The Baja350 - A Dentside Story

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Drayke

Always Baja Bound
Jan 29, 2007
921
117
43
Torrance
Some of you guys know that I've been running a yellow 69 F100 for a few years. Never had a build thread on DR though. But I just bought myself a new old truck and figured that I'm about due for my own thread that's open to the full internet peanut gallery. It's a 1974 F350 regular cab long bed. I *believe* it's a camper special because it has the goofy spare tire thing in the bedside, two fuel tanks, and all the little clip thingies in the side of the bed for a camper shell or slide-in. Pictures first because I know your attention spans are short.










Why did I buy this when I have the F1Fundred (henceforth referred to as "the bumpside")? Well, for quite a while now I've been wanting to address all the little things about the bumpside that have been driving me nuts for years and can't really be fixed without a complete teardown & massive effort. More on that later.
This truck was a pretty decent deal. It's pre-smog, has no cancer, runs, drives, legit registration, it's totally complete, and importantly the body isn't completely wrecked like most of these old farm trucks are in the sub $5k range.

Short term plan - Fix up the small issues, use it as a second car / shop truck until i'm ready to go off the deep end with the build.
The wheels are 16.5" so tires are difficult to find, the tires it has are dry rotted. A few gauges don't work. Tail lights have some weird wiring issue going on. Most importantly - it spits oil at high speed & load. My fear: engine is blowing by a shit ton. We'll see.

Long term plan - Baja Rig generation 2. Desert cruiser, explorer of the land of tacos & cervezas.
There's a few things I can use the team's input on so feel free to chime in on the list below!

Body:
Shorten this to a regular cab wheelbase
Hang bedsides on internal bed shell - keeping as much bed sheet metal as possible. Critically: floor, inner fenders, tailgate.
Probably McQueen glass. maybe Autofab. flare width requirements depending.
Keep the steel hood - my bumpside's fiberglass hood has issues with thread tearout, it's not heavy enough to use the factory style hinges + springs, and forces the need for hood pins.
Front glass - probably going to have to be Autofab - McQueen's requires using the glass hood I think.

Driveterain:
targeting ~450 hp. I expect this truck will be heavier than the bumpside so obviously more power is required.
Must be faster than @crazyracer , duh. (whenever he gets a new rig)
Also need to improve total range - either fuel economy or fuel capacity.
Requirements: must run on 87 octane (~9:1 compression ratio)
Option 1 - keep the 460. rebuild it. go EFI this time. E40D transmission (want overdrive, better mpg better highway manners). Some transfer case TBD.
Pros: Ford heart, 460 is familiar, big blocks are cool, net cheaper b/c i have the core already

Option 2 - #LSSwapEverything // 5.3 or 6.0 maybe. 4L80. whatever t-case is appropriate.
Pros: tons of knowledge available, can find easy, better mpg, uniqueish, more room for activities?
Concerns - total overall higher cost, total system length concerns. Stubby driveshaft?

Suspension:
Dana 44 TTB - ChoFab? stock plated? TBD. Custom cross-member wizardry required certainly.
Rear axle is already a dana 60. Keep that?
4-link. Tuck under the bed as much as possible. Maybe "tub" the bed floor for diff clearance street-truck style.
Not sure what I'm going to do about fuel cell without requiring a filler sticking up above the bed line.
Single 3.0 coilover & bumps on all corners.
Rear bed cage as sleeper as possible, no tube-work above the bed rail line. Seal the bed from the tires.

Interior:
keep it simple, stupid.
Radio, intercom, DD-type aftermarket seats
simple cab cage
Don't cut up the dash, dummy
Re-use the factory steering column, dummy.
Replace all the weatherstripping & window seals etc
Not sure what to do about the gauge cluster yet.
Air conditioning!!!! vents & controls are already there.
 

mjlogan

space cadet
Feb 9, 2007
693
69
28
ontario ca
Thats a Super Camper Special. Longer wheelbase than standard long bed. Should have a Dana 70 rearend rather than a Dana 60.

I'd try and sell the complete bed vs hacking it up- it may have some value as they are kinda rare-ish. Cool trucks regardless, frame should be plenty stout for an off road build.

E4OD will need a standalone controller unless you run that era EFI- which would bring all sorts of fun in itself. I'm going through this debate on a non DR classic project I have and it pretty much boils down to if you want overdrive and horsepower at a reasonable price with minimal effort LS/4l80E is the answer.
 
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85yota

TT Motorsports
Nov 18, 2004
9,375
431
83
Phoenix, AZ
I would do an ls swap. Np205 tcase. Keep d60 or d70 rear and link it with that

I saw a camper special bed on Craigslist few ko ths back for 800 bux. Was not there a week later when checking so guessing it sold. You can easily buy any year short bed and just put dentside fiberglass on it and break even.
 

Turboyota

Senior Member
Mar 29, 2017
3,000
1,114
113
Yucaipa
I’m looking forward to seeing progress on this behemoth.

Build plan sounds solid.

What is your approximate target budget?
 

Drayke

Always Baja Bound
Jan 29, 2007
921
117
43
Torrance
What is your approximate target budget?
oof. Don't ask questions like that, man. I don't want to think about it.

@mjlogan was right, it's a dana 70. I decoded the door tag and learned some things:

it's a 1973 and not a 1974 like i thought, lol.
140" wheelbase
"Dark Yellow" paint code
F354 -> 10,000 lb GVW rating
Custom cab w/ styleside box
auto trans
Dana 70 w/ limited slip & 3.73 ratio
power steering standard
Originally ordered by the Los Angeles district. Neat.
 

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