Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Wheel & Tire Buyer’s Guide -

Any­one who has spent time flip­ping through these pages or who has made it out to an ODSS diesel drag event has un­doubt­edly seen RLC’S scream­ing orange, 5.9L Cum­mins-pow­ered drag truck dubbed Orange Crush. It’s owned by Michael Dal­ton of RLC Mo­tor­sports, a shop that has been around for 14 years and is based in Cookeville, Ten­nesse. While they cover the gamut of truck mods, sus­pen­sion work, and ac­ces­sories, they have earned a stel­lar rep­u­ta­tion for build­ing some wicked Cum­mins-pow­ered trucks over the years, and tra­di­tion­ally they have used Rams as their tow rigs for shows, races, and other daily driver du­ties. With Orange Crush in need of a new tow rig and the shop in need of a new project to show­case the non-rac­ing cus­tomiza­tion side of the busi­ness, Dal­ton be­gan look­ing for a new ba­sis for a tow-n-show truck. While most would have ex­pected him to jump back into a new Ram build, Dal­tonl found the 2017 Ford Su­per Duty

orange 2001 F-350 SCSB built by ROK In­dus­try years ago. The truck was fit­ted with fiber­glass fend­ers, sat on 44-inch Bog­gers, and was one of BDS’S most mem­o­rable col­lab­o­ra­tions to date. For this build, BDS start­ing with a brand-new 2017 F-250 Su­per Duty SCLB, with plans in place to take ev­ery­thing to the next level. With three months to com­plete the over­haul be­fore it needed to ar­rive in Ve­gas for Ford’s booth at the 2017 SEMA Show, the BDS build team went right to work tear­ing the truck down to a bare frame, re­mov­ing the cab, sus­pen­sion, and pow­er­train be­fore carv­ing 18 inches out of the boxed frame rails for a cus­tom 126-inch ul­tra-short-wheel­base Su­per Duty, hence the name SD126. With the frame short­ened and the cab off, BDS took ad­van­tage of the ac­ces­si­ble frame and re­moved all fac­tory sus­pen­sion mounts to make room for the new setup, show­ing off BDS’S ca­pa­bil­i­ties along with the of­froad rac­ing pedi­gree of BDS’S par­ent com­pany, Fox Fac­tory.


Up front, the stock coil-sprung ra­dius arm sus­pen­sion was scrapped in fa­vor of a 4-link coilover setup. The 4-link is based off BDS’S pro­duc­tion 4-link de­sign for the Su­per Duty, but built from larger 2.5-inch O.D. x 0.250 chro­moly tub­ing. The 4-link frame mounts and coilover mounts are built from 0.250-inch steel and welded to the frame prior to paint for an O.E. ap­pear­ance. The truck is fit­ted with a few of Fox’s lat­est shock op­tions in­clud­ing 14-inch travel fac­tory race se­ries 2.5 coilovers fea­tur­ing pig­gy­back DSC reser­voirs and Pac Rac­ing coil springs, along with 3.0 facto-

too tempt­ing to pass on and be­gan the search to find a 2017 F-350 XLT, SCLB, DRW, 4WD diesel with all the op­tions. “Be­lieve it or not, that setup is hard to come across,” he jokes. “I searched for a while to track the truck down be­fore ul­ti­mately find­ing one on a dealer lot in Vir­ginia.”

Rewind back a few months prior to a lonely Steak­house on a Tues­day night, when RLC’S Dal­ton was chat­ting with BDS’S Carter Reed about the new BDS project ve­hi­cle plans for a bright orange, 2017 F-250 SCSB diesel he hoped to build for Ford’s booth, only to find out Dal­ton had been dis­cussing plans with his em­ploy­ees to build a new F-350 du­ally that sounded omi­nously sim­i­lar. Both would be stan­dard cab, diesel-pow­ered, 2017 Su­per Duty trucks with orange paint, BDS coilover sus­pen­sions, and big tires. Where BDS’S truck was go­ing to be more trail-fo­cused, RLC’S truck was go­ing to be built as a tow rig to haul Dal­ton’s drag truck. Men­tion was made, if both trucks came to be, of how cool it would be to use the du­ally to tow the F-250 around. Now fast for­ward a cou­ple months and BDS had a spot avail­able for the truck at SEMA, so Dal­ton scram­bled to track the truck down and with no time to spare got started on Project Traitor, a fit­ting name for a truck go­ing against Dal­ton’s tra­di­tional build stan­dards.

The build time­line was a tight one—12 days, in fact, from the time the team from RLC tore into the truck to when it hit the road for SEMA. While that can lead to short­cuts need­ing to be made, Dal­ton said the team worked round the clock and pulled it all to­gether to

build the F-350 into a show-qual­ity, fully func­tional 4WD tow rig in less than two weeks. Any­one who’s been to the SEMA show can at­test there are a lot of high-qual­ity builds on dis­play, along with a fair share of poorly planned, in­com­plete, and down­right dan­ger­ous ve­hi­cles that get built each year. “Per­son­ally, I can’t stand the Blue­tooth drive­shafts that have be­come so pop­u­lar on show trucks,” Dal­ton re­marks. “Do it right or don’t do it at all!” Note: “Blue­tooth drive­shafts” is a ref­er­ence to the to­tal lack of front drive­shafts usu­ally seen on mas­sively lifted show trucks.


