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  #1  
Old 06-29-2014, 05:41 PM
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Austen's ZF6 Big Black Beast: Expedition Style Build-Up

The Big Black Beast


Welcome to my build thread and thank you for taking the interest to check it out!

Why This Truck?
I am in middle twenties and owning a diesel truck has been a life-long dream of mine so owning this truck is truly a thrill. When life's circumstances began to allow for this dream to become a reality, I spent a year researching the type of truck that would be best for me. I knew, foremost, that it had to be a manual as I am an auto enthusiast through-and-through and appreciate having the most involved and intimate driving experience as possible. It was a tough decision between a 6.4 and a Cummins, but the 7.3 was the clear fit for me due to stone cold reliability and I appreciated the overall HD build quality of the SD truck itself. After owning this truck, those reasons have become even more evident that I made the right choice for me personally.

I was looking for a CCSB configuration specifically, a hard to find outfit to in any manufacture. I had passed on many as they either were too far molested or honestly, just did not speak to me. When this came along, it was obvious that I had found the right one. I had not seen a 7.3 like this before that got my heart jumping. I saw it has an excellent platform for a build and the specs met everything that I was looking for.

Vision For This Build:
My goals for this truck are to keep it versatile, heavy duty and reliable foremost. You could say the vision is pointed more on the expedition side of things simply because the universal style is what fits my lifestyle. I want to be able to haul a gooseneck and at the end of the day install an RTT in the back, engage lockers and take it out in the wilderness to go camping. It is not going to be built for lap times going down the drag strip. I do have some performance oriented things in mind but frankly, those actually are lower on the list as I first want to build up the truck itself first.

Eventually I plan to have the truck repainted. The original paint, while presentable, is far from perfect. There is a good sized scratch that goes through the 4x4 decal on the right side of the truck and has its share of smaller knicks and imperfections throughout. Until then, I'm going to preserve the original paint, use this as a truck as it was intended and enjoy not worrying about putting a scratch or two in it of my own when that happens.

Rate Of Goal Achievements:
This is very much an on-going project and will most definitely not take place all at once. Most of what I have planned is in terms of "priority." Currently top on the list is the replacement of the rear bumper which will be one of the first updates that you will see later on.

Until then, let's get down to a few specs:

The truck:
08/98 Build Date
7.3
ZF6
Crew cab short bed
4wd w/ manual transfer case
3.73 gears

Current mods: (What we're working with)
6" suspension lift
37" Toyo M/T's
17" XD Addict rims
Air shocks
ARB offroad bumper
Custom built cab guard
Rhino lined rockers & fender flares
Bushwacker Extend-a-Flare Fender flares
HID headlights
PIAA fog lights
Recon cab & tail lights
In dash DVD player
4" MBRP turbo back straight pipe
Custom "hidden" turn down of the exhaust
K&N Intake
Alpine DVD/stereo unit

______________________________________

Future Mods: "The good stuff"

Exterior Plans:
-Roadarmor Stealth rear bumper
-Winch
-Offroad Unlimited roof rack for spare tire, jack + additional fog lights
-Frame Sliders
-RTT tent
-Beadlock rims
-Bedliner replacement
-B&W gooseneck hide-a-ball
-2005 Front end conversion
-Repaint exterior

Engine:
TS Chip with Tony Wildman tunes
-S366 or H2E turbo system
-3" Intake plenums
-Head studs
-Bellowed up pipes
-Injectors
-Terminator T500 HPOP
-Fass lift pump
-6637 air filter
-Upgrade clutch if needed

Interior:
-4 Pillar gauge pod
-TS pillar mount selector switch
-CB radio
-Corbeau leather racing seats
-Replace rear bench cloth seat with leather seat
-Remove carpet and spray bedliner for flooring

Misc:
-On board air system
-Finish remainder of air shock installation
-Front and rear diff lockers



























Some people complain about the 7.3 being loud, underpowered and offering a subpar ride due to the front leaf springs. Me? This truck couldn't be built any more to suit me. Stone cold reliability, durability heavy duty are what speak to me while looking good at the same time. It lets me know that I'm driving a truck and wouldn't want anything less than that.

