Welcome To The V8 Speed and Resto Shop! Forums V8 Forum V8 Speed and Resto Shop Car Builds 1969 Ford F100 / 2002 Ford Lightning “Thunder’s Truck”

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  • #4773
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    Mating a 2002 Ford Lightning Chassis and driveline with a 1969 Ford F100 Ranger Pickup in the V8 Speed &Resto Shop

    When a customer called our shop suggesting his idea of mating a 1969 F100 Ranger with a 2002 Ford Lightning, we thought it was a cool idea but thought we would be taking the engine and transmission from the Lightning and putting them in the ’69 truck. After doing much evaluation of the amount of time and parts it would take to make a ’69 F100 not only have the power of the Lightning, but also the cornering ability, comfortable ride, braking, and reliability, he proposed we do a complete body swap on to the Lightning frame.

    He’s owned the 1969 F100 Ranger for many years, and this example is a very clean truck with 54,000 miles. It has a 390 V8, and a three speed manual on the column. While attending an auto auction, he came across a 2002 Ford Lightning that had been totaled by an insurance company, but had only received minor damage from a low-speed front end impact.

    #4774
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    We suspect the reason for the total was that the radiator, air-conditioning coil, transmission cooler, and other core support mounted items had been damaged, and they were expensive to replace.

    He bought the truck, and even with the damaged components, it still ran and drove. It was then measured to make sure the wheelbase was square, removing any suspicion of frame damage and it was decided that this would be a great candidate for the body swap.

    The build plan also included a few upgrades to the 1969 truck body, including a Vintage Air system, an Ididit tilt steering column, upgraded audio, Dakota Digital VHX gauges, and a few other creature comforts.

    When both trucks arrived in the V8 Speed & Resto shop, we were very impressed with the quality of the ’69. It has been repainted and some of the trim is a little faded, but overall it is a very nice truck. The plan is to leave the exterior as it is.

    #4775
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    Measurements were taken to compare the wheelbase, track with, and other crucial dimensions to see if the swap would be feasible.

    We concluded that this could work, so disassembly of the Lightning began.

    #4776
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    The electrical system was disconnected, as were the brake lines, steering linkage, engine harness, fuel lines, emergency brake cables, and anything else tying the body to the chassis.

    Soon, the crew had the Lightning cab and bed off the frame.

    #4777
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    Next, they brought in the ’69 F100 to do the same trick of removing the cab and bed.

    The Lightning chassis was slid under the ’69 Cab and the test fitting began.

    #4778
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    As we lowered the 1969 cab down onto the 2002 Lightning chassis, it looked like the track width on the Lightning was going to be pretty close to the outer fender edges on the 1969.

    Our first interference was the shape of the back of the ’69 cab that allows the cab corners to hang down around the frame. The Lightning frame is wider than the ’69 in this area, so the first cut on the ’69 cab was to open up these corners.

    #4779
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    Once we modified the back of the cab, we were able to lower it further down onto the lighting chassis.

    Our next point of interference came in the front, where the 1969 inner fender wells seemed to interfere with the upper control arm mounts on the Lightning. We cut some simple notches in the inner fenders, and the cab and landed on the ’02 chassis. The cab mounts are not in the exact same position, but they were close! We cut the front core supports off the Lightning frame, with anticipation of making our own core support and bumper mounts later.

    #4782
    Kelle Oeste
    Member

    Looking forward to seeing this one progress. This is gonna be a fast cool truck

    #4791
    Rob
    Participant

    It is very cool to see someone else attempting the same build. When I started mine back in Sept. of 2011 I couldn’t find anyone who had attempted this swap and this is the first I’ve seen of anyone going for it other than me. Looking forward to see how you guys go about it. The Lightning is the truck I would have liked to start with but I couldn’t pass up the deal on the one I got. Here is my build thread http://fordification.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=61306&st=0&sk=t&sd=a You guys don’t look like you need the help but feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Love the build!

    Thanks
    FoPAR
    __________________
    Burning Money & Metal!

    #4792
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    Thanks for the support! We found your thread and used it as inspiration when researching this project, you did a great job on yours!

    Welcome to the board, and hopefully you like how this one comes out!

    #4793
    Rob
    Participant

    I’m sure I will…. It’s a really good idea… (I think so anyway lol) so what is the plan for the bed? Are you going to notch it like I did or bring the floor of the bed up? Also was wondering what the wheel base was on the Lightning and if you will have to shorten the frame to make the gap look right between the cab & bed?

    Thanks
    FoPAR
    __________________
    Burning Money & Metal!

    #4794
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    We’ll be posting up the pics of the bed notching and wheelbase mods really soon!

    #4915
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    The crew was pretty impressed how the wheel fit in the front wheel well, and it didn’t look like very much fore-aft adjustment would be needed.

    The cab is still not all the way down on the frame in this picture, so this is not ride height.

    Bringing down the cab left this fitment:

    #4916
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    With the cab “in the ballpark”, the crew was eager to test fit the ’69 bed on the Lightning chassis. We knew the wheelbase of the Lightning was approximately 5 inches longer than the 1969 truck, so we anticipated a fitment issue there. The crew unbolted the ’69 bed and carried it into the Lightning chassis.

    Once they set the ’69 bed on the Lightning chassis, it became obvious that some modifications would be needed to have it fitted properly. The Lightning frame kicks up approximately 3 to 4 inches, raising the bed far above its original orientation to the cab.

    #4917
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    We also noted that this the gap between the cab and the bed was approximately 5 inches, so the crew began to strategize on how to make this fit.

    At this point, it was determined that perhaps the cab should be “locked down” into its final position before the crew made any changes to the frame to fit the bed. Little spacers were made to simulate cab mounts to pick up the backside of the cab, and the cab was located longitudinally on the Lightning frame.

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