longed to do,but some without know how dared not to attempt. I love that about him. He may not have a clue how to do the repairs, but he's not afraid of the task-or to get his hands dirty. :0)

Monday, April 27, 2009

If it wasn't drivable then......

His point of view certainly isn't drivable now. Friday after work, I was very excited to get some help. My wife wanted to help out so I set her loose on one of the door panels with my newly purchased door panel removal tool. She did great! The door panel took some persuasion, but it came off with out TOO much damage. Some of the attachment points for the clips broke off, due to old age I'm sure. This is fine, I'm going to try to make some custom door panels anyway. I'm actually excited about trying that. BTW, that picture is not even CLOSE to a good picture of my wife, but a chick working on a HOT is THAT!!!!

I got started a little early on saturday morning. I couldn't sleep, my mind was going crazy about the truck. There are so many things I want to try on the truck. I need to get familiar with my local junk yards. I'm almost done tearing down the interior. I think the only thing I have left in the cab is the door components, steering controls, heater core, wiring loom and the actual dash itself. Then I'm going to move to the back end of the truck and get the bed ready to be removed. Although I think it will be several weeks before I can actually remove the bed. I still have to find a place to help me do some body work.

That's about it for this week. Add another 9 man (and woman) hours to the tally. Weather forecast isn't looking too good. 30%+ chance of rain over the next 10 days. Although Saturday does have the best forecast so far. Maybe we'll get a chance to finish up the cab this week.
As a side note, the garage continues to grow more crowded as the weeks go by. This week I got the wife's side cleaned up enough for her to park her car. Meanwhile, the truck parts take up more and more of my side of the garage and my Durango is relegated to street side parking. Hope we don't have to many hail storms this year.

I would love to hear some feedback! Catch you on the flip side.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Enemy

Her point of view

The hubby has been outside for about and hour and I hear, "Hey sweetie, are the kids in bed yet?"
"Yes," I respond.
"I want to show you something." Now this could be a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe he's figured out how to get some rusted, dilapidated bolt out of the bed or cab of the truck. Maybe his testosterone has gotten the better of him and I will go the garage to see a thousand pieces-none of which he knows where they go. At this point I'm just going with the flow. I figure seeing how the truck was given to us and we technically are out no money on it, if it totally implodes-I'll be okay. The hubby on the other hand may mourn her loss.
As I venture out into the twilight of the evening I notice the flakes of dirt, rust and paint all over the driveway. I've gotten used to this. In order to bring this phoenix out of the ashes she is going to need a lot of TLC. The husband motions me over to the driver's side door of the green beast. I notice he's taken (ok ripped) out the carpet, which is now somewhere...Back of the truck? Garbage? I'm not real sure, it may have just disintegrated. I never did see it again. I see the floor pans-covered in rust-my facial expression must have been startling because Mike quickly says, "It's just surface rust-it's ok." Oh okay-that's a relief and happens...
Mike gets this real serious, but comical expression on his face and says in a deep, but serious voice, "I have seen the enemy-and it's bad, real bad!" Great I think to myself. What could possibly be wrong? He then pulls up the last remaining piece of carpet and there it is. How did my husband put it? Oh yes, bonafide, swiss cheese, eat through your gym shorts rust!
My first question-being the woman in this equation-is it worth the cost to repair or should we stop now and cut our losses before they start? Mike assures me that new floor pans can be purchased and it should be ok. Should be?! Should be?!
I calm down and investigate via the internet the costs of such items. I even get hauty tauty and make a spread sheet of items+quantity+cost=total cost. I was pretty proud of myself. Not being totally computer savvy I had figured out how to do equations on EXCEL! WOO HOO!
Anyway to throw some humor on this whole thing, for the cost of floor pans and door sills I could have a serious new shoe collection! Okay okay-maybe a few new pairs of shoes! :0)
I love you babe!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I have seen the enemy...

His point of view

...and it is not kind. If it is too good to be true, then it is. (Insert cliche of your choice, here) I have finally run into the projects first serious issue. I mean, aside from the motor that has seen better days, the steering gear that leaks fluid as fast as you can poor it in or the transmission/rear-end that clunks. It's the four letter word that all auto project builder enthusiast dread. RUST!

The weather this week has been less than conducive to working on the project so I didn't get to work on the project as much as I would have liked. Last week I got most of the ancillary external stuff done, it was time to get started on the interior. First on the list, see whats under the vinyl flooring. that's when it happened. I was surprised I didn't have to pull the seat out, turns out the vinyl only covers the front have of the cab. Turns out, that may have been a blessing. Pull the vinyl back, and what do I see..... Insulation... and lots of it. SOAKING WET!!!! Rut-ro shaggy. What the krap?!?! It hasn't rain in at least 3 days. Even still, the seals on the door jam are still decent. Why is the insulation wet? And why is it red....shouldn't it be at least, slightly gray. That's it, I'm going in. I grab a hand full of sloppy, soggy, squashy insulation. And what to my amazement do I find? That’s right, it’s true. It’s ok, you can say it. Rust! And I don’t mean slightly discolored section of body rust. Or the scaly rust that flakes off when you pick at it. No I mean, full on, bonafide, swiss cheese, eat through your gym shorts, RUST! This is not good! I mean, really not good.