Last edited by Austen; 06-29-2014 at 05:49 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-01-2014, 02:05 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 33
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subscribed to see how it turns out, already lookin good
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The Following User Says Thank You to JasonBlair For This Useful Post:
Austen (07-02-2014)
  #3  
Old 10-12-2014, 10:23 PM
Compression Ignition Addict
 

Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Monterey
Posts: 189
Thanks: 59
Thanked 10 Times in 9 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews

In between work and some free time on the weekends, I had an enjoyable spring and summer working on project Super Duty and taking care of a few things that needed to be done as well as performing some upgrades as well. I figured now would be good time to share those updates and post some corresponding photos!

Well let's get to it.



HNC Bumper

The most notable update is a new rear offroad bumper. It bugged me having the "hit and miss setup" with a nice one on the front and a stocker on the back. After several months of research and consideration, it was apparent I had found the right manufacture when I came across Hard Notched Customs, and independent shop based out of Vancouver WA. When I had it narrowed down to one or two other brands, I quickly found out that you could not have one "special ordered" or have any personal customization done. Including some poor customer service, I decided to spend a little more time researching as these bumpers are pricy and wanted to make sure I got the right thing.


Fortunately I did not pull the trigger too soon or I would have not found HNC. Their motto basically goes "You create the design; we build it." Joel and Matt were great to work with, will send you updates along the way during each stage of the build process as shown above. They offer competitive pricing and include rear auxiliary lights, license plates lights with the option to choose your finish type- things that aren't always offered with other manufactures.
Taking their standard SD rear bumper as template, I told them I wanted additional protection/coverage around the corners of the truck.

I was truly blown away when I saw it as it exceeded my expectations by far. I recommend them highly!









2008-2012 Tailgate
This was an unplanned mod and something that I was not thrilled about having to buy at first, but ended up turning out to be a chance to upgrade to the new style which so it turned out to be a win in the end.

The Back Story:
A little over a month ago while parking in a restaurant parking lot, I backed into a spot that had a big branch right behind the tailgate which ended up putting a huge dent in it. I made the mistake of leaving the truck in reverse after I shut it off- something that I've never done 99.9% of the time owning standard transmission vehicles all my life. I typically always put them back into first after parking. The thing with the ZF6 is that reverse is all the way to the left and up, so it can actually appear at a very quick glance that you're in 1st gear when in reality it's in reverse. Well, you can pretty much guess what happened when I got back in the truck and let the clutch out thinking it was in 1st. Won't make that mistake again!



Motorsport Tech BORA Wheel Spacers
For one who's obsessed about achieving his own particular stance, I called up my bud Lenny from Motorsport Tech to build a set of his hub centric BORA (bullet proof offroad adapters) for the truck to fill out the flares. The pinchweld mod had to be done due to the increased scrub radius but it came out looking good and sealed everything up properly with automotive undercoating.



Military Battery Terminals
Replaced all four batter connections with military style. The originals were tired and had some corrosion. Definitely a well worth mod as it has now aided in a stronger crank and will be beneficial for adding additional exterior lighting and accessories down the road.



6637 Intake
The truck had a new, yes new fortunately in the sense that it hadn't been installed very long, K&N intake system when I bought it so that had to go and be replaced with the almighty 6637 filter. Installed the filter onto the existing K&N intake pipe. Now I can sleep at night, lol.

Seat of the pants difference? I'll pretend you didn't even ask.
Sound difference? A little less turbo whistle and more of an intake roar.



Miscellaneous odds and ends:
-Oil/filter change
-Fuel filter change
-Replaced oil cooler seals
-New trailer 7 way plug
-Lubed suspension
-Hidden exhaust turn down
-Painted axle ends
-Replaced a buggered belt molding
-Valve cover wire loom wire replacement

She's definitely no new luxury ride and far from a show stopper but it's one tough truck that I enjoy fixing up and making mine.







