The building of an OBS regular cab/shortbox 2WD truck
An as-I-can-afford-it build, taking vehicles destined (or should have been destined) for the scrapyard. I expect it will take me a year and a half to complete.
The back story:
Earlier this year, I picked up a wrecked OBS for $1200 (including renting a trailer and fuel to haul it home.) PSD with a 5 speed 4X4, so I thought it would be great to have an extra transmission and t-case for the white truck. The truck t-boned a car, so the frame was a mess. The truck was essentially a supply of parts. The box was gone, as well as most of the front sheetmetal. The driver’s door window was broken in the collision, so the interior was at the mercy of the weather, so it’s pretty rough. I noticed that it had the Ford APCM idle controller, and a LS rear differential.
I figured it would be a shame to just pull the drivetrain and scrap the rest, there was some potential in the pile of ruin. An idea came to mind, build a OBS that is as light as possible. I began to hunt for a 92-96 F150 Regular cab, shortbox. Dredging through the local kijiji and craigslist, I found a few cheap shorties. I settled on a $750 ‘92 that had never been in a collision, had mediocre sheetmetal, and actually ran/drove. The ungodly topper was part of the deal, which I figured I can set the topper/bed aside and use it as a storage container for project parts.
Getting to work:
This thing has no options whatsoever. WTF was Ford thinking badging a bare-bones truck “custom?”
I drove this thing out to the shop and started working on it. I think I did the community a service by taking this truck off the road. Upon closer inspection, it had leaking fuel tanks, a hole rusted in the floor, a broken rear spring, inoperative parking brake (bad thing with a 5 speed
,) and the engine probably didn’t have a tune-up in years, this thing wouldn’t be able to get out of it’s own way.
Okay, the bed is off. Pulling the topper and bed off took four guys, Damn topper was heavy.
Proceeded to pull off the rest of the sheetmetal, and strip down the frame.
I decided to lower the truck, for looks, as well as to lower the center of gravity for improved handling. I purchased a DJM 4” lowering kit. Of course, all the F150 leaf spring hangers had to be removed, both for the lowering kit, and wider F250/350/SD springs. I cleaned away lousy undercoating and wire wheeled/blasted the frame. Using the appropriate chemicals, I prepped the frame, pained it with POR-15, and POR-15 Chassis Coat Black.
I temporarily re-mounted the F150 rear end and rolled the frame outside.
Another vehicle, more parts:
I stumbled upon a 96 E350 for sale, this one with a blown engine. The engine was removed and scrapped. The E4OD was still there, as well as four Alcoa OBS rims. I paid $500 for this thing and stripped it to the bone.
Unfortunately, the Econolines use a different spindle and I-beam than the trucks do, so they wouldn’t work with the DJM lowering beams. I went to the local u-pull wrecker and found the 2WD F250 front end parts I needed. Cleaned and painted everything.
Assembled front end with DJM beams
I was now at the point where I needed the rear differential from the F250
Wheeling it into the shop
Pulling transfer case and transmission
Yanking the engine
As I dismantled the truck, I found some interesting points in it’s history. New starter, very clean oil, New clutch (just another DMF) and a rebuilt transmission.
Here you can see the extent of the frame damage
Later, a sawzall party ensued, leaving a frame in pieces, and a pile of useable parts.
A friend had a set of Superduty springs laying around. I removed the overload and slapper bar from them and painted them up.
The F250 rear spring hangers were cleaned up, and painted along with the DJM spring hanger.
Installing the rear suspension
Cleaning up and installing rear differential
The replacement spring center bolts had a taller button than the originals, so I had to pull the differential back out and drill the holes in the pads a shade deeper.
Detailing brake parts
Alcoa OBS 8 lug rims all around