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'78 Ford

Posted in Project Vehicles on April 1, 2002
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Photographers: Cole Quinnell
130large+1978 ford f250+rear side view
150large+1978 ford f250+front end view
The Dana 44 front is the same tried and true axle on the front of millions of 4x4s. Some modifications to the front equipment were necessary to compensate for the lift: A block was installed between the steering arm and the knuckle, because the truck had a problem making right turns. Most people throw away the sway bar after a lift is installed because it limits movement and requires relocation. Ken Hormann recognized the importance of keeping the bar for stability, so it was lowered about 2 inches to work correctly with the suspension lift. Notice the entire axlehousing has been rotated upward. The Dana 44 front is the same tried and true axle on the front of millions of 4x4s. Some modifications to the front equipment were necessary to compensate for the lift: A block was installed between the steering arm and the knuckle, because the truck had a problem making right turns. Most people throw away the sway bar after a lift is installed because it limits movement and requires relocation. Ken Hormann recognized the importance of keeping the bar for stability, so it was lowered about 2 inches to work correctly with the suspension lift. Notice the entire axlehousing has been rotated upward.
Factory 3.54:1 gears are a little tall for the 35-inch tires, but the rear Dana 60 can easily support the big Mickeys. Lift blocks were used to partially gain the lift in the rear, and they were degreed slightly to improve pinion angle, compensating for the lift. Rotating the pinion upward is usually necessary when a lift of more than 2 inches has been installed on a vehicle. A lift moves the axlehousing away from the transfer case, which in turn increases the driveshaft angle. The U-joints at each end of the driveshaft aren’t designed to work beyond a certain angle, so axlehousings are rotated upward to return the U-joint angles to stock. Factory 3.54:1 gears are a little tall for the 35-inch tires, but the rear Dana 60 can easily support the big Mickeys. Lift blocks were used to partially gain the lift in the rear, and they were degreed slightly to improve pinion angle, compensating for the lift. Rotating the pinion upward is usually necessary when a lift of more than 2 inches has been installed on a vehicle. A lift moves the axlehousing away from the transfer case, which in turn increases the driveshaft angle. The U-joints at each end of the driveshaft aren’t designed to work beyond a certain angle, so axlehousings are rotated upward to return the U-joint angles to stock.
The spring hangers look like aftermarket components, but further investigation confirms they are the stock hangers in the stock location. Notice the enormous amount of tire-to-fender clearance provided by the large factory fender openings and the lift. The spring hangers look like aftermarket components, but further investigation confirms they are the stock hangers in the stock location. Notice the enormous amount of tire-to-fender clearance provided by the large factory fender openings and the lift.
The interior was freshened to near original. The bench seat was   re-covered, and the dash contains a JVC cassette player, which pumps the power to Thumper truck boxes behind the seat. The exterior was painted the original colors with factory paint. The interior was freshened to near original. The bench seat was re-covered, and the dash contains a JVC cassette player, which pumps the power to Thumper truck boxes behind the seat. The exterior was painted the original colors with factory paint.
When the stock 460 got tired, Ken had the block bored 0.030-inch over and put flat-top pistons in the freshened holes. He didn’t want to take out a second mortgage to pay for the engine, so he reused the stock intake, exhaust, and cam. The only aftermarket component Ken added to the engine was a Holley carb. The 460 delivers plenty of power to persuade this monster up hills. When the stock 460 got tired, Ken had the block bored 0.030-inch over and put flat-top pistons in the freshened holes. He didn’t want to take out a second mortgage to pay for the engine, so he reused the stock intake, exhaust, and cam. The only aftermarket component Ken added to the engine was a Holley carb. The 460 delivers plenty of power to persuade this monster up hills.
156large+1978 ford f250+front left view

It didn't take us long to zero in on Ken Hormanns real-world 78 Ford. Needless to say, we pounced faster than a leopard pounces on a wounded rabbit, and once we had the truck in our paws, we liked what we saw.

Before anyone starts squealing Error! it is a 78, not a 79. Ken installed square headlights along with a new 79 grille. He says the headlight and bezels are all thats necessary to change from round to square lamps. Ken built this rig because he wanted an impressive truck that could be driven every day on the streets of his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and still go easy on the pocketbook. He kept it simple, and thats why this truck works.

Whats really amazing is the equipment Ford churned out of its plants in 1978 and 1979. The 3/4-ton lineup was mentioned in last months issue, while Kens ride gives us a great reason to discuss the 3/4-ton trucks. The rear of this 78 holds a factory Dana 60 with a whopping 5,300-pound capacity, and the front holds a full-floating Dana 44 with a 3,550-pound capacity. While these numbers are great for towing, they also make tall tires possible without axlehousing upgrades. The T-case is a New Process 205 a transfer case respected for its durability despite its rather tall 1.96:1 low range. The original Ford C6 was rebuilt, but otherwise the truck remains untouched. Fords of this vintage come with heavy-duty hardware, so hard-earned cash can be spent on other upgrades. According to our sources, in 1978 Ford lowered the height of all trucks 2 inches to make entrances and exits easier, which came at the cost of ground clearance. Many people call these pre-78 trucks highboys.

Since the axles were plenty beefy in stock form, no axle trussing was necessary for the 35x14.50-16.5 Mickey Thompsons, and breakage or premature wear won't be a problem. The meats are wrapped around 16.5x10 Eaton rims. Room for the bigger tires came courtesy of a 4-inch lift. In addition to the headlight change, Ken installed a Lund sunvisor above the windshield, and a 10-inch-drop bumper hangs from the rear. We appreciate Kens combination of awesome original equipment with useful upgrades to create a great real-world F-250.

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