1992 Ford F-250 “Coal Truck” Project (Ep. 1)

by Mike Rice- OC Motorsports
Photos by the Author

I’m sure most of you reading this have noticed what prices on new trucks look like nowadays. Given the cost of buying and registering a new truck, I decided I would rather buy an older truck that needed some help cosmetically and mechanically. I have always been partial to the OBS body style Ford trucks from the 90’s. The styling has aged well and still looks good today; some would say they have everything needed to be a future classic. All old trucks have a soul and are comfortable like your favorite broken-in pair of shoes. Unfortunately, shoes and trucks eventually wear out.

I rescued this ’92 Ford F250 Diesel via Craigslist. You could tell that an owner or two ago it was well cared for, but time and neglect had set in and it was on the downhill slide. With a quarter million miles on the clock it had a multitude of issues to be addressed. From the cooling system to the suspension, to leaks and electrical gremlins and onto the transmission and brakes there was lots to tackle. Its faded red paint attempted to cover up its original orange hue, and the interior was terribly tired. I test drove the truck and despite all the issues it was rust free, fired right up after a long sitting session (which is important when looking at an old diesel) idled smooth and ran strong. The heart of this truck was solid, and I knew I could deal with fixing everything else. The only real history I got from the current owner was that he had it for a few months and used it to tow Spec Miata race cars at one point; ultimately it started its life as Caltrans or County fleet truck.

After covering a few hundred miles it became apparent that the interior was a very depressing place to sit. Since I intended to eventually make the Coal Truck my daily driver it was time to address the ratty interior. Lucky for me, the aftermarket has virtually every replacement imaginable.

JC Whitney was a great source for the stuff I needed. Among the first parts I ordered was a Coverlay Combo kit to renovate the cab of the truck. The Coverlay kit includes complete door panels with mounting hardware and a matching dash board cover; transforming the cab from a wasteland of broken plastic and sun damaged foam into something much nicer to look at. The Coverlay parts are made in  San Angelo, Texas and arrived carefully packaged (see the Coverlay Made In America story here) in the  correct factory color and texture. The dash cover was a perfect fit, and after cleaning the old dash I prepped and installed the dashboard cover per the instructions without any trimming or fitment issues. Coverlay really took the time when they did their R&D on this and it shows. I followed this up with installation of a remanufactured gauge cluster from Cluster Fix as well as new gauge surround.

Tired old door panel

I added Newark Auto insulation to make the cab more comfortable

Old door panel and worn our armrest

New Coverlay door panel in place with upgraded kick panel and storage pocket-looks factory fresh

With the dash sorted I moved to the Coverlay door panels, they matched up to the door mounting points well and just minor trimming was required to fit. The new Coverlay door panels make a big difference and the new armrests match the grain of the dash cover for a complete interior makeover. Before installing I applied a layer of insulating felt from Newark Auto absorb heat, moisture and vibration and make the cab a more pleasant place.

To view the Coverlay Interior Kit installed, please visit: http://bit.ly/2BY6ycp

To see the Newark Auto padding installed, please visit: http://bit.ly/2T6xSzv

To learn more about Coverlay Manufacturing, please visit http://bit.ly/2tHLS3A

To learn more about Newark Auto, please visit: http://bit.ly/2XuMDuQ

Author: JC Whitney

JC Whitney is the largest and oldest catalog and Internet direct-to-consumer auto parts and accessories retailer in America. Since 1915, JC Whitney has been filling the needs of customers by providing the right part at the best price. You can always shop with confidence at JCWhitney.com.

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  1. Looks way better, I’ve seen the dash but I didn’t know they made door panels.

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    • Coverlay actually manufactures a wide range of products, Mike! You can check them out on the JC Whitney online store: https://bit.ly/2u4v2fP

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  2. brilliant! keep the updates coming!

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    • We certainly will, Coi! Stay tuned for Episode 2 coming soon!

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  3. Just as a bit of history, two owners ago the truck was named “Clifford” and that name carried on to the next owner so we always (and continue to) refer to this truck as Clifford. I’m anxious to see how this “restoration” progresses.

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    • Well, we’re as excited as you, Mike, to see the new Clifford! Definitely looking forward to posting some before and after pictures. 🙂

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    • Mike,

      Thanks for letting me know! Thats a great and fitting name.

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      • No problem, Mike! Thanks for visiting the JC Whitney blog. 🙂

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