Ford F-Series seventh generation
A 1985 Ford F-250 in October 2006.
Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
General Pacheco, Argentina (Ford Argentina)
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Wayne, Michigan, U.S.
Oakville, Ontario, Canada (Oakville Assembly)
San Jose, California, U.S.
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door pickup
2-door extended-cab pickup
|Engine||300 CID (4.9 L) I6
255 CID (4.2 L) Windsor V8
302 CID (5.0 L) Windsor V8
351 CID (5.8 L) Windsor V8
400 CID (6.6 L) 335 V8
460 CID (7.5 L) 385 V8
6.9 L (420 CID) Diesel V8
|Predecessor||Ford F-Series sixth generation (1973–1979)|
|Successor||Ford F-Series eighth generation (1987–1991)|
The seventh generation Ford F-Series was a line of pickup trucks and medium-duty commercial trucks produced from 1979 to 1986. For the first time since 1965, the pickup trucks were based upon a completely new chassis and body. Distinguished by its squarer look, sharper lines and flatter panels, the trucks were designed with improved fuel efficiency in mind; to this end, Ford added its new AOD automatic overdrive (four-speed) transmission as an option on light-duty models. A 4 speed manual and 3 speed C6 automatic transmission were retained from previous years. To increase longevity, Ford increased the use of galvanized body panels to fight corrosion. Pickup trucks were available in three body styles: regular cab, SuperCab extended cab or crew cab with two bed lengths. Dual rear wheels were a new option on F-350 pickup models. The crew cab trucks were very large, stretching nearly 20 feet long with an 8 foot bed. These trucks are considered amongst enthusiasts to be the last generation of great trucks built by Ford and are now beginning to become popular amongst restorers as the models have just reached classic car status.
Along with the body and chassis upgrades, Ford made several changes to the branding of the F-Series over this generation. In 1982, the upscale Ranger trim was discontinued to create the nameplate for the company's all-new compact pickup that replaced the Mazda-built Courier. Largely superseded by the F-150, the F-100 was discontinued after the 1983 model year. In Mexico, there is an "F-200" which was introduced in 1976; this variant remained until 1991.
The 1982 model year was marked by a slight cosmetic change: 1980–81 trucks have a plain grille with "FORD" spelled across the front of the hood in chrome lettering, similar to the 1978-1979 models of the previous generation, but 1982–86 models had the letters removed, and a Ford oval placed in the center of the grille. This made the 1982 the first model year to feature a blue oval on the front, something that has been on every model that followed it, with the exception of the 2010-present F-150 SVT Raptor. Introduced for 1980 models, an optional resettable trip meter was installed on speedometers and the mileage counter was moved to the top of the speedometer as part of the optional Sport instrumentation Group. The Sports instrumentation Group also included the optional Tachometer in the center of the cluster.  In 1985, the body moulding and interior trim were updated. In 1985-1986 models, the upper accent mouldings were changed and are different than previous years being below the front marker. In 1985, the rear tailgate moulding on XLT models was updated and looks similar to 1987-1991 models. A cargo light was available as an option and was included in the Light Group option package. A Combination Stop/cargo lamp was not required until September 1st, 1993 for the 1994 year model.
This generation saw two different sets of trim levels:
For 1980 and 1981, there was:
- Custom- Base model, usually equipped with manual locks/windows, color-keyed vinyl seat and dashboard, and black rubber floor mat. However, a Custom trim truck could still share some of the same options as the higher Ranger-Ranger Lariat trim trucks. A steering wheel cover and Ford logo above the radio was optional. Chrome door handles outside the cab to hoist the buyer up and into the cab were also optional. On trucks without air conditioning, vents were not installed into the dashboard, giving the driver only two choices for air direction - "Defrost" and "Heat", with "Heat" on a non-A/C truck being the equivalent of "Floor" on a truck with A/C. The lack of vents on the dashboard does have an advantage, as it leaves a lot of room for the installation of aftermarket gauges.
- Ranger- Intermediate trim that added a color-keyed floor mat, chrome trim on the door panels,and Rosewood dash and horn pad trim.
- Ranger XLT- A step up from the Ranger that added unique seat trim, a color-keyed headliner, color-keyed carpeting, aluminum tailgate trim and full floor to roof trim moldings behind the seat.
- Ranger Lariat- a step above the Ranger XLT that added a plusher interior, and Rosewood Trim on the door panels that matched the Rosewood trim on the dash. Ranger Lariats also featured special "Lariat" emblems on the cab, as well as special Ranger Lariat script above the radio.
- Explorer- a limited edition options and trim group with year-specific stripes unique to the Explorer. offered as Explorer Package A, B, C, or D. Explorer Package A was the most basic, similar to the Custom, while the Explorer Package D was the highest level, much like the Ranger Lariat.
- Base – basically the same as the Custom of the previous years.
- XL – replaced the intermediate Ranger trim for 1982 as the Ranger name would be used for Ford's new compact truck.
- XLS- a new trim level that featured a blacked-out grille, bumpers, headlight bezels, and windshield trim. It also featured a stripe graphics package and black and silver dash trim. Available exterior colors were red, silver, and black.
- XLT Lariat- featured floor carpeting, color-keyed headliner, a standard chrome grille, and optional power windows/door locks. 1984 saw the last year for woodgrain trim on the door panels as 1985–1986 models had a carpeted section applied to the door panels. In 1985 the tailgate trim was changed to a "flat" full width aluminum with a red "reflector" towards the bottom with chrome FORD letters.
- Explorer a limited edition options and trim group with optional year specific stripes unique to the Explorer– The Explorer trim line (1968–1986) was dropped for the 1987 models to introduce the Ford Explorer SUV in 1991. Explorer packages changed every year,and were only offered for a limited time each model year.
