2002 Ford F-350: Revive and Thrive
Bringing Back a Badly Broken '02 Ford F-350 From a Near-Death Experience for a Whole New Level of Performance
Some say one man's trash is another's treasure. Well, how about one man's wreck is another's work truck? That's the case with Tim Anderson's '02 Ford F-350. He purchased it back in 2005 from a local salvage yard in Reno and proceeded to rescue it from oblivion.
"The truck had rolled eight times and was in pretty bad shape," Tim admits. "So I purchased a new cab from the local Ford dealership, pulled off the Kentucky assembly line, and began to rebuild it."
Easier said than done, of course, but Tim started working on trucks at a very young age. "All I ever wanted for birthday and Christmas presents were tools," he says. "At 5 years old, I asked for a Makita drill for Christmas."
In high school, Tim got into auto shop and diesel shop classes. He won both regional and state championship SkillsUSA contests and went onto compete at the national level. He also attended and completed the local community college program for diesel mechanics. "I had some great teachers and mentors who I still work with today, and I now teach classes on diesel performance at the community college."
His day job, however, is running T&A Performance, LLC, which services all types of diesel and gas pickups—but mostly work trucks. Before founding this company in 2006, Tim worked as lead mechanic for the city of Reno, keeping a large fleet of municipal rigs on the road and running in all sorts of rugged conditions.
When Tim started his own business, he realized he'd need a pickup for towing customer vehicles that had broken down (not an uncommon occurrence in Northern Nevada, where ranchers and miners are very hard on their work trucks). That requires using a custom-built power hydraulic triple-axle trailer, which weighs 4,100 pounds. After all the truck's modifications, Tim's Ford now weighs more than 9,200 pounds dry. He's gone over truck scales with a total weight of more than 43,000 pounds, towing a loaded F-550 tire-disposal rig. "That was one heavy-ass truck," he laughs.
For that sort of duty, he's clearly built one tough, hardworking pickup, with all sorts of upgrades to the chassis and drivetrain. At the front is a Super Dana 60 ('05 and newer), fitted with a 4.10 ring and pinion. The rear axle is a narrowed single-wheel Dana 80 with an Artec Industries axle truss and 4.10s with a Detroit Truetrac. All this running gear came out of a wrecked '07 F-450. He also bolted on a Pro Comp 8.5-inch suspension lift, which rolls on 20x10 forged and custom-painted wheels wrapped with 38-inch Nitto tires. Keeping all those components secure and cushioned are Energy Suspension's polyurethane bushings, both a coil spring isolator and body mount sets.
As for the interior, "I also installed an '07 dash in the '02 F-350, along with a later-model side-mirror setup," he says. He also figured out how to integrate the factory brake controller with upfitter switches from '05-and-later Fords—something folks on the Ford forums said couldn't be done.
Of course, any heavy-duty tow truck needs tons of torque, and that's where Tim really applied his mechanical skills. Claiming 623 hp and 1,267 lb-ft of torque (at an elevation of 4,800 feet) and running an extreme 43 psi of boost, the 7.3L Power Stroke is right at the ragged edge of power output—just where Tim likes it. It is no surprise that the block is fire-ringed and ARP head-studded to keep this mill all in one piece.
Achieving this level of performance required rubbing elbows with some rough-and-ready riffraff—that is, Riffraff Diesel Performance. This aftermarket company supplied a fuel rail crossover, CAC boost (charge-air cooler), and billet intake manifold plenums. Added to that is an S&B cold-air intake and a CFM Plus intake manifold.
On the fuel side, Tim added DieselSite's Adrenaline Series HPOP (a high-pressure oil pump on the HEUI injection system). Tim points out that this item fixed the P1211 ICP's codes (indicating the injection control pressure is either above or below spec, which is a common issue with 7.3L Power Stroke engines). At wide-open throttle, the max ICP was 1,700 psi with the stock setup but increased to as much as 3,800 psi with the HPOP upgrade—a huge improvement.
For more air, Tim pulled the factory 80mm pinwheel and installed a GTP38R turbo with DieselSite's Turbo-Master mechanical wastegate controller and a Wicked Wheel 2. That larger 88mm compressor wheel with ball bearings delivers 35 percent greater flow. Keeping this setup chilled out is a Turbonetics Spearco Torque Master Intercooler. Overseeing engine vitals is an Edge Insight CTS2 monitor with a 0 to 100 psi EAS full kit. Optimizing the engine output is a Bully Dog GT tuner.
Working in concert with the increase in airflow from the turbo are upgrades in the fuel-delivery system, starting with Swamp's Diesel Performance's "AA code" ('94 to '97) 250cc/200-percent-over hybrid single-shot injectors, which use less oil. There's also an AirDog II fuel air separation system that runs at 65 psi, concentrating the diesel by keeping the dissolved air bubbles (vapor) at a minimum. This type of device eliminates cavitation and pre-combustion, yielding lower EGT and delivering better fuel economy.
Further enhancement to the fuel system comes from a Banks Power three-stage water-methanol kit with a 19-gallon reservoir. This type of fuel enhancement has been used for years, as far back as WWII in high-altitude fighter planes. For diesel trucks, it offers the dual benefits of cooling and extra power, while lowering engine oil temps by as much as 20 degrees. For a pickup in a work application, the cooling aspect is particularly welcome, as lower EGT and EOT contribute to the long-term life of a work-truck engine. Transmitting this built Power Stroke's substantial torque to the street is a fully built and cryogenically treated ZF6 from Midwest Trans, fitted with a South Bend dual-disc clutch.
Sharp-eyed readers might notice a few unusual items on the body as well. In addition to the bold contrast of the two-tone paint scheme, custom mesh and logo from Status Grilles, and the '10 Ford tailgate with integrated step, note the pair of factory fuel doors. That's because there's a Titan Spare Tire Tank mounted under the cargo bed, just forward of the rear bumper. The extra filler neck feeds this tank, which increases the total fuel capacity by 30 gallons—a definite advantage when Tim has to head to a remote area to retrieve a breakdown.
This project serves as a good example for anyone looking for a more affordable way to obtain a work truck and set it up for specific applications. Even so, Tim's rig is not all work and no play. He recently made a run to Redding, California, to compete in a sled pull event, dramatically demonstrating just how much grunt his rig has.
What else is in the works for this extensive project truck? Future plans include a Hypermax 7.3L Power Stroke crankcase engine girdle bedplate, plus Carrillo rods, de-lipped and fly-cut lower compression pistons with DFC (Dry Film Coating) and ceramic, and a T&A Performance custom compound turbo kit, targeting around 95 psi of boost. Add to that a Nitrous Express NXD two-stage diesel nitrous system and twin DF-165 AirDogs with a Driven Diesel regulated-return fuel system. So this isn't just a matter of reviving a wrecked rig, but making it thrive.
T&A Performance LLC775-358-5549