It's a good thing the Bulletside Build-Off between Custom Classic Trucks and Classic Trucks isn't televised, or people might think the CCT crew is trying to copy some of the moronic antics television audiences have come to expect from their favorite gearhead TV shows. On TV, one of the things folks can always count on is an incredibly tight deadline that has to be met or there will be the devil to pay. So as predictable as the rising of the sun each day, not an episode goes by where something really stupid or unfortunate occurs to jeopardize the successful outcome of the build.

In the early stages planning for the first leg of our friendly competition, Classic Trucks' Grant and I thought it might be kind of cool if we got both of our entries completed in time to roll them out for Rod & Custom's Americruise. Last year, when June 2007 sounded like such a long way in the future, the concept seemed doable, but since then Grant has come to his senses and moved his completion date back to some time in August. For me, the thought of not being able to make it to R&C's Americruise was just a little too depressing, so I still intend to show up with my '72 Ford F-100. Since the Build-Off's beginning, Grant and I have adhered to two distinctly different philosophies. First, I have been driving my '72 as much as possible during the build and have been running the 302-inch small-block Ford with its compound-low four-speed truck tranny while I've been saving up the money to build my dream motor and transmission. Some of the problems I've had while driving my '72 have been in the electrical system. If the charging circuit wasn't boiling the battery at freeway speeds, the headlights were flickering off and on at night. If one has never had a good electrical fire, then none of this seems like a big deal, but trust me, nothing gets your attention like the truck's cab filling up with flames. To address the overcharging problem, I replaced the voltage regulator, but the flickering lights were an ongoing mystery. After replacing the high-beam and headlight switches, the '72 still had a ghost. A closer inspection of the original wiring harness under the hood and around the core support revealed that engine heat along with the years had deteriorated the insulation to the point where there were exposed wires. Since I am planning to eventually install air conditioning along with power windows, door locks, and a high-end sound system, the decision to rewire the truck and upgrade the charging system was not a difficult one. In place of the stock Ford 38-amp alternator with an external voltage regulator, a "one-wire" 140-amp Powermaster was installed. It's interesting to note that every Powermaster alternator comes with a proof of performance tag. My alternator produced 103 amps at idle and 164 amps at highway speed, more than enough to handle any future demands.

At this point in the game, I'm not sure how many cubic inches the '72 will end up with, but I am sure I'm sticking with a small-block motor. This means I'll have to buy ancillaries, such as the intake manifold and headers, only once. Also, provided the starter motor I choose is up to the task, it can be retained throughout the Build-Off. In perfect operating condition, a stock starter motor produces between 75-110 lb-ft of torque. Although it has been said that when it comes to starters, there is no such thing as too much, I opted for Powermaster's entry-level Powermax, which produces 160 lb-ft of torque. Powermaster's Ultra Torque delivers 250 lb-ft of torque.

I was glad there weren't any TV cameras present when I installed the starter motor. I had the right idea beginning the job with the starter because I was only going to make one change and, in theory, it would be easy to backtrack, but I still managed to make an embarrassing and time-wasting mistake. Bearing in mind that most Fords use a remote solenoid mounted on the inner fenderwell, it didn't register to me that the Powermaster had a starter-mounted solenoid. After installing the Powermaster starter and hooking the positive cable from the stock solenoid, when I hit the ignition key all I got was a loud click from the solenoid. Like a big dummy, I immediately suspected there was something wrong with the new Powermaster starter and pulled it back out of the truck. The first thing I did when I removed the starter was to bench-test it, and this was when it sank in that there was a solenoid on it.

Not one to make the same mistake twice (or at least not in the same day), when it came time to install the Painless wiring kit designed to cover '67-77 Ford F-series trucks, I knew I was going to have to account for relocating the solenoid. Another change that I had to allow for was converting from an external voltage regulator to the Powermaster's one-wire setup as used on later-model Fords. We will cover both of these minor modifications in next month's issue, where we will wrap up the F-100 wiring story and begin on the '72's uprated suspension and brakes.

All in all, preparing to install Painless' PN 10118 14-circuit Ford F-series wiring kit with switches went without a hitch thanks to thinking out the next move without getting in a hurry. One of the many handy features that enables someone without electrical wiring experience to install a Painless wiring kit is that all the wires are color-coded to match the stock Ford wiring harness exactly, plus which part they attach to is clearly labeled. In the following photos and captions, we have highlighted some of the things we feel will simplify your wiring experience even further. So good luck, and remember, you are not on TV, so don't freeze up.

Painless Performance Products
2401 Dutch Valley Dr.
TN  37918