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1994 Flareside F-250 Power Stroke

An Injection Shop’s Unique Creation

Mike McGlothlin
Sep 1, 2011
Photographers: Mike McGlothlin
Over the years, we’ve noticed a lot of unique projects stemming from diesel performance shops. When you’re submerged in the market where core parts, access to cheap vehicles, and your own mechanical skills are readily available, it only makes sense that you’ll eventually end up with a one-of-a-kind creation. But, not unlike your Average Joe’s build, projects take time, and the fun factor usually overrides any plans to stay on a budget. Nate Bailor, owner of Unlimited Diesel Performance in Bremen, Ohio, has built one such truck.
Photo 2/12   |   flareside Power Stroke ford Burnout Front Three Quarter
Originally a brown, beat-up, longbed with a 7.3L Power Stroke and a ZF-5 five-speed, the ’94½ F-250 was picked up for just $600 due to a blown head gasket. Nate promptly replaced the head gasket and the questionable cylinder head, and then stuck a for sale sign in the truck’s window. But after a year without any interested buyers, and after obtaining a cheap Flareside bed from the junkyard, he decided to make the truck his own. “I just said, ‘Let’s do something with this thing—we don’t have any money in it [yet],’” Nate told us.
The first major change included cutting the ¾-ton’s frame and outfitting it with the Flareside shortbed. This entailed running shorter brake lines, fuel lines, and a custom, one-piece driveshaft. With the chassis wok out of the way, Nate shifted his focus to the drivetrain. He added a South Bend clutch, 238cc hybrid injectors, and a 76mm S300 turbo. The 248,000-mile, stock-bottom-end 7.3L responded by making 500 hp at the wheels. Then a few problems surfaced: He wasn’t able to shift the ZF-5 fast enough at the dragstrip, and the engine actually ended up pulling the cam gear off the camshaft.
Built 7.3L
With the engine pulled and torn down, the rebuild began. The block was half filled with HardBlok and outfitted with a girdle. The cylinders received a 0.020-inch overbore, and heat-treated factory forged connecting rods were attached to a balanced factory crankshaft. According to Nate, heat-treating the factory forged rods increased their strength by 25 percent. The Power Stroke’s compression ratio was dropped courtesy of 15:1 Mahle pistons. Receiver grooves were machined in both the block and cylinder heads to accept fire-rings as well (the fire-ring kit came from Wide Open Performance). Because the 0.030-inch steel fire rings protrude 0.015 inch into both the heads and the block, they are perfectly centered. And in conjunction with a set of H-11 head studs, they will hold up to more than 100 psi of boost. PBM Performance valvesprings with a seat pressure of 125 ppi, and one-piece pushrods from D2 Hi Performance round out the valvetrain upgrades.
Photo 3/12   |   Under all the custom-fabricated plumbing involved in the compound turbo arrangement rests a built 7.3L Power Stroke. A half-filled block, main-bearing girdle, heat-treated factory forged connecting rods, and 15:1 Mahle pistons make up the short-block. Fire rings (that protrude 0.015 inch into the block and 0.015 inch into the heads), 125-pound valvesprings, one-piece pushrods, huge 455/400 injectors, and an SRP1 high-pressure oil pump summarize the top-end, fuel, and oil modifications.
Big Fuel and Lots of Oil
Because Nate runs an injection shop that specializes in 7.3L HEUI injectors, a set of his proprietary, Stage 5 hybrids was installed in the engine. Flowing a maximum of 455 cc and equipped with 400-percent-larger-than-stock nozzles, they provide the fuel needed to make more than 700 hp at the wheels. A single Stealth SRP1 high-pressure oil pump from Stecher Performance Diesel sits in place of the factory unit and has no problem supporting the injector’s oil demands. Fuel supply comes from a 165-gph AirDog II, and a regulated return fuel system maintains consistent fuel pressure within the cylinder heads.
Compound Turbos
To make use of all the fuel on tap, a compound turbo system was designed. A 66mm Holset H2E was chosen for the high-pressure, secondary charger, and an 88mm S400 was used as the low-pressure, atmosphere unit. Both turbos are wastegated to keep drive pressure reasonable. Currently, boost is limited to 60 psi—mainly due to how easy it is to blow the rear tires off. All plumbing and mounts were fabricated in-house, and billet aluminum intake plenums from Bean’s Diesel Performance were installed to handle the high boost pressure entering the engine. A Spearco intercooler intended for a 6.0L Power Stroke was finagled into place to help keep exhaust gas temperature at bay. Last but not least, the job of tying every modification together was left up to Gearhead Automotive Performance, which provided the custom tuning.
Tough Transmission
In order to get down the track quicker, Nate had his local transmission shop, Service First, build a 4R100 for the truck. Billet input and intermediate shafts from Sun Coast were added, as well as Sun Coast clutches. Transmitting power from the engine through the transmission is an ATS Five-Star torque converter, and shifts are made using a Powertrain Control Solutions controller.
Like all projects seem to be, Nate’s is still a work in progress. In fact, when we ran into him at the TS Performance event back in May, the current combination had just 3 miles on it. We’re sure a few bugs and quirks will need to be ironed out, but once they are, he’ll have a real rocket ship on his hands. Imagine what a 5,400-pound, 750-rwhp truck could do at the local dragstrip…

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