To get the ex­tra alti­tude un­der this alu­minum-bod­ied Su­per Duty, a BDS 8-inch 4-link coilover sys­tem was in­stalled with Fox 2.5 fac­tory se­ries coilovers fea­tur­ing DSC reser­voirs for com­pres­sion ad­just­ment. The kit’s cor­rect sus­pen­sion and steer­ing ge­om­e­try makes this truck

to match. New sus­pen­sion brack­ets were welded in place and a heavy duty diff cover was fabbed up be­fore bolt­ing the new axle in and rout­ing the brake lines.


Un­der the men­ac­ing RK Sport ram-air hood, the stock 6.7L Power Stroke lives in rel­a­tively stock form (for now). With per­for­mance num­bers of 440 horse­power and 925 lb-ft of torque, this truck is no slouch. BDS built on those num­bers with an S&B coldair in­take to pull cool, clean air in, the EZ Lynk Auto Agent with a mild per­for­mance tune, and a mod­i­fied Di­a­mond Eye 4-inch Dpf-back ex­haust kit to fit the short­ened wheel­base. “It was one of our goals to keep this truck 50-state emis­sions com­pli­ant,” Reed ex­plains. “The chal­lenge was that we had 18 inches less to fit it all in.” The is­sue of how to fit the fuel tank, driv­e­train, cus­tom sus­pen­sion, and ex­haust in was ul­ti­mately re­solved with a cus­tom-built, 25-gal­lon alu­minum fuel cell mounted in place of the fac­tory spare tire, along with a cus­tom-built stain­less steel DEF tank. Both are pro­tected by 3/16-inch steel skid plates. The tailpipe arch is welded di­rectly into the

ride like a dream on long hauls and uses BDS’S trans­fer case in­dex­ing ring to im­prove driv­e­line an­gle and al­low the fac­tory drive­shafts to be re­in­stalled. In the rear a full re­place­ment BDS leaf spring was added, along with Fox 2.0 per­for­mance se­ries IFP shocks and a set of Re­coil trac­tion bars, also from BDS, to help con­trol axle wrap with­out bind­ing up the sus­pen­sion.


Be­ing that this truck will spend most of its life on the road as a tow rig, Dal­ton wanted a wheel and tire combo with some flash, but also a setup that would be re­li­able on the road. Up front he went with 40x15.50 Fury Coun­try Hunter M/TS mounted on 26x12 Amer­i­can Force Psy­cho wheels with a 10-lug con­ver­sion. Out back, a nar­rower set of 40x13.50 Fury M/T tires were mounted on 26x8 Amer­i­can Force Psy­cho du­ally wheels, also con­verted over to 10-on-225mm bolt pat­tern.


While ide­ally the truck would have been painted orange to match the drag truck and

back of the DPF, with­out a muf­fler, to save space. All the nec­es­sary sen­sor bungs were welded in to keep it emis­sions-com­pli­ant.

Along with the orig­i­nal 6.7L Power Stroke, the orig­i­nal 6R140 Torqshift trans­mis­sion was re­in­stalled in stock form, along with the SOTF Borg­warner two-speed trans­fer case, us­ing a BDS T-case in­dex­ing ring to im­prove front driv­e­line an­gle and a cus­tom ma­chined rear out­put flange. Power is sent to the front and rear F-450 axles through a pair of JE Reel dual car­dan drive­shafts.


Short wheel­base aside, this truck is a stun­ner, with 6-inch Mcneil Rac­ing fiber­glass fend­ers and bed­sides, RK Sport ram-air hood, and Rogue Rac­ing bumpers to house the Warn 12,000-pound winch and Rigid LED light­ing. BDS built cus­tom front and rear in­ner fend­ers to match the ex­tra width, al­low fit­ment of the sus­pen­sion com­po­nents, and give a clean ap­pear­ance. The end re­sult is a short-wheel­base, fac­tory-level Rap­tor Su­per Duty on steroids. But­ler Body Shop was called on to prep and paint the frame, body, and trim pieces. Lo­cated just a few miles away from BDS’S Cold­wa­ter, Michi­gan, head­quar­ters, But­ler Body made quick work of the truck, lay­ing down PPG Night Orange metal­lic paint along with satin gray and gloss black ac­cents to match the fac­tory trim and tie the color scheme to­gether in­side and out.


