Big Blue's Transformation

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Big Blue's Transformation

Gary Lewis
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This post was updated on .
This thread will be to chronicle the transformation of Big Blue from a leaky 460 with what I think are bad valves in the heads to an oil-tight engine with MAF/SEFI EFI and completely re-done heads. From a T19 to a ZF5. From a 60 amp 1G to a 160 amp 3G. From vacuum-boosted brakes and a noisy C2 power steering pump to hydroboost brakes driven by a Saginaw pump. From v-belts to serpentine - and an engine-driven air compressor. And hopefully from a D44HD front axle with a terrible ride to a D60 front axle and much-improved ride.

You can see my thinking and planning here: Projects/Upgrades For Big Blue. However, that's my "whiteboard" space and is just where I do my planning, but you cannot comment as that would intersperse comments with plans. However, you can comment here. But bear in mind that the plans are just formative at this point, and I'll be working/revising them as time allows.

Also, I'm creating two documents, shown below that will help me get my head around the order in which to do things and where I am in the process as well as the cost thereof. This is needed for several reasons. First on the order, I need to think about the "long poles in the tent", meaning those things that may take lots of time so need to be kicked off early in the process. For instance, what happens if I find the short block isn't good enough to use? I'll need to either order one in or have this one rebuilt. So I'd better check it out early on.

Second, because this will be a start/stop process. I have many other things going on, like visits from the grandtwins soon, and a cruise, and the show, etc. And with farming some things out, like a front diff re-gear/locker install, I need to have a place to keep track of things.

So I'm going to use this Word document that I'll work on in the background but which will show up on here as I make changes. However, I'd appreciate your input on it, so if you have comments, questions, or upgrades please let me know. (And, by the way, you can use this same approach if you'd like as it is available to anyone on this forum.) For my reference, this is the Big Blues Transformation file and is in the main Big Blue folder.

And, here's a spreadsheet that will track the costs of this project. (I may not want to know, but I think it is fair that others do know in case they are tempted to follow in my footsteps.) This file is in the Transformation folder in Big Blue's folder and it is entitled Transformation Costs.

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in bac, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

Gary Lewis
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A couple of days ago I bought a "front clip" from a '95 F350 w/a diesel.  They cut the frame behind the engine cross member and gave me everything forward of that, including:

The cross member, which will be used to repair or replace the badly sawzalled one on Big Blue

A Dana 60 straight axle with 4.10 gears, SRW hubs, bolt-on brakes as well as ball joints instead of king pins

Steering box and pitman arm

Panhard rod and bracket

Shock towers and shocks

The F350 springs as well as a pair of Superduty springs from an '06 SD

Tie rods

All brackets and u-bolts

4" riser blocks from the back of another 4wd F350

Today I got it unloaded into the shop and started disassembling it.  When I get the D60 out I'll take it somewhere for a complete rebuild as well as to have an Ox locker installed.  Here are some pics, starting with it and all its grease on the trailer:




Here 'tis after having been cleaned with the pressure washer and several of the parts removed:




And here are the parts that came off today:

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in bac, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

Gary Lewis
Administrator
This post was updated on .
I've been having a good email discussion with Erik at Sky's Offroad Design regarding the bits I need for the front suspension part of this transformation.  Today he said:

I realized I didn’t answer your adjustable panhard bar question well enough.  When you lift the truck, the stock bar needs to be longer to ensure you can adequately re-center the axle so it doesn’t bind and prematurely wear out your spring bushings.  The stock bar is not adjustable.

Shocks, if you’re running V-code springs the 10” travel shocks will be the ticket.

Brakelines, if you’re running V-code springs you shouldn’t need longer brakelines.  We only recommend longer brakelines at 3” of lift and up

My response was:

Thanks!  But, I actually have U-code springs.  Didn't realize that when I got them, but I know the guy that runs the salvage and can swap them later if they don't work.  So, I've planned to give them a try - on my '85 F250 w/a 460, Warn winch bumper, and aux battery.  Does that sound like a reasonable spring set to try?  Or should I swap to V-code before installing them?

On the shocks, got it - 10" travel.  You have Bilstein and Procomp.  Do you recommend the Bilstein?  (I have Bilstein on there now so am inclined to go with theirs on the front.)

Ok, I'll need your adjustable panhard bar.  And I'm leaning to the one with bushings rather than Heim joints as this truck will be driven on road as well as some easy to moderate overlanding, but nothing serious.  Would you agree that the bushings would be better?

And good to know on the brake lines, but I want to replace those on the D60 axle.  I'm not sure how to measure these, but they appear to be 18" long and are on a '95 F350 axle.  Do you have a set that would be right?

Trying to get the whole list together before ordering to get everything in one go.  And, I do intend to order everything from you instead of getting some of it from elsewhere.  I realize that I can get the shocks cheaper elsewhere, but it is worth the difference for the consulting.

