Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

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Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

Rembrant
Can the 87-96 F trucks be converted to Bullnoses relatively easily?

I'm really just curious about the front clip, not the box so much. The box is easy, and I've seen enough Bullnose trucks with later model boxes on them I know that much is common.

What about the front clip though? Is it as simple as changing the bumper, rad support, fenders, and hood?

Just curious. Thanks.
In rehab: 1984 F150 2wd Flareside pickup. Original 302 2bbl DSII w/3-spd manual column shift. Plain Jane with no A/C and no radio.
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

Ford F834
I think there is a bolt or two different in the fender attachment but it is not a big deal. People swap front clips around almost as commonly as the beds. The 87-91 frame horns are like ours, the 92+ have the crumple zone and square tube opening in the front so it would take some creativity to mount a bullnose bumper. The interiors can be swapped as well but the dash is not a direct bolt over. It takes a little creativity. 92+ have the truncated wing windows, and some have a different contour on the lower part of the body. (I remember reading this regarding door interchangeability, but naturally it would apply to lining up with a different front clip as well). It really depends on how far you want to go with the conversion and how “pure” you want the result to look.
SHORT BED 4-DOOR DIESEL: 1986 F350 4x4 SRW under construction-- 7.3 IDIT R&D 64mm intercooled turbo 150cc IP stage 1 cam main girdle 13" Southbend clutch ZF-5 + DNE2 overdrive 4.10 axle gears hydroboost brakes

STRAIGHT SIX 4X4: 1981 F150 2wd to 4x4 conversion-- 300 I6 close ratio diesel T19, hydroboost brakes, Saginaw steering
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

Gary Lewis
Administrator
In reply to this post by Rembrant
The radiator support is different.  I compared Huck's '90 support to the Bullnose one that Jonathan brought me and the only obvious difference was the headlight openings.  The Bullnose support uses the buckets and has places for the Nylon pads and the springs and adjusting bolts.  But the Bricknose has an elongated opening that takes the wraparound headlight/turn signal unit.

Ray's done or is doing the cab swap, and Bill did the interior part for Darth.
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/soon-to-be ZF5/3.55's & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

Rembrant
Interesting...I no sooner asked the question and I came across an online ad for a local 1995 with an 85 front clip on it. The ad is 25 days old, but the picture was taken only a couple miles from there.

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks/city-of-halifax/1995-ford-f-150-pickup-truck/1341360807?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true
In rehab: 1984 F150 2wd Flareside pickup. Original 302 2bbl DSII w/3-spd manual column shift. Plain Jane with no A/C and no radio.
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

Gary Lewis
Administrator
I like the front end of the Bullnose far better than the Bricknose.  So that's huge improvement.  But, it gives mis-matched wheel well openings unless you also replace the bed/box or swap out the bedsides.
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/soon-to-be ZF5/3.55's & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

85lebaront2
Front fender rear attachment is completely different, bullnose has a vertical bolt into the lower front corner of the cab, bricknose and areonose use a horizontal bolt into a nut clip in a slotted bracket. As has been mentioned, wheel openings are a different shape and the radiator support is different. Inner fenders are slightly different.

Other items, battery tray is different and takes a different battery and hold down, radiator overflow tank is different, front bumper on a bullnose is bolted directly on the frame "horns", headlight wiring is completely different, if you have an EFI truck (most likely scenario) the mounts for the air filter, radiator overflow and washer are not on the left fender inside area.

It can be done, I did the reverse on Darth for some of the reasons mentioned as I was going to EFI from a carbureted 460 and the front fenders were both in bad shape from the PO parking by "feel".
"Getting old is inevitable, growing up is optional"
Darth Vader 1986 F-350 460 converted to MAF/SEFI, E4OD 12X3 1/2 rear brakes, traction loc 3:55 gear, 160 amp 3G alternator
Wife's 2011 Flex Limited
Daily Driver 1994 Taurus LX
Project car 1986 Chrysler LeBaron convertible 2.2L Turbo II, modified A413
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

NotEnoughTrucks
This post was updated on .
Probably a good time to document the differences.

