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GhiaMonster Reader
9/10/19 12:52 p.m.

I haven't felt this inferior in a while.  Usually it's not bigger in real life.

914Driver MegaDork
9/10/19 12:55 p.m.
Dude!  That's center fold material right there!
GhiaMonster said:

Cotton, glad to hear about that option.  Finished the night in Chamberland, SD after checking out Mt. Rushmore and the loop through the Badlands. Cool stuff. Up early to get to Iowa and rendezvous with the next truck.





2002maniac Dork
9/10/19 3:02 p.m.

This looks like a great fnly'n'drive.  Enjoy, and may the good luck continue!

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
9/10/19 3:52 p.m.

Do you have any plans to POR15 the entire underside of the truck when you get it home? I can't help but think the first time that high desert truck sees NY salt it is just going to vanish.

And it is too awesome for that! Loving the story so far.

GhiaMonster Reader
9/10/19 6:48 p.m.

So any experts on Dodge autos? Going down the road getting the first 3 gears fine and torque converterlock up. 47RE transmission behind a V10.  Dash switch lights up indicator as intended. All three connectors on the trans are clean and locked in. Checked PCM plugs, all good. It does have a box adjusting VSS but that is working and giving a reasonably accurate speedometer.  Any ideas for other things to check?

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
9/10/19 7:13 p.m.

Wow...  I had a '78 F-150 Ranger model (with the square headlights), although mine was a 4-spd. I'm super jealous.  

The 351M in mine would get 10 MPG at 60 MPH. Any faster and you could practically watch the gas gauge needle move. 

GhiaMonster Reader
9/11/19 1:41 a.m.

After some repairs to the Dodge we carried on into the night. Making miles while the sun isn't shining due to our collective lack of AC. Also no OD for either truck at this point, putting the Dodge at about 3000 cruise RPMs and 8 MPG.  Made it some miles into Illinois before calling it. Iowa sure is pretty at night

GhiaMonster Reader
9/11/19 8:37 p.m.

Long hot day across Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and into New York. Started out with breakfast at the RT66 Diner in Joliet before needing out and stoping by the old Joliet prison where they filmed Jake Blues being released to his mission from God.  

Long hot day of driving. I pegged the temp gauge once but it cooled right down once I pulled into the slow lane. I think I was following the Dodge too closely.  

The Dodge continued right on past my stopping point for a few days and made the final push hopefully completing about a 17 hour 800 mile day in the next hour. 


Maybe a full recap coming later and future plans for these rigs.  Thanks for following along.


-Edited because I had the wrong Blues Brother being released from prision. Must have been tired writing that.

pilotbraden UltraDork
9/12/19 1:05 a.m.

Well done. I have a 78 2 wheel drive that is a great road trip machine. 

GhiaMonster Reader
9/16/19 9:23 p.m.

Have been home for a few days now and back to somewhat normal.  The trip finished off with both trucks making it home without any great incident. Although there were some fixes for each before departure neither needed roadside attention besides fluids. The Dodge was bought sight unseen from a small dealer and it showed.  The wipers, AC and overdrive didn’t work along with a few other things, like the rear main seal. When we were swapping tires it was noted that front brake pads were well past done.  A trip to town was needed for pads, coolant temp sensor, contact cleaner, oil, coolant and beer. After a good wrench session into the night it had good brakes, some wipers but still no overdrive or AC. They got warm ona 93 degree day but nothing serious.  

Reactions along the way were great.  Somewhere in Montana we realized that a lot of folks were waving to us just because of a cool old truck.  This continued all the way to NY.  We only saw three older vehicles cruising on the interstates, a Studebaker Hawk, a beautiful DeSoto and a 50’s Chevy truck. 

Biggest take away is to just go and do it.  Along the drive I realized how long I had been wanting to do this trip and that I’ll enjoy these memories for the rest of my life.  So many things in our life conspire to keep us doing the day to day routine, you just have to commit to a crazy scheme and others will usually join you in making it happen. 

$600.16 in fuel for 2170 odometer miles. The speedo was about 8% slow so that ended up being about 2343 miles and 10.9 MPG.   We averaged 30.5 MPH across all the time from start to end.

Now to fix up a few things and even do some restoration.  The parts canon has been loaded. Today I went through the brakes and adjust the rear shoes.  Fronts pads are good and rotors surprisingly great.  The soft lines are shot though. Exhaust manifold gasket on the drivers side needs to be replaced.  Started poking around at why the fuel gauges don’t read and found both have good grounds and show near 0 ohms with full tanks, will need to check again near empty.  Many more small fixes coming before thinking about tearing into the drivetrain in the next years.

GhiaMonster Reader
10/1/19 4:05 p.m.

The joys of working on a non-salt life truck. Original brake lines came apart with normal tools and no fire. I did a bunch of detailing and started to knock out a few maintenance things. In general I have been using it like a truck and loving it. Hauling bicycles, scrap metal, washing machines and garbage, truck stuff. Apparently, my wife didn’t think I was going to use it like a truck, but that’s exactly what I bought it for.

