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My custom hot rod pickup build(73/76 F150 short bed from a long bed)

Discussion in 'The Breakroom' started by AK Adventurer, Apr 17, 2014.

  1. AK Adventurer

    AK Adventurer Ice, Ice, Tigre

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    OK, so, I've mentioned this off and on in EDC use threads, and the 3 good vibes thread before, and have had a couple inquiries for my info... Most recently @Brtsmpsn asked about a build thread... so this thread is his fault :p

    I've always wanted a full size short bed pickup, the size and turn radius is great to drive, an amaing difference over a long bed/wheel base truck for only 16" of difference. And 73 to 79 fords are my preffered brand/body style, so thats what I went with. The problem was, in 25 years addicted to looking at and being around these trucks, I'd only ever seen ONE short bed 73-79 Ford pickup. EXTREMELY rare up here.

    SO, here I am about a 1/4 of the way into shortening a long bed/long wheel base truck. :cool:

    The general goal is a ~10(or as close as i can get ;) ) second quarter mile truck that I can daily drive in the summer, and play around with. Ive out grown my ''need for speed'', but I Love acceleration. Don't care if it will get much over 100mph, but I wanna get there fast.

    A few other goals are
    • right hand drive. Easy if I could find an Ausie parts truck since they were left hand USA trucks with a factory conversion; I could bolt in original parts. Not gonna find one stateside though, so this is a Lot of mechanical fabrication. Might never get to it.
    • a slight suspension drop for better stance(easy but somewhat spendy depending on how I do it)
    • and not having to take the next 30 years to pay it off. ;) Yeah.... I can do that. Maybe the next 5 years though. :rolleyes:

    So, here we go, some general history, starting when i got the truck in May of 2010;

    I bought the truck in May of 2010, for $150.
    Running, driving, Drove it home.
    It is a 1976 Ford F-150 2WD long bed, Trailer Special.
    Features include;
    • 2 wheel drive
    • towing package with 10,000 lbs tow ratting.
    • 460 Big Block
    • Extra cooling package
    • heavier springs
    • Air conditioning
    • High output heater
    • AM/8–track
    • bed side tool box
    • C6 Trans
    • 3.25 Limited Slip ford 9” rear end
    The truck had a bad oil leak(rear main seal), about a quart every 10 miles(yes, seriously!), and it had hit something with the front right corner, making a bit of a mess of the hood, grill and fender.

    Basically I paid $150 for a running 460, and it came with a free truck wrapped around it. ;)

    I had intended to part it out for my off-road ’78 Bronco project; The engine and trans, and cut the cab back wall off of it to finish the short-short bed pickup conversion on the Bronco. Turned out I liked the 2wd as is, and decided to keep it.


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    This is how I kept and drove the truck till spring of 2011. Got rid of the stupid topper, and changed the mirrors;

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    And bought a parts truck, a 1973 F250 2WD, minus engine, and bed. For $200. (proves how cheap I bought the first truck for since this was a great deal..)


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    [​IMG]


    In early May of 2011, I finally got around to changing the mangles hood, fender, and grill. And ,I also got tired of the dull blech yellow, but liked the brown… So I did some hot rod scallops and went to black and brown. Krylon rattle can(which I had previous luck with on my Bronco). Cheap and simple to try a design idea, instead of wasting expensive paint.


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    this was the outcome of the new paint, and body work. I kept it this way, and have driven it in the summers, for 2011, 2012. Its a good truck for light work, and daily driving to work. And FAST for playing around. I’ve had it to a little over 100mph, and still had throttle left… Ran out of road though!

    No changes in 2012. For that season I worked on paint and body on my then blue, now red ’78 4×4 F250 (that I have posted here in the what do you drive thread... )

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    I might keep the scalloped design when I finish it in "real" automotive paint... I really do like it, but I'm not sure on colors yet, and it ain't gonna look right with just any combo I choose to use. Am thinking tentatively about a deeeeppp metal flake hunter green, with the black on the front scallops. Dunno. :unsure:
     
  2. AK Adventurer

    AK Adventurer Ice, Ice, Tigre

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    So, here we are, Last spring, May 2013. I’d wanted to start work on this truck again for a couple months starting around late Feb/early Mar '13, but it took until mid May for spring to finally get in gear and melt out enough that I could get the truck dug out and moved to the shop.

    Short term plan was to pull the engine, and re-seal it, fixing the oil leak, and checking the bearings— possible replacing the bearings. The carb also needed work, and was to be possibly replaced with a 650 CFM Eddelbrock that I have.


    Here we are, starting in the shop, hood and one fender off. May 10th 2013

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    Then we had my spring time ritual, happens every year, the shop floods;

    :cry:

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    I got side tracked, and it took a 2 or 3 weeks later to get back to it;

    I had then decided that I should go ahead and take the bed off of the truck for cutting it down to length. That meant putting off pulling the engine(it hadn't been warm/dry enough to work on the engine anyway..), so I could easily move the truck to the other bay to get the bed off and have it seperate from where I was pulling the engine at.


