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20 years of learning, mistakes, and modifications.


holyford86

Some guy with a problem
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I recently saw a thread asking about how long some of us have been here, myself, I've been here 20 years in July. I don't think I've ever really showed off where I started or where I'm at now with my truck, so here we go, this isn't really a build thread but I will cover the major things and I'll list what I started with and how it currently sits at the end, I'll try to be pretty in depth.

I bought the thing in November of 2003 for 150 bucks, it suffered from the typical rust belt issues like a lack of floors and a piece of pvc pipe holding up the radiator support on one side, it did run decent for a truck with 234k miles. I then ripped the rotten bed off and replaced it with a terrible flatbed built from free plywood and scrap bed frames and built a not so esthetically pleasing bumper as well, but I was 17/18 at the time and I had to start somewhere.
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Come the fall of 2004 I was able to work out a deal with a local junkyard and swapped a really rotten scrap truck I got for free for a far less rusty cab from an 87. I then installed that on the frame, this one had floors and a radiator support which was nice.
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This same year I started a half day vo/tech welding school and some better home made bumpers eventually found their way onto the truck. They were welded in class and I brought them home on the school bus. I did not weld them, I was, and still am a terrible welder, haha.
They both are still on the truck, almost 20 years later, with a few modifications and updates. In the rear pic, you can see bed version 1.5 still under construction.
View attachment 105952
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Not too soon after these were built I graduated from high school, and had to learn how to adult and learn the job things and all of that. At this point this truck became my daily and I slowly saved money and repaired the broken and worn out things, this was my only vehicle from when I purchased it in 2003, put it on the road in 2006 and got a second beater in 2011 ish, it had to run, and did so without many issues. In 2009 I started working where I still do and bought a 6 inch skyjacker stage 2 lift with long arms, it's still under there today.
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In this pic you can also see flatbed version 2.0, which was more or less the same as version 1 but made out of all new steel and I added a light bar and plate steel fenders. The lower part of the light bar carried over from flatbed version 1.0 and the upper part was re purposed pieces from my first bumper attempt, this pic was from the spring of 2010 I believe.

I don't have very many great pictures that show the progress overall over the next decade or so but over the next 10 years the entire drivetrain was changed and upgraded, then in some cases changed again, I'll cover it in the list at the end.

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Here you can see how the front bumper and brush guard looks pretty much currently, I've added a light bar to it and deleted the step since this pic, the center most uprights are modified uprights from a Ford brush guard I found in a junkyard many years ago, this is still mostly the same bumper made when I was far younger.

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In 2019 I pulled a supercharger off a Buick in the junkyard and it eventually made its way onto the truck in 2021, see my supercharger thread in forced induction for more info on that if you'd like to. So far it's been great and has around 20k on the swap With no real issues other than a few small design revisions.

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Here's bed version 3.0, I learned a lot about what worked and what didn't when I was running version 2.0 and changed up just about everything about it. The perimeter frame and light bar are all made from 1.5x3 inch rectangle tubing with cross braces made from 1.5 inch angle iron. The wood is recessed in the perimeter frame and there are 3 straps of metal clamping the hemlock deck down to the frame. There are pieces of flat steel welded to the cross bracing under the bed so straps can be hooked anywhere along the length of the bed. The spare tire is held down to 3 lengths of aluminum L track, I've since added a mount for an off road floor jack and am in the process of building a removable roof basket to go on the light bar mount over the cab. There are two vertically mounted 2 inch recievers passing though the bed near the rear which can hold things such as a vise or a T bar for carrying long items up top as well. I can do a writeup on the flatbed if anyone is interested, there's a lot done to it to make it work how I want. The plate fenders and diagonal bracing carried over from version 2.0.

Now here's the list of the then and now, hopefully this hasn't been too long winded so far. I don't think I've mentioned it just yet but the truck is a long bed (114 wb) there have been so many interim changes that I'll just cover when I bought it and now

Then (2003)

Suspension and drivetrain:
2.9 v6
Fm145
1350m transfer case
D28 and 7.5, both open with 3.45 gears.

Interior:
Manual everything
Fm radio with 2 speakers

Exterior and wheels/tires
All factory lighting
No real add ons to speak of
Steel wheels with 225/75R15 tires

Now (2024)

Suspension and drivetrain:

Supercharged 4.0 v6
Jba headers
2.5 mandrel bent stainless exhaust with stack
M5OD transmission
1354m transfer case
95 D35 with 4.56 gears and limited slip
98 28 spline 8.8 with 4.56 gears and a Detroit
Skyjacker 6 inch long arm lift
4.5 inch lift pro comp chevy lift springs
Beltech 6400 shackles
Ruffstuff traction bar
Stx hi rider front sway bar
Rancho shocks and steering stabilizer
Single high flow Walbro fuel pump
York based engine driven compressor
200 amp alternator
Aux battery with isolator
3 row all aluminum radiator
Saginaw power steering pump with cooler.

