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How to Restore a 1968 Ford F-100

by JoAnn Joubert

The fifth-generation Ford F-100 truck was a half-ton truck with a 5,600-pound maximum gross vehicle weight rating. It came equipped with a 240 cubic inch, Straight Six engine that could deliver 150 horsepower. This generation of the Ford truck line included the upscale Ranger trim, side marker reflectors and redesigned hood emblems. In addition, 1968 marked the introduction of arm rests, heater controls, window cranks, interior door handles and upper trim molding. Restoring this vehicle is a challenging project, but with the proper replacement parts and accessories anyone could accomplish this task.

Obtain auto magazines that contain information on restoring Ford vehicles, with a concentration on models from the 1960s. You will need to accumulate lots of information specific to the 1968 F-100 during the course of the project, so websites and magazines are excellent resources that will be necessary to restore your vehicle properly.

Create a clean work area with access to electricity for power tools and extra lighting. Keep in mind that your work area will need to be three times larger than the space required to house a fully assembled vehicle, as a disassembled one will require lots of space in order to house all parts in an organized fashion. Lay your large tarp down onto the floor and secure it in place. You will place parts and accessories onto the tarp during the restoration process in order to keep them organized. Set up an organization system with bins or containers that can be labeled and used to store small parts.

Begin disassembly. Unbolt the outer components of the your Ford F-100, which include the bumpers, lights on the front and rear, the tail gate and hood, the grille, doors and wheels. Use basic automotive tools, such as a tire iron, socket and ratchet set, rubber mallet and screwdrivers to remove these components. Then remove the engine, transmission, radiator, springs and axles from the F-100's body. You may need to use a hoist in order to lift the transmission and engine out of the body. Set all parts aside, keeping track of small pieces by laying them onto the tarp and by storing nuts and bolts within labeled containers. If you plan on using the engine once restored, rather than replacing it entirely, store the original engine in oil during the restoration process.

Disassemble the interior. Remove the carpeting, trim, console and seats. Then remove exterior body pieces such as the front and rear fenders, as well as the quarter panels. Move all pieces to specific locations within your work area.

Reassemble your F-100, beginning with the outer body work. Repair any holes or damaged metal sections with a MIG welder. Replace sections of the body, floorboards or trunk that may have rusted out. After completing any body patchwork, install the tail gate, fenders and the doors. If the original pieces were too severely damaged, then replace them with new parts that can be ordered through Ford parts and accessories catalogs. If there is some rust on these parts, they can be repaired with a MIG welder as well. Use pieces of a similar metal to complete patchwork on these components.

Check the viability of components such as the engine, driveshaft, alternator, carburetor, starter, radiator, axles, transmission and other electrical components. Restore the components separately or replace them completely. Once these parts have been proven operable, install them into your Ford F-100. You may need to use an engine hoist to install the engine and transmission into the body. Keep in mind that reassembly will take roughly three times longer than disassembly, and ensure that you do not scratch or damage any restored pieces while reassembling the vehicle.

Sand the exterior of your F-100, then prime the body. After priming the body, paint it in the color of your choice. This task can either be completed yourself, or the body could be sent to a professional body shop. Ensure that the body is straight and that the panels are aligned before attempting to paint. After painting the body, rewire all electrical components, including headlights and taillights. Then reattach the front and rear bumpers. Install a new or repaired windshield, as well as mirrors and windows. Depending on the condition of the outer trim of the windows and windshield, you may need to perform re-chroming on the trim. Install new wheels.

Restore the interior of your F-100 by re-upholstering the seats with the type of material and color of your choice. Replace the carpeting to match your exterior and interior color schemes. Then replace the trim pieces, door panels and consoles.

Tips

  • When looking for a 1968 Ford F-100 to restore, look for a body with the least amount of rust damage. Replacing large portions of the body is more challenging than replacing other exterior parts, such as fenders or chrome.
  • Try to salvage as much of the vehicle as possible to maintain the authenticity of the vehicle . The trim is especially important, as it is difficult to find replacement trim.

Items you will need

About the Author

JoAnn Joubert started writing in 2005, specializing in the areas of equestrian sports, cars and business. She authored a textbook on the creative industries and was awarded for her work on U.S. presidential nomination reform. Joubert holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from the University of Louisiana.

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