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Your thoughts on a 1978 F-150 4x4

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Hey Scotty,

Just was gifted a 1978 Ford F-150 4x4 as my first vehicle. It was well maintained, and had a drive-train rebuild 40k miles ago. It has a 302 small block, 2 barrel carb, lifted 8 inches and is on 35 inch tires. If I take good care of this truck, could I expect good reliability? Any known weak points in these old 70s fords? Just looking for your overall thoughts on a truck of this age being reliable and not a total waste of time.

Thanks,

William from Hawaii

5 Answers
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Those old trucks are easy to work on and near unkillable. Rust would be the worst problem if you're in an area with salted winter roads.

Assuming it still has the factory ignition system it's a Duraspark II system. It's a good setup but keep an eye on the electronic ignition module since those are prone to failure, usually at high temperatures first before they go out completely.

http://www.suddenlink.net/pages/jonknapek/fordv8/duraspark.html

If and when you replace the ignition control module in the distributor cap, make sure to use the insulating grease they usually come with.

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These old trucks are uncomplicated, well built and easy to maintain and repair.  I would keep it forever.  If you maintain it, it will be more reliable than almost any new vehicle.

The best truck I ever owned was a 1978 Chevy K10 with a 3" lift kit and 33s. I had it when I lived in Kailua for eight years and came back to the mainland and sold it for more than I paid for it.

thats what i was hoping to hear.

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I don't agree at all. Take good care of it and fix it as needed and drive it. The truck doesn't know how old it is. Heck, it's lasted this long with proper care.

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As long it's not rusty and everything works the way it should, they are pretty great and reliable trucks. I went to high school with a guy that had a red and white 1977 Ford F-150 2WD, and he drove it to school often, it is a great looking truck and I still see it around town when I go to the store.

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With that age, I would not use it as a reliable daily driver. 

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