Digging that seat cover aren't ya!

Looks like the swiss variety is mostly contained to the driver side floor pan. However the passenger side floor pan may need its own surgery.

Other items on the list this week are the head liner, bench seat and other miscellaneous items. I was excited to see that the head liner was in very good shape and could be reused. However it is made of cardboard and I think I can come up with something a little better. Besides, I have plans!
Hit that line, Hit that line, keep on going.....

The lens of the cab light, literally crumbled to pieces in my hand.

Looking pretty bare in there.

I thought that I might get my parking spot back in the garage. I couldn't be more wrong. That spot is now occupied by the bench seat. I haven't figured out where i'm going to put this thing yet. I think I'll just break it down and hang the pieces on the wall. It's going to get a new cover anyway!

It's at this point that things start getting pretty scary for me. I think the next thing to tackle is the dashboard. Bunch of wires in there and a bunch of things I don't know a whole lot about.

See you guys next week!
Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A journey starts with one step

Her point of view
A journey starts with one step...
Here we go...
I'm up at the sis-in-law's house. We are having a garage sale on a beautiful Saturday-minus the wind. I see Mike move the truck to the driveway. It's pretty quiet and then BANG BANG BANG! I walk down to see what's up. He is attempting to take off the tailgate. There were many thoughts going through my head-mainly I hope he doesn't hurt himself or cut his fingers off, then "does he have a clue what he's doing."
He sands and bangs around most of the day. He was so proud he got the tailgate off. It is now in my garage!
I have to laugh a little...A journey starts with a single step, are you kidding me? Does that look like one step? He's practically disassembled the whole truck!
Mike comes home from work and disappears. I go outside-can't find him, yell-and no response. I even check the bathroom-nothing. I ask the kids if they've seen dad and they say they saw him go out front. I look again-nothing. And then I hear it! Bang! Bang! Bang!
He comes in an hour later and says "I figured out how to take off the trim". I respond, "You just disappeared when you came home, couldn't you tell me where you were going?" I don't mind him working on the truck, but weekdays are hard. We have 2 kids that have to be fed, bathed and tucked in by 8pm. It's nice to have help!

Easter Weekend we had the family over for supper on Saturday because the weather was not going to hold out for Sunday-the kids wanted to hunt eggs outside. Mike is outside most of the day. I walk out and check on him, but for the most part I'm staying out of the way. (Hey you can say what you want, but if he needs me he can come get me. I've hung wallpaper with this man and it's a miracle we didn't divorce over that. Too many brains working on the puzzle.) I go out about 4 and tell him dinner is almost ready. I look around and it looks like a junkyard. Bumpers, grills, nuts, bolts, screws, and of course grease all over my driveway. My hubby is now the color of soot. I kindly tell him "you are not coming to my table like that." Now all of this is fine and dandy. I know it takes time and he has to see what is salvageable and what is not, but sweetheart could you have worn something other than your good jeans!?
Needless to say, my garage looks like an auto parts store. I don't know where he's going to park his Durango. :0) "Woo hoo" Adventures are in the air!

A little bit of background on the truck...

Her point of view perspective on this truck is a little different. My dad has always had older trucks. I remember one we had that we called "white cloud". It was a 1970's model old GM/Chevy. I know, I know. It's blasphemy that I can't remember what it was. I'll chalk it up to me being a girl and that's that. When dad brought home this 1978 Ford it was really no big deal.
Although I was getting to be of driving age and my grandmother had called to tell me that dad bought a NEW truck. She said this truck would be perfect. You could drive it around. Now I'm a good ole' southern girl-I love trucks. So this didn't bother me. Then came the "surprise".
I assumed it was a NEW truck, when that big, green machine came rolling up the driveway I was like...what the???? I wouldn't be caught dead in that big old piece of metal! I did learn to drive it. The only problem I had was keeping that wide thing between the lines. It took a while, but I finally learned when I was over the center line. Good grief that thing is wide.
As I grew older and learned a little more about this truck, I came to love it. I love the fact that the bright lights have to be turned on via your left foot (on the floorboard). I have lots of fond memories of loading up friends and dogs and pulling the boat to the lake. I felt safe in it. I hate to be cliche' but "they don't make em' like that anymore."
One of my fonder memories was when dad had to change the ignition switch. He was getting mad and yelling because he read the instructions, got the old one out, but couldn't get the new one in. That's where I come in. You'd really have to know my family. We're loud and obnoxious and there's always a contest going on. Whether it's a game of Scattergories, discussions about politics or football, we are always in the midst of something. I asked dad to let me try. He said no I've tried and it's not working. I'll just have to deal with it later...enter ME! After about 20 minutes of messing with it, I had it fixed, the truck started up and off we went. Ahhhhh.....I couldn't help but brag about that one! Ha Ha!
I also spent time under the hood repairing hoses. That's one of the things I like about these old American trucks. There's not a lot of wires and crap. You can look and see what needs to be fixed and there's room to fix it. Now I'm no mechanic and I have zero experience. It was all about spending time with dad. He was working on it and as I got older I wanted to keep that "daddy's girl" relationship. Heck I'm 31 years old and I still cuddle up to dad on the couch. Now it's usually with kids, grandkids and everyone else, but I'm proud that I'm still Daddy's girl.
Now the truck is 31 years old. When the husband asked me if dad would want to part with it, I thought why? It's old and deteriorating. But Mike loved it. So I entertained him. So here we on an adventure. Hopefully I won't have to "hurt" him!

