If you haven't been there yet, you can find out the story behind this truck on the Cars from My Past section of this site. This page is dedicated to the forthcoming engine buildup for it. Since I replaced the engine in my car with a 100% new one, I brought the old, blown head-gasketed engine to the machine shop and exchanged it for a rebuilt one (yes, I know I traded in a roller cammed engine for a flat-tappeted one). No more building an engine from scratch for the time being. I doubt that I'll make any mods to the truck, performance wise, since its extremely reliable, and I want to keep it that way. Also, F-150s of my vintage were all speed-density (including 93-95 Lightnings) prohibiting any major modifications anyway, although a dual-exhaust setup isn't out of the question. I'm planning to at least add more pics of the truck and the interior, and the engine swap itself should only take a weekend or so (famous last words). Well, it finally happened. As everyone knows, when one thing good happens to you, something has to happen to take it away. I finally managed to get a job in my field, where the commute is twice as long, so of course my F-150 decides to start stalling in traffic. I changed the alternator, but that didn't make that much of a difference. I got the truck with 170k on the clock, and I know that it had previously been overheated, and had very little compression and at least one dead cylinder. It would vibrate at low RPM, but it would smooth out on the highway, so it was a new car as far as I was concerned. However, it had been idling rougher and just generally being less-than-smooth. After it had died on me for the one-hundredth time in two days, my dad and I decided that since we already had a spare 302, it would be best to rebuild it. I actually was going to send it to a professional engine rebuilder, but they wouldn't have changed the water pump, injectors, sensors, and all the other small stuff. Besides, like any good gearhead, I'm a control freak when it comes to engines and I want to know and see everything that goes in it. I'm currently taking pictures of it, and they should be posted soon. I finally finished getting all my pictures of the truck rebuild developed. Now, everyone has either owned or knew someone that owned a vehicle that was in such poor shape that it was hard to believe that it still ran. I already detailed the litany of problems that truck had, but when I disassembled it, I couldnt believe that any human being could treat anything this poorly. Anyway, onto the pics:
You know it's bad when the first thing you take apart has a problem. Well, here is a pic of the airbox and filter, which for some strange reason were both coated with a film of engine oil. It turns out that the PCV hose goes from the oil filler neck to the airbox, using its own special filter, which was conveniently not installed. Small amounts of oil were allowed through the tube into the airbox, and presumably also into the engine, even though I never saw any telltale blue smoke.
The old engine still in the truck. You can see the new alternator that I had recently installed to cure the stalling problem. That is actually a thin stream of oil in the throttle body.
I already assumed that the thermostat was either missing or broken due to the fact that the temp gauge never moved. When I drained the radiator and started pulling hoses off, I noticed that the cooling system had never been flushed in the truck's entire 177,000-mile existence. A look at this rusty water neck gave a small hint of what was to come.
I was too busy removing the engine to get any good pics of the uninstall, but you know what it looks like by now. This is a pic of the old engine. The arrows point to the caked-on rust inside the ports. You can't see it in the pic, but the #1 exhaust port and exhaust manifold port were 100% clogged with soot (obviously due to the fact that it was drawing oil). I thought it was just a bit of surface dirt, but it was packed in to the point where I had to spend hours upon hours to loosen it.
Here's a closer shot of the rusted ports. Between the dirt and rust, the heads were pretty much trashed.
The coupe-de-grace. Although the pic is a bit blurry, you can tell that this thermostat had obviously ceased functioning some time ago. I wound up having to get a new radiator because the old one was virtually rusted through, due to the fact that water had not actually circulated through it in years.
This is what a high-mileage timing chain looks like. There is about 1" of slack indicated by the arrow. Although it doesn't look like much, the chain was pretty floppy.
Get used to doing this when you're working on a truck.
While I was disassembling my truck, I had the engine from my Mustang rebuilt, which I decided to use. I actually still have the truck 302 on a stand. The engine shop even gave me a double-roller timing chain.
Here's another headache. Of course I couldn't use the Mustang oil pan because it would hit the crossmember, so I had to clean out the old one. Knowing how bad the engine was, you can imagine the state of the oil pan, and how long it took me to get it to a presentable status.
Here's another one of those things you never think about until they happen. The timing cover on the left is from the Mustang, and the one on the right is from the F-150. I thought I would have been able to use the Mustang cover, but I wound up having to spend several hours cleaning off the one from the truck.
Of course there's always one small piece that delays any engine install at least one day. Here's an example of some emissions crap that took me forever to replace. The one on the left is from the truck, and after going to about 100 different auto parts stores and the closest I could get was the one on the right, whose tube is narrower than the factory one, meaning that the hose didn't fit tightly. I wound up using it anyway and just put two clamps on it.
This is the completed engine finally going in. As usual, we were working late into the night. Unfortunately, I didn't take any more pictures.