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GhiaMonster Reader
3/21/20 8:43 a.m.

Captainpease, I had to buy an entire F150 to get those. I pulled them off to make the cutouts for the rear stake pockets and they have been on there awhile. Can you modify two sets of shortbed ones?

GhiaMonster Reader
3/21/20 8:47 a.m.

Diff was reassembled without much incident besides trying to torque bolts without anything like a proper fixture to hold the damn thing. Real monkey berking a coconut situation. Painted up all pretty but I guess I never got a picture of that. I even got to buy a press and the 20% off coupon worked!

Everything back together and fluids in showed the t-case leaking worse than when I started trying to fix it. Pulled side cover off again and went crazy with the grey RTV. I had put a little too much faith in the thin paper gasket and 70’s casting.

Made an adapter to mount the trailer hitch plug to the bumper using some existing holes so I didn’t have to drill through a ¼ thick plate. I can’t believe it has a bumper! rated to pull 10k lbs.

I must confess I have some weird love of making wiring harnesses. I might even follow some wiring posts on Instagram. That doesn’t mean I’m great at it, but they do get nicer each time. Made a harness to get the 7-pin trailer plug up and running without any of the damn vampire splices that plagued the last setup. A real ground and some big gauge wires going up front for +12V and brakes.

Also, in the shot is the add on fusebox that gives 6 circuits each of constant and ignition switched power. I ran a fused 10ga wire from the battery to power it with everything sheathed and following factory harnesses to hide it. I have some toolbox lights installed that need to be wired along with some power to an amp. Predicting I would have some extra free time I ordered a standalone cruise control kit so hope to be tinkering with that soon. Keyless entry might be in the future as well, mainly so I can have both doors lock and unlock at the same time instead of sliding across the bench or always needing to find my keys after walking to the other side.

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/21/20 3:07 p.m.

In reply to GhiaMonster :

I was previously unfamiliar with monkey berkeleying a coconut.  I thought they only berkeleyed footballs. Thank you for broadening my primate horizon.

jfryjfry Dork
3/22/20 7:41 a.m.
captainpease said:

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.

I have a pair that were for my 84 chevy long bed.  Yours if you want them.  I'm in Los Angeles. 

GhiaMonster Reader
3/23/20 11:06 a.m.

Got the truck out this weekend for a shakedown, morale boost and cruise. I knew it was going to go back into hiding with the snow in the forecast but might as well see what works and what doesn’t.

The good was the new stereo, true 2wd and a quiet rear diff. Well at least quieter than the truck driving down the road. The scary clunk when shifting between directions is gone as well! The bad is that I need to do the wheel bearing and seal on the passenger side. It was throwing fluid everywhere.

Quick disassembly showed the seal rubber had rusted to the bore and ripped when removed. So much for trying to reuse something. Parts are ordered, we’ll see when they show up. Just sucks because you have to destroy a perfectly good wheel bearing to replace the seal on this setup. Next up, cruise control attempt.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
3/24/20 8:08 a.m.

I wish they still made that part time kit for the Mopar version of the NP203. 8MPG at best in my Power Wagon is getting old. laugh

GhiaMonster Reader
4/10/20 8:14 a.m.

The truck is back on the road for the season. The majority of the oils are staying in it at this point. Mounted a speed pickup above the driveshaft, actuator under the hood and hooked up the cruise control to the throttle. I then cut down and pruned the aftermarket cruise harness to take out the features not being used and make running it into the cab easier and cleaner. Pushed the set button yesterday and it took over driving itself. Welcome to the future.  I really didn’t expect decent or any action on the first try.

Checked out the trailer wiring and everything works as intended. Need to get a drop hitch and hook up the trailer for a towing attempt. Big reason for that is a new garage for all the projects to live in. A house and all that as well.  The truck is now busy doing actual work hauling stuff from all the places we have stashed it for more than a year while we searched. Sadly, car projects will slow down for a bit as we move in but I can’t wait to have everything in one place again.

GhiaMonster Reader
5/14/20 3:45 p.m.

There have not been a ton of updates on this project as the focus has shifted to moving and house work. I did finalize the cruise control install with a bracket for the switches in the cab and cleaned up some vacuum hose craziness under the hood. Also fixed the front fuel gauge sending unit after running out of gas ½ a mile from home. A great way to meet new neighbors. Between the truck, trailer and my wife’s Caprice wagon we moved everything to the new house ourselves. That certainly kept us from being bored for a few weeks.