A journey starts with one step

His point of view

Enough already! Lets see some progress.....and pictures please.

You notice that there have been three blog entries today. That is because I am playing catch-up. I've actually had two solid weekends of tinkering with. Side note: I really need to come up with a good name. Anyway, I've got approximately 20 hours in labor over the last two weekends. Let me get you caught up as well.
  • Got all the trim removed from the body. I don't have that fancy 'race track trim'. Just plain old side molding. I've heard it referred to as 'Dent trim' due to the fact that it sits in the dent that runs along the side of the body. Sounds good to me, lets run with it. Thanks to a member of the Ford Truck Enthusiast board, I was able to locate the required bolts and learned how to remove the trim with out destroying it (see thread Here). You will want to try to reuse this if at all possible, because it's crazy stupid expensive to replace. Turns out it's not so hard to remove, if you can get to the bolts holding to the body. The piece that runs along the bed, easy enough, on bolt at the back, one in the middle just in front of the rear wheel and one at the front of the bed. Door trim, easy, bolt on front bolt on back. Trim on the front quarter panels, NOT SO EASY, one bolt at front, just in front of side marker light. I couldn't have gotten to it with out removing the grill, which was no problem for me because it was on my list. one bolt just behind front wheel, and one where the quarter panel meets door jam. Yea, that's the bugger, took me an hour just to get that one from both sides. I think the trim was meant to be removed after taking the body panels off, but I'm not ready to do that yet.
  • Other trim pieces that were not difficult to remove: wheel well, drip rail (bends really easy, I'm going to have to replace those, dang it), side emblems, tail light bezels.
  • Front grill - this was not as simple as I thought. Turns out you pretty much have to take of the front bumper to get the grill off. Again, OK with me, its on my list. Turns out the grill insert is banged up in several places, not beyond repair, but I have other ideas (think, Billet Grill). The rest of the grill is in pretty good shape but I want the chrome pieces so mine will get replaced.
  • Front Bumper - PB Blaster is your friend. There is no way I could have gotten the front or rear (especially the rear) bumper off with out PB Blaster. It's a day after working on the truck (aka, wrestling with the bumpers) and I feel like I just got hazed in a expert level spin class. I hurt. Again, another couple of hours, easy, if not more. It needs to be fixed, I would love to find a place to fix it, maybe save some $$$$$. Otherwise, its going to be replaced.
  • Rear Bumper - CRAZY HARD. Those bolts must have been put on by the Hulk. But I prevailed, and I hurt for it. It will NOT be reused.
  • Tail Gate - This is one of the first things I took off. My tailgate is in fairly good shape. Couple of spots that need some attention, but I think this will be a very good candidate for my first attempt at auto body work and rust control. I removed all the trim, including the $400 center piece with 'FORD' stamped on it. It now sits in my bed room, way out of reach of anything that could possibly damage it. I'm not sure my wife is taking to the new bedroom decorum. Had to drill out some rivets to remove the steel tail gate cap. By the way, did you notice all the black 'stuff' in the bed of the truck. Not my idea, I could have killed my FIL (Father-in-law), but it wasn't my truck at the time. Sandblaster, here we come....someday. I removed all of the ancillary pieces to the tailgate as well. A good cleaning, lubricating and polishing should fix them right up.
  • Spare Tire - No surprises here.

Immediate Needs

I've identified some immediate needs.
  • Steering Gear - is shot. It's leaking bad. Right now I need to be able to drive it at least enough to get from one side of the yard to the other. I'm going to have to replace that. Maybe I can get lucky and find one in a junk yard for the time being.
  • Rust control - Overall the body is in GREAT shape, there are a couple of spots on the bed rails that need some serious attention. While I was under the body for two hours trying to get two bolts off of the trim, I got a real good look at the bottom of the cab. There is one spot that gives me concern. I won't know what I have until I get the floor removed from the interior (next week, fingers crossed). other than that, surface rust in spots, shouldn't be that big of a concern.

