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Thread: "Wimpy", my '88 F-250 4x4 "custom"

  1. #1
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    Default "Wimpy", my '88 F-250 4x4 "custom"

    I wanted to share my latest project. It's affectionately named "Wimpy" because of the fact of it being a 3/4 ton truck but only having a 302 for power. I bought it off my Dad this winter after selling a '73 f-250 that was non-running and taking up garage space. Wimpy's got a 4 speed and is a Custom model.

    As you can see this truck is extremely rusty. That's due to being a farm truck its whole life. The good thing about the truck is that it's pretty good mechanically. The 302 runs great other than not wanting to idle properly occasionally (I need to check the TPS and IAC) and the transmission, axles, and t-case all are in good working order. It runs down the highway straight as can be at 65 mph.

    So far I've replaced some rusted brake lines, done valve cover gaskets, new side mirrors, and found some factory steel wheels and used tires for it.

    Next thing is to redo all the brakes and plumb up the new front fuel tank my Dad installed but never hooked up. I think I'm just going to delete the rear tank and the diverter valve thingy and just have the front one. Then I'll probably drive it through the summer to make sure it's mechanically good. It also needs new shocks all around.

    In the meantime I need to find some doors, a doghouse, and a bed to get rid of the rust. The plan is to keep the "brick nose" aero front end and paint it to match my T-bird eventually. Long term I wouldn't mind doing a small suspension lift.

    I have a friend who has a 90-ish F-250 Lariat though with a 460 and 5 speed. He just priced it to me so now I'm torn! His truck needs bedsides or at least patch panels but the rest is solid. Plus big block power sounds like a major plus! What I like about this red truck is that I've known its owners/history going back to when I was just a little guy. Plus the its a stripper model (crank windows, no A/C, no carpet/sound deadening) and I think that's kinda cool since all newer trucks are loaded with the amenities. The body parts other than the beds are dirt cheap (I've found doors for $80 or so, complete front clips for $200) so I think I could get it looking good again for not a ton of money.

    image.jpg
    '88 'bird, 1-family owned, original 302 converted to HO, T-5 swap, CHE upper/lower control arms, weld-in SFC's, BBK shorty headers & O/R H-pipe, Dynomax mufflers, fox GT tailpipes, Turbo Coupe 8.8 w/3.73's, 11" front brakes, lowered, Tokico Blue shocks/struts, Chuck W shock adapters and motor mounts, 15:1 rack & PS pump, custom alum. driveshaft, chrome '93 Cobra wheels, Falken tires, 20% tint, close to 190,000 miles!


  2. #2
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    Hmm. Since you have access to two trucks perhaps you could combine the best bits from each truck to make one complete unit?
    '88 Thunderbird LX: 306, Edelbrock Performer heads, Comp 266HR cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, Edelbrock 70mm TB, 76mm C&L MAF, 30lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, AOD with 2800 PI converter, 8.8 with 3.73 gears, 31 spline Traction-Lok, 31 spline Moser axles, 04 Cobra front arms, Maximum Motorsports extreme duty rear arms, subframes.
    '11 Focus, '12 Mustang 3.7, '17 Accord EX-L V6

  3. #3
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    I dunno...not sure where to go with it yet. I just drove the truck and still can't get over how nice it drives considering how shitty it looks, lol. Yeah sure there's a little wander in the steering and it rides like a log wagon, but for a beat up truck with 160k rough miles it's really not bad.

    I think I may hit up some salvage yards over the weekend to see if I can score some cheap body parts. This thing will never be a show truck but maybe I can at least get it presentable again.
    '88 'bird, 1-family owned, original 302 converted to HO, T-5 swap, CHE upper/lower control arms, weld-in SFC's, BBK shorty headers & O/R H-pipe, Dynomax mufflers, fox GT tailpipes, Turbo Coupe 8.8 w/3.73's, 11" front brakes, lowered, Tokico Blue shocks/struts, Chuck W shock adapters and motor mounts, 15:1 rack & PS pump, custom alum. driveshaft, chrome '93 Cobra wheels, Falken tires, 20% tint, close to 190,000 miles!


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    [QUOTE=50tbrd88;453983]I wanted to share my latest project. It's affectionately named "Wimpy" because of the fact of it being a 3/4 ton truck but only having a 302 for power.

    If you think that was "WIMPY", I once inherited my father-in-laws 1969 E-300 (1 ton) cargo van that came with a 300 cu in straight six with an auto tranny. That engine had some torque but it took a while to get that heap moving.
    1988 T/C body with a 5.0 transplant. Motor has a Vortech V-2 supercharger, Edlebrock Performer RPM II intake, heads, FRPP F-303 cam, Comp Cams roller rockers, Power Pipe, LMAF, full Mac exhaust, lowered, Koni's, 5 lug conversion, Cobra wheels, 13" Cobra brakes, etc.
    Dynoed 446 horse/409 torque at the wheels.
    2003 Tenth Anniversary Cobra Convertible. 1 of 369 Torch Red made.
    2012 F-250 Lariat Crew Cab 6.7 Powerstroke.

  5. #5
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    you should have a 351 in a 250. you got one of fords oddballs with a 302.
    Old Grey Cat to this.88 Cat,5.0 HO, CW mounts,mass air,CI custom cam,afr165's,Tmoss worked cobra intake,BBK shorty's,off road h pipe, magnaflow ex. T-5,spec stage 2 clutch,8.8 373 TC trac loc,che ajustables with bullits on the rear.11" brakes up front. +

  6. #6
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    Yep it's definitely a 302!
    '88 'bird, 1-family owned, original 302 converted to HO, T-5 swap, CHE upper/lower control arms, weld-in SFC's, BBK shorty headers & O/R H-pipe, Dynomax mufflers, fox GT tailpipes, Turbo Coupe 8.8 w/3.73's, 11" front brakes, lowered, Tokico Blue shocks/struts, Chuck W shock adapters and motor mounts, 15:1 rack & PS pump, custom alum. driveshaft, chrome '93 Cobra wheels, Falken tires, 20% tint, close to 190,000 miles!