I did put a canoe / ladder rack together for it the other day to bring an extension ladder home. I need to figure out something for a front crossbar. The challenge being the toolbox blocking the stake pockets so I’ll probably make a mount to the front of the toolbox.

In other old Ford projects I have been giving my 1965 Ford 4000 tractor some love. A carb rebuild to stop a persistent fuel leak was first and now it fires up like never before. I also finally rebuilt the power steering cylinder after dealing with an ever increasing leak for several years. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep fluid in it now. Wish I had tackled that years ago.

The big red Dodge from the beginning of this tale is now running well but did just get $1k worth of front end work because Dodge. Otherwise it continues to be an awesome monster truck with some minor upgrades. It’s all my wife can do to jump up into it.

GhiaMonster Reader
6/22/20 3:41 p.m.

Previously mentioned tractor project

I looked out at the truck this morning and realized I had forgotten about the build thread. On the maintenance side the oil that I kept seeing on the ground with no obvious source was determined to be power steering fluid. The sound of a sad pump gave it away. Since it was empty I pulled the truck off the road until getting two new lines on it. I’m not sure which was leaking but new stuff prevailed. That job was about as aggravating as I expected. I also replaced the bushing in the rear leaf springs and shackles. The three hour job I expected turned into a three evening job due to various fights. I didn’t expect that the gas tank needed to be moved to get the front bolt out on one side but apparently that’s how the truck went together.

Some press jenga was involved. 5 of 6 bushings pressed out with only one bringing the Sawzall to the party. It had developed a disconcerting disconnect between what the front of the truck was doing and the path of the rear tires. Nice and predictable now.


I also got a canoe rack together for an overnight adventure. This was all salvaged wood which gave a few very warped pieces. Those need to be replaced with straight runs and some triangulation added but now we are good for several boats to be transported at once.

Very important work coming next, wiring up a sub and finally getting the toolbox lights working on a switch.

GhiaMonster Reader
6/29/20 10:55 a.m.

After the longest stretch of nice weather I’ve seen in this area we finally had a rainy weekend. This was good both because we needed the rain and it forced me into the garage to tie up some loose ends. I tinkered around both organizing the garage and going after some small projects. The cruise module is now properly mounted and the washer fluid reservoir fixed.

I connected a switch and ran some power with a disconnect plug for the toolbox lights. The kit I bought for this ended up being pretty weak for the components so only the lights were used and a manual switch mounted in place of the magnetic switch for the lid that refused to work reliably. These also give some bed illumination which the old truck lacked. Cleaned out the junk floating around the toolbox and added a divider for better organization.

The other mission critical work this weekend was getting a sub hooked up. This had been riding around behind the seat since a buddy gave it to me as a Christmas present. The amp came in our Wrangler from the previous owner. He had offered to sell me the whole “system” when we purchased it but I had no interest in a sub box in a vehicle with minimal cargo room already and wind noise to rival a helicopter. I guess the amp was too much effort to remove so it was there when I picked up the Jeep.

Some RCA cables stolen from the home audio and random power and speaker wire from other projects and I have a $0 sub and fire extinguisher mount system. Somehow I made it through my teens and twenties into my thirties with this being my first vehicle with a sub.

Was going to write that I don’t have any projects on the horizon for the truck at this point but it seems like too much foreshadowing towards a large failure. I’ll start planning the fuel and induction system upgrades I guess.

GhiaMonster Reader
7/8/20 4:03 p.m.

For a whole long weekend I just used the truck for its intended purpose without working on it at all. It was strangely refreshing. It did a great job getting us back in the woods with the requisite amount of food, beer, kayaks and gear. While having a good time celebrating independence I took exactly one picture all weekend. Here is my big manly truck doing its job blowing up the inflatable unicorn island.

This morning my wife took it to the shop and it passed its first NY (and probably ever) inspection. Why did she take my truck? Her car was scheduled for an inspection but blew a power steering line during an emergency Home Depot run. Luckily we keep a reserve of uninspected vehicles for just such a case.

GhiaMonster Reader
1/15/21 3:16 p.m.

Six months without an update on the truck. It was just my daily driver without drama to the tune of 3700 miles accumulated in 2020. Startability got pretty sketchy and gas was leaking out of the 2 barrel at an alarming rate so that got a quick rebuild. Was hoping to limp it to the winter for the fuel injection project but that wasn’t in the cards. Hauled a Christmas tree as the last job of the year and then away to the garage for this winter’s upgrades.

