Vehicle Build: Long John Silver
When you were a kid, did you ever go to a Monster Truck show, and think to yourself, "Man, if I could have one of those, I could go anywhere!"? Well, that's kind of the theme behind our 2020 Ford F-35 ... read more
When you were a kid, did you ever go to a Monster Truck show, and think to yourself, "Man, if I could have one of those, I could go anywhere!"? Well, that's kind of the theme behind our 2020 Ford F-350 SuperDuty build, aptly named "Long John Silver" as its a crew cab, long box (LONG), and well, its silver. As with most of our builds, we wanted something that could traverse across nearly any terrain, pull a massive trailer, be loaded down with a ton of gear, and look good while doing it. With the release of the 2020 Powerstroke came numerous carry over items from the previous 2017-2019 model years, but also some welcome upgrades beyond the front end cosmetics. For starters, the new 10-speed transmission was a nice selling point given our preference for 40" tires and lower ring and pinion ratios. By having the extra transmission gears, towing would be easier and a lower RPM at highway speeds when used in conjunction with the lower gear ratio. Will this transmission hold up as well as the previous 6R140's? We sure hope so. Next, the overall factory ride height was reduced by roughly one inch overall, allowing for easier entry and cargo loading. While this may be a welcome change for some, we obviously prefer a more commanding stance from our vehicles, but our suspension upgrades would alleviate this anyway. Next, have you seen the factory lower valance on four wheel drive models? It looks like the front end of a locomotive, ready to snag on any curb you may park against! Well, we fixed that too. Anyways, lets move onto the list of changes we've made and why we've made them!
- Carli Suspension 5.5” Lift King Pintop 2.5 Suspension System
- WHY? There are plenty of options on the market when it comes to lifting a truck. Over the years, we've used Carli Suspension on many of our builds, as well as recommended their products to countless customers. Simply put, you get what you pay for. Not only are you raising the ride height, but also vastly improving the overall ride quality whether it be on the tarmac or the dirt, coupled with increased wheel travel for superb offroad handling characteristics.
- Carli Suspension Torsion Sway Bar
- WHY? The factory sway bar is essentially a u-shaped bar that is attached to the bottom of your frame, linked to the axle via a sway bar end link on each side. While this works "okay," the main issue is that it does not allow the independent vertical movement of the axle from side to side. Carli's Torsion Sway Bar is a unique design that is basically three separate parts: a straight center bar that attaches to the bottom of frame and a separate bar on each side locked to this center bar via a teflon bushing. This multiple piece design allows for the two sides to move independent of one another, hence allowing the axle to cycle up and down, without effecting the otherside as drastically. In terms of seat of the pants difference, it delivers a very noticeable improvement in body roll resistance and the rebound effect typically associated with a factory sway bar.
- Carli Suspension Progressive Leaf Springs
- WHY? When lifting the rear of a heavy duty truck, as the saying goes, there's multiple ways to skin a cat. You can add a larger block, install an add-a-leaf, or you can replace the entire spring pack. Carli's Progressive Leaf Springs give the extra rear ride height to complement the front end, but are also designed to match the front end's new longer travel characteristics, while increasing ride quality, especially when unloaded.
- Carli Fabricated Radius Arms
- WHY? Due to triangulation, when the front end of a coil sprung truck is lifted, the front axle shifts towards the rear, which can lead to coil bind, lack of tire to fender clearance, and a host of other issues. Carli's Fabricated Radius Arms are designed and built longer than the factory arms to recenter the front axle. Beyond alignment issues that are addressed, these arms are hand-built to far superior standards and strength compared to the stock, stamped steel versions they are replacing. Oh yeah, they look pretty awesome too.
