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My lab:
- The Ford Pickup Diary
all the mods and repairs in chronological order
on Friday 16 November 2018
by bjoern author list
in car articles > Ford F150 302 V8 Pickup truck (2000-2003)
comments: 0

Every single modification and repair on the truck since I bought it and until I sold it.

I bought this car in Houston, Texas in April 2000. It's a 1988 Ford F-150 Pickup Truck with the 5.0l (302ci) V8 engine (EFI, 185hp).

April 2000: The cab was in pretty bad shape when I bought it. I had to replace the floor carpet, the front seat bench and the driver's seat belt.

May 2000: As one of the stock exhaust manifolds was cracked, I installed a set of Pacesetter headers. The rest of the exhaust system was pretty run down, too, so I had to get a new set of pipes, a new cat and a muffler.

June 2000: It also needed new shocks, some power steering seals and the entire airconditioning had to be replaced (can't live without that, here in Houston). So far, the engine seems to be fine, though. You can tell, it needs a paint-job, too .

Aren't personalized licence plates hilarious on a wreck like this?

September 2000: I added a larger mirror because of the huge blindspots. Overhead storage was also insufficient, so I got something for that, too.

November 2000: Besides the 'Ranch Hand' bumper from the previous owner, it now also has a new water pump, oxygen sensor and a K&N drop in airfilter.

Together with the K&N filter I also changed the airbox and air intake duct. As it got colder, the belt started to squeal, so I went to the wreckers and got a tensioner, too.

December 2000: I disassembled throttle body and intake manifold to gain access to the passenger's side valve cover. After thoroughly cleaning throttle body and upper plenum from carbon deposits, I replaced the leaky valve cover gasket. In the course of the reassembly I also replaced some old and porous coolant hoses, retorqued the driver's side valve cover bolts and all exhaust header bolts.

I installed the Accel 300+ Racing Wires (see above images), Accel Super Coil, Bosch +4 Platinum spark plugs (see below images), and an Accel Distributor Cap and Rotor Kit.

January 2001: Replaced the front brake pads and had the rotors resurfaced. Had the rear wheel cylinders and shoes replaced as well. All new brakes now on all four wheels. March 2001: Installed an MSD 6a ignition control unit. For some strange reason the unit would only work if hooked up directly to the battery posts. The MSD rounds off the complete upgrade of the entire ignition system.

May 2001: As the power steering gearbox has started leaking again I decided it's time to finally put in a new one.

At the occasion, I also changed the dual tank selector valve (diaphragm was ruptured), the fuel filter, the serpentine belt and checked/set the timing (10° BTDC).

I also got a new instrument cluster with a tachometer and a trip-odometer.

The only problem was to get the odometer readings identical:

I had that fixed by a local speedometer shop.

September 2001: I decided to get rid of the restrictive snorkel and airbox altogether and installed a K&N FIPK.

November 2001: After the problem with the starter being slow when the engine is hot got worse and worse, I decided to get a new starter. December 2001: I finally fixed the clutch that had been leaking since I bought the truck. Unfortunately, the slave cylinder was the culprit, it was leaking much worse than the master cylinder. That meant I had to unbolt the transmission to replace the slave cylinder in the bell-housing. I used the opportunity to re-seal the transmission upper and extension housing seal and change the transmission oil to Mobil 1 synthetic.

January 2002: The timing chain cover has started leaking coolant. I took the opportunity to change the chain to a true roller chain and add a block protector kit while I was in there anyway.

It turned out that the reason for the leaking timing cover were two broken bolts at the main coolant passages (arrows). The old chain was also slightly stretched.

We had to use the 'heat-wrench' to get the seized bolts out of the timing cover and block (the guy with the torch is my friendly mechanic Carlos who helps me out if I need his skills and tools to do the job).

Luckily, the bolts came out and we had no further difficulties installing the new parts and re-assembling everything. The left picture shows the block protector installed and the right one the new chain.

Since I had to pull everything off the front of the engine, I've installed an electric fan as well.

I have a separate article showing the electric fan installation. August 2002 : I installed a new intake featuring Bosch Design III injectors, a Lightning throttle body and mass-air conversion with a 80mm Pro-M mass-air meter. You can see the in-depth description of that project in my MAF conversion article.

Future: Eventually, I think I want to get the cruise control fixed. I also need to check why the tank gauges read erratically: sending unit(s) bad or contacts bad or floater leaky?

Well, I never got around to fix those final little hick-ups. I sold the car to my mechanic Carlos for $2000 in late 2003, that's $250 more than what I paid it for more than 3 years earlier. It was a reliable, fun car that took much abuse but had many little quirks, dents and irregularities. I learned a lot with it and from it.

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