CGLockRacer HalfDork
Sept. 10, 2012 9:37 a.m.

So after a lot of back and forth on Cherokees and other vehicles, I have found a '96 F-150 4x4 5.0L w/ 5-spd. manual that I really like. I have a friend checking it out for me. It has 174k miles, no rust seen in pictures, and very clean interior and engine bay (not over detailed like most used car places).

What's good?

What's bad?



Trans_Maro SuperDork
Sept. 10, 2012 10:06 a.m.

We've owned a 2wd '96 F-150 300 with a 5-speed since it was two years old.

It's been a fantastic truck, I've got nothing bad to say about it.

The only bad that I know of is the rear spring hangers rot out and the front radius rod bushings will wear.The aftermarket repair parts available for these problems fix the problem for good.

People will tell you that twin I-beam front ends will eat tires. They're wrong, improperly aligned front ends eat tires.

I'm on the second set of tires on this truck. The tires it came with were replaced three years ago.


N Sperlo PowerDork
Sept. 10, 2012 10:18 a.m.

I prefer the auto for towing. I've replaced my rear springs and the shackles are awful. They will be the next to break. There 5.0 won't give you trouble as long as you keep her oiled. Downside, they like gas. A lot. 12 mpg with the auto.

Also, make sure that drive shaft stays balanced.

Overall, a great truck. I love mine.

yamaha HalfDork
Sept. 10, 2012 10:18 a.m.

If it doesn't leak at least a bit of oil, something is probably wrong.......

neon4891 UltimaDork
Sept. 10, 2012 10:27 a.m.

I loved the '93 300/6 I drove. The only issues it had where rust related, but what else do you expect from and older farm truck in the rust belt.

N Sperlo PowerDork
Sept. 10, 2012 10:32 a.m.

In reply to yamaha:

Mine didn't leak a drop until the catastrophic drive line failure jolted the enginec causing a slight rear main seal leak.

Ball joints and bearings. Check them.

fasted58 UltraDork
Sept. 10, 2012 10:40 a.m.

Not familiar w/ the '96 but w/ 90's F-150 4X4s, so if they are similar...

Worn radius arm bushings can cause alignment issues, relatively easy to replace. Radius arm to frame bracket can rust in salt states, the thru hole for the bushing can deteriorate/ elongate/ get sloppy from rust. If it clunks at all that's prolly it. Weld it up for proper fit to bushing.

The outer u-joints of the front axle are easy to replace. If the passenger side inner u-joint is bad you hafta drop the front punkin' to replace it.

Repack front wheel bearings while you're at it... That is if it's similar to the '90, they prolly changed 'em but I dunno. My .02

belteshazzar UltraDork
Sept. 10, 2012 10:40 a.m.

by the time Ford screwed that truck together, every significant part of it had been in production for at least a decade. in many cases, much longer.

N Sperlo PowerDork
Sept. 10, 2012 10:51 a.m.

In reply to fasted58:

96 should be very similar to the other 90's models. Of course there are five variants if each year, sooo...

CGLockRacer HalfDork
Sept. 10, 2012 4:19 p.m.

Committed to buy it. Going to pick it up tomorrow. My friend checked it out and gave it a clean bill of health. Sent me some more pictures of under the truck and it is CLEAN! The areas with surface rust will get a coat of POR15 or similar before winter. And some areas will get some bed liner for rust prevention (bumpers, rockers). Hopefully I can keep this thing rust free.

So I have a ride to Harrisburg from AA tomorrow, then I pick up the truck, and drive back to AA. It's going to be a LOOOOONG day!

Pics to come.

CGLockRacer HalfDork
Sept. 10, 2012 4:26 p.m.

Here are the dealer pictures and the ones my friend took.

All Pictures:


HiTempguy SuperDork
Sept. 10, 2012 8:48 p.m.

I'd rather buy a 2wd ext cab pickup before I bought a non-extended cab anything.

CGLockRacer HalfDork
Sept. 10, 2012 9:07 p.m.

