Well, thanks to ebay, I found a replacement for the leather-wrapped wheel that the truck originally had. Considering what it costs to have one re-wrapped, this one was a steal! New (well, not new, but extra-clean used) airbag/pad is on the way!
So now I have a few little projects, including the nearly NOS factory radio & door strikers. I also found a supplier that MIGHT have the original blue cloth insert material. I have a sample, just need to check it against the original when I next go visit the truck.
To me it looks like somebody just got really lazy in the past. Are you going to bother to fix it or say screw it sence its covered up anyways?
I'll eventually fix it, but it's going to be a more involved summer week project rather than something I can do over a Saturday. What concerned me most was the dirt/mud that's settled inside, in the bottom of the gate. You can sure see why Ford had moisture barriers in there. As for dust... well, cutting a hole in the tailgate and then driving it up & down dirt roads for years equals lots of debris inside. I need to completely wash that all out ASAP and then make sure it stays dry and clean.
For now, the truck's not being driven and it's parked under a roof, so I hope it's not going to be an issue to let it sit like that for a while.
She spent the weekend up on the lift, getting a few parts replaced in the front end: brake pads, rotors, tie rod ends, ball joints, shocks, ect. Also replaced rear shocks, since you might as well once you replace the fronts. Broken lower core support panel was tack-welded back in place, and now the hood doesn't flap around like a chicken with a broken wing! New tires will probably be on it by the end of the month. Then it should be road-worthy enough to drive it around a little.
Lots of surface rust, but nothing deeper. You can tell that this truck has never been in the salt, which I'm eternally grateful for! Actually, the underneath looks pretty clean & straight. I can't wait until I can really jump into this project and do it right, like some of you guys have done! Just think how nice that frame would look powdercoated & all cleaned up! But once again, I'm not really supposed to be working on this until my other projects are finished!
Wow I really envy how rust free that is underneath.
I sense sarcasm.
It's not the greatest photo; what you see there is all minor surface rust. The body is solid. Not a bit of rust on it, and that's a huge thing for us here in the Midwest, where tailgates, floorboards, wheel wells, lower doors, rockers, quarters, and even frames on cars half this old are often starting to go.
Alignment. We're waiting on the new shocks (Bilsteins) which should have been here by now.
New tires. I was really on the fence with this. I absolutely wanted to keep the stock rims, so that limited my choices somewhat. 32's would have looked great, and I probably wouldn't have had any rubbing issues, but in the end I went with the same size I had on there (31x10.5), in a Dick Cepek mud tire. Surprisingly, they are quieter than the old BFGs that I had on it. If I end up getting 30-40K miles with these, I'll be happy. (That will probably take me 10 years)
Then we spent the morning fabricating the side bars. These are exactly the same size and built the same way as original. It finally looks "right" to my eyes.