Found a Holley Sniper on an adjacent Craigslist and had a friend grab it for me. Sourced an ebay Edelbrock manifold that was cheap and cleaned up ok. Debated several ways to integrate the dual fuel tanks to a high pressure system and came up with a surge tank from RobbMc Performance. Will keep the stock low pressure pump to feed this under the hood. More parts but gets away from one or two electric pumps on the frame and puts it submerged in the tank upfront so hopefully it is cooler and quieter. I was also a bit worried about a pump living under the truck for any length of time. I do still need to run a return line and get up and running on the main tank before plumbing for both.


The main tank on this is plastic with a full length skidplate / mount. This was a 2 year only option and specific to the long bed 4WD trucks. No reproduction tanks or mounts exist and mine was pretty well rotted through.


Cue about 20 hours of sheetmetal work to rebuild this giant stamping. It was 6 new pieces in the end to match the compound curves and features. I am proud of how it came out and came away a better welder and metal beater.

Now on to the fun stuff of tearing into the engine.

The companion red Dodge from the beginning of this tale came over for some tow in snowboarding in the yard. Luckily some snowmobiles showed up later as they work a little better for smooth towing.

GhiaMonster Reader
4/8/21 7:59 a.m.

There was good progress and then the real cold of February set in.  Combine that with some of the best snow conditions upstate NY has had in a while and you get a lot of recreation but not much wrenching. Parts ordering progressed well though.

With a thaw I tore everything apart, nearly got stuck under the hood removing the cast iron manifold by myself and assessed the rebuild. 

  First up was new lifters and pushrods since I was chasing an annoying tick.  In the end nothing changed with these new parts so back to checking again for cracked manifolds, other exhaust leaks or loose stuff.  At least I know that part of the valvetrain isn’t going to fly apart. 

Replacing cast iron with aluminum and greatly reducing the complexity of the vacuum system was very satisfying.  I spent way too long on fuel systems plumbing but after that the EFI system dropped on rather quickly.  I did find that a new style kickdown linkage was needed so pieced together a cable operated system.  Once I got fuel pressure the truck fired up and idled without any drama besides some fuel leaks to chase down. 

In the end I am very happy to have a system that cleans things up under the hood and doesn’t look out of place, hiding the new fuel system in the fender and integrating the few new wires into existing harness.   Popped the old air cleaner on to complete the look.  Tuning has been easy, get the idle set and drive the thing.  One trip to around the block and one trip to Lowes satisfied me that it wasn’t going to fall apart.  What better way to test a new system then to hook up a trailer and drive a few hundred miles?  Again, this behavior may come from watching too much Roadkill style programing.

The trip to pick up another project vehicle that had been hidden away in storage was a success.  Keeping the vibe fully 70’s here is a 1978 truck pulling a 1970 VW.  The VW needs much in the way of love in the rust repair department, and I am always keeping an eye out for a donor chassis. If that doesn’t come about I will probably get even better at welding. 

The trip left me with a power steering leak and something in need of adjustment to prevent abrupt 3-2 downshifts on the highway over bumps.  Will put some further slack in the kickdown cable and see if that helps things.  Otherwise nothing major planned besides driving the thing and hopefully getting dual tanks working again with a new selector valve.  

GhiaMonster Reader
3/28/22 5:15 p.m.

Drove the truck for an entire summer season with only minor tinkering.  Final duty of 2021 was a good scrap metal haul and then it was parked for the winter. 

I always have some winter car projects planned to go with my goal of not taking the fun cars apart during the summer. This winter we had good snow, ice on the lakes, and decent weather so most of the time was spent playing instead of working in the garage.  As the snow melted I realized time was short to get through my projects.  The Mustang got a dual circuit master cylinder upgrade, some Jeep doors were rebuilt and I’m now tackling brakes on the truck.  The other Jeep got an unplanned new cylinder head and cooling system so that stole some time as well.

Although in good condition the brakes on the truck have always been marginally adequate.  Hook up the trailer and be ready to be scared.  There just isn’t enough power to apply the brakes when loaded. The two feet on the pedal situation has happened more than once.  The internet has a popular parts bin upgrade, piecing together various Ford parts for bigger calipers, a more powerful booster and supposedly matched master cylinder.  The rotor diameter and caliper mounting stays the same so any gains are coming from clamping force.  Full sized cars of the 70s had bigger caliper pistons then the trucks and upgrading gains almost a half inch in diameter. 

