Believe it or not, I’m not exactly the type of guy who likes to draw attention to himself. I would much rather take the “fly under the radar” approach so that’s why those who know me best were surprised when they first saw my wrap. From day one I’ve made it clear that the Editor’s Pick Project Truck is going to be a reflection of me as the editor of Diesel Tech magazine. Simply put, my plan was to create what I felt was the ideal daily driver with plans to keep my 2010 Ford F350 Super Duty for a very long time. After seeing where the truck sits today, I just don’t see me ever parting ways with it. It has turned out even better than I could have ever predicted, thanks to a lot of great people.
Before I get into the specifics of my build as I somehow attempt to recap a project truck that includes nearly 50 different manufacturers, I first have to start with the amazing wrap. A great wrap can complete your build and help put it over the top. However, a poorly designed or poorly executed wrap can take an otherwise impressive truck and make it the punch line. So for this last phase on my build I really agonized over the decision. While doing a search on the web I came across WrapWorld Ink., in Boise, Idaho, and knew I had found a shop I could trust my truck to. Owner Casey Clair is one of the busiest people you’ll ever meet. He hardly ever seems to slow down, but when I talked to him he was more than willing to work me into his schedule.
Do What You Do Best
The process started with graphic artist Stephen Ferris who designs vinyl wraps for WrapWorld. His only guideline from me was to create a wrap that would help the truck get noticed, yet not lower the property values in my conservative neighborhood. When he fired back his proposed design I instantly loved it, skulls and all. Again, I personally don’t like to draw attention to myself, but my truck is a different story. I knew it would be a little “loud” for some, but I was excited.
Strip Her Down
The process took about three days and I was shocked at just how much time really goes into something like this. In order for the entire truck to be completely wrapped, the truck had to be broken down to the point I almost thought they were going to paint it.
Chris Hutchings helped take off door handles, headlights, window seals, mirrors and anything else that got in the way, including the rear Road Armor bumper.
Using a heavy-duty printer, the thick vinyl sheets were printed and prepped by Tony Prough and were waiting for Casey and his crew after the truck had been completely wiped down and cleaned.
In the future Casey would like to get to the point where he could have one of his guys do the cutting, but for now he does all the final detail work himself.
Just one bubble or an edge cut too short and the perfectionist rips it off and begins again. How the different pages were laid out, you won’t find any seams. I’ve been around enough wraps that I can without a doubt say this is one of the best jobs I’ve ever seen.
The wrap covers places I didn’t think could even be reached and the cuts on the doors especially are flawless.
I can’t count how many times people have assumed my truck is painted and I never get tired of telling them it’s a wrap from WrapWorld. Casey and his crew truly did an amazing job and I think it’s safe to say my truck gets noticed now.
Throughout the build we’ve kept www.rockauto.com permanently bookmarked on our computers. Whenever we needed any miscellaneous parts, our first stop was always RockAuto.
With the truck all torn apart for the wrap, we figured this was the ideal time to add all new door handles and thankfully RockAuto offers them.
After spending so much time on the wrap it was nice to be able to put fresh door handles, a tailgate handle, as well as a tailgate weather strip back on for a cleaner look. From glow plugs to door handles, you really can find what you need at RockAuto, and usually at a lower price as well.
Looking ahead, we knew after adding the black and white wrap to the truck that the blue Ford oval emblem on the tailgate was going to stick out in a negative way. So we planned ahead and contacted Billet Badges who offers quality, CNC-machined billet aluminum custom emblems and badges. After seeing all the different ways they could customize a badge, I considered having them design a Diesel Tech one. But I’m pretty sure the wrap does enough to get our magazine name out there and besides, I’m proud that it’s a Ford and with all the other upgrades I’ve done to this truck it’s the only place that lets people know the brand.
So Billet Badges custom made a heavy-duty black Ford emblem that perfectly matches the details in the Hostile wheels that truly tie the truck in.
Jim’s Upholstery 2
In Part 5 following the Katzkin leather seat install by Jim’s Auto Upholstery in Nampa, Idaho, we left you guessing about what we wanted to do to finalize the interior. We now have a wrap that will get plenty of attention, but we needed the interior to have a similar “wow” factor as well.
The guys at Jim’s Auto Upholstery did an amazing job with the leather Katzkin seat install. It truly looks and feels like a whole new truck. When you include the Pioneer Electronics stereo system and drop-down Power Acoustik DVD screen in the back with Farenheit HP-11S IR wireless headphones, you could argue there’s not much else you could do…but you’d be wrong. This is where Ben Zahller is at his best. With a degree in upholstery from WyoTech, his ability to create factory-quality redesigns is amazing.
