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2000 Ford F-350 - Project Power Stroke Puller: Part 2

Adding Style To Our Super Duty

Chris HamiltonPhotographer, Writer

In the last issue of Mud Life, you were able to watch as we dropped off our 2000 Ford Super Duty at Chrome Fish Customs for a full-body message and makeover. The factory body panels that were dented received special attention from the crew at Chrome Fish, but the unfixable pieces need to be replaced. Once he showed us which panels were damaged, I grabbed my phone and went on the LMC website to order new ones. A few days later they were on our truck and already in primer, which was way ahead of schedule. Before the truck is rolled into the booth, Jacob masked off the roof and sprayed Line-X on the top of the cab. This will help protect the roof from tree branches or rust over the next few years.

The body of our tow rig was covered in PPG Hot Rod Black with a matte clearcoat. The matte clear gave us the satin flat black finish that we were going for. All the paint was hand-delivered by Single Source in Port St. Lucie, Florida, the day after it was ordered, which gave Chrome Fish plenty of time to get it right. After a quick masking tape job, they sprayed the doorjambs, hood, and dualie fenders separately, giving our rig a complete color change. Once the jambs were dry, the whole truck was pushed into the paint booth and coated with a few coats of black. This is when you find out if your prep work was good enough; these guys were confident with theirs. The matte clearcoat sprays just like standard automotive clear paint and can be added over any color or brand of paint. A matte may not be the best choice if you have detailed graphics in your paint, which is why we chose a gloss clear on our badass hood.

When we dropped off the truck, Jacob promised us we would be shocked. He said there was a surprise in the works and he wasn’t kidding. The Chrome Fish guys spent a little over two days airbrushing our hood freehand with an unbelievably cool graphic. They used a few pictures off the Internet for reference, and then the paint started flying. The fine details pop out as you look closer. So next time you see our rig at an event, grab a ladder and check it out!

Next on the list for our Super Duty makeover is to get rid of those boring, useless chrome bumpers. They stick out like a sore thumb and they dent way to easily. We asked for recommendations on a pair of heavy-duty bumpers that look good and are built tough. Time and again the name Road Armor was brought up, so I jumped on the website and checked them out. They have a few really nice styles available for street trucks and hardcore rigs, but we went with a modest design that won’t be too big. The front winch mount is perfect for our Smittybuilt X20 weatherproof winch, and 4-inch light holes will fit Pro Comp’s HID lights perfectly. Lucky for us, these bumpers come in a satin black finish from the factory so they should match our new paint job very nicely. Now let’s watch the crew from Bigg Boy Auto Repair in West Palm Beach, Florida, work.

Once the truck was rolled out of the paint booth at Chrome Fish Customs, they pulled off the exact look we were going for.

Our tow rig received three separate coats of PPG matte clearcoat, which gives it a dull, tough look. It’s easy to see how much effort they spent straightening the body by looking down the bodylines. Dents and bad bodywork would be obvious on a satin finish, and there isn’t a single mistake on our Ford.

Now that the roof has a coat of protective Line X, we won’t need to worry about the low-lying trees in the woods. New smoked cab lights from LMC finish off the dark theme, and we think it looks great!

The freehand airbrushed graphics on the hood are extremely detailed and look super cool. Chrome Fish managed to add a little personality to our Super Duty, and we can’t wait to show it off.

Next on the list for this Power Stroke makeover is a new set of front and rear bumpers from Road Armor in Dallas. After checking out all their cool styles online, we picked the Stealth bumpers for the simple design and functional style. The 4-inch light cutouts and a winch mount will give us the confidence we need to go almost anywhere once everything is installed.

We will be bolting a Smittybilt X20 winch that can pull 12,000 pounds with a light synthetic rope and a wireless remote. This is the perfect winch thanks to its amphibious 6.6hp motor, which is completely sealed along with the three-stage planetary gear system.

To fill the light holes, we will add four Explorer HID floodlights. They come with clear and amber stone guards. We have seen way too many lights get smashed by rocks flying up at the front of a truck, so we will do our best to use the stone guards at all times.

Now that our parts have all arrived to Bigg Boy Auto Repair in West Palm Beach, Fayez Homasi can start unpacking the Road Armor bumpers from the freight pallet they were delivered on.

While Kenny supports the rear bumper, Fayez unbolted the factory-installed 12mm bolts that secure it to frame-rails. These bolts and plates can be reused, so be careful not to lose them.

With the old bumper out of the way, Kenny mounted the provided bumper brackets to our new rear bumper before lifting it onto the truck. These bolts should be installed loosely until they are test-fitted. The powdercoated satin black finish is going to match the body of our truck really well.

It’s not often that the rear bumper is off our truck. Now is a great time to clean and coat the nasty dirty framerails. This truck has nearly 300,000 miles on it, so a fresh coat a black spray paint around the undercarriage can make a world of difference.

The rear bumper is relatively easy when you have a friend willing to lend a hand. After a quick check to make sure it’s centered and level, they used an pneumatic impact gun to tighten the bolts snug.

The front will take about twice as long as the back thanks to some trick bolts and height adjustments. The factory bumper and tow rigs need to be removed due to the new bumpers’ design. In order to add structure and support for the winch, Road Armor bumpers are fabricated to surround the framerails.

The first part that Bigg Boy needed to install was the Road Armor bumper brackets. If your truck hasn’t seen any hard front-end damage, these brackets should fit perfectly and a new set of heavy-duty bolts are slid in. These will support the bumper as you tighten all eights bolts.

Kenny finished off the winch install by tightening the front lead plate. This piece protects the metal bumper, preventing it from scratching and rusting. The plate needs to be installed before the winch in order to fully tighten the bolts.

Road Armor designed the front bumper to support nearly every brand of winch on the market. Our 12,000-pound Smittybilt winch bolted on with no problems, and the wireless controller will make it easy to use from the cab of the truck.

The last thing to do before lifting the bumpers into place is to attach the new synthetic rope and wind it up. This lightweight rope is capable of safely pulling just as much weight as metal cables pull.

With the winch attached, our new bumper was quite a bit heavier. We had our buddy Jay come over and grab a side. I would be happy to help, but someone has to hold the camera, right? Once again, Fayez checked the fender alignment and bumper gap before loosely tightening all the bolts. This bumper is going to make our front end look extremely aggressive, which should scare all the Priuses out of our way.

One final look from a distance and a few last adjustments will always be necessary. The last thing you want is a crooked bumper. Fayez approved the placement and tightened the bolts one final time. Now for some lights!

To fill the holes, we will be installing four Explorer HID floodlights. Since we know lights need protection, we are glad these lights come with both clear and amber stone guards.

Road Armor also supplies these really nice laser-cut billet nameplates for the front bumper. The holes are already drilled and the hardware is included. These are the small details that make your rig stand our from the rest, and Project Power Stroke needed the bling. The Smittybilt winch cable protector keeps the cable clean, which helps the overall look of our truck.

If you’re around West Palm Beach, Florida, and you need any kind of automotive service, contact Bigg Boy Auto Repair. These guys are first class all the way, and their quality of work is proof. From stock to extreme, these guys do it all. Come hang out with them at the next event and see if your rig can hang with their mega truck!