Wednesday, September 23, 2009

1983 Ford F-100

My 1983 Ford F-100 deserves mention by virtue of it's 32 years of reliable service over which it has traveled more than 250,000 miles. It is powered by Ford's rugged and simple 300 cid 6 cylinder, which still gets a respectable 18 mpg, even with the A/C on. Here is a list of the very few repairs this truck has required over the past 30 years:

Starter Motor.
Brake Master Cylinder and rear wheel cylinders.
Front brake hoses.
One ball joint. (This version of the Twin I beam suspension uses ball joints to allow for camber adjustment.
Two radius arm bushings.
Power steering pump.  (The shaft seal leaked a little, but was otherwise OK.)
Two exhaust systems.
Rear axle bearings.  (likely due to overloading the truck)
Two water pumps.
Re-solder seams in radiator.
Remove valve lifters and clean them. (There was no wear visible.  Just a layer of varnish which was making the lash adjusters stick.)
Replace electronic ignition module twice.
Rear fuel tank level sensor.  (I rewired it myself with some nichrome wire)
Overhaul carburetor.  Nothing major, just new gaskets and needle valve.
Replaced fuel pump.

The engine has never been touched, except for cleaning the valve lifters.
The AOD transmission is all original, and the fluid always looks good.  It does like to have it's fluid changed every 30,000 miles, however. Otherwise, it does not shift well.
The alternator and all other electrical components except for the ignition module is original.
Accessories like the air conditioner and cruise control still work well.

Unfortunately, I had one accident over the years.

Someone ran stop sign and I had no time to stop. Fortunately, there were no injuries.
I disassembled the frond end and ordered reproduction parts parts from Jeff's Bronco Graveyard. I had to straighten the frame ends and radiator support.

Nearly complete and good for another quarter million miles:

The original factory build sheet was very difficult to scrape off and preserve. When this truck reaches antique status, maybe it will be worth something.
Interesting that there was no price information on the sheet. I paid $9,800.
Below are some recent (June 2011) photos of the interior.  The longevity of everything used in this truck has been remarkable.  Note how little wear is evident after 28 years and 250,000 miles.  There is less wear evident here than there is in my much newer and lower mileage 2002 VW Jetta.
 The instrument panel is still attractive and modern in appearance, and the padded vinyl dash pad is still in great shape, as is the original rubber floor mat. Carpets may look nicer, but this rubber floor is much more practical, and easier to keep clean.
   The seat fabric is remarkable, with no signs of wear or fading. There are some splits in the vinyl, but that's it. Back then, the F-100 and most cars has a wide range of interior colors available. These days, it seems all one can get is brown, gray, and black.
  Another feature that has disappeared from new trucks is dual gas tanks.  When driving locally, I just fill up one, or both when I find cheap gas.  On long trips I use both, for a range of nearly 700 miles.

This is not a pampered truck.  Rather, it is a truck that still earns its keep.  It may have a load of bricks in it one day, then used for recreation the next.