Question: I have a '66 F-250 4x4 that I am restoring. (Actually, it was my grandfather's truck that was passed on to me a couple of years ago.) I would like to restore it back to as original condition as possible, especially since it only has 67,000 original miles on it. Mechanically and bodywise, it's really sweet, but my problem is that it was in a wreck some years ago-OK, lots of years ago-which took out the grille, the radiator, and the fan shroud. The radiator was repaired by a local shop. But I can't seem to locate a grille or a fan shroud. I have this high phone bill I can show you from calling wrecking yards across the country trying to find these parts. I've been a longtime reader of your column and you come up with some great solutions to problems, so can you help me?
Answer: I almost gave up on finding those parts for your truck, as I figured Ford didn't build a lot of F-250 4x4s back in 1966. Then it came to me that the grille must be the same as the F-150 4x2, and maybe even the shroud. But then again, it would be quite difficult to find a 40-year-old grille and fan shroud in a wrecking yard, as you have obviously found out.
I started searching for new reproduction parts and came across National Parts Depot in North Carolina (800/874-7595). Seems that they have just about every part down to the correct nuts and bolts to build almost new Fords from '48 to '98, and they do have the F-150/F-350 '65-'66 grille, as well as a fan shroud. The grille is a bit pricey, due to the low volume sold, at around $480 includes shipping, but my guess is that it's your only choice. The radiator shroud is under $120.
Question: I have an '89 S-10 Blazer with 215,000 miles on it that runs fine. I would like to do about a 6-inch lift and run some 33-inch tires on it. Would this be a good project? I would like to keep it at around $1,500 or so, and my main objectives are trails and mud in the Uwharrie National Forest in North Carolina.
Answer: Both Rough Country and Superlift offer only a 2-inch lift kit for the '83-'03 S-10 that is achieved with new torsion-bar adjuster arms and new upper control arms, but combine this with a 3-inch body lift, and you should be able to run 31-inch tires. This will keep you right in your budget range.
Trail Master does its kit a bit differently, with a differential drop bracket to maintain close to the original CV-joint angles, and it gives you 5 inches of lift to also be able to run 31-inch tires.
Perhaps, combined with a 2- to 3-inch body lift and some fender trimming, you could get 33-inch tires in the fenderwells, but it will be close. This kit is about $1,300, so that doesn't give you much left over for tires and wheels. You will also need to make a speedo correction for everything to work right. A Superlift True Speed speed sensor is about another $200.
Question: I wheel a modified '03 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon including the "Fool the Factory" locker safety bypass switch. My question is about the operation of the auto trans when in low-range. I have noticed I am still able to use the overdrive gear in these situations. That seems wrong to me, and I would think that Jeep would block that option to keep users from driving too fast in the drive gear range, as I can drive faster in OD than with it off. I try to remember to shut it off before driving in 4-Lo. Am I nuts? Please shed some light on this for your other readers and me.
Answer: Driving in "overdrive" when in low-range? Well, I am not sure exactly what is the correct answer. For one thing, you would be spinning the transfer case pretty fast, depending on what the vehicle speed was, which could tend to be faster than if you were in direct drive (Third gear). For prolonged distances, there may be some lubrication problems, but I doubt that you would be traveling that fast for any extended time period to worry about it. I have found myself in overdrive low-range a time or two (with a TH700R4 and Atlas) but it's usually only for a short period of under a minute when the trail smoothed out for a short distance and I wanted to make up some time. I wouldn't make it a habit of driving in overdrive/low-range but I don't see that, like I said for short periods, it will hurt anything. Besides, it's not that much effort to shift into high-range. Readers, any comments on this subject?