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1999 Ford F-250 - The Hybrid

A 1,000HP 6.4L-Powered Super Duty

Jason Sands
Dec 1, 2014
Photographers: Jason Sands
This particular story starts with a 6.4L Ford Power Stroke engine sitting on an engine stand at a shop, and a ’99 Ford F-250 drag truck that had been sitting neglected outside the same shop for nearly 10 years. Eventually, Dan Morin decided he’d make 2+2=5 and shoehorn the new engine into the older truck, no matter what it took.
You see, Dan works at Swamp’s Diesel in Laverne, Tennessee, and both he and owner David Armstrong viewed building a new drag truck as a good way to generate interest in their business and lure in the customers who want to go fast. Since the older truck would be a whole lot lighter in both frame and body— and since they already had the engine and the truck—it just kind of made sense to put everything together into one project.
“It was a good idea,” Dan notes, “but it was a lot of work. It took months of working on the truck all day, five days a week just to get it running and driving.” To start, Dan mounted a 4R100 automatic transmission with a gasoline-engine case (which would work with the 6.4L) and bolted it up to the transfer case, so the ’99’s existing axles and driveshafts could be used. Next, custom engine mounts were fabricated, allowing the 6.4L to sit in the engine bay without interfering with anything. With the 6.4L and the truck’s original 7.3L being about the same size, the physical aspects of the swap weren’t that bad. Not so, however, with the wiring.
Photo 2/20   |   At first blush, we thought we were looking at a common-rail 7.3L. But, no, it’s actually a 6.4L Ford that has been swapped into the ’99! The engine itself is surprisingly stock (including the crack-prone pistons), but with studs, valvetrain work, and a whole lot of fuel and air, it has no problem putting out an estimated 1,000 rwhp.
“We had a donor ’08 Ford we knew we could rob parts off of for doing the wiring,” Dan says. “It took a lot just to get it running, and by the time we were done, we basically had the whole darn 6.4L wiring harness and sensors in there, from headlights to taillights.” It turned out that in order for everything to function correctly, Dan and crew basically had to make the ’99 think like a 6.4L powered truck, from a wiring standpoint. This meant running all the wires, making provisions for sensors, and even installing the gauge cluster from the ’08 into the ex-7.3L truck.
One area where Dan made a wiring exception was the transmission. Since he already knew how to build a 4R100 that could handle serious horsepower, that’s what he did. Using a transmission case from a gas-powered rig, Dan put a 300M HD input shaft in the transmission, as well as a billet intermediate shaft. The valvebody was also modified with Dan’s own personal tricks, and its shifting is operated by a PCS transmission controller. Finally, almost every part that wasn’t aftermarket was sent out to be cryogenically treated for strength before it was installed.
With racing season coming to a close, Dan knew he had to get the truck going before this year turned into next, so a bone-stock 6.4L short-block was installed as a placeholder, while a more modified short-block was being built. The upper end of the engine also received limited upgrades such as pushrods, valvesprings, and A1 Technologies head studs before the engine was installed in the truck.
Photo 3/20   |   1999 Ford F 250 Front Three Quarter
The power-producing parts, however, are another story. Since the team would eventually be building an engine with coated pistons, aftermarket rods, and a slew of other upgrades, they wanted to ensure it made plenty of power. So Dan fabricated a turbo setup that would spool quickly yet still make plenty of power. The stock VGT was ditched, and a setup that features a 63.5mm S300 was added. Out front, a large GT47-frame 88mm Garrett was added as the atmospheric turbo and, when combined with the smaller S300, can produce more than 80 psi of boost.
The truck’s fuel system received equally aggressive modifications, with an AirDog II 150-gph lift pump feeding an Aeromotive A1000 second pusher pump, which increases the fuel pressure and then finally sends diesel to twin stock 6.4L high-pressure common-rail pumps. Those twin pumps then feed stock injectors with 100-percent-larger nozzles (by Swamp’s Diesel Performance), which, when mated with the airflow, make the truck flat-out haul.
The rest of the truck is pretty simple and comprises your standard race vehicle fare. The interior is all business, with just a racing seat, switches, and gauges; a fuel cell in the bed has replaced the factory fuel tank. Everything that didn’t need to be there was removed for weight reduction, and the stock steel wheels were replaced with lightweight Weld Racing aluminum wheels.
Photo 4/20   |   Swamp’s Diesel’s nitrous-assisted, big-horsepower, 7.3L, two-wheel-drive F-250 (near lane) is no slouch. So, when we saw another Ford outrunning it, we went right over to see what was under the hood. It sounded like a V-8 going down track, but we were confused by what kind of Ford engine could make the power needed to go 106 mph in the eighth-mile!
The tires are drag radials instead of normal street tires, and a unique four-bar rear end setup that still incorporates the factory leaf springs was made. Last but not least, a locker was installed in the 3.55-geared rear end to make sure the truck had enough traction to match its horsepower.
While it only has a few shakedown passes under its belt, Dan’s F-250 is already one of the fastest Ford-powered, Ford-bodied trucks out there. At a race weight of more than 6,000 pounds, it’s already cut a 1.51-second 60-foot time, which turned into a best eighth-mile time of 6.55 seconds at 106 mph.
Dan plans to hit the quarter-mile soon, where he hopes for low 10s at more than 130 mph. Although his Ford’s performance is already very impressive, Dan says he’s looking to install the built motor and turn the nitrous bottle on for next season, with the hope of running some 9-second quarter-mile times. Whatever times this truck does turn, one thing is for sure: The 7.3L/6.4L Power Stroke hybrid will always draw a crowd wherever and whenever its hood goes up.
Photo 5/20   |   1999 Ford F 250 Side Shot
Fast Facts Year/Make/Model: 1999 Ford F-250
Owner: Swamp’s Diesel Performance/David Armstrong, Dan Morin
Hometown: Laverne, Tennessee
Odometer: 136,000 miles
Engine: ’08 6.4L V-8, stock rotating assembly, ported heads and intake manifold, Swamp’s Diesel valvesprings and pushrods, A1 Technologies head studs
FUEL: Swamp’s Diesel 100-percent-over nozzles and twin K16 pumps, Aeromotive A1000, 12-gallon fuel cell, fuel cooler with fan, AirDog II 150-gph lift pump, Custom Innovative tuning
Air: 6.0L Ford exhaust manifolds to custom mount, 63.5mm Borg- Warner S300 turbo, 88mm Garrett GT4718R turbo, JGS Precision 50mm wastegate, 4- to 6-inch exhaust stack, custom intercooler
Transmission: 4R100 automatic with PCS controller (built by Dan), Precision 3,000-rpm-stall converter, XHD billet input shaft, billet intermediate shaft, valvebody by Dan, cryogenic hardening of everything, flexplate, gas case
Horsepower: 1,000 hp (est.)
Torque: 1,800 lb-ft (est.)
Tires: 390/40R17 M&H Racemaster
Wheels: 17x9-inch Weld Draglite
Suspension: Factory, with custom four-link bars
Axles: Ford 10.5-inch rear axle with 3.55:1 gears and a Detroit Locker, Dana 60 front axle
Fun Fact: The Ford went from sitting on flat tires to a 10-second ride in just two and a half months.

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