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2001 Ford F350 Crew Cab 4x4 - The Next Big Thing

Posted in Features on February 1, 2004 Comment (0)
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2001 Ford F350 Crew Cab 4x4 - The Next Big Thing
Photographers: IPS Motorsports

It wasn't that long ago that Dr. Chris Gibson was showing his '85 Ford Ranger, fit with 18 inches of lift and 44-inch-diameter tires. The crowd loved this mini Big Foot version of a 4x4x44, but the Ranger had been on exhibit at shows for several years. Then the wheels in Chris' head started turning and he mentioned to his wife Trish that he had the urge to do a new project vehicle - only this time he wanted to tie it in with his chiropractic practice.

So Dr. Gibson sat down and started looking at the different Ford trucks on the market. He decided to build an F-350 CrewCab 4x4. Chris went to SEMA the year before and got a few ideas on building the massive truck, but now he had to come up with a logo to tie it into his business. To do so, Chris came up with a human spine that looked as if it was ripping right through the rear of the truck. The graphics show pinched nerves in the spine; the chiropractic term for this is subluxation, thus the name "Subluxator" was born and given to Chris' Super Duty.

The Subluxator has become a great conversation piece and has not only helped Chris' business, but has also helped the other chiropractors in the Sacramento, California, area. The truck that started out as a daily driver has turned into much more. It serves as both a show truck and a billboard on wheels.

When beginning this project, Chris knew he wanted the Ford to have a dramatic and unique look. When he took delivery of the truck and finally drove it home, he went right to work on it, taking the F-350 apart before the engine even had a chance to cool. He even removed the factory stickers on that first night.

The following day, Chris raised the big Ford 8 inches above stock height by installing a Skyjacker 8-inch Soft Ride spring lift kit (front and rear). Next, Chris installed a set of Bilstein 7100-series dampers with remote reservoirs, using custom mounting brackets. The rear frame was cut and reworked by Sheetz Welding in Folsom, California. Steetz installed a new crossmember to mount the dampers, as well as the upper airbag attachments and the hidden Warn winch. On the rear spring packs, Chris added a set of AirRide Technologies airbags to assist with towing a trailer. To provide the air needed to use these 'bags, Chris installed a 6-gallon Peterbuilt chromed air tank and two 450-series Viair compressors; this setup allows for rapid inflation of a tire, if required. Since the air was already in place, Chris also installed a Master Air horn to get the attention of other drivers. To complete the suspension upgrades, Chris added a ladder bar with Heim joints from Burbank, California-based Xtreme Toyz. Chris also installed a chromed Skyjacker torsion bar and stainless-steel brake lines.

For the front axle, Chris went with a Dana 60 equipped with Warn hubs and 4.30 gears. The Sterling 10.5-inch rear was also reworked and given 4.30 gears from Precision Gear. The tires are 38x15-16.5 Super Swamper TSL Radials, which are mounted to 16.5x12-inch Weld Sidewinder wheels.

With the lift complete, it was time to spice up the stock powerplant. Chris called Orangevale Diesel for expert help, and the crew gave the stock 7.3L Power Stroke Turbo V-8 diesel new life. Orangevale Diesel installed a Banks Power Pack with a new intercooler and bumped up the turbo's boost to 24 pounds. Orangevale also installed a Banks 125hp computer chip, along with an A&S 4-inch turbo intake port and an Airaid airbox. The exhaust is a 4-inch-diameter stainless-steel system from BK Bank. The estimated horsepower on this engine is 365, with a stump-pulling 740 lb-ft of torque.

Chris wanted to give his body a new look so that the F-350 wouldn't be confused with any other lifted Ford. To accomplish this goal, Chris filled the grille cavity with a Trenz billet grille insert and a Stull chromed shell. Chris also added a set of APC clear corners to the front and installed '02 headlights for an updated look. Next, the OE front bumper was removed and a Ford Excursion bumper from Aftermarket Sport Truck Parts was installed. The bumper mounts were modified to position the bumper 4 inches forward, allowing the mounting of the 12,000-pound Warn winch.

The truck kept its original color, oxford white, and all the paint and body mods were completed by Vice Auto Body in Citrus Heights, California, using PPG products. Jay Vice smoothed and painted the new hood, mirrors, door handles, front valance, tailgate, and fender flares. Vice also added a Reflextion cowl-induction hood and Warn fender flares. To protect the bed, this truck has a SnugTop hard tonneau cover, and the bed's interior was covered with Line-X.

After all the exterior work was complete, Chris wanted the interior to have a style that was unique, but would match the body. To begin, the seats and door panels were upholstered in gray cloth with purple-tweed inserts. Hidden behind the kick panels is a pair of Alpine speakers. Cool Custom Upholstery of Yuba City, California, gets the nod for the stylish interior mods.

Chris did much of the work on this truck, but he also had a lot of help from his neighbor Jim and the understanding of his wife and family. While this truck's buildup started out as a hobby, it has become more of a business. Chris has now taken his truck to numerous shows, including monster truck shows and SEMA. What's next for Chris' Super Duty? Your guess is as good as ours; the good doctor would only tell us that "Something big is planned." We'll just have to wait for the next incarnation of the Subluxator.

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