Size Matters | 2003 Ford F-250
This Towering F-250 Sports 30 Inches of Lift!
We never quite know what will inspire us to great feats of creativity. It could be a TV commercial, discovering the perfect vehicle at a car show, or maybe even recalling some childhood memory of a movie or other event. Whether we know the cause or not, most of the time we’re generally happy for the inspiration. For Lance Magnusson, a deputy sheriff in Manatee County, Florida, the motivation came the first time he saw the legendary Bigfoot monster truck as a kid. The towering four-wheeler made an indelible impression and, as you can see, Lance followed in the footsteps of his large-footed idol.
Building cars and trucks since age 14, Lance has six custom cars and three trucks to his credit. All his previous trucks were lifted, thanks to that early childhood memory. None were quite as impressive as his latest toy, however—clearly the biggest and baddest of the bunch. He found this ’03 Ford F-250 in his hometown, equipped with a “little” 8-inch lift and 38-inch tires.
After purchasing the Ford four years ago, Lance began upgrading after the turbocharger malfunctioned. The repair process corrected the problem but started an avalanche of modifications that is still ongoing. While the truck was down waiting for parts, Lance decided the 8-inch lift had to go, replacing it with a taller, 13-inch lift. That helped but prompted a tire and rim upgrade, going from 38s to the current set of 49-inch Super Swampers wrapped around one-of-a-kind, 2.5-ton bolt pattern rims from Stazworks Extreme Offroad. As part of the continuing progression of upgrades, the bigger tires naturally suggested heavier-duty axles, so Lance acquired a pair of 2.5-ton military versions from Chuck’s Trucks in Orlando, locking them in place with huge, 22-inch springs from Atlas Springs. The bulletproof axles have 6.72 gears and disc brakes with Chevrolet calipers squeezing pizza-size, 18-inch rotors. Lance narrowed the front axle 7 inches by cutting the housing and reassembling it using two of the short-side axles. In the process, he also fabricated all his own brackets, spring perch mounts, shock mounts, lift blocks, and sway bar mounts, accomplishing all the work right in his own driveway. Fox shocks, two on each front wheel, along with a pair of steering stabilizers, keep the front tracking straight and true. In the rear, two more pairs of Fox shocks augment the traction bars that were on the truck when he bought it. Lance relocated them considerably further back to make them functional. Suspension detailing included powdercoating all the mounts and brackets and adding paint to the axles so they matched the truck. The combination of new components gave the truck a staggering 30 inches of lift!
The added weight of the new suspension and tires meant performance upgrades were next on the list. The V-8 Power Stroke turbodiesel was upgraded with an Elite Diesel ball bearing center, fixed-vane, 64mm turbo. A polished AFE intake expedites incoming air while the Silverline exhaust system expels spent gases through 5-inch pipes and dual bed-mounted stacks. The engine uses a fluid damper and harmonic balancer, along with a Spearco intercooler to ensure a dense charge to the motor. The Edge Juice with Attitude chip rounds out the upgrades, sending an estimated 550 hp to the five-speed automatic 5R110. Lance says the larger turbo doesn’t spool quite as quickly as the original, but once it comes into its performance map, it is amazing and really propels the 8,500-pound truck down the road. The truck is a daily driver and is a familiar sight around Lance’s hometown of Bradenton, Florida. He says it rides very comfortably and the oversize disc brakes on the 2.5-ton axles allow the truck to stop on a dime.
Short-term upgrades include replacing the current turbo with an ATS Aurora 5000, which is capable of boost levels in excess of 60 psi. Long-range plans are still a little uncertain, but Lance wants to either completely rebuild the Power Stroke engine and transmission or replace them both with a new Cummins powertrain. In the meantime, he and his wife Lynnette are enjoying their own personal version of the nation’s most popular monster truck.