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Thread: Monty's 1978 F-150 Custom

  1. #1
    It's all about ME! monterey1962's Avatar
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    Default Monty's 1978 F-150 Custom

    1978 F-150 Custom, 4x4 (4L, N, 2H, 4H), 4-speed manual, 400 engine, factory front quad shocks. Complete truck, non-running. Well, it runs a little while if you pour gas in the carb. Rusted body, but the chassis looks decent. Was a farm truck. $650.

    Not sure what the final outcome of this thing is going to be, but a general plan is as follows:

    -Re-finish the spoked wheels.
    -31x10.50R15 tires (either AT's or MT's)
    -Go through the brakes, suspension, and drive-line.
    -Get it running and driving.
    -Remove and clean/seal the fuel tanks.
    -Weld in new floor pans.
    -Body work, body work, body work.
    -Ditch the grill guard and tool box.
    -Dual exhaust with the factory mufflers from my Mustang.
    -Redo the interior.
    -Plus who knows what else.

    No idea what I'll do with the motor. Was told it was a 400 out of an LTD.

    I have no idea what color it will be when done. I really do like the blue paint on the dash, though.

    It is planned as a long term project. No rushing it. Let me know what you guys think of this truck. I'm open to suggestions on what to do with this thing, too.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails f001.jpg   f002.jpg   f003.jpg   f005.jpg   f006.jpg  

    f007.jpg   f004.jpg  
    Three's company. Six is a fleet.

    1978 F-150 Custom
    1989 Crown Victoria LX
    1995 F-150 XLT
    1998 Crown Victoria LX
    2004 Crown Victoria LX Sport
    2011 Mustang GT

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    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    That's less rusty than my 74 by looking at the pics. Nit bad at all. Original paint?

    Plans sound good. My suggestion would be to get the 79 square headlights (personal preference). They were on some 78's - XLT Lariats I think.

    Absolutely can't beat the price.
    1988 Crown Vic Wagon - daily
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, former lawn ornament
    Other: 95 Ranger, 74 F250, 68 Mustang, 94 Mustang
    Sold: 1982 LTD and 1987 Crown Vic

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  3. #3
    drink a beer, grow a beard, cut it, grind it, weld it back His Royal Ghostliness's Avatar
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    Looks like your driver-side radius arm is bent, idk if these were forged but if they were (it'll say on them) you shouldn't try to straighten it, just replace it.

    Transmission should be NP435 iirc based on the shifter shape, you can ID it by the tailshaft housing between the transfer case and the transmission itself - cast iron is NP435, aluminum is T18 or T19. With the NP205 transfer case you got (based on your shifting pattern) personally I'd like to see a cast-iron piece in there, also the NP435 has somewhat stronger output shaft which matters if you decide to hot-rod the engine. But generally rock-solid setup there either way, rock-heavy too, lol

    Rear is 9", I hate drums so I'd be looking for ways to disc-brake that. Also rebuild leaf springs by stripping them apart and cleaning each leaf individually. Greasing them is optional, and only with fully synthetic grease should be used - no blends and absolutely no fuckin regular grease as those will mess with the spring steel. Do NOT paint individual leaves, you can paint the whole pack once reassembled tho, but there should be no paint between the leaves. Poly bushings everywhere.

    Front is D44, nice and reliable axle with no inherent weaknesses if tire size is kept reasonable. Your future 31" tires do qualify as reasonable. Replace any and all bushings you see with polyurethane, especially the C-wedges between the radius arms and the axle. Keep in mind those can be had in different angles as that is how you adjust the caster on these axles, so plan accordingly. For ball joints supposedly XRF is best these days, Spicer is OEM and last about forever, and Moog is choice #3 - absolutely no part-store in-house brands should ever be used. Same with U-joints at the wheels, stick with the OEM stuff (Spicer). All rebuild parts can be had from Jeff's Bronco Graveyard, they have excellent prices and ship fast and package the parts well.

    Looks like you could use a bit of lift, wouldn't go with more than 2" tho. Front will come from coils, rear from blocks.

    If you want plastic tanks, MTS makes nice ones right here in the USA. About $200 a piece, GasTankDepot.com was cheapest for mine, free shipping too.

