Blazing Down The Road

The 6.4L "blaze yellow" F-350

August 2014 Feature Michael Deulley

With all of the performance options on the market today, diesel trucks have become more than just the daily driver or the towing workhorse; they've become an art form. All of the different modifications and upgrades available to diesel owners have presented an opportunity to take something—which at one point was solely meant for driving—and create a completely personalized diesel platform that can be appreciated for its unique personality, as well as show off the almost limitless power that a diesel engine can muster.

When compared to a weaker gasoline engine, the abundant power potential and aesthetic flair in a diesel becomes resolutely clear. More proof of this concept can be found in Josh Sargent's "blaze yellow" 2008 Ford F-350. When Sargent first landed his 6.4L Power Stroke, he had already taken the time to see what trucks were on the road. When it came time to start his performance and customization, he decided to up the ante and set a new standard for the 6.4L platform.

"I was talking to my parents on the phone and saw the exact truck I wanted in a dealership lot on the side of the road," recalls Sargent. "I hung up, went straight to the dealership and four hours later, I was signing the papers for it."Sargent, of St. Charles, Ill., picked up his F-350 in early July of 2012, but before he bought it he first did some research into the different varieties of diesel engines available to him. But every route he took led him back to the 6.4L Power Stroke. The urge to find himself behind the steering wheel of a Ford eventually became insatiable, and it was a short matter of time before he got into one.

t was love at first drive. As soon as Sargent brought the truck home, he began working on plans to uniquely revolutionize the Ford and create something that would draw in an eagerly on-looking crowd. Even before he signed for the truck and drove it off the lot, Sargent had been forming ideas on how to make the F-350 stand out among its peers. Like any diesel enthusiast knows, finding a way to make a diesel truck distinct and unique is easier said than done. There are performance companies in the industry that are well-known for their amazing products, and taking one look at the majority of diesel drivers on the road today will reinforce that statement, so Sargent had an incredible task in front of him.

It Begins With Performance

The first thing on Sargent's list was to add any performance that he could get his hands on. Like most of us on a budget, finding the expendable income and strategically purchasing and installing his desired performance mods would present a challenge in itself. When the timing was right and as soon as resources were available, the build began.

While researching which modifications would best suit his needs and wants for the Ford, Sargent learned important and invaluable lessons on the critical roles that each system in the truck works to create the optimal range of power and performance throughout the system. When he bought the truck, it had a DPF back exhaust kit installed into it, which led to a critical understanding of the importance of air flow. So when Sargent began his first installation, he decided to go right into the air system and wrenched in a Flo-Pro intake elbow, which would dramatically increase the volume of oxygen-rich air being fed into the engine. In order to monitor the new output of the engine, Sargent needed an accurate monitoring system, so a full custom gauge setup from Auto Meter, including pyro, voltage and boost gauges were placed into the new pillar mount that he had installed. Even with these gauges showing their respective system measurements, Sargent wanted to monitor more of the Ford's intricate systems and accurately measure the increases in performance as his build progressed. With this in mind, an exhaust, trans temp and fuel rail pressure gauge were placed at the top edge of the windshield near the rearview mirror, giving Sargent complete visual control of the truck’s intricate systems. With this newfound omniscience, it was time to go back to the performance side of the house and suit the truck up.

An SCT Livewire with a KEM 310 tune was wired in, which now gave Sargent not only the ability to monitor, but to control the performance of the Power Stroke. With the higher volume of air being fed into the engine, he ramped up his fuel efficiency with an AirDog II 165gph lift pump. His next move was to stylize his exhaust, so he put in an MBRP 4-inch dual exit exhaust. The last thing was to do a little upgrade on the wheels. Sargent saw the need for new tires becoming more pressing, so after over a minute of burnouts—naturally giving him an even better reason to replace his tires—he installed a set of Rolling Big Power 94R wheels and wrapped them with 37-inch Toyo tires, then lifted the truck with an 8-inch Pro Comp lift. Although his performance wasn't completely finished in the way that Sargent envisioned, he decided to change the pace and momentarily stray away from the performance in order to give the F-350 a very unique touchup.

Set Ablaze

Trucks put out on the market today come stock with a wide range of options and enough space under the hood to give owners a proverbial open canvas to create their own work of art. Performance companies have seized the opportunity and have designed enough performance modifications to appease the taste and requirements of any diesel driver. But for Sargent, performance wasn't the only thing he had in mind, but merely a means to a brighter end. And similar to the way he did his research before buying the F-350, Sargent also did his homework on how he wanted to design it and make it his own.

"I got bored with the silver and grey that was on the truck. Every 6.4L I've seen has also been lifted. They're everywhere," says Sargent. "I wanted to go a step further and do something even more unique."

Luckily for Sargent, his connection to a friend that just happened to own a shop that specializes in powder coating trucks was the answer for his urge to design something special. After spending time deciding on a final design, Carzmetology, also in St. Charles, took on the challenge of giving the Ford its own personality. Sargent had the rim inserts, fender vents, mirror caps, his gauge pods and custom fabricated traction bars from Flight Fabrications of Wadsworth, Ohio, plastidipped blaze yellow and black, which gave the F-350 unique character and completely separated it from the other 6.4L Fords that Sargent had aggressively wanted to steer away from. The build wasn't at all finished, but it was an incredible start.

New On The Horizon

The Ford "Blaze Yellow" F-350 had become the head-turning unique truck that Sargent was looking for, but the performance is far from being finished. In the future, a new ZF6 6-speed manual tranny will find its way to the diesel driver and Sargent has intentions of swapping out the stock turbo with something stronger. In the meantime, the truck has made its rounds to the local shows, and because Sargent's friends have labeled it an "import-style truck," Sargent has also brought it to various import shows, which he says makes people's jaws drop.

"People get a kick out of my truck," says Sargent. “It's not what they're used to seeing, but it follows a similar style.”

When he's not showing it off at a show, he frequently gives spectators a taste of the truck at the drag strip. Wherever he goes, people have taken notice of his 6.4L with the blaze yellow accents and can't help but stare and smile. Sargent was looking to create a distinct-looking and unforgettable truck, and from the wide-eyed looks he gets, he did exactly that.

For information about the products used on this truck, visit our Aftermarket.

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