As said, the lower rear front fender attaching point is quite different.

Here is a Bullnose mounting point.



And here is a Bullnose fender hanging on a bricknose cab. You can see the probelm, which is easily resolved with a cutoff wheel and a welder.



The cowl will swap between a Bullnose and Bricknose, but there is quite a difference in the visual appearance. The later cowl can be a good fix for all that debris that seems to make it into the vents.

Bullnose



Bricknose



The 92 and up cabs can be used as well, but the hood line is considerably lower, so you would have to use a Bullnose or Bricknose cowl panel.

92 cowl



The bumper attachment is different. The Bullnose bolts through the bumper and the front nose of the frame rail. The Bricknose uses a bracket and attaches to the side of the frame rail. The profile of the nose is quite similar but the Bricknose is not drilled for the bolts.

Bullnose



Bricknose



The 92 and up frame rail is quite different.



Best bet here is to cut it off and splice on a Bullnose frame end.

The firewall is quite different between Bullnose and  Bricknose cabs. The firewall on a Bullnose is different between A/C and non A/C vehicles. I don't have non A/C Bricknose for comparison, but they are supposed to be the same regardless of HVAC option. The dash mounting is quite different as well. The Bullnose dash is supported along the upper edge by a bracket that includes the center speaker mount. Bricknose and later dashes have a series of plastic inserts in tabs along the cowl at the bottom edge of the windshield that the dash mounts to. VIN plate location is slightly different as well and this affects the windshield. I understand windshields with the VIN window in the Bullnose position are no longer produced. Steering columns will interchange between a Bullnose and a Bricknose, but the 92 and later trucks use a very different column with a large cast bracket on the left side, underneath the dash.

Bullnose (with A/C)





Bricknose





92 and up is completely different again, but the cowl attachment is similar to the Bricknose.



Doors on a Bullnose are unique. You can fit any door to a Bricknose or later cab, but the Bullnose has some clearance problems in the lower rear corner. I wrote a lengthy post on this in FTE, but here is the differences.

Bullnose





Bricknose





There are actually quite a few variants of the doors from 80 through 96/7, but this is the only problem with physically interchanging doors and it really only affects the bullnose cabs. Of course, the 92 and up doors have those horrible cable assemblies in the door mechanisms. The earlier rod type mechanism will interchange and I even pull these out of the rusty doors!

Of course, all cabs will bolt to all frames as long as you are talking about the same configuration. Single cab, Super cab, or Crew cab.

There's probably more and I will add revisions later.











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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

NotEnoughTrucks
I'm going to have to come back in here and edit. My lengthy post did not show up as written!

Sorry, but out of time for now, will be back later.
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

NotEnoughTrucks
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by 85lebaront2
- deleted -

Fixed up the original post!
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

1985 Bronco
I did it on my 95 bronco last year.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1492574-how-to-change-a-87-96-front-clip-to-80-86-a.html
1985 Ford Bronco

1995 Ford C150 Four Door Bronco: Converted to a Bullnose, 351W, 4x4

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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

85lebaront2
On the doors, the bricknose and later models have the seat belt retractors down low and the belt runs up, through a guide then back down to attach to the floor for the "endless loop". On the bullnose the seat belt retractors are up about head level so the belt feeds straight out from them for the "endless loop". The problem this creates on the bullnose doors to brick or aeronose is the bulge in either the rear cab pillar or B post on a crew cab, the bullnose doors do not have the needed recess for the seat belt retractor. Going the other way is no problem, but the aeronose doors have a sculptured recess outside near the bottom that the bullnose and bricknose lack.