The cars use a threaded brake hose as opposed to the truck banjo bolt arrangement.  One person describing the conversion mentioned modifying the calipers to accept the banjo fittings so I gave that a shot. The threads are larger so I found banjo bolts from a Harley application that fit.  Everything tightened down well and we’ll see if it works.

Went with a refresh of rotors, hubs and bearings to avoid dealing with crusty old stuff.  Found one of the manual hubs about to fall off, with several broken bolts.  That would have been less than fun if 4WD was needed. 

The second part of the equation is a F350 brake booster and master cylinder which has two diaphragms as opposed to the F150’s one. I discovered that this part was NLA after starting the conversion but luckily someone has started a small company making reproduction boosters and adaptors for a few old applications. All that arrived in the mail today and will be going on soon.  

GhiaMonster Reader
5/19/22 4:54 p.m.

I wrapped up the brake conversion a few weeks ago and am very happy with the results.  The banjo bolts on the front calipers leaked once but after tightening have been solid.  I should have gotten some before pictures of the brake setup but thought of that as I was tightening down the new booster.  The system bled very easily, and the reproduction booster and master fit well. 

Stopping now feels like a modern vehicle and the truck is much more drivable.  In usual fashion I bled the brakes, drove around the block, and then hitched up a trailer to drag a tractor home.  It was now as fun as towing can ever be.  Even this trip wasn’t sketchy, at least in the braking department: 

To make the install even more rewarding the brake upgrade fixed an EFI tuning issue I have been fighting.  The truck developed an intermittent high idle issue last year. Think struggling to hold the brakes at stop lights when it was at its worst. It seemed like a vacuum leak, but after several rounds of checking intake bolts, blocking off vacuum lines and messing with idle tuning the issue persisted.  Turns out the one vacuum leak I didn’t check for was through the booster.  Drivability is now much improved in two regards.  

Piguin New Reader
5/20/22 1:18 a.m.

Good to see it running about - love the combo of towing a truck with a bike on its bed :D


Did you see any mpg difference with the EFI? Certainly would be handy with the gas prices today.

onemanarmy Reader
5/20/22 3:08 p.m.

What a great looking truck!   Thanks for the updates

You have a trailer braking system, correct?

GhiaMonster Reader
5/23/22 10:59 a.m.

In reply to onemanarmy :

Oh yeah on the trailer brakes.  I started over from scratch on both the hitch and the trailer wiring.  Currently running a Tekonsha Primus IQ that has worked great over the past two years. 

GhiaMonster Reader
5/23/22 11:05 a.m.

In reply to Piguin :

I was hoping for more improvement with the EFI upgrade but didn't notice a big shift.  The intake did help with a bit more power for towing, but still not a powerhouse.

Now that he high idle issue is solved I have been playing with the tuning a bit more.  Lowered base idle, coolant temp based enrichment and targeted a leaner AFR.  Would be a good time to check economy again, but knowing that number can also be a bit of a bummer.  I have been trying to limit usage to just truck stuff and driving a car a bit more.  

GhiaMonster Reader
6/3/22 11:20 a.m.

In the name of science I tracked fuel economy on the last tank.  Returned 11.1 MPG on trips bringing two kayaks up to a lake and another trip into the woods to go mountain biking.  Basically, this truck’s best case duty cycle.  Looking back a few years ago I was getting between 10.5 and 11.6 MPG with the carb so exactly 0 improvement beyond power, startability and drivability. 

How to celebrate such dismal news? A road trip across NY!  Went through last night and checked all the fluids and greased every fitting I could find. Happily not having to add anything to diffs, transfer case or transmission.  Had to teach the wife how to pack for a single cab truck.  Why drive the least fuel-efficient vehicle we own for this trip?  Well, the Caprice wagon doesn’t have a tow hitch yet…  Hopefully will update in another thread about what follows us home. 


Every update needs a picture or two. Over the past week I have been helping a friend rebuild the top end on Stovebolt 6 in a 1930 Chevy. 

It has been really cool to work on something that is 92 years old.  It was even cooler when we got it up and running after replacing a dropped valve.  A few more things to button up and hopefully it will be fully operational this weekend.  

