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I wasn't going to start a thread for this until I was a little bit past the bare frame point, but a few of the guys saw my pictures and wanted a bit more detail. I'm taking a bunch of saved up leave all next week to work on this sucker, so I'll post updates as I can (though I might not be back around the computer til after Thanksgiving).

I'm going to shamelessly swipe some of the text from my thread on my local message board, since I have to run pretty shortly, but here's a teaser:

{snip}

My '91 looked pretty decent on the outside, thanks to a paint job after a previous owner's wreck:



Looks innocent, doesn't it? It has no idea what's about to happen to it. Unfortunately the structural elements under the body didn't look nearly so good -- I was breaking them off barehanded. I figure out of eight main body mounts below the cab, about three were still retaining the body in some way. Worse yet, I actually crossed it up in a small ditch in my front yard and left a trail of body mount bushings. Bad sign. :shocked

As of Saturday evening, 10/29:



At the point shown, the only connections between the frame and body are the eight body mount bolts, fuel fill hose, and steering.

By Sunday afternoon, 11/6:



Harold (on the right) happened to walk in just as we were pulling the engine/transfer case assembly. "There are easier ways to remove a transmission." Smartass. :histerica The fella on the left looking just as greasy as I am (and at least as exhausted) is my roommate, who has put just as much blood into this project as I have. His F-250's next. :beer

At this point, I need to remove the gas tank, steering box, and the remainder of the wiring and brake/fuel plumbing. I'll be wire brushing the frame and hitting it with a few good coats of Rustoleum, and then things get to go back together.

After I replace all the bushings in the front suspension (they're worn, and it'd be stupid not to do it now), I get to fabricate a new rear cab crossmember and mount my new body (shown coming home in the back of an F-250 on 10/23):



On the 105" wheelbase frame, I'll have about 4-1/2' worth of dovetailed flatbed on the back when I'm done. :thumbup

If you want more pics, you can find them here. I'll keep this thread updated with the high points. I'm aiming to have it driveable by the end of the month, and taking a lot of saved up leave between now and then with that goal in mind. I expect most of the work will be in cleaning up the frame, building the interior of the new cab (I'm keeping the Bronco buckets and console), building the flatbed and new bumpers, and painting the new cab and existing bodywork so that it doesn't look like a complete parts bin reject. :drinkbud Not too important on a pure trail truck, but this is usually my winter DD too. I figure it'll be a minor miracle if I make my target date, but it's better to have something to shoot for to keep you movin'.

If I'm lucky and everything works well when it's together, maybe I can make it on the local run in January, which would give me time to get the bugs out. Once this is done and I have the rest of my armor built (my goal for December), there won't be much on this truck to bash, and what there is I won't be all too shy about. Should be fun.

{snip}

Since I posted that, I spent most of last weekend getting the rest of the frame stripped and cleaned. No pics yet in its current condition. Right now it's a completely bare frame, with two axles (no shocks) and a steering box, and just about ready for some Rustoleum.

Tomorrow's target is to patch some frame damage at the second to last set of body mounts (mount holes are now approximately 2" diameter, :duh ). Hopefully Sunday I can get some primer on it, with paint Monday. In between, I'm already started on the new rear skidplate (gas tank's movin' up in the world, baby!), and finalizing my plans for the new rear bumper with a winch plate intended for a "future improvement" down the road when I'm not quite so broke. :toothless At some point this weekend I also need to crack open my poor 302 to figure out where the rest of my oil is going -- either valve stem seals ($), or worn rings ($$$, I'm hoping for valve stem seals).
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Toiling away ... today was spent mostly on frame repairs. Tomorrow the frame should see some paint. Lots of pics added to Supermotors this evening, see the link a the end of the prior post.



Bedtime. :whiteflag :thumbup
 

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You must not be a very good mechanic - that work area is WAAAAAAAAY too clean! :toothless

JK Keep up the good work, and keep snapping pix. :thumbup
 

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Steve83 said:
You must not be a very good mechanic - that work area is WAAAAAAAAY too clean! :toothless

JK Keep up the good work, and keep snapping pix. :thumbup
You should see it this morning -- I can barely stand in that spot, since I had to shove all my tools and junk over there to clear the other bay to set up my paint booth. I seem to completely rearrange that garage about every two months for a new project, so just about everything in there except for that welder and the shelf to the right of it is on wheels. Makes it easy to shove things out of the way and clean up dust so none of our nice, 2" hairy spiders crawls across my nose while I'm under the car. :toothless

Finally got primer on it yesterday, and wow does it ever look 1000 times better. It looks so nice in brown primer it's almost going to hurt my feelings to repaint it all black. :doh0715: Final coat should be going on around lunchtime today, and hopefully tomorrow I can get to work on the new rear bumper and finish the skidplate, which will replace the rear crossmember I'm cutting out in that pic. :thumbup

I haven't uploaded any of the pics from the paint yet, but I'll probably get some up tomorrow night or Saturday. Justshootme, I'm looking forward to seeing the finished rig too, particularly since I haven't had time to fix the non-functional heat in my DD because I've been working on this. :duh
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Around my garage they're usually high fiber, too -- they tend to get into corners full of sawdust. The garage the frame's in now is the multipurpose "making stuff" garage -- I live in the bachelor gearhead's dream, a simple little ranch house with two two car garages, so I get to keep stuff separated out a little.

