Every year, the off-road community is introduced to new aftermarket products and the newest vehicles from around the globe. The showing grounds for these products is the SEMA Show, which is held every November in Las Vegas. This past year's SEMA Show definitely delivered some of the trickest products ever seen. Yet no matter what the product is, it is only as good as the vehicle that it's displayed on. To prove our point, we visited the Bushwacker's display booth, which exhibited its latest fender flares and accessories. On hand to show off its new line of cut-out fender flares was Jeff Ayles' 2000 Ford F-350 Super Duty. Being the company's research and development guru, Jeff was not only able to help create a new series of cut-outs for Super Dutys, but somehow he didn't mind doing it either. As you read this story and look at the pictures, you'll realize why he enjoyed this Ford's buildup.
Knowing that the truck would be on display at SEMA and viewed by literally thousands, one of the main goals was to make it stand apart from the rest of the other companies' Super Dutys that would be on display.
Using height and tire size as key factors proved successful, attracting even the harshest critic's attention. After choosing to run 44x18.5x16.5 Super Swamper tires mounted on 16.5x14 Weld Racing Typhoon wheels, Jeff and the Bushwacker gang had to determine the correct lift system to provide a somewhat decent ride quality and responsive steering system. The final system was a combination of two different company's lift kits. An 8-inch Fabtech Motorsports lift kit with custom-valved shocks, a 3-inch shackle lift complete with a front steering stabilizer, and a dual shock kit from Superlift completed the system. To provide a smoother ride at the rear, the shock mounts were cut, rotated, and rewelded to a more suitable location. Because of the extreme angle at which the factory driveshaft was positioned, the front driveshaft had to be lengthened a few inches for a more OEM-like fit. The rear driveshaft was put in a better position with the help of Superlfit's dropped carrier bearing setup. As can be seen, the end result of the lift and tires is awesome.
With the height in place, the next task was to show off the company's new product that Jeff and his gang had worked so hard to develop. The new cut-out fender flares that were the whole reason the truck was being built provided an additional 3-1/2 inches of extended tire coverage for both the front and the rear. The cut-outs also allow for more suspension travel and tire clearance without additional inches required by either a suspension lift or a body lift.
Adding to the overall appearance of the truck are a set of Smittybilt nerf bars, a pair of bedrail caps, and rear bumper caps. Sidewinder sidesteps were also an important feature to enter and exit the vehicle. All of these items and the cut-out fender flares were color-matched Harvest Gold. With only days to the show, the truck was finally beginning to come together nicely. To further intimidate his competitors at the show, Jeff decided to swap out the huge factory plastic grille for a custom Stull billet aluminum unit.
He also called upon fabricator extraordinaire Off-Road Tech of Portland, Oregon, to create a custom one-of-a-kind prototype 3-inch mandrel-bent maximum duty front winch bumper. A SuperWinch Husky Series 12,000-pound winch was bolted on to the bumper as were a series of PIAA lights, including a pair of 520-series, a quartet of 80-series racing lamps, and a pair of the extremely durable and bright 80 ProXTs. The interior was left basically stock, except for the addition of an A.C.R. Lawrence electric sliding window. One look at Jeff's Bushwacker project truck and it becomes apparent that he is a person who doesn't mind mixing business with pleasure.
|Builders/hometown ||Jeff Ayles & Bushwacker Industries/ Portland, Oregon |
|Make/model ||2000 Ford F-350 Super Duty |
|Suspension ||8-inch Fabtech Motorsports lift; 3-inch Superlift shackle lift |
|Tires ||: 44x18.50x16.5 Super Swampers |
|Wheels ||16.5x14 Weld Racing Typhoons |
|Shocks ||Fabtech Motorsports |
|Engine ||: Ford V-8 |
|Other ||:Stull billet grille; Off-Road Tech custom bumper |
(front); SuperWinch 12,000-pound winch;
Kodiak electric steps; PIAA lights; C. R.
Lawrence electric rear sliding window;
Bushwacker cut-out fender flares; Smittybilt