Letters and Emails

Published in the February 2009 Issue February 2009 Column

First off thanks for your magazine! It is an item to look forward to each month. I do wish you had more on the old body 1st generation Power Strokes. I love the looks of the old body trucks. For that reason I own one myself.

I sent my `96 Ford F-350 Power Stroke into Reality Trucks. It has come a long way from when I bought the truck about six years ago. The truck was bought with about 120,000 miles from a dealership in town. I soon found out who the previous owner was and was able to talk to him. He bought the truck in about `98 from the original owner. The truck had a few mods to it when I picked it up. It had a 4-inch lift on it with 16.5 BFG ATs. The visor was on it along with the step bars and brush guard. The truck was also stock as far as performance mods when I bought the truck. At the time I was working at a garage in town just starting to offer diesel upgrades. The first mods to the truck were a K&N intake with a 4-inch turbo back. Soon after the exhaust was changed to a custom made 3-inch down pipe to 5-inch straight exhaust, followed by the Edge Evolution. Then the tranny gave way. About $2,200 later I had a new tranny that at the time I thought was built to handle more power. After owning the truck for about 2 years, I had installed new headlamps with clear marker lights and clear roof lights, followed by PIAA driving lights. In march of 2005 on my way home from work the truck started to smoke funny and run really rough. Come to find out I had cracked a piston in No. 8 and had a dead cylinder. Sad story now starts!

A story short, after 2 years of no truck and no money, I was finally able to start the rebuild process that took until August of 2008 until the truck fired for the first time. So I started to rebuild the motor from ground up myself rather than buy a rebuild. I wanted a motor with more power and that was more reliable. Plus I thought that I could build one for cheaper than a re-man if I did most of the work myself. But like the rest of us, after research and reading about other trucks, I wanted a lot more. It started with going .30 over on the block, Mahle pistons, port and polish on the heads with a lot of other head work to get the heads back into shape(Jack from Jack's Cylinder Heads said that they were one of the worst pair that he has ever seen.) Just my luck, a $1,000 head job to start off. So now after getting started, I found Wide Open Performance, and had them build the short block for me.

The motor then received ARP head studs, a fresh rebuilt stock turbo, stage two injectors, a custom intake with K&N filter, custom intercooler from a 2005 PSD, Fluidampr, 3-inch aluminum intake runners, and a complete fuel system. Soon after the Optima batteries were moved to the tool box to make room for the intake and intercooler pipes. The fuel system started out by calling ATS and talking to them about their Stage 3 kit. After purchasing and changing to try to fit my truck, I found out that the $2,000 spent on the kit would not work and I cannot send it back because I had played with the kit. So looking at their idea and seeing what I had to work with I made my own with a lot of trips to EVCO. Now with the fuel system in the truck, I realized that it would be better to have one fuel tank than try to find a way to change tanks on a different fuel pump. So a 40-gallon Transfer Flow fuel tank was ordered. After that modification, the truck was then looked at on the cooling side. I liked the electric cooling fan option but no one made one for my truck. So I bought an all aluminum radiator that is for the `99 to 2003 trucks, and the electric cooling fan setup also. Then the front core of the truck was heavily modified to accommodate the new radiator and fans, and intercooler. I also had to fit the trans cooler in some where. I do not have much room in the front of the truck now. With the motor finally back in the truck, and the rest of the mods made to fit around the new parts, it was time to start the truck. After a bad low oil pump and front cover and pulling the motor out to change, I still had no start. After talking to the boys at Wide Open, it was decided to remove the factory fuel filter setup and go with a Napa water/fuel separation kit. After this change , the truck fired up and sounded great. Before the truck could move out of the garage I needed new tires. The rubber from sitting had gone bad. So I went with MKW19 rims(18x10) and Toyo mud terrains.

Now after a few months and a couple thousand miles on the truck, and a few bugs worked out, the truck was back on the road. Now with miles on the truck and running really good (Pushing 30 psi out of a stock turbo), I loaded up the 5th wheel and 4wheelers to go to the sand dunes. On the way home I was about 15 miles from home and the truck kicked the torque converter. Remember that the tranny only has maybe 15,000 miles on it. So much for the first rebuild. I am now in the process of fixing the tranny. There are now about 155,000 miles on the truck, 2,500 on the motor.

So much for the thought of rebuilding the motor for cheaper than a re-man motor! Just don't let the wife see the receipts!

As of right now I estimate around 400 horse, with a stock turbo and no programmer yet. The next mods are the tranny of course, water/methanol kit, the Edge Evolution programmer, and the HPOP upgrade with a new turbo (when money is back on the tree).

I come from a family of Power Strokes, and love the blue oval trucks. Thanks for your magazine and the info you give. I have learned a lot from doing my truck and love to play with the diesel trucks.

James Frailey
Tooele, UT


I would like to know the fuel mileage you are getting on your modified "Wicked LLY" of your August issue. I must say, that's an amazing truck.

Sean Mason

That truck averages just under 15 mpg on mostly city driving with little concern for visibility of those behind it. On the highway, it can get closer to 18, but that depends on how much fun we're willing to sacrifice. -Ed.


I've been looking for a good diesel tech program to enroll in, and am wondering if you have any schools, thoughts, and/or suggestions of places to check out.

John Poucher

ASE just announced plans to add diesel light truck engines to its program for technicians. Read more about it in The Pickup section, this issue. -Ed.


Love the magazine, I especially like articles about the workings and new products for diesel engines. Being new to the diesel world I am able to learn a lot about how diesels run.

I have an '05 Chevy Duramax with a Bully Dog Power Pup programmer, AFE intake, high flow air filter and a 4-inch exhaust. Having to have the turbo replaced due to an internal oil leak I would like to keep the new turbo in peak condition. I have heard that one of the hardest things on a turbo is failing to cool it down before shutting the engine off. The truck has a pyrometer connected a few inches behind the turbo on the upper bend of the down pipe. What are the maximum exhaust temperatures I should run at idle before shutdown and the upper end as not to damage the turbo with the temperature probe in this location.

Dave Doratty

Cool-down time for a turbo is critical, especially with modifications to the fuel system and FICM mapping with the Power Pup. For the probe location in the top of the downpipe, a safe EGT range for shut down would be around 275-300 degrees. For probes located in the exhaust manifold where temperatures are higher, 340-360 degrees is a safe shut down range. -Ed.


I had some of my friends tell me about your magazine and the article related to the DHRA Indy Nationals. The article that has my truck in it was well written and gave some excitement when reading it.

If you ever want to do a article on what it takes to build this truck and keep it going, let me know. I think people would be surprised at how much work it takes just to keep the truck clean and ready to pull.

Thanks again,
Ric Scrimager

We've heard rumors about how immaculate your truck is, and we just might take you up on that offer to do a story on what your truck goes through in a typical competition week. We'll be in touch! -Ed.


Can you tell me what else the `98 Dodge in the ATS article has done to it like what size tires and what kind of suspension work?

Phillip Mahn

That truck is was running 285/75R16 Toyo Open Country MTs on American Eagle Alloys Series 058 wheels. It has a leveling kit under the front end with add-a-leafs in the rear end. -Ed

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