Prerunner Ford Centurion

CrawlTunes

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CrawlTunes has been planning this build for years.

We've tracked down the Centurion and we've been gathering parts and spending hours on various forums in preparation.

I sold my 04 Cummins Dually and gooseneck trailer to start this business, and I've been thinking about how I'd replace it ever since.

I had a lot of ideas:
-Ford Excursion
-build a Full-size Van
-throw a Cummins in a classic crew cab
-throw a Cummins in a 67-72 Suburban

I wasn't going to buy a brand new 1 ton diesel.

I don't trust higher mileage new trucks. All the little crap goes wrong that is way too complicated.
-My 04 Ram 3500, shut down from having an aftermarket device hooked into the radio...I'm not joking.

I wanted something that would be cool and draw attention to CrawlTunes when I make my 1000+ mile drives to events like KOH.

I discovered the Ford Centurion Four Door Bronco when one showed up at the fab shop I was working at while just starting CrawlTunes.

I starting researching them, and I knew that's what I had to get.
-Plenty Covered Space. I'm often hauling thousands of dollars worth of audio equipment (& even though it's marine), it's hard to get full price when the box is soggy.
-The top comes off and I can show off our Cage Mount Speaker Housings on our Tow Rig/Daily Driver too.
-140" Wheelbase (10" longer than modern suburbans)
-Plus it's an attention getter. I can't pump gas without getting questions about it in stock form.

So I finally tracked down one online that the owner wasn't asking way too much(rare doesn't always mean valuable), wasn't rotting apart(many of these ended up int he midwest), and was running well enough to get back to Houston(I would've bought something close without a drivetrain).

So I finally found our '89 Centurion F350 460/C6 2WD in Augusta, KS. It had 83K original miles and was in really good condition considering my plans for it.

I drove the most economical rental, hamster powered tin can I could get the 640 miles to pick it up and drive back.

I had assumed it had an OD trans, I assumed wrong. I got 8.5mpg on the way back. (with a mild tune up, I know get 9.5)

My only issue was the running light fuse blew. So I stole one for dome lights and kept on going.

Centurion.jpg


I knew I wanted to go with the 5.9 Cummins.
-it's a simple motor to swap
-when treated right, they'll go forever
-they get decent fuel economy(especially compared to the 460)
-and it's a very popular swap with tons of resources and info on doing it right

I was planning on throwing a Dana 60 up front, and I already had a rebuild divorced Ford 205 in the shop, but I really began to like the idea of equal length, extended twin I-beams.
-There aren't many situations I would really need 4WD for what I'm doing with it.
-it'll have a locker and winch
-plus where I would get it stuck, there will be plenty of other large 4x4s to help me out.
-and the long travel setup will add a cool factor that will appeal to a broader demographic.


After several talks with friends in the industry, I was convinced that I should turn this build up to 11 and show it at SEMA.
I had some really good conversations at this years show, and have a handful of build partners on board.

I'll be introducing sponsors throughout the build process.

The build sheet:

1989 FORD F350 CENTURION 4DOOR BRONCO
-87,000 ORIGINAL MILES
-460/C6

BUILD PLAN:
DRIVETRAIN:
-12 VALVE CUMMINS/NV4500 SWAP
-TRUSSED REAR AXLE WITH SELECTABLE LOCKER
-39 OR 40” TIRES ON BEADLOCKS

EXTERIOR:
-6” PRERUNNER FIBERGLASS FENDERS & REAR QUARTERS
-92-96 FRONT END CONVERISON
-COWL HOOD
-CUSTOM 1 OFF GRILL
-BRUSHED STEEL VIYNL WRAP
-MODERN TOWING MIRRORS
-SAFARI STYLE SOFT TOP
-CUSTOM FRONT AND REAR BUMPERS
-CUSTOM HEAD & TAIL LIGHTS AND LED OFF ROAD LIGHTING
-ROCKSLIDER STEPS

SUSPENSION:
-5” EXTENDED EQUAL LENGTH I-BEAMS
-4 LINK REAR WITH FABRICATED LOWER CONTROL ARMS
-COILOVER AND BYPASS AT EACH CORNER
-REAR LONG TRAVEL AIR SPRINGS
-CUSTOM REAR SWAYBAR
-CUSTOM POWDER COATING

