1 2 3 ... 5
Will UltraDork
1/7/18 12:37 p.m.

I've spent a long time avoiding having a truck--going camping in my MR2, junkyard runs in my Supercoupe, stuff like that. It wasn't ideal, and I finally broke down and got my first pickup, a 2000 F150.

It's a regular cab, shortbed with the 4.2 V6, automatic and four wheel drive. It's a dirt-simple work truck--manual locks, manual windows, manual mirrors, vinyl floor, cloth bench seat, am/fm radio, non-locking tailgate. It doesn't even have map pockets in the doors. 

The previous owner added some bigger tires--265/75-16s, which are around 33" tall. 

This is supposed to help me get projects done rather than be a project vehicle in and of itself. That said, here's my plan: 

  1. Do truck stuff with it. Haul firewood, stuff from Lowe's, junkyard parts, camping gear, etc.
  2. Drive it on snowy days, if we ever actually get one.
  3. Replace little things that are missing or broken, like the driver's side door check.
  4. Add a stereo deck that lets me connect my iPod. I spent the drive home listening to Duran Duran and Katy Perry because those were the stations that came in.
  5. Improve the storage situation. As a regular cab, and a no-option one at that, it doesn't have a lot of space to put stuff. I'd like to have a center console or armrest storage, so I may replace the seat with a different factory seat setup. I may also add some sort of cargo box for the bed.
  6. Verify the speedo is accurate, and if not, recalibrate it. I have a feeling it hasn't been adjusted for the taller tires.
  7. Avoid buying a bunch of stuff it doesn't need, like a cold air intake, exhaust, lift kit, etc.
EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
1/7/18 12:45 p.m.

No. 4 needs to be moved up the list. No one should be made to suffer through a Katy Perry song. Single din units with aux input can be found on amazon pretty cheaply. 

First thing I bought for my truck was a toolbox off craigslist. Hauls all my E36 M3 and was only like 40 bucks (ok, 50 after paint). 

frenchyd Dork
1/7/18 12:55 p.m.

In reply to Will : I’ve driven that sort of truck now for 21 years. I love it! Especially when I drive across country.  I can make Minneapolis to San Diego in 33 hours towing  a trailer! 

The trick is that seat!  I stuff the seat belts out of the way grab my pillow and blanket and stretch out on that seat in a roadside rest when I find myself sleepy.  A couple of hours nap and a quick run to the bathroom and I’m on the road again

you can’t do that with a non bench seat.  


XLR99 Dork
1/7/18 1:43 p.m.

Wow that thing sure looks nice and clean! 

My son has a 99 XLT; if you can find a seat from one that matches, it comes with a ginormous folding center console / middle seatback. 

Ditto on the toolbox, and you can also make up a cargo holder that fits in the slots on the sides of the bed to keep gas cans/propane tanks, bags of gravel etc. in place:



AngryCorvair UltimaDork
1/7/18 2:58 p.m.

What the hell are those body-colored horizontal things below the doors?  And the body-colored things at the corners of the cab where the rust is supposed to be, what are those?  Whoever added them did a good job, if their goal was to make them look OE but I can say I've never seen them here in SE MI.

MrChaos Dork
1/7/18 4:11 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

hahaha, He lives in the none rust south.

Will UltraDork
1/7/18 4:38 p.m.
MrChaos said:

In reply to AngryCorvair :

hahaha, He lives in the none rust south.

You'd be surprised how many rusty trucks I found during my search for this one. Not Michigan levels of rust, mind you, but enough to turn me off of a lot of trucks. I have a pretty much zero tolerance rust policy.

Anyway, I made my first fix today, swapping the passenger side door check over to the driver side. Nice that they're identical left to right. Next weekend I'll head to the junkyard and get a new passenger side one.

Run_Away HalfDork
1/7/18 5:40 p.m.

That's a really clean looking truck! Love the simplicity of a work truck. Very honest and purposeful feeling.

Bill Mesker
Bill Mesker New Reader
1/7/18 8:25 p.m.

This would be perfect for me. All it would need is cruise control, which would be fairly easy to add by swapping out the steering wheel for one that has it and then getting it programmed. And of course a remote starter and a Bluetooth head unit.

Will UltraDork
1/9/18 7:39 p.m.

Well, E36 M3. Definitely have coolant in the truck's oil. Normally I'd guess head gasket, but there's no white smoke and apparently the intake and timing cover gaskets are also very common leak points on this engine. The intake manifold gasket is easiest, so I guess I'll try that one first.

ultraclyde PowerDork
1/9/18 9:05 p.m.

Nice truck. Just FYI, if your iPod or phone can stream Bluetooth, I found a $16 adapter on Amazon that is ridiculously good. It is the same size as a standard cigar lighter USB charger but it connects by Bluetooth and then broadcasts on a selectable radio freq. It also has a built in mic and allows you to take handsfee calls. It is an amazing piece of low cost kit.


