For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

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For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Luke76
This post was updated on .
Hello Gentlemen,

Gary kindly encouraged me to post my truck on his forum. This is Big Blackie, a 1983 F250 extended cab long bed 4x4 with automatic (3-speed) transmission and 460 V8 engine. Presently located in Wichita, Kansas.

The engine was "built" and rebuilt for towing and torque, I used specifications from a well-known 460 specialist, Scott Johnson at RHP. Although the truck has a bit over 160k miles on the odometer, the 460 only has about 3,000 miles.

The body was repainted in 2012 in black. The painter guy was a real nightmare to deal with as seems to usually be the case with these things, but in the end I can't complain about the results.

The black interior was re-done by myself with the help of various upholstery shops. I think it is very striking and certainly unique.

I purchased this truck in 2012 and have spent the majority of my free time and spare pennies the last six years working on her. My original desire was to have something more capable for going on campouts in the Oregon wilderness than our lame 2WD Ranger at the time. Over the years no camping occurred but the project kind of took on a life of its own and working on the truck became a purpose unto itself.

Now I'm afraid she has gotten much too shiny to want to take her offroad, or do much of anything else with really except look at her in admiration. I live in an apartment and I spend a good deal of money just paying for a storage place to keep this truck.

The project served an important role and will be one of the defining experiences of my 30s (now sadly over). However it is time to move on to other pursuits and it doesn't make sense to carry this vehicle with me through the next decades. Therefore, she is for sale.

I don't have a set asking price. I will entertain any offers, and in a week or so if I hear nothing she'll go up on eBay where the market shall decide!

For those with an enormous amount of free time you can also peruse my build thread over on FTE, which was active for several years but which I haven't done a very good job of updating recently:
Big Blackie - The Build

Any questions feel free to ask!

Luke



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Re: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Rembrant
Luke76 wrote
Here is a small website with photos, videos and information for those interested:
1983 F250 For Sale
I replied in the other thread before realizing you posted here;).

That is a beautiful truck Luke, well done. Good luck with the sale.
In rehab: 1984 F150 2wd Flareside pickup. Original 302 with GT40 heads, Comp Cam XE256H, Holley 4bbl, and BBK shorty headers. M5OD-R2 5spd trans swap. Plain Jane with no A/C and no radio.
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Re: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Gary Lewis
Administrator
In reply to this post by Luke76
Welcome, Luke!  

Yes, it is a beautiful truck!  For sure.  I'm in awe.  And I fully understand the "too shiny" issue and camping.  (Which is why I have to project trucks.)  But it is sad to see it go - especially before actually seeing it "in person".

Luke has given me the green light to immortalize Big Blackie on this website, so I'll put creating a new page for him under Picture Galleries, and I'll let y'all know when it is up.

Please keep us posted on the sale situation, as sad as it is.
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: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Gary Lewis
Administrator
In reply to this post by Luke76
We have a new page on the website: Picture Galleries/Big Blackie.

Luke - Please tell me what you'd like that page to say.  Send me a note with text, links, etc.  And refer to it in your adverts if you want.

Also, there were only 43 pics in the zipped file.  Do you have more that you can zip?  I can put everything you have up, but as it turns out it is far easier to do so from a folder on my computer as I just select them all and hit Go.  Otherwise I have to select individually.
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: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

1986F150Six
Luke,

Absolutely stunning truck!

Please direct us to the part of your thread which describes the replacement of the factory ammeter with the multi purpose digital readout.

Thanks and may your truck sell well!

David
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Re: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Luke76
This post was updated on .
Gary thanks for creating the gallery page, I sent you an email with a few more details. It will be nice to know this truck is commemorated somewhere for posterity's sake. I hope it will inspire other Bullnose owners as I was in turn inspired by you and others. I do believe these trucks are only going to become more popular with each passing year as they acquire classic status. The bodylines and "bullnose" appearance are some of the most attractive of any American pickup truck in my view and I think many others are going to increasingly share this opinion.