GhiaMonster Reader
6/15/22 10:22 a.m.

We put over 700 miles on the truck without incident.  Half of that was towing and the truck really didn’t mind or change fuel economy.  Some AC would be nice at this point.  It was fine with the windows down but that gets tiring after hours on the highway.  Throughout the trip I didn’t see any vehicle older than us on the main roads. 

So we bought a boat, or more specifically the wife bought a boat that I now work on. 

 In the past week I have learned a bunch about outboard two strokes which is a fun new subject. The spark plugs are weird.



No major plans for the truck in the short term, just keep using it for truck stuff.  I might do a little body work but will probably find better things to do.  

GhiaMonster Reader
8/11/22 12:02 p.m.

The story left off with the purchase of a boat. My only complaint about that is refreshing the boat has stolen time from fixing other vehicles.  We have been out 10 times and have at least 50 miles on the thing so it’s been good. The truck has done great dragging it to various bodies of water and makes the launching portion easy.

We had a big party and along with hauling stuff all over, the truck was also the location for the ice luge part of the evening. 

One truck issue that has kept coming back is a high idle.  I have thought I fixed it several times now with both tuning and hardware changes but it always returns at seemingly random times, usually when the truck is warmed up.  I was beginning to believe that the Holley Sniper setup was just very sensitive to vacuum and my somewhat tired 351 was making too much blowby or was too leaky.  I owe a friend a case of beer because he finally diagnosed a similar issue on the same throttle body in his truck.  Although the throttle position was always returning to 0 I never confirmed that the secondaries were closing properly.  There are times they would get stuck open slightly and you could open the hood, push the linkage closed and idle speed returned to normal.

I knew about this issue for a few months before I finally had a free few hours that I could take the truck apart.  Looking at the secondary throttle blades showed where they had been scuffing on the bore.  The shaft also had some very sharp edges where it was machined flat to accept the blades.  I chamfered the sharp edges of the blades and smoothed out where the shaft rotates in the bore.  During reassembly I centered the blades better in the bores and gave the secondary return spring another wrap for more tension.  So far the secondaries haven’t stuck again. I also started over with a new tune so the system would learn without that variation.

Next up, fix the worn out column shifter. Parts have only been painted and ready to go for a few months.  

GhiaMonster Reader
9/21/22 6:26 p.m.

I tore into the steering column and was able to extricate the old shifter components.  Things were much more worn than I expected, leaving me surprised the thing even still shifted. 

The column was reassembled with much fiddling, but I am happy to report that it functions as new again.  I haven’t mistakenly left it in reverse, missing park, since. A major safety upgrade right there.

This one interior improvement kicked off several other small fixes that make the truck more livable.  The heater selector lever had ceased to function again, reverting to the way it was when I got the truck.  This time I fixed it with a thru bolt instead of the toothed clip Ford used. 

Next up was wiring in a radio delay relay so the radio stays on after keyoff until the door is opened, like a modern truck. Completely unnecessary, but fits my theme of trying to make it function like a 21st century vehicle.  The Retro Sound stereo takes several seconds to boot up each time so just switching to accessory is annoying. I also cleaned up some wiring while in there. 

The stock headliner had a big gouge in it and the vinyl was constantly peeling back, which always caught my eye.  A new headliner was expensive and also costly to ship so I experimented with recovering the original.  After gluing up a test strip of the fabric and practicing my maneuvers to lay it down without wrinkles I set to work.  That paid off and I am very happy with the results.  Hopefully using the $30 a can headliner adhesive gets me some years out of it. 

The final touch is a replacement seat cover that hopefully goes on this weekend. The wife was horrified that I was going to change the look but, I was able to find the exact same thing to replace the aging one that came with the truck. 

GhiaMonster Reader
12/2/22 5:04 p.m.

In the last month the truck has been part of the usual end of the season activities.  Scrap metal hauled to the scrap yard, firewood up to the house and its final duty, hauling this year’s Christmas tree.  There are no major projects planned for it over the winter beyond a few clean up items.  If I get really motivated there is some bodywork to go after and the tailgate could use a refresh. Happy Holidays!

jfryjfry SuperDork
12/3/22 10:26 a.m.

Beautiful truck!   Where did you get the shifter rebuild?   Find a new turn signal piece?   That white plastic piece that looks like it will break if you look too hard at it?

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