When we last left you, our super hero Super Duty was in a perilous position. There was only a matter of days left before D-day (Day One of Ultimate Adventure) and the 46.7-inch-tall tires hadn't been mounted on the truck, the not-common 20-inch bead locks were in a different state, the rollbar that our rules required was on the garage floor, we needed to have the Dynatrac Dana 60 frontend put in with the ARB locker and Precision Gear ring-and-pinion, and the list went on. For us, as well as most invitees of this year's Ultimate Adventure, the adventure started far before Day One.
So the home-stretch thrash kicked into high gear. There's nothing like the excitement of trying to build a truck in a way that nobody else has, using parts that, frankly, we just weren't sure were going to work together. Like any true super hero plot, we had to make sure the deck was stacked against us, so we didn't even leave enough time to test anything. By working with some extremely talented and understanding suppliers and using what little skills we've garnered over the years, we were able to pull together a Super Duty that looks and performs like no other. And then we beat the snot out of it to prove our point.
The real heroes this month were the crew at Dynatrac who thrashed to finish their prototype Pro Rock 60 specifically designed to fit Ford Super Duty trucks. We also owe Tom Reider at Reider Racing and Precision Gear considerable thanks for providing the Precision Gear ring-and-pinion sets on very short notice, as well as bearings and seals for the rear axle.
That's not to discount the effort made by our fearless advertising reps, Jeff Nasi and Jerome Dziechiasz, to install the Warn M15000 winch in Cedar City between midnight and 5 a.m. the first official day of Ultimate Adventure. It got a work out, and the truck might still be in Utah if not for this amazing winch. Special thanks go to Jeff and Jerome, who pretty much went without sleep for the entire week of Ultimate Adventure to massage the truck through its debut.
Our big regret was not having time to install the AGR steering system which would have greatly enhanced the driving of this beast. We also suspect that it would have saved us from a few of the situations we ran into, and maybe even a few broken parts. We will bring all you Super Duty owners a complete steering upgrade article in the near future.
There are never enough words, photos, and pages to tell you everything about a project vehicle, but hopefully this series on the Ultimate Super Duty has given you fresh ideas on building a fullsize truck.
So How Did It Work?
The tires were a hit--and they hit. They gave the truck awesome height, while the 5-inch Tuff Country lift kept the overall truck height sane. Stuffing the tires into the sheetmetal wasn't easy. We couldn't cut the front as much as we would have liked to because of battery boxes, the ECM, and the airbox. So we limited up travel. Down travel was aided considerably by the 269-pound tire and wheel combination--that's per wheel! The tires flexed awesomely and even rode well on the highway. Toss in the fact that no one in the civilian world has seen these meats before and it makes for the perfect conversation starter.The Avalanche combination slide bars, rear corner protection, and rear bumper worked perfectly to save the body. As it was we put a few dents in the body higher than the protection, but we guarantee that we wouldn't be able to open any of the doors if it wasn't for the Avalanche bars.
Upper Heldorado in Moab, Utah, proved to be component tester for us. We knew that the steering was hurting, but we didn't have time to install the prototype AGR box, pump, and Rock Ram that Matt Burkett had brought with him on Ultimate Adventure. We snapped the sector shaft in the Ford box, forcing our Adventure into overtime. Before the day was done the ARB Sahara Bar front bumper had been reshaped, the Warn winch had saved the truck quite a few times, and we managed to split a 35-spline stub axle. We really believe that having the AGR steering system on the truck would have saved us from most of this carnage--we were having to do things we didn't want to because we just couldn't turn the truck. Even the broken axle could have been avoided.
Our other lesson en route was that the Trailready bead-lock wheels needed at least a 3/8-inch bolt rather than the 5/16-inch bolts they came with. The weight of the Super Duty combined with the diameter of the Michelin tires was just too much. The bolts would snap as we drove down the highway. We're currently working with Trailready to come up with a better solution.
If you're itching to criticize the performance of the truck or its components, remember that the words Super Duty are usually only used around tough trails in reference to towing to the trail. When you look at the pictures, use the nearly 4-foot-tall tires to reference the size of the rocks the truck is going over. We know it's not the optimum vehicle for these types of trails, but we made you look! Now go ahead and write that letter if you want.