1978 Ford F100 Ranger 302 V8 from North America


It is an extension of my body. I can't live without it!


Engine rebuilt at 65,000 miles, and differential rebuilt at about 120,000 miles, but that was my fault -- it towed *double* its rated capacity from Montana to SoCal (1100 miles, several mountain passes) in just two days, and hauled way too much firewood up the pass every winter. Otherwise the major mechanicals have been completely trouble-free. It has not needed a tune-up or even new spark plugs since the engine rebuild -- beat that!

Runs a little warm with the "right" thermostat, but just right with an old dead thermostat. Stop your mechanic when he wants to replace it!!

At just under 200,000 miles, the transmission is starting to smell burnt... well, that happened after I had to tow my neighbour's van up 20 miles of 8% grades, but it still works. Differential is starting to clank when it first rolls, but it still works too.

It last needed an alignment at about 100,000 miles. It was still perfect when it was checked at about 195,000 miles.

Power steering box got rebuilt at about 185,000 miles -- still worked fine, just needed to replace leaky gaskets.

At 31 years, the driver's door handle sometimes doesn't catch, passenger door only opens from the outside, and the passenger window doesn't work. I expect they're just plumb wore out.

Replaced brakes a couple times, once replaced front bearings and spindles (bearings not greased often enough and wore 'em out), the usual small stuff like belts, hoses, battery, U-joints once (got greasable U-joints and they're gonna last forever, over 170,000 miles on 'em and still like new). Radiator got rodded out once cuz some idiot put our rock-hard tap water in it and clogged it up. Carb and smog stuff rebuilt once to make it pass Calif smog test.

The paint is finally starting to craze in spots (no peeling or big cracks), and there is minor surface rust if you look close (but no holes)... you should look so good after 32 years without ever being waxed or polished! Dashboard cracked a bit from hot desert sun.

Everything else is original, including all the electrical, seats (still look like new), etc.

Not bad for a sordid history of neglect and abuse!

General Comments:

It is almost 32 years old, about to turn 200,000 miles, and has worked its butt off, doing the job of a heavier truck for most of its life. It has never once left me by the side of the road, and except where it got hit (drunk driver rammed it while it was parked) and where the paint gets worn off the bed, it almost looks like new, even the tailgate is still square and straight (you don't often see that on a truck that's been used to haul feed and firewood).

It is easy to drive (including long distance), handles very precisely (I love that twin-I-beam suspension), holds the road well under all conditions including snow/mud/ice, tows good considering it's only got a 302 (gets slow to accelerate and slow on hills under a heavy load, but still pulls it), and has generally been an all around great work truck.

Going to get the transmission serviced here shortly, and after that I expect it will keep right on truckin'.

My only regret is that I didn't get the next heavier model, cuz then it would probably last me 50 or 60 years instead of a mere 35 or 40 :)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd September, 2009

23rd Sep 2009, 09:51

You keep right on trucking man!! Anyone can just try to pry my 1978 Lincoln Mark V from me!! I daily drive mine and she is still a true lady.