Finding the USA's best feature trucks and bringing them to the pages of OFF-ROAD magazine is no small feat. For example, the truck in the accompanying photos has been on our hit list for some time. The truck's owner, Jeff Becker, respectfully turned away our repeated requests for a photo shoot because he felt his truck wasn't finished.
Still, we persisted, and during last year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas, we thought we had a done deal on a cover shoot: Jeff and his now-completed truck were there, we were there, and the desert photo-shoot location was there. Unfortunately, the area's first big rainstorm of the season was also there, and it washed out our best intentions. Fast-forward several days, and we've regrouped at yet another desert location where, after rousting ace shooter Mr. Jachmann from a sound sleep in the back of his Jeep, the first light of day saw us burning film on one heck of a stylish Blue Oval 4x4. As we said, it wasn't easy, and we had to travel under cover of darkness to get the shots you see here, but it was well worth the effort.
That we made such an effort to bring you this feature on Jeff's wild Super Duty shouldn't surprise anyone; the shy-high Ford is fairly bristling with one-off components and well-detailed sub-systems, topped off with eye-catching graphics.
To get this project started, Jeff enlisted the help of the Super Duty gurus at Off Road Unlimited in Burbank, California. Led by Mike Duval, the ORU crew went to work on the truck's suspension, removing almost every OE component and replacing them with aftermarket parts selected strictly for performance and reliability.
Custom front and rear leaf spring packs from National Spring lift the beast a full 14 inches and are controlled by Bilstein 7100-Series remote reservoir dampers (two per wheel). Spring wrap is addressed by the traction links from X-Treme Toyz, and an airbag overload setup keeps the rear of the truck level while towing. To keep the already stout Ford frame from undue flexing under the stress of off-road jousts, ORU added a custom-built sub frame, complete with a skidplate, to the OE frame's center section.
The steering system on a tall truck often presents problems, but not on Jeff's 4x4. Off Road Unlimited installed a complete crossover steering system and a new lateral link setup that has the truck tracking and steering true, thanks to well-thought-out geometry and precision-crafted components. A hydraulic-assist cylinder helps move the steering linkage, making lock-to-lock steering a breeze and delivering accurate and responsive directional control.
Ford's powerful 6.8L Triton engine is the powerplant of choice for Jeff's SD, but the V-10 has received a few tweaks to maximize its output. Powerdyne supplied a centrifugal supercharger, which provides 6 psi of boost and pumps up engine torque by 150 lb-ft. Borla stainless steel headers and stainless exhaust system were also installed, allowing the additional heat and exhaust fumes from the improved 10-cylinder engine a free-flowing escape route.
With the suspension and engine mods complete, the wheel and tire package was chosen, and Jeff and the ORU crew deemed that nothing short of maximum-sized, trend-setting rollers would suffice. Ergo, Weld's popular Mountain Crusher forged alloy wheels, wrapped with massive 44-inch diameter Interco Trxus tires. It's not everyday you see a body as tricked-out as the one on Jeff's truck.
Visually stunning, the Crew Cab shows a basic coat of bright red, which is topped with slashing, wildly colorful graphics across the truck's beltline. The incredible paint is the handiwork of Sun Valley, California's, M&M Auto Art. Other goodies added to the Super's body include: ATS Designs fender flares, a Gaylord's hard tonneau cover, a Trenz billet grille, and a Reaper Racing light cage mounting PIAA lights.
There's a Warn 15,000-pound winch hidden behind the front license plate and a 9,000-pound Warn winch resides under the rear of the bed's floor. Most custom of all is the truck's front bumper, which was scratch-built by L&G Enterprises in San Dimas, California, and incorporates inverted Lincoln Navigator headlights.
Jeff Becker's hair-raising Blue Oval is outrageous, no doubt. However, it's equally useable, and that fact was demonstrated to us repeatedly on the way to our photo-shoot as well as during the shoot itself, as Becker roosted and romped on the trails leading to our sand dune photo location.
After the shoot, it was more of the same: a dozen or so mile trail ride, then a blast on the throttle and it was 75 mph all the way to Jeff's home base in Newbury Park, California. What started out as a blown shoot amid crummy weather had turned into a productive assignment with a slick and strong 4x4 amid ideal conditions. If only all of our shoots went so well.
|Owner/hometown:||Jeff Becker/Newbury Park, California|
|Year/make/model:||'00 Ford Super Duty Crew Cab 4x4|
|Engine:||Triton 6.8L V-10 with Powerdyne supercharger|
|Suspension:|| 14-inch lift spring packs from National Spring (front and rear);|
two Bilstein 7100-Series dampers per wheel;
Deist limit straps
|Brakes:||ORU slotted rotors, blueprinted ORU calipers|
|Wheels:||Weld Racing Mountain Crusher, 16.5x12-inch|
|Tires:||Interco Trxus, 44x21x16.5|
|Additional features:|| ORU sub frame with a skidplate;|
Borla stainless steel headers and exhaust system;
ATS Designs fender flares;
L&G custom front bumper, Reaper Racing light cage;
custom paint by M&M Auto Art;
Infinity Products wood-grain dashboard overlay;
Warn winches and 4X steps;
ORU crossover steering
Relaxor heat/massage seats