Subscribe to the Free

2001 Ford F350 Dually - Employee Of The Month

Winning Trophies With A Work Truck

Joe Greeves
Jul 1, 2008
Photographers: Joe Greeves
Photo 2/13   |   2001 Ford F350 Dually left Front Angle
Lots of automotive business owners have realized that building a shop truck is a smart move. Whenever they head to a public event, they get to drive a distinctive looking truck that they are proud of. Having a shop truck is also good for their customers because they get a firsthand look at the talents of the staff. And, who knows? There might even be a tax break in there somewhere since it's technically business advertising. Of course, every shop owner is also familiar with the downside. Customers' vehicles always come first (since they pay the bills), so finding time to work on the company vehicle is often a problem. Perhaps the biggest challenge when you're an industry pro is ensuring your completed truck is a cut above the rest. After all, it reflects on your business, and you don't want to make a bad impression.
We don't know which of those elements were most important to Frank Carralero, co-owner of Red's Hydraulics in Miami, Florida, but we do know that Frank's custom truck does double duty, hauling the Red's Hydraulics fifth-wheel trailer during the week and collecting trophies on the weekend. Frank has been an automotive enthusiast for 30 of his 40 years on Earth. He and his business partner, Adolfo Corripio, have been crafting custom suspensions using either hydraulics or air spring systems for the last two decades. Recently, Frank has expanded his involvement in the sport with Diesel Wheels, recognizing the need for large diameter rims for custom trucks, and starting a business to address that need.
Photo 3/13   |   Don't let the good looks fool you. This '01 Ford F-350, with its '05 front clip and custom Emerald Green and Sunburst Copper Pearl paint job, is a true workhorse, pulling the Red's fifth-wheel trailer to shows around the country. The slammed suspension profile required all new front and rear suspension builds so that the truck's towing capacity was not affected.
Full-Time Job
Frank and Adolfo bought this '01 F-350 brand-new, and it filled the role as work truck in the shop for several years. When it came time for a major upgrade, suspension changes naturally had to include a radically lowered profile. The transformation began up front, and since loweredI-beams create too much camber change, the Ford front end was removed and replaced with components from a GM motor home chassis.
New control arms were added, along with 2-inch dropped Bell Tech spindles and specially modified wheel hubs. In the rear, a triangulated four-link suspension with heim joints and custom bushings was fabricated to accommodate the heavy loads that were still part of the custom truck's future. The chassis was also notched, and supports were built to reinforce the functional fifth-wheel hitch.
The Red's team added heavy-duty Slam Specialties RE8 air springs up front and RE12 air springs in the rear for altitude control, along with Rancho RS9000 shocks at all four corners. Four Air Zenith compressors fill the pair of reserve tanks using a Red's manifold and 1/2-inch lines. As a by-product of the truck's in-the-weeds stance, the mounts for the 7.3L Power Stroke engine and the four-speed automatic transmission were modified for clearance when the truck is on the ground. The Ford has a 110-gallon fuel cell built in for uninterrupted long-haul traveling, a critical addition when you realize this truck tows show vehicles from Miami to as far away as SEMA in Las Vegas.
Photo 4/13   |   2001 Ford F350 Dually burnout
Corner Office
It's not all about hard work however, and the truck has a luxurious side as well. The interior was done in King Ranch style, using natural leather with perforated green suede inserts, stitched by Joey Amadore from Classic Customs in Medley, Florida. For a personal touch, the four bucket seats and center console were embroidered with the Diesel Wheels crest, and the tan carpet and headliner are a perfect match.
Long trips are more fun with a professional sound system, so Mike and Carlos at Premium Auto provided the stereo, beginning with a Kenwood head unit and a 71/2-inch screen. In addition to GPS navigation, it controls the JL Audio amps hidden under the rear seats that energize the pair of 12-inch subs, four mids, and four tweeters positioned around the cab.
Photo 5/13   |   Lots of work was required to create the truck's slammed stance, beginning with new inner fender panels and relocated engine and transmission mounts. Emphasizing the dual nature of the truck, this hard-working turbodiesel got its share of cosmetic upgrades as well as increased turbo boost, a DiabloSport Programmer, and a free-flowing four-inch exhaust. Note the chromed tools mounted on the radiator shroud.
Naturally, as the Diesel Wheels shop truck, rolling stock was an important part of the finished product. All six wheels are Diesel Wheels Premier Series 24x81/4-inch Revenge models wrapped in Nankang 295/35R24 rubber. The wheels are 10-lug versions bolted to Diesel Wheels adapters. The Ford also uses Diesel Wheels adapters out back that accommodates the wide rubber without narrowing the rear axle.
Three-Piece Suit
The most dramatic change to the exterior was the '05 Ford Super Duty clip featuring custom-made Red's grille inserts, cut to fit the multiple openings and then chromed. Lighting upgrades are from Recon Truck Accessories and include HID lights, taillights, side markers, and a center brake light. Side mirrors from an Excursion replace the oversized Super Duty towing mirrors.
Doing double duty as a spare tire and as another form of advertising, the 24-inch Diesel Wheels spare was sunk into the bed sheet metal. A Lund tri-fold tonneau cover is removed when it's time to showcase the product. PPG Emerald Green and Sunburst Copper Pearl paint sets the truck apart from the crowd, sprayed by Emilio Oliveros at Body Tech. He also did the pinstriping and the Diesel Wheels crest.
Power Broker
Under the hood, custom touches include new inner fender panels that were fabricated using trailer fenders that were widened to fit. Painted to match, they are still easily removed. The jack handle and the lug wrench were chromed and mounted above the radiator. The detailed 7.3L Power Stroke diesel benefits from a K&N air filter, Red's redesigned, smaller-diameter turbine wheel for increased boost, upgraded injectors, DiabloSport Programmer, and 4-inch aluminized exhaust with a Flo-Pro muffler. The combination produces 325 horsepower and 680 lb-ft of torque. To ensure all the power gets to the rear wheels, the four-speed automatic transmission was upgraded by Tranny Tech in Hialeah, Florida, using a Sun Coast torque converter and Red's shift kit. Thanks to the 3.73-geared rearend, the truck turns a leisurely 2,000 rpm at 75 miles an hour and pulls the trailer effortlessly.


Subscribe Today and Save up to 83%!

Subscribe Truck Trend Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truck Trend

Subscribe Diesel Power Magazine

Subscribe to:

Diesel Power

Subscribe Truckin Magazine

Subscribe to: