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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, the wife and I were driving around town and we saw an old truck for sale. It's an old Ford F250 Ranger XLT, the wife and I are guessing a '78 or '79. Asking price is $2000.

For reference, here's a picture of the truck model, from Wikipedia not of the actual truck.


I stopped and knocked on the door, but nobody answered, so I don't know if it runs or not, or if there's anything wrong with it. I took a look inside and from what I could see, it wasn't too bad, only a couple minor tears in the upholstery, floor didn't look rusted out or anything. It's an automatic, needs new paint, but that's all I can really tell from the outside.

I'm going to try and get in contact with the seller and find out more about it.

My experience in the mechanical field is more in the modern muscle car, not older vehicles. I'm getting this truck to have a project and hopefully make it a worthy BOV. I'll do the obvious work first, get it running and reliable, then work on the not so important stuff.

What I want to know is if it would be worth working on, if it only had small problems? What should I really be looking for in these older trucks? What were common problems from these trucks?

I'll try to get some pics to show you guys, let you see anything that may or may not be an issue.

That's all I have for now.

Feel free to drop some pointers, tips, suggestions, etc.


EDIT ADDED:
One more thing: Don't come in here and troll, don't flame others for their input. I don't care about your preference of Chevy vs Ford vs GMC vs Dodge, I just want hard facts about known problems or known awesomeness.

I know that most people here at SB are good folks, but there's also the immature turds who have to get their pleasure via flaming others.

Thank you.
 

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I learned to drive in a 1978 f series, had a 390 and a auto, thats about all I remeber of it, loved that truck, and fully intened to find one just like it someday, not as a bov, but just to have.

these older trucks might not have the modernizations of a newer pickup, but they were built like a tank, and if you dont get to flashy with paint and whatnot, it would be a cool low key route to take, look forward to seeing more, hopefully it works out!
 

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not sure if that era ford had the TTB (twin traction beam) front suspension or not. they can be a tad more difficult in the maintenance/upgrade department. otherwise, make sure the engine is one that is easy to get parts from the local jy or parts stores... 351 cleveland vs. 351 windsor, etc. should have a towing package being a 3/4 ton model including a tranny cooler, electrical pkg, and gearing. i see it has the dual gas tanks which is a big plus.
i would check out putting in a rear locker for added traction along with all terrain type tires for more capability on and off road.
looks like a nice truck, hope it drives out nice for you.
 

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Known problems:
The front suspension is notoriously difficult to align and keep aligned, even when completely rebuilt. If it is a "kingpin" front suspension it is more difficult and expensive, if you can even find someone to work on it. This is a known problem on all Ford "twin I beam" suspensions.

Fuel economy will be poor, especially compared to similar sized modern engines.

Late 70's it will have miles and miles of vacuum hoses, this can be troublesome if you have to pass visual emission inspections every year.

The electronic ignition was needlessly complicated.

The Good:

If you do not have to pass a visual emissions inspection, you can greatly simplify things. Replacing the distributor with a 60's equivalent with points, and a regular carburetor.

I really don't consider it to be all that old.


homer
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I learned to drive in a 1978 f series, had a 390 and a auto, thats about all I remeber of it, loved that truck, and fully intened to find one just like it someday, not as a bov, but just to have.

these older trucks might not have the modernizations of a newer pickup, but they were built like a tank, and if you dont get to flashy with paint and whatnot, it would be a cool low key route to take, look forward to seeing more, hopefully it works out!
Thank you! And yes, I plan on making it really low-key. Not camo, but colors that can sort of blend in, in the woods. Or I think the proper way to put it is to not be as easily noticed from 100m, and maybe I can get a camo net to supplement that too. That all sounded and seemed better in my head, but you get what I mean. :thumb:

Thanks for the input, and if ya have anything else that comes to mind, feel free!

EDIT:

Ok, you guys posted while I was still replying to syoungs.

Just so ya know, as of now, I'm considering a truck like this, but it doesn't have to be this exact model either. If any of you have a suggestion for a truck that is VERY sturdy for on and offroad use, easily obtained/inexpensive parts, etc, then by all means, go ahead and tell me. The last section of my original post was only targeted at people who like to flame.
 

