$160,000 Ford Super Duty F-550

Part Ford, Part Dragster, Part 747

Jason ThompsonDec 1, 2010
As we describe Michael Labadie's $160,000 '02 Ford F-550, one word is going to keep popping into your head over and over again: overkill. An explanation for this build comes from the fact that Michael is the owner of Critical Systems Specialists contracting firm. His company handles all kinds of severe-duty jobs, and his work experience has transferred into his truck buildup.
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Overbuilt and Detuned Power Stroke
Michael went to Wide Open Performance in Salt Lake City and asked for an engine like the one in its dragster. Michael was told "that was way too much strength for his application," but he wanted it, so he got it. The 7.3L block (bored to 4.030 inches) and internals were cryogenically treated, the main-bearing caps were secured with studs and a girdle, and the head gaskets use fire rings. The compression ratio came out to be 16.5:1, the piston's bowls were machined, and billet rods were also installed. The heads were ported and fitted with stronger valvesprings. Inconel exhaust valves (with a three-angle valve job) and hardened seats were also added. Wide Open Performance single-shot injectors, dual high-pressure oil pumps from Brian's Truck Shop, and a DP Tuner four-position chip take care of the fueling. An AFE filter, QSSB turbocharger, Hypermax 1,200-cfm intercooler, and custom-built billet intake manifolds are capable of handling 54 psi-although the engine is limited to 35 psi. The spent gases exit out a 4-inch downpipe that transitions to a 5-inch exhaust system. The power output from this tow truck-tuned race engine is 550 hp at 3,450 rpm and 1,200 lb-ft at 1,800 rpm.
Photo 3/19   |   An MSD computerized propane injection system with a 40-gallon propane tank (mounted under the bed) is used for extra power and fuel flexibility. Propane fill ports are located inside the fuel door.
Extreme Systems
Dual Optima batteries and two 250-amp alternators power the electrical system, which includes twin 10-inch fans pulling air through the intercooler, transmission cooler, A/C condenser, and radiator. The 3,000-watt stereo system and air compressor for the rear Firestone air springs also draw some of the juice. A stand-alone transmission cooling system featuring four fans and a pump is also wired into the grid. We almost forgot to mention the removable winch, which attaches to the rear receiver hitch. With this level of buildup, there are still at least a dozen other significant modifications we don't have room to cover.
Photo 4/19   |   A 4R100 automatic transmission from BTS uses an oversized cooler in front of the radiator, but that is just the beginning. A Mag-Hytec transmission pan was tapped to receive a transmission fluid line that goes to a stand-alone transmission cooling system. If the factory transmission cooling system were to fail, this redundant cooling system will protect the transmission from overheating.

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