The Old Body Style, or OBS Ford, has quickly become one of the more iconic body style trucks of the past few decades. It’s right up there with the 68-72 Chevy short beds. The 1994-1997 OBS is timeless in any cab or bed configuration and there’s just something about that 7.3L Power Stroke that makes it even more desirable in today’s market. Did you own one 20+ years ago when they were new? Did your dad own one and you’re feeling nostalgic? Maybe your neighbor owned one and you were always jealous? Regardless of the reason, the popularity of a low mileage clean OBS has skyrocketed the used marketplace for them. Compared to new truck offerings the OBS is obviously dated and underpowered. They’re lacking the interior amenities and they can ride buckboard wagons a times. But still, there is just something about an OBS that attracts a true Ford fan like us here at Complete Performance, its moth to a flame.
With that, it was time to start a big restoration, or resurrection project overhauling this crew cab long bed 1996 Ford F350. This OBS is just like 70% of them out there, still running okay, still driving okay but sporting some cosmetic blemishes and in need of some attention to little things that wear on a truck this old. The OBS market has been nuts for the last year or two, so when this one popped up at $12,000 it was worth a second look. The owner we purchased it from had been driving it for 20 years. We were impressed to find it virtually rust free with a relatively clean interior but did notice a host of things that needed immediate attention. At 224,000 miles, it had more than we wanted but the engine ran strong, and the oil and transmission fluid were in good condition. Some good horse trading and haggling got the buying price down to $8,000 and we were off and running.
The previous owner had used the truck as a daily driver and tow rig for more than 15 years before replacing it with a newer Dodge Cummins. The truck had mostly been sitting for the last five years and it was showing it. A new windshield, new serpentine belt with a replacement idler pulley and tensioner were first on the list. Finding straight front bumper was going to be a challenge, but they’re out there if you look in the right places. After any new ‘used’ vehicle purchase of course it’s smart to install a fresh fuel filter, oil change, air filter, etc. and we sent it for a day at the local detail shop to have carpets and seats shampooed. Ditched that camouflage bug shield, the outdated and busted up window visors, peeled some stickers, but otherwise paint and body was solid. The chrome shined right up and the sought after original Alcoa wheels polished to look new easily.
On the surface there were only a few things that really showed the truck’s age and were easily fixed. The factory grille shell needed replaced after 26 years of sunshine blasting it and the original headlights had yellowed and were full of moisture. Updating that front end with replacement parts from the Complete Performance catalog was the first big step in making this old Ford truck new again.
The six-piece headlight package from the website is an inexpensive way to really refresh the look of a truck and is offered in multiple styles from stock replacement, to smoked lenses to the choice made for this truck, with clear lenses for an updated stylish look. New chrome headlight bezels were also installed for a fresh look to match the replacement chrome grille shell also found on the cpaddict.com website.
This complete list of parts are direct fit pieces and won’t require modifying or tweaking anything. Since we were updating faded lights, we opted to replace the taillight lenses as well.
Intro – It’s faded and tired but with a little bit of attention and the right parts, this 1996 F350 will be near show room condition in just a few months. With over 220,000 miles on the odometer and an extensive list of parts to get where we’re going, this virtually rust free chassis healthy 7.3L Power Stroke
will make a great driver again.
1 – The 1994-1997 F250 and F350 trucks were extremely popular in their day and for good reason. That 7.3L Power Stroke made great power and who couldn’t love that spacious crew cab? The OBS has become a classic in the truck market, it’s a timeless look that done right is still just as stylish as it was
new 20+ years ago.
2 – While the exterior of the truck is in terrific condition with a straight body, glossy paint and shiny chrome the under hood shows some signs of neglect. It spent a lot of miles running down dirt roads and never a minute at a car wash. The engine runs strong, and the engine oil and transmission fluid are good, but there will be some parts to replace, and some hard work needed to clean it up a bit.
3 – First priority to a build like this is replacing worn exterior pieces that show the trucks real age and time in the sun.
4 – Along with the faded grille shell, some bubbles that developed under the plastic chrome layer and made the entire front end just look tired and worn out. Did we mention yellowed headlights? Awful.
5 – Ford did a good job of making a headlight and turn signal swap a bit labor intensive, but the end results will be completely worth it. We can promise you that.
7 – Along with updating the overall look of the truck with a more modern clear lens, another advantage is the added lighting projection with this style headlight housing whether you upgrade to LED/HID bulbs
8 – Our new lighting package includes new clearance and blinker lenses and we opted for the new light bezels as well. The original hardware from the stock parts will need to be reused however, so we’re just swapping bolts and brackets over before it can all be installed in the truck.
If your truck does not have the original hardware we do offer a fastener kit.
9 – On reassembly, the new head light lenses are mounted first, followed by the corners, bezels and the grille shell comes last. Remember, you’ll have to spend some time adjusting the headlights once you’re
10 – For comparison, you can see how much improvement the replacement grille will make. The factory chrome is a dull and the grey centers have faded out completely to reveal the true natural plastic.
11 – While the original taillights weren’t cracked or busted up in any way, 20+ years of sitting out had taken its toll. The red lens was faded and hazy and the clear reverse lens was discolored as well. While we offer clear and smoked taillights, we opted for the factory red tails, which still look great once