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My 1990 ford which looks just like that has a 460 in it and gets more mialiage then my 84' bronco. The bronco has a 351 windser in it, which drinks gas just thinking about it. My truck does about 12 mph loaded or empty , down hill or up hill . Nothing matters in it. P.S. my truck just went over the 250,000 mile mark and still going strong. Needs new thrust bushings in it. About 20.00 and a couple of hours labor. I have also loaded over a ton of rock and gone a couple of hundred miles at a time, over 40 on dirt roads. Does that answer any of your questions ? If this one happens to be a 6 cyl, run as it won't have the power to do anything with.
 

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my pick would be any of the "big 3" from the 1970's to the early 1980's to assure availability of parts and the least amount of electronics and emission controls. the simple diesels from that era are nice, but not known for their horsepower really. the imports of that era are smaller, the old 'mini-pickups', and not a first choice for more heavy duty work.
and i wouldn't overlook the big gmc/chevy suburbans of those years either. great stowage and towing capacity to be sure.
2 or 4 wheel drive would be more of a personal choice depending on where you live. where i am, it is more of a necessity really.
best of luck in your search.
 

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I am a Dodge man, but if you want the ultimate in least expensive and easiest to find parts for, Chevy is your ticket. Anything from the late 70's back as far as you want to go.

Don't get me wrong I love my Dodges and they are great, but parts are a bit harder to find, and a little more expensive.

homer
 

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My 1990 ford which looks just like that has a 460 in it and gets more mialiage then my 84' bronco. The bronco has a 351 windser in it, which drinks gas just thinking about it. My truck does about 12 mph loaded or empty , down hill or up hill . Nothing matters in it. P.S. my truck just went over the 250,000 mile mark and still going strong. Needs new thrust bushings in it. About 20.00 and a couple of hours labor. I have also loaded over a ton of rock and gone a couple of hundred miles at a time, over 40 on dirt roads. Does that answer any of your questions ? If this one happens to be a 6 cyl, run as it won't have the power to do anything with.
actually the 300ci six from that era is well known for it's low end torque and pulling power at relatively low rpm's. it was also used in many of the 1-2 ton trucks with good results, again not with the best gas mileage. they were tough and dependable and could easily log 100,000-200,000 miles and more without major issues.
 

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Those late 70's Ford pickups are my favorite trucks of all times. I have my late uncles last rig truck (welding truck w/Lincoln SA 200). The truck in the pic is a 79'. Ford put the square headlights on those old beauties in 79'. If it were me, and I have been looking for one in good shape, I would definetly get 4x4. Ford used to have what they called the High Boy. It came from the factory set up a little higher than other 4x4's. Most of those old trucks, and especialy the 3/4 and one tons would get about 12mpg, loaded or unloaded. I have been leaning toward a half ton as we already have big trucks for ranch use and trailer pulling. Im wanting one for a daily driver. If I do buy one, I will be putting a 300 inline 6 cylinder in it. In my opinion, this is one of the best, if not the best motor ever put in the older pickups if a person didnt need alot of horsepower. A 300 6 cylinder crate motor can be bought for about $1500. The mileage is avg and it wont get as good as some of the newer stuff, but this engine is pretty basic and easy to work on. Another thing, those old Fords are bad to roadwalk when the front end gets worn. I have several different catalogs that sell parts for these old girls and it isnt to spendy to get one fixed up in good shape. I prefer a stick, but those old C6 trannys aint bad.

They are a tough truck.

Good luck
Tex
 

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almost forgot. the one exception to the 'big 3' i mentioned in an earlier post would be the Toyota Land Cruiser FJ55, FJ60 models. big 6 cyl engines, 4.10 gears, and manual trannies. the one i had was extremely tough, strong, and reliable. close to the suburbans in size and capabilities with similar gas mileage.
just another option.
 

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Thank you! And yes, I plan on making it really low-key. Not camo, but colors that can sort of blend in, in the woods. Or I think the proper way to put it is to not be as easily noticed from 100m, and maybe I can get a camo net to supplement that too. That all sounded and seemed better in my head, but you get what I mean. :thumb:

Thanks for the input, and if ya have anything else that comes to mind, feel free!

