I have decided to make this post to show the progression of my truck through the years as well as show what my years of endless research have amounted to... to make this possible the way I wanted it to turn out, clean, simply, OEM looking. I am happy with the results and figured Id share. This post is lengthy but feel free to just browse the pics if you’d like to. While I have been on this site for quite some time I just started to frequent it more regularly lately.
Bought my 2001 F350 DRW PSD
back in early 2006 to tow my landscaping equipment and cars that I buy and sell around with. I quickly found the stock baby dually tires were not going to be so conducive for towing my loaded trailer through construction sites, muddy yards, snow storms and even on the beach in OBX NC. Stock tires were off within a month of having the truck. Put on a set of 295 75 16's that I had here on my dodge ram 1500 with 2" dually spacers back in 2006. This setup worked out great for years. Never let me down, rain, snow, mud, sand and with towing. +40k later and the BFG's were getting worn so it was time to start planning, mind you they were used from the start coming off my Ram.
As many know the width of the dually rim is a bit of a problem with regard to tire wear. My goal was to find a rim that would match the stock rear dually rims in a single wheel version or go with all new rims. Wear on the front was more my issue, while the inside of the rear wears faster with all 4 back there its not soo much of a problem. The other issues is that I wanted to go with 37's as (not to in any way take away from other DRW guys soo many people run 35's I wanted to be different and go a bit bigger). However with the exception of super swamper (which I personally did not want to run on my towing truck for personal reasons) there are few 16" 37's that aren't 13.5 or wider. So here became problem #2. I needed to find a 17" wheel as there are far more 37 x 12.5 tires available for 17's. However being 8x170 this was a problem with the dually...if only I had a 05+ but I am sure glad to have a 7.3 =-) Few companies make dually wheels for the 99-04 in 17" and even fewer have anything that will remotely match a front version in a single wheel. Then good luck sourcing out a steel inner wheel for the rear in a 17 with the right bolt pattern, its not produced.
My lift goals/dreams started in 2007 when I got a deal on a DR/Icon 4.5 hanger lift kit off a member on the forums trading his truck in and going back to stock. However with work (needing the truck daily) and not really wanting to lift it too much with only the 33's the lift sat in the corner of my garage for 3 years collecting dust, kidd you not the packing slip on the box said June 2007, sad right!!! This winter I found a deal, a poorly listed ebay auction, I love ebay and craigslist, for a brand new Pro Comp Xtreme AT (37 12.50 17) that ended for $80 with shipping so figured I would buy it as a test fit tire and see what I could make happen. Couldn't pass up the price as they go for $300-400 each new from distributors. Found that Eagle Alloy makes a 17" dually wheel in 8x170mm and matching single wheel version for the front (the 058's or 0589's also like the factory Alcoas on the OBS
trucks, clean and simple). Things were starting to look positive with it actually working out.
Coincidentally I came across a member on the cummins forums less than an hr away with (4) <1000 mile PC Xtreme ATs in 37x12.50 that he was removing so that he could fit back in his garage again... this makes 5. I go to order the last one to make the set complete and come to find out this tire was on national back order (according to multiple distributors) until mid/late April. However after much searching and calling I was able to find one place that had 2 left and would sell me one I just had to pay truck freight from TX to MD but all in all I needed it and had no alternative unless I wanted to wait it out. More bad news came with my rim vendor informed me they no longer had access to a 17" steel inner and had no advice...Mind you they told me for weeks they had them available! So now I had the lift, tires and was about to order the outer rims and had no source of the inner. Hopes were crushed, called basically everyone who sells dually rims with no success. Luckily I stumbled across Rickson wheel (who I had visited before in the past but for some reason forgotten about) who made it all possible once again. They custom fabricate the steel inner in house out of a GM wheel, bore the hub out to Ford specs and redrill the bolt pattern. Called them, told them what I needed, they had it built the VERY NEXT day! Amazingly enough, to my surprise they are actually 10-15 min away from my house. (A++ to Rickson wheel, pleasure to work with for sure! if anyone needs a steel inner 17 or any dually wheels stock or 19.5 give them a call)
Next came my lift concerns. The 4.5 was now going to questionably clear in the 37's in the front, the rear clears 37s with no lift. I decided to go to "x" code springs thanks to Tousley Ford (Great prices, fast shipping, pleasure to work with) paired up with my hanger kit and 6" rear blocks. So all in all it’s about 6" of total lift + the increased tire size.
