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Special FX

Posted in Project Vehicles on September 1, 2005 Comment (0)
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There are radical trucks and then there are radical trucks. Jason and Theresa Contreras' '04 Ford F-150 FX4 is the latter. What's the difference, you ask? Well, their truck isn't radical because of visually complex paint or a ridiculous amount of lift - it's radical because it features a vast number of unique mods that combine to create a capable rig that looks great. The mods begin with an abundance of custom body modifications wrapped with eye-catching non-Ford-spec yellow paint. Then there's a vast array of custom interior and exterior tubing. Underneath is a flexy 8-inch suspension lift that retains the IFS. Oh, and it all wraps up with a variety of mind-boggling interior modifications.

So whether the Contrerases are commuting to their shop, L&G Enterprises in San Dimas, California, or exploring desert dunes, their radical late-model rig will not only catch people's eye, but chances are it'll turn their heads too.

Radical without being overdone is a good formula for building a truck, and the Contreras Ford adheres to that strategy with a number of unique, yet tastefully done, body modifications. Some of the most eye-catching are the prerunner-style front fenders and the rear bedsides. L&G Enterprises created this prerunner look by modifying a pair of Super Duty front fenders and mounting them over the stock front F-150 fenders. This labor-intensive mod took a technician more than four days per fender to perform. The bedsides were flared outward 4 inches, and the resulting gap between the fender and inner fender was filled. Also contributing to the F-150's bold look are a slew of Street Scene products. Up front is a urethane valance with lights and a fiberglass wiper cowl and hood. Midway back are a pair of Cal-Vu sport mirrors. On the tail end is a urethane roll pan. The attention-grabbing paint is House of Kolor Citrus Gold Kandy, and it was applied by the folks at L&G Enterprises. Finally, the front bumper was fabbed by Custom Truck Shop from 1.5-inch tubing, and it is the mounting point for a pair of Lightforce 240 Blitz 9.5-inch off-road lights.

Another distinct facet of this F-150 is the custom rear bed cage. This trick cage was fabbed by the team at Custom Truck Shop in San Dimas, and features secure, yet easily accessible, storage for a pair of spare wheels and tires. It also serves as a mounting point for the rear shock reservoirs, a pair of 10-gallon gasoline cans (removed in this photo), and four powerful forward-facing Lightforce 240 Blitz 9.5-inch off-road lights. Other mods include a Street Scene rollpan and a pair of rear-facing Lightforce Lance 140 5.6-inch 75-watt lights that are securely mounted to the floor of the bed. Speaking of the bed, take a good look at the tailgate opening and you'll see that after removing the tailgate, L&G Enterprises removed the latches, and filled and smoothed the unused tailgate holes. In this image you get a clear view of the custom rear bumper that was fabbed by the guys at Custom Truck Shop. Like the rest of the interior and exterior tubing, it was fashioned from 1.5-inch tubing.

The rear suspension is simple yet functional. The space between the rear axle and the F-150's frame was increased via custom Atlas Spring 6-inch-lift leaf springs. Naturally, this combination required the Contrerases to install a longer, stiffer shock absorber. Their unique solution was to use the shock found in 16-inch-travel RaceRunner 2.5-inch remote-reservoir coilover shocks. These shocks have many of the same specs as those found in the front of the F-150, sans coil spring, so they can take whatever the Contrerases can dish out. The shock's remote reservoir was routed through the bed of the F-150 and mounted to the bed cage.

As you can see, the interior of the F-150 underwent a substantial revision. The most obvious is the interior cage, which was fabbed from 1.5-inch tubing by Custom Truck Shop in San Dimas, California. The interior also features a horde of the latest and greatest audio and video equipment, including an Audiovox head unit and amplifiers, Cerwin-Vega speakers, four TV monitors and a mind-boggling computer from Fleet Systems that provides mobile Internet access. The folks over at Audio Innovations in Glendora, California, installed all of the audio/video equipment. Interior bling comes from Cerullo seats, with red faux carbon-fiber accents, and carbon-fiber dash overlays from Dynasty Dash. Bling aside, the interior mods wrap up with Deist Safety five-point harnesses for the front passengers and four-point harnesses for each of the three rear-seat passengers.

Fitting 37-inch tires under an F-150 ain't gonna happen without a healthy suspension lift. This is why the Contrerases installed a California Super Trucks (CST) 8-inch lift. The CST kit includes a strong one-piece subframe with built-in differential skidplate; new upper control arms with spherical bearings that are much stronger than the OEM ball joints found in the stock upper control arms; hand-fabricated steel knuckles to replace the aluminum OEM units; and a steering drop mount that CST says keeps steering angles in factory specifications throughout the entire suspension cycle. They also installed the optional CST front skidplate. Normally, the CST kit reuses the OEM coil-on-shock setup, but the Contrerases opted for beefier 10-inch-travel RaceRunner 2.5-inch remote-reservoir coilover shocks. These shocks have a 7/8-inch hard-chromed shaft, electroless nickel-plated cylinder, and a 3-inch inner-diameter coil spring. They're also rebuildable and revalvable. A custom lower mount was fabbed for the coilovers to allow them to fit the F-150.

Tough 17x10 Walker Evans aluminum bead-lock wheels not only stand up to the rigors of hard trail use, but they also ensure that the beads of the aggressive 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Baja TA tires stay adhered to the wheels no matter how brutal the trail. The F-150's braking was also addressed with a Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation upgrade. The front 13-inch rotors and the rear 13.7-inch rotors are slotted, and more powerful and lighter three-piston aluminum calipers reside at all four corners, replacing the stock iron two-piston front calipers and the iron single-piston rear calipers. Corvette pads further improve braking performance.

Underneath all of those hoses and wires is a 5.4L V-8 engine. From the factory, it's rated at 300 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque, so it's no slouch. The Contrerases perked up its output a bit with a polished stainless steel MagnaFlow 3-inch-diameter after-cat exhaust system. They also chucked the OEM battery for a deep-cycle Optima Yellow Top battery.



Jason and Theresa Contreras, San Dimas, California
'04 {{{Ford F-150}}} FX4
Estimated Value:

5.4L SOHC V-8
EFI, Magnaflow 3-inch-diameter after-cat exhaust
Output, hp/torque (lb-ft):

4R75W automatic
Transfer case:
Stock two-speed

CST 8-inch-lift, RaceRunner 8-inch-travel 2.5-inch remote-reservoir coilover shocks with modified lower mount
Custom Atlas 6-inch-lift leaf springs, RaceRunner 10-inch-travel 2.5-inch remote-reservoir shocks

Ring and pinion:

17x10 Walker Evans aluminum bead lock
37x12.5R17 BFGoodrich Baja T/A


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