    Tires, I have a thing for tall and skinny, wide ones look way too redneck especially on a non-lifted truck. If you can find cheap 16" wheels in the 5 on 5.5" bolt pattern you can run your standard 3/4-ton and 1-ton tires in either 235/85-16 or 265/75-16 size, both are 31" tall but one is 1" wider than the other. Get load range E and keep your pressure at 50psi or so and you'll have a strong tire that still rides decent.

    For paint I'd do two-tone in white and blue, in any pattern that suits your fancy.

    That's about all I got now
    The ones who accomplish true greatness, are the foolish who keep pressing onward.
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    It's all about ME! monterey1962's Avatar
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    Input greatly appreciated.

    Tiggie, I prefer the squares, too. We had a '78 F-250 Ranger on the farm with them. I believe it is the original paint.

    HRG, thank you for the info.
    Three's company. Six is a fleet.

    1978 F-150 Custom
    1989 Crown Victoria LX
    1995 F-150 XLT
    1998 Crown Victoria LX
    2004 Crown Victoria LX Sport
    2011 Mustang GT

  5. #5
    drink a beer, grow a beard, cut it, grind it, weld it back His Royal Ghostliness's Avatar
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    The headlight shape is a weird thing - in '78 the base model was rounds and Ranger and whatever the other fancy trims were could get squares. Then in '79 thing switched around, base models got squares and rounds became optional on the higher trim levels. Typical Ford logic there, lol
    The ones who accomplish true greatness, are the foolish who keep pressing onward.
    The ones who accomplish nothing, are the wise who know when to quit.

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    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    I like the square headlights too. Looks like it was originally an automatic truck.

    I like drummy brakes. Mark V's had 9" rears with discs though. Could probably make something work with that.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
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    Looks like an excellent find.
    "X" car 89 Colony Park LS Mods>Engine delete, SS duals magnaflow hflow cats, 2010 Must GT mufflers, auto air shocks, Posi, Tran cooler, big front brakes, 03+ rear disks, Large 3g alt, Tripminder, GS grill, 86 seats, 16" HPP wheels, winter boots=96 Cartier wheels, 215-65/16 Goodyear ULTRA GW3 snows, pi rear sway, alum driveshaft.
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  8. #8
    drink a beer, grow a beard, cut it, grind it, weld it back His Royal Ghostliness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    I like the square headlights too. Looks like it was originally an automatic truck.
    Idk about that - there's no visible shifter stalk on the column, the column itself does not have the built-in gear indicator automatics do (it's not in the gauge cluster on these trucks, that happened in later models), and both sticks coming out the floor are exactly where they need to be (floor tunneling cover is not replaceable on these trucks, you can't just take the auto one off and drop a stick one in, you gotta cut the holes yourself). All looks factory stick to me.

    Bah, fuck drum brakes, their only advantage is they're cheap to manufacture. There ain't a thing a drum can do a disc can't do better, all the way up to and including the 16.5"x7" drums on 46k big truck tandems drivers (you can get a Bendix air disc there if you got the extra cash). About the only "everyday" application drums still rule are Sisu's heavy-haulage (70k-up) dual-and tri-drive setups, but then again, those are not exactly commonly used by most folks even in the trucking crowd... So yeah, discs FTW!

    That MkV setup is 5 on 5" bolt patter bts, so he'll need to have the rotors redrilled at least. But come on, it's a 7th gen truck, there is someone out there who makes the good shit as a bolt-on job.
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  9. #9
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    It's the pedal set up that's got me wondering. They're all out of alignment with eachother and the brake pedal is the fat one I normally see associated with autos.

    As far as drum brakes are concerned I'm not worried about what's better, more like that they function and do the job of stopping the car. I've had calipers seize up on me but never drums. I've seen shoes seized up on drums before but never on a vehicle that's driven on a regular basis. I like discs, I swapped out the drums on my Firebird to gain those but I appreciate drums too.

    Oh. Couldn't he just swap the axle shafts? I have NFC though. All I know is Mark V's got discs and maybe posi.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
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  10. #10
    drink a beer, grow a beard, cut it, grind it, weld it back His Royal Ghostliness's Avatar
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    Yeah good catch on the brake pedal pad, idk then... Mehm if it works, and is structurally sound (not some rigged clusterfuck under the dash), I say fuck it, run the bitch

    Drums, yeah fuck those things! Yeah they will stop the vehicle, 4-wheel drums will also stop it, but it's quite important how they will do so Brake calipers generally do not seize up if you clean the slides and lubricate them well (front brakes on this here particular truck style excluded, those will wanna stick regardless cause of the stupid sliders setup they got). Drum wheel cylinders seize up all the fuckin time, and you can't lubricate them to prevent that. Even on daily drivers I've had them basters seize up a piston, the only ones that actually hold up are Bendix OEM parts but good luck finding those (naturally that is what I have in my old drum-brake axle) - parts store specials typically 2-3 years service life, then you toss them and replace with probably the same type of junk cause that's more or less all you can get these days. Then there is the constant adjustment cause the self-adjusters generally suck and you're better off doing the job manually. Rust ridge on the lip of the drum will try to fuck the shoes up every time, especially if the adjuster is seized up and cannot be backed out...

