Today I want to talk a little bit about accessories that you can buy for your truck to enhance your experience. I am going to show you a few things I have done to my truck which may prompt ideas for your own. This is not an endorsement for anybody; I’m just showing you what I did on my truck.
TAILGATE: One simple thing I want to show you, especially if you have a Super Duty tailgate, to protect it from being stolen, is to install a McGard Tailgate Lock. They are about $40 on eBay, but it keeps somebody from lifting the tailgate out and taking it quickly. A cheaper do-it-yourself alternative is using a hose clamp. Just a regular hose clamp wrapped around this will slow down somebody from stealing your tailgate. If you have a Super Duty tailgate with the steps in the back, they are almost $3,400 to replace. Ford Motor Company sells all the parts individually and they are almost impossible to find in the junk yard. That is one little thing you can do to your truck that I hope everybody pays attention to.
WHEELS AND TIRES: People like to modify wheels and tires on these trucks. There are a lot of different aftermarket options out there. I am a stickler for a smooth ride. I suggest running an aftermarket wheel unless you are going to go oversize with a lift. I like a factory wheel that fits the hub correctly. You want the wheel to ride on the hub not on the lug nuts. I have seen several aftermarket wheels come loose because they are actually riding on the studs. We are talking about a 8500 lb truck and more with loads. Aftermarket wheels sometimes just aren’t safe if they are not designed correctly. Make sure if you are buying an aftermarket wheel it is what they call “hub-centric”. It actually rides on the hub not on the lug nuts. I spend my money on Michelins. I have tried a dozen different aftermarket tires. This is a factory tire filled with nitrogen and this truck just glides.
SHOCKS AND AIRBAGS: I put Bilstein shocks in all four corners. There is a huge difference in handling and elimination of the death wobble. Bilstein shocks are the best that money can buy. They are expensive but the truck runs so much better.
This truck doesn’t have a helper spring in the back so to keep the ride smooth, I use airbags. You can get really fancy with airbag setups. I have Shrader valves on mine so I can air it up or down manually depending on my loads. You can get pumps and valves and all that kind of stuff so you don’t have to leave the cab to go up and down with different loads. Airbags are a huge upgrade in terms of being able to increase the capacity of your truck.
STEERING STABILIZER: I installed a Bilstein steering stabilizer up front. That makes a big difference in helping with the death wobble. I have also installed a Caster kit on the control arm that gives more caster to help eliminate the death wobble.
LIGHTING: Another upgrade I have on this truck is HID lighting in both the driving lights and running lights. There are low beams and high beams so I don’t completely piss off the people around me. It just lights up the road so much better. I like to travel at night and like to be able to see too.
UNDER THE HOOD: The truck is pretty much stock under the hood except for a coolant filter and an aftermarket Mishimoto radiator to help keep it cool. It makes a big difference. Mishimoto makes radiators for 7.3, 6.0, 6.7, and 6.4 with a new updated 6.4 that eliminates problems with the earlier version. I am a proponent of keeping the engine stock with only a little bit of tuning.
THE BED: I keep a fuel tank/tool box. It is a good idea to carry some tools with you. I am not the most organized person, but I do have what I need when I need it. I make sure I keep a good tool set with screw drivers, trailer wiring, cheap test light, crimpers, tire changing accessories, fuel additives, extra coolant, and extra oil. You never know when you are going to need it. My setup comes with an extra fuel tank that I gravity feed into my main tank so I load up with the cheap fuel when I see it and can carry about 100 gallons between the main tank and this tank.
TOWING ACCESSORIES: I can do a 20 minute video on all the different towing accessories. Be safe when you tow. Make sure you have your safety chains and everything correct when you are setting the truck up to tow. I like this hitch made by Reese Hitches that is spring loaded inside. It actually has a slider inside. When you get on a bumpy road, especially those concrete roads that have the gaps in them, and it feels like someone is hitting the back of your seat with a bat, this spring loaded thing slides back and forth and mitigates some of that motion. It makes a huge difference in keeping the ride smooth.
INSIDE THE TRUCK: One of the best additions you can make to the inside of your truck is a set of WeatherTech mats. These are the nicest mats that money can buy. They catch all the dirt and crud that goes on in our world. Especially you guys that live up north with all that winter weather and all the nastiness that involves. It really makes a big difference in keeping the inside of the truck clean and keeping water and debris from messing up your carpet.
Sound deadening: I added sound deadening to this truck. I took the interior out and sound deadened the floors all the way up the firewall. This makes a huge difference keeping it quiet and keeping the heat out of the truck. I like it cold, cold so keeping the heat out of the cab makes a big difference and the air conditioner works more efficiently.
Engine Temperature: I am a big stickler about being able to see engine temperatures. There are a hundred different options out there, but anything you can do to monitor this is important. This particular tuner came from a customer and had Spartan tuning in it. I didn’t like the Spartan tuning; it was a little too much smoke for me. I’m an adult; I don’t need my truck to smoke. I use tuning from KEM in this truck and have been really happy with it.
Phone: I like to keep my cell phone right out in front of me. I do my navigation with this device. I use it for music and voice texting. I put on a pair of earphones and I can talk on the phone hands free and also do voice text.
Stereo: Another big subject that I can take hours of time discussing is stereos. I don’t like the factory stereos in these trucks. This JVC unit has been a good unit. I have set it up with some decent speakers. It has the backup camera in it which makes a huge difference when hooking up the boat. I have a really cool boom box bass cannon that sits under the rear seat along with the amp. My requirements for the stereo system are pretty basic: It has to sound good but it also has to be loud enough so that I can’t hear myself sing.
JUMPER CABLES: The little Mickey Mouse jumper cables won’t do you any good in a Powerstroke. You need to have big heavy wire jumper cables. These cables came from Northern Tool. They have a double cable with heavy terminals on the end. When you have two big batteries and a 130 amp alternator running these trucks, you can burn a little set of cables real quick because it will move that much juice. Make sure you have big enough cables for your truck.
FLASHLIGHTS: You can’t have too much light especially when things go wrong in the middle of the night like a flat tire or some other issue. Having adequate lighting is necessary. I like rechargeable lighting. All of these will charge off of the main battery in the truck some through the USB others with their own separate chargers.
I hope this video gives you ideas of some things that you can do to your truck to make owning it a better experience. I spend a tremendous amount of time in my truck. I eat, ride in, talk on the phone, do business from, tow my ski boat, and have slept in my truck a few times. It is a very important part of my life. Our truck is a big part of our lifestyle and how we accessories our trucks really makes the experience of owning a truck so much better.
Ford gives you a basic package and then you can work from there to make it like you want it so you can enjoy the time you have to spend in there. Life is short; you might as well enjoy it where you are at. ~Bill Hewitt