When this particular 2004 F-150 came to Mortie's Speed, it was limping in on its last leg. A friend of Nate's had bought the truck as his daily driver before quickly discovering it had some serious problems. While the truck did drive, the extent of its power was spent by 10 mph at which point the whole thing shook like you were trying to take its lunch money. The shaking was attributed to a bad rod bearing which made the engine bay sound like a Fisher Price Corn Popper filled with hammers. Underneath the truck was disappearing act worthy of an Avenger’s movie, as most of the quarter panels, cab corners, front fenders and box were either rusted through or quickly turning to dust. Luckily for the truck, the frame was still in good shape and we picked it up for the right price to help a friend. Currently, it is still an ongoing project with a projected completion date of early summer 2020.
The first thing we did was pull the body off the frame to get better look at the underside. Again, the frame was in good shape, but it did have the usual surface rust typical of a truck of this vintage that had lived through South Dakota winters. Once any loose scale was removed, the frame was deeply cleaned of any road grime before being coated with Eastwood’s Rust Converter and Extreme Chassis paint. The most time-consuming job on this truck was the massive amounts of rust that had found its way into the body. The quarter panels, cab corners, and rear supports were cut out to make way for new metal. Of course, everything under the new panels were coated in Eastwood Rust Encapsulator to inhibit new rust. The front fenders and box are being replaced with rust free options from a donor truck and soon the whole thing will be shot with new paint to give it a factory fresh look. Once the outside of the truck is looking good again, it will be time to breathe some life back into her. Although the 4.6 liter motor found in this truck had some issues, it’s normally a highly reliable option capable of running well over 200,000 miles. For this reason, we decided on a remanufactured 4.6 from Tri-Star Engines that comes with a three-year warranty. To make sure the Ford shifts properly behind the new powerplant, the 4R70W/E transmission is currently being rebuilt by Jay Egge Automatic Transmission here in Sioux Falls. The interior, while in good shape aside from a tear in the driver’s seat, will be mended, deeply cleaned, and made to look new again. To give the truck the “Mortie’s” look, we decided on a 4” Rough Country lift kit to make way for 35X12.5X20 tires.
Although these trucks haven’t quite reached collector status yet, they do possess a classic styling that will most definitely bring them into that category. With fresh paint and metal covering the body, a new engine under the hood, a rebuilt transmission, freshened-up interior, and a more aggressive, off-road capable stance, this truck will have a second chance at life. With a little love, there is no reason it couldn’t be going strong for another 16 plus years and bring it into the realm of a classic.