Driver Door #1: One Way Traffic

an old 1977 Ford F250 brown and tan pickupFor the introduction to this series about a never-say-die 1977 Ford F-250 farm truck (“Old Brown”) and how (and why) it needed replacement parts, visit “One Piece At a Time“.

Doors and the latches that open and close them are necessities that are taken for granted in most vehicles. In Old Brown, they were luxuries.

After much use, the driver side door latch gave up and wobbled loosely instead of opening the door. No problem, all that was needed was to crank down the window (kids, ask your parents what a window crank is).  After the window was down, a person needed to reach for the outside latch and pull. Voila! Open door. Fixing such a trivial thing was out of the question–only really large repairs were justification to remove Old Brown from service for even a short period of time.

As time went on, the passenger side door outside latch gave up working. This meant that for a passenger to get into the truck, the driver had to reach over and open the door for them.  This system worked well and us kids quickly adapted to the proper protocols for entering and exiting the pickup.

More time went by and the window on the driver door became stuck and refused to go down when cranking. This meant that the only way to exit the vehicle was through the passenger door. Since the only way to enter was through the driver side door, this resulted in one-way traffic through Old Brown’s cab.

To get in, you had to enter through the driver door and slide across the seat to the passenger side. Exiting meant the passenger got out first and left the door open for the driver. Given that Old Brown was a manual transmission and sliding across the seat meant tangling your legs in the gearshift, it wasn’t long before a new driver door, and a new latch for the passenger door were installed. Dad even splurged and had the door painted to match the rest of Old Brown.

We still had to crank the windows down by hand.

If you want to follow more of “Old Brown’s” adventures, visit the Farm Trucks page. While many pickup parts wore out due to natural causes, others had a much more dramatic and interesting end.


About jheem

I grew up on a diversified dairy farm in southeast South Dakota where I learned how to throw a hay bale, pull a calf, deal with death, and "name" the cows. I was in 4H and FFA, and was privileged to serve as a state FFA officer. In college, I studied animal science, focusing on beef cows, mostly because I figured they were less work than dairy cows....I ended up with a Masters Degree in ruminant nutrition and went to work for the University of Nebraska, first as a research tech coordinating data collection for a swine unit and beef feedlot on a research farm and then as an extension educator. In my current job, I focus on environmental issues related to animal agriculture (which is a nice way of saying I talk about manure alot). My husband and I live and work on a seedstock cattle operation in northeast Nebraska. You can learn more about our cattle operation by visiting my husband's blog at
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One Response to Driver Door #1: One Way Traffic

  1. Pingback: One Piece At a Time | Fence Post Diaries

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