Driving my '78 across the country - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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Driving my '78 across the country

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I have a 78 f150 custom, 4speed, 4x4, short bed, 351m that I want to drive across the country, Charleston, South Carolina to San Diego, California. She is a very well kept farm truck with 120k miles, true dual exhaust and an HEI distributor, 33x12.5, everything else is stock and works! I am slowely restoring her and I try to put something new and shiny on her when I can, eventually I will have a new truck right?

What I plan to do before trip:
Holley 600 (my rebuilt carb needs updating)
Weiand intake
New timing chain strait up
New radiator core support/battery tray (only real rust on the whole truck)
Maybe larger radiator (discovered very small leak the original)
bushings, shocks, alignment (all bearings were just redone)
new brake pads, possibly rotors
new battery
tachometer


I would really like some feedback on what else I can do to get this truck ready for a trip this big, and daily driving in general, better mpg, better reliability. What worked for you? Have any of you all done road trips in these trucks? What should I look out for?

Thanks for all the help!
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 05:23 PM
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My first thoughts would be the heat of the western half of the country. If you need to replace the radiator, go with a bigger unit thats aluminum if possible. Wouldnt be a bad idea to replace all your hoses, thermostat, sending unit, etc. Also changing fluid in the trans, transfer case, and axles would be a good idea aswell.

I drove my 78 about 200 miles home from the smokey mountians to middle georgia, it wasnt much fun because of the issues the truck had at the time but I didnt have much of a choice. Does your truck have ac? Will you be using it? And I have to ask, why the trip in that truck? lol
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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I have AC, probably wont use it. Good idea on the heat, ive been shopping around for oversized radiator, if im replacing the core support its a good time to upgrade. This is the truck I have always wanted. Its my dream car and took me a good 10 years of my young adult life to find a deal. I don't have the means to buy another car debt free, and if Im moving, this truck is coming with me. I work a desk job and need to change things up, an adventure in my favorite car, however slow, is a dream of mine.
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 05:47 PM
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When I was stationed in Charleston, I drove my 77 4WD/400/4 speed EVERYWHERE. It was my only vehicle and I wouldn't hesitate to drive it on any road trip. I never flew home (or anywhere else), but always road-tripped in that truck. It was kind of a beater - beat up and splotchy primer gray-ish with zero creature comforts (except radio of course).
I found my biggest importance was to keep the cooling system in good shape, but it had cooling issues when I got it.
After the radiator that blew apart on my first road trip 2 days after I got it, the only thing that ever "happened" on a road trip at 80 mph was a CLINK-TING-PING followed immediately by an ugly vibration. A fan blade broke, hit the asphalt, then the bottom of the truck. Easy enough...just took the fan off an kept rolling.
Everything else was always a cooling-related issue like a ruptured heater hose, a bad (leaking) heater core, and such. Those could have happened on a road trip, but since it was a daily driver I was able to work all that out around home.

I drove that truck for several years. It had 6# oil pressure at idle, and 20 on the highway the entire time I had it.
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 06:19 PM
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pack a tool kit with you just in case
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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I plan on buying a cheap bed cap, building storage for all my important things and a bed to sleep on in the back, tools, a haynes manual, and surf boards on the roof.i will take my time and use mainly state roads. My truck likes 55 mph a lot better than 65
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 09:55 PM
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Go for it man!
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 10:51 PM
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Live the dream. I'm doing the same in 4 years.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 11:11 PM
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I used to drive my '73 f250 absolutely everywhere. She was a reliable old mule. Took her deep into the hills, way out on the highway, freezing winters and 120 summers. That thing ripped. What did it in was a wrist pin retainer let go and the wrist pin cut a groove in the cylinder wall, and that same cylinder had no cam lobes left, which to some degree hid the issue for a long time.

Do NOT tread on me.
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 11:13 PM
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I plan on buying a cheap bed cap, building storage for all my important things and a bed to sleep on in the back, tools, a haynes manual, and surf boards on the roof.i will take my time and use mainly state roads. My truck likes 55 mph a lot better than 65


Is this fake
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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 11:33 PM
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Dude it's a 40 year old truck. What could possibly go wrong?
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"Oh man, lodged where??"
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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 08:21 AM
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I drove my 79 bronco from Arkansas to South Dakota then down to Colorado across Kansas and back home pulling my 24 foot camper with the wife and four kids. Never had any problems. I would up grade the radiator and take a few extra parts and tools just in case.
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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 08:25 AM
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she's going to eat some gas, but you'll be fine..only other thing I'd add to your list is plugs, wires, cap and rotor. Unless you've already done them.

I'm planning to do the same with my rig at some point, although not quite as far..you'll need to post up pics of your trip..

good luck.
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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 09:04 AM
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Looks like a lot has already been covered. All good advice. How old are your tires? I would seriously consider replacing them if they are close to or over 10 years old. Most tire manufacturers recommend this. I drove my father out to San Diego a few years ago in his low mileage car. We got stuck in Fort Stockton Texas after 2 flats between Ozone and Fort Stockton on I10. The tires looked good but they were old. We ended up buying 4 new tires. From West Texas to San Diego there are very long stretches of nothing! At the very least yo may want to throw in an extra spare for the trip even if your tires are relatively new.

Good luck! Sounds like a fun trip.
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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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I did Full tune up when the HEI went in a few months back, what a world of difference that made! Tires are a year old, I will be getting a 5th wheel spare ready to go, I know the one underneath the truck has probably been there since '78. I probably wont go through the trouble, but my 15gallon tank is going to make this trip stop and go. I will have to keep a few cans full with me through the stretches and getting on tripleA will be smart
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post #16 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 05:56 PM
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If you keep your foot and gas pedal to maintain an average speed "around" the speed limit you should do all right with milage and make sure all cooling system components are in good condition, hoses, water pump, radiator, thermostat and radiator cap so you don't over heat..........consider doing a backflush before you leave if you haven't done it in a while and use a good quality anti-freeze.

I've been using Redline "water wetter" in the coolant for some time now, it prevents corrosion and reduces ambient heat temp around the cylinders.......around $10.00 a bottle.

Good luck and be safe driving Brother ~
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post #17 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 07:39 PM
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Only thing I will add is that in '78 no one would of thought twice about doing this with it. Most likely not much thought in 84 either. So it should be good to go now too assuming all the rubber bits are good like has been mentioned.
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post #18 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 08:13 PM
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I agree with CrazyBRONCOguy! Just make sure you have good fluids and that the wheels don't fall off! Nice thing about parts is that they have been around for almost 40 years and shouldn't be too hard to find while traveling.
I really want to see the pictures with the surf boards attached. You might have to start a thread with your travel experiences and pictures.

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post #19 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 08:17 PM
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I used to go back and forth between FT Sill and New York in my 78 F150 on 35's and 3.50 gears. That was around 18-19 years ago. Had a built 351M. No AC - was young and tough but that still sucked in Summer!


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post #20 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 08:28 PM
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Grab a small toolbox, hose clamps, spare starter solenoid, fuses, water jug (w/ water).

Roll the windows down and have fun.

-bn
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