I've been using one in the Jeep on a switched power outlet and it's kept me from spending Money to replace the factory tape deck.

Will UltraDork
1/28/18 12:52 p.m.

Dammit, it's a project truck.

I tried to convince myself the truck doesn't need head gaskets, but yeah...it needs head gaskets. My nightmare is not going far enough to actually fix the problem and then having to tear it apart a second time, so I'm just going to rebuild the engine.

A rebuild kit won't be expensive, but lack of decent weather and daylight has been making it hard to make a ton of progress. I've removed the upper intake, all of the front accessory stuff and the radiator. Before I can get the engine out, I still need to remove the starter, disconnect the exhaust and remaining wiring, and pull the oil pan so I can get to the torque converter to flexplate bolts. And I hear the upper engine to trans bolts are a pain to get to.

Well, if I can't fix all that right this second, what can I fix? First, here's that broken door check:

I scored the replacement from a truck missing a door, so it was already half unbolted. Junkyard shopping is easier when you let other people do the work for you. Cost: $6.58.

The rubber window/door trim on the driver’s side was broken, so I replaced that. $2.58.

Note the crack in the door (brown spot). Thought it was weird, but every F150 of this era I saw at the junkyard had the same problem. Turns out it's very common on this generation.


Will UltraDork
1/28/18 12:56 p.m.

Before I discovered the engine unpleasantness, I ordered a new radio. I opted for a Clarion CZ105BT deck with aux/USB in and iPod control. Since the factory radio is double-DIN and this is single-DIN, the installation kit also provides a modest storage cubby. Lack of storage was on my list of things to address anyway.

Will UltraDork
1/28/18 1:11 p.m.

Wet, cold weather means I've had a lot of time for research. In 2000, Ford called the base F150 the Work Series. Standard equipment included the 4.2, manual, silver-painted bumpers, 4-pin trailer wiring, vinyl floor, vinyl bench, AM/FM stereo and rear ABS. The list of available Work Series options was pretty short: 4WD, automatic trans, sliding rear window, tow hooks, A/C, cloth bench, front ABS and transfer case/fuel tank skidplates. Of those, my truck got the 4WD, auto trans and cloth seat.

What’s more interesting to me is the list of options not available on the Work Series. You couldn’t option these trucks with:

  • Locking tailgate
  • Fog lights
  • Electronic shift on the fly 4WD
  • Cab steps
  • Tilt column
  • Any other stereo
  • Rear storage bin (optional XLT only)
  • Split bench
  • Power windows/locks
  • Door lights
  • 4x4 Off-road equipment group (17” wheels & tires, skid plates, HD shocks, “4x4 Off Road” decals)
  • Sport group (color-keyed grille surround, bumpers and mirrors; leather-wrapped wheel, “Sport” decals, fog lights, tach
  • Convenience group (cruise control, tilt column, tailgate lock, overhead console with compass, outside temperature control and storage)

Now, if I had wanted a fancy truck I would have bought a fancy truck. I don’t need leather seats, carpeted floors or a V8. I’m not looking to turn this into a King Ranch, but I do want to make a few upgrades that make it a little easier to live with.

Will UltraDork
1/28/18 1:24 p.m.

Again, this truck has no place to put stuff, so that's the main thing I want to address. For example: You don't really appreciate map pockets until you don't have them.

The first F150 I saw at the junkyard had gray, crank-window door panels w/map pockets. Didn't even have to remove them: They were sitting in the bed. Someone had even taken them out properly. $31.16 for the pair.

Some F-150s (not sure exactly which trim levels/years) came with a lower dash panel that has a storage cubby. Mine did not.

The color is a better match than the picture suggests. It may not hold much, but for $8.58, why not? 

XLR99 Dork
1/28/18 2:56 p.m.

That's a bummer about the head gaskets!  The 'good' news is that at least the V6 gives you good access to most things relative to the V8s.  Also, by re-sealing the engine now, you avoid your driveway becoming an EPA Superfund site like mine is from weeping front/rear main seals.

Also, once you get the engine done, you're assured of less hassles by avoiding all the power accessories.  I've spent hours with my son engaged in jihad against the power windows/locks/mirrors on his truck. 

Will UltraDork
2/2/18 4:06 p.m.

More minor upgrades:

I don’t know if anyone would steal a tailgate so basic it doesn’t even have a lock (much less step, camera, etc.) but I do know I don’t want to find out. So I picked up a locking tailgate handle and took the core to a locksmith to have it keyed to my ignition key. Unfortunately, I thought I would only need the handle itself, but I had to go back for the rest of it that pulls on the rods going to the latch on each side, so that upped the cost. $21.16 for the parts, $35 for the re-keying.