INTERIOR:
-CUSTOM FIBERGLASS DASH AND INTERIOR PANELS
-DIGITAL GUAGES
-IPAD IN DASH FOR ALL SWITCHES, MUSIC, & CAMERA MONITORS
-CUSTOM SUSPENSION BUCKET SEATS 1ST & 2ND ROW
-CUSTOM SUSPENSION BENCH SEAT FOR 3RD ROW
-ROLL CAGE WITH CRAWLTUNES SPEAKER HOUSINGS
-HIGH WATTAGE CRAWLTUNES STEREO SYSTEM
-MULTIPLE DEEP CYCLE AUDIO BATTERIES
-AFTERMARKET FRONT & REAR A/C
-ALL INTERIOR SPRAYED W/ LIZARD SKIN HEAT & SOUND INSULATION
-FLOOR BEDLINED

crawltunes-centurion-sml.jpg


It's more of a daily driver/chase rig.

Am I build this the most practical way?
No, but this is also going to be a huge guerrilla marketing tool and it need to get a ton of attention.

It might be a little too "bro" for some. But again, we're going for mass appeal.

Part of the reason we're sharing our build here is for your feedback and experience to assist us in building the best possible vehicle.

We'll be documenting all the major parts of this process on our YouTube Channel.

Intro to the Build Video:
By viewing, liking, subscribing, and sharing it; you can really help us really be able to make this a kick ass build.



ROCK ON!
-Derek
 
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How is the frame extended on that? How about some pics? Thanks!
 

ErikShallbetter

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That thing is going to be rad! Just don't put "Forces" on it and we should be ok.

Thanks for sharing, keep us posted as the build unfolds.


Sent from the RDC Mobile App. Get it for your IOS device today
 

CrawlTunes

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It's a F350 Crew cab frame with the wheelbase shortened to 140".
 

CrawlTunes

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Don't worry. No Forces.
Not my style.
 

JDDurfey

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I have been involved in several Cummins swaps and rebuilds. I did a 92 Cummins engine into a 95 Chevy 4x4 crew cab for my father that turned out great. I finished it in '12 and he drove it until he could no longer drive last summer.

If you have not picked your engine yet, I would suggest going with a 96 or 97 model Cummins. Like you said they are easy to work with, and they can easily make 400 horse power with no sacrifice to reliability. You may want to go with a newer one, but then you deal with all the electronics with the injection pump and in my opinion a whole lot of headaches. For motor mounts use the 94 to 98 left side motor mount. It can be flipped over and used on both sides. These will actually fit all the 5.9 engines, and they are symmetrical and make building the custom parts easier and they last. If you are going to be doing much towing I would use a NV5600 6 speed trans. If you use the 4500 make sure you fix the OD gear and I would see if there is a Slip Yoke Eliminator for it. I have a Gear Vendor on one of my trucks with the 4500 trans and that sure makes the highway RPM nice with the 21% OD. It gets 22 MPG with 4x4.

Anyway, I look forward to following your build. I did not even know such a beast was built and now I want one to build too!
 

CrawlTunes

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Thanks JD. I'll respond more specifically a little later.

We've already got our donor engine:

VIDEO #2 is up
 

JDDurfey

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While there is nothing wrong with that engine. It is exactly what I used in my Chevy build. But in the end I wish I had gone with a P pumped 96 or 97 engine. The 94 and 95 had a P pump, but smaller delivery valves and don't make the same HP. The engine you bought, 92, won't make the same HP with out a lot of black smoke and wasted fuel. I tuned and tuned on the engine I built and it does fine, but when pulling the RV it is under powered. When I say "tuned" I did not just keep turning the fuel screw up. I put water methanol on it and that helped, put on a newer turbo and that helped also. I had the injectors rebuilt and flowed for maximum performance. Lastly, I merged the Chevy and Dodge core supports allowing space for the Dodge radiator and intercooler and swapped the mechanical fan for electric fans for the needed space. That made the biggest difference. But getting the fuel screw just right was important. Not too much, not too little.

In the end, it just didn't pull like my 95 or my 02. But with your rig and not pulling heavy loads you will probably get along fine with that engine. I would pull the front cover and lock tight any of the bolts you can get to that hold the injection pump plate to the head and block. I had one of those bolts come out and fall on my cam gear and break my camshaft outside Baker CA. Not a fun place to break down, especially with major engine failure. Also, put a new seal in the vacuum pump. It is a simple job and I am sure the seal that is in there has seen better days, when they start leaking they can pump the oil out of the engine pretty fast on a long road trip. Not fun to be cruising down the highway and smell burnt oil about the time the oil light comes on in the middle of nowhere!
 

