12/23/2014 at #4918
This truck will not be using the Lightning wheels when completed, but it will use wheels of the same size to utilize the stock Lightning tire dimensions. This way, we will be sure that the gear ratio will match that is designed for the lighting.
It turns out that the front cab amounts will be usable on the Lightning chassis, and the crew position and ’69 cab over these. Holes will have to be drilled for the mounts, but if it should work.12/23/2014 at #4919
The crew rolled the chassis truck outside to be able to step away and look at it.
With the cab bolted in place at the front cab mounts, the crew felt it was safe to begin addressing the wheelbase situation. They drilled out and ground off the rivets holding the stock leaf spring mounts to the chassis, and measured the frame to see if the rear suspension could be moved forward to shorten the wheelbase. When the wheelbase seemed to be in the right place, they tack welded the brackets back on the frame to evaluate.12/23/2014 at #492012/23/2014 at #4921
Cutting the notches allowed the bed to come down approximately 2 inches, which helped, but was not quite enough. Next, the crew shim the back of the cab upwards to make up the difference in height. At this point, the wheelbase is nearly correct, the cab in bed are in alignment, and the truck has a slight rake which is exactly what the customer wanted.12/23/2014 at #4922
We were all pleased at how quickly the major pieces came together on this project. It is far from finished or driving, but it is really coming together nicely. The rear track width fits under the bed, the front wheels fit comfortably in the front fender wells, in the truck looks natural. At this point, it looks like a ’69 truck with Lightning wheels! This one is going to surprise more than a few people!12/24/2014 at #492512/24/2014 at #4926
Originally, the leaf springs were riveted to the frame, but we decided to weld everything solid. Adam made some closeout panels to box up the rails to prevent the leaf spring perches from twisting the frame rails.12/24/2014 at #4927
Next, he fabricated a new upper shock mount, as the position of the mount had changed slightly, and the two shocks were not in the exact same position. The drivers Side upper shock mount was recessed into the crossmember to ensure that it would have the same travel as the shock on the passenger side.12/24/2014 at #492802/02/2015 at #515002/11/2015 at #5187
The bed needed to be re-worked to sit on the new frame and match the body lines of the cab. Adam carefully cut the cross-braces from the bottom of the bed, then welded in new steel to reinforce the supports.
This channel allowed for the bed to sit lower on the frame.
New bed supports were attached to the Lightning frame to match the ‘69 bed mounts.02/22/2015 at #5284
You know how these things go, you solve one challenge and another pops up. This time, the fuel tank needed to be shortened to fit the shorter wheelbase.
We ordered a new tank so that we were not cutting and welding on a tank that once held fuel. That’s just something we don’t do in our shop, especially when a new replacement is around $200.00.
The tank would have to be about this long to clear the axle.
We cut the tank, and Adam TIG welded in a new side. We estimate we only lost a couple gallons of total capacity, and all the original fuel pump, sender, and line fittings connect right up.03/08/2015 at #5448
The Lightning chassis has a longer nose than the ‘69 F100 Ranger, so the next task was to shorten the front frame horns and create mounts for the 1969 bumper. The Lightning frame can be seen sticking out in this initial test-fitting photo from the beginning of the project.
After measuring, Adam removed the front of the frame horns and created a stepped mount that would attach to the bumper brackets.03/08/2015 at #5449
The lightning frame was also slightly lower than the Ranger, so the brackets were adapted to bring the bumper height to its proper position on the Ranger.
Once mounted and aligned, everything looks factory original and correct for 1969.04/26/2015 at #5675
The Ford Lightning required several coolers, including the radiator, steering cooler, transmission cooler, and a supercharger heat exchanger. Adam fabricated a series of mounts and close out panels to stack all the coolers in the nose of the ‘69. He used a Mittler Brothers bead roller, box pan brake, and punch and flare set to add contours to the panels as well flared holes for strength.
Here, he uses an HTP Versa Spot welder to weld the pieces together.
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