This article originally appeared in the Winter 2017 issue.
Die-hard Ford owner Justin Honken of East Bethel, Minn., might have wrecked his heavily modified 2004 6.0L Power Stroke over a year ago, but he’s come a long way since then. Shortly after the wreck he purchased a white 2008 6.4L that he worked on for four months. The old truck had an eight-inch lift with dual Fox 2.0 shocks on 37-inch Nitto Mud Grapplers, along with other mods such as an MBRP exhaust and a Barder Stage 3 turbo. He feels the lift on that truck “saved his life” in the accident. With all of his mods, he truly believes in gaining public attention on the road. All of the work he’s put into his new truck since last year will blow you away if you’ve never seen a similar truck before.
Honken built up his old truck with the assistance of the Cutting Edge diesel shop in Forest Lake, Minn., and he continued to do business with the same shop for the build of his 6.4L. Honken and his family have a very strong relationship with the business, as they have completed so many projects together. He says the business “treats my wife and I like family,” which is the main reason why they keep coming back. Honken values Cutting Edge for their strong knowledge of how automotive components work and fit together. Over the course of more than four years, they have worked on two 6.0Ls, one 6.4L, and one 7.3L together. Honken says he will always turn to Cutting Edge for help, no matter where in the United States he may be, and he recommends other truck owners do so as well. He and his wife own Keegan Construction, and Cutting Edge never ceases to be especially valuable to their company.
On Honken’s 6.4L, the first thing that may catch your eye is the massive 14-inch Bulletproof Suspension lift on 38-inch Nitto Trail Grapplers with 20x14-inch rims. With that setup, drivers would be amazed at how safe they feel in case of accidents. This is what Honken describes as one of the greatest advantages of lifts, and the 14-inch lift is a recent upgrade from 12 inches. While doing the suspension upgrade with the truck torn down to the bare frame, he also put in new Bulletproof rear traction bars, which are larger than many other traction bars and provide a tougher, longer-lasting suspension. With all components, the raised suspension is always one of the largest parts of making a person feel valuable and empowered when he or she drives. He claims all suspension mods make it a “true 4-wheel drive” vehicle. Indeed, this type of vehicle maneuvers very well through snowy conditions and on rough surfaces with its suspension.
Interior Features/Audio System
One of the largest auditory attention grabbers is the stereo, which plays a large part in making a truck owner’s voice heard, because a person’s taste of entertainment always says a lot about his or her character. For that, Honken previously used Alpine speakers as both the large mono-block and the surrounding speakers. However, it’s even more beefed up now with a Pioneer 8500 double din receiver connected to JL component speakers, an RE Audio XXX subwoofer, and two large amps. It is definitely something Honken devotes heavy attention to, as he has a lot planned ahead for further mods to the system. Aside from the stereo on the inside, another electronic contraption he included is a Viper alarm system with remote start, window controls, and parameter settings. Of course, Honken needs to have this, as he should be protecting his precious truck in some manner. Just looking at the truck in person, you might feel the urge to use it in some way without the owner’s permission.
Of course, another feature that turns heads is exhaust, which is very much the case on this beast. With a four-inch downpipe, a five-inch mid-pipe, and a huge 12-inch tip, his new exhaust produces a rich sound that can be music to a diesel lover’s ears. While some may see his exhaust as online entertainment among truck owners on YouTube, the main purpose of larger exhaust pipes is to allow for more power and better fuel economy. Simply put, larger pipes are less restrictive and black smoking people for entertainment is arguably the worst thing owners can do for our industry.
Countless mods were made on the front side of the vehicle, including the installation of a cowl hood, new injectors that are 40 percent more powerful than regular ones, a Sinister Diesel coolant filter, and a large S&B intake horn. All are meant to do nothing other than increase torque and horsepower. Honken also included a FASS Platinum series fuel filter setup that serves as a combined single filter for fuel and water separation, reducing backpressure in the fuel line for optimum fuel delivery. BD Diesel Performance up-pipes, manifolds, and twin turbos also improve airflow. Of course, this is all an integral part of the project, as a truck will never put out more torque and horsepower without larger amounts of high-quality air and fuel. To better distribute this amazing power, Honken had Cutting Edge help him build a custom transmission with a custom drive shaft, which took three trials of results within two weeks. At the end, though, that hard work truly paid off. When you drive a truck like this one for the first time, you feel like you are on top of the world when you step on the accelerator. Furthermore, when you work with Cutting Edge, you feel that you have truly been served well, because performance is the most important part of a great experience with a truck.
Similar to the suspension, all exterior features, including the lights, mirrors, windows, and differential covers are all sure to make people say “wow” when they see such a truck. On his truck, Honken included LED headlights and running lights that switch between different bright colors such as white, blue, red, and green. On top of that, he included illuminating stainless steel door sills not just to help himself and others find their way into his truck at night, but also for decoration. The wintry weather of Minnesota gives this truck the perfect look when running, especially around the holiday season. As seen at Christmas, bright lights and snow together are notorious for giving a good look. People will see this truck and think its owner truly has some spirit. The tinted windows also give a strong contrast from the color of much of the rest of the truck (including the mirrors, which Honken repainted white). Beneath the body, the white paint on the differentials and some suspension components draws attention to how extraordinary the truck is in regard to performance.
All of the work done to the truck so far leads Honken to say that one of his most important values is to be “heard and seen.” Generally, newer diesel vehicles are looked down upon, as they suffer so many emissions-related problems. Modified vehicles such as this one are exceptions to that, though. It is truly amazing to experience what Cutting Edge of Forest Lake, Minn., can do to help truck owners achieve the “heard and seen” value, especially those who own diesels with more complex components and systems on them as a result of tightening emissions regulations. When working on diesel engines, it is easy to get thrown off by 2008-model-year and newer emissions systems when trying to narrow down a problem. Driving Honken’s truck every day would provide loads of fun.
No matter what, you will always feel very safe and important on the road, especially when driving in the snow. Many would ask you to help them if they’re stuck, and you should always try the best you can. Those who are stimulated by loud music might not want to use any other audio system configuration, because Honken’s setup with it is impressive.
The black-and-white color contrast on the entire vehicle and the lights around the exterior truly complement the performance well. Of course, performance will always be a truck owner’s favorite part of mods. After getting used to the power of this truck, you probably will never want to drive any other vehicle that’s not a medium or heavy truck. It will also feel great to have the freedom to tow virtually anything. Performance is so important, but people really add value to it when they notice you with your truck. Therefore, you still need to have visual cues that speak performance well to hold people’s attention.
Many more mods to this truck will come shortly, including the installation of clear cab lights and the replacement of the rear bench with bucket seats so Honken can install a new custom subwoofer box for even stronger sound. This entire project is an excellent example of what Cutting Edge and a little imagination can do, which is why many truck owners who drive long distances across the United States would love to do business with them. The shop truly knows what fun rides mean to them.
BD Diesel Performance
Cutting Edge Auto
FASS Fuel Systems