Project HoonTruck: Let's take a look at what we've got here

I pulled up to the stoplight.
Third gear was still a mystery to me, but I was working on it. I’ll figure this truck out sooner rather than later, but I was still stuck in the getting to know you phase of our relationship. The brakes were stiff, but I knew that already. Regardless, they worked and the nose of the truck wasn’t 3 feet farther into the intersection than it should be.
The idle was a bit high, but I could fix that now. Besides it was at 1,200 at the moment and not 2,200… I could hear myself think. I could also feel the eyeballs of the car next to me. The lady, who was in her later stages of life, was driving a third generation Ford Explorer. My windows were already rolled down, and she brought hers to the same level.
“What year is it?”
A ’65 I answered back.
“It’s wonderful, are you going to restore it?”
I replied that I was planning on it leaving it pretty much as it looked, and explained as much as one could over the course of a traffic light.
“Well good… because it’s gorgeous as it is.”
My smile lasted four more days…

This is the oldest vehicle I’ve ever owned. This is the first carbureted vehicle I’ve ever owned. This is the first vehicle I’ve ever owned without power steering or power brakes. This is the second truck I’ve owned, and the both were Fords. I’m not partial to the brand or anything, but if I trace my own car history backwards I do find that the Blue Oval brand makes more than a few appearances.
My dad had an old Ranger when he was still in the Navy. My brother and I used to ride in the bed, which had been fitted with a camper shell and a carpeted bed space. It was great as a child of the late 80’s. It would be considered criminal today. After that, Dad had a Ford Explorer Sport and then two matching Ford Escort wagons… it was a dark time car wise for the Gluckers.
My dad drives a fourth generation Explorer now, and he’s been happy with it but he’s also ready to move on. He knows it’s aging, and that doesn’t bode well for that particular machine. That doesn’t mean that all old Fords age poorly. Our own EIC Tim Odell had a 1967 Ford Country Sedan, which I drove up the coast after he moved to the Bay Area. He ditched that poor longroof (you bastard!) and made a 1964 Ford Falcon his daily driver.
Maybe this was meant to be?
Either way, this post isn’t some winding prose-filled narrative about the merits of old Ford product. This is actually the official introduction to our newest Hooniverse Project Vehicle. That last post was more of a teaser, as today we’re diving into the deep end and getting to know what we’re dealing with.
This is a 1965 Ford F-100. It’s a rear-wheel-drive pickup truck with great lines, shitty tires, a mixed-bag interior, and a wonderfully upgraded engine. In 1965, the largest available engine was the 352. My truck is fitted with a 390 V8, and it’s paired with a four-speed manual gearbox. Additionally, the previous owner was clearly working on turning this into some sort of muscle truck. It’s not anywhere close to that yet, but it was starting to waltz down that path.
This 390 is already wearing the requisite four-barrel carburetor courtesy of Edelbrock, some mediocre valve covers, and a not totally boring air cleaner. There’s a new(ish) looking fan attached to the radiator, and a few changes to the under-hood space that imply someone had a goal in mind.
I’m going to need to clean up this “goal” because it’s not exactly wonderful down there. It’s pretty damn good but it’s not exactly where I’d be going. Those valve covers are being swapped out, the headers are going to change, and that rest nest of plug wires is going to be cleaned up. Nothing major, but it should give the bay a quick but efficient makeover.
I’ll clearly also need to address that battery “tie down”. That’s some bullshit there, but… honestly… that battery hasn’t moved once since I’ve been driving this thing. Regardless, it’s a quick (and necessary) fix. After that I can focus on an actual area that needs attention. There’s smoke popping out of the driver side exhaust, and it’s clear that we’re blowing a bit of oil. It’s time for me to learn how to change valve seals… and I do mean me. I’m going to learn how to do the work this time around.
Minus the driveshaft vibration… there’s literally no way I can fix that myself. Get this truck up above 30 miles per hour and there’s a pretty damn solid vibration. It continues until the exact moment the speedometer crosses the mark showing 40MPH. After that it’s basically Lexus smooth. Once I sort our the driveshaft (taking it to a local shop) and the valve seals, there’s just appearance adjustments and minor upgrades.
I’ve picked out a pretty damn great drivable project here.
Driving this truck is an entirely different experience than what I’m used to. No, I’m not always getting my ass coddled by the latest supercar. That only happens two… maybe three times per month. Here I’m dealing with a forearm workout when I have to park, and a serious leg workout when I have to hit the brakes. Still, when this thing is rolling the steering works better than I would’ve expected, and as long as you actually step on the brakes hard the damn things haul all of that “speed” in.
This truck isn’t fast, mind you. It’s got great power, and I usually never have to go into the lowest gear. Second is the go-to when pulling away from a stop.
On the outside, we’ve got a fairly straight body with a bit of damage here and there. All in all, it’s extremely minor considering we’re dealing with a truck that was born four years before we put people on the moon. There’s a good dent in the right-front fender and a lesser dent in the left-rear panel near where the bumper should be. Oh, there’s no rear bumper. I’m considering just bolting up a roll pan there or even leaving it as is.
Inside, we’ve got no door panels and I don’t miss them. The truck looks great with naked doors, and I may pull off the trim that’s on there surrounding where the material should be. The headliner is gone and I don’t miss that either. The mostly metal cabin space fits the truck rather well, and I’m fairly certain at this point that I don’t need to fix that. I will fix the stupid ass speaker the previous owner mounted into the space formerly held by a glovebox. While it’s nice to have a speaker (there’s another one in the cabin), I prefer to keep basic shit in the glovebox. It’s a cheap replacement part through LMC Trucks, and I’ll be making a sizable order fairly soon.
After all of that is said and done, my plans for this truck are always evolving. I’m definitely going to get some new wheels and tires. I believe I’m leaning towards the Cragar Soft 8s at the moment, finished in black. For rubber, I’ll probably go with something sport from BFGoodrich or Michelin because, well, those are the best tires on the planet. From there I’d like to look into the idea of power steering, front discs, and a very minor suspension kit that lowers the truck. I could take or leave any of those three ideas though.
My main goal is to enjoy the shit out of this truck until the Wombat is ready. I’m going to leave the paint alone, but I am already thinking about adding a custom “shop” logo to the doors. There’s a custom plate on order too. Oh, and and an exhaust company might be interested in working with us on this adventure.
Either way, we’ve got a good amount of time until the Benz wagon is ready… so get ready for the summer of HoonTruck.
I like to think about things musically, and a random song came on my iTunes while writing this. Paul Simon’s Father and Daughter (which was the song my lovely wife danced with her father to during our wedding*). It reminded me of the truck, oddly enough… because trucks are stoic, tough, and always up to tackle the job at hand. Now it’s my turn to give this truck the good life it worked so hard for.
Stand guard like a post card of a golden retriever…
Gonna watch you shine, gonna watch your grow…
This should be fun.