  7. #7
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    I'd keep the 5.0 unless you're towing big stuff down the interstate. Makes it unique!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyB View Post
    I'd keep the 5.0 unless you're towing big stuff down the interstate. Makes it unique!
    Yeah I think so too. What's crazy is that this truck is equipped with a gooseneck ball in the bed, so it's feasibly pulled some pretty big loads. I have no idea what the gear ratios are in the axles (4.10's I'm guessing) but with the granny low 4 speed it's pretty much a tractor in the first couple of gears.

    I've spend a few hundred $$$ on it so far getting it more roadworthy. Just replaced the original '87 IAC valve which seemed to help my idle issues but didn't completely remedy them. Now it will start and idle down like it should to about 800-900 rpm. But when you drive it and then come to a stop, the idle hangs anywhere from 1000 to 1500-ish rpm. I just bought a new TPS ($50+ At NAPA ��) so hopefully that will fix it. I found a ton of vacuum leaks when I did the valve cover gaskets so hopefully there aren't any more hiding somewhere contributing to my issue.

    The oil pressure gauge intermittently acts up (jumps around everywhere) so I ordered a new sensor for it. Also got a new pcv valve grommet to stop an oil leak.

    Long term plan is a 80's era companion to my 'bird. I've found a rust free bed...id like to redo the body and paint it the same color as the t-bird but keep the porno red interior.
    Last edited by 50tbrd88; 04-09-2016 at 08:09 PM.
    '88 'bird, 1-family owned, original 302 converted to HO, T-5 swap, CHE upper/lower control arms, weld-in SFC's, BBK shorty headers & O/R H-pipe, Dynomax mufflers, fox GT tailpipes, Turbo Coupe 8.8 w/3.73's, 11" front brakes, lowered, Tokico Blue shocks/struts, Chuck W shock adapters and motor mounts, 15:1 rack & PS pump, custom alum. driveshaft, chrome '93 Cobra wheels, Falken tires, 20% tint, close to 190,000 miles!


  9. #9
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    I scored a bed for wimpy from a neighbor, and I should be getting it tomorrow. It has some bondo in it but was priced right. I'm going to strip it to see what I'm working with and go from there. Mechanically I've got it almost sorted out. I still need to work on the grabby rear brakes and fix some oil leaks. Otherwise it runs great. I'm really enjoying driving the turd. It's a neat social experiment to drive this truck and watch how differently people percieve me than when I drive one of my "nice" vehicles.

    A buddy of mine scored me some FREE poverty caps for the truck. All I had to do was cut the centers out of two of them with a 4" hole saw to fit over the lockouts.
    Attachment 37374
    '88 'bird, 1-family owned, original 302 converted to HO, T-5 swap, CHE upper/lower control arms, weld-in SFC's, BBK shorty headers & O/R H-pipe, Dynomax mufflers, fox GT tailpipes, Turbo Coupe 8.8 w/3.73's, 11" front brakes, lowered, Tokico Blue shocks/struts, Chuck W shock adapters and motor mounts, 15:1 rack & PS pump, custom alum. driveshaft, chrome '93 Cobra wheels, Falken tires, 20% tint, close to 190,000 miles!


  10. #10
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    So I've been working on the truck some. Got the original bed off which was a REAL pain. I had to basically cut it off as the bolts were all heavily rusted. Spent most of the day Saturday using a grinder with wire wheel to clean the scale off the frame so I can POR-15 it and paint it up.

    I'm working on the fuel system now. Here's my issue:

    1.) only the rear tank works
    2.) all OEM fuel lines have been cut and a rubber fuel injection hose has been spliced into the line for the rear tank, bypassing the fuel selector valve. No idea why as the selector valve is mechanical and from what I've heard they rarely go bad. The lines for the front tank are not hooked up and were plugged.
    3.) truck has a brand new front tank but none of the lines are hooked up obviously. Also it doesn't seem that the front tank pump is working, though it should be new-ish.
    4.) rear fuel gauge non working

    I put my voltmeter on the connector going to the pump for each tank. When I switch the selector valve in the cab, I get voltage to both so I don't think my switch is bad. I looked into the front tank (took the fill hose off) and it has a small amount of old/stale varnishy gas in it. I'm wondering if this could have corroded up the pump and ruined it?

    Main question, where can I buy replacement fuel line? Would rubber "fuel injection hose" and small hose clamps work in place of the hard plastic factory lines (they're the same style lines and connectors as on our t-birds and Cougars)? I've bought the hose in small sections before and it's not cheap. I've been looking online and places like LMC and don't see complete replacement fuel lines for my '87.

    I'd like to have both tanks working, or at least the newer and bigger front tank but am on a beater budget here. I know this is a Tbird/Cougar forum but thought I'd throw this one out there.
    '88 'bird, 1-family owned, original 302 converted to HO, T-5 swap, CHE upper/lower control arms, weld-in SFC's, BBK shorty headers & O/R H-pipe, Dynomax mufflers, fox GT tailpipes, Turbo Coupe 8.8 w/3.73's, 11" front brakes, lowered, Tokico Blue shocks/struts, Chuck W shock adapters and motor mounts, 15:1 rack & PS pump, custom alum. driveshaft, chrome '93 Cobra wheels, Falken tires, 20% tint, close to 190,000 miles!


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