Introducing Project HoonTruck: My "new" 1965 Ford F100

2015-01-21 17.33.03-1
The time has come to begin a new project journey. For some reason that I can’t fully explain, I’ve had an itch to add a truck to my life. It had to be old, and it had to have a bit of style. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to my 1965 Ford F-100… Project HoonTruck.

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I’ve been scouring Craigslist for some time now. My search ranged from Los Angeles and Orange County down to San Diego and then out to Palm Springs, the Inland Empire, and even Imperial County (which is Breaking Bad-ville). This is all southern California which means there are many old trucks out there.
Some folks want tons of money. Some folks are trying to offload crap. My goal was to find something in the middle; an affordable, daily driver project.
That’s exactly what I’ve found here.
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Under the hood there is not the original 352 that came fitted to this St.Paul-built-truck. Instead, a previous owner has swapped in a 390. That larger FE V8 is paired with a four-speed gearbox, and it all drives the rear wheels.
The engine has loads of power… well, it did once I learned how to adjust the carb.
Our man Jason handled the initial viewing and haggling of this one for me, and he then drove the truck to his place. He mentioned the problems that I already knew about: the driveshaft vibrates, the dash lights don’t work, and there’s a bit of smoke out of the left side exhaust.
I hopped on a train in Santa Ana with Oceanside as my destination. Connor picked me up at the station in his Focus ST. My backpack and tool roll in tow (Thanks Zach Bowman), we drove the 20 minutes to Jason house. There she sat… my “new” truck!
We checked the oil (low) and the coolant (low), filled both up, and then I hopped into turn the key. Trivia question: What does this truck have in common with a Porsche 911? Anyway, she fired right up on the first twist.
I bid Jason farewell and set off for home. First stop was, of course, a gas station since I have no idea how accurate the fuel gauge currently is, and it was reading empty. I filled up and went to leave… nope. The truck wouldn’t fire up. It was cranking, but I couldn’t get it to go.
Like an idiot, I’d driven to the gas station with the choke wide open. I’m not sure if that was affecting the ability for the truck to start because, as you all know, I’m a moron once you open the hood. I called Jason, and he came over. We eventually got the truck started, but it was dying when I was off the throttle.
We got the truck back to his house, with a few restarts along the way. When it was running though, that engine felt strong. Back in Jason’s driveway, I called the one man I know who can help me at this moment: Tim Odell. I told him about the 4bbl Edelbrock carburetor sitting atop the engine, and he told me what the three screws do to the engine. Fiddling with the two air/fuel screws and then the idle screw, we got the truck to fire up. The idle was very high, so I backed it down and we took it for a test run. It went great, so we brought it back to the driveway, brought the idle back down to around 1k, and I set off for home, far later than I intended.
I adjusted a carb! This may seem like no big deal to most of you, but it always feels like a major victory for me (see: Datsun road trip).
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I hit the highway and the vibration that arrives around 25-30 miles per hour completely disappears above 40. I’ll be taking it in to get balanced and see if that fixes everything. If not, we’ll be looking at u-joints and other bits. For the smoke, which is minor, I am going to handle the valve seals in short order. Other issues include getting a proper battery tie down (It’s a thick string right now… seriously), and … that’s really it.
From there, I’ll figure out minor upgrades to do along the way. The truck already sounds badass, but maybe we can fine tune the noise. I’m going to add some new tires, and I want some black Cragar-style wheels similar to what the Country Sedan used to wear. Then I’m just going to drive it and find new things to do as they come to me. If you have ideas for the truck, sound off below.
Oh… and while driving home, I got the dash lights to work. Jason never turned the light knob all the way to the left.
Welcome home HoonTruck!
[Sorry for the camera phone images. My big camera needs a bit of love at the moment so I left it home. A proper photoshoot is coming soon, and video will happen shortly after that.]

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  1. Mike Avatar

    Crown Vic front suspension conversion would be cool.

  2. audiofyl Avatar

    ignition key is left of the column like a Porsche?

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker


    2. Drzhivago138 Avatar

      Just like our L700 grain truck! Man, that's infuriating when you go for the key on the right because of muscle memory and there's nothing there.

    3. salguod Avatar

      Must be a 50's/60's Ford thing, my T'bird is the same way.
      Can you pull the key while the engine is running like I can with the T'bird? I'm thinking that's more a function of wear than a "feature".

      1. Scout_dude Avatar

        No that was a feature back in the day. GM vehicles and vehicles that used the Saginaw steering column with the GM style lock cylinder had that feature too. It seems to have went away in 72 on many of them because my 72 Scout has that feature by my 73 did not. I remember when I was a kid and while driving down the road my dad would pull the key out of the Sportwagon to stir/clean out his pipe.