Heading to a nearby city last weekend I realized what the intermittent lack of brake pedal had been trying to tell me when the master cylinder truly gave up. So much for bleeding fresh fluid when I replaced soft lines, I think it just pulled a bunch of junk into the master. With a shiny new chunk of cast iron in place I realize how bad the brakes were before.

Last night I took it for the first trip back to our hunting camp and it did pretty well on old logging roads. One friend commented that the very springy seat was probably what kept us from getting concussions and made it quite livable. This morning started with dumping a bit of fuel down the carb while diagnosing a lack of fuel pressure but nothing too unusual for an old vehicle. The road did bite back though and put a rock through the sidewall of a rear tire, so my hand has been forced on new tires. A set of 285/75R16 Cooper AT3s should be in the mail tomorrow.

Bits and pieces keep getting replaced as I enjoy a rolling restoration. The 2400 mile fuel filter was quite ugly after soaking up whatever junk had been languishing in the tanks. Up next is trying to get working fuel gauges. Troubleshooting indicates empty signals from both tanks, likely due to sunk floats.

Azryael New Reader
10/1/19 9:44 p.m.

Glad you got it home with little trouble!

Just love the look of that truck.

Georges1991 New Reader
10/2/19 1:09 p.m.

Beautiful truck. Love it.


I've had a few 351Ms (had a 70s FoMoCo period where that was all I drove)


With a bit of work, they're solid, torquey cruisers. The "forgotten" engine of the 70s, as the Windsor 351s have a much bigger aftermarket, but still just fine. Definitely looking forward to more

GhiaMonster Reader
10/6/19 8:18 p.m.

I think the 351m is going to stay for now. Does need a little love though. 

New tires with an inch more of diameter make the truck look a little better with the 4” lift. I tried to keep them as narrow as possible since that’s what old trucks wore. Friend that bought the red Dodge has a tire machine and balancer in his basement, so we rocked them out Friday night. He pointed out the 126 load rating on the side and said that seemed quite high. Looks like I have a ½ ton with tires rated for 15,000 lbs but that was the only option in the size I wanted. So far they ride slightly better than the 11 year old tires and certainly have better traction off road. Guess I won’t worry about hurting them.

Clean old trucks get attention where ever you go in the northeast since they ceased to exist long long ago. It has been fun to meet random people with this rig. Another trip up into the Adirondacks for an overnight was a great run.

Tonight was repainting the instrument needles orange since they had all faded to different yellows and replacing a few burnt out bulbs in the cluster. Next up this week is putting a selectable 4wd kit in the NP203 transfer case and dropping the rear fuel tank to replace a sender. I like the back and forth from heavy mechanical stuff to beautification restoration work.

Georges1991 New Reader
10/6/19 9:37 p.m.

That is just one sweet truck. Hope you enjoy it for many years. Jealous!

GhiaMonster Reader
11/6/19 3:53 p.m.

End of the season update. Truck has continued to do truck things well and has gotten a bit of time in 4WD.

  All washed and will soon be heading into storage to hide from the salt. On the short term to do list is selectable 4wd, rear tank sender and diagnosing a valvetrain tick from the drivers side. Longer term is an EFI swap, a stock appearing radio and some cruise control.  I got the interior cleaned up nicely and sewed a new steering wheel cover on making it much nicer to operate.

  Some side steps were installed so the wife (and admittedly me as well) could get in without complaint. Sadly had to ditch the Montana plates and have it officially residing in NY now. 

ultraclyde PowerDork
11/6/19 7:27 p.m.

Looks great, glad yo see it getting used. I run the AT3 XLTs on my F150 and have been real happy with them. Great do all tire that's very livable.

GhiaMonster Reader
1/10/20 3:10 p.m.

Work continues through the cold months. Being between houses right now has garage space a little scattered. Two cars overwinter at my wife’s grandmother’s house, another two are at my grandmother’s house and one awaiting restoration is in a friend’s basement. The truck is at my grandmother’s which is the old family farm garage. Currently without electricity or heat so work days are chosen wisely, but I am thankful for the space and have just enough room to walk around the truck. I checked yesterday and it looks like I will be able to pull the rear axles where it sits. The next door neighbor offered an extension cord through the window recently so I may take him up on that.


Christmas present to myself was a Retro Sound head unit. I pulled the old abomination out and have the new one wired and working. Thanks to whoever recommended the DIN dash repair kit, that solves some of the mounting. Whoever cut the dash did an above and beyond job so I had to weld some of the radio mount together before I can even get back to DIN. A new dash trim was needed since that got cut as well. I spent about an hour working on fitment and am damn close.

A project done … for now. I’ve never put a sub in a vehicle before but wanted a little more than the two door speakers can offer this time. I asked an audiophile friend about what I could fit and he solved any further searching by gifting an enclosure with an 8” sub he had built for a single cab truck 10+ years ago. Combine that with an amp that came free in my wife’s Jeep and we’ll be bumping (lightly) at some point. Since there are a few things that need power coming the next step is to wire in a Blue Sea fuse box to add a few more circuits. Work was throwing one away a few years ago and I knew it would find a place at some point.


