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Hell Bitch 1990 f350 CC; The Ultimate Wood Truck

2707 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  klutch
Hello pbb! Last July I dragged home my dream truck. She may not look like much, but when I was a kid I must have drawn 200 two dimensional drawings of brick nose and obs f350's. I didn't know much about dana 60's, but I knew there was something special about a stock truck that was so big my parents had to pick me up to see the top of the hood.

I bought a 2wd 95 f250 that was a former copper mine truck before I owned the 350. I bought it to haul our stuff back from Idaho to New Mexico where we now live. It was rusty and had a Mazda tranny swapped in. The tranny took a shit on us just shy of Idaho falls. I towed the truck back with a Uhaul. I took a gamble on a used mazada tranny for $75 in unknown condition. When I stabbed it in I discovered 5th gear didn't work but I had a functioning truck again.

My wife felt like the truck was cursed since it left us stranded and really wanted me to sell it. But I used the truck to haul a lot of wood and realized I need to have a big truck in my life. She likes staying warm and I also used it a lot while remodeling the space where she has her yoga studio so it stayed around a while.

I felt like I could do better. The 250 couldn't drive in the snow or get me to the best firewood spots. Also, I know eventually we will have kids and the only thing we own that could haul kids is my wife's Subaru which is way too nice to go on the kind of adventures I like. So I cruised Craigslist and found an ad for a 4x4 460 auto f350 with no pictures and no cab description. The ad stated that it had a problem with one of the hubs and would need to be trailered. I called the owner and she said it was a crew cab and sent me a couple of pics and I was hooked. I was away from home when I found the truck on cl, so when I got home, I rented the longest equipment trailer I could find. I went to see the truck and it was definitely a diamond in the rough. It started right up, went into drive and reverse just fine, and upon closer inspection, I discovered it had 4.10's. It needed a lot of work but I decided to buy it and picked up the truck for $978 and some change. I figured worst case scenario I got a decent deal on some axles. It had a title loan on it and that was the pay off amount. It was definitely the weirdest vehicle purchase situation I've been in but I'm glad I did it. It took me and the po's boyfriend 3 hours to get the 3 wheeled truck loaded up.

The truck had been stuck in the mud for a few days by the previous owner, and that's what killed the bearings and locking hub on the front end, and subsequently the wheel bearings in the rear end while I owned it. From what the po said, the front wheel fell off in the driveway so no extra damage had been done. Also, the windows had been shot out while it was stuck in the mud. The po replaced most of them but she sold the truck with two front doors and I put the glass from those in the truck. It was kind of a pile but I had faith. I sold off the 250 to help fund the repairs and upgrades to the 350 before I even had it running right. Since I've owned it I have done:
Front wheel bearings and brakes and replaced the broken locking hub
Tie rod and drag link
Heater core
New u joints and carrier bearing for both driveshafts
Replaced MAP, ICM, cut intake horns, dialectic grease on all connections
New fuel pump
One side of the rear wheel bearings (the other side was good)
All new fluids
Manually switched t bird fan with a constant duty 80 amp solenoid (similar to mark 8 fan but you can buy them brand new)
35" treadwrights balanced with air soft bb's
Wood racks
Cleaned all the broken glass and dried mud out
Serape blanket seat covers because every truck with a bench seat needs them

I got her running pretty good with one exception. I was having problems with it dying on long climbs from the desert to where we live (almost 5000ft of elevation gain in about 15 miles) and some rv forums finally pointed me in the right direction. It turns out it was vapor lock. I live at about 9000 ft and these fuelie 460's like to vapor lock at high elevations due to lower boiling points this high up. I tried insulating the lines and putting a ghetto hood scoop on it since those options were free, and that helped. But ultimately a new fuel pump fixed it.

I still have a little problem though. I can't set base timing. If I unplug the spout, it dies. If I crank it with the key with the spout unplugged it doesnt start. If I put a jumper straight from the battery to the solenoid so I can crank the motor and rotate distributor at the same time, it never catches. When I got the truck with the spout connected and engine warm, the timing was around 20 degrees btdc, so I just put it back there and she runs pretty good. It just bothers me that I can't set it the right way, any suggestions?