David, the little computer project is something I completed over the past year and I haven't been keeping my build thread up to date, so I'm afraid there is really no information about it posted anywhere. It uses an Arduino (actually two for complicated reasons, a Mega2560 and a Teensy 3.2). It displays multiple temperatures, altitude, speed and heading, battery voltage, and some other things specific to this vehicle. It is informational only and is not required for the function of the truck.
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Re: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Luke - Happy to do that.

But tell me more about the Arduino.  I have one planned for Big Blue to translate between the later style fuel sender and the Bullnose fuel gauge.  I've already written the code and checked it out on a simulator.  But it'll have lots of extra time so I've been thinking of doing something similar to what you did, although I want to put the display(s) in the clock windows.

Anyway, I'll watch the video, but if you have other info on what you did I'd love to see it.  What display did you use?  Why the two Arduinos?  Etc.....
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: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Luke76
It would be difficult to summarize this project succinctly. The original plan was to use the Mega alone for everything, it is installed in the center console. It has more i/o pins than a standard Arduino and this one interfaces with quite a few peripherals. The display is an ILI9340, this is a 2.2" TFT color display that operates over SPI. I quickly discovered that SPI is a very short-distance communication protocol (like under 12 inches) and there was no way the data could travel reliably all the way from the center console to the dash. For this reason I added the Teensy 3.2 in the dash, and actually it worked out better anyway because the Teensy runs at a much faster processor speed which is good for screen refresh rates, and has some useful abilities in terms of fonts and so forth that would have overtaxed the 2560 processor. The Mega now communicates with the Teensy over RS232 serial (which has no problem with longer distances).

A good deal of firmware complexity was added to this project by the necessity of a communication protocol between these two processors, and even some hardware complexity as well (I am using RS232 serial, not logic-level). If one were to design a more generic system a Teensy alone in the dash would be the better approach.  On its own it could easily handle a few sensors like temperature and GPS (which can provide speed, heading, altitude, date and time).

The setup I am using is rather specific to this truck and the peripherals unique to it - so much of what I did especially in firmware wouldn't be very applicable to others looking to create something similar.
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Re: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Thanks for the explanation, Luke.  I'll make sure I think through how to drive any displays I install so I can keep the lead length short.  Or, chose a display with RS232 capabilities.  (Boy, does typing RS232 take me back.  And, if I remember correctly, it is actually RS232-C that we use.)

So far my expected uses are:

Match the Bricknose sending units to the Bullnose gauges
Battery voltages - both primary and auxiliary, with low limit alarm
Coolant temp, with high limit alarm
Oil pressure, with low limit alarm
On-board air pressure - to monitor that to-be Techumseh-driven system
Potentially to data log the EEC-V EFI system

I'd been planning on using an Uno, but will look at the Teensy.  But I need shields to sink the almost 1 amp that the fuel gauge can draw, so will have to bone up on Teensy and its optional shields.

As for the display, I really do want to use the clock openings, making it look as factory as possible.  And I'm thinking I want a pushbutton in the first opening, much like the factory clock, that would let me toggle through the various things being monitored, which would be displayed in the middle and right openings.  This way I won't need the hard to see under dash add-on gauges.

But finding displays that will work there has been difficult since I need alpha as well as numeric (7-segment) to tell what is being displayed as well as to show whatever just went into alarm.  Any ideas?
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: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Ford F834
Administrator
In reply to this post by Luke76
I followed the build of this truck on the other forum, and it is definitely an inspriring project. I do find it sad that it is now up for sale, but sometimes the journey is more important than the destination. I just hope it finds a good home with someone who will cherish it for what it is.
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: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Luke76
In reply to this post by Gary Lewis
Gary, since you are planning to interface quite a few peripherals with your project the Uno may be a better choice in terms of shield availability. If you only plan to drive a 7-segment display or your run of the mill LCD/VFD, then you won't need any especial processing power - that is really only nice to have with the graphical displays.

