A Squeaky-Clean Mud Truck
A few months back we had a killer weekend of hardcore mudding at Triple Canopy Ranch (TCR) in Lake Whales, Florida. We had an agenda, looking for feature trucks to shoot that day, so we were extremely busy. The mud pits on the TCR grounds almost always have more than enough action and rigs to fill the pages of our magazine with killer trucks. That particular day we found this Harley-Davidson themed Ford with 5-ton axles and extremely attractive driver Sabra Stilwell behind the wheel! Luckily for us she was more than willing to let us photograph her and the truck for Mud Life.
The truck is so clean that at first glance you might think it's brand-new, but it's a '01 Ford F-350 that has been kept in exceptional condition with a facelift. Ricky Trebino from Naples, Florida, did the majority of the work to this rig before Bryan Eckley and Sabra Stilwell picked it up and transformed it into the truck it is today. A front clip from a '10 Ford F-350 was added, and the entire body was removed to apply a Harley-Davidson paint theme. Throw a real Southern girl in the driver seat and you have a recipe for a great weekend in the woods, or at any one of the weekend mud events that go on here in the South.
This 7.3L diesel earth-mover sits on a new subframe, and the four-linked suspension helps its muddin' performance. The 16-inch FOA piggyback shocks and some SCS sway bars control the truck and give it a smooth enough ride straight through the deepest mud. With the help of a custom hydraulic steering system, Sabra has no problem controlling the locked-up 5-ton axles and the giant 28LSX26 R2 tires. The SCS drop transfer case gives the driver the ability to switch in and out of four-wheel drive and the torque needed to get the truck through the thickest mud. Surprisingly, the rig still uses the semi-factory Ford automatic transmission and hasn't had any problems; Bryan just added a billet torque converter for reliability.
A few other creature comforts like leather interior and a full JL Audio stereo system give this build a classy look inside and out. To maintain that pristine appearance, the truck is fully detailed after each and every mud event—only to be trashed at the next event. Bryan and Sabra are hardcore off-road Mud Life enthusiasts, so forget the stereotype you see on TV and pay attention to the real world around you. We are all here to have fun and enjoy life; some just know how to do it better.
2001 Ford F-350
Owner: Bryan Eckley and Sabra Stilwell, Tampa, Fla.
Engine: 7.3L Ford Power Stroke diesel
Transmission: 2001 Ford automatic w/ billet torque converter
Transfer Case: 4:1 SCS case
Suspension: Custom parallel 4-link bars
Axles: 5-ton military
Shocks: 16-inch FOA piggyback coilovers
Tires & Wheels: 28lsX26 R2 tires on 25x26 wheels