1997 Mountaineer into 1959 Ford F100 Build Diary | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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1997 Mountaineer into 1959 Ford F100 Build Diary


Staff member
Elite Explorer
June 3, 2003
Reaction score
City, State
Austin, TX
Year, Model & Trim Level
OBD-1 Kenobi
Well, I suppose it’s about time I lived up to my user name and actually build a nice 59 Ford f100 pickup truck. The story begins back in February of 2000. I was a young lad, 13 years old, not a care in the world, and I stumble upon a bright red Custom Cab F100 Styleside truck sitting behind the horse barn. No motor, no tranny, but complete and cool looking. It was because of this truck I pledged my allegiance to Ford in the first place. Anywho, long story short, 2 years into the project of a full frame off restoration, I turn 16, puberty hits, and I start driving this little 92 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer named Blue Bandit....Needless to say, we all might could guess which direction I went in vehicle wise.


Well here it is, over 10 years later, and 4 Explorers later, I come back around to this idea of the F100. It's still in pieces, still 45 minutes away from me, but now that I have completed my very first motor rebuild in Blue, I find myself yearning for a bigger and better project...namely, finishing this pickup.

In my short existence on this earth, and my wild learnings from the Blue Bandit, I have the knowledge and wisdom to know a complete restoration is out of my ability, both financial and economically. But alas, I have an idea..

And thus this mountaineer enters the picture...


I was searching through craigslist listings in and around Oklahoma for Explorers and Explorer parts when I ran across this little gem in Wichita, Kansas. It said it was a V8, AWD, over 200k miles, and the owner was parting it out. So I called and offered 500 dollars for the entire truck, as is. He took it


So I drove up to Kansas, trailer in tow, and met with the owner and took it for a little spin around the neighborhood. After getting gas in it (wouldn’t start) and a battery I had brought (no Battery) I went off. Immediately a clunking noise from the front end and the test drive stopped. I didn't care, I had another V8 truck. So I proceeded to load this bad boy up, in the pouring rain no less, and drive back to OKC.

Once home, the truck, ironically named 'Mercury Blues', was unloaded and barely limped into the garage. Sadly enough, this was the final location where it would be a Mountaineer. For you see, these two vehicles are related, as my plan is to integrate all the mechanicals of the mountaineer (motor, transmission, front suspension & differential, rear axle, and complete electrical) into the 59 Ford. Not only will I have completed my very first truck, it will be completely modern underneath with all the features of the mountaineer. The only problem is I have to do it...


So now, with everyone's permission and hopefully optimism, I present you a build log of this project. It will take time, I understand, and a lot of determination and sacrifice. But I owe this to myself. I have to do this.

So feel free to comment, suggest, yell, or stare in disbelief. The encouragement will help me, and I want to share this with everyone here! You guys are like a second family to me, and with your knowledge and expertise, I hope I can complete this little folly of mine.



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So, now that I have a gameplan in place, disassembly can begin. I gotta get down to the explorer (mountaineer) frame before I can start cutting and grafting frames.

Here, i just unloaded the truck, and began just a little bit playing with it. Got the headlights removed and hood off, so I can get a better idea of whats up.

My idea is cut the Explorer frame in half right behind the torsion bar brackets, which measures from outer frame to outer frame at 34"...exactly the same width as the f100 frame. Doing this will correct three things:

1) wheelbase. The explorer wheelbase is 111.6 inches. The F100 wheel base is 110". Damn close, but I need the frame to be at 110"

2) Cab and bed mounting. The f100 frame is pretty much straight from end to end, with minimal curve to it. The explorer frame has a kick above the rear axle. This would make mounting the cab and bed to the explorer frame rather difficult.

3) Modern front suspension. The f100 has a solid beam front axle with leaf springs. Great for hualing and towing and what not, horrible for daily driving with no power steering and no power breaks. While some would disagree with me, I want some sort of IFS in the truck. Sure, there are mustang II and volare front ends that could be retrofitted, but I like originality and besides, I already have a torsion bar setup.