Kyle D

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The 92 engine making 300 horsepower will smoke like a common rail that's making 600 horsepower. The higher injection pressures help atomize the fuel and deliver an easier injection to burn completely. That said, there's something about them older rotary pump engines that they get ridiculously good fuel mileage.
 

JDDurfey

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You are correct Kyle. I used to get 20 mpg with my 92 4x4 automatic. The engine is also indestructible. My computer stopped shifting my trans to OD and I drove it like that for two years, 72 mph top speed and I floor boarded that thing all over AZ, So Cal and Nevada. But I also didn't have the pump turned up to make more than about 200 hp that way I had minimal black smoke. It wasn't a fast truck or the most powerful, but I trusted it to go anywhere any time. It did great til the front cover bolt came out and ruined my day. I rebuilt it and put it in my dad's Chevy.
 

Chris Tobin

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Nice Project. I'd like to feature it in Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide magazine when its done!!!

JD, the bolt you lost was probably a case of the "Killer Dowel Pin" falling out. There are several kits to remedy that problem, and any older Cummins should have one installed!!!
 

JDDurfey

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Nice Project. I'd like to feature it in Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide magazine when its done!!!

JD, the bolt you lost was probably a case of the "Killer Dowel Pin" falling out. There are several kits to remedy that problem, and any older Cummins should have one installed!!!
The "Killer Dowel Pin" is in the second gen engines, and I remedied this on my 95. The 1st gen trucks don't have the dowel pin, but rather a bolt in its place. I came up with my own "fix" so it won't ever happen again.
 

CrawlTunes

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CrawlTunes

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Mishimoto sent us an all aluminum 99 7.3 intercooler and 97 F350 Radiator.


And we pulled the interior to repair a small rust spot and to some sheet metal work before we insulate


 

CrawlTunes

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Under the carpet really wasn't that bad.

The roof rack bolts were leaking, so there was a little rot behind the drivers side wheel tub.
But I wanted to address some of areas where Centurion lapped thin sheet metal and put a couple tacks on it.
I'm wanting it to last another 30 years.(We're on the coast)

And the stock inner fenders, especially with the chunks hacked out. Weren't going to work for what we have planned.





 

CrawlTunes

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So we started on some sheet metal work.



In preparation for LizardSkin's Spray-On Heat and Sound Insulation.
 

CrawlTunes

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We went with the first gen VE pump for a few reasons.

Scored an "entire" donor truck with under 160K for $1500(I've already made $720 off selling the rear axle, auto trans, ECM, Intercooler, Radiator, and starter)

I have a good friend who build a 1st gen for around 300 horse and it really turned out great and got better fuel economy than a P-Pumped motor.
And I've found a decent amount of examples of people running a similar "recipe" as him that really enjoyed it.

We'll be driving this truck from Houston to all over the country, and while this truck's not being built for ultimate fuel economy, it will really add up to when getting several more MPGs.

My 04 dually was a 6 speed and I hated driving it in stop and go Houston traffic. The Luk HD Dual Disk Clutch with the stiffest pedal ever didn't help any.

Keep in mind, our typical load will be 9500 lbs gross tops.
Plus I have a few surprises up my sleeve.
 

JDDurfey

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Obviously you have done your research and you are 100% correct on your info. The fuel mileage will be better with the 1st gen. And it is a great engine as long as you operate it in the conditions it was built for. 300 HP is about max HP for your application. I helped build a pulling truck with this engine and we managed to get about 450 HP from that pump and injectors, but it wasn't pretty, way to much smoke for the street.

I have both the 5 and 6 speed. I love my Gear Vendor over drive set up on the 5 speed. I believe the overdrive is 21% which I also use to "split" 3rd and 4th when towing heavy. It splits the two gears perfectly. Then pull the button in 5th and bingo you have a highway cruising machine with the engine running right in the torque and it purrs like a kitten for hours on end.

The dual disk clutch is horrible in city driving! I would often skip 3rd or 4th gear with my 6 speed in my 02. I would just rev a little more and it would pull the higher gear just fine.

Are you going to put a full cage in it?
 

Chris Tobin

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Progress is looking good!!!
 

CrawlTunes

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Right now the plan is to just to a cage from the C-Pillar back. It'll keep weight down and make the interior more simple.

Plus the B pillar is factory F350 and fairly sturdy.
 
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