When I was trying to figure out the vaporlock issue, I took it to the local mechanic and he tried to scan it and the computer wouldn't do a self test. There is a wire that's t'd in right at the fuel pump solenoid that runs back to the pump and t's in there as well. It was thin gauge so I ran a thicker one to help the hack job be a little better. For shits and giggles, I tried by passing the harness instead of having it t'd in and it wouldn't run. But with it t'd in it runs just fine. The rear tank isn't in the truck. The mechanic said either the computer doesn't like the hack job wiring or the computer is bad. I doubt the computer is bad if the truck runs. Could this stuff be affecting my inability to set base timing?

If I can't figure out this computer issue, I will eventually just put a fast tbi system on it with a carb adapter to the stock manifold. I would feel more comfortable putting a little newer electronics on it. But she runs for now.
Other future plans include:
Fixing an exhaust leak
Chopping the frame to get a shorter wheelbase
Making her ride a little smother
Some sort of flat bed with removable sides to carry the same, if not more wood with the shorter wheelbase
Some sliders so the rockers stay straight
Possibly a t19. I miss shifting my own gears. This would happen at the same time as the fast tbi swap so I don't have to get a stand alone controller for the e4od
Bumpers. I made a temporary front bumper but I can do better.

Anyways, I'm glad I have a rust free old ford that runs pretty good. She feels like she can pull a house down. The inability to scan the computer doesn't bother me too much, but if I can't ever set base timing that would really suck.

Thanks for any advice you can spare about my base timing problem! Sorry about the sideways pics.


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I read every word of that, to find the most backwards hood scoop at the end, you owe wife's yoga pics
There she is. Sideways.


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Don't worry about the not being able to set timing with the light, set it where it runs good and doesn't ping. The processor can be bad and still let the truck run. Easiest way to check them is simply to pull it and crack it open, the capacitors like to leak and short other stuff on the board, which can do all kinds of weird shit. If you're gonna swap a stick into it, hold out for a ZF5.

If it still has the torpedo under it, cut the cat out and clip the little air horns out of the intake tubes (In the plastic connection the breather attaches to), easy free stuff to give it a little more jam.

I used to own basically the same truck, miss the hell out of it too. Bought it sight unseen from a friend for $1000. A fuckup by a construction company working across the street burned it to the ground in my front yard. I'm getting my '76 ready to trade off for another one. The highboy is cool, but I love these brick nose trucks.
With the wiring you describe and your other symptoms, guaranteed that ECM is hurting.
The fuel pump relay is grounded by the ECU, and it's one of the first things you see stop working.
The FAST TBI will be a great setup on there, but the early EFI heads are a bit of a let down with smaller valves. The piston has a smaller dish than the late EFI engines but the late engines run a taller pin height for longer dwell and better quench.
Basically if you ever need to do any serious engine work I would just swap to a 93-97 engine.
You purposly put that “hood scoop” on it?
You purposly put that “hood scoop” on it?
. Yeah. It didn't really help the problem and it's pretty ridiculous. But it's grown on me so it's staying. I finally figured out where the spout connector thing a while ago. I got base timing set and it runs much better.
I thought the distributor connection was the spout connector for whatever reason. Finally I found something on the interwebs identifying the spout connector.
Now the only drivability problem it has is that it kind of idles low when it's cold and acts like it wants to die sometimes, but it goes away once warm. I'm gonna try cleaning out the iac when I get some time and hope that solves it.

So I've really been running the pros and cons of shortening the truck in my head and I can't decide whether I want to do it or not. I feel like shortening the truck is kind of pivotal in deciding other mods, so I want to know your guys' opinion on the matter.

My wife and I are now expecting, and as a result, I got rid of my little 85 Yota that I used to drive and wheel around the forest regularly. Short of tcase gears, that truck was pretty well ready for some challenging trails. I got a 2012 f250 4x4 as more of a primary daily driver and would like to make the f350 more capable to make up for not having the Toyota anymore.