[Images copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Jeff Glucker]
*Sam’s a Dodge man… but I think he’ll appreciate this truck.

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  1. frankthecat Avatar

    Please keep the steelies with some center caps. Cragar wheels are done to death.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      They have been done to death… but that's because they look pretty damn perfect.
      We'll see what happens.

    2. SSurfer321 Avatar

      agreed. Black steelies with redline wheels would set this off.

    3. GTXcellent Avatar

      You hush your mouth. There can never be enough Cragar wheels in this world. Cragar EVERYTHING!
      or steelies

    4. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      But I need him to put Cragars on it so I can steal the steelies for the Wagoneer and ditch the silly late-80s ARs.

      1. Scout_dude Avatar

        Refresh for me what front axle you have on it now? If you have the axle where the locking hubs (or drive flanges) bolt on you can not use the Ford wheels on the front. The center hole is to small to fit over the hub.

        1. Tim Odell Avatar
          Tim Odell

          Still Dana 27, but has typical locking hubs.
          So the 2wd 5 on 5.5 truck wheels have a smaller center hole?

          1. Scout_dude Avatar

            No it is a Ford thing 2wd and 4wd use the same small diameter center bore (2.xx") in the wheels, at least since the 70's. The Jeep and IH 4wd vehicles need a ~4.25" center bore.