EDIT:

Ok, you guys posted while I was still replying to syoungs.

Just so ya know, as of now, I'm considering a truck like this, but it doesn't have to be this exact model either. If any of you have a suggestion for a truck that is VERY sturdy for on and offroad use, easily obtained/inexpensive parts, etc, then by all means, go ahead and tell me. The last section of my original post was only targeted at people who like to flame.
Start from the top I guess.......

Late 70's Fords are pretty tough, the front ends SUCK! (From a mechanic's viewpoint) They are hard to align, a PIA to work on, and known as being one of Ford's greater design flaws.

Other than that, stay away from big c.i. motors, they really suck the fuel, 300-6's are AWESOME motors in these trucks, even better if they're coupled with a 4-speed. When you step up to the 302, you really only gain horsepower and not torque, if you have plans on making this into a hot rod, this would be a better motor choice, as would the 351c. The 360/390 FE series big blocks were good workhorse motors, got decent (cough-cough:rolleyes:) mileage, and were great grunt motors. Stay away from 351 and 400 modified series motors, they are notoriously unreliable, although I've seen a few good ones.


Otherwise, if you really want a good BOV, I'd tell you to go diesel, pre-94, preferably manual trans/4wd. Any by Ford, Chevy or Dodge would fit the bill well, as would some of the import diesels that were available in the mid 80's.
 

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Previous posters have made most of the important points already, especially on Ford's twin i-beam suspension. I wont recover old ground here.

The point I will make isn't specifically directed at your (possible) new truck, but any older vehicle.

Unless you are purchasing a muscle car with some exotic engine or drive train, typically the most important item up front is the condition of the body. Body work is expensive and time consuming. An existing fender bender can affect other body components and/or the frame and can be expensive to fix. Rust is another big issue. It looks like you are in Texas, and if this is a Texas truck, this probably isn't a big issue. It becomes progressively more of an issue the further north you move up the rust belt.

With that said, I am not suggesting you completely ignore the drive train either. Certainly, the full drive train and its current condition should weigh in on your offer price.

But if this is your dream/ideal BOV and the price is right, drive train issues shouldn't be a show stopper. At least they wouldn't for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The truck in the pic is a 79'. Ford put the square headlights on those old beauties in 79'. If it were me, and I have been looking for one in good shape, I would definetly get 4x4. Ford used to have what they called the High Boy. It came from the factory set up a little higher than other 4x4's. Most of those old trucks, and especialy the 3/4 and one tons would get about 12mpg, loaded or unloaded. I have been leaning toward a half ton as we already have big trucks for ranch use and trailer pulling. Im wanting one for a daily driver. If I do buy one, I will be putting a 300 inline 6 cylinder in it. In my opinion, this is one of the best, if not the best motor ever put in the older pickups if a person didnt need alot of horsepower. A 300 6 cylinder crate motor can be bought for about $1500. The mileage is avg and it wont get as good as some of the newer stuff, but this engine is pretty basic and easy to work on. Another thing, those old Fords are bad to roadwalk when the front end gets worn. I have several different catalogs that sell parts for these old girls and it isnt to spendy to get one fixed up in good shape. I prefer a stick, but those old C6 trannys aint bad.

They are a tough truck.

Good luck
Tex
Reason I said 78 or 79 is because they actually switched to the rectangular lights in the 78 Ranger XLT and Lariat.
Not trying to be a smartass, but did a bit of reading on Wikipedia and some other sites. I'm rather surprised just how detailed they get.

Mileage shouldn't be an issue, as it won't be a daily driver. What do you mean by "roadwalk when the front end gets worn"?
Can ya send me info on the parts catalogs you use?


Late 70's Fords are pretty tough, the front ends SUCK! (From a mechanic's viewpoint) They are hard to align, a PIA to work on, and known as being one of Ford's greater design flaws.

Other than that, stay away from big c.i. motors, they really suck the fuel, 300-6's are AWESOME motors in these trucks, even better if they're coupled with a 4-speed. When you step up to the 302, you really only gain horsepower and not torque, if you have plans on making this into a hot rod, this would be a better motor choice, as would the 351c. The 360/390 FE series big blocks were good workhorse motors, got decent (cough-cough:rolleyes:) mileage, and were great grunt motors. Stay away from 351 and 400 modified series motors, they are notoriously unreliable, although I've seen a few good ones.


