Now Showing: Mike Duval's Award-Winning, Trail-Tough Super Duty
A mong those who trade in exotic gemstones, an emerald is often referred to as green ice. With a deep, eye-catching hue, green ice is exotic in every way: exclusive, pricey, and desirable. Mike Duval's '01 F-250 Super Duty shows some of the same traits as an emerald: It's a unique, attractive, functional, and bucks-up 4x4 that exhibits equal parts form and function. And it's green.
That such a vehicle would exist is testament to focused planning and precise execution. Springing from a design formed in Mike's fertile imagination, this Super Duty is a certified winner, having garnered multiple awards from Ford Motor Company at the 2001 Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association Show last year in Las Vegas, where the aptly named Power on Ice 4x4 was a standout in Ford's exclusive factory display.
Of course, building a 4x4 that garners awards and shows maximum on-dirt function doesn't come easy. To get the level of performance Mike had envisioned for his SD, run-of-the-mill suspension, styling, and performance parts simply wouldn't do. The Super's buildup started with the installation of a decent suspension. We say decent, because the dialed-in suspension you see on the truck is far superior to the decent prototype components that were initially bolted in place. In fact, the current National Spring leaf packs are the tenth set Mike installed, all in an effort to achieve max wheel travel (10-plus inches), a tall ride height (8 inches of lift), and a taut, yet compliant ride.
The big Ford's dampers are straight off a Trophy Truck: 9100-Series Bilstein externally adjustable position-sensitive bypass units, sizing in at 2-1/2 inches in diameter, stroking through 12 inches of travel, and equipped with remote reservoirs. Firestone airbags, installed on scratch-built mounts, keep the Super's tail manageable when towing, and the use of Bilstein nitrogen-charged bumpstops effectively keep the axlehousings from hammering the frame during off-road jousts.
The steering setup is equally trick. Off-Road Unlimited Burbank, which is managed by Mike, has become well-known in the off-road community as the expert on Super Duty steering systems, and this truck uses ORU's tried-and-true crossover steering and hydraulic-assist upgrade, which uses a hydraulic cylinder (working in conjunction with a reworked OE steering box) to effortlessly move the steering through its lock-to-lock arc at any speed, even with the fat footprint of off-road rubber. Rear axle wrap is eliminated by slip-joint-equipped Con-Ferr traction links.
Scope out the stance and overall look of Duval's SD; it's easy to appreciate how well the wheels and tires fit the Ford's fenders, enhancing - not overwhelming - the truck. The forged, highly polished alloy hoops are Weld Racing's Stone Crusher, and the gnarly radial rubber is Parnelli Jones' Dirt Gripz. As equipped, the wheels and tires deliver a copious amount of traction on nearly any terrain and can be fully stuffed without crunching the Warn fender flares.
When you name a truck Power on Ice, it serves to reason there will be big power under the hood - and, there is. The turbo'd Power Stroke Diesel pumps out 250 hp and 505 lb-ft of torque in OE trim, but Duval enhanced the grunt with the installation of Gale Banks' Stage 3 Powerpack system, which includes a high-flow air intake, an upgraded computer chip, a modified turbo waste gate, large-diameter turbo inlet and outlet tubes, an intercooler, and a free-flowing exhaust, all of which boost the oil-burning V-8's output to the far side of 700 lb-ft of torque.
Since Mike truly uses the truck in an escape mode, the cockpit and bed's interior were totally tricked to maximize form and function. The cab's interior is accessorized with all manner of comfort, convenience, and entertainment goodies, including custom leather seats fitted with electric Relaxor massage units and emblazoned with a Ford Racing logo, a Webasto-Hollandia power sunroof, a C.R. Laurence Power Slider rear window, and wood-grain dash and door panel trim from Infinity Products. A Clarion Pro Audio head unit and amplifier supply quality entertainment, pushing 1,000 watts through eight speakers, including a pair of Clarion 10-inch subs. A quartet of Clarion monitors are fed images from a Clarion DVD player, and a Clarion camera delivers rearview images to a floor-mounted monitor as an aid when backing up. For camping, a Can-Back soft shell provides shelter and is topped with a sturdy Con-Ferr cargo rack. The trick alloy sliding shelf from Osea Products makes access to cargo a snap and provides an excellent foundation for a camping mattress. A Pro-Tech aluminum storage box, a Power Tank auxiliary air tank, and a fullsize spare tire retained by a Fabtech mount are also bed-bound.
Exterior mods are tasteful and stylish. Deep two-tone emerald green paint is the canvas for the ice graphics, both of which were applied by master automotive painter Louis Morosan of L&G Enterprises. Keystone Products supplied the slick, functional, heat-extracting hood, which flows air into, through, and out of the engine compartment, and Kodiak electric drop-down steps provide easy access to the cabin, despite the truck's tall stance.
As with all of the feature trucks that appear on the pages of OFF-ROAD magazine, Mike's machine was put through its paces so that our camera lens could capture its true personality. To say the least, we were impressed with the Ford's on-dirt handling prowess and fully functional suspension. Even over the whoops at speed, the Super Duty retained its poise, exhibiting no ill manners. Pounding the pavement on the trip home, Mike's 4x4 rode taut and remained responsive to driver input. Clearly, Mike Duval's Blue Oval is a gem, a polished, functional, and stylish piece that clearly defines the term functional off-road machine.
Mike Duval/Simi Valley, California
'01 Ford F-250 Super Duty Crew Cab
Power Stroke Diesel V-8 with a Gale Banks Stage 3 Powerpack system
4R100 four-speec-inch Weld Stone Crusher/38x15.50R16.5 Parnelli Jones Dirt Gripz Radial
National Spring packs with 8 inches of lift (front and rear); Bilstein 9100-Series position-sensitive bypass dampers (one per wheel); Deist limit straps; Bilstein hydraulic bumpstops (one per wheel)
16.5x9.75-inch Weld Stone Crusher/38x15.50R16.5 Parnelli Jones Dirt Gripz Radial
Firestone airbags (rear); Con-Ferr traction bars; L&G custom paint; PIAA lights; Warn winches; Keystone Products hood; AMP Research billet fuel filler door; Transfer Flow 48-gallon fuel tank; Webasto-Hollandia power sunroof; Clarion Pro Audio/Video system