Project OBSessed - Diesel World

Top Ten in Review

Project OBSessed was one for the books. Going from just your average run of the mill 24 year old, wore out Ford to a perfectly dialed 400+ horsepower eye catching tow rig. Over the course of the last year and half this crew cab F350 Ford received a whole host of upgrades, all of which were chosen for specific reasons. Whether we were trying to increase horsepower, ride quality or just overall usability, this project had a purpose and it’s fair to say we executed it perfectly. This month we take a look back at some of our favorite upgrades on the old Power Stroke and offer some insight as to why each was chosen.

We’re moving on from this project and have our eyes open for the next, but we hope over the last year you’ve enjoyed following along with this build as much as we enjoyed working on it. Sure there were plenty of late nights cussing some rusted and seized bolts, wiping sweat from our brow and blood from our knuckles, but the way this one turned out gave us something to be proud of. This old Ford received more looks in traffic and struck up more conversation from random strangers at the fuel station than any old truck ever should. The original reason for doing this project was due to some nostalgia for the old body style Ford. Anyone who has been around diesel trucks their whole life has some kind of connection with the OBS Power Stroke. Either your dad owned one, your neighbor drove one, or you drove one yourself. They were great trucks then and with the right amount of love and elbow grease they can be great trucks still. Project OBSessed proved that.

DW-2103-OBS-01

Our final result, an updated version of its once outdated self. Running factory wheels, near factory stance, and no real attention grabbing cosmetics, Project OBSessed was the perfect example of just how great looking these mid 90’s Fords were.

DW-2103-OBS-03A

After twenty plus years in the sun, just about everything will start to show it’s age and fade. No more else is this more noticeable on an old truck than the headlights and grille surface. The clouded and yellowed light lenses along with the faded out grille bars were in some definite need of attention when we bought the truck.

DW-2103-OBS-03B

Complete Performance offers just about everything you’d ever need for a 94-97 Ford truck and their 6-piece headlight/corner lens kit along with their OEM replacement grille shell brought all new life into the old truck. The clear lenses offered an updated look without straying too far from the OE look we were trying to stick with.

DW-2103-OBS-02

One of the more common issues that plagued the 7.3L engine? Oil leaks. To resolve a leaking dipstick adapter into the oil pan, Strictly Diesel developed this billet adapter. Using a dual O-ring design and an all new clamp style this adapter will cure an oil leak once and for all. Best of all, it’s an easy install with no need to remove the oil pan.

DW-2103-OBS-04

The 7.3L Power Stroke takes real well to aftermarket performance tuning and the custom tuned Hydra chip from A&A Design and Tuning was just what the doctor ordered. After installation of the 6-position chip, you could feel an instant lift in drivability, better throttle response, more power, quicker turbo spool, and even better transmission shifts.

DW-2103-OBS-05

An often overlooked area on any truck is the steering system. With 220,000 miles on the clock, the old truck did have some significant wander at higher speeds and slop in the steering wheel. To tighten all that up and improve on the factory setup, an all-new, heavy duty steering kit from Carrick Customs and a new gear box from Redhead Steering gear tightened it right up. The truck feel more responsive and reacts to driver input better.

DW-2103-OBS-06

The factory injectors in the 94-97 trucks were only 90cc’s, so power potential is really limited due to the lack of fuel. To resolve this and really start making some power, a set of 205cc/30% injectors from Full Force Diesel were installed. The larger injector was perfect for a daily driver and towing application, especially with some custom tuning, smoke output and EGT control wasn’t an issue. Near the end of our build, the OBS put down over 440hp to the tire.

DW-2103-OBS-07

DW-2103-OBS-08

Another common area for failure in the 7.3 platforms is the exhaust up-pipes that connect the manifolds to the inlet of the turbocharger. The factory pipes use a crush donut that has been prone to blowing out and leaking. Riff Raff Diesel builds complete replacement up-pipe kits that use a much stronger and more durable bellowed design that will seal better under the constant changes in temperature.

DW-2103-OBS-10

Under the hood of Project OBSessed we really tried to not only increase performance and functionality, but to make it look good doing it. The Strictly Diesel fuel bowl delete kit, powder coated Banks intercooler pipes, and a host of other dress-up parts really made this old engine look new again.

DW-2103-OBS-09

Mechanical fuel pumps on the 94-97 platform were always leaking and failing, on top of not being able to flow enough to support much power over stock. For better fuel volume to the new injectors, along with improved reliability an electric fuel system conversion like this dual pump kit from Strictly Diesel is the end-all answer. More fuel than the truck will ever need with added filtration and improved flow to and from the engine.

DW-2103-OBS-11

Boost! It’s the most exciting part about owning a diesel. With the added fuel from bigger injectors the motor needed a lot more air, so a 63/73/.84 polished turbo from KC Turbos was installed. As the perfect balance between spool-up and airflow, this combo was absolutely perfect for daily driving and towing needs. At 42-psi, the setup worked flawlessly under load and kept EGT’s under control.

DW-2103-OBS-12

There are quite a few turbo options available for the 7.3L Power Stroke but we opted for the KC Turbo unit for a couple reasons. The direct fit installation was the largest deciding factor, as it allowed more than enough air for our needs without requiring us to make a bunch of other modifications under the hood.

DW-2103-OBS-13

The 1994-1997 trucks did not come from Ford equipped with an intercooler and that is one of its biggest downfalls. Under the load of heavy towing, exhaust gas temperatures were virtually impossible to keep under control and we weren’t able to use the power we had on tap. Banks Power Technicooler system fit perfectly and made a huge improvement in charge air temps. We picked up over 20mph towing over 6% grades thanks to the drop in air temperatures.

DW-2103-OBS-14

The old body style Ford was never known for its ride quality, and 3” leveling kit that had been installed on this one probably fifteen years ago made the ride even worse. The front end of this truck rode so rough and was in need of some major upgrades.

DW-2103-OBS-15

A Reverse Shackle kit from Sky’s Off-Road was the answer to our prayers when it came to upgrading the front suspension. By moving the shackle on the front suspension the rear mount of the leaf spring, you get more efficient suspension travel. This kit also replaced the factory leaf springs with newer longer springs from a 99-03 Super Duty truck. You can’t even compare ride quality from before and after. The RSK suspension is hands down the best money and time you could spend on an OBS Ford

DW-2103-OBS-16

Another notable upgrade to the old truck was an updated Injector Driver Module. To make sure we were getting the most out of our bigger injectors, the factory IDM was rebuilt by Diesel Technology of Chattanooga. The modified IDM runs at a higher voltage and frequency, which makes the on/off time of the injector more efficient.

DW-2103-OBS-17

Since his was a build focused heavily on towing performance, the cooling system was also upgraded with newer style parts including a high flowing Mishimoto radiator. The all-new thermostat, upper radiator hose, radiator and Liquid Chill synthetic antifreeze offers optimum fluid temperature control under heavy loads.

DW-2103-OBS-18

Lastly, Project OBSessed was able to test out the all new Toyo Open Country A/T 3 tires that hit the market this past year. The new tread design proved to work well in just about every condition form gravel roads towing a camper, to snow and ice running the canyon on snowmobile getaways.

SOURCES

A&A Design and Tuning
Banks Power
Carrick Customs
Complete Performance
Daily Driven Performance
Diesel Technology of Chattanooga
EBC Brakes
Edge Products
Full Force Diesel
KC Turbos
Mishimoto
NFab Steps
OBS Solutions
Redhead Steering
Riff Raff Diesel
Sky’s Off-Road
Strictly Diesel
Titan Fuel Tanks
Toyo Tire
XDP Diesel