With the help of Richard Bean (R), Ben Zahller wraps the new door panel.
There were nothing but smiles at the interior unveil as (from L to R) Ben Zahller, Diesel Tech Editor Brady Kay and Rod Bean stand together. Even Chevelle, the shop dog, couldn’t take her eyes off the truck.
All Tied In
The best compliment you can give is to assume the interior was somehow a factory upgrade. However, when you look closer you can appreciate the added touches that help make it specific to this particular truck. For example, the bolts used around the new speaker covers in the doors came directly from T-Rex Grilles so they would perfectly match the bolts on the front grille. Ben also incorporated the F350 Super Duty exterior plates into the front doors, which only add to the true customization. Before, the stock center console was showing signs of wear but that was tossed out day one. Ben helped modify an upgraded version that looks like it belongs there and now gives me a lot more storage space.
The final touch was the LED lights in the doors that automatically light up blue when you open the door. It’s these little touches that truly make this a truck that I’ll be proud to show off for years. Owner Rod Bean and the crew at Jim’s Auto Upholstery did an amazing job with the interior.
To really help the wrap pop, I decided to tint the windows. When it comes to window tinting, Jason Robinson has established himself as one of the best. He owns Night Owl Window Tinting in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and he started at the young age of 15 working for his dad John at Robinson’s Auto Glass. At night—hence the name Night Owl—he would work out of the family’s home garage tinting windows. He did this for years before creating his own business.
Jason Robinson took his time to make sure the tinting lived up to the high expectations that he has placed on himself as the owner of Night Owl Window Tinting.
The tinted windows not only help the wrap stand out even more, but being darker inside the cab actually makes watching the drop-down DVD player that much easier in the daytime. Jason and his crew did an amazing job and I’m sure this won’t be the last time we hook up with these guys. The shop also does full detailing, and, with this new interior drawing a lot of attention, I’m going to want to keep the truck in show-like condition at all times.
After completing the window tinting, Jason Robinson gives a thumbs up. Besides tinting, the guys in the shop also provide full detailing.
I was okay with a little spray from the wider Cooper tires when it would rain, but I’m a little more protective of my truck now that I have the wrap. So I decided as a final touch I would add Bushwacker’s Ford OE style fender flares to not only help tie in the black and white look, but to also be functional and keep rain and mud from coating the side of my truck.
Adding fender flares to the truck was the final detail needed to complete the build.
And yes, for the record, this truck will continue to go off-road. It’s not a trailer princess, I can assure you.
Recapping The Build
From the time it drove off the Autos 4 Less lot in Idaho Falls in January to the day we found out it was going to SEMA in Las Vegas, Nev., in November, this truck has seen a full transformation from stock to show worthy, as well as a lot of miles.
What Everyone Does
There’s a reason everyone does these upgrades: because they work. I went with MBRP for my 4-inch black exhaust and the new Edge CTS2 for my tuner. Thanks to Alligator Performance using a SCT X4 Tuner, I was able to get a custom tune that now has my truck sitting at 746.2hp and 1395 ft/lbs. of torque in the race tune. Not bad considering our stock numbers from months earlier were 343.9hp and 631.1 ft/lbs. of torque. For my front and rear differential covers, deeper tranny pan as well as my air intake, I went with aFe Power and we used Royal Purple for all our oils and fluids.
Going For Power
You could argue that it’s the combination of all the parts working together that help make this a 750hp truck, but really BD Diesel Performance and Swamp’s Diesel had a lot to do with it. In Part 4 we added BD Power’s Turbo Thruster 6.4L Twin kit (73.0 mm billet compressor wheel and a 58.5 mm secondary) and 6.4L UpPipe & Manifold Kit, as well as Swamp’s 15 percent over (60 to 75 horsepower) injectors.
There are just some upgrades that simply make my life easier or better and those include the CompuStar PRO 901 2-WAY Remote Start/Security system. I can remote start my truck from anywhere I can get service using my smartphone, and for warming up my truck in the morning you can’t beat it. The Powerboard NX from Bestop has a unique wireless sensor system that made the installation easier and the automatic drop-down steps that deploy when the doors open sure make getting into the truck a lot easier as well. Rounding out my favorite creature comfort installs are the SwingCases from Undercover that give me versatile tool boxes in the back, WeatherTech FloorLiners (a must), as well as the Pioneer Electronics AVIC-5100NEX stereo unit with upgraded speakers and Power Acoustik drop-down DVD player with Farenheit wireless headphones.
The Farenheit HP-11S wireless headphones allow the kids to enjoy the drop-down DVD player in the back, while the driver can still enjoy the Pioneer Electronics stereo system in the front.
