No Smoking

The truck’s engine smokes too much for the civilized world. So, in late March, 16 months into my ownership of this truck, I set about fixing it.

I called my mechanic friend Ron Shimek and asked for an engine shop recommendation. He pointed me to David Brown at Travis Engine Center over on the East Side.

I removed the head and took it to David. He suggested that I see if the cylinder walls have a ridge at the top that I could catch a fingernail on. They did. Great business development on his part. I decided to bring him my block.

I called our friend Chris and asked if I could borrow his engine hoist, then I begged a trailer from neighbor Jim.

Thus began my first ever engine extraction.


Sometimes I’m not that bright. For example, I don’t really have a level place to do this work. My first attempt involved lifting the engine, then pulling the hoist, engine hanging in the air, uphill. That didn’t work.


So I pulled the truck out of its parking spot with our Armada, pushed it into the corner of the driveway, and pulled the motor there. I did have a bit of a side hill to deal with, so I anchored the hoist with a couple of lines. The arrangement worked really well. There’s enough room in a ‘60 F100 to pull the engine over the radiator support with the hood, so I had that going for me.



I strapped the engine down to Jim’s trailer and took it over to David. He tore it down and let me know that it’s .40 over now, and needs either to be bored another .40 over or sleeved. $2400 or $3000 for the whole job. That’s a big investment for a truck that I’m just going to knock around in, but if you want to do it right, that’s what it costs. Having no experience with engine rebuilds, I once again reached out to the guys on the 57-60 forum for advice.

Gary Sisson from Orcas Island, Washington had a thread going that I had been following for some time. He’d been putting a Cummins diesel engine in a ‘60 F250 (I think). He replied to my thread saying that the 223 engine he’d pulled needed a home, and that he’d crate it up and take it to a shipper for $300. I researched shipping, and decided this was the way to go. Should be here in a couple of weeks, with a 4-speed transmission!

My goal is to have this together for the Austin Road Relic’s Father’s Day car show. We’ll see.

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It’s pretty cool to have an original straight-six 223 with a three-on-the-tree in this truck, but the truck smokes like crazy.

I’ve been thinking lately of swapping something in, but not the usual 351 or other push-rod V8. I’m thinking an early 2000’s Ford F150 fuel-injected SOHC V6 with a 5-speed. I stopped at LKQ on my way home from San Antonio today and they’d sell me a complete package (if they happen to have a truck with that configuration at the time and it hasn’t been pulled apart yet) for about $2000. That’s more than I paid for the truck.

So maybe I’ll just rebuild the bottom-end of the 223 and see where that gets me. Never done that before. Have no idea what I’m doing. May as well get started.

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One step forward, 1/2 step back

I got the rear brake drums off this morning, replaced the rear brake cylinders and bled the brakes. There’s not supposed to be brake fluid there. I suck at flaring brake lines.

I also painted the rear wheels. I’m going for a “someone’s taking care of this truck” look.

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Replacement hard line

That was pretty easy, once I realized I hadn’t flared one end.

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Tribal Knowledge

My Dad taught me how to do this when I was 8.

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More Brakes

I’ve replaced both front wheel cylinders and hoses. Still need to get some bearing grease and re-grease the front wheel bearings.

I also replaced the master cylinder, which was really an “as long as I’m here” type of preventative measure. When I disconnected the line from the master cylinder to the proportioning valve and bent it away from the master cylinder, I discovered the source of my brake issues. The hard line snapped at its bracket on the firewall.


So I opened the LMC, Sacramento Vintage Ford and Macs Auto Parts catalogs looking for this line. Nothing. Nobody carries it. I went to O’Reilly and they called their supplier. Nothing.

So I went to the wonderful people at and asked them. They told me I could replace that line with a regular hard brake line, but that I should put a coil in it. I happen to have exactly the right line and fittings left over from my ‘95 Jeep. Shouldn’t be too bad.

Famous last words.

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Found it!


I have a replacement. I don’t think I’ll use this one.

Doesn’t look too tasty though…

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