The uncommon and unusual events and occurrences that present themselves from time to time are what make life interesting. Seeing something out of the ordinary is like uncovering buried treasure; a rewarding experience indeed. We don't often see Ford Excursions lifted as high as Ty McFarland's '02 model, so you'll have to understand our glee when he agreed to let us take pictures of his pride and joy. We pass, or get passed, on the freeway by Ford's largest SUV on a daily basis, with a soccer mom usually behind the wheel of the mostly stock, behemoth vehicle. Occasionally, we'll find Excursions that have been lowered or lifted a small amount, but it's a lucky and rare discovery to catch one such as Ty's on film.
The Excursion has a wheelbase that measures more than 12 feet long, with a track width of nearly 6 feet, so lifting one 22 inches higher than stock doesn't seem to be a far-fetched idea. Ty's SUV is so long and so very wide that the additional lift and 44-inch-diameter rollers look right at home beneath its chassis. This definitely isn't a case of overkill as we often see in lesser-sized vehicles. Valley Spring and FST of Phoenix took to task the job of raising the ride height using a combination of parts. New leaf-spring packs were assembled and installed onto custom laser-cut spring hangers. A custom set of upper shock hoops was also fabricated from round tubing to provide a mounting location for Sway-A-Way Racerunner dampers. If you look closely, you'll notice that the shock bodies are not threaded like most Racerunner dampers. That's because the threads were sanded smooth, then covered with oversized chrome tubing to give the shocks a sano smooth and contemporary look. The rest of the suspension components also received the same chrome-plated, fastidious attention to detail. A tall truck with large-diameter tires also needs a boost in the steering department, so a crossover steering system was installed, along with a steering stabilizer.
The rear suspension is a bit more unconventional. The leaf-spring packs are accessorized and aided by a pair of sleeve-type Firestone airbags that are adjustable from within the cab of the truck. The 'bags add additional load-carrying capability to the rear of the truck and aid in towing. Again, Sway-A-Way Racerunner dampers were customized, plated, and installed to control the rear axle's movement. To keep axle wrap in check, an interesting twist on track-bar fabrication was employed. Instead of fabricating a set of ladder bars with equal-length tubes gusseted together, Ty's truck relies on a pair of single tubes, which are bolted to the bottom of the axle tubes, and a pair of shorter tubes that are triangulated from the long tubes up to the top of the axle. The setup seems to work well in this application, and is definitely a twist on what we normally see.
Unfortunately, a photo mishap developed after our Arizona shoot, and the interior pictures of Ty's truck became a lost cause. We can tell you that the interior of this SUV is as tight as the exterior, with plenty of detail and upscale craftsmanship to boot. The leather bucket seating is surrounded by carbon-fiber door panel and center console inserts, adding a racy element to the beige interior. The stock pedals and rearview mirror were also upgraded to highly polished, billet aluminum, flame-look units. More bling-bling is tossed into the mix via a pair of drop-down, headliner-mounted monitors and red-colored neon lighting.
To date, Ty's radically customized Excursion has picked up several First Place trophies at events such as the Truckin' Nationals, in addition to providing miles of fun time in the dirt. While the trophies and accolades are all well and good, we dig the user-friendly nature and out-of-the-ordinary look of this truck.
|Owner/hometown : ||Ty McFarland/Phoenix |
|Year/make/model : ||'02 Ford Excursion |
|Suspension : ||Custom front leaf-spring packs and hangers; rear custom leaf-spring packs |
and track bars. Dampers by Sway-A-Way and fabricated by Valley Spring and
FST of Phoenix
|Wheels/tires : ||16.5x12-inch Mickey Thompson wheels/44x18.5R16.5 Fun Country tires |
|Engine : ||7.3L Turbo Diesel with Western computer chip, B&B exhaust system, K&N |
Filtercharger system. Arizona Driveline built a dual CV driveline, and the
differentials were stuffed with 4.56 gears