No pics but the rear tank came out and the sender was pulled to find a sunk float. Reinstalled with all new rubber fill, vent, and suction lines. Now I should be able to tell how much fuel is in 1 of the tanks. The front will need to wait to spring since it currently has at least 150 pounds of fuel in it.


NP203 transfer case is also apart to put in a selectable 4WD kit. Combined with front hubs this should help with fuel economy a bit. Probably not many drivelines getting rebuilt by lantern light these days.

Once that goes back together the Ford 9” is coming out for a rebuild and upgrade. Between having the driveshaft out and one leaking axle seal this became a major case of while you’re in there. A few new bearings and a Eaton gear style limited slip to make it a little bit more capable. Hopefully the source of the significant driveline lash is apparent when the center section comes out.

rico750sxi_2 New Reader
1/10/20 9:30 p.m.

Fellow New Yorker here, 5 miles south of Albany. I love the truck and am very jealous of the trip. 

Norma66-Brent Reader
1/11/20 9:02 a.m.

It's amazing what small incremental fixes can do to a older vehicle. I think a lot of us forget that it doesn't take nice shops or tons of space to get stuff done.

GhiaMonster Reader
1/16/20 9:58 a.m.

Transfer case is back together and sealed up. Moved to the back where axles are pulled and center section is free.

It really didn’t want to come out of there but gave up after painfully removing all the copper crush washers for the 10 bolts. So much for thinking that was going to be a quick job. A few measurements and then an order of bearings, a diff and some seals.

Here is the last Ford 9” I played with, in a ’66 Mustang.

The first time we paid someone to rebuild it with the factory posi and then I painted it up all nice. If it ever did have posi it lasted less than 1000 miles before reverting to open. I started autocrossing the Mustang (yes I came in last many times) and couldn’t stand the open diff anymore. It came out again and got the Eaton helical gear style differential which made the car much more fun to drive. I didn’t expect a change on the street but it made the car feel much more planted even in normal cornering.

I think I will paint up the F150 rear axle to look the same just because it makes me happy. I need to do at least one axle seal which on this setup with tapered roller axle bearings means replacing them as well. This is not as easy a job as I was expecting the seals to be further back in the axle tube and a quick replacement. Might need to get a press.

I have definitely taken inspiration from the magazine and other builds on the do something everyday no matter how small methodology. The other thing that helps me, especially with a garage I have to drive to, is having a few tasks going at once. As I come upon the next part that needs to be ordered or a tool I forgot there is something else to pivot to and accomplish. Last night I order parts for the auxiliary fusebox that will keep wiring clean as I add a few things. Also getting parts ordered for a trailer hitch upgrade and addition of a brake controller and 7 pin trailer connector.

Recon1342 HalfDork
1/16/20 2:14 p.m.

Old trucks are cool!!!

GhiaMonster Reader
1/30/20 3:23 p.m.

Trailer hitch install was easier than expected. Jacked the new hitch up into place and clamped it to the frame. Some measurements and sliding it around a little bit got it square and centered. I was really apprehensive about how hard it would be to drill 6 ½” holes in the frame but they went pretty quick. Biggest issue was hot chips raining down. The Harbor Freight step drill has been a champion. Next up is wiring. I was able to come up with two improved ground locations for the aux fuse box and trailer harness. I received a bunch of new parts to go from the current crappy vampire splice wiring to something factory looking and reliable. Immediately broke one of the new connectors on the 7-pin trying to figure out how to unlatch it so waiting on a new pigtail after paying a $20 dumbass tax.

Diff is all disassembled and parts ordered. A new carrier on the way from Currie and a Summit order for all the other bits along with some wiring stuff and confusingly a new yoke and pinion shaft seal for a Jeep rear end. Hopefully that project doesn’t spiral out of control.


Trying to find rear wheel bearings for this thing has been a treat. There were at least 3 different axles with three different sizes and types of bearings to fuel a whole bunch of conflicting info from various parts houses online. The axle shaft with bearing will be going to Napa tomorrow so we can all get it wrong together. I’m really hoping we get to pull the old book out and stay off the computer.

GhiaMonster Reader
1/30/20 3:31 p.m.

To Brent’s comment about shop space and incremental fixes, there are certainly both ends of the spectrum here on the forum. From someone build a car in a container with no power to a full custom C1500 or a hotrod built over 20 something years and finally getting a blower I try to take inspiration from all of them. Doing something every day gets you down that path. As a late hotrodder friend used to say, “It’s all good.” 

Working near or from home has been great for getting another coat of paint on something or today cleaning a center section in the driveway during lunch.

3/3/20 3:58 p.m.

In reply to GhiaMonster :

Where did you get your bed rail caps? I've been looking everywhere but can only find the short bed version. I also have the 8 foot 78 and would love to complete the look! Thanks.

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