Dean Pigg is a Ford guy through and through: He holds more than 24 years of experience in Ford assembly-line body shops. So when it was time for the Valparaiso, Indiana, resident to choose a new play truck, it was no surprise that he chose an extended cab 2002 Ford F-250; in fact, he even traded in the family Expedition for the truck – much to his wife’s disappointment. Still, Pigg worked on the truck with the help of his family, including his wife, Lisa, and kids, Zach and Tory, along with his friend, Scotty King, and Mark Reeves from Big Hog Customs.
Pigg had to change the lift five times before his truck reached the height it boasts today.
After purchasing the truck new, Pigg put it through several transformations, adding more lift and larger tires until the truck reached its current altitude. The first lift installed on the truck was an 8-inch Skyjacker kit that stayed on the truck for a while before being augmented with a 4-inch hanger kit for twelve inches of lift. When twelve inches of suspension lift started feeling short, Pigg installed a set of 18-inch Atlas Spring leaf springs to work with the hanger kit, giving him 22 inches of lift. Ultimately, that still fell short of his vision, so he replaced the 18-inch leaf springs with a set of 24-inch Atlas springs: that’s a total of 28 inches of lift over stock.
The current front suspension setup uses the aforementioned 24-inch Atlas springs with twelve leaves to support the big truck while providing the lift. Four-inch hangers drop the powder coated gloss black springs down from the frame.
Working with Reeves and the team at Big Hog Customs, Pigg installed an ORU crossover steering system with a custom drag link setup along with a panhard bar and cross brace tied into the shock mounts to keep the axle in place.
AXLES, TIRES AND GEARS
Three Skyjacker shocks are used on each side of the front axle to keep the ride smooth despite the huge lift. Four of the shocks are chrome plated with the center one on each side powder coated silver vein to match the truck. The rest of the suspension components, including the axle housing, are also powder coated in matching silver. Dual chrome-plated Skyjacker steering stabilizers help keep the big truck pointed in the right direction when he’s driving down the road. The axle housing is stuffed with 5.38 gears to help spin the 49-inch tall IROK Super Swamper 21/49-16.5LT tires wrapped around 16.5X14-inch Weld Scorpio V wheels.
When we shot the truck, the front drive shaft was not installed, but Pigg has since installed a custom shaft from High Angle Driveline in Paradise, California, to once again make his Ford four-wheel drive. The anti-sway bar is retained and treated to a chrome finish with extended links. To help reduce the front driveline angle, the transfer case was re-clocked to rotate it downward. Then, to protect the case, Pigg installed a custom tubular mount that runs from frame rail to frame rail, across the underside of the truck.
In the rear of the truck, the suspension lift is handled by a set of 11 leaf Atlas springs combined with large lift blocks and hangers to provide 28 inches of lift to match the front. Like the front of the truck, the springs are powder coated gloss black with the rest of the components powder coated silver vein for a body-matching offset. Four chrome-plated Skyjacker shocks are held in custom mounts to tame the bumps. To match the gear ratio of the front axle, Pigg installed 5.38 gears in the rear housing