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Old 04-19-2011, 08:49 AM
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ohdrj1all ohdrj1all is offline
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Default Looking at/for Ford F-series w/ 300ci inline-6



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Hi all... I have become kind of intrigued of late with Ford's F-series pickups with the near-bulletproof 300ci inline (aka straight) 6 motor. This motor seems to be the best non-diesel alternative out there for remote (post-SHTF) living reliability/durability/workability.

I have read plenty of people's opinions on this motor and honestly, haven't ever really read one that was negative (other than to say it's slow). I have even read comments from Chevy guys that must grudgingly offer up respect to this 6cyl Ford wonder. Of course, the quality of the rest of the Ford truck is the question then.

So my question to you all is (having never owned a Ford in my life for whatever reason (not necessarily intentionally, just the way it's worked out))... what should one look out for when Ford F-series shopping? Are there better model years to look for when hunting down a 300ci inline-6 Ford pickup? Should I avoid EFI (which are more powerful and get better mpg from what I understand and will be found in the newer models)? The 300 went out of production in 1996, so all of them are pretty old vehicles by now so we're talking probably the difference of $1000-$2000 in price between say a 1977 and a 1996 Model... so price isn't that big of a deal.

How about transmissions? Manual is the obvious choice for the granny gear, but will it necessarily be a better choice for durability? Are Ford automatics a weak area?

Anyway, would be interested to get people's take on this who are better versed in these trucks and the application for which it would be used (ie, more of a post-SHTF vehicle... not necessarily a BOV, probably more something I'd leave at my BOL most of the time so it'd be there when I got there).

I don't necessarily need it. I have a 4x4 vehicle already (2008 Jeep Commander) with towing package. But as a ready BOL beater it seems like an interesting idea. Maybe get an extra fuel tank mounted, etc.

Anyway, thanks in advance for the help/advice.
Old 04-19-2011, 09:07 AM
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I have always liked I-6s;
Slow is a relative term; we got one, in a full sized 63 Ford Galixie, to run mid 13 second quarter mile times (with a relatively extreme cam and 3 Webbers); gas mileage was poor at best however.

In stock form they are very reliable and do not have much horsepower, but the off idle torque tends to make up for it.

If you are not afraid of EMP definitely go with the fuel injection (it will save many hassles over carburettors). The EFI is not sequential (its bank fire) but still works very well.

Unfortunately like most obsolete engines; eventually, you will have problems getting parts.

Enjoy!
Old 04-19-2011, 05:37 PM
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Worked with a guy that had an early-mid 80s F-250 4x4 with the 300 & manual trans. I remember him saying how pulling his boat trailer and hitting a hill left him wanting a little more power. Other that that, rock solid & long lasting. Happy hunting!
Old 04-19-2011, 06:22 PM
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Know the rear axle ratio! I had a beautiful black flairside 2WD with 300, manual trans with a 2.75 rear axle ratio. It was some kind of fuel economy special - yuck. There's an especially tall bridge in mid-Michigan that this truck had to go up in 3rd gear mostly. Be sure to get at least a 3.00 ratio. I'd stay with a stick shift as well. Other than that, the truck held up beautifully. Good luck!
Old 04-19-2011, 09:56 PM
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check the wiring. i have a 86 f150 and have nothing but electrical problems with it, it has a c-6 tranny and has slipped for years( best tranny in my opinion) but the electrical is a nitemare. this truck has cost me nothing to run other than basic tuneup but has multiple relays changed,wiring just burned off, multiple shorts to fuel injectors,wires melted of fuel pump relay. just fix the wire and runs perfect, i think once i get all the factory wiring replaced i'll have a good truck.
if you read the ford forums i'm not the only one this happens to, just replace the burned wire and good to go.
Old 04-20-2011, 08:14 PM
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I'd definitely go with a '87-96 motor as they had the EFI. About 5-6 years ago I could of had a sharp '95 5spd, 4x4, short bed single cab with decent miles(right around a 100k if I remember correctly) for $4500, so I'd say $2000-3000 for something along the lines I described wouldn't be out of the question.