    The shafts will most likely be different - in wheel bearing size, in length, heck maybe shaft diameter and spline count in the diff. Shenanigans like that rarely work, it does happen but it's certainly not the norm unfortunately.
    The ones who accomplish true greatness, are the foolish who keep pressing onward.
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  11. #11
    It's all about ME! monterey1962's Avatar
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    Should be factory manual transmission. Quick image search shows the same pedal setup for that year. It does look odd, though. The clutch pedal is considerably higher than the brake.

    Will see if I can get it running this weekend. I need to get it further in the back yard since I don't have a lot of space around here. I usually pile snow where it's currently sitting.

    BG has a rear disc conversion kit. http://shop.broncograveyard.com/Rear...products/1330/
    Three's company. Six is a fleet.

    1978 F-150 Custom
    1989 Crown Victoria LX
    1995 F-150 XLT
    1998 Crown Victoria LX
    2004 Crown Victoria LX Sport
    2011 Mustang GT

  12. #12
    drink a beer, grow a beard, cut it, grind it, weld it back His Royal Ghostliness's Avatar
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    Yeah, them be the Caddy calipers that everyone loves/hates. You're looking at $600 for the whole works for the parking brake setup, and that does not include cables or the work needed for routing them... And there's the thing of moving the shock mounts too. I'd be looking at an entire newer-model axle that is disc-brake from the factory using the drum-in-hat setup. Easy enough to find for 8-lug trucks in various configurations (not necessarily cheap tho), not sure what's available for halftons tho, never had to look into it.
    The ones who accomplish true greatness, are the foolish who keep pressing onward.
    The ones who accomplish nothing, are the wise who know when to quit.

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    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    All the dentsides have that brake pedal auto or manual from what I've seen. Make that my second recommendation: cut that brake pedal down and put the smaller pedal pad on there. Dents and bull nose got it right. Not sure why dents didn't.
    1988 Crown Vic Wagon - daily
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, former lawn ornament
    Other: 95 Ranger, 74 F250, 68 Mustang, 94 Mustang
    Sold: 1982 LTD and 1987 Crown Vic

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    I love it! That's definitely a 351 or 400M, nothing wrong with it, although they're decidedly not wow. Rebuild the motor with a little more compression and put edelbrock Cleveland heads on it, or Aussie 2v Cleveland heads if you can lay your hands on them. I good cam and induction setup you'll have a tough torque monster! Defo do the exhaust with a good set of headers, true duals or a crossover should you desire, but it's a truck, so don't get too exotic.

    I'd surely go through the fuel system but not sure i'd paint it or even remove that shitty grille guard. Kinda adds character. Can't tell from pics but is the rust really bad? Slightly bigger tires would look badass and maybe a small lift, but let's not go douchebag with it now. Far as rear disc brakes, I wouldn't do it if you ever use the e-brake or need to. Unless you go really fancy , none of those things work for shit. It's also just an old truck, not a road-race car. That money could be spent elsewhere. I do like ghosty's two-tone white-and-blue paint scheme, but the thing looks tough as fuck right now if you ask me. That's the kind of truck you can paint with rustoleum and not feel like a dick for it. Are you really going to restomod or do a concourse resto? Make it faster, noisy, and fairly reliable, and call it good buddy. Sweet truck and a good catch if you ask me.

  15. #15
    drink a beer, grow a beard, cut it, grind it, weld it back His Royal Ghostliness's Avatar
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    True duals do not belong on a 4x4 truck that is to be used in anything other than mud bogs! Also fuck any sort of duals on a 4x4 truck, transfer case and front driveshaft tend to make that job quite interesting But yes, go for the torque on that engine build, the hell with them horses.