- Carli Low Mount Steering Stabilizer with Carli Differential Guard
- WHY? From the factory, these trucks have a steering stabilizer that mounts to the frame and the draglink, just below the pitman arm. With factory sized tires on dry pavement, it works adequately. However, with 40" tires in the dirt, its completely useless. Carli has a unique solution for a "dual stabilizer" that mounts another stabilizer to the front axle and the steering center link. In order to physically mount it, Carli includes a machined clamp that bolts around the center link that is accompanied by the included front differential guard that has provisions for mounting the other side of the stabilizer shock. Beyond merely mounting the stabilizer, your thin front differential cover is now well protected from any obstacle you're trying to clear, but don't quite make it!
- Carli Carrier Bearing Drop
- WHY? Ol' Long John Silver is long....really long, and because of this, it was a two piece rear driveshaft. When lifting the rear of the truck, you must drop the carrier bearing (attachment point between the front section of the rear driveshaft and the rear section) to avoid an excessive departure angle, which can lead to premature failure and noise.
WHEELS AND TIRES:
- Fuel Wheels Zephyr (20x10)
- WHY? Well, we obviously couldn't, and wouldn't want to run the factory wheels with a 15.50" wide tire. Beyond that, the 20" diameter when paired with a 40" tire gives a nice amount of sidewall that both delivers an increase in ride quality (by not having too little sidewall), but also gives roll resistance (by having too much sidewall). In terms of this exact wheel, the Zephyr features a unique simulated beadlock design that complements the overall aesthetics of the truck and provides for adequate clearance due to its -18mm offset.
- Nitto Trail Grappler Tires (40x15.50x20)
- WHY? We've had great luck with Nitto tires, in general and their Trail Grapplers are no exception. These tires are a true dual-purpose tire, excelling in the dirt, but also capable of superb road manners, all while in an E-Rated weight rating.
- Nitro Gear & Axle 4.88 Ring and Pinion Package
- WHY? Its amazing what a difference a ring and pinion ratio change can make to how a vehicle drives, especially once tire size has been changed. With the majority of truck manufacturers making 3.30 ratios the norm, increased tire sizes can have a dramatic degradation on the drivability of these vehicles. By changing the ring and pinion to match the new tire size, you'll regain any lost power and many times fuel economy, that came along with the increased tire size. Not sure what gear ratio is right for you? Well, that's simple, its merely cross multiplication. If your stock tire size was 33" and your factory gear ratio is 3.30, but your new tire size is 37", just do this: new gear ratio/new tire size=old gear ratio/old tire size (x/37=3.30/33), which in this scenario would mean that the proper gear ratio to make everything "the same" would be 3.70, and then just round to the closest available gear ratio, such as 3.73.
- No Limit Air to Water Intercooler
- WHY? The factory air to water intercooler is relatively inefficient at cooling EGT's (Exhaust Gas Temperatures). No Limit Fabrication has ruled out the causes for these inefficiencies and built a true piece of artwork that not only looks great, but delivers increased cooling capabilities to keep our Powerstroke running nice and chilly, even on the hottest of days.
- ZROADZ Hood Hinge Brackets
- WHY? No, hood hinge brackets aren't just for Jeeps! Sure, the idea may have originally spawned from the Jeep crowd, but mounting auxiliary lighting in this location affords enhanced visibility by getting the light source further off the ground (think old school roll bar), all while offering a unique appearance.
- N-Fab Bumper Light Mount
- WHY? We needed to mount at least four lights to the front bumper and honestly really like the appearance of the factory one (at least for now). N-Fab's light mount delivered an easy to install solution that paves the way to mount up to four lights.
- (2) Baja Designs XL80 LED Lights
- WHY? These XL80's will literally blind you with a whopping 9500 lumens coming from 4 Cree LED's per housing. When we're out exploring in the dark, there's no better feeling than being able to see every obstacle and Sasquatch that may be in front of you, so why not turn night into day with these?
