1995 Ford F-350 - Lovable Looks
Double-duty fun and work truck
Sometimes, it’s hard to define the attraction a specific vehicle has for us. Most of the time, it is some undefined, magical combination of style, performance, and utility that comes together to create a package we can’t resist. That’s about the way Larry Kilburn from Port St. Lucie, Florida, feels about his ’95 Ford F-350. Larry works at a yacht and country club and is studying to be a firefighter. His truck helps to make his goals possible, acting as both a daily driver and a heavy-duty work truck.
This F-350 is actually his second truck. The first was a slightly newer but smaller ’96 Ford F-150. It wasn’t long before he decided to go bigger and stronger with a diesel engine and room for friends. When he found this crew cab longbed ’95 Ford F-350 with the 7.3L Power Stroke, it filled the bill perfectly. One of the longest trucks on the market, the big Ford is highly functional and used every day at the job site, either with a bed full of material or towing the numerous trailers involved in the business. On weekends, it’s also the right choice for getting water toys and friends to the beach.
While the big rig might be useful in a dozen different ways, the truck’s good looks became the decisive factor. “I just loved the look of the truck and how it rides,” Larry tells us. But it didn’t start out that way. The original paint was in poor condition, the interior needed considerable work, and the suspension had seen better days. The price was right, however, and he set to work.
Since the primary goal was to get the truck rolling safely, Larry began replacing many parts of the running gear. From the outset, he wanted the truck to have go-anywhere capabilities, with a goal of clearing 40-inch tires. He also wanted the bull dog look, choosing a 10-inch lift in the front with 9 inches in the rear. Superlift leaf springs front and rear along with new shackles and blocks were teamed up with Pro Comp monotube reservoir shocks and dual steering stabilizers up front. The rear uses standard Pro Comp shocks and an owner-fabricated set of traction bars. The factory Dana 60 and the Sterling 10.25 both run 4.10 gears. Getting the big old-body-style Ford rolling are 20x12 Moto Metal 962 wheels (black with polished edges) wrapped in 40x15.50R20LT Toyo Mud Country M/T tires. The combination of superior traction and quiet highway ride has made these tires popular with truckers for years. As a final step in the mechanical upgrade, the four-wheel disc brake system was equipped with a Hydroboost system that guarantees better brake performance with more than double the braking pressure of the original version.
On the functional side, the toolbox and the Rhino-lined bed see lots of daily use, and the adjustable hitch accommodates a 25-foot work trailer as well as weekend trailers holding swamp buggies and boats. Passengers appreciate the Amp Research steps that activate whenever a door is opened, simplifying entry and exit.
Hauling everything down the road is the 7.3L Power Stroke diesel and E4OD transmission, both receiving a careful inspection with worn parts replaced. For additional power, the engine uses a GForce performance chip, K&N intake, 3-inch downpipe, 4-inch exhaust, and 5-inch tip from MBRP. A transmission shift kit helps accommodate the additional power. Larry also opted for a fuel bowl delete, replacing the problematic original with a larger, marine-grade fuel system filter that now works just fine. Future plans call for Stage 2 injectors, a new custom chip, and upgrading the Garrett turbo.
Cosmetics were the final touch, beginning with bodywork and a fresh white paintjob by The Custom Truck Shop in Port St. Lucie, Florida. “I put back all the chrome, wanting the truck to look like it did when it first rolled out of the showroom.” The only external change is the new pair of HID headlights that light the way at night. While the exterior may be original, the interior is anything but. This is where the personalization process hit full stride, with Larry lining the cab with sound-deadening material and replacing the original bench seats with a unique set of four Bestop black leather buckets from 4 Wheel Parts. Once the comfortable accommodations were established for the driver and three friends, music was next.
The stereo begins with an Alpine CDE-HD137BT CD Receiver with Bluetooth and Pandora. It controls a Black Series JL Audio system with twin amps located across the rear wall of the truck. The JL 300/4, Class D four-channel amp drives the four 6.5-inch component sets in the factory door locations, featuring separate tweeters. The JL 100/1 Class D monoblock amp powers the pair of downward-facing JL8W7 8-inch subs mounted in the center speaker enclosure. While the high-tech audio system inside is loud and clear, it’s no match for the ultra-loud set of five train horns outside—an effective way of clearing traffic on the way to work.
It’s taken about a year and a half to bring the truck to its present condition, but everything did not run smoothly. Larry had a brief run of bad luck before we could complete this photo shoot; the truck was hit on two occasions while it was parked! Each time, Larry brought it back to better than before, and we’re happy to say we believe the run of bad luck is over. Great trucks don’t occur without a little extra help, and Larry is fortunate to have family and friends eager to assist. Special thanks to his Dad, Larry Kilburn Sr., who owned lifted trucks and passed down the hobby, along with Ron Begley Jr., Stephan Hardiman, Austin Tagner, and the Custom Truck Shop in Port St. Lucie.
|1995 Ford F-350|
|HOMETOWN:||Port St. Lucie, Florida|
|ENGINE:||7.3L Power Stroke V-8|
|EXHAUST:||4-inch exhaust and 5-inch tip from MBRP|
|FUELING:||Marine-grade fuel system filter|
|ENGINE MANAGEMENT:||GForce performance chip|
|TRANSMISSION||E40D with shift kit|
|SUSPENSION:||Superlift leaf springs, Pro Comp monotube reservoir shocks, dual steering stabilizers for a 10-inch lift (front); Superlift leaf springs, standard Pro Comp shocks, and an owner-fabricated set of traction bars for a 9-inch lift (rear)|
|AUDIO/VISUAL:||Alpine CDE-HD137BT, two JL Audio amps powering four 6.5-inch component sets and a pair of JL8W7 8-inch subs|
|ACCESSORIES:||HID headlights, four Bestop black leather bucket seats, train horns, Amp Research steps|
|WHEELS:||20x12 Moto Metal 962, black with polished edges|
|TIRES:||40x15.50R20LT Toyo Mud Country M/T|
|SPECIAL THANKS:||Larry Kilburn Sr. (father), Ron Begley Jr., Stephan Hardiman, Austin Tagner, and the Custom Truck Shop in Port St. Lucie|
|FUN FACT:||The only external change is a set of HID headlights.|