Time for 40's!













What's next? A Tony Wildman chip a with 4 gauge pod pillar setup and a top rack similar to the one pictured below to carry a full sized 37" spare, lights and a high-lift.
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  #4  
Old 10-12-2014, 10:24 PM
Compression Ignition Addict
 

Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Monterey
Posts: 189
Thanks: 59
Thanked 10 Times in 9 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews

In between work and some free time on the weekends, I had an enjoyable spring and summer working on project Super Duty and taking care of a few things that needed to be done as well as performing some upgrades as well. I figured now would be good time to share those updates and post some corresponding photos!

Well let's get to it.



HNC Bumper

The most notable update is a new rear offroad bumper. It bugged me having the "hit and miss setup" with a nice one on the front and a stocker on the back. After several months of research and consideration, it was apparent I had found the right manufacture when I came across Hard Notched Customs, and independent shop based out of Vancouver WA. When I had it narrowed down to one or two other brands, I quickly found out that you could not have one "special ordered" or have any personal customization done. Including some poor customer service, I decided to spend a little more time researching as these bumpers are pricy and wanted to make sure I got the right thing.


Fortunately I did not pull the trigger too soon or I would have not found HNC. Their motto basically goes "You create the design; we build it." Joel and Matt were great to work with, will send you updates along the way during each stage of the build process as shown above. They offer competitive pricing and include rear auxiliary lights, license plates lights with the option to choose your finish type- things that aren't always offered with other manufactures.
Taking their standard SD rear bumper as template, I told them I wanted additional protection/coverage around the corners of the truck.

I was truly blown away when I saw it as it exceeded my expectations by far. I recommend them highly!









2008-2012 Tailgate
This was an unplanned mod and something that I was not thrilled about having to buy at first, but ended up turning out to be a chance to upgrade to the new style which so it turned out to be a win in the end.

The Back Story:
A little over a month ago while parking in a restaurant parking lot, I backed into a spot that had a big branch right behind the tailgate which ended up putting a huge dent in it. I made the mistake of leaving the truck in reverse after I shut it off- something that I've never done 99.9% of the time owning standard transmission vehicles all my life. I typically always put them back into first after parking. The thing with the ZF6 is that reverse is all the way to the left and up, so it can actually appear at a very quick glance that you're in 1st gear when in reality it's in reverse. Well, you can pretty much guess what happened when I got back in the truck and let the clutch out thinking it was in 1st. Won't make that mistake again!



Motorsport Tech BORA Wheel Spacers
For one who's obsessed about achieving his own particular stance, I called up my bud Lenny from Motorsport Tech to build a set of his hub centric BORA (bullet proof offroad adapters) for the truck to fill out the flares. The pinchweld mod had to be done due to the increased scrub radius but it came out looking good and sealed everything up properly with automotive undercoating.



Military Battery Terminals
Replaced all four batter connections with military style. The originals were tired and had some corrosion. Definitely a well worth mod as it has now aided in a stronger crank and will be beneficial for adding additional exterior lighting and accessories down the road.



6637 Intake
The truck had a new, yes new fortunately in the sense that it hadn't been installed very long, K&N intake system when I bought it so that had to go and be replaced with the almighty 6637 filter. Installed the filter onto the existing K&N intake pipe. Now I can sleep at night, lol.

Seat of the pants difference? I'll pretend you didn't even ask.
Sound difference? A little less turbo whistle and more of an intake roar.



Miscellaneous odds and ends:
-Oil/filter change
-Fuel filter change
-Replaced oil cooler seals
-New trailer 7 way plug
-Lubed suspension
-Hidden exhaust turn down
-Painted axle ends
-Replaced a buggered belt molding
-Valve cover wire loom wire replacement

She's definitely no new luxury ride and far from a show stopper but it's one tough truck that I enjoy fixing up and making mine.







Time for 40's!













What's next? A Tony Wildman chip a with 4 gauge pod pillar setup and a top rack similar to the one pictured below to carry a full sized 37" spare, lights and a high-lift.
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