And, by the way, I run a forum for the 1980-86 Ford trucks (Bullnose Forum) and all of this will be written up.  👍

To which he said:

U-codes are an interesting spring, we don’t have a lot of experience with them but you may get less lift.  If you can get V-codes that’d be better.  With a winch bumper and extra battery you may want to switch to X-codes. They will lift around an extra inch but with the extra weight up front it may settle to a V-code height.

We run the bushed panhard bars, they work well.  Heim joint option is really for those that have to have heim joints.

We only have lines that are 6” longer than stock, if you wanted to replace them you could always purchase factory lines if you don’t want extra length.

Bilsteins are a better shock, they are the best option until you want to run something 5x the price with adjustable shim stacks.

Thanks for the business Gary!

Look forward to the write-up

So, it looks like I should find heavier springs.  I'll call Brent and ask him to see what he has, but I may have to tell him how to ID them, either by the certification label if they are still in the truck, or by the # of leaves and the thickness thereof.  
Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in bac, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

Gary Lewis
Administrator
This post was updated on .
And now time for today's update. Not a lot to report. But I started by trying to remove the spindle nuts so I can pull the spindles. But that was met with some consternation as I couldn't figure out how the nut was retained. So some searching found this page that says that the nut I have is for auto hubs.

And that led me to this drawing:

Given that I figured out how to get #14 Spindle Nut Key off and was able to get the driver's side nut off using a large pair of long-nose pliers. But the passenger's side nut wouldn't quite come off, so I'm going to go to O'Reilly's to rent/borrow a socket, assuming they have it. Everything I've read said it is a rounded hex and is 2 9/16" across. But the nut measures 2.736", which is obviously 2 3/4". So I'm not hopeful.

Anyway, here's a pic the nut and #14 spindle nut key, with one in place and one laying on top. The arrows show the ends of the key. Anybody seen these before?

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in bac, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

ArdWrknTrk
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by Gary Lewis
Bilstein IS the better shock.
ProComp (ProCrap) is the MrGasket of most everything they sell.

Like I said rebuildable is nice but way more $.

About what I thought as far as spring codes.


I like the fact that Erik is trying NOT to sell you a pair of brake hoses you do t need.

I don't know what ATS is getting for their springs but they have a great reputation.
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

ArdWrknTrk
In reply to this post by Gary Lewis
Have I seen the inside of a later D60, or the socket that fits it?

I think I have a Lisle socket that fits D60.
I can check tomorrow and give you the # if you like.
Iirc it was around $40
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

ArdWrknTrk
Oh, the clips!

Yes.

ABTW, those dust shields.....    *swoon*
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

salans7
I have yet to even touch the outers on my D60 due to my lack of an appropriate socket for the lock nuts. However, I have the older style manual hubs, so I either have a conversion kit or factory manual hubs.
-Shaun
1980/86/90 Ford F350 4x4 351W/NP435/Sterling
2003 Ford Ranger V6/M5OD/8.8
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

Gary Lewis
Administrator
In reply to this post by ArdWrknTrk
I'm already into the springs to the tune of $150, so I'll at least try to get at least the V-codes if not the X-codes from the salvage. But, in retrospect, new springs might have been a better idea.

I've put together this table based on the ATS table shown below. Does this properly capture what the table says?

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in bac, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

Gary Lewis
Administrator
In reply to this post by ArdWrknTrk
Jim - If you could check the # and size of the socket I'd appreciate it.

As for the dust shields, they'll take some straightening, but should be usable.  
Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in bac, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

Gary Lewis
Administrator
In reply to this post by salans7
Shaun - One thing I read said that the lockouts held on with three screws are the auto style.  But mine are held on by three screws and clearly have a knob.  Is that a conversion?
Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in bac, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

ArdWrknTrk
Both auto and manual override.

https://youtu.be/fG3PCdpeRYc
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

ArdWrknTrk
In reply to this post by Gary Lewis
Don't have Excel on my Android phone.

I'll try and check it later.
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

salans7
In reply to this post by ArdWrknTrk
Auto hubs will have two options, Auto and Lock.
Manual Hubs will also have two options, Lock and Free.
-Shaun
1980/86/90 Ford F350 4x4 351W/NP435/Sterling
2003 Ford Ranger V6/M5OD/8.8
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

Nothing Special
In reply to this post by ArdWrknTrk
ArdWrknTrk wrote
Both auto and manual override.

https://youtu.be/fG3PCdpeRYc
salans7 wrote
Auto hubs will have two options, Auto and Lock.
Manual Hubs will also have two options, Lock and Free.
But that's the auto hubs from a SuperDuty.  (my '02 F-350 had them)

In '95 the options were manual with two options: Lock and Free
and auto with two options: working and broken
Sorry, no '80 - '86 Ford trucks
1997 F-250HD crew cab short box, 460, E4OD, 4.10 gears
1971 Bronco, 302, NV3550 5 speed, Atlas 4.3:1 transfer case, 33" tires
2015 E-450-based 28' class C motorhome, 6.8L V-10
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

salans7
In reply to this post by Gary Lewis
After doing a little more research, those were commonly used on the 95-97 F350's and are original.

