Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks, 1980 - 1986

1980 Ford F-150 Truck

Ford Motor Co.

Ford F-Series trucks built between 1980 and 1986 were the result of significant aerodynamic testing. Here's a rundown of changes that occurred:

1980 Ford F-Series Truck Updates

At first glance, you might think the redesigned 1980 F-Series looks a lot like trucks from the previous generation, but examine the pickups more closely and you'll see that they are shorter and narrower, with a lower stance.

As gas prices continued to escalate, manufacturers put more thought into fuel economy improvements. Wind tunnel testing helped Ford determine where rounded lines and altered panel fit would reduce wind drag. To cut down on weight, plastics, aluminum, and lighter gauge steel was used to replace conventional steel in areas where strength was not needed.

Using plastic for the trucks' front inner fender panels added to the overall weight reduction, and also eliminated an area prone to rust. Ford tackled another rust-prone area by redesigning cab and bed areas to minimize spots where dirt and mud could accumulate.

Ford moved the F-Series ignition switch to the steering column and incorporated a steering lock into the assembly. The hood release was moved inside the truck for security. New sound insulation and a double panel roof helped reduce interior noise levels.

In 1980, radial tires became standard on 2-wheel drive F-Series trucks. The 400 and 460 engines were removed from the line-up, leaving the 300 6-cylinder and 302 and 351 V-8s.

1981 Updates

In 1981, Ford made changes that focused on better fuel mileage by offering:

  • A 4-speed overdrive manual transmission on F-150 4X4s
  • A 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission on 2-wheel drive models equipped with the 5.0L V-8
  • A 4.2 liter V-8 for 2-wheel drive F-100s (only offered in 1981 and 1982)

Other updates to 1981 F-Series trucks included halogen headlamps as standard equipment on all models and standard radial tires on 4-wheel drive pickups. Buyers could also outfit their truck with optional power door locks and power windows.

1982 Updates

The only major change to 1982 F-Series was the introduction of a 3.8L V-6 engine. It came standard with a 3-speed manual transmission, but a 3-speed automatic and 4-speed automatic overdrive were available options.

Ford stopped using the name Ranger to describe an F-Series trim level, reserving it for a new line of small trucks.

1983 Updates

Only one significant change was made to F-Series trucks in 1983 -- Ford dropped the 4.2L V-8. Minor changes were made to trim, paint colors and option packages.

1984 Updates

After thirty years, Ford eliminated the F-100 designation from its line of F-Series trucks, replacing it with F-150.

The 5.8L V-8 was upgraded to a "High Output" engine with a 4 barrel carburetor, new camshaft, larger air cleaner, and low restriction dual exhaust system. The result was a jump from 163 hp and 267 lb.ft. torque to 210 hp and 304 lb.ft. of torque.

Other engine changes:

  • Ford equipped the 4.9L 6-cylinder, 5.0L V-8, and the base 5.8L V-8 engines with EEC-IV electronic engine control.
  • The 3.8L V-6 engine was dropped from the F-Series lineup.

This year, Ford began to use pre-coated steel and additional galvanized panels to help fight rust and corrosion.

New clutch safety switch kept the engine from cranking unless the clutch pedal was fully depressed. The F-Series key-in-ignition warning buzzer became standard equipment.

1985 Updates

Fuel injection was added to the 5.0L V-8 engine this year. Other changes were minor and focused on cosmetics.

1986 Updates

Ford made just a few changes in the final year of the seventh generation F-Series. Newly designed front disc brakes became standard, and a new seam sealer and electro-coat primer aided in corrosion protection.

Several former options became standard equipment in 1986.