At just 23 years old, Mike Varner just doesn't like to do things the way everyone else does. The guy seems to be programmed to customize whatever he owns. Whether it is his lowered Acura, his lightning-fast boat, or his Yamaha Banshee ATV, nothing remains stock for very long with Mike. His '01 Super Duty is no exception.
Mike spends his days constricted by his desk and tie as a mortgage broker not far from his hometown of Hesperia, California. The weekends never seem to come soon enough, when it's off with his tie and into his Super Duty. Mike gets his kicks from all kinds of recreation, traveling to Glamis, Dumont, and the infamous Colorado River.
His first off-road truck was a late-model Chevy. He customized it with a lift and 35-inch tires. However, once the lift was completed, the tired Chevy wouldn't tow his boat like he wanted. Inspired by the inability of his old Chevy, Mike stepped up to his first Super Duty and the customizing began.
Mr. Varner's Super Duty rolls on a colossal set of 42-inch Super Swampers. Tires this large were not going to just tuck under the fenders. This was not an issue for Mike because he knew just where to take his project. The crew at Custom Motorsports was happy to make his dreams come true. The necessary height would come from four new Atlas leaf springs. The truck gained 18 glorious inches. With the new spring packs, quality damping would be key to keeping the truck driveable.
Rancho provided the answer with a trio of RS 5000s on each corner. The cost-effective shocks make the truck adjustable for any terrain. Custom Motorsports was responsible for building a custom mount for the new shocks. Once complete, a limiting strap was added as insurance for the driveshafts. The combination of the lift and the tires mounted on a set of Weld Super Singles completes the first phase of Mike's project off-roader.
The extremely arched springs required longer driveshafts front and rear to even reach the differentials, and the center carrier bearing is lowered to accommodate the new lower axles and to keep the U-joints happy. The most challenging part of the lift, however, came from the steering assembly. The new springs added some serious angle to the tie rods in their stock configuration. Custom Motorsports installed its custom over-the-leaf-spring steering system, complete with Heim joints on each end. The new chrome-moly tie rods ensure durability and precise steering through any situation.
The gigantic treads instigated a power loss, which Mike strived to get back. The popularity of the 7.3L Power Stroke diesel left him with plenty of available upgrades. The truck runs on a Bully Dog chip, a race-winning K&N air filter promotes at least 10 years of clean air, and Dynaflow sold him an after-cat exhaust system. With just this small combination of upgrades, most of the lost power was found. The final power was achieved via a set of 4:56 gears. The truck drives just like a new stock one.
The truck stands tall with its oversized tires and bright-red paint. Mike has achieved his goal to set himself away from all the other Super Dutys in his neighborhood. He would like to thank his parents and Custom Motorsports for helping him make his dream a reality.
|Owner/hometown ||Mike Varner/Hesperia, California |
|Year/make/model ||'01 F-350 Super Duty |
|Engine ||7.3L V-8 diesel |
|Suspension ||Atlas leaf springs |
|Shocks ||Rancho RS 5000 |
|Wheels/tires ||16.5x9.75-inch Weld Super Single/42-inch |
|Additional features ||Billet grille; Dynaflow exhaust; 4.56 gears; clear |
taillights; K&N air filter