Whether your family has outgrown your traditional transportation or your work vehicle needs are unique, there is a shop in southern Utah who can help. Mega X 2 is a Utah-bonded dealer with over 30 years of experience working on class 8 trucks, as well as their smaller counterparts. Owner Steve Maxfield has been working on vehicles all of his life and for him, stretching trucks went from his hobby, to his passion, to his business in just a blink of an eye.
“I started working on cars when I was really young,” recalls Steve. “We got started in this part of the business about 20 years ago when we were stretching logging trucks and water trucks for Alaska and Hawaii.”
Steve and his wife Adela have been married for over 23 years and have eight kids ranging from 6 to 22 years old. As their children started getting older, the couple knew they needed more room, so being in the truck stretching business was an added bonus.
Steve Maxfield (Center) runs his family business from southern Utah with help from his children, as well as his son-in-law, who have all helped in one way or another over the years.
“You have these diesel trucks that can haul up to 9 horses, 12 snowmobiles or whatever, but you can’t put everyone in them,” says Steve. “When you have a big family like I do if you don’t have an extended truck it can make traveling kind of miserable.”
Steve likes to joke that his best demographic are couples who don’t know when to stop having kids. He admits he doesn’t make as much money on these stretch projects as he does his regular body shop type repairs, but he really enjoys it.
“I’m usually $10 to $12 thousand less than anyone else doing them so I tend to get the budget guys,” says Steve. “But it’s really not about the money; I do it because I think they’re cool.”
Stretching The Business
This year Mega X 2 has stretched seven trucks, which is a lot for the stretch business, especially considering Steve has been averaging only two to three per year prior to 2013. The first step for Steve when stretching a truck is to cut the frames and pull the bodies apart and then put it back together.
“We tack it in place before we ever do the frame rail,” says Steve. “I want to get the body lines perfect so it will be seamless. Our frame rails are custom and are actually a lot stronger than the factory frame.”
With almost a mad scientist type of a personality, Steve feels he can build or modify just about anything. One of his side projects includes a large wrecked motor home that he plans on converting to a flat bed. He’s calling it his “towter home” and loves to joke that he does a little bit of everything in his shop.
Mega X 2 does business as SLC Powersports and Steve has been in his current shop in Kanosh, Utah, for over 15 years. All of his children have worked for him from time to time and currently it’s s a family-run business with no outside employees. At times Steve has hired other people, but right now it’s all family members, which he likes because he feels it gives him better quality control.
The Ellsworth Build
One of the trucks Steve has recently stretched was for Paul Ellsworth and his family from Yucaipa, Calif., who were in need of a larger vehicle. With a large family, the Ellsworths were looking for options.
The Ellsworth build started with a 2004 Crew Cab Ford truck.
“Paul started talking to me about two years ago and said his wife Amanda didn’t want to drive a 15-passenger van, there was just no way she was going to do it,” says Steve. “He was originally going to bring me a 2004 Excursion and a 2004 Crew Cab, but then decided to go with a 2000 Excursion, which made it a lot more challenging since the wiring is different.”
The interior and back half of the 2000 Expedition was still in good shape despite being in a wreck.
According to Steve, with Ford trucks the wiring can be the biggest issue.
“I’ve been doing this long enough that the frames aren’t the issue and the body lines aren’t this issue, but roof seams and wiring can be my biggest challenge.”
Paul wasn’t exactly sure what he was looking for when he first started searching the Internet for six-door trucks, but he found his answer when he came across a Chevy that Mega X 2 had built.
“I loved the quality work on the Chevy Steve had done so I called him up,” recalls Paul.
“He was great to work with since the very first call. I was looking out of necessity since my wife and I have eight children. He has taken every call personally and has given me the time that I need to make the right decision for me and my family.”
The Ellsworths had five kids in six years and they thought they were done, but then four years later the couple had three more girls. Their oldest daughter is 14 and their youngest is now two, which can make travel quite difficult on the family.
“We’ve had three Suburbans that we’ve loved over the years but as our family has grown our needs for a larger vehicle have too,” says Paul. “My wife currently drives a lifted 2004 Excursion that we’re now growing out of. The last thing we wanted to do was drive a big, old, 15-passenger van, which for a time seemed like our only option. We considered just driving two separate vehicles when our entire family needed to go somewhere, but we of course liked the idea of traveling together.”
With Fords the biggest challenge is when you’re working with different years so merging the 2000 Excursion with the 2004 Crew Cab wasn’t easy. Plus the Excursion was a wrecked V-10 that had front end collision damage and had been bought from an auction. But the interior was clean and Steve just needed the rear half, so he had plenty to work with for what he needed for the build. Remarkably, the build only took 7 weeks, which made Paul really happy.
“The things that pleased me the most was the body work and the way Steve stretched the frame,” says Paul. “I’m a welder so I paid close attention to the metal work and was very pleased. You can’t even tell where he spliced the frame.”
Steve estimates he has around 350 hours into it, which is a little more than usual for him. On average a Ford will run him 250 to 300 hours, but the two different model years added to his time. While 350 hours may seem like a lot, Steve admits he has close to 700 hours into his personal Dodge truck.
When complete, the six-door Excursion perfectly flows to not only look like it just rolled off an assembly line, but with a frame that is actually stronger than stock.
During the build process the stretched Excursion begins to take form.
The new stretched Excursion is a 2004 6.0L Power Stroke. The 2000 was the “donor” vehicle, while the drive train and the majority of the old system came from the 2004. Paul loves the power of his diesel engine but admits he would be open to a Cummins engine swap if he can find the right deal.
Since getting the Excursion home to California, Paul has added Nitto tires, Pro Comp wheels and Fabtech lift to really give it a custom look, not that it needed any more attention.
According to Steve Maxfield who owns Mega X 2, one of the biggest changes is making sure the roof seams look just right.
“The worst part or the best part depending on your perspective is the attention you get when driving a stretched truck,” says Steve. “People will roll down their windows and try to have a conversation on the highway while going 80 miles per hour. Three times I’ve been in California traffic where people rubbernecking and looking at my truck haven’t stopped when the rest of the traffic did.”
The Ellsworth family has had a similar reaction when they first started driving their stretched Excursion.
“The first time I took the kids to school we had heads swinging around like crazy,” recalls Paul. “I’m not big on the stares, but my kids love it. There was a lady sitting at an intersection waiting to turn and she was trying to get her kid’s attention as she pointed at us with her face pushed up on the glass. That was pretty funny.”
The six-door 2004 Excursion with a 6.0L Power Stroke engine is now the perfect vehicle for Paul and Amanda Ellsworth and their eight children.
Not only is Steve Maxfield passionate about stretching trucks for a living, with eight kids of his own he’s also in need for one himself. His personal Dodge truck with a 6.7L Cummins took nearly 700 hours to complete and it draws a lot of attention whenever he hits the road in it.
Paul and his family continue to enjoy their stretched Excursion and are happy they went with Mega X 2 for the build.
“I would absolutely recommend Steve to anyone looking to have their truck stretched,” says Paul. “He has been great to deal with because he’s honest, with high integrity, as well as hard-working. Steve and his family would do anything for anyone in need and we couldn’t be happier with the quality job he did with our Excursion.”
MEGA X 2
325 South Main Street
Kanosh, Utah 84637
Photos credit Roger Ellsworth (On the Stretch Final Pics)