Kase runs down the top 10 debates and advice we at TFLtruck have received regarding Gunsmoke, our 1989 Ford F-350 4×4 with the 7.3-liter diesel V8 and the parts truck we bought for $900, a 1990 F-150 with Ford’s workhorse straight 6 gas engine. Here we go!
#10 – “NO BONDO! FIX THE DENTS ANY OTHER WAY!”
Viewers pleaded with us not to use Bondo to fill in the big dents and offered up the ole’ inflate-a-ball-to-pop-the-dent trick. Kase was suspect, but since the cost was a $12 soccer ball and use of a bike pump he already had, he gave it a try. His reaction below says it all.
#9 – SWAPPING THE GRILL FROM THE F-150 TO THE F-350
Viewers weren’t to keen on Gunsmoke’s aftermarket grill and neither were we. Our goal is to get Gunsmoke back to prime working order in its classic farm-truck form. With the help of a screwdriver, Kase fixed that.
#8 – STICK WITH THE WAGON WHEELS, BUT UPGRADE THE RUBBER
We love the classic white wagon wheels on Gunsmoke, and so do the majority of our viewers. We’re going to stick with them, clean them up a bit, and then put new off-road tires on them. But nothing too much bigger or more extreme since we don’t want to have to start thinking about swapping in a different gear ratio to handle bigger diameter tires.
#7 – MAKING THE REAR TANK USEABLE AGAIN
At first we figured not being able to use the rear fuel tank was no big deal, but enough viewers brought us around to the value of getting that extra capacity on board. Right now we’re working on lining up a salvaged tank that should be pretty clean, although we may find that once we drop the old tank, getting it working again and cleaned out will be worth pursuing.
#6 – REBUILDING THE 7.3-LITER DIESEL ENGINE
Fans want us to tackle this one, but we’re not gonna do it. The engine runs fine now, and we want to put our time and $$$ into making the truck look great again. Whomever ends up with the truck at auction can certainly tackle a rebuild if he or she wants to.
#5 – DEALING WITH THE RUST
The original reason we bought the F-150 was for the truck bed. After spending most of its life in California, it’s in great shape (especially after popping a big dent with the soccer ball). Swapping the bed takes care of the majority of our rust concerns, except for one spot forward of the driver’s door.
#4 – TURBO CHARGE THE ENGINE
As with #6, we have no plans to mess with the engine. The truck was more of a farm tractor than a speed machine to begin with. Plus, our goal is to end up with this beauty looking and running in its classic form rather than pimped out. As Kase says, whenever you mess with a drivetrain, “You can have two of three things: speed, cheap, reliable.” We’re sticking with cheap and reliable.
#3, #2 – REFINISH/REPAINT JOBS
We’ve gotten a host of options thrown at us. There’s a vocal camp that wants us to leave the patina as is. It’s an intriguing idea, but we want this truck to bring in a good chunk of change when it goes to auction for charity. A new coat of paint will do wonders for its curb appeal and upping the purchase price.
Some people have suggested covering the truck in a Raptor liner to make it look badass and unique. It’s an intriguing idea, but in the end, that look is a love it or hate it thing. We need as many people as possible to love this truck and bid accordingly.
#1 – FLATBED OR TRADITIONAL BED
Surprising to us, the debate over turning Gunsmoke into a flatbed, 4×4 monster truck or hewing to its classic roots generated the most feedback. But as mentioned above regarding tires, we’re not going crazy with 37-inch rubber on Gunsmoke since doing so would necessitate a costly rethink of the gearing. And as it’s not a dually, running a flatbed on this truck with smaller rubber would make the truck look wimpy in our opinion. So we’re going to swap the beds between the F-150 and Gunsmoke and call it good.
So what charity is getting the money from Gunsmoke’s sale and why?
The Mountain States Children’s Home will be the beneficiary of the sale of Gunsmoke. That charity was stipulated by the former owner of the truck who gave it to us for free.
To see Kase’s soccer-ball dent repair in action, click on the video below