    So, a buddy came over and helped, we mounted weight support bars to my garage ceiling joists(20ft. 2x4s ;) ), and hung hoists(ratchet straps :D ;) ), in the free bay. Backed the truck under it, pulled the bed bolts, and lifter the bed off. Then put the truck back in nose first in the other bay, with room to spare for pulling the engine.

    Only took us 3.5 hours start to finish.
    Not bad.

    Only had problems with one bed bolt, although most of them were hard to get to. The one that goes in from above into a threaded clip on the frame next to the front gas tank… seized in tight and Phillips headed(Hey Ford; WHY? )…. Ground the head off. Sorry for no pics of this part... was busy working ;)

    Was weird driving it to move between bays with no bed, hood or pass side front fender… Ha! :D My buddy wouldn’t let me go drive it around the neighborhood.. lol.. probably for the best. ;)

    My buddy Garrett rigging straps;
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    After;
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    “Where’d it go!?!?” ;) :cool:
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    Me; (blinded by the sunshine we FINALLY had after a Looonnng spring!)
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    Fast forward past some other projects, two forest fires, 1.5 evacuations and a really crappy early to mid summer... and I finally got back to it in Late June.


    Front clip off, engine bay stripped, engine stripped, and ready to come out. Technically, there are no bolts holding it in in these pics, it was just sitting on the mounts


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    Dafabricata, Gwac110, Ippon and 13 others like this.
  3. AK Adventurer

    AK Adventurer Ice, Ice, Tigre

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    We did actually get the motor out in early to mid august, and partially stripped down, checked the seals, and bearing. It needs bottom end bearings, and the timing chain has horrendous slack. Almost a full rebuild needed.


    Thats how it sat til this spring, about a week ago I finally got off my donkee and started to work on it again, cutting on the bed. I'll grab a bunch of new pics of the engine out, and the bed work later this afternoon. :)


    Yes, I know, at this rate of progress, I should be posting about the finished truck in about May 2020... :rolleyes::rofl:

    But I'm planning to finish it, and be able to drive it some this summer.
    Really.
     
  4. Brtsmpsn
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Brtsmpsn Oh, Canada!

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    Now that you have a thread started that we are all going to jump on to encourage you it should go quicker :p. Looks like quite the project. It would be great to have shop skills/skills for such a project...... Subscribed.
     
    swany66675, snowkiwi, scbubba and 2 others like this.
  5. AK Adventurer

    AK Adventurer Ice, Ice, Tigre

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    Wait...
    skills?!??!?
    I'm sopposed to have skill to do this?

    Oh boy.
    Houston we have a problem!

    ;)
     
  6. Nick4305
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    Nick4305 EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    you're doing it, so you have skills. ;)
     
  7. AK Adventurer

    AK Adventurer Ice, Ice, Tigre

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    Maybe, IF I finish it. ;)
     
  8. scbubba
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    scbubba Loaded Pockets

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    I love these kinds of projects. Got nowhere to do them around me, though. So, since I can't get to AK I shall now live vicariously through this thread... :D

    Subscribed!
     
  9. Brtsmpsn
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
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    Brtsmpsn Oh, Canada!

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    Reread my posts Houston doesn't have the skills either :rofl: at least at my house.
     
  10. snowkiwi
    • In Omnia Paratus

    snowkiwi EDC Junkiwi

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    "vicariously" is good... compared to the alternative of a wife biting you for filling the front yard with truck:eek:

    Woohoo! I gonna learn more stuff, even if its learning by Osmosis.:)
    Ahhhh :DYep! ...I can feel my brain expanding:p
     
  11. FL Woods Bum
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    FL Woods Bum Your Grace!

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    Boy, you need to hurry up. I already rebuilt three trucks in the it took you to write all this!!! :rofl:
     
  12. Valerian

    Valerian Tea-powered admin

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    I'm disappointed, I thought you were talking about a guitar pickup.

    Alright, just kidding about being disappointed, but I actually did think this would be about guitar pickups. :rolleyes: That's still a cool project.
     
  13. CatherineM
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    CatherineM Loaded Pockets

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    I still think fondly about the '61 Ford step side I drove in college.


    Sent by Owl Post
     
  14. Brtsmpsn
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    Brtsmpsn Oh, Canada!

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    Or any truck of that vintage. They were so much nicer then.
     
  15. CatherineM
    • In Omnia Paratus

    CatherineM Loaded Pockets

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    Four on the floor and a granny gear that could get us out of any sticky spot.