They also put them in some 3/4 ton trucks also if you want something more durable and full-size Broncos.

IF you find one one with an automatic they are light-duty versions of the transmissions they put in superdutys due to the high torque factor.

Most of the ford pickups in those years came from the factory with dual tanks.
Old 04-21-2011, 02:29 PM
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My Pop had 2: 1986 F-150 4X4 w/the 300 then a 1994 F-150 2x4 w/300

The last time I saw the '86 it had 325K on it and used a qt of oil in about 4 months. The '94 had 279K and about the same condition. My only concern with the 300 with EFI would be an EMP from a nuke. Other than that, your golden in my book.

You should have seen my Dad when he found out they discontinued the 300! He drove the the dealership where he bought 6 trucks over 30 years and told the owner he'd by a Dodge from now on!!!

Of course he bought a new 2006, but drove 40 miles to another dealer!!! hehehe.
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:45 PM
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I had one in a 1983 F-150. The motor itself was designed as a gasoline tractor engine. Hardly any horsepower but you could pull a house of its foundation with the torque. The model I had must have been a pretty high class model with its air conditioning and cloth seats with the chrome buckles and all the other stuff. But it did have the 3spd w/ granny gear. I pulled a 21' Bayliner out of the water for a guy in granny gear without touching the gas pedal. If I got one I would stick to the carbureted one and the manual model. And I would get an older one, too. The motor and tranny are bulletproof. A clutch and throwout bearing can be had for cheap. I could do just about all my maintenance from the top of the engine including changing the oil. And to top it off after 5,000 miles between oil changes it came out looking just about the way it went in. That is one truck I wish I had kept.

I read an economy performance build in Popular 4X4 where they tuned up the 4.9L I6 by taking the heads to the machine shop and milling .110 of it to increase the compression ration. More than 1/10 of an inch!. They also built some headers and a single 3" exhaust all the way out the end, dual 300 cfm singles, etc. It wasn't a rocket, but it made about as much power as a bone stock 350 Chevy from the 80's (about 265hp and a little over 300 ft/lbs of torque).

Check out the guys over at www.fordsix.com and www.fordsixparts.com they have lots of info.

Found another site: www.cliffordperformance.com just a little reminder that horsepower = $$
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:01 PM
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I've owned several Ford pickups. Only one had the straight six, but it did me right. I also like their 302cui V8. New is nice, but given the choice I'd always take a rebuilt mid 70's because they're so simple and easy to work on. In fact for my next PU I'm just gonna buy a 70s body and build the rest. I'd definitely want a manual if you're gonna tow or do much mountain driving. Transmissions haven't been the weak point in my experience. It's the clutch and slave cylinders. Which you could replace with more robust parts.

As far as years to stay away from... I believe they switched to the computerized carborator in 83 or 84. And I seem to remember them having some trouble with it. But I can't swear by it. I'd stick with the older models anyway. You could pick up a straight body with a blown engine pretty cheap. Drop in a new engine/trans of your choice. The rest is pretty easy to work on.

That said, I'd also encourage you to consider Chevy. Parts are a lot more common from vehicle to vehicle and thus tend to be cheaper. You could do the same thing with an older Chevy and their crate engines are very reasonably priced.
Old 04-21-2011, 05:22 PM
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I actually sold my F-150 to get a 1985 Short Bed Chevy with a 350 small block and a TH350 tranny. The interchangeability of the parts are great. you could take any small block from pretty much any time period and put it in there. It didn't have the fuel injected motor when I bought it and I ended up cannibalizing a 1979 L82 Corvette and tricking out that motor since it cam with 2.02 Camel hump heads, forged rods, a forged steel crank, and a Muncie Rock Crusher transmission. I could go into any auto parts store and get a single wire alternator, a starter, anything. I think I ended up putting a 125A alternator from a Buick or Cadillac on it. That's a great platform.
Old 04-21-2011, 06:06 PM
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I had an 84' F150 with the I-6 for about 10 years. It only ran on 5 cylinders for most of the time. Rings were shot in #6. It had the 4 speed OD tranny, and I had to drive it like a 3 speed. I was selling it and my Dad ended up buying it and still drives it to this day, still a 5 cylinde-3 speed. Made for a good hunting, firewood and mulch truck.
Old 04-22-2011, 11:21 PM
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I have an 89 short bed standard cab with the 300 and 5 speed manual. Rusty as hell, but I only paid $400 for it, with 87,000 miles. It goes, stops, and hauls what I need to. The doors no longer lock, but it's so fugly it's theftproof.

