This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue.
Casey Dengler grew up around horses and was always into trucks, but it was her boyfriend who first convinced her she should trade in the gasser for a diesel.
“But not any diesel,” Casey grins. “He got me hooked on the 7.3L Powerstroke. How could you not fall in love? They’re a good reliable truck.”
So the search for her first diesel began—and it wasn’t an easy road.
“I was looking on every possible website that is made for looking for vehicles,” this Lebanon, Pa., girl remembers. “Everyday I searched and searched, but every one I found was either sold or something was wrong with it. I probably looked at five trucks until I found ‘The One.’”
Casey likes to consider it “love at first diesel.” But the black 2001 Ford Lariat 7.3L was already being test driven by someone else when she and her boyfriend pulled up. Feeling like she couldn’t catch a break, Casey tamped down her discouragement anyways and waited. After the guy was done testing it out, he tried to tell Casey there were so many things wrong with the F-350. But Casey held firm and told the salesperson they still wanted a turn behind the wheel.
“When we drove it, right there and then, I knew it was the one,” Casey says. “That day I put money down on the truck.”
Her new diesel was a complete factory truck, but Casey already knew the potential under the hood and what her end goal was—to beef up the performance and give her ride a look that represented who she was. Using the funds from working hard and saving her money, Casey cracked her knuckles and got started.
“The first thing I wanted to do when I bought my truck was to take away the factory lights,” she explains.
So Casey invested in smoked headlights, taillights, a 3rd brake light, and an LED tailgate light bar with reverse lights.
“My boyfriend and I also put gauges in my truck and switched out the Bully Dog programmer to a TS 6-position chip. Then I decided to put a bull bar on once I put the 4-inch Rough Country lift on my truck with a dual steering stabilizer and purple shock boots,” Casey says.
Next she upgraded to a 4-inch dual exhaust with 7-inch tips and swapped the factory steps for Go Rhino steps. Bushwacker fender flares were next on her list.
“A lot of people say that people put flares on to hide rust. No, I put them on to help prevent stones from chipping my truck since I have big wide tires because of the lift,” Casey says. (Thirty-five-inch Nitto Exo Grappler AWT tires, to be exact). “Then I decided to take away the TS chip and replace it with the PHP Hydra chip and replaced the air filter from a Brute Air Force that was in the truck when I bought it to S & B Air Filter.”
Her diesel still had red and tan custom paint accents from a previous owner, so Casey reached out to Zach, her boyfriend’s friend with custom painting experience, to change the accents to purple so her truck would have a more girly feel.
“Then I decided I was ready to give my truck a little more power, so I went to my boys out at East Coast Diesel in Jonestown, Pa., and installed Full Force Stage One 160CC Injectors. Then three months later I had them install a Fass Fuel Pump 125gph/55psi,” explains Casey. These combined with the Hydra chip ensure her diesel runs great.
Other upgrades included TIS 535MB 20x12 -44 wheels, cab lights, a mesh grille, a Super Duty tailgate, and traction bars—as well as a touch of purple to her engine. Getting her truck to match her personality was one of the hard parts and took some trial and error.
“My truck went through a lot of makeovers over the past three years. I had three sets of headlights, four grilles, three front bumpers, two rear bumpers, and three sets of mirrors,” Casey laughs. But in the end, she got it just where she wanted it.
“I picked most of these modifications because I try to make my truck stand out and be different from other trucks,” she explains. “I know that’s very hard to do but I want my truck to represent who I am as a person. I only did Stage One injectors because my transmission isn’t built and honestly I don’t have the extra money laying around to do that right now.”
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Now Casey is busy putting her truck to good use as a daily driver, competing in local truck shows, and pulling her two-horse bumper pull and 2015 34-foot three-horse gooseneck across the east coast during the horseshow season.
“If I would look back and tell myself where my truck would be today I would laugh because I thought my dream would never happen,” Casey shares. “I didn't give up, for the longest time I worked two jobs just to have what I have. I’m thankful for everyone who helped making my dream come true. I like to thank the guys out at East Coast Diesel in Jonestown, Pa., for doing some of the mods to my truck, a great diesel shop.”
Casey also credits the long-standing support of her boyfriend since day one of owning her diesel.
“My truck wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for the late nights my boyfriend and I put in. I can’t thank him enough for what he has done and continues to do for my truck and me,” she smiles. “I call my truck A Dark Temptation, because she is all blacked out and she's always tempting me to do something else.”
In the meantime, however, she’ll be saving up for a new paint job, a rebuilt tranny, a Cervini Cowl Inducted hood, and bigger turbo and injectors.
“Don’t worry about what other people think, just do you,” Casey smiles. “Also don’t compromise who you are just to get so many likes on your photos or so many followers on Instagram, because in the end, none of that matters. Just remember to stay true to yourself and work hard for what you have and everything else will follow. I admit I wanted to give up with my truck build because I never thought it would be possible, but I worked a full time and a part time job for awhile to help me out and I stuck to it and didn’t give up. Just always have faith.”
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