RLC MOTOR SPORTS’ 2017 FOR DF-350 SUPER DUTY TO WRIG
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.
WHEELS & TIRES
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.
WHERE TO SEE MORE
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.