77 F150 project

TxPhPrerunner

Well-Known Member
I have a 2wd 77 F150 SuperCab long bed I want to set up for off road. I have a multi part question.
1. I want the truck to be wider (for stability and tire clearance). Are there any wider than stock beams (eg. E350 or after market beams) for this truck.
2. If there aren't any is it safe to extend and box my stock beams? (I live in Texas so SoCal fab shops are out of the question, there are plenty of talented welder in my area).
3. Is the long bed a problem? I may be able to pick up a SuperCab short bed F250 as a parts vehicle.
Please no suggestions of a different truck I'm locked in to this one. (Other than the possible short bed.)

I don't live on the edge. I fell over long ago.
 

TxPhPrerunner

Well-Known Member
I left out a few details that may help in answering my question. The truck is not a daily driver but my wife may drive it sometimes on the street so it has to handle well on the road. But I want max off road fun. I was thinking that 18-20" of front travel and 20"+ in the rear with a disconnect on the front sway bar may do this. I intend to run coil over shocks in the front and will think about it in the rear, but after reading lower links 101 I'm not sure I want to tackle a 3/4 link yet. I want to run 37" tires. I realize this will require glass. I have 33" on it right now and they rub my radius arms in tight turns (the reason I want wider beams). 460 C6 engine trans combo and smog exempt in Texas. Finally I'm married and have 3 kids and a mother in law to support (with help from my wife) so I'm on a budget and the project will go slow. Any suggestions will help. I am locked in on this truck but not any certain way of reaching my goals. If my questions are miss guided or you have any ideas on how to get to where I want to go with my truck not covered in my questions pleas let me know. I'm very new to this. I've never even ridden in a desert truck, but I want to. No one around here has one so I have no choice but to build my own.

I don't live on the edge. I fell over long ago.
 

JrSyko

Jerry Maguire
You are in the right place for help. While I'm no expert and don't want to offer any bad advise, I do want to commend you on being different and wish you good luck! Just remember, its addicting and never ending......

See ya in the dirt!
 

TxPhPrerunner

Well-Known Member
I have looked at Autofabs kits for 65-79 F-100/150s. I have not ruled that route out yet. But I am hesitant to spend $2600 front to get new spring buckets, extended radius arms and cross member and get 16" of travel out of a stock stile suspension and steering if I can get more out of a well built engine cage extended radius arms and coil-overs. Also the kit Autofab offers uses stock beams, I want something wider (longer beams less camber change, more tire clearance, & wider truck more stability). I'm hoping to find out what my other options are and how difficult & expensive they are.

I don't live on the edge. I fell over long ago.
 

ntsqd

Well-Known Member
A friend in the PNW modified his own beams after no one up there would bend them for him.
He 'bent' them and widened them using a piece of 1" plywood for his fixture. After he got the position of the outer end and the pivot bushing established, he used flat CR strap to define the top and bottom of the beams. Then he plated in btwn those straps with more CR strap, turning them into box sections. Said it took a lot of measuring, but from all reports works very well.

TS

I used swerve around my halucinations, now I drive right thru them.
 

TxPhPrerunner

Well-Known Member
I was thinking that I would set up a jig, the cut the beams in the wide strait part in the center of the beam and take a second beam cut it longer and weld the two pieces together (2 sets of beams). Then box the results. Would this work? Also should the bend be at the weld or should the beams be aligned at the end where they normally would be after the beam is extended?

I don't live on the edge. I fell over long ago.
 

ntsqd

Well-Known Member
I haven't seen his beams so I don't know exactly what he did. British Columbia is a fer piece from here. My understanding of what he did was to loose all of the stock beam btwn the bushing and the leading arm (strut) bolt. He positioned the remaining pieces on the plywood and after much measuring drew a felt tip pen outline of what the beam profile needed to be. From there he created a new box section from Cold Roll. I see this as being stronger than what I understand of your suggestion.


TS

I used swerve around my halucinations, now I drive right thru them.
 

TxPhPrerunner

Well-Known Member
It sounds to me like your friend built custom beams with stock ends. I wonder why he didn't use a heim at the pivot end instead of using the stock bushing end. If you can find out more about how he did it I'd like to know more. Also I left out some details that may change your thinking on the strength issue. I didn't mention I intended to angle grind and fill the weld joint and plate the beams from the pivot to the leading arm bolt.

I don't live on the edge. I fell over long ago.
 

ntsqd

Well-Known Member
He used the stock ends because in BC they get a lot of rain which means mud which, in his experience, kills SRE's and SB's.
They way he did it sounds like less work, but there is no reason that done well what you propose doing wouldn't be strong enough for most uses. Were you talking about entering the 500 or the 1k like that I'd be worried, but for what you've stated your use is I think it could be OK.

TS

I used swerve around my halucinations, now I drive right thru them.
 

elcaprerunner

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't count out that AutoFab kit, check out this truck that raced Laughlin this year. Though I don't know who did the suspension, all it had in front were radious arms, good shocks ( not even sure they were bypasses), and progressive coil springs and it was seriously kicking ass in class 8. We got a look up close at it Sat, night of Laughlin in the Ramada parking lot and it just used stock beams, not plated or anything, though I do think it had heims at pivot points but I could be wrong. Here is a good pic of it off the leap from the RDC photo album...





DIRT'S FOR RACING, PRERUNNERS ARE FOR GETTING THERE!