I would buy another in a heartbeat.
Old 04-23-2011, 12:09 AM
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the only fault the I-6 has is gas mileage...with or with out a manual tranny. in my own experiience the 302 in the same truck will get similar mileage with the benefit of more top end and a generally easier drive.....but if you want to tug a trailer around forget the 302.
also ....maybe someone can chime in on this....there were a few years where ford used a mazda 5 speed w an internal slave cylinder that was failure prone (almost yearly) that basically required dropping the tranny/transfer case for a $50 part.......was it 88-91? memory is starting to go.....
Old 04-25-2011, 09:30 PM
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Had a 73 3/4 ton 2wd in highschool. Bought a 78 1/2 ton 4x4 when I was in the service in 96. Drove it as my daily driver for 6 or 7 years and kept it around as a farm truck after that. It still runs. Also have a 79 f150 4x4 I drove for 2-3 yrs. Its sitting in the shed now, needs a little work, but could probably have it going in a day or two. All three of em had 300 sixes and four speeds. I love the ease of maintenance on the older sixes. Parts for them are still pretty cheap compared to the newer motors. I was once at the parts store with a buddy and found out I could order a short block for a six for the same price he was going to have to pay for a distributor for his Ford Aspire. I have had to change out pressure plates on my pickups a couple of times, the clutch looked fine but the springs on the plates went kaput. This was after hitting unknown washboards way too fast. Last one I did took a day and a half and I took the replacement clutch and pressure plate out of an old truck. If you're willing to do your own maintenance you can pretty much keep an older Ford going until the frame rusts out.
Old 04-26-2011, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recently awoken View Post
the only fault the I-6 has is gas mileage...with or with out a manual tranny. in my own experiience the 302 in the same truck will get similar mileage with the benefit of more top end and a generally easier drive.....but if you want to tug a trailer around forget the 302.
also ....maybe someone can chime in on this....there were a few years where ford used a mazda 5 speed w an internal slave cylinder that was failure prone (almost yearly) that basically required dropping the tranny/transfer case for a $50 part.......was it 88-91? memory is starting to go.....

ive got an 85 i6 with the 4spd and the MPG isnt bad...

Old 04-26-2011, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmodel65 View Post
ive got an 85 i6 with the 4spd and the MPG isnt bad...

YouTube - 1984 Ford 4.9L six Ad
wish mine had got 30 highway! then again mine was 4x4
Old 04-26-2011, 09:56 PM
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i get over 20 mpg highway probably around 25 if i drive 55mph....but it doesnt like to go much faster than that anyways LOL
Old 04-28-2011, 09:13 AM
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Well... I ended up finding a Chevy instead... just the way it worked out.

I am still enamored with the Ford 300, but I came across a 1977 Chevy K20 (3/4 ton, 4x4) "Camper Special" (8400 GVW). 350ci/TH350 with dual Dana 44s (4.10s in the back, ugh!), dual fuel tanks, dual batteries, tow package, working AC for $2000 and couldn't pass it up. Unfortunately, it's also got a 6" Rancho lift and 35" tires so MPG is atrocious... but with some carb work (which I'll have to do to get it thru emissions anyway) I should be able to squeak a few more MPG out of it... but nothing great probably unless I go with smaller tires. Really like the stance of it (beastly blue thing I have dubbed "Bluto") with the 35s, but practicality may have to win out.

Anyway, while I would have loved to have a Ford 300, this just came along and I decided to take the plunge. 73-87 Chevy/GMC trucks are very common and the SBC 350 is certainly an uber-common motor with great parts availability, so as long as I can manage to pull some MPGs out of this brute I think I might have a good truck! Time will tell....
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