I'd like to take the f350 to chile challenge, and Moab about once a year and be able to wheel harder trails. Nothing really crazy but at the same time shit that's gonna be challenging. But it still needs to be able to haul wood. I'd like it to end up on some 40's or 42's.

I could see doing two things: shorten it so the rear wheel is right behind the cab and get a little utility trailer to haul behind it, or can the stock bed, keep the wheelbase long but chop the frame behind the axle so I won't have to deal with a trailer when I'm using it for it's main purpose, and build a bed that can take a beating on trails.

Obviously it'll be easier to get it through most trails if it were shorter. A one piece driveshaft would be another advantage of it being shorter.

On the other hand if I kept it long, stock spare driveshafts can be had pretty cheap, Driving a fuckin boat of a truck through trails would be a challenge which is fun. Lastly, it's main goal in life is getting wood so it's capabilities on trails is kind of secondary in my eyes.

I guess the main question is would there be that big of a difference between a 168" wheelbase and a 150ish" wheelbase to justify the impairment in utility of the vehicle. Either way I'm sure the bed has to go because it's gonna get destroyed on trails. Either way the truck is gonna be retarded long compared to any of my other previous 4x4's. And either way i know I need to be planning on carrying spare shafts with the underside real estate I'll be dealing with.

Any input is greatly appreciated!
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If it were more of a dedicated wheeler I would shorten it up. If I were you I would leave the wheelbase and build a good stout flatbed and build some removable sided for it for the firewood.

Edit: At 150'' wheelbase you will still be dragging that thing against trees everywhere almost just the same as at 168".
Tire Wheel Vehicle Plant Hood

I figured I’d update this thread. I still have this truck. I shortened it to 150”, put a factory disk 14 bolt and a bigger mc to make it work. I built my own shackle reversal with backwards superduty springs to push the front end forward, built a winch bumper, highsteer, built the flatbed mounts and a hitch. The e4od started to take a shit so I bought a 98 12 valve, nv4500 and np241. The po had the motor rebuilt and was going to swap it into one of his dozer fuel trucks but the truck that he was planning on runs too good to swap so he sold it. The converter took a shit and then the speedo cable took a shit so my truck will only drive in 1 and 2. I don’t have as much time to tinker since I work year round now, and I have two kids now. Also, maneuvering a cummins in a gravel driveway doesn’t sound fun so I’m gonna have someone do the swap. I bought the motor in 21, and I collected the rest of the parts I’d need last year, so this year this will be my money pit. I have a few more loads of wood to collect around the neighborhood before she heads to the shop that’s gonna do the swap over the summer. I’ll update this thread with the build process over the next few days.
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Tire Wheel Automotive tire Tread Motor vehicle

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Motor vehicle Vehicle

Brown Automotive tire Wood Gas Motor vehicle

Hand tool Saw Tool Stonemason's hammer Wood

Had to get pics off the gram, deleted them from my phone. Cutting the frame square made the most sense in my situation since I didn’t have a level floor. I had to ratchet strap the frame to some trees to get it back to square after cutting it because I didn’t brace it before cutting. But I got it back to square, triple measured, and burned it in. Then I used pieces of the chunk I took out to make fish plates. I had a little porosity because I was welding outside in New Mexico, the land of wind. I’ve pulled enough weight with my truck to brake the transmission and the frame still looks like the day I welded it so it’s probably good. I didn’t want to move the hangers because that seemed weird to me. My driveshaft angle turned out nice originally but the truck had a lean so I got sky’s lift blocks. They ended up pointing the pinion up a little too much but very nice product otherwise. I went with a 90 bronco 2 tank over the axle. All the wiring and fuel lines for the front tank hooked right up. My truck had a rear tank at some point but the wiring and fuel lines were questionable so this made sense to me. The diff doesn’t hit it. I had to space the bed up 2” to make it fit but if I ever go with a bigger tire than a 35” (I want 37’s when the tires I have now wear out) I’ll be happy to have the room.
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Nice. How long is that bed? I’m on the fence about chopping my Obs. If I do Im going to cut it so a regular short bed bolts up. I think that’s 152” if I remember right. Looks like you opted for a relatively long bed. Glad you posted up here and keep the pics coming
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