See that black plastic thing at about 9 o' clock that sort of has three fingers and is closed off at the end? Non-locking tailgates don't have that part, and it's what actually prevents the handle from pulling on the rods.

Also picked up a set of factory tow hooks. I see no reason not to have them. $15.16 for the pair.

acheron64 New Reader
2/3/18 1:09 a.m.

Lol so a basic truck is cheaper to upgrade from the wreckers than buying in the first place. Just like buying new except you choose the package. I like a lot.

Can you make it faster while the engine is out ?

Will UltraDork
2/3/18 8:40 a.m.
acheron64 said:

Lol so a basic truck is cheaper to upgrade from the wreckers than buying in the first place. Just like buying new except you choose the package. I like a lot.

Can you make it faster while the engine is out ?

Ugh, don't tempt me. I'm already wasting time I could use on pulling the engine on adding a locking tailgate, etc. Remember the title of this thread?

I sort of want to do an electric fan conversion. A tune might add a few hp, but it would also let me correct the speedometer and disable the PATS (more info to come on why I'd want do that later on).

But in terms of actual engine hop-ups: The split-port heads are the best as-cast heads for this engine. I'm not sure any of the other 4.2 intakes flow better than the stock one. They're also a pain to remove, so unless I find one of the plastic ones from an 01-03 F150 pre-removed at the junkyard, I won't bother. And shorty headers seem like a waste of money. A cam swap would be easy, but I'm not sure the heads flow enough to justify spending money on a bigger cam. I'll admit a Supercoupe top end swap would be neat--but stock to stock, the 89-93 SC only made 5 hp more than this truck. The 94-95 blower would be another 20 hp (and presumably numbers for a 4.2 would be higher than a 3.8, but I'm not sure how much).

The more important question, though, is whether the truck actually needs to be any faster. And the answer is no, it doesn't. It's an old truck with a V6. 

barefootskater Reader
2/3/18 8:58 a.m.

I like old trucks with 6 cylinders. I like this gen f150. I like crank windows. I like single cabs. I like bench seats.

In short, I like.  Bummer about the HGs though, hopefully the price of an old base model was low enough that a rebuild is easy to justify. 

Dirtydog Reader
2/3/18 9:50 a.m.

At this stage in for a penny in for a pound.  If you plan on keeping it long term, money well spent.  How many miles on it?   Looks like it is in good shape overall.

759NRNG Dork
2/3/18 10:19 a.m.

Not even  a cold air intake /cat back exhaust (mpg&a few hp)????

Will UltraDork
2/3/18 3:37 p.m.
759NRNG said:

Not even  a cold air intake /cat back exhaust (mpg&a few hp)????

In my younger years, I'm sure I would have already. Now I want to see/hear about real-world improvements before I spend money on stuff like that.

So far everything I've bought for this truck, including other parts I haven't mentioned yet, has cost less than a K&N kit. And from what I've read, the stock air box feeds the 4.2 well enough.

Will UltraDork
2/4/18 8:51 a.m.

It's not worthy of a picture, but: during my time spent under the truck, I noticed that the previous owner thought the front bumper only needed 5 of 8 bolts (loose, at that) to hold it to the frame. During a previous junkyard visit, I was taking parts off an Expedition when a father and son asked to borrow a 13mm socket. Turns out they were removing the front bumper from the truck, and were happy to hand me three of the bolts they removed. Yay for junkyard serendipity, and now my front bumper probably won't fall off.

Will UltraDork
2/24/18 8:48 a.m.

I continue to tear the engine compartment down as I get ready to remove the engine. But that's been slow going, between learning the ins and outs of a new (to me) platform and stubborn exhaust collector bolts.

So I continue to work on other things, too. This truck came with door speakers only, but even the Work Series is wired for optional rear speakers. I added a pair of speakers to my junkyard list. I planned on just finding a pair of factory speakers, but as I was removing another part from an Expedition, a missing door speaker grille revealed a Kenwood logo. All speakers are the same price at the junkyard regardless of quality, so I grabbed not just two of them, but all four. At $5.58 each, why not?

Turns out they're Kenwood KFC-C6893PS speakers--an older, discontinued model, and nothing super fancy or expensive, but better than the factory speakers, I'm sure. Here's one next to the stock version:

They don't use the same connectors as the factory speakers, so I ordered some cheap adapters. Installing the fronts isn't really worth a picture. After removing the plastic trim from the rear of the cab, you'll see a big sticky piece of soft rubber covering the hole for the speaker:

Remove it and you'll see the connector plugged into a dummy plug to keep it from rattling around.

Hook up the adapter, plug it in, and four screws later, you're done.

1 2 3 ... 5
Our Preferred Partners