I also considered a screen in the clock area but searched in vain for a suitable one. I bought this one to test since it is more or less the same color, but it is actually almost too small to be practical, and also can't be dimmed which could be troublesome at night (it is really quite bright).

Good luck with your project, I'm sure you'll come up with something unique and interesting.
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Re: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Luke - I'd looked at that display briefly before and decided that it wouldn't work because the characters are just too small.  But, I did a bit more reading and found the pic shown below, which proves that you can actually create characters bigger than the little ones their library produces.  Yes, they are via brute force as they are really pictures of characters.

I don't think it would be hard to create pics of all of the possible display's I'd need, but they might take up a lot of storage.  And, it would be tedious.  But, it could be done.

As for dimming, I wonder if you could vary the duty cycle to achieve that?


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: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Luke76
Yes, you can use larger custom characters. I haven't gone digging but I suspect that is already part of Adafruit's graphics libraries. However even so the display is still awfully small, you need to see one in real life, it's literally one inch across. A font of legible size, still even smaller than your standard 7-segment display, would probably only allow 4-5 characters across.

Unlike most other displays these little OLEDs do not have an input for backlight so there is no duty cycle to modify. Looking at Adafruit's library I see a "dim" command that you can send digitally but it is true/false, not variable. Not sure exactly what effect that would have. You could however use the old fashioned way of dimming displays, which is to put a piece of colored lexan in front of it (permanent dimming).
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Re: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Gary Lewis
Administrator
I'm thinking that the readout could take the form of:

"12.8 V1" for the main battery

"13.4 V2" for the auxiliary battery

"195 F" for coolant

"40 PSI" for oil pressure

But, it would be so much nicer to be able to make it "12.8 Main Battery".  Or "Batt 1: 12.8".

Anyway, I'll keep looking for the display.  A fluorescent one would be cool as it would be period-correct.
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: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Luke76
The eBay auction is live: CLICK HERE

Reserve is set at $10k
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Re: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Worth many times that.  I have it on my watch list.  This I have to see.
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: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Ray Cecil
In reply to this post by Luke76
Luke76 wrote
The eBay auction is live: CLICK HERE

Reserve is set at $10k
Well shooooot....I'll give ya $10,000 right now!! Watching, and bidding!! I am Chevy59ss on Ebay.
Ray Cecil
1969 Impala Custom Coupe
1999 Silverado
2008 Tahoe

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Re: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Gary Lewis
Administrator
I hope you get it!  And, when you come after it drop down and show it to me.  Plus, bring it back for the show in Sept.  PLEASE!
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: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Ray Cecil
Gary Lewis wrote
I hope you get it!  And, when you come after it drop down and show it to me.  Plus, bring it back for the show in Sept.  PLEASE!
Gary...I will have to tell my wife tonight....somehow...that I am bidding on it. Well, she was born in Wichita KS, so maybe that'll score me some points? Its not too far from you and our family in your area, so....

I went and got cash out last night to buy Holly a used Tahoe. The one we looked at was nice, and I just about started to negotiate. Then I started noticing some things not adding up...and I started asking questions. The guy got real rude and Holly and I looked at each other, gave each other the mental telepathy treatment, walked to our car and said nothing but "good luck buddy." The guy was really rude to us.

Anyway, so I am trying to convince my wife, right now, that we go visit her birthplace, swing by Bartlesville OK and see her family, then go see Gary Lewis and check on our rent house too while we are there.
Ray Cecil
1969 Impala Custom Coupe
1999 Silverado
2008 Tahoe

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Re: For Sale: 1983 F250 4WD "Big Blackie"

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Good plan, Stan!  I'll have to compare notes with Holly as to where she lived in Wichita.  We lived there 6 years and I was born 55 miles southeast.

As for a used vehicle, the next door neighbor has an Avalanche he says he's going to sell.  They bought it new and recently replaced it with a new Tahoe, but haven't sold the Avalanche.  Don't know anything about it, but can ask if you are interested.
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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