  2. andy Avatar

    My Dad has mostly restored a '63 F-100. Your project brings back a lot of memories riding around in that truck. Looks like you have a good truck. Dad sourced a number of parts from Flashback F-100's in his restoration and their knowledge of F-100's is awesome. Like your truck, Dad's truck doesn't have the original engine. The 1st swap was from the original straight six to a 390 and the 2nd swap was from the 390 to a 428 CJ. There was also an automatic swap in there too.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      428 CJ?! damn

  3. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    looks like you could fit a couple more engines into that bay…man, cars have changed since then, haven't they

    1. mike england Avatar
      mike england

      LOL – you could climb over the fender, stand on the ground, and change spark plugs.

  4. engineerd™ Avatar

    As I told you last night, I'm in love with this truck. I'm glad you're going to leave it looking pretty much as is. Clean it up here and there, make it look more "complete" and then enjoy it. No need to dump a kajillion dollars into it.

  5. Batshitbox Avatar

    I'm with frankthecat, keep the steelies, but paint them white to match the two-tone. I was going to say get a big gnarly step bumper with the name of a dealership welded into it, but I think that's a Chevy thing. The original bumper isn't too bad, but again, painted to match the front is better.
    <img src="; width=400>

  6. MrDPR Avatar

    I've got an '89 F-150, 4.9L / 5 OD in the same color that I've owned since new. I suggest tires with raised white letters. I also have some wheel options: Cragar Comet, Cragar Super Spoke, Cragar 441, U.S.Wheel: 26 series, 87 & 97 series, all available in 15" Ford lug pattern. Check them out.
    IMO, the twin I beam suspension is one of the best ever made.
    I think one of the best features on your truck is that storage cabinet in the r/h side of the bed.

    1. mike england Avatar
      mike england

      U R Right – that little tool box is awesome!

  7. Feds_II Avatar

    On the vibration: are you 100% sure it's not the wheels and tires? Swap the wheels front to back and see if the vibration moves. Then, before you throw money away on a "professional" "shop":
    Otherwise, the truck looks great. Are you getting new headers to be fancy, or is there something wrong with the design of what you have? If your issue is just rust, buy a kiddie pool and some high heat paint:
    (this assumes you already have a battery charger and some scrap steel)
    EDIT: Crap, I forgot the other important suggestion: Do an electric fan swap. Mechanical fans are the devil, and noisy as hell.

  8. GTXcellent Avatar

    A shoelace for a battery tie-down? What an idiot. Everyone knows it should be a bungee cord.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Mine has zip-ties.

      1. MrHowser Avatar

        Mine is a ratcheting tie-down. .

        1. mike england Avatar
          mike england

          Personally I prefer parachute cord or baling wire.

    2. Lokki Avatar

      Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen. A battery is a big, heavy electrical device. Obviously, the only proper tie down is a piece of electric cord.

  9. Stu_Rock Avatar

    I like OE steelies up to the point when suitable tire sizes are no longer available. These are 15s, and lots of great LT235/75R15 tires are still available. But for many old cars, the 13s, 14s, or 15s they came with are just not usable anymore. That's when the Cragar steelies become a great option.

  10. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    IMHO, nothing works as well on '60s pickups as old-style slotted mags, without too bright a polish on them.
    <img src="; width="580">

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Slot mags are more of a 70s thing, and while that body style debuted in the 60s, it's more of a 70s look.
      I love the look of widened steelies with small baby-moon center caps.
      …but I need his steelies for the Wagoneer.

      1. 1slowvw Avatar

        Widened steelies are very often the best wheel option.

  11. BuickButt Avatar

    That truck looks quite clean. And excellent article. Now for my worthless opinion, LOWER IT.
    That being said, I've read a fairly common rumor that ford trucks equipped with the twin I-beam front end are almost impossible to lower without modification of the frame. I know this crew to be highly knowledgeable with stuff like this- clarify/disprove?

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      I've read that too, but apparently there are companies that make bolt in bits that give you some drop and it's supposed to be easy to do.
      We'll find out soon enough

      1. BuickButt Avatar

        Thanks, yeah after some quick searching they sell drop beams/ springs.
        Anyway congratulations on the truck. I'm looking forward to seeing the progress/experience unfold.

