This is "the work truck". It exists in our fleet solely to haul dirt, gravel, debris, and other such things. It's a nicely equipped low mileage Ford F250 Centurion 4x4 with a 6.9L IDI naturally aspirated diesel engine and a C6 transmission. It's basically a fully loaded 1986 F250 that was customized even further by Centurion before being titled and delivered to the dealer. It's got a shade over 100,000 miles on it, and everything works quite well.
Due to the 4.10 rear axle ration and the non-overdrive transmission, this truck is not going to be doing more than about 65mph on the freeway. At that point, it's singing along at a pretty stout RPM for a diesel. But, it's great for around town trips, and because it's a diesel, it stores better for long periods of non-use, so long as you keep the batteries charged. That's perfect for my needs.
These are the original pictures from the seller that were posted on Craigslist.
These are the exterior shots I took after I got the truck home. It's in pretty good shape for the age.
The bed, complete with plastic bed liner.
The only rust problem on the truck is in the tailgate. The left side "cup" at the bottom is boogered up so the tailgate doesn't close quite right, and a previous repair on the gate resulted in some rust forming along the left edge. For my uses, this is fine, and it was reflected in the price.
The rear and front rims on the driver's side. Note the manual locking hubs on the front.
Driver's door panel and the driver's side of the dashboard.
The obligatory engine picture.
Passenger's door panel, passenger's side of the dashboard, 60/40 split front bench seat with armrest/center jump seat, and the fold down rear seat.
Ceiling console, complete with working CB. Very retro.
This truck is designed to be used for a camper shell, and it has the tie-down points for it, as well as mount points on the rear bumper, and extension bars in the back for mounting the camper shell to the truck.
The factory options sticker in the driver's door jamb. I'll decode this below.
The Centurion conversion sticker in the driver's door jamb. The title lists the vehicle as a "1986 Ford Centurion" and the conversion date is 1985, so I believe the conversion was done through the factory as an option before the vehicle was issued a title. Not that it matters much, but it is an interesting tidbit.
The canopy was quickly and safely stowed in the backyard so I could easily haul various materials in the bed of the truck. The sawhorses are a scaled up version of a design for a pair I remember my father having around when I was growing up - simple, sturdy, easy to build, and cheap. They are 6' 1" wide, and have 8' long 2x4's screwed to the tops to simulate the rails of the truck bed, and then the cap is clamped to those rails using the same clamps as used in the truck. I did have to plane down the bottom of the 2x4's near the ends to fit the clamps I had onto them; your clamps may be of a different design of size. The legs of the sawhorses are 4 foot long pressure treated 2x4's with the top cut at a 19 degree angle - use PT wood here because it's going to be touching the ground if this is set up outside, which it is in my case. The top board of the sawhorse is a 2x6 to have plenty of surface to screw things together. There are 2x4's braces 2' down from the top around the outside of the legs. This gives strength to the units and prevents the legs from moving around and breaking off from the top board. Everything is screwed together with 3" and 2" decking screws to make it sturdy and easy to assembly, and every screw had a pilot hole drilled first to prevent splitting out the wood. Level the sawhorses from side to side (very important), and roughly level with each other (not as important, as long as it close), mount the 2x4's to the top, lift the cap onto the sawhorses, and clamp it down. It's high enough off the ground to hopefully prevent critters from making their home in there, though wasp nests are a risk in any enclosed space. The height should offer decent ventilation as well. If you live in a windy area, then consider mounting this down better, or not leaving the pickup cap outside in the wind. In our area, that means the cap goes back on the pickup in the winter and comes off in the summer.
The pickup bed with the bed liner removed in preparation for installing a dump kit. I bought a 2 ton universal kit from Pierce Sales and I'm having it installed by a local welding shop - ACT Welding. It's a bit pricey, but it makes the truck hugely more useful for hauling stuff - because it's super easy to unload it. Combined with a small tractor a friend of mine owns, and we're all set to do pretty much anything we want to our properties without breaking our backs in the process...
The truck just after the dump kit was installed, but before the final "fit and finish" work was done. The rear bumper is off at this point, the license plate is tie-wrapped to the rear hitch supports, the filler necks for the fuel tanks are just tied back to the frame, and the rear sections of the running boards are not re-installed yet. The running boards mounted to the frame and to the bed, so I'll have to figure something out for that later. The bumper won't clear the hitch when the bed is lifted, so I may do something cheesy and install a 2x6 as a bumper and mount the license plate to that. We'll see what I come up with for that. I also need to figure out what to do with the filler necks to make that work.
Some more shots of the dump bed in action...
The pump and reservoir for the dump system.
The hydraulic cylinder and the scissors assembly it is attached to.
The rear hinges for the bed to pivot on as it lifts up.