        1. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
          C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

          My '73 Coupe DeVille had that feature, and it freaked me out when I first discovered it.
          Thankfully, it was mentioned in the owner's manual, which was still in the glovebox.
          With the trunk key being different for most vehicles up until the late-70's, and for some manufacturers, the early-90's, to prevent having to turn the engine off to open the trunk, this is the solution.

  3. Stephen Avatar

    Nothing like purchasing a used vehicle, taking it a short distance and then not being able to start it. Adventure! This is why we don't be boring, reliable cars. Still, it looks like good fun. Looking forward to following this one.

    1. Stephen Avatar

      *don't buy

    2. frankthecat Avatar

      when I purchase used vehicles, they generally don't start before I even go to leave. or exchange money.
      I have a milk crate that I bring with me for such purchases that's full of tools. kinda like a tool roll, except heavier and more overkill.

  4. Kiefmo Avatar

    My railroad engineer neighbor had this same year truck (which he bought new) all throughout my childhood, in Oxford White with the I6 and 3-spd column shift. The truck accumulated many hundreds of thousands of miles over ~30 years of commuting. In the late 90s, he bought a slightly used F250 PSD and retired the F100 to his garage for a full restoration, which took him about 2 years of careful work in his spare time. Really a labor of love. The only work he hired out was the paint (no body work was necessary — rust wasn't an issue in GA) and custom seat fabric. When he was done, it was like new, the only modern touch being a spray-in bedliner (under the rails to not spoil the outward appearance), so he could still work with it if he wanted to. But he mostly drove it on Sundays to church when the weather was nice, and on little errands around our little community.
    Your truck looks like it will be a different animal altogether with that beastly FE mill. I'm eagerly awaiting first photos with rear tires fully ablaze.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      While trying to limp it back to Jason's house… there were a few OH SHIT, HAVE TO GO NOW TRAFFIC BEHIND ME moments.
      It easily spins tires.

      1. Eric Rood Avatar
        Eric Rood

        Photos? There had better be video of this MF soon. Well done, sir.

      2. Batshitbox Avatar

        Tail happy! Like a 911.

  5. acarr260 Avatar

    Congrats! She looks solid. I can't wait to hear that 390!

  6. JayP2112 Avatar

    We had a F100 Ranger with a 390. That was a mean machine.
    You'll enjoy this.

  7. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Congrats on your new purchase! I know the fun of picking up something new. Sometimes, when you get bogged down, buying your way into a feeling of progress is exactly the right way to handle it.

  8. Sjalabais Avatar

    Very neat, I like this one way better than the other one you showed us a couple of days ago.
    Driving with too much choke…did that once on my '77 Volvo 242 ten years ago. It was -30°C out and it took ages to warm up the engine. Car stalled and then I had to wait for the excess petrol to leave every place where it shouldn't be…

  9. needthatcar Avatar

    I like it. I always loved that generation's body style – particularly the rear wheel openings with the sweep that runs straight back to the tail lights.

  10. muthalovin Avatar

    I am super pleased you went with the F100 vs. the Apache. Congrats!

  11. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    Whoever had the truck before clearly had plans for it… so it's 90% of the way there. There's a fuel pressure gauge installed under the hood, everything appears to work alright, and the fucker is loud.
    Once I get the immediate issues sorted, I'm in great shape.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      A fuel pressure gauge? So does that mean it has an electric fuel pump and an adjustable regulator? That's a good thing to have.

    2. Scout_dude Avatar

      Unfortunately they didn't know what they were doing. The must do immediately is to put a real fuel filter on there and get rid of the leaky chrome strainer that they put on there. The cheesy in line fuel leaker, er pressure gauge, should also go away soon too.
      That fuel strainer is likely part of the problem with the idle as they pass a ton of junk that then floats around in the fuel bowl drifting in and out of passages which likely accounts for the sudden lack of idle that was repaired by richening it up. The junk will eventually make its way through and then it will be running to rich.

  12. dukeisduke Avatar

    A Custom Cab, very nice (fancy for 1965). What are those valve covers, Sig Erson? Looks like someone went through the Rookie Racer Jeg's catalog. The Edelbrock carb is good – they're reliable, and easy to adjust or rebuild. The truck reminds me of the one in High School Musical 2. Also, a cousin of mine had a '65, back when they were new. It was nice, until a pine tree blew down, and landed on the roof. It was replaced by a new '67 after that.