- Eddie Bauer-introduced for 1985, an outdoors-themed interior trim package with two-tone exterior paint. Originally only offered on the Bronco and Bronco II, the Eddie Bauer trim would eventually make its way to the F-Series line-up in 1995.
The seventh-generation F-Series marked a major transition in the powertrains used by the pickup line. As before, the standard engine was a carbureted 300 cubic-inch inline-6. For 1982, this was supplemented by a 3.8 L V6 borrowed from the Fox platform; it was dropped after 1983 as the result of slow sales. The standard V8 remained the 302 Windsor V8. To further boost fuel efficiency, a downsized 255 cubic-inch version of the 302 Windsor V8 was made an option; it proved unpopular and was dropped after 1982. As Ford streamlined its small-block V8 engine lineup, the 351M was replaced by the 351 Windsor. Initially, the largest engine offered was the 400 V8 carried over from the previous generation; it was available only in F-350 and certain F-250 models. As similar-size engines were discontinued by General Motors and Chrysler during the late 1970s, the 400 was discontinued after 1982.
In 1983, the 460 V8 made its return as the replacement for the 400. Coinciding with the reintroduction of the big-block 460, Ford introduced another engine offering for buyers seeking higher-output engines. Largely a response to General Motors, who had offered diesel-engined pickups since 1978, Ford produced their first diesel F-Series in 1983. Rather than develop its own engine (as GM had), the 6.9 L IDI V8 was the product of a joint venture with International Harvester.
In 1985, the 302 Windsor gained electronic fuel injection as an option; a year later, it became standard (an industry first for full-size pickups). Trucks equipped with the 3-speed manual transmission was the second to last American vehicle to have a column-shifted manual transmission; it was discontinued after 1986. (The last being the Chevy/GMC models which was discontinued after 1987)
The heavy duty Ford C6 3-speed automatic transmission was the standard automatic transmission all years and came paired with most engine options if ordered.
|232 CID Essex V6||1982–83||110 hp (82 kW)||183 lb·ft (248 N·m)|
|255 CID Windsor V8||1980–81||115 hp (86 kW)||206 lb·ft (279 N·m)||2bbl|
|300 CID Straight-6||1980||117 hp (87 kW)||227 lb·ft (308 N·m)||1bbl|
|300 CID† Straight-6||1980||120 hp (89 kW)||229 lb·ft (310 N·m)||1bbl|
|300 CID Straight-6||1981–86||122 hp (91 kW)||255 lb·ft (346 N·m)||1bbl|
|302 CID Windsor V8||1980–85||133 hp (99 kW)||233 lb·ft (316 N·m)||2bbl|
|302 CID Windsor V8||1985–86||185 hp (138 kW)||270 lb·ft (366 N·m)||EFI|
|351 CID 351M V8||1980–82||136 hp (101 kW)||262 lb·ft (355 N·m)||2bbl|
|351 CID Windsor V8||1980–82||136 hp (101 kW)||262 lb·ft (355 N·m)||2bbl|
|351 CID Windsor V8||1983–86||150 hp (110 kW)||280 lb·ft (380 N·m)||2bbl|
|351 CID HO†† Windsor V8||1984–86||210 hp (160 kW)||305 lb·ft (414 N·m)||4bbl|
|400 CID† 400 V8||1980–82||136 hp (101 kW)||310 lb·ft (420 N·m)||2bbl|
|420 CID International Harvester IDI diesel V8†||1983–87||170 hp (130 kW)||315 lb·ft (427 N·m)||IDI|
|460 CID† 385 V8||1983–86||225 hp (168 kW)||365 lb·ft (495 N·m)||4bbl|
† Only available F-250 HD and F-350
†† 1984–85 only available on HD F-250 and F-350 models, 1986 available all models
Axles and differentials
This generation was the first time Ford used Independent suspension on their full size 4x4 trucks, as well as being the first time any of the Big Three (automobile manufacturers) made a 4x4 full size truck without a solid front axle. Ford & Dana Corporation called this the Twin Traction Beam or TTB. The F-150 used a Dana 44 TTB. From 1979-1984, the rear axle was typically a Ford 9-inch axle, with the Ford 8.8 axle being phased gradually until the 9" was finally phased out by 1984. The F-250 used an 8 lug version of the Dana 44 TTB called the Dana 44 TTBHD with the Dana 50 TTB being an option. The rear was a Dana 60 until mid 1985 when Ford phased out that axle for their own Sterling 10.25. Dana 60s could be either full float or semi float and came with a range of gear ratios. Up until then, early 1985 models were built with left over 1984 materials, making some parts tough to find. The F-350 used the Dana 50 TTB in front until a mid-year change in 1985, when the F-350 was fitted with the Dana 60 solid front axle. For the rear axle the F-350 trucks used a Dana 60 for the single rear wheel trucks and a Dana 70 for the dual rear wheel trucks until 1985 when Ford once again phased in their own Sterling axle.
For the first time since 1967, the medium-duty version of the F-Series (F-600 and above) were completely redesigned. Although they still shared a common cab and interior with the pickup truck line, the medium-duty line now wore separate bodywork ahead of the firewall. The larger trucks were easily distinguished from their separate fenders, much like the larger L-Series. Along with gasoline engines, diesel engines were available. Medium-duty models had the word "FORD" spelled out in between the grille from the 1980 to 1983 year models, and was replaced by a blue oval "Ford" logo in 1984. This design lasted until 1995 when the fenders and grille were redesigned again. This version lasted until 1998.
- Photo of an early model at HowStuffWorks.com
- Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards #108: S220.127.116.11 
- 1981 F-series Explorer Brochure
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