The rear and front gas tanks. Note that the filler necks are simply ties down to keep them out of the way for now. Sometime later I'll need to do something better with this, but for now, it works. I have to lift the bed to fuel up, and the filler necks being down promotes some seepage at the filler caps, so it's generally grimy around here at fill up time.
A close up of the upper pivot pin under the bed. There is no way to grease these easily, so that's something I need to work on eventually.
The rear of the truck with the bumper removed. The wide bar is for the camper package, but it works out in my favor as a bumper-like assembly. Later on, I discovered a factory license plate mount - complete with license plate light - on the left side up under the bed, and move the license plate there.
Here's the F250 helping with pulling stump bits at a friend's house. We used the Kubota to pull them a bit at a time and then loaded them into the back of the F250 for disposal. Running that little Kubota is pure stress relief for a guy like me; I love it... I'd almost pay to run it on some days... And, yes, some of the bits were so large that we had to back the truck into the hole they came out of and then push them into the bed of the truck with the tractor. It was quite the stump, but we got it out with some creative use of the tools at our disposal, and without being unsafe while being creative. Leverage can be a wonderful thing when used properly. I must admit that driving onto the back of the truck with the Kubota was a bit weird, even if the tailgate was firmly supported by the ground it was resting on...
These are some pictures of my dad helping me out at my friend's house running the Kubota and loading some compost into the F250 for moving around the property. My dad concurs - the Kubota is a blast to run. I am not at all ashamed to admit that my friends and I have big toys for big boys and that we still like to play in the dirt with our toys. After a few hours on the Kubota, I would say that my dad concurs wholeheartedly. :-)
You can also see the license plate in it's new location in this photo, and you an see that we managed to bend the left rear camper support bar. Backing into stuff tends to do that. Oops. Oh well, but, it's a work truck, right? Exactly. I'm not losing any sleep over it...
My dad doing more work with the Kubota and the F250, this time loading the F250 with the chain-sawed-up remnants of a dead snag that fell over in a windstorm so we can make it go away. A bit blurry, but worth posting. It's my dad, who I don't get to see much since he lives far away, and we're playing with the big toys and having a blast. You may not think it's much reading this, but when I look at this picture, it puts a smile on my face when I remember my dad getting off the tractor at the end of the day and remarking how much fun it was to use this stuff and that he'd had a blast working with us all day. That's a good memory to keep around.
More work with the F250 at a friend's house, this time removing the remnants of a giant old cedar stump that has been rotting away on the property for at least 30 years, maybe a lot longer. This thing was huge - the stuff in the bed of the truck is all the cut-off roots from this stump. You can see how big some of the roots were when they joined up with the main stem of the stump; they were individually as big as a medium sized tree, and we removed a number of them...
Dump Bed Controls
The dump bed uses a simple three wire electrical harness with a SPDT momentary contact center off switch doing the actual work. One wire is power in, then the other two wires are power out to either the pump (to raise the bed) or to the dump valve (to lower the bed). If no power is on either wire, then the bed stays put. The kit comes supplied with a simple chrome toggle switch for the dash inside the truck, and for a while I just used that hanging off the steering column to do what I needed. Eventually, I'll mount it in the dash on the left side so you can get to it easily with the driver's door open.
I also wanted an easy way to control the bed from outside the truck - sometimes it's easier to be able to watch the load as it's emptying and make sure it's done, etc. I found a really neat little handheld pendant switch on eBay for cheap that can be used to control this. It's got labeled up and down buttons with a mechanical lockout so you can only operate one button at a time, enough of a load rating to work fine in this application, and it's rainproof, so I don't have to worry about it being affected by moisture. My plan is to mount this on a simple length of cable that will plug in somewhere near the back of the truck bed. I can unplug it and stow it in the truck when needed, and pull it out and plug it in when I want to use it. I can attach a simple piece of stiff wire on it to use as a hanger and allow me to hook it to the side of the truck bed - basically, a bent up piece of wire coat hanger with a piece of vacuum tubing pushed over it to prevent scratching. That way I can hook it up and leave it hooked up while doing work with it, and only unplug it and stow it when I put the truck away or when I need to drive it on the road. For the wire, I may use a a simple piece of 4-wire trailer hookup wire with the molded plugs on the end, or maybe I'll snag something out of my kit of WeatherPak connectors and use that. If I could find a cheap piece of coiled wire to do the hookup with, that would be cool, but they seem to be more money to buy new than I want to spend on this.
Decoded Tags and Options
From the factory door jamb sticker above, here's the decoded info:
From the Centurion body tag sticker, here's the decoded info:
Basic specs, options, and interesting add-ons:
Stuff To Do
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Page last updated 01/15/2012 03:42:32 PM