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2017 Super Duty Went From The Trail To The SEMA Show

Posted in Features on February 2, 2017
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These days the automotive aftermarket is chocked full of accessories; some improve vehicle performance and capability, while others focus on comfort and aesthetics. Judging by the expansive Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in recent years it’s safe to say the automotive aftermarket is alive and well and the recession is long gone. As soon as the OEs roll out new models, the aftermarket companies race to design, test, and release new products to meet consumer demand. From lift kits and bumpers, to floor mats and engine upgrades, there’s no shortage of options to customize most late-model vehicles. An example is the all-new ’17 Ford Super Duty. We anticipated it would be the hot new truck at the 2016 SEMA Show, and it was.

Among the companies that showed up at the SEMA Show with a new Super Duty was BDS Suspension, a full-line suspension manufacturer out of Coldwater, Michigan. “The Super Duty lift kits have been a staple of our product line over the years with the four-link conversion being a go-to for many truck owners,” says Mike Maloney, VP of sales and marketing at BDS Suspension. In early September, BDS took delivery of a new ’17 F-250 and the team of engineers got to work overhauling the pickup into Project Ascension, a capable commuter, ready for road trips and backcountry four-wheeling adventures. With six weeks to build the truck prior to the November SEMA Show, the crew began taking measurements, prototyping parts, and calling around in search of other accessories for the build. The team worked diligently to get the truck ready for the show by fitting the lift kit, wheels, tires, bumpers, lighting, recovery gear, and storage. With the truck so new, parts were hard to come by for the build, as many companies were still in the development/testing phase.

Up front, a custom lightweight aluminum Fusion bumper is installed. It is built from 3/16- and 1/4-inch aluminum plate with a reinforced winch plate and D-ring mounts. The bumper is internally gusseted, hand TIG-welded, and finished with matte clearcoat. Also up front there’s a Baja Designs 30-inch S8 LED lightbar and a Warn Zeon 12-S Platinum winch fit with a Factor 55 ProLink XXL winch shackle mount.

With phase one of the build complete, the truck was loaded to the brim with displays and promotional products and driven approximately 2,000 miles from Michigan to Las Vegas for the SEMA Show. As has become tradition for BDS over the years, the crew stopped in the wheeling mecca of Moab on the way out to hit the trails and test the newly built truck, and that’s where we caught up with the guys. The truck was wheeled over parts of Golden Spike, Hell’s Revenge, and 7-Mile Rim. BDS Sales Representative Miles Henderson piloted the truck out on the trails, taking some of the more technical lines. “I’ve been impressed with this truck. It’s comfortable on the highway and super capable out on the trail. The Nittos find traction wherever you point them, and the suspension is super predictable with the four-link coilover setup,” Miles says.

BDS’ Project Ascension is capable and practical. We’ll be seeing this truck again at the Fullsize Invasion during the 2017 Easter Jeep Safari this spring, and we hear there will be more mods to the truck, so stay tuned.

To check out BDS’s video of this truck in Moab, head to

The aluminum body and overlanding theme of the F-250 inspired the exterior finish of the truck. The truck is wrapped with a 3M brushed metallic wrap, metallic black up top, and brushed aluminum on the bottom with a cosmic blue pinstripe and gray graphics.

At A Glance

Vehicle: '17 Ford F-250 Super Duty
Owner: BDS Suspension
Stomping grounds: Coldwater, Michigan
Build time: Six weeks

Engine: 6.7L Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8
Transmission: 6R140 TorqShift six-spd auto
Transfer case(s): Stock two-spd
Low range ratio(s): 2.64:1
Crawl ratio(s): 39.1:1
Front axle/differential: Stock, 3.73:1 gears/open
Rear axle/differential: Stock, 3.73:1 gears/electric locker

The stock 6.7L Power Stroke turbodiesel with 440hp and 925 lb-ft of torque has no trouble turning the 38-inch rubber thanks to an Edge Evolution CTS2 tuner that provides several performance tune settings.

Front: BDS 6-in four-link conversion, Fox 2.5 coilovers with remote DSC, auxiliary Fox 2.0 IFP shocks
Rear: BDS GlideRide rear leaf springs, Fox 2.0 IFP shocks, BDS RECOIL traction bars
Steering: Stock w/dual Fox steering stabilizers

The extra altitude comes from a BDS 6-inch four-link conversion system with rear springs. Up front, the factory stamped-steel radius arms are converted over to a four-link setup for improved stability, strength, and caster control. In place of the factory coil springs the truck is fit with Fox 2.5 Factory Series coilovers with remote DSC adjusters and auxiliary Fox 2.0 shocks. In the rear, there’s a pair of replacement Glideride leaf springs, RECOIL traction bars and Fox 2.0 shocks.

Tires: 38x13.50R20 Nitto Trail Grappler
Wheels: 20x10 KMC XD Machete w/ custom rings

Lighting: Baja Designs 30-in S8 LED lightbar, XL-R Pro spotlights, RTL Rear Taillight, S2 Pro lights
Armor: Fusion aluminum front and rear bumpers
Cool stuff: Warn Zeon 12-S Platinum winch, Factor 55 ProLink XXL winch shackle mount, Warn Epic shackles, 3M brushed metallic wrap, Amp Research Powersteps, Bushwacker Extend-A-Fender flares, Bestop canvas Supertop, custom roof rack, Magellan eXplorist TRX7 navigation, Roadwire leather seats, sPOD six-switch modular system

Accessing the cab is made much easier thanks to a set of Amp Research Powersteps.
With the suspension dialed in, the truck has plenty of room to fit 38x13.50 Nitto Trail Grapplers. In addition to the Nittos impressive performance on the trail, the tires are a load range E, which is perfect for this truck because it will see its share of towing. The tires are mounted on 20x10 KMC XD Machete wheels with custom beadlock rings.
Bushwacker fender flares offer extra tire coverage with the larger rubber installed.
Ample storage for gear and supplies is a must for overlanding adventures. To maximize cargo carrying capacity a Bestop Supertop was added for extra dry storage. The team from BDS custom built a bed rack and aluminum basket that fit the contours of the canvas top and offers extra rooftop storage. The basket mounts the five Baja Designs XL-R Pro LED forward-facing spotlights and rear-facing RTL Rear Tail Light.
The rear of the Super Duty is finished off with a matching Fusion bumper with provisions for backup sensors, D-rings and a pair of Baja Designs S2 Pro flood lights.
The dash and stereo are left stock, while a Magellan eXplorist TRX7 navigation system helps chart the course when the truck gets off the beaten path.
Inside, the factory cloth seats were treated to custom Roadwire premium leather upholstery and the headrests feature Project Ascension embroidery.
A sPOD six-switch modular system is mounted to the overhead console and in the engine bay to make wiring up lights and accessories a breeze.
Future plans for the truck include an intake and DPF-back exhaust (to keep it EPA-compliant) as well as SlideZilla slide-out bed tray system, Air Lift rear airbags with custom mounts, bed-mounted spare tire carrier, and an on-board air system.
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