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2006 Ford F350 - Garden Variety Super Duty

Exterior View Side
Phil Howell | Writer
Posted June 9, 2008

A Landscaper's Clean And Competent Ford For Work And Play

Jose Acevedo, owner of International Mainte-nance, a landscaping and gardening firm in St. George, Utah, owns trucks that get beat up daily hauling equipment, sprinklers, pipes, and plants to jobs. For himself, he just purchased a new '05 Ford Super Duty 4x4 with the 6.0 liter Powerstroke diesel to use not only in business but for fun as well.

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After spending over $45,000 for the new Lariat, he didn't have the funds to be able to build a high-zoot, expensive, long travel truck, yet he wanted his new baby to work well off-road, on the job or during the weekend, and on-road the rest of the time. After doing a bit of research by reading Off-Road (of course), he built the new Ford into a clean and competent truck that doesn't break and didn't break the bank.

Like many, the first thing Jose wanted to add was new tires and wheels. He wanted aggressive tires that work in the mud of job sites, so he chose a set of 35x12.50R17LT Toyo Open Country MTs and mounted them on a set of 17x8-inch" Ultra Retro alloy wheels. The tire and wheel combo didn't fit on the stock Super Duty. Jose decided to go with Explorer Pro Comp's new 4" Super Duty suspension that would allow the tires to fit with no problems and wouldn't compromise the Super Duty's on- and off-road abilities.

The Pro Comp Stage I kit came with all the pieces needed for a complete install. We say this because, in the "old days," some lift kits arrived with the basic pieces, but you ended up having to chase down everything from U-bolts to nuts and bolts. That's not the case here. All the holes lined up and the install was accomplished with no surprises. Jose also opted for the Explorer Pro Comp Dual Shock kit up front. With the adjustable MX6 shocks, he can turn them down to soft and get just the amount of control he wants and needs. Jose sometimes tows large, heavy loads, so he augmented his leaf springs with Firestone airbags. These he inflates only when towing a heavy load. The Pro Comp leaf packs were plenty beefy for any load the pickup carried on its own. Jose reports they also provide a better ride than the stock springs did.

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Now that the tires were on, the truck didn't seem as powerful as it had been. Once again, Jose figured out from reading the magazine that he needed to change gearing to get his performance back. The Super Duty came with 3.73 gears and 265/70R17E tires. These tires are 31.6-inches in diameter. The new tires are 35-inches in diameter. By dividing 35 by 31.6 and multiplying the answer by 3.73, the answer is 4.13. 4.13 gears would put the truck back to stock. Jose chose 4.10's. He also opted to install an ARB Air Locker Detroit Locker in the rearend to help off-road traction. The gearing and locker weren't installed at the time of the shoot, but will be in by the time you're reading this.

Jose now has a Super Duty that does all he requires and more. He reports the ride is great and the truck works much better than it did in its stock configuration. The suspension provides a controlled ride, yet still allows the truck to be used as the workhorse it is. The Toyo tires provide great traction off-highway, yet are fairly quiet and well-behaved on the pavement. The gearing change is a needed improvement and the locker will improve performance even more. Jose's Super Duty may be "Garden Variety," but it's the pick of the crop!

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