Taking the time to build your own rig, at your own pace, exactly the way you want to build it, is nothing but a dream for some off-road enthusiasts. Lacking the right tools or knowledge can scare some guys into paying ridiculous amounts of money to have their rigs built. Chris Cornett is not one of those guys.
Chris wanted a big Ford mega truck that could rip through the nastiest pits in the south, and he wasn’t about to pay someone else to build it for him. One day he cleared some space at his shop and put his ’90 Ford F-250 on the lift. The truck was completely disassembled and a whole new tube chassis was fabricated. Chris also included a full rollcage built from 15⁄8-inch DOM tubing into the design of the chassis. A welder by trade, he knew the truck was put together correctly and that it would stay together.
With the chassis complete, Chris turned his attention to the suspension. The Ford was going to be jumping, digging, and pulling, not to mention getting buried, so he wanted superior performance. A standard leaf-spring setup was out. After taking a few measurements from the cradle to the axles, Chris whipped up a set of four-link bars with Heim joints at both ends. The 14-inch Fox Nitrogen shocks make for a smooth ride, and sway bars control the body roll around corners. A Rockwell F106 axle is now used in the front, and an H170 is bolted to the rear. Both axles have a 6.80 gear ratio and chromoly axleshafts. A locker in the rear keeps both rear wheels moving at all times, and Wilwood pinion brakes stop it. An SCS transfer case with a 3.2:1 gear ratio is also installed with 1410/1480 U-joints and driveshafts.
The Ford big-block powering this beast is a ’78 460ci V-8. A few modifications, like an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold and 750-cfm Profuel double pumper carburetor, give it a little more power. Chris also built the 15⁄8-inch headers and 3-inch exhaust from scratch. Once the ’78 Ford C6 transmission was built up using B&M shift kit, transmission cooler, and torque converter, it was bolted to the engine and the whole assembly was put into the engine bay. A few last items to fab up were a 20-gallon aluminum fuel cell and some 24x15 wheels, all of which Chris built himself. For tires he chose 14.9x24 Superior Traction rice paddy tractor tires, and he is extremely glad he did.
For the interior, Chris welded a whole new dash out of aluminum that also stores his air intake. This way, as long as there is no water in his cab, there is no water in his motor. AutoMeter gauges and Corbeau racing bucket seats finish off the simple yet functional interior. A few unique feature of this rig are a forward-opening front clip, bright colors that Chris painted himself, and a fully gutted bed that exposes the tubing like a work of art.
Chris learned a lot of lessons building his first mega truck, and he would do a few things different in the future. Switching to coilover shocks is the first on the list, but for now it’s time to go mudding!
1990 Ford F-250
Owner: Chris Cornett
Engine: 460ci Ford V-8
Transmission: Ford C6
Transfer Case: SCS with 3.2:1 gear ratio
Suspension: 4-link tube chassis
Axles: Rockwell F106 in front, H170 in back
Shocks: 14-inch Fox nitrogen shocks
Tires & Wheels: 24x15 wheels he built himself, 14.9x24 Superior Traction paddle tires