This Diesel 1997 Ford F-250 Can Crawl As Well As It Hauls

Jack of All Terrains

Harry WagnerPhotographer, Writer

There’s no such thing as the perfect vehicle. The more tasks you expect from a rig, the more compromises you have to make. Jesse Coss realizes this is true, but that didn’t stop him from building a truck that is very, very good at hauling across the desert and crawling over rocks. Is it a Trophy Truck? Nope. Is it a rock buggy? It’s not. But Jesse’s truck does a great job of just about everything.

He started 10 years ago with an inexpensive 1997 F-250 diesel with 630,000 miles on the clock. These trucks have TTB front ends, so the first thing Jesse did was replace the Dana 50 with a Dana 60 solid axle from an F-350.

Jesse drove it like that for years, but then over the last few years the truck has been upgraded with more horsepower and bigger shocks. Front coilovers and rear trailing arms with coilovers and bypass shocks allow the diesel rig to blast across the desert with reckless abandon, and while they weren’t inexpensive, the low entry price allowed room in the budget to add the high-end Fox shocks. The solid axles and 40-inch Pro Comp Xtreme MT2s, combined with the torque of the diesel engine, allow the Ford to crawl anywhere that the sheetmetal fits. That might not be perfect, but it’s pretty darn close.

Tech Specs

1997 Ford F-250
Engine: 7.3L V-8 diesel
Transmission: E40D 4-speed automatic
Transfer Case: BW4407
Front Axle: Dana 60 with 4.10 gears and Eaton E-Locker
Rear Axle: Sterling 10.25 with 4.10 gears and factory limited slip
Springs & Such: 3-link with Fox coilovers and bumpstops (front); trailing arms with Fox coilovers and bypass shocks (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 40x13.5R17 Pro Comp Xtreme MT2s on 17x9 KMC Machete beadlock rims
Steering: Factory steering box, RuffStuff Specialties tie rod and drag link
Lighting: Amazon LED light bar
Other Stuff: JeliBuilt tuning, electric fuel pump, 6.0L intercooler, shortened bedsides, trimmed factory front bumper, Artec trusses
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