BACK IN THE DAY
The Ford Package: 1983-1986—The Bullnose Era
Ford had debuted a new line of trucks in 1980 and the diesel entered the game right in the middle of that ’80-86 generation. Today, this era of Ford trucks is often called the “Bullnose” for its broad snout. It came in a Standard (base) trim, XL and the fullboat XLT. Body styles ranged from regular-cab longbed, Supercab longbed and, in some years, a crew-cab longbed. “Lariat” was added to the XLT designation in ’85.
In this era you had the choice of two transmissions, the Warner T-19 four-speed or the legendary C-6 automatic three-speed. If you ordered four-wheel drive, it came with a Borgwarner 1345 transfer case. Axles varied by year. To mid-’85 the rear axle was a Dana 61 or 70 axle. In mid-year ’85 the 10.25-inch ring gear Ford Sterling debuted in semi or full-float versions (full-float only on the diesels). F-350 DRWS most often had Dana 70 HD axles but there are DRW Sterling axles out there too. Up front, the Twin I-beam non-driving axles carried the load for 4x2s. The F-250HD 4x4 had a twin traction beam (TTB) Dana 44 as standard with a Dana 50 TTB optional. The F-350 came standard with the stronger Dana 50 TTB. In ’85 the Dana 60 solid front axle was introduced and most F-350s had it. Only two axle ratios were offered for the diesels, 3.55 and 4.10:1. This was to remain the practice all the way through the IDI era.
The E-250 and E-350 vans were available with the diesel option, but only with an automatic transmission. The diesel E-350 dually chassis was popular for motorhomes and well-liked for its much better fuel economy vs. the big-block gasser. Jonathan Lalonde of Ontario, Canada, owns this 26-foot ’87 F-350 Corsair with a 6.9L, C-6 automatic and 3.54 gears. At last count, this rig had nearly 170,000 miles on it!
Never forget the Idi-powered F-350 cab and chassis was one of the most popular chassis cabs for conversions. This new ’87 F-350 base model is ready for duty in any realm of business.
The ’83-86 “Bullnose” era interiors ranged from a rubber mats, vinyl seats, bare-bones, hose-out interiors to comfortable, velour, carpeted plushness with carlike options.
The ’83-86 diesels were denoted by an inconspicuous badge on each front fender and on the tailgate… and the raucous diesel rattle when the engine was running, of course.
In 1990 you could get a diesel-powered Supercab F-350 XLT Lariat dually with all the goodies, even if this one is in a plain white wrapper.