This article originally appeared in the July 2020 issue.
Here’s a truck we definitely don’t see a lot of these days. Better yet, it’s owned by a female U.S. Army veteran. It’s a 1990 Ford F250 with the pre-Power Stroke 7.3L indirect injection (IDI) diesel. “My truck is definitely not a show truck,” Amanda laughs. “But since owning it, a lot was done to it. I’ve always loved trucks, especially the 1970s-1990s Fords. I grew up around them. Some people say you should have a reason for owning a truck. Not me, I just wanted one. I really enjoy driving my truck!”
Although her Ford is not built up compared to other trucks, she does have quite a back story on her military experience and how she got involved in the diesel pickup life.
“I decided to join the Army because my older brother Brandon had enlisted,” Amanda says. “I always enjoyed hearing his stories while serving and I guess it sparked an interest.”
She served from November 2012 to May 2016 following her training. It was a hard decision as she was leaving her hometown, but she was unhappy with her pre-military job and ambitious for a new lifestyle. Amanda was first assigned to Camp Humphreys, South Korea, as an automated logistical specialist, where she worked in warehouse operations, pulling parts for military vehicles and helicopters.
She then served the same role in Fort Carson, Colo., from November 2013 until the time of her honorable discharge in May 2016; in between, she served in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, from February to November 2015. Amanda is glad she took up the Army opportunity, and she wouldn’t trade it for the world.
“I think another reason I enlisted was for the ones who said I couldn’t do it, so just to prove them wrong I enlisted,” she laughs.
She had a lot of support from her family through it all. Following her discharge, she has since worked as a housekeeping supervisor for her local state park. “I’m hoping to be a full-time student this coming fall thanks to my G.I. Bill,” she says. “I’m still not sure what I want to study and get a degree in, but I am excited to be able to go to college thanks to the Army.”
Although mostly stock, her 1990 7.3L IDI truck has undergone quite a makeover. “The owner before me added a Banks turbo to the truck and changed the fuel pump from mechanical to an electric one attached to the frame,” she says. “No real upgrades other than that.”
She did add new tires since, though; she now runs Corsa A/T tires on her 16-inch steel rims she painted black. She also replaced a lot of other old parts that were falling apart, including the fuel tanks, radiator, fuel-water separator, alternator, belts, glow plugs, batteries, starter, starter solenoid, U-joints, door window motors, and both headlight and taillight lenses. She rebuilt the front end from the transfer case to the hubs and also recently had a new clutch installed. Most of the work on her truck was done with the help of Greg Rudisill, the owner of Rudisill’s Garage in Blacksburg, Va.
Amanda currently uses her truck for daily driving and work when needed.
“Work includes hauling firewood, odds and ends, to pulling a trailer with a Kubota RTV and a car hauler as well,” she says. “Nothing heavy really, but it has a gooseneck hitch and the rear receiver hitch.”
In the future, she plans to do much more of the same with it, but she’s also considering adding clearance lights and new mirrors at some point to improve aesthetics. “It’s always nice to have a truck, especially with an 8-foot bed,” she adds. “I’d like to get body work and new paint, but to be honest I’ll probably keep it the way it is.”
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