Got the frame primed Wednesday and painted Thursday:


I also just got back in from tearing the poor 302's top end down. Crap is that ugly. She looks like she was running hot as hell on the top end, and I've got deposits of baked-on oil carbon up to 1" thick. Yeah, 1". No kidding.


If I need to rebuild these heads, I can get bigger valves cut in pretty cheaply as long as they're in decent shape (not cracked or warped). I'm trying to keep the budget on this build as low as possible, since I don't know what else I might run into -- hence, I don't have money to spare for nice aluminum heads, but I can probably spring for a nice set of rebuilt stockers.

Today we hook up the new cables to the big blue box my MIG is sitting on, and I get to brush up on SMAW (stick welding). My stick welding may be uglier than MIG, but I trust the penetration 10 times more.
 

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I hope you welded up the rivets on the front crossmember before you painted it...

Were you able to salvage the front body mount (core support) bolts? I think I've only ever gotten 1 or 2 out whole from all the trucks I've worked on.
 

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Crap, wish you'd said that last week. I wasn't aware of a persistent problem with the #1 crossmember rivets other than occasionally loosening, and since they were all tight when I was checking everything out, I left them alone. I was under the impression they could be replaced with substantial Gr8 or 9.8 hardware if they started to loosen, but I could be wrong. What's the common failure you're suggesting this to prevent?

Luckily, the new rear skidplate is arranged in such a way that it will be a very major structural tie between the two framerails as far as preventing the frame from racking, so I expect it should take a lot of the stress off the #1 crossmember. There will also be a very substantial new front bumper that will tie into the frame with similar plates and stiffen things up quite a bit, but that won't be until early winter.

The new rear skidplate, partially done, and only tied to the frame with temporary fasteners:

There's no way to seriously rack the frame with this on unless the main framerails actually bend sideways forward of that #4 crossmember, and this plate should be much stiffer against racking than the #1, so it should take most of the stress.

I'm still open for suggestions for improvements while I have things this torn down ...

As for the core support bolts, one came out in one piece, but I don't think I'd call it "salvageable," as that was only with me on the breaker bar below and my roommate on an 18" ratchet. Most all of the original body mount hardware was toast, there was only one mount (passenger footwell) that was both in one piece before we started, and still in one piece once the body was off.
 

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Yes, it was just the loosening/popping that welding would have prevented. But if you're adding a sturdy front bumper, it's probably not necessary. My bumper is bolted on (as it SHOULD be :D), and my crossmember doesn't make any noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Zach94 said:
what are your plans for a gas tank?
I'm running the original 33G gas tank, just moved up nine inches to be flush with the frame. I'll be building a very tall "bed" to go over it. On the other hand, the space under the bed forward of the gas tank (above the axle) will also make for a very nice built in toolbox.

Steve83 said:
Yes, it was just the loosening/popping that welding would have prevented. But if you're adding a sturdy front bumper, it's probably not necessary. My bumper is bolted on (as it SHOULD be :D), and my crossmember doesn't make any noise.
Yep, I might not get the front bumper done until midwinter, but there will definitely be a sturdy bumper up front capable of bracing the entire frame. Since I work for the Army, I tend to design things (particularly my own stuff) as if I expect someone to park a tank on it ... ends up heavy, but the weight is all in the right place, essentially. For instance, the new rear bumper and 1/4" skidplate assembly should be about 160lb when they're done, but on the other hand, I'm losing a 138lb fiberglass top back there, so I should break about even on the back end. :toothless
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Haven't updated in a while.

Bumper got tacked together Sunday evening ... still need to cut and weld the 1/2" doubler plates at the shackle attach points.



Little 302 getting cleaned up. We're going to slap some new gaskets and seals in and close 'er back up for now. I was thinking 351 swap, but it looks like a good rebuild and is still in good shape -- rebuilder just couldn't get a gasket right to save his life.



New steelies fit. They've since been mounted with 33's.



No time to work on it this week, but I'm hoping to take next week off for a nine day thrash session. :thumbup
 

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Looks really good so far.
 

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A little update for those following along at home ...

Got the little 302 bundled back together to set out of the way ...



Some of the finish welding on the bumper. Doesn't look too bad for three pass fillets with a small 120V MIG. Flat butts were beveled, fillets were run in with a hot, narrow bead on the root pass and then filled.



Tore down the front axle to replace all bushings, U-joints, seals, repack bearings, and add an oil drain plug to the diff.



My math teacher told me 33 > 29. Note the new bling -- no more sucky automatic hubs. These suckers will probably be the only shiny item on the entire truck if I can help it. :thumbup



Somewhere around where we quit on New Year's Eve. Giant hunk of aluminum Ford calls a transmission is back in, along with the BW 13-56. Drivelines and a few other things went back in on Monday, no pics yet.

 
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