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2015 Ford F-350 Dark Knight

Impressive F-350 Is All Attitude...and All Work!

Jason Sands
Aug 4, 2017
Photographers: Jason Sands
After the initial shock caused by the elevation and 22.5-inch big rig wheels on Carl Fick’s ’15 Ford F-350, people usually peg his rig as just another “show truck.” In reality, however, Carl’s large-and-in-charge ride is used daily as a workhorse and is filled with one-off owner-built parts and cool ideas that separate it from the pack. Carl hauls and tows just about everything with the big Ford, and he can do anything from 4x4 rescues to heavy hauling.
At first glance, it’s easy to mistake Carl’s Ford for an F-450, but it’s actually a Lariat-edition F-350. The first thing Carl knew he wanted for his pickup was a set of 22.5-inch 10-lug wheels, which would be next to impossible to shove under a stock-height truck. When it came to a lift, Carl went straight to the bottom of the page and ordered a 10-inch Fabtech lift, with additional shock spacers, resulting in closer to 12 inches of lift. The rear has Fabtech springs with custom-mounted Air Lift air springs and 5.5-inch Pro Comp lift blocks.
Photo 2/30   |   Dark Knight 2015 Ford F 350 Side
The huge lift was necessary in order to clear the mammoth 295/75R22.5 Goodyear tires and still maintain a full turning radius. Since the truck came as an eight-lug, however, some work needed to be done. Carl sought out Tennessee Wheel & Tire, which built custom front spacers that added a whopping 5 inches of track width to the front end, and converted the truck over to a 10-lug setup. The rear spacers were also from Tennessee and designed so the dualie rear would match the front of the truck.
With the truck's elevation resting comfortably right below the clouds, Carl still had a few body modifications to perform, that, like the rest of the truck, would combine both form and function. Carl modified the grille for LED lightbars and added a Winch Ready Bumpers front bumper, Smittybilt 15.5K synthetic rope winch, and custom tow hooks. Carl also built light pods in the rear bumper for illumination and welded an E-Track hook system onto the bedrails for tie-downs. The front of the bed was heavily reinforced for any shifting loads, and the final touch was F-450 rear fenders, which came off of an armored vehicle.
At this point, Carl had the Ford nailed down with an intimidating stance and some well-engineered work upgrades, but there was still something missing—more power! While the factory Fords are far from pushovers at 440 hp, Carl went a step further and added an SCT programmer with custom tuning, a Flo-Pro 5-inch exhaust, and an AFE intake.
Photo 3/30   |   Carl installed an AFE intake on his Ford for a little more turbo whistle from the Power Stroke engine.
To put his money where his mouth is, Carl sent us photos of the big Ford hauling cars, equipment, and even a restored ambulance. Despite the truck’s insane lift, extra weight, and oversized wheel and tire setup, Carl has proven the Ford has no problem hauling the mail—or anything else that comes along.
Photo 4/30   |   Other than the intake, the 6.7L in Carl’s F-350 is pretty much stock. He did add a custom tune, however, which boosted power output to approximately 550 hp.
Photo 5/30   |   A few select modifications found their way into the Ford’s interior, which was already nice to begin with. Along with the engine’s tuning, an SCT monitor allows Carl to keep an eye on his powerplant.
Photo 6/30   |   A massive amount of front end lift is accomplished via a Fabtech lift kit. Carl also added a set of spacers to bring the total lift up to an impressive 12 inches.
Photo 7/30   |   The front end of Carl’s F-350 is all business, thanks to the aggressive Winch Ready front bumper that replaces the stocker. With the huge lift, Carl can still turn his steering lock to lock—even with the big 40-inch tires.
Photo 8/30   |   Since Carl does vehicle recovery and needs to move around metal often, a high-capacity 15,500-pound winch from Smittybilt was installed behind the paint-matched bumper.
Photo 9/30   |   Part of the Fabtech lift is a set of radius arms for the front end, which position the axle to keep the driveline at the proper angle without binding.
Photo 10/30   |   The large amount of fenderwell space gave Carl a cool place to stash his tow hooks. If the winch isn't enough, the hooks can be used to yank anyone out of trouble.
Photo 11/30   |   Carl still tows a large flatbed trailer, so having rear Air Lift air springs to help keep the truck level while towing was a must.
Photo 12/30   |   The rear suspension is matched to the front, with a set of Pro Comp blocks to give the rear its needed height.
Photo 13/30   |   Although the rear axle is stock, 3.73 gears keep the engine well in its powerband—even with the big tires.
Photo 14/30   |   Carl wanted to keep his sway bar, so he welded up his own drop brackets, which enabled him to keep the Factory Ford version.
Photo 15/30   |   Part of the reason this F-350 stands out is because of its 10-lug conversion. Carl had the front adapters custom-made for strength and also to keep the track the correct width with the rear dual tire setup.
Photo 16/30   |   Although Carl’s ride started out as a single-rear-wheel truck, a set of dualie fenders from an F-450 give the truck the right look with its four rear tires.
Photo 17/30   |   Dark Knight 2015 Ford F 350 Amp Steps
Photo 18/30   |   The grille of the Ford has also been modified, with twin lightbars that illuminate the terrain even in the dead of night.
Photo 19/30   |   One of the coolest work truck features of Carl’s build is his E-Track tie-down system. Carl says he spent untold amounts of hours carefully fitting and welding the track to the underside of the bedrails.
Photo 20/30   |   With the big lift, a sturdy drop hitch is a necessity to keep loads level and flat.
Photo 21/30   |   Carl still has the factory bumper on the rear of his truck, although he added some rear illumination to aid him when he's towing.

SpecSheet:

Year/Make/Model: ’15 Ford F-350
Owner: Carl Fick
Hometown: Chico, California
Engine: 6.7L Power Stroke V-8
Transmission: Stock
Odometer: 31,000 miles
Induction: AFE intake
Exhaust: 5-inch Flo-Pro
Fueling: SCT Livewire with custom tuning
Horsepower/Torque: 550 hp/1,200 lb-ft
Suspension: 10-inch Fabtech lift with 1-inch Daystar spacer and Pro Comp steering stabilizer (front), 5.5-inch Pro Comp blocks with Fabtech springs, custom Air Lift airbag setup, and owner-built sway bar setup (rear); custom spacers for front and rear 10-lug conversion by Tennessee Wheel & Tire
Interior: Factory, with SCT Livewire dash monitor
Exterior/Accessories: F-450 fenders, Winch Ready front bumper with a Smittybilt 15.5K winch, custom light pods in the grille and rear bumper, reinforced bed with E-Track system
Wheels: 22.5x8.25 Alcoa
Tires: 295/75R22.5 Goodyear G622
Fun Fact: When asked if his Ford was for sale, Carl responded, “Never!! Unless somebody wants to trade me a Lamborghini.”

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