With the stock bench seat re­moved, the build team went to work on the cab, strip­ping it down and fab­ri­cat­ing the roll bar shop col­ors, un­for­tu­nately time wasn’t on their side. So they turned to Sign­smith in Crossville, Ten­nesee, to turn around a com­plete vinyl wrap and color change in a mat­ter of days. The body, grille, and bumpers all re­ceived the Av­ery Den­ni­son gloss orange vinyl treat­ment. Bumpers were sourced from Body Guard, with an A2L low-pro­file bumper up front and a A2 bumper in the rear with sil­ver ac­cent pan­els. Firewire LED light­ing was then added to both

and cen­ter con­sole com­bi­na­tion to house Kicker Au­dio stereo up­grades, Mag­el­lan TRX7 off-road nav­i­ga­tion, and, most im­por­tantly, to mount the 5-point PRP rac­ing har­nesses. Co­cooned within the cus­tom tube work is a pair of PRP En­duro Elite re­clin­ing seats in black suede with orange vinyl trim and “Project SD126” em­broi­dered into the seat backs.


BDS Sus­pen­sion is one of those com­pa­nies that puts its money where its mouth is, so to speak, test­ing its trucks on the trail and push­ing the lim­its. Within 24 hours of SEMA fin­ish­ing up they had SD126 out bomb­ing through the desert whoops near our photo shoot lo­ca­tion to see what this Su­per Duty, worth some­where north of $200K was ca­pa­ble of. Even with the ini­tial shock tun­ing the truck was soak­ing up 2to 3-foot whoops at speed with ease. We’re ex­cited to see what it’ll do out on the trail in Moab this spring on the Full­size In­va­sion. If you want to see how this truck was built, head on over to the BDS web­site for the six-part build se­ries, com­plete with pho­tos, videos, and more doc­u­ment­ing the en­tire build. UDBG bumpers along with Firewire LED head­light bulbs. The front and rear Ford em­blems were swapped out for cus­tom RLC badges from Bil­let Badges, Inc., to match the cus­tom “RLC Traitor” bil­let side badges. Smoked mir­ror lights and third brake lights came from Go Re­con and the win­dows and stock tail­lights re­ceived a layer of tint. To help ease cab ac­cess, a set of Amp Re­search pow­er­steps were added to both sides.


The in­te­rior of this truck builds on Ford’s clean, mod­ern de­sign with touch­screen nav­i­ga­tion and stan­dard XLT ameni­ties. The 40/20/40 bench has been up­grad- ed with Road­wire black leather and suede up­hol­stery with cus­tom em­broi­dery. Fu­ture plans in­clude a full cus­tom stereo.


The 6.7L Power Stroke has been tweaked to around 515 horse­power and 975 lb-ft of torque thanks to an EZ Lynk Auto Agent with a tune from Done Right Diesel, along with a Jamo Per­for­mance 5-inch stain­less steel ex­haust sys­tem with high-flow muf­fler. We’re sure that Michael Dal­ton and the RLC Mo­tor­sports crew have plenty more planned for the 6.7L Power Stroke, but for now he’s ec­static with how it turned out and we’re happy to get to see it in ac­tion pulling tow rig du­ties. UDBG

Up front, the Mcneil Rac­ing flares al­low clear­ance for the 42-inch BFG tires. The task of soak­ing up the ter­rain is han­dled by Fox 2.5 fac­tory race se­ries coilovers with pig­gy­back DSC reser­voirs, along with 3.0 quadru­ple by­pass shocks with re­cir­cu­lat­ing ECS2 and QAB. The BDS cus­tom 4-Link sus­pen­sion setup.

The front end of this Su­per Duty fea­tures a Body Guard A2L bumper, Firewire LED light­ing, and a vinyl-wrapped orange grille. Run­ning gear is com­prised of 40-inch Fury M/T tires and 26-inch Amer­i­can Force Psy­cho wheels in a pol­ished fin­ish.

The rear sus­pen­sion is set up with BDS Glid­eride leaf springs and Fox 2.0 shocks, while a pair of Re­coil trac­tion bars was added to con­trol any axle wrap while putting the power to the ground. The front sus­pen­sion from BDS is a 4-link con­ver­sion that lo­cates off the fac­tory ra­dius arm mounts. This truck is fit­ted with Fox 2.5 fac­tory se­ries coilovers with the re­mote DSC reser­voir In place of the fac­tory coils.

Up front, the Rogue Rac­ing mod­u­lar En­forcer bumper adds style and func­tion­al­ity. Rap­tor tow hooks were added as re­cov­ery points and a Warn Zeon 12-S winch was fit­ted for self-ex­trac­tion, along with a Fac­tor 55 hawse fair­lead and flatlink E. Light­ing comes from Rigid In­dus­tries in the form of a 40-inch RDS light­bar and am­ber ra­di­ance pods. In­side, a pair of PRP rac­ing seats were fit­ted along with PRP 5.3 har­nesses for com­fort and safety out on the trail. The cen­ter con­sole fea­tures a 12-inch Kicker Comp RT sub­woofer along with door and A-pil­lar speak­ers for high-qual­ity tunes.

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