- (4) Baja Designs LP9 LED Lights
- WHY? While the XL80's put out 9500 lumens per, the LP9's offer up 11,025 per housing. For those that are counting, thats a total of 63,100 lumens from six lights, obviously not including the factory headlights and foglights that probably have about half a lumen total. We don't only want to SEE Sasquatch, we want to impress him with our lights and chat with him about them.
- (4) Baja Designs Rock Lights
- WHY? While the original intention of "rock lights" are to be mounted under the vehicle for off-roading purposes, we wanted enhanced visibility in the bed of the truck, more so than the factory bed lighting could provide. In order to give us all the bed lighting we'd need, we employed the use of four Baja Designs LED Rock Lights that are mounted on the underside of the Highway Products tool boxes. Now, even with the tonneau cover closed in the dead of night, we can easily find the smallest of items in the bed.
- AMP Research Powered Running Boards
- WHY? Its on 40's and we need to get in. But in all seriousness, these steps are great for giving the overall appearance of no steps along with the sometimes necessary ground clearance they afford, coupled with an ease of entry unparalleled by conventional running boards or nerf bars.
- Highway Products XT2000 Aluminum Truck Slide
- WHY? When you've got 40" tires and that thing you want is all of the way at the front of your 8' bed, its simpy way easier to pull a Truck Slide to you, then jumping into the bed to get it. Highway Products' XT2000 is built from heavy duty construction and rolls on robust casters, meaning your payload will not be deterred due to the fact you have a built-in slide. Trust us on this one, do yourself a favor and save your back and knees from jumping in and out, you'll thank us later.
- Highway Products Bedside Aluminum Tool Boxes
- WHY? We had built a couple of Rams with their exclusive RamBox, and honestly, they are super convenient for storing nearly anything. Since Ford doesn't have an option similar to this, we got with Highway Products to build something even cooler! These side boxes mount on top of the rails and give us an absolute ton of storage to avoid cluttering the backseat or bed of the truck. Plus, we think they look pretty cool with HPI's exclusive dimple finish on the lids.
- Tremor Package Lower Valance
- WHY? Seriously, the factory lower air valance found on standard four wheel drive models is ridiculous. We understand this was installed to improve aerodynamics, but if you come up to a curb or cement parking block, you're bound to tear it right off. At this point, you've got a few options. Sure, you could just remove it completely, but that would leave the mounting tabs exposed and its basically ugly. Or, you could break out the Sawzall and get to work, but the failure rate of this method is pretty high. Otherwise, you can swap it out for either a factory two wheel drive model (that's right, Ford knew if the truck were any lower, it would snag on a pebble in the road), or one from Ford's Tremor package. Both of these options bolt right up and are substantially less obtrusive. The Tremor option is slightly shorter than the two wheel drive model for those uncertain.
- Truxedo Lo-Pro Tonneau Cover
- WHY? Truxedo's line of roll up tonneau covers are arguably the most popular and versatile cover on the market, allowing you to keep your items dry in the bed, but with the benefit of easily getting it out of the way for taller items, such as a motorcycle or refrigerator. Truxedo has a full line of vehicle specific covers that literally install in minutes, but of course, Long John Silver has full length tool boxes that are exactly where the mounting rails and half of the cover would normally be. Fortunately, Truxedo offers a service in which you take several precise measurements and they will build you a custom cover exactly to your specifications. Upon receiving the cover and mounting the rails to the tool boxes, we realized that the originally intended height position would not work, and that ideally, this cover would end up sitting about 3-4 inches aboe the tailgate, not allowing for a "leak free seal." Fortunately, we've been known to be pretty crafty and fabricated a removable rear rail that spans between the end of the tool boxes that is easily removable when the Truxedo is rolled up, and then slid into place when its in a closed position.
- Custom Built Aluminum Tool Box
- WHY? When laying out the design and purposes of the bed, we decided that ideally we'd want another tool box located at the front of the bed and could be hidden under the Truxedo Tonneau Cover. To accommodate this, we actually opted to utilize a Truck Slide for a short bed, leaving us about 20" of unused space up front of the bed, which was the easy part. Now, we realized there really didn't exist a suitable tool box which checked all of our boxes and would fit under the Truxedo. Okay, so what did we do? We built one out of aluminum, sized exactly with a lift up, lockable top hatch that can store all of the smaller items we typically always carry.