Interior:

Power windows and locks
Vent windows
Sliding rear window
Sunroof
Multimedia Bluetooth head unit
4 speakers with 200w amplifier
Subwoofer with 300w amplifier
Galaxy DX 949 cb with external speaker
800w power inverter
Trailer brake controller
Hand throttle
140mph speedometer (wishful thinking)
Tach
Mechanical oil pressure, temp, and boost
Diff temp and a/f ratio gauge
All led lighting
Pontiac sunfire seats
Home made console with switch panel
Shortened explorer overhead console
Cab blow gun

Exterior and wheels/tires:

Every light converted to off the shelf trucklite led
2 forward facing led light bars
2 side facing led flood lights
2 rear facing led reverse/aux led flood lights
12k front winch
Front and rear air and power ports
33x12.5R15 General grabber atx tires
15x10 cragar steel wheels.
Lund visor

A couple things I'll be doing once it warms up:

The center portion of the frame will be getting plated on the outside, it's getting a little thin and I'd like to be proactive. I'll also be replacing all of the body mounts and frame cross members as part of this as well as many of the rivets are rotting off the frame and the crossmembers and mounts have already been repaired due to rust.

I'll be adding a gmrs mobile radio at some point, as soon as I find one I like.

I think that about covers it, feel free to ask questions if you'd like, I'm sure I've left parts out.
 

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Rimjam

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My credo
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Very impressive.
 

RobbieD

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Cool story, and that is impressive.

Thanks for sharing.
 

Shran

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Very cool! I don't think I've ever actually seen your truck in detail before but it's crazy how similar my '86 was/is... black single cab, flatbed, Skyjacker lift, same exact drivetrain & gears. Promise I didn't copy ya!
 

holyford86

Some guy with a problem
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7
Tire Size
33x12.50R15
Very impressive.
Thank you

Cool story, and that is impressive.

Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, i appreciate it

Very cool! I don't think I've ever actually seen your truck in detail before but it's crazy how similar my '86 was/is... black single cab, flatbed, Skyjacker lift, same exact drivetrain & gears. Promise I didn't copy ya!
I've got to familiarize myself with your build a bit more, I'm lacking in the details, haha. Copy away, haha. It's nothing super crazy as far as a build goes but it's kept me busy for quite some time and I think I'm just about done all of the major things. It works quite well, hopefully yours does too. Thank you.
 

Shran

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I think we probably were at just about the same build at some point but went separate directions - I was unhappy with mine when it had the stock drivetrain and TTB suspension so in 2009 I did a SAS and then very shortly after that in 2010 I did a V8 swap.

Really like the roll bar/jack mount thing you have on the back, I should have done that.
 

Jazzer

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Nice nice nice. Lot of headscratching in all those mods/upgrades!
 

DRanger024

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6-7” front maybe 3” rear
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This thing is awesome! Have any pics of the intake maifold? I'm assuming (I know, I know) you're running the engine with the stock cumputer. How does it like boost? I bet that thing is an absolute blast to drive.
 

holyford86

Some guy with a problem
Supporting Member
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Age
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Location
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Vehicle Year
many
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
7
Tire Size
33x12.50R15
I think we probably were at just about the same build at some point but went separate directions - I was unhappy with mine when it had the stock drivetrain and TTB suspension so in 2009 I did a SAS and then very shortly after that in 2010 I did a V8 swap.

Really like the roll bar/jack mount thing you have on the back, I should have done that.
The stock drivetrain was never that great in this one, the dana 28 doing dana 28 things was most of that issue. I decided to go with a late d35 partially because at the time I swapped it in, this was my daily driver and only vehicle so I wanted something that was still decent as far as road manners go, the other reason was the strength increase that went along with it and the better brakes. The 2.9 was always a disappointment, power wise but went for 300k, the 4.0 was like night and day, and now with it supercharged its right where I want it.

I do too, the current version of the bed its designed to actually carry weight and I have a mostly finished roof basket and a storage box that can go over the cab interchangeably, I'll make mounts for them when it warms up.

Nice nice nice. Lot of headscratching in all those mods/upgrades!
There was quite a bit of that along the way, yes. Thank you.

This thing is awesome! Have any pics of the intake maifold? I'm assuming (I know, I know) you're running the engine with the stock cumputer. How does it like boost? I bet that thing is an absolute blast to drive.
I have a build thread that really breaks down all of that in the forced induction subforum and as of a couple days ago, the tech library (thanks Jim) if there's anything else you'd like to know I'd be happy to answer.

It still has the stock computer but I do have the hardware and software to tune it should I ever need to. I really enjoy driving it, it doesn't seem to mind the boost at all.
 

Awesom-O

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How many miles were on rhe 4.0 when you decided to add the iron lung? Great thread. Enjoyed your trip through the ages. 👍🏻
 

holyford86

Some guy with a problem
Supporting Member
Article Contributor
RBV's on Boost
GMRS Radio License
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Messages
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687
Points
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Age
38
Location
Plattsburgh, NY
Vehicle Year
many
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
7
Tire Size
33x12.50R15
How many miles were on rhe 4.0 when you decided to add the iron lung? Great thread. Enjoyed your trip through the ages. 👍🏻
Around 200k. Thank you, I tried to be as complete as I could, haha
 

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