Well, its going to be the winter DD and chore vehicle. The RX-8 is still the fun and good weather DD. Its still more useful than having a miata as a the only vehicle.

belteshazzar UltraDork
Sept. 10, 2012 9:09 p.m.

crap it looks nice in that picture. how much?

CGLockRacer HalfDork
Sept. 11, 2012 6:54 a.m.

About $3800 OTD. i think can make money if i brought it to MI and sold it after doing a bit of wheeler dealers on it. But that wont happen until spring if i need to sell it.

CGLockRacer HalfDork
Sept. 12, 2012 6:46 a.m.

Got it home last night. 1000 miles on the road yesterday. I'm still tired. I got a ride from my dad (he was in town for business, coincidentally) from Ann Arbor, MI to Harrisburg, PA, tested the truck and did dealer paperwork, turned around and drove back, while my dad continued home to SE PA.

It only had a little unexpected rear fender rust (typical Ford) that didn't show up in pictures. However, it is very clean underneath for a '96 F150 from PA, and cleaner than anything in the same price range from MI.

Both fuel tanks work and I used about 2.75 tanks (15.5mpg avg at about 70 mph the whole way).

The only immediate issue I need to address is balljoints and steering. I know the steering wheel is more of a suggestion when driving these things, but this was just sloppy loose. Narrow construction zone lanes were interesting when passing or being passed by tractor trailers. Ball joints are creaking and there is a bit of slop. (I also got another $60 off the price for this issue). However, it has new brake lines all the way around and new front pads (need to check rear shoes). Tires are very good all the way around. Well, I found a screw in the spare tire, so they plugged that for me, too.

Minor issues are needing to rewire the stereo, but at least it worked after slamming the door once. The cruise control decided to stop working in the last hour of the trip so I need to find out what happened there. I hit a bump and it shut off. Then it would work occasionally.

The clutch chatters a bit and is a bit high, but doesn't slip at all and grabs well if speed shifted (I only did this to test it, won't be driven like that).

The only one that worries me is a deep hum/low freq. vibration between 60 and 70 mph. It almost sounds like a prop plane, but quiet and I can feel it in the body. Worse when off throttle. I'm thinking U-joints? Any ideas?

I also need to figure out how to adjust the pedals so I can heel-toe this thing. The throttle pedal is too low. But if i put a block on it to get it close enough in height to the brake pedal, my foot will be at a weird angle.

The engine is very quiet and smooth at idle. Doesn't leak from the engine or transmission that I can tell. A few drips from the rear diff, but I plan on changing the fluids anyway. The transfer case looks clean enough that it may be a re-manufactured one. I need to inspect further.

It has also never had a hitch on it. No frame hitch and no hitch balls in the bumper! The bedliner also didn't have any evidence of heavy use! This thing looks like it was babied!

I'm pleased, though. It'll do the jobs I bought it for and give me projects to work on a bit. Step 1. Balljoints and steering. Step 2. Rust removal and rust proofing.

amg_rx7 Dork
Sept. 12, 2012 11:15 a.m.

Spend some time here:

neon4891 UltimaDork
Sept. 12, 2012 11:22 a.m.

Good find, enjoy.

ReverendDexter UltraDork
Sept. 12, 2012 11:33 a.m.

If you do get it aligned, make sure it's someone that knows how to do it properly with the TTB.

And you're probably aware, but the truck 5.0s are not the same 5.0s used in the Mustang or Explorer. Truck 5.0s use the old 289 firing order, Mustang/Explorer use the 351W firing order. There's a number of other differences, but that's the biggest.

If you're somewhere where you can modify the exhaust ahead of/including the cats, get rid of the stock Y-cat. Those things are horribly restrictive.

CGLockRacer HalfDork
Sept. 12, 2012 11:33 a.m.


N Sperlo PowerDork
Sept. 12, 2012 11:34 a.m.

Slums great. Good mpg too. That rear Duff is five minutes of work before letting it sit and drip dry before you wipe the rest out of the bottom of the differential housing. Open the port and clean the shavings from the magnet. New gasket or seal (or both, however you prefer) install before filling from the fill port. Its around 3 quarts of 90-125.

Easy but dirty work.

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