MiB0602 New Reader
6/7/20 8:57 a.m.

So I'm just gonna throw this out there. I've recently acquired a 1993 Ford F-150 XLT and I want to strip her down and rebuild her from the ground up to car show worthiness. However, I'm not exactly what you would call a master mechanic. I know a little but most of what I want to do is way beyond anything I've ever done before. That being said part of the reason I'm doing this is because I've always wanted to learn how. 

So, what I'm asking the big world out there is how should I go about doing this? I want to rebuild and customize the engine, redo the body, paint job and interior and make her sound mean and give her some more power. Love to hear your thoughts. 


Fred Blinsmon

You tube it.

Whatever you're trying to do, watch some videos. All are instructional in the positive or the negative way. 

In the last couple of years, I've learned to Tig weld, and use a lathe, plus myriad other things just watching the tube.

Oh, and buy a big, factory shop manual. It's a better time than ever before to self teach.

XLR99 (Forum Supporter)
XLR99 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/7/20 9:34 a.m.

I'm possibly the last person to take advice from...

However, is the truck running/driving now?  Based on how I fail at projects, I think if you start off with something that already moves, your chances of success will improve.  You can start off by just doing basic maintenance and repair jobs, get everything working, drive it some, and get more used to working with tools.  Then as you get more experience you can start to tackle bigger jobs.

The good thing about GRM is that people love to help other people spend money laugh

Also see the thread about doing 30 minutes a day of project time.

Appleseed MegaDork
6/7/20 9:51 a.m.

If you are replacing or modifyingsomething,  wait until you have the replacement ready before you remove anything. 

I had a 54 Oldsmobile in high school. I convinced myself I was going to totally redo it. Ripped out the decent headliner, because I was going to replace it. I dug into the ok paint because I was gonna redo it. Guess what it looked like when I sold it? No headliner, and primer splotches.

Realize that you'll probably build this truck 3-4 times. You might have to remove good thing to get at others numerous times. Catalog and lable and take pictures of everything.  Even a day later YOU-WILL-FORGET. 

Ask questions. Ask them here. We've made the mistakes so you won't have to.  

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/7/20 10:11 a.m.

It might be good to have a long term goal at the start.  Is it going to be a daily driver?  A resto-mod?  A sunday only/car show truck?  Serious off-road?

You don't want to create a daily driver that rides like a ox cart, has no A/C, and requires race fuel.  wink

barefootskater SuperDork
6/7/20 10:27 a.m.

Start with the small stuff. Make it work properly. Fix leaks, make sure the breaks are good. Wheel bearings. You'll get a feel for the general condition of the truck, rust level, neglect, etc, and you'll get a pretty good idea if you want to dig deeper or just drive it, or whatever.

I'm assuming you're fairly young? The first job I ever attempted was on a similar truck doing the rear breaks when I was 15. Dad said, there's the tools, here are the parts, fix it. No other instruction, no supervision. It kicked my butt, and I got really discouraged and decided that riding the bus to school wasn't so bad. Later he asked if I had finished then came out to show me what to do but let (made) me do it myself. That was a much better experience. If you're nervous or worried or uncomfortable trying to do something from an online tutorial I bet you know someone or can find someone fairly easily that would come help show you some stuff. 

Have at it. There isn't anything you can't learn. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/7/20 11:47 a.m.

In reply to MiB0602 :

Time - Money - Tools - Talent: those 4-things have to exist in the perfect ratio for a project to be successful. For example...

  • Time: let's say your goal is to be finished within a year. You either already need to have the Tools, and the Talent to use them, plus be willing to commit almost all your free Time to meet your goals. Even then, it's still going to cost Money for parts/supplies etc. that you need to budget for. 
  • Money: At the extreme end would be paying a shop to do much of the work for you. Wanting to do it yourself is great, but as your first project that probably means you don't have the collection of Tools you'll need, and acquiring them costs Money. Since you don't have much experience with the Tools, it will take Time to get the Talent you need to use them. 
  • Tools: It's rare to have all the Tools you need for a project unless you've been doing this a long Time, and acquiring them all at once costs Money, so you may need to take your Time to spread out the cost.
  • Talent: While the basics of using hand tools is pretty obvious, knowing the correct tool for the job(or how/where/when you can get away with using the the incorrect one) takes Time to learn. Understanding how a vehicle is put together takes Time to learn, even if you spend the Money for the service manuals.

In the end it comes down to being realistic with yourself about how much time you can commit - in regards to both the hours per week you have for working on it, and total time in months/years to complete it; and also your budget vs. how long you need to spread that money out over time.

For example, I was once in a situation where not having $40 for a carb rebuild kit is what was preventing me from completing a project, and I didn't see any immediate way to overcome that. In hindsight I'm sure I could have scrounged the money from somewhere over several months, but that seemed like way more time than I could stand to wait, so I sold the car instead. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/7/20 8:18 p.m.

Look in the Builds and Project Cars forum here and read some of the extensive builds that people have done over the years. A lot of them are really well-documented and while IDK if any are F150s, they will all give you a really good idea of "the process" of restoring/fixing/rebuilding a car. I've been working on cars since I was a kid, but I've learned a million new things from reading other peoples' builds.

[edit: wasn't paying attention that you actually posted this in the build forum, lol....oops]

As noted before: Locate and download the FSM (factory service manual) for the vehicle and get the Haynes manual - these give you step-by-step on how to do everything. And almost any job you may do on it, 10 people have posted a video about it on youtube. So when you're gonna do brakes, just punch in "F150 Brake Replacement" or whatever and watch the vid to find out the part, tricks, and tools you'll need.

fwiw - 

Here's a link to my two build threads, which are very detailed about how i went about things and I feel like they are pretty "process-oriented" and everything done in my own garage and on a low budget. But there are obviously a ton of other great builds in the forum here as well, so find one that interests you and start reading.

my current build is an '89 Dodge Raider, so there may be quite a bit of stuff in there that carries over to a pickup: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/rad-rally-dodge-raider-akamonteroakapajero-build/160959/page1/

and years worth of multiple other builds of mine: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/mein-e30-mein-sammlungkreuz-baugewinde-my-318i-rallycross-build-thread/40440/page1/

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