My D60 has Warn Black Hubs, but I am unsure of whether they're replacements or original since my knowledge of what came stock on OBS trucks is limited.
-Shaun
1980/86/90 Ford F350 4x4 351W/NP435/Sterling
2003 Ford Ranger V6/M5OD/8.8
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

Gary Lewis
Administrator
In reply to this post by Nothing Special
Jim - I got a 2 3/4" socket today for $15 that fits perfectly.  Thanks anyway.

And that video is of a very different lockout than mine.  I'll look tomorrow and see what it says on it.  But I think it is Lock and Free.  And there's no place for a connection of any kind to these axles.

Bob - That's funny!    And, I agree.  My 2015 has the vacuum-operated "integrated wheel ends" and they broke very early on.  I do not like the auto stuff, except that Blue does have an auto 4wd position and that's great for wet or slippery conditions - assuming the IWE's work.

So, I'm happy Big Blue is manual.
Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in bac, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

Nothing Special
The '80s and '90s vintage auto hubs had no manual selection process.  However they were completely mechanical and engaged when the axle turned.  I think their biggest weakness is that they disengage whenever you reverse direction.  If you are in 4WD when you do that they reengage soon after, but in that time between disengaging and reengaging you were only driving the rear tires and if you spun them you'd hammer the hubs when they reengaged.

The auto hubs on the SuperDuties were a "Better Idea" (to coin a phrase), but not necessarily a great implementation.  They could be engaged and disengaged manually just like manual hubs, or they would engage by vacuum when you shift the transfer case into 4WD.  But when I bought my '02 with 61K miles on it both hubs were jammed engaged.  Someone told me that wasn't uncommon with them, but I only have my one truck with two permanently locked hubs as my data point.  I thought about getting them replaced, but they weren't cheap and I didn't like the truck anyway.  So I just lived with them and was glad that at least they failed in a way that 4WD still worked.
Sorry, no '80 - '86 Ford trucks
1997 F-250HD crew cab short box, 460, E4OD, 4.10 gears
1971 Bronco, 302, NV3550 5 speed, Atlas 4.3:1 transfer case, 33" tires
2015 E-450-based 28' class C motorhome, 6.8L V-10
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Bob - It is depressing that in the 40ish years they've been experimenting with auto hubs they haven't gotten it right yet.  Your stories plus what I've seen and heard indicate to me that even by 2015 they weren't bullet-proof.  Not when two out of two of mine failed in the early days.  

But, speaking of hubs, my "new" ones are manual.  (Note the 3 screw holes that are apparently different than all others.  )




And, here's the socket I bought, which worked perfectly to get the spindle nut off.  But, that's about all I'll get done today as we are running errands.



However, no one commented on my table, above, on spring parameters.  Note the ever-so-slight difference in the thickness of the U and V-code springs.  I don't know how Brent will be able to tell the difference if the springs are off the truck.  Looks like I need to add a column and include the arch, although he can't tell that w/o pulling the springs.

Speaking of springs, I've been doing some reading and I'm not as convinced now that I need V-Code springs.  Would some of y'all read through this thread on Powerstroke Nation, please?  They seem to really like the U-codes, even with the diesel engine.

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in bac, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Big Blue's Transformation

Nothing Special
Gary Lewis wrote
....  Speaking of springs, I've been doing some reading and I'm not as convinced now that I need V-Code springs.  Would some of y'all read through this thread on Powerstroke Nation, please?  They seem to really like the U-codes, even with the diesel engine.

I skimmed through it.  It looks to be consistent with what I've read before: the U code springs for the (lighter) gas version of the (heavier) SuperDuty work well on the (lighter) '80 - '97 trucks with the (heavier) diesel.  You have the lighter 460, but a heavier bumper and winch.  I'd guess that puts you a little heavier than a diesel with stock bumper and no winch, so you are sort of in a no-man's land.  But I don't thik you're that far out of the norm (stock '80 - '97 with a diesel being the high end of what I'm calling the norm).  Which is why I was thinking I'd start with U code springs if I were in your position.

And for what it's worth, "Bradbuilt" from that forum is "Diesel_Brad" on FTE.  Same guy, different screen name.
Sorry, no '80 - '86 Ford trucks
1997 F-250HD crew cab short box, 460, E4OD, 4.10 gears
1971 Bronco, 302, NV3550 5 speed, Atlas 4.3:1 transfer case, 33" tires
2015 E-450-based 28' class C motorhome, 6.8L V-10
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