So the frame issue is the very first thing I must tackle. But in order to do that, disassembly of the mountaineer has to occur. So pictures do follow...

Oh I forgot to mentione that I am parting this out, but I will post a separate thread for that in the 'for sale' forum. Having said that, I have collected 190 dollars in sales off this truck, bringing the actual purchase price to $310. Woot!

Well, i am looking to sale the rear seats, but im keeping the fronts for now to put in the 59.

Ok, got just a tad done last night considering my buddy took me out to dinner, so daylight faded quick, and cold was setting in. Got the rest of the interior out sans dash as well as the lightgate and rear bumper off. Dang that liftgate is heavy!! It always helps to have a second set of hands around to help hold that thing. Also got the front driver door off, so now I am left with a (still) running truck with shell body. I am trying to keep the truck able to drive as long as possible so if I need to move it I can. And, if everything goes correctly, I will have the cab and frame of the 59 at the house on saturday.

Goals this week:

Remove wiring from body and label
Remove sunroof
remove all exterior trim (splashgaurds, roof rack, ect)
Start cutting shell into more managable peices (just got me a recip saw :p: )

So anyway, couple more pics, i know every one like pics :D



Is Chip Foose going to have to step in and finish this job for you?

I hope not, because I don't think he would find this build worthy of his time lol

Of course there's a whole mounty just sitting around for cheap up there. Guess I'll hop over to the for sale thread...

i was checking out your cut up on FB , lots of work here,,
hope it turns out great for you,,

Thanks guys! I will get a for sale thread going once I figure out what all I am keeping and what all i am not. Hopefully tonight I can start cutting some of the body up. I do upload pictures to my facebook so feel free to add me as a friend on there :) more updates tonight when i get off work

Got quite a bit done tonight, got the roof and all pillars cut off, bit its late and I am super tired. Will post some pics tomorrow for u Guys. :)

Subscribing, this looks like it'll be good.

Thanks for the Words of encouragement and support! And this is just the easy part I'm working on now lol. More photos tonight when I get home

Ok, got quite a bit done last night with relative easy. Knocked off all my goals for this week that I mentioned above, actually a lot sooner than my arbitrary deadline. Anyway, got all the interior out, all the little brackets and screws and what not removed and labeled and put away. I pulled all the main wiring harness in the back body out and labeled ends and connectors for future use. I cant stress this step enough btw. And then proceeded to throw caution to the wind and start cutting and hacking away at the body. Moments into it, this happens...


the reciprocating saw kicked back off a drill hole in the d pillar and tried to bite my hand, Luckily, it didn't sever too deep, and I found the appropriate bandage material from the garage...and went back to work

After that, not much else to say. Started with the rear roof section, then the d pillars and arrived at the much discussed EF topic of a unibody sport trac....


I marveled at how simple that was, and continued on. This particular vehicle does have a power sunroof, and I have always wanted a sun roof in Blue (my 92). However, the second gen roofs are designed a bit differently than a first gen roof, so alas, if i wanted a second gen power sunroof, the roof had to come with it. SO I cut out the rest of the roof to keep for later


and from there it went pretty quick. Made quick work of the B and C pillars and then it was done. I finished up on a little bit of wiring and called it a night. Debating if I wanna take tonight off or pull the dash...we shall see.

Oh, and if anyone happens to be wondering, it still is operable and drivable at this point, LOL. Enjoy the pics...




subscribed, gonna be awesome

It looks like you've made a huge amount of progress in a really short amount of time, have you thought about how you're going to rectify the wheelbase issue? are you going to take the back of the f100 frame and attach it to the IFS front?


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I need your grill.......looked in the 'for sale' section and couldn't find, maybe wrong section? anyways how much for the complete grill, even the little parts around the headlights? Shipped to central Kansas?

Thanks Grey Beard.