In July 2014, I decided it was time to fix up my old truck. It wasn't really an old truck to me - I actually daily drove this thing around. I'll give you a little bit of the backstory now... I went through some major life changing situations a few years back. Such as divorce, bankruptcy, child birth, remarriage, job change, you name it. In the process of it all, I was forced to get rid of the vehicles I had. I worked for the Ford dealer at this time and found this jewel of a truck sitting out back. Someone traded it in and was in such poor condition the dealer never got around to completely fixing and relisting it for sale.
It wasn't much to look at, but had the mighty old and strong 7.3L with a 6 speed manual transmission attached to it. I was in love at first sight. The price was also pretty attractive to me because it was affordable and I could stuff my kids into the back seats. (Side note: Turns out, you don't need to stuff anything into the backseats - there is so much room!) I'm also a homeowner, so the idea of an 8ft bed was pretty enticing since my little F150 only had 5.5ft bed. It's a very early 1999 so that has been something I have had to deal with throughout this adventure.
It's hard to imagine, but the truck looked worse when I bought it than in that picture. That picture was taken about a year after I purchased the truck - by the time that picture was taken I already had done several minor things to it like tint the windows, added the mirror, changed wheels and tires and cleaned it. It was so horrendously dirty.
How dirty? Ridiculously dirty. It took hours of scrubbing the paint with a sponge to get the baked on dirt off of it. Not like the paint looked much better down underneath the dirt though. The interior was trashed except for the new seats that came with it. Grease prints everywhere even the headliner. I'm fairly certain they used it as a trash truck, but I know they also used it to haul off a mess from a roofing job. The floor used the rubber mat but it had been replaced before and horribly cut around interior pieces.
The previous owner really used this thing like a truck, no doubt about it. He was the first and only owner until me. The doors and fenders were so bad they replaced them with a truck they scrapped out (hence the white stripped fenders). It also received other random used parts throughout. After learning all of this, I nicknamed this truck Frankenstein.
Frankie and I had a good run. I received some dirty looks and eerie stares but it definitely was eye catching - well, maybe, more like an eye sore. I had lots of work to do mechanically before ever touching anything on the body. Over the next year, I replaced steering gear & hose, brakes pads and rotors front and back, parking brakes and cables, brake lines, air conditioning, injectors, fuel drain, high pressure feed fittings, injector pressure regulator.. seems like the list goes on and on.
Even after fixing all those things, it was still just an eye sore. I decided now was the time to do something about it. I never had painted an entire vehicle before. I dabbled in painting a few times, the largest project being a motorcycle. I felt like I could do it but I really didn't want to spend a whole lot of money. After discovering that the truck had some serious rust issues, I decided to go about fixing the cab corners on a budget. This wasn't ideal, but it is what it is. The rocker panel and cab corners on both sides needed to be replaced and it wasn't going to happen. No doubt the bed needed to be replaced. The picture shows just how rotten the bed rails were. I purchased one from a 2013 SuperDuty from my work and even wrote an article about how to Swap Beds.
The bed comes white. With my fixed budget in mind, I decided the best course of action would be to paint the cab to match the bed. The factory paint is much better than anything I could lay down as a novice painter and would save me several hours prep work. That's too bad though - I was really leaning toward a grabber blue from the Mustang series. I decided to do that color on my motorcycle a year later. Continue to next page...