Next Week

Focus on interior. Need to remove the seat and the floor mats to see what I have underneath. I hope I don't have any surprises. Not sure about the dashboard stuff yet. I still need to be able to drive it. Door panels. I think I'm going to try to make custom door panels. I'll let you know how that goes.

See you next week! (I hope)

The Plan

His point of view

Finally! After having ownership of the truck for 6 years and staring at it and looking at other projects and playing the 'What if' game. I have finally gathered up the guts to start the project.

Here is a brief glimpse at my vision. Its brief because I haven't exactly worked through everything just yet, there will be plenty of time for that. Reliability and fun is the name of the game. I would like it to be a daily driver that puts a smile on my face when I put my foot into it a little bit. I'm going for that old school sport truck look. Wide tires, slightly lowered stance, simple paint scheme (color yet to be determined, I'm thinking candy red or green) with the appropriate touches of chrome. The interior will exude simplistic comfort'ability (there's your bush'ism for the day). Keep the AC, the audio will be brought up to standards, ditch the vinyl floor for some carpet, keep the bench seat (but it will be recovered), introduce some power windows and custom door panels, new head liner. The biggest project for the interior will be to redo the dash. I hate the dash that is there now, I would love to find something reminiscent of some of the earlier models. Again, color is in the air (gray or tan) The suspension will be slightly lowered and upgraded with the appropriate pieces, maybe air bags? I'm still thinking about that. There won't be too much change to the drive train. The 351-m will stay but it will be refreshed and stroked out to a 400, a mildly aggressive cam, new carburetor (Holly 650?), I'm still looking at options for the heads (I have plenty of time), I think I definitely want to implement a full roller set up. The transmission will be rebuilt and the only change to the rear-end is the addition of a limited slip differential. Aside from the details that should just about do it.

"What about me....."
Some of you may be wondering what my experience level is. That's easy........I have none. I take care of all the normal maintenance for our vehicles (oil, filter, brakes, belts, etc...) but I have zero engine rebuild experience and even LESS auto body experience. I'm approaching this as a learning opportunity. I love to tinker and get my hands dirty. And this is just one REALLY BIG toy to tinker with. I have limited space and money (who doesn't) so I expect this to take a while (I'm not exactly sure how long, don't tell my wife).

I'm I in over my head? maybe.........probably...........absolutely! But I'm OK with that.

A little bit of background on the truck...

His point of view

The truck is a 1978 Ford F100 Ranger. It's all original with approximately 120,000 miles.
The original owner was Hugh Beasley, a car dealer who primarily kept the truck in storage and drove it sparingly during the summer with a camper on the bed.
My father-in-law purchased the truck from Hugh in 1988 for $3,500 with approximately 46,000 miles on the odometer. It served as his daily driver until 2003 when he got a new Ford F150. At the time, the F100 had 118,000 miles and ended up being relegated to yard duty for about 6 months until I finally bugged him enough to give me the truck.

Before incessant annoyance got to him, the wife and I would frequently visit her parents house where the truck stood in silence. For me, each trip was an opportunity to see, hear and drive the old girl. For what ever reason, I had an attraction for the truck that could have been considered borderline stalking. Who ever heard of stalking a truck?????? I have a very understanding wife.

I'm not sure where the attraction came from. Maybe it was the fact that my family always had Ford trucks. My father had a 1984 F150. It was as plain-jane as could be. Maroon, long wheel base, 2wd, 300 straight six and no power nothing. It had a 260 Air Conditioner (2 windows at 60 MPH) and 3 on a tree. Did I mention it didn't have any power assistance. No power steering, no power windows, no power BRAKES!!!!! No power nothing. Maybe it's the memories of camping trips with Dad, Mom, two kids (me and a friend), and the dog. All 5 of us would pile in the regular cab pickup with bench a seat!!!!!!! By today's standards, we would have most assuredly been pulled over and probably thrown in jail. I remember my dad and I driving to various places in town with the windows rolled down, the vent windows fully open to catch the wind (you know, the little triangle windows in front of the side windows, they have plastic levers you have to push the button, rotate the handle and push on the window and it would rotate out to catch the wind and and divert it directly on the driver and passenger) with 'John Denver' blaring on the 'hi-tech' radio/tape player. I think there were 3 speakers in the truck and I'm sure they were destroyed by the loud volumes which were required to hear over the wind noise.

Anyway, who knows what the foundation for my attraction to that green machine is. But it's enough to make me 'THINK' that I could bring her back to her glory days and maybe, just maybe, create a few memories for my family.

How could I refuse, she has the vent windows!!!!!!