Dennis Wilde

Dennis Wilde's 1949 Ford Truck nicknamed "Linda"
Dennis Wilde’s 1949 Ford Truck nicknamed “Linda”

This 1949 F-47 was purchased by my father when I was in grade five from a local farmer who had left water in the truck over winter and broke the block.  After he replaced the engine, my Dad decided to buy a new truck and sell the old Ford.  My Dad kept the truck for a number of years. During this time, my brother and I drove the truck around our property, learning to drive using the standard three on the floor.  The old truck had straight cut gears in first and reverse and neither of us ever did figure out how to shift down into first without stopping to avoid that nasty gear grinding.  In my grade 8 year, my father was transferred and sold the truck.  At first I hated to be seen in the old truck as it was several different shades of grey and it was old.  After it was gone the old truck was always on my mind.  Every time I saw an old Ford truck I thought of our F-47.

Dennis Wilde with 1949 Ford at 1913 Days
Dennis Wilde with 1949 Ford at 1913 Days

After leaving home and going out on my own I tracked down our old truck, which had been abandoned for 23 years under spruce trees.  My wife and I managed to buy it back.  It was a mess.  The spruce needles had stripped off most of the paint on the horizontal surfaces and the accumulation of debris in the box ate almost a foot up the sides of the box all the way around as well as rotting out the floor.  And the mice!  They chewed most of the rubber off of anything that had rubber.  They also nested in the cab, seats, glove box, dash.  It smelled awful.

My wife and I have spent a number of years repairing “Linda” as we affectionately call her.  We have replaced the transmission to a T-5 allowing us to travel at highway speeds without feeling like a hazard.  We also put a 9 inch rear end into her as the old Dana 41 was so worn out that it was well beyond fixing.  By upgrading the transmission and rear end the V8 flathead engine is able to run at a respectable 2400 RPM at 100 km/hr.  When we were running the three speed transmission and the original rear end 100 km/hour was 3200 RPM.  A truly teeth grinding speed for the engine as they were not meant to rev at such a high rate for long periods of time.  Linda still has drum brakes on all four corners enhanced by a large brakes booster giving the brakes power assist.  In today’s fast paced traffic good braking power is essential.

We have also chosen to upgrade Linda’s steering to power by replacing the original manual steering box with a power steering unit from a 1984  Toyota 4×4 pickup.  It turns out that the Toyota steering box is almost exactly the same shape and size as the original Ford steering box. The power steering upgrade also gives us quicker steering. Ford F-47 used a 24:1 ratio (six turns lock to lock) versus Toyota’s ratio of 19:1 (4.75 turns lock to lock).  The upgrade made those parking lot turns so much nicer going from “arm strong” steering to power steering!  Because we decided to upgrade to power steering we also changed the straight steering column to a tilt column which made for more room in the cab when getting in and out as we now are able to tilt the steering wheel out of our way.

The electrical system of Linda was also changed from positive ground 6 volt to negative ground 12 volt so that we could use more common light bulbs and head lights.

Our 1949 F-47 which means it was a Canadian built truck where the F-1’s are American built, is a work in progress.  I am sure that we will never be done as there is always something else that can be made better.