    Rear discs, often the easiest and safest way to go about is to replace the entire axle assembly with one that has the setup you want in OEM form. For a halfton Ford truck like this one you gotta go over to the dark side with a '03-'08 Ram 1500 axle (they also usually have cookies there, so it's a double win). Cutting and relocating spring and shock perches is to be expected. May need 17" wheels to clear the rear, may be able to slide with 16" steelies too tho, idk. 17" is the new 16" anyways, quite a few 17" tires are now cheaper than the 16" version in the same width and height cause they ppen to be an OEM size for whatever popular/common vehicle out there. But yeah, much as I hate drums I gotta agree that this ain't no cost-effective swap, it's a more of want vs. need type of upgrade.

    Should be able to replace the halfton rear wheel cylinders with such from a 1-ton dually, the difference can be noticeable.
    The ones who accomplish true greatness, are the foolish who keep pressing onward.
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    It's all about ME! monterey1962's Avatar
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    Knuckle, I guarantee it won't be anything near show-car finish when done. I'd like to fix the rust, get the body straight, and paint it to look nice. If I go all out and fancy it up, then I will end up not driving it. Rust-wise, the rear quarters are crunchy above the wheel wells. Holes on the lower rear by the bumper. Both doors are rotted on the bottom, along with the driver's side rear cab corner. Can't forget the holes in the floor boards, either.

    Will see how this motor runs, then go from there. I'm sure there will be mild upgrades at some point.

    Don't know if I could use my stock Mustang mufflers on this thing without too much hassle. Mufflers are 2.75" in/out, iirc. Maybe a 2.5" single exhaust and use one muffler? I just want to use those damn mufflers on something. No one wants to buy stock GT mufflers.

    I had 31X10.50R15's on a stock '86 F-150 with a 4-speed. They filled the wheel wells just right and rode nice, too. 235's on the '78 now, and they look a bit too small.
    Three's company. Six is a fleet.

    1978 F-150 Custom
    1989 Crown Victoria LX
    1995 F-150 XLT
    1998 Crown Victoria LX
    2004 Crown Victoria LX Sport
    2011 Mustang GT

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    drink a beer, grow a beard, cut it, grind it, weld it back His Royal Ghostliness's Avatar
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    Well you can do twin 2.5s, but they gotta run side by side. Way I've seen it done is people take the Y-pipe and chop it from the Y back, and run two individual pipes next to one another instead of one common one. Then you also do the mufflers side by side, and they do make dual tail kits if you wanna go with an exit on each side of the truck. To use the 2.75" mufflers you'll obviously need adapters, should be able to get those just about anywhere tho, or you can make your own even.
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    White collar, and a red neck P72Ford's Avatar
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    Nice 6th gen. I miss mine. Do it right, and keep it close to stock, and I would venture you'll never lose.

    The values on these things are going up, and I regret ever selling my '75. These trucks are blissfully simple to work on, and quite rugged. I love the charms of older trucks, and these trucks have plenty of them.

    I guess I am in the minority here, but I despise the rectangle headlights; although biased, I feel the '73-'75 grille and headlights are the nicest, followed by '76-'77, followed by the '78 Custom.

    It looks surprisingly clean, to be honest. Way better than any native to this area (if they even still exist).
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    GMN Founder Grand Marquis GT's Avatar
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    I too am a fan of the 73-75 grille and headlights. Ford really outdid themselves with that design, aka the "Uncle Jesse".



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  20. #20
    drink a beer, grow a beard, cut it, grind it, weld it back His Royal Ghostliness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P72Ford View Post
    I guess I am in the minority here, but I despise the rectangle headlights; although biased, I feel the '73-'75 grille and headlights are the nicest, followed by '76-'77, followed by the '78 Custom.
    Nope, not a minority, I prefer the round ones as well. Not too crazy about the '73'-75 grille tho, it just screams quad lights setup yet it doesn't have one, just a single pair. The later ones look more proportionate to me, with separate headlight bezels and huge grille opening between them. But hey, that's the nice thing about these older trucks, you can make it look however you want it - it's quite a bit harder to do so with the 7th gen, worse with the 8ths (bricknose), and practically impossible with the 9th (OBS) gens.

    There is something to be said about steel dash too - don't like how it is, weld on it till you do. Change your mind or needs later on, cut stuff off and do some more welding. Can't do that with plastic stuff...
    The ones who accomplish true greatness, are the foolish who keep pressing onward.
    The ones who accomplish nothing, are the wise who know when to quit.

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