    1. Scout_dude Avatar

      With Erson valve covers I'm betting on SuperShops in the 80's or early 90's.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        Super Shops! I bought a couple of sets of tires there for my Vega GT, in the late '80s. After the Continental Super Contact CH51s (185/70HR-13s) wore out, I switched to BFG Radial T/As. First 205/60SR-13s, then 185/70SR-13s. They didn't have the grip of the Contis, but they were cheaper.

  13. dukeisduke Avatar

    Also, another cousin had a '69 F-250 with a 390, that he used with a slide-in camper. It had duals that exited just ahead of the rear axle, and it sounded good.

  14. dukeisduke Avatar

    Also, the first year for Twin-I-Beam (which is why it's featured on the emblems on the fenders).

  15. Drzhivago138 Avatar

    Paul Niedermeyer would be proud.

  16. mdharrell Avatar

    "Other issues include getting a proper battery tie down (It’s a thick string right now… seriously)…."
    <img src=""&gt;
    Looks legit. It's got a knot in it and everything. Heck, the battery cables are even color-coded. Correctly, too. What more could you want?

  17. nanoop Avatar

    "I adjusted a carb!" You're a man now. A state I still have to achieve…

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Hey it didn't happen to me until I was in my 30s… there's time for everyone

      1. nanoop Avatar

        Oh, I'll play with my childish FI for another decade or two…

  18. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    How do I convince my wife (and myself) that this should be my next car?….
    <img src=""&gt;

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      It's relatively easy to get LHD and RHD parts to convert it to dual control.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        That's a stupid awesome idea.

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          Just trying to help. Also, the doors are great for narrow parking spots.

          1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
            Peter Tanshanomi

            This one is actually LHD.

          2. mdharrell Avatar

            Well, yeah. For now.

          3. FЯeeMan Avatar

            Steering on the left, pedals on the right, shifter in the middle.
            Good times to be had by all!

          4. FreeMan Avatar

            Well… I kinda meant steering fire the person on the left, pedals for the person on the right.
            Buddy of mine thought up a racing series in Humvies like that. It's big enough time hit no chance of affecting the other guy's part of the operations…

        2. Vairship Avatar

          Then put a dog in the left seat, and drive around while covertly steering from the right!

  19. Lokki Avatar

    Congratulations! You have hours and hours (years and years?) of driving, tinkering, and daydreaming up plans ahead of you! On getting the driveshaft balanced, I did that on my Alfa, and concluded to go ahead and have 'The Driveshaft King' do the u-joints for me at the same time. I brought my own U-joints, which allowed me to be sure I was getting was the right part and probably saved everyone a bunch of time. I figured why pull the shaft, have it balanced, and then pull it again for u-joints? Doing the U-joint install was cheap maybe $15 or $20 each? I don't recall exactly but it was definitely worth it. Balancing the shaft was only $60 or something. Going to the shop was a very cool experience for me – a classic "Machine-Age" trip; none of your spotlessly clean, pastel-colored, bathed in fluorescent light shop nonsense here. It was more railroad roundhouse. The coolest thing was the collection of corkscrewed driveshafts. Irresistible torque! What a concept!

  20. Kris_01 Avatar

    Yeah, vibrations like that are classic siezed u-joints.

  21. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    My suggestion for Jeff is old-school shielded side pipes.
    <img src="; width="560">

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker


  22. 7FIAT's Later Avatar
    7FIAT's Later

    Congrats and don't worry about the alarming rate that 390 is going through gas. After some tinkering I got my old Ford truck with a 390 up to 14 MPG and that made me happy.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      I wish the gauge were more accurate… I'll try to keep track via the Odo if I can.

  23. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    This isn't one of the uni-body trucks, is it? Or was that earlier in the '60s? Nice looking rig either way.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      The Unibody trucks were '61-'63.

  24. dukeisduke Avatar

    Here is a great article on the Unibody, and the problems caused by not thoroughly testing vehicles before you send them to market:

  25. topdeadcentre Avatar

    After your first carb adjustment success, you suddenly find that the gates have opened onto a whole new world of knowledge you need to learn.
    Even better than the first rough field-tuning is disassembly, full cleaning, re-assembly, and dialing in. Engines do great things when the carb is all clean and well-adjusted.

  26. Xedicon Avatar

    Grats Jeff! For what it's worth my short term advice is what you're going to do anyway; just drive it for a bit so you can learn the truck and what's wrong with it, then prioritize. Generally I look at an issue and decide on one of 4 options: Fix, Fab, Replace, or Upgrade. Deciding solidly on one of those has often kept my focus from wandering while getting work done.

  27. Krash Kadillak Avatar
    Krash Kadillak

    Two words came to mind when seeing that first pic, Jeff:
    You. Haul.