Windows, front windows on a bullnose are wider than bricknose or aeronose, but if the matching wing vent assembly is used, then they work perfectly, but, the aeronose wing vents have a truncated front corner so the driver's side will clear the dash. Power window wiring, the long side of the harness changed, early models, I believe through 1991 the long side is on the driver's side door harness, 1992 up it reverses so the long harness is on the passenger side door harness, this only becomes an issue if you are adding power windows and locks with a door swap then it becomes an issue, but from my experience the plug ins for the fuse box still match. If you are simply installing later or earlier doors, use the existing truck harnesses, it's a lot easier. I will dig up and post my pictures, or you can look at my Darth Vader posts in projects.
"Getting old is inevitable, growing up is optional"
Darth Vader 1986 F-350 460 converted to MAF/SEFI, E4OD 12X3 1/2 rear brakes, traction loc 3:55 gear, 160 amp 3G alternator
Wife's 2011 Flex Limited
Daily Driver 1994 Taurus LX
Project car 1986 Chrysler LeBaron convertible 2.2L Turbo II, modified A413
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

Rembrant
In reply to this post by 1985 Bronco
That is awesome by the way, well done!

I've just been dreaming and scheming for my next project, and I want to do a Flareside 4x4. Problem is finding one. I didn't think of it at first, but it dawned on me that maybe I could pick-up a 87-96 truck and convert it. I'm already collecting the parts to build a 2nd Bullnose Flareside bed, so that part is relatively easy and straight forward.

So, another stupid question...

Were the Bullnose frames the same between a 4x2 and a 4x4 in the same model truck? Or did the 4x4 frames have a specific frame that was different from the 2wd trucks? Just curious.
In rehab: 1984 F150 2wd Flareside pickup. Original 302 2bbl DSII w/3-spd manual column shift. Plain Jane with no A/C and no radio.
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

Gary Lewis
Administrator
The 4x2 and 4x4 frames were the same.  Adding 4wd is a bolt-on.  However, there were minor differences.  Obviously there's a transfer case shifter so the transmission tunnel needs to be cut out and a transmission cover with a hole for the shifter installed.

And on the Styleside trucks the rear springs were 3" wide for a 4x4 instead of 2 1/2" on the 2x4.  And a spacer block added between the axle and the frame.  But that isn't a requirement.  Rusty was originally a 2x4 truck and had been converted, but the rear springs were left the same and the spacer block wasn't added.

Also, there's no bulb or even a socket for the bulb to light the 4x4 light in the dash.  The socket is separate and has to be added, although it just clips in.  But I don't remember if the wiring 'twixt the bulb, the transfer case, and power is already there or not.
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/soon-to-be ZF5/3.55's & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

Rembrant
Interesting, thanks Gary.

I'm just playing around at the moment...curious what IS possible, and I'm not even finished my current project...lol. Of course I'd ideally want a truck that was already a 4x4, but if the right opportunity came along for the right price, I was curious if the conversion was at least somewhat straight forward.



In rehab: 1984 F150 2wd Flareside pickup. Original 302 2bbl DSII w/3-spd manual column shift. Plain Jane with no A/C and no radio.
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

Nothing Special
In reply to this post by Gary Lewis
Gary Lewis wrote
The 4x2 and 4x4 frames were the same.  Adding 4wd is a bolt-on....
True for F-150s, but I don't think it is for F-250/350.  On the heavier trucks the 2WD were coil sprung in front while the 4WD had leaf springs.  Supposedly there's a fair amount of fabrication to swap front suspensions on them.
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 30' class C motorhome, 6.8L V-10
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Good point!  I guess I was assuming F100 or F150 as he was talking Flareside.  But I should have stated that.  Thanks for pointing that out.
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/soon-to-be ZF5/3.55's & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Converting 87-96 F trucks to Bullnoses

NotEnoughTrucks
In reply to this post by Nothing Special
Yes, F150 vs. F250 frames differ between 2WD and 4WD in that the F250/350 4WD frames are leaf sprung. This applies across 1980 through 1996 including the 1997 SD trucks. There also is a gauge difference in the frame material. All the sheet metal remains interchangeable within the F series.

Now, I think there is an interesting possibility with using the heavier F250 2WD coil sprung frame with F150 TTB beams. I believe the D50 chunk bolts to the same pattern as the D44 and you can use the lower GVWR F250 knuckles on the D44 TTB. You could potentially make a coil sprung TTB F250 using the 2WD F250 frame. The leaf sprung versions ride very hard.