    Sent by Owl Post
     
  16. Vader9900
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    Vader9900 Loaded Pockets

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    I am so jealous, can't wait to see it finished!
     
  17. Grinch

    Grinch Banned

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    this reminds me of the the time when the Agriculture teacher in high school painted the farm truck with two cases of banana yellow spray paint . Every time the truck was washed a new parking space was created from the yellow run off. :unsure:
    Keep up the good work AK it will eventually be finished and you will say to yourself i am ready for another project .:uhhuh:
     
    scbubba, AK Adventurer and Brtsmpsn like this.
  18. farnorthdan
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    farnorthdan Loaded Pockets

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    I'll be watching this one, you know how I like my old Fords AK....
     
  19. hunter s gatherer
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    hunter s gatherer EDC Junkie!!!

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    Read a post on some automotive site recently that girls dig guys with trucks, so that's one motivation for us to buy 'em. Guess you cut out the middleman!
     
  20. AK Adventurer

    AK Adventurer Ice, Ice, Tigre

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    OK,

    On a Ford truck in this age range, 73 to 79, the difference in bed length is all in front of the rear wheels; The length from the wheel opening to the rear of the fender is the same on both long beds, and short beds. So to do this I only have to cut and shorten one end of the bed.

    FYI, you can't do this with Chevys, from 73 to 87 for sure, and I think on 67 to 72s as well; they changed the spacing Both in front of And behind the wheel well, between long and short bed trucks. A fact that my best friend is painfully aware of, or we would have done this to a couple Chevys to get straight beds for his truck builds years ago. Its a pain to find a place to hide the cut/weld behind the wheel well. Dunno about Dodge... Not into those, and don't know much about them.

    Interestingly enough, Fords previous body style, from 67 to 72 is like the Chevys, they changed both spacings on those.

    Anyway,
    My original project called for cutting the 16" difference in length out of the side, and welding it back together, a seam mid panel... Problem is, I'm not that good of a welder in sheet metal, and making a good joint that then would be easily hidden in body work would be near impossible.

    So, I put off doing it for 6 months before I came up with a solution. I thought of this, then did some more digging online and found a couple trucks that had been shortened this way, so I knew it was do-able.


    The concept here, is that the side outer skins on the bed; at the front of the bed those skins wrap around some wings on the front wall of the bed, and are spot welded to the wings. All of the joints of the panels is hidden in the gap between the cab and bed.

    The idea was to grind out the spot welds, and un-wrap the skin from the front wall, cut it all shorter, and re-wrap it, and re-weld to the wall front as originally done. Same structural integrity as factory, and No Visible Seam on the side of the truck!

    So this week I finally got off my duff and cut the wall off the front. Finding, and grinding the spot welds was proving too much work, and making a mess of the wings on the wall.

    So I simple cut down the center of the fold, where the skin wraps around the wing. I can clean up the edges of the lapped piece left on the wing later, and simple re-wrap the skins over it and weld.


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    ANd then today, a buddy came and helped, and we got the measuring and layout done for the side and floor cutting. Since I am leaving 2" past the front wall position on the outer skin, I have to cut the inner walls and floor 2" shorter than the outer skins.(will "L" butt joint them and lap the joint with some angle iron, and weld it up for strong inner bed corners)

    So, we did some layout and marking and measuring;

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    And later in the evening, after he left, I got up the nerve to cut the outer skins;

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    Now, one thing I have yet to figure out, is the hole from the bed side tool box;

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    The bed length difference is 16" (16.20 technically, but I'm fudging it for ease of measurements ;) )
    I'm cutting off 14", to leave me 2" to have enough to re-wrap at the wall.

    That tool box takes up 28" on that side of the truck, with about 3" in front of it.
    So if I take off the 14", that leaves 17" of hole.
    Minus the 2" that wraps around, that leaves 15" of hole.

    So I need a 15" patch, plus ~1/2" at one end to lap joint for welding, and the 1.5" to 2" to wrap at the front. So I need a 17" to 18" patch panel.

    What I cut off the other side of the truck is identical and can simply be rotated and go in, but its only 14".... And using that and another piece is yet another seam on the face of the side to hide. the other 4" piece is easy to get to do it that way. !8" in one piece on the other hand will be hard to scrounge.

    The other option is to just cut down the tool box insert, and the door for it, and just have a 15" tool box... IF I can re-join the door and make it straight and work worth a darn.

    I'll let you know later on that what I come up with.... ;)
    (gonna try cutting and re-joining the door Saturday I think)


    I was going to go ahead and cut the inner side walls and floor tonight, but my saws-all blade was pretty worn and not wanting to cut straight any more. Will pick up blades, and some angle grinder cut off discs(to try in a couple tight places) tomorrow, or tomorrow night after a Church event and probably get it cut Saturday.

    :cool:
     
    Last edited by AK Adventurer, Apr 18, 2014