One very green dual-pur­pose F-350

Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Contents - Text / Pho­tog­ra­phy: Kevin Aguilar

We all know that diesel trucks are de­signed to be strong and ca­pa­ble of pulling heavy loads. That doesn’t mean that they can’t look good do­ing so or even be cus­tom­ized for show. We’ve all heard or have seen in print all the smack talk on the In­ter­net about how trucks that are mod­i­fied to sit on the ground are use­less. As you can see, this truck can prove all the haters wrong, as it’s fully func­tional and able to pull what­ever it needs to.

Com­ing from the small town of Union City, Ten­nessee, Franklin Hawks has been do­ing things against the grain since he was in high school. Most truck en­thu­si­asts in his area are into lifted ver­sions of trucks ca­pa­ble of do­ing some sort of mud­ding. Since Hawks does things dif­fer­ently, he got into the low­ered side of the cus­tom truck scene. He’s cur­rently build­ing a 1995 Chevy du­ally that will be planted flat on the ground in good time. How­ever, the du­ally is a long-term project and Hawks knew he needed some­thing strong to tow it with. He took a stab at build­ing a lifted 2005 Chevy Sil­ver­ado 2500HD for the task, and soon came to re­al­ize that the tall stance of that truck was not his style.

Through the In­ter­net, Hawks found this 2001 Ford Su­per Duty F-350 and it was al­ready set at a re­spectably lower height that suited him bet­ter. He and the pre­vi­ous owner, Billy Allen, were able to work out a deal and soon enough the trade was made. Hawks was thrilled to have a func­tion­ing truck that could tow and also be cleaned up for shows. What he got was a du­ally that’s equipped with an air spring sus­pen­sion that al­lows the truck to sit hard on the ground. When the air is re­leased from the bags, it’s down to the stops. To ac­com­plish this up front, a set of DJM Dream Beams were uti­lized. The coil springs were re­moved and cus­tom mounts were made to hold the 2,600-lb Fire­stone air springs. For the rear, the leaf springs were ditched in lieu of a cus­tom four-link and pan hard bar. The frame was also notched to al­low the axle to travel up and a set of 2,800-lb Fire­stone air springs were mounted as well.

Ob­vi­ously, what makes this Su­per Duty a true work­horse is the 7.3L Power Stroke un­der the hood. Help­ing to push out more power is a K&N air fil­ter and a Swamp’s high-volt­age/ high-fre­quency in­jec­tion driver. In ad­di­tion, an Edge Prod­ucts tuner and straight-pipe 4-inch ex­haust add more power. Be­hind the Power Stroke sits a 4R100 trans­mis­sion that was re­built with a Transgo kit. With these power parts in play, this beast was run­ning fine and look­ing good. Or it was un­til some­one car­ry­ing a busted-up shed started los­ing pieces of it on the high­way. Hawks said that a big piece came off that he could not avoid run­ning over. Bad luck reared its ugly head and the metal de­bris kicked up from un­der the truck, wreck­ing parts on the driver’s side and the cor­re­spond­ing du­ally fender.

Since there was now dam­age to be fixed, Hawks thought this would be the per­fect time to make some more up­grades. The first thing on his list was a full set of 24-inch Evil Twin Ver­dict 10-lug wheels with 305/35R24 tires. To mount the rollers he used a set of Ten­nessee Wheel and Tire eight- to 10-lug adap­tors. Up front, the Su­per Duty al­ready had a 2005 front clip with Good Mark cowl in­duc­tion hood. Re­plac­ing the dam­aged fend­ers are a pair of 4 ¼-inch wider than stock Street Scene Equip­ment du­ally fend­ers. These eas­ily swal­low up the big rig-style wheels.

To clean up the look of the ex­te­rior, Matt O’con­ner and Todd Faulkner of Davis Au­to­body

in Union City shaved the em­blems and tail­gate han­dle. Af­ter­wards, they sanded off two pre­vi­ous paintjobs for a good base to work with. Then the ex­te­rior was primed and coated in Chevro­let’s Syn­ergy Green. Hawks said a gal­lon of this paint costs so much it should have had real gold in it for flakes. Given how big this truck is, we’re sure that the paint alone drove the project cost up quite a bit.

The in­te­rior had seen bet­ter days as the up­hol­stery was worn down and a bit dirty. To spruce up the in­side of the cab, Hawks re­placed the orig­i­nal car­pet with a kit from LMC Truck. Road­wire os­trich leather with black in­serts were

draped over the fac­tory seats. For sound sys­tem up­grades, the truck was taken to Sound Im­pres­sions where it first re­ceived a Pioneer DVD head unit with 7-inch screen. Tunes now pound out through the Mas­sive Au­dio com­po­nent speak­ers mounted in the doors and Q Logic front kick pan­els. The back of the cab was stripped to make space for a speaker box that’s mounted in the bed. That box holds two 12-inch Mas­sive Au­dio Summo sub­woofers that de­liver some ex­tra punch. The new sys­tem uti­lizes Mas­sive Au­dio N4 amp for the subs and an NX4 amp for the com­po­nent speak­ers.

Now that the truck is com­plete, Hawks has no prob­lems driv­ing it around on a daily ba­sis. How­ever, he tells us that wher­ever he goes, he has to ac­count for ex­tra time be­cause peo­ple ei­ther stop to ask ques­tions about it or re­quest to take pic­tures of it. His Chevy du­ally is not ready to be shown off, so he doesn’t re­ally get to tow it to shows yet, but this cool Ford is used to help his friends get their rides to events. Un­til the du­ally is ready, Hawks can rest as­sured that this Su­per Duty has al­ready been road tested and proven for the long haul.

Hawks would like to thank his wife Ab­bie and their kids Cara, Nate and Jude, as well as Bran­don Rice at Sound Im­pres­sions, Matt O’con­ner and Todd Faulkner of Davis Au­to­body, Gavin Stone at Evil Twin, Adam Camp­bell, Brian Nel­son, Bubba Sul­li­van, Shane Rinks, and all the other guys in his club, Relaxed At­mos­phere. UDBG

Now that the truck is com­plete, Hawks has no prob­lems driv­ing it around on a daily ba­sis. How­ever, he tells us that wher­ever he goes, he has to ac­count for ex­tra time be­cause peo­ple ei­ther stop to ask ques­tions about it or re­quest to take pic­tures of it.”

The in­te­rior is com­fort­able as well as cool-look­ing and func­tional.

To cover up the wide Evil Twin ver­dict wheels, Hawks added these Street Scene Equip­ment Big Boy 4 ¼-inch wider fend­ers.

Clean­ing up the rear of the truck, Davis Au­to­body shaved the tail­gate han­dle be­fore the Su­per Duty was cov­ered in Chevro­let Syn­ergy Green. For an ex­tra lit­tle touch, a set of Re­con tail­lights was bolted on.

LEFT & BE­LOW: A set of Lit­tle Larry’s Four­play switches with man­ual valves con­trols the air sus­pen­sion. MID­DLE LEFT: The worn-out up­hol­stery was re­placed with a set of black-and-tan os­trich seat cov­ers from Road­wire.

Sound Im­pres­sions hooked up the sound sys­tem with Mas­sive Au­dio com­po­nent speak­ers. Things are a bit crowded and moved around un­der the hood as room was made to fit the 24-inch wheel and tire com­bi­na­tion when the air is re­leased from the sus­pen­sion and the big Ford drops to the ground.

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