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1997 Ford F350 - Trucks Of Missouri

Posted in Project Vehicles on September 1, 2002
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Johnny Maxwell of Rolla, Missouri, will tell you that there are worse things in life than driving your very own eye-catching, big-block fullsize 4x4 pickup. He'll probably also agree (as any of us who have built trucks can attest to) that a cool truck is often the sum of many late nights, an inordinate amount of sweat and quite a few skinned knuckles. Of course, the upside is that the result of all this hard work is a truck you can proudly drive for years. Maxwell's '97 Ford F-350 is an example of just that type of truck.

The front spring packs were modified to create a level vehicle front to rear, the Skyjacker triple-shock kit was installed, and a number of components were powdercoated.

Under the hood, Maxwell wanted to extract a bit more power from the 460ci V-8 without delving into the engine's internals, so he turned to some simple power-producing bolt-ons. He installed a K&N Filtercharger kit, Jacobs coil, spark-plug wires and Ultra Pro Street Ignition, and a custom dual-exhaust system consisting of Flowmaster mufflers and 3-inch stainless-steel tubing bent by Muffler Mart in Rolla.

Fitting 35x16-16.5 Boggers on 16.5x12 Weld Typhoon wheels on the Ford meant creating some wheelwell space, so he installed a complete Skyjacker 4-inch suspension kit. Up front he installed the Skyjacker triple-shock kit and on the rear he used a pair of diff-tube mounting brackets from a Go Rhino! axle truss to mount the lower end of a second pair of Skyjacker shocks. Then he installed custom mounts to the frame for the upper ends. Other underbody mods include Skyjacker extended stainless-steel brake lines and L&L chrome ladder bars. Finally, the guys at Hartman Engine Sports in Salem, Missouri removed the stock 3.55 gears and set up the new 4.10 gears. At the same time they inspected the rear factory limited-slip unit before reassembling the diffs and installing a pair of aluminum diff covers from Off Road Unlimited.

The rear diff features dual shocks at each wheel as well as a limited-slip differential. Lift comes from a 4-inch Skyjacker suspension kit.

The exterior of the Ford was next. It received a Cervines cowl hood, which was painted to match the factory white finish by Malibu Paint Center in Knoxville. Then came a Pro Comp Prerunner Bar, a pair of KC off-road lights, a Lund roll pan, a Penda bedliner, a Cover Craft tonneau cover and pinstriping and lettering by Howard Horn in Knoxville.

The result of Maxwell's hard work is a clean, capable truck that elicits favorable comments from all who see it. That reward seems to make those knuckles heal a little bit faster.


Owner Johnny & Leigh Maxwell, Rolla, Missouri
Vehicle model ’97 Ford F-350
Estimated value $34,000
Type OHV V-8
Displacement (ci) 460
Aspiration Fuel injection, Jacobs ignition,
stainless-steel exhaust, Flowmaster mufflers
Transmission C6
Transfer case NP205
Front 4-inch-lift leaf springs,
1 1/2-inch spring pads, three
Skyjacker shocks per wheel
Rear Skyjacker 2-inch-lift leaf springs,
2-inch spacer blocks, two Skyjacker
shocks per wheel
Front Dana 60, Off Road Unlimited diff cover
Rear Ford 10A-inch, limited-slip,
Off Road Unlimited diff cover
Ring-and-pinion 4.10:1
Wheels 16.5x12 Weld Typhoon
Tires 35x16-16.50 Boggers

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