- Custom Ball Mount Storage
- WHY? Okay, this one just makes sense for literally anyone with a truck. Truck owners have basically three choices for what to do with their ball mounts: 1.) Keep it in the receiver where you're bound to either slam your shin on it everyday, have it get stolen, or it rusts out; 2.) Let it roll around the bed where it could still get stolen and rust out, but at least you won't bust your shin on it; 3.) Keep it in your garage where you'll never have it when you need it. Instead of these terrible choices, we got crafty again. By starting with a universal receiver hitch, some tubing, and some flat steel, we built a mount that not only securely houses our ball mount, but also an extra ball nice and tidy on the inside of the bed. Even better is that we built it to utilize the factory passenger side rear tie down points so no drilling was necessary. Overall, we can't believe no one manufactures something like this. Maybe we should?.......
- S&B 68 Gallon Replacement Fuel Tank
- WHY? Easy, more available fuel is always better. S&B's tank is a direct replacement to the factory unit and gives us a substantial increase in overall range, plus has a few benefits that make it superior. And to top it off, S&B made great available use out of unused "pockets" under the bed meaning the tank isn't just a taller version of the factory one, reducing ground clearance.
- S&B Transfer Pump Kit
- WHY? Okay, why didn't someone think of this sooner? We've all seen transfer tanks that sit in the bed of your truck, allowing you to pull fuel to fill up equipment. What S&B did is build their replacement tank with an auxiliary port that allows you to hook up theirp otional transfer pump directly from your main tank, meaning no loss of bed space. With this unique design, the only bed space that's lost is wherever you choose to locate the physical pump handle.
- ARB Twin Air Compressor
- WHY? If you've never had onboard air, you really don't know what you're missing. There are so many uses for having a hardwired and mounted air compressor on your truck that we've found to be useful in nearly any situation. Sure, some are familiar with having it plumbed into your airbags for automated rear suspension leveling when you're towing. How about filling up your tires, especially useful for offroading or adding air when you're hooking up to an extra heavy trailer? Or helping someone out with a flat on the side of the road? Or maybe its just filling up your inflatable raft to go fishing. Whatever the reason(s), again, trust us, you want one, and the Twin Air is the most compact, heaviest duty compressor we've found. So that we could easily access the availabile air, we routed the hose and fitting on the interior passenger bedside for a quick, out-of-the-way source of air.
- PacBrake Air Control
- WHY? While we utilized the ARB Twin Air for air supply, we still needed a way to control it. PacBrake offers a multitude of air control options from analog to digital and single to dual control. For the sake of simplicity, we are utilizing one of their dual paddle analog gauge units that we mounted in the drivers side tool box. In doing so, we are able to keep the clutter of a gauge out of the cab and continue with our quest of having the most awesome and utilitarian truck bed.
- WeatherTech DigitalFit Floor Mats
- WHY? The DigitalFit mats are arguably the best fitting, most durable floor mats on the market. These mats don't slide around, don't become warped or fade from the sun, and they're simple to pull out and clean if you need to.
- Mob Armor Mobnetic Elite Magnetic Cell Phone Holder
- WHY? For starters, this cell phone holder is far superior to anything else on the market. Once you attach one of Mob Armor's small magnetic discs on the back of your phone, you can merely bring your phone within a few inches of the mount and its attached. No more fumbling with those cradles or just setting it on your console only to have it slide onto the floor. Further, for those of us that do interact with our phones while driving, such as using navigation, this mount can be mounted to the dash nearly anywhere. The top rotates on an axis so you can change the viewing perspective, plus its compact design means it doesn't detract from your interior.