H.O.R.E.
Hemet Off-Road Enthusiasts
 

KitRacer

Well-Known Member
that truck belongs to jody mason, he races the frt series, he is currently building a trophy truck. he built a lot of that truck by himself and also does a lot of the prep by himself. pretty impressive for a man that is paralized from the waist down. i might be seeing him tomorrow at an awards ceremoney for the frt series, if you have any questions i could ask him

At baseball games they play organs, in motorsports they donate them.
 

elcaprerunner

Well-Known Member
That's pretty impressive. So if he is paralized from the waste down does he have a throttle/brake setup like Evan Evans has in his CORR truck, pretty trick for a desert truck.

DIRT'S FOR RACING, PRERUNNERS ARE FOR GETTING THERE!

H.O.R.E.
Hemet Off-Road Enthusiasts
 

KitRacer

Well-Known Member
yeah, he has all the normal controls just like any other truck because his codriver isnt paralized, but he has a hand control that moves in and out and up and down which controls the brake and gas. i heard it is a pain to shift the atomatic though, so on the new TT he is putting a pnumatic shifter of some sort that he can control via a switch on this hand control. Jody is an awesome driver and always kicks ass in class 8, that truck still has quarter eliptic leaf springs and coil buckets, but still kicks ass. at the awards ceramony, he will come wheelying out of the crowd in his wheelchair, its great motivation for anyone.

At baseball games they play organs, in motorsports they donate them.
 

John Bitting

Administrator
That truck is bad ass. I was so impressed everytime it came by us. I think Gabe got tired of me talking about it. That thing works good and sounds good.
 

curt

Well-Known Member
Kitracer, ask him about the pneumatic shifter thing, Billy Manfroy races with us using hand controls and has the gas/brake system down using an electric boost master cylinder from GM with a throttle attached to it but for shifting he need to let go of either the wheel or the gas/brake lever and it slows him down a bit. He talked to Evan but he didn't want to "give up" his secrets for the controls... A parts breakdown would probably be helpful. Billy's on this board also so you could PM him with some contact info. His username is billymanfroy...Thx, Curt

VORRA Class 7
#769
 

TxPhPrerunner

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all the tips guys. I haven't counted out Autofab yet. 16" of travel should be awesome for someone like me who has never ridden in or diven anything beyond stock. I am exploring my options first. I don't want to spend the money on somthing and then regret it because I have no room to grow without starting over. I appreciate all input.

I don't live on the edge. I fell over long ago.
 

TxPhPrerunner

Well-Known Member
ntsqd could you or anyone else listening tell me how you would go about doing what your BC friend did. What steel would you use, how thick, anything you would do different to increase strength and reliability. I have a pretty good idea what to do about the radius arms but any tips there would be appreciated also. I'm trying to develop a plan I can price the parts and any labor I can't do then add several hundred for incidentals and compare to Autofab. I also want to compare expected travel and strength.

I don't live on the edge. I fell over long ago.
 

ntsqd

Well-Known Member
As I recall he used 3/16"' CR for the top and bottom straps, and either 1/8" or more 3/16" for the front & rear boxing plates. He could even be reading this now, so Erik, get a dang user name & tell him what you did. Bare in mind this was for a Ranger, not an F series. What you are building is nearly an I beam. All of the bending strength is in the top and bottom straps. The only purpose for the boxing plates is to make sure that the straps can't move towards each other because the further away from each other they are, the more load they can carry (to a resonable point).
The reason he built them rather than buying them, to answer some Q's I can see forming already, is that A) he's usually pretty broke, & B) the Canadian-US dollar conversion really drives the cost of US part out of reach.

I had an interesting observation awhile back. Capitan of the cycling team I used to ride with rode a hardtail MTB (Bontrager Ti) and knew where the limits of a hardtail were on a DH course. Then he got a Santa Cruz Bullet w/ Hayes discs. Watching him ride a DH event it was obvious that the bike could go faster than he could. He was so used to the limits of the previous bike that it hadn't dawned on him that he was riding well inside of the limits of the Bullet.
I mention this because in building this truck you are going to run into the same thing. The downside for you is that you don't have anything to compare it to, so the only way you're going to find the limits of the truck is to push it past what you're used to. Possibly WAY past what you're used to and even comfortable with.
Curtis (JDFIlms) gave me a ride in his race truck at the last B-Stow Poker Run. I know we weren't going at an all-out battling for place race pace (not that we were putting along) more like a conservative race pace, but the ride over those yumps was so far beyond a speed that I'd ever been over something like them that it gave me a whole new perspective. You can watch Dezert People until you know it by heart and still not really comprehend that, Yes, this truck can go that fast of those yumps.

If not already there, budget & plan for Air Bumps.

TS

I used swerve around my halucinations, now I drive right thru them.
 

TxPhPrerunner

Well-Known Member
I received an Email from a guy named Eric who said he did something like you are describing to an F100. He said he would send pics as soon as he got them developed. I'm looking forward to seeing them. I have wanted to build my own beams from the start but had no Idea how to go about it. This gives me a great idea where to start, but I'm still open to ideas and suggestions. I'm still months from buying parts unless I find something too good to pass up. Any thoughts on short v long bed, keep in mind both are super cab. I know longer wheel base vehicles are more stable but I think my truck may be past the point of diminishing returns. My turning radius is as bad as an ocean liner with a jammed rudder, and larger tires and a wider track width wont help. What I want to know is how will the long wheel base effect the performance off road? Are there any benifits or disadvantages I'm missing?

I don't live on the edge. I fell over long ago.
 
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