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1988 to 1996 F-150 The earlier OBD-I F-150 including the 4.9L, 5.0L, 5.8L, and 460 engines.

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Old Mon, February 6th, 2023, 07:59 AM
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Default It's a disease. At least it's not a 7.3L PSD this time!

Last March (2022), I bought a vehicle to help out a friend's sister and her family. They'd fallen on some tough times and had to move. She called me and asked if I'd be interested in taking a pickup off of their hands; a pickup that her husband had torn into a bit and then couldn't get put back together. The interior had some questionable wiring "repairs" made since the steering column was half disassembled and the ignition switch rack and rod were gone. The thing had a push-button and toggle switch wired with speaker wire mounted with sheet metal screws to the ashtray. It's an Illinois pickup so it has some rust on the rear wheel arches but the frame, drivetrain, brakes, and underbody are all rust-free....which really strikes me as odd. The back window was broken out, the engine was torn apart about 1/3 of the way from the front (main seal job not completed), and the lights didn't work. I paid $1400 for it, dragged it out of their yard, loaded it on the trailer, and took it home.

The plus side? It's a 1989 F350 Crewcab 4x4 with a 460. I justified the purchase by telling myself that even if I didn't do anything with the truck that I could at least sell the front axle for what I paid for the whole vehicle. Of course, being who I am, I instantly fell in love with it and began fixing things. I started with gutting the under-dash wiring harness that was full of scotch-locks, wire nuts, and twisted wires with crappy electrical tape connections. I rebuilt the steering column, fixed the ignition switch actuator components, and installed a period-correct steering wheel (the one it came with was some ghetto-fab "racing" wheel) so the cruise control would work. I put a back window in it, a new shifter boot, and some seat covers on the two benches.

I hadn't started on the engine yet.......

I took the engine out to reseal everything as the whole front of the engine was torn apart anyway and I wanted to start with a leak-free deal. Once I took the engine out and the oil pan off, I decided I didn't want to use that engine - at least not in its current state - due to its apparent lack of any kind of maintenance over the years. The odometer said 573xx and it wouldn't surprise me to know that if it had a 6-digit odometer that there would be a "2" in front of it even though it was probably only rolled over one time. I did what any red-blooded 'murican kid would do.....built an engine for it.

Years ago, my brother worked for our county's road department and one of his duties was to tow abandoned vehicles to the scrapyard. Well, some didn't make it that far or that direction . One vehicle had a 385-series engine, VERY recently remanufactured, that ended up in my shed almost 20 years ago. The casting numbers on the block and heads signified that this was a 1969 engine so it was either a 429 or a high compression 460. It turned out to be the latter.....but with broken piston crowns due to too-tight of piston ring gap. The bores were fine except for #6 that had a slight groove worn in it from a sharp ring edge and a few miles of continued driving. Looking at the disassembled mess of parts, it became apparent to me that this engine probably didn't make it through its first oil change before failing and everything was NEW. New valves, guides, seats, the WORKS. So I put the engine together with new pistons, had it balanced, and stuffed it in the hole with a 10.65:1 static CR. I put a COMP Thumpr cam in it at 2 degrees retarded to keep the dynamic compression manageable for pump gas, and a Carter carburetor on it for the first two thousand miles.

I installed the rear axle from my blue 1995 Powerstroke that had been sitting in the shed for half a dozen years after I did the Superduty axle swap on it. I had put disc brakes on it about a year before removing it so they were still like new. I modified the master cylinder and residual pressure valve to work with the rear discs....same as with the 95 I had done years prior....so I knew that it would work just fine.

Here comes the fun part. I'm obsessive about certain things and one of them is that new technology doesn't impress me much. I know people who have purchased aftermarket fuel injection systems from the last few years and they just don't work all that well. I knew that the speed density EFI that came stock on the '89 wasn't going to like the cam selection at all and I wasn't going to try to tune it to work because it wouldn't be happy even with tuning. That cam makes 5-6" of vacuum at an idle and even carburetors have a hard time with that. After putting a couple thousand miles on the thing with a carburetor, I was sick of constantly having to adjust the idle speed, mixture, and overall poor off-idle driveablility. Of course I blame myself for the horrible cam choice but it sounds so damn cool and runs fantastic down the highway! In 1998, I bought the original style analog Holley Pro-jection 2 barrel for a recently-built 390 in my 1976 F100. I was so impressed at how it had ran on a couple different engines/pickups (and STILL runs 25 years later on my engine run stand) that I scoured craigslist and ebay for a 4V version from the same era for this F350. I bought the only one on eBay and got burned badly. Missing parts (not disclosed in the listing), was told it ran and worked fine (found out that the ECU is fried and wouldn't fire one of the injectors), and the wiring was all haphazardly cut out instead of being removed cleanly/carefully which required about two hours of splicing. I was PISSED! I began frantically searching craigslist and found the only one in the country....I called the guy, gave him an extra $100 for his trouble to ship it, and did nothing more than plug in the ECU I got from him and now I have some spare parts. MAN, this thing runs GOOD!!!! I was running the original 3 PSI pumps in the tanks for the carburetor and had no issues that way. I had initially removed the high pressure pump from the rail and installed a fabricated pass-through tube when running the carburetor. When I went to the Pro-jection, I bought a Walbro GSL395 (20 PSI) pump and put it right in the place of the original high pressure pump with the original style fittings, set the regulator pressure to 18 PSI, and ran it.

It uses a Duraspark II distributor with a GM HEI module mounted in the Duraspark box to run the original EEC-IV E-Coil.

I'll get some pictures up here soon.
Tuning, flashing, burning chips, and repairing all aspects of 7.3L Powerstrokes.
SEVEN 7.3L-powered vehicles in the driveway. Two didn't come that way from the factory!
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