  12. Rob Avatar

    Great truck… I've got my grandfather's SWB 65 model (240, 3 on the tree) waiting in a barn for a makeover someday. Have you given any thought to safety upgrades? Install a gas tank under the bed perhaps? Does this truck even have seatbelts? Mine didn't as they were an extra cost option. In fact, mine doesn't even have a sunshade on the passenger side!

    1. mike england Avatar
      mike england

      I'm guessing a 65 did not have seat belts at all. Speaking of safety upgrades, get the gas tank out of the cab for sure.

  13. Scout_dude Avatar

    Ok as I said in the introductory post get rid of that fuel strainer and put on a real filter NOW. I've seen them be a source of lots of carb problems.
    The next thing you need to do it put the fan on properly it is on backwards right now. The dish of the curve should be to the engine side. Better yet get rid of it since it is of questionable quality and has been spun backwards for who knows how long. It is a safety issue when those cheap fans let go they can send a blade through the hood, even a thick old hood like that. If it lets go when you are running the engine while working under the hood you can be killed. Get a fixed fan from the wrecking yard that shows zero sign of damage or get a flex fan made be a reputable source of HVAC components, not a company that specializes in shiny crap made in China.
    As too the wheels you do want to get rid of those if you are planning on putting on modern radial tires. The old wheels flex a lot. The plus is that Ford kept that bolt pattern until the 97 F150 was introduced so there are a ton of steel wheels that are intended for use with radial tires. I put radials on the stock wheels on one of my Scouts and then couldn't keep the hub caps in the front when cornering due to the wheels flexing.

    1. Scout_dude Avatar

      Oh and are you sure that you can't fix the driveline vibration? It could be as simple as it is in need of new u joints.
      Another common problem on vehicles with a 2 piece drive shaft is that people don't put them back together in phase. The yokes at each end should be parallel. Even when people put them back in phase they can be 180 degrees from when they were balanced making them out of balance since they are normally balanced as an assembly. Again if it has a 2 piece shaft which is common on the long wheel base trucks of this era a bad carrier bearing can also cause a vibration that comes and goes depending on drive shaft speed.

    2. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      I'll take a closer look at the fan, and will probably swap for an electric unit anyway.

    3. r henry Avatar
      r henry

      Oh, you forgot to mention the all-rubber fuel line, dodgy master cylinder fluid line, the un-grommeted firewall wiring, and the jacked throttle linkage assembly (note the spring on the choke linkage!!), and the lack of working horn….death trap!

      1. Scout_dude Avatar

        Well in the intro article I did note that the PO didn't have a clue what they were doing and I didn't look at all of the pictures until later. But yeah this truck is not roadworthy at this point.

    4. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Swapped in a different fan and have it facing the correct direction… HUGE difference.

  14. Drzhivago138 Avatar

    Am I the only one here who wants to see some period-correct factory hubcaps?

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Nope, I like them. And since it's a Custom Cab, they'd have to be the shiny stainless ones.

  15. dukeisduke Avatar

    Valvoline? A wise choice, my good man.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      ha, it's good to hear you say that… stay tuned.

      1. Scout_dude Avatar

        Take that oil back. The Valvoline oils that are suitable for use in that engine do not come in a red bottle The current spec sheet I see on their website lists the Zinc/Phosphorous levels as .083/.077 for all weights and the minimum is .100 for Zinc for a flat tappet cam.
        For the filter go to WalMart and get a Motorcraft filter, while you are there the Motorcraft Heavy Duty diesel oil is a good choice as it specifically notes that it should not be used in catalytic converter equipped gasoline engines. Rotella and Delo are also good choices.

  16. dukeisduke Avatar

    I like the early Twin-I-Beam – they used cast iron radius arms back then, instead of the later stamped steel ones like my '95 F-150 had. Mine also used poly radius arm bushings from the factory – they don't squeak like the aftermarket rubber ones (I'm looking at you, Moog) will.

  17. Krash Kadillak Avatar
    Krash Kadillak

    Do you have any history on the truck. With that paint job, it definitely looks ex- U-Haul, yet it has the deluxe exterior (and maybe interior as well) that you wouldn't see on a U-Haul.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      No history unfortunately

      1. mike england Avatar
        mike england

        I don't remember UHaul renting pickup trucks, but I don't know. I think that white/red paint scheme was a common color combination on that year f100

  18. JayP2112 Avatar

    I'm not tellin' ya Torque Thrust, but think about it.
    <img src="; width="600">
    Steve McQueen would though…

  19. hank Avatar

    Do the brakes first. Single circuit brakes are too dangerous. I almost lost my beautiful '66 Fairlane, and my life, when a real wheel bearing failed, the axel slid out, and the brake shoes had nothing to push against.
    Gorgeous Truck!
    Have Fun with it!