From boats and campers to 30-foot enclosed trailers, this truck was built to tow. Some of the best towing-specific features I’ve come to appreciate is the AirLift LoadLifter 5000 ULTIMATE, which is an adjustable air spring kit. With the WirelessONE remote I can control the onboard air compressor from inside or outside the truck. Being able to adjust on the fly the amount of pressure in my air bags has been huge when towing. The 7690 sway bar and the Big Wig 7268 in the rear from Hellwig has also been a major contributor to my towing success.
Of course, without the 6-inch drop combo Rapid Hitch from Andersen Manufacturing with the BOLT lock, I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of towing. But one of the best towing upgrades came from BD Power with its new TapShifter which gives you full control of the transmission shifts, with more flexibility when it comes to shift strategy. I found this to be extremely helpful, especially on the steep hills, and for the backside of those mountains you can’t beat BD Power’s Exhaust Brake.
In Part 4 we installed a rotary three-position switch (stock, vane control only and vane control with aggressive downshift), but didn’t like the location of that switch. So we (once again) went to RockAuto and ordered a 4-part AUX switch and with the help of the engineers at BD Power as well as the guys at Adrenaline Performance in Shelley, Idaho, we were able to tie it in for a much cleaner look. Now I simply flip AUX switch 1 for the exhaust brake or AUX switch 2 for the more aggressive exhaust brake. It’s perfect.
A lot of credit needs to go to the techs at Adrenaline for doing the engine work and a lot of other key upgrades on this build.
Don’t Always Notice
A lot has to go right for a truck to function properly and some products just don’t get the same love as others do. Here are a couple of those key upgrades that I’ve come to depend on that don’t get as much recognition as they should. Let’s start with the FASS Titanium Series 150 GPH fuel pump. Having those extra filters just makes a lot of sense and I personally feel every truck—regardless of what other upgrades are planned—needs a quality fuel system like this FASS one. I also added two OPTIMA YellowTop batteries that have never let me down, as well as a BD Power Charge Air Cooler (CAC), also known as the intercooler. We installed this in Part 1 after we removed the stock intercooler for the Bullet Proof Diesel Oil Cooler System Half Kit with the Bypass Oil Filtration system install. Bullet Proof Diesel in Mesa, Ariz., was another one of those great shops that we enjoyed working with. This kit, as well as Bullet Proof Diesel’s EGR Coolers, easily fall into the underappreciated category but should never be overlooked. Others in this unappreciated club that are on this truck include the MBRP intercooler pipe that we ordered through Thoroughbred Diesel, as well as the Fluidampr Harmonic Balancer.
In Part 3 we went a little overboard with our exterior upgrades. Working with PowerTech Diesel in Idaho Falls, the truck received a major facelift that included Hostile 20x90 EXILE Blade Cut wheels wrapped in Discoverer A/T3 tires from Cooper Tire. The techs at PowerTech Diesel helped me install Road Armor’s Stealth Winch Bumper with a Pre-Runner Guard that included built-in Rigid lights and a WARN ZEON 12 Platinum Winch. There was also a full light transformation from AnzoUSA that included headlights, taillights, a third brake light, mirror lights and even a 60-inch L.E.D. Tailgate Lightbar.
The Pace Edwards Full-Metal Jackrabbit retractable bed cover that rolls up like a soft cover could really go in the creature comforts section because it has made life much better for me. Finishing exterior touches included custom side vents created by Status Grilles to include the Diesel Tech magazine logo, SuspensionMAXX 2.5-inch leveling kit with KYB MonoMax shocks and the X-Metal Series grille from T-Rex that perfectly ties in our black and white theme and also matches the custom speaker covers in the door, thanks to Jim’s Auto Upholstery.
Last, be certainly not least, has got to be the Conductor’s Special Nightmare Edition 244K model train horns from HornBlasters. I don’t mean to make such a big deal out of this upgrade, but this is one of those “just for fun” things we added to the truck that always puts a smile on my face when I blast them. Another fun upgrade is the blue lighting under the truck from LEDGlow that is controlled by a remote keychain that I probably enjoy more than I should but I can’t help it.
Watch for this truck going down the road. Trust me, you can’t miss it!
Autos 4 Less
BD Diesel Performance
Billet Badges, Inc.
Bullet Proof Diesel
Jack’s Tire & Oil
Jim’s Auto Upholstery
KYB Americas Corp.
MBRP Performance Exhaust
Night Owl Window Tinting
Phase 4 Stereo
Robinson Auto Glass
UnderCover Bed Covers