On to the fun adventure with the lift. Let me start by saying I am not new to working on cars, trucks, bobcats and such... Ive been working on my trucks forever, building race DSMs (turbo eclipses) for years, lifting jeeps and other such toys. I waited until I had every last part on hand and all the misc nuts, bolts, hardware that Icon listed in the install sheets just to play it safe. Test fitted the rears to see if my 2" spacer would clear the tires for the time being until I tow again when i'll order 2.5 or 3" spacers. The rear inner was a bit tight on the hub, probably due to rust and corrosion. Rocked it back and up to the lip of the rear axle cap... STUPID error on my part, rocked it off with my hand in the hole of the rim as it came down on the rear axle...sandwiching my right pointer and middle fingers... cut my pointer down to the bone on the rim as well as ripping off the rear of my finger nail... quite a mess and makes it very hard to work. Visit to the kitchen sink, evaluate whether it needs stitches or is broken (my fathers an ER doc). Decided to keep it wrapped and clean and avoid stitches so it wouldnt be too tight and I could keep working once it stopped bleeding. Mind you work wise I am in the middle of a bathroom gut and remodel so I really need my hands right about now. Quite a mess, bled for days but couldnt let it hold back work and the lift.
Started the lift late Saturday evening (a few days after the finger accident), unfortunately due to day light and it being late in the day I was only able to get the rear lift blocks on. Water main break in my county had water out that day and through the following Wednesday! Plus my craftsman impact gun decided to go out on me, perfect time right? Luckily my friend brought over his 18V Snap On, that thing shocked me with how much power it has!! I am getting one for sure! The vendor who I ordered the rest of my Icon parts from, no names needed, sent me the wrong dually U bolts... 15" ones and NOT the 17" ones I ordered. So the rear was together but with out my overloads and such... Called them Monday and they immediately shipped out the correct 17" U bolts that I ordered so a hang up but no hard feelings...just annoying to have to redo it.
Sunday spend the day working on the lift, all went well but I couldn't find all of my larger sockets to do the track bar and drop pitman arm... unfortunately it was too late to do much about it so I just waited to until Monday... stupid hangups but oh well.
Monday I go get the 30 for the track bar and the 33 for the pitman arm nut. Everything (thanks to PB blaster) came off well but unfortunately when I was using the pitman arm puller it slightly cocked to the side and damages the last few threads on the steering box!!! This hang up cost me an extra day for sure. I attempted to grind down the lower threads, file them out, and use a small dremel disk to straighten the threads. No one has a 18mm tap or die and I ruined the nut trying to force it on. Ford wants $10 per nut and needed a few days to get it.
Tuesday...Fortunately the nut on my friends Jeep Wrangler and my Dodge Ram were the exact same so off to the junkyard I go... Snap on gun in hand I zip off 6 of them... not messing around. Go home, spend the day with the dremel and finally get the threads cleaned up (3 nuts later) to get the pitman arm back on right. I was not about to replace a steering box that works perfect and has NO play in it for the cost of $200 - 300 depending where you go. All the rest goes back together well, lots of red loc tight and checking torque specs. It can be hard working with heavy springs and axles alone... my helpers found other things to get into =-/ Last part, and yet another hangup. Go to put the track bar bracket on... inside the frame there is a bracket that holds the 2 nuts in place... rust, time, corrosion took its toll and the further inside one snapped off in the bracket. Off to Ford, parts guy put it in as an emergency and had it to me the next day by 10AM.
Wednesday...Got my parts at 10am on the nose. Home to get the bolts and bracket on the truck. All went smooth, got the track bar in and after some adjustments had it together. Checked torque specs and took it out for a ride. All went well except apparently I didn't torque the drivers wheel all the way, easy fix, stupid oversight. Lift could have and should have been done in FAR less time but stupid hang ups, missing tools, broken water mains, smashed fingers and trying to do a lot of it alone doesn’t always go soo smoothly. The lift install was not by any means hard and I would be able to do it in far less time in the future.
Okay enough of my lengthy story on to the pictures you are waiting to see!
Stock, OBX NC 2006
Stock height, OBX NC 2007 on 33" BFG AT's