  20. Jonathan Avatar

    Cool truck! Best of luck with it…fwiw…I dig photos of the trucks with silver photos at least…can't see the black wheels at all..

  21. Slow_Joe_Crow Avatar

    Can you get Ronal Teddy Bears in truck sizes?
    But seriously, keep the steelies and go for a nicer version of Paul Niedermeyer's '63 work truck.

  22. Raindriver Avatar

    Nice truck! Had a '66 with a Lincoln 390 in it once. Replaced one piston's rings (not all 8; from the bottom, in my driveway, because poor)…ah, memories! Sold it on a year later for a profit – people love those '60s Ford trucks, they have style. Take a look at your driveshaft stabilizer bearing(s), might be easy fix for vibration.

  23. mattc Avatar

    Great looking truck, Jeff. Congratulations on an excellent find.

  24. RahRahRecords Avatar

    i can see a hand lettered hooniverse logo on the door, appropriately faux-tinaed to look like an old shop truck.

  25. mike england Avatar
    mike england

    That is an awesome truck. Love it. And the photography is incredible. I'm just going to look at these pictures some more.
    Looking forward to seeing the progress reports. . .

  26. salguod Avatar

    That's a great track, I'm looking forward to hearing more about it.
    If you like the Torque Thrust but want something different, Foose and Boyd Coddington and others make wheels in a similar style but a slightly different look. I've got Boyd Junkyard Dogs on my T'bird,which are similar but different enough.

  27. Tom Lee Avatar
    Tom Lee

    Jeff, my first truck back in 71 was the 65 F100 with a 3 on the tree and straight six (want to say a 300). Loved it. Could crawl in the engine compartment for tune ups, changes etc. Drove it several times from Camp Pendleton to Springfield MO non stop — just roll windows down and run 65 to keep awake. Olelongroof probably has a picture of it somewhere, unfortunately I don't.
    Please keep it as original as possible.
    When stationed at Camp Pendleton, I gave it to an E3 Marine and his wife cause their car was shot. Glad I was able to help them out, but wish I had kept the VIN so I could try to track it down.
    Love this year truck…

  28. Rob Avatar

    Is that gauge cluster a factory part? I'm much more used to seeing the obligatory BIG ROUND SPEEDO with included the other gauges. Maybe this one is upgraded because it's a Custom Cab.
    Wheels? steelies with period correct dog dishes.

    1. r henry Avatar
      r henry

      The underdash gauges are a "universal" kit available from JC Whitney and countless other online sources.

  29. r henry Avatar
    r henry

    The backward mounted fan…combined with the improviesed battery tie down, the dangerous all-rubber pump to carb fuel line(get some steel in there Gluck!) , AND the kinked/rusty master cylinder tubing would have been enough to keep me from buying this truck. If the previous owners were too dim/inexperienced understand the correct installation/materials for these key components, I would surmise that the entire vehicle is a rolling death trap. That the current owner is also a nube mechanic only increases the possibility for scary consequences.
    –The four faults (fan, battery hold down, rubber fuel line, and dodgy master cylinder fluid line) easily visible under the hood are all dangerous. Nubes beware….your ignorance can kill you…and somebody else…..

    1. Scout_dude Avatar

      Unfortunately the article notes that the concern is to change the valve covers and headers but no mention of fixing the actual safety issues.
      I would have bought the truck and even risked the drive home but until at least the fan, fuel and brake lines were sorted I wouldn't drive it on the road again. But then again I was a professional mechanic for over 25 years so fixing those problems would be a simple task which would be followed by a thorough brake, steering and suspension inspection and correction of any of the other PO issues that rear their ugly head.

  30. mac350 Avatar

    It looks like you have a nice non-factory aluminum high capacity radiator. You may never have to worry about it running hot once you get the fan situation sorted out.