Otherwise, if you really want a good BOV, I'd tell you to go diesel, pre-94, preferably manual trans/4wd. Any by Ford, Chevy or Dodge would fit the bill well, as would some of the import diesels that were available in the mid 80's.
Any way to negate the issues with the suspension? Is it just a couple parts of it, or the whole entire thing? Is there some conversion that you'd suggest? As much as it'd be awesome to restore a truck like this to hot-rod status, I'm going for the useful, but non-attention-getting style.


Unless you are purchasing a muscle car with some exotic engine or drive train, typically the most important item up front is the condition of the body. Body work is expensive and time consuming. An existing fender bender can affect other body components and/or the frame and can be expensive to fix. Rust is another big issue. It looks like you are in Texas, and if this is a Texas truck, this probably isn't a big issue. It becomes progressively more of an issue the further north you move up the rust belt.

With that said, I am not suggesting you completely ignore the drive train either. Certainly, the full drive train and its current condition should weigh in on your offer price.

But if this is your dream/ideal BOV and the price is right, drive train issues shouldn't be a show stopper. At least they wouldn't for me.
Thanks for the info! :thumb:


Another thing, when offroading in a truck, which is better, manual or automatic?
I've only ever driven offroad in a HMMWV and an M2A2 Bradley.

Hopefully, whether I get this truck or another, I can count on some of you guys for some pro-tips or ideas, or info on how to do something mechanics related.

All in all, what I'm getting from all this is the old saying:

"They don't make 'em like they used to!"

Stay tuned, because hopefully tomorrow I can talk to the seller, get a look at the truck, and hopefully get some pics to show.
 

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"road walk" is loose steering and handling to the point that the truck will wander from side to side and you have to keep turning the wheel to keep it on the road. the problem will be as much in the suspension as in the steering gearbox... iirc.
 

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I would wait and find one in 4wheel drive. If you end up with one that has a 351 modified, you'd be wise to get an aftermarket timing chain/gear set as the factory one was retarded by 9 degrees to help with smog. The 351 modified is just a destroked 400. Just remember, any truck you get that's old is going to be a constant struggle to maintain. Ford and Mopar parts are costlier than general motors parts.That 2000 dollar truck will eventually turn into a 10,000 dollar truck over time lol
 
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Here's our EMP-proof 1967 Ford F100 Ranger:



We just added power steering, disc brakes, and C6 automatic transmission (it had a column-mounted 3spd originally). We added all of that to make it safe and driveable for my wife (it's really her truck). It has the original 330ci engine with a 2 barrel carb, so gas mileage is not horrendous. It still needs paint (paint in the pic is original!), some chrome bits, and seat upholstery. It's not a daily driver, we just use it when we need a truck for hauling stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok guys, here's the skinny. It's a 1978 Ford F250 Ranger XLT. It has the 460 CI engine.

I didn't get to drive it because the seller only kept a couple gallons of fuel in it, just enough to show people it runs, and it ran out before I could hop in. It did, however, start right up when he started it.
The seller has worked on the engine and the transmission, making sure they run well.
He had a local Muffler Mart redo the exhaust.
The front gas tank had been rusted through, so he had it taken out when the exhaust was redone.
Also, the bed has a couple spots where it is rusted through.
A couple of the gauges don't work, one of which is the gas gauge. Speedo works fine.
I got underneath and couldn't find any obvious leaks. Also, looking at the frame, I couldn't find any areas that are badly rusted, only surface rust.

Here is an imgur.com album. I took some random pics, I know, I was using my iPhone.
http://imgur.com/a/8IQrt

I'll be going back in a couple days to see how it drives. It's not currently registered, so I can't take it on any big roads and really have at it.

The paper says $2000, but he also mentioned he'd let it go for $1500, but I didn't pursue the matter until I can get more info.

All in all, what do you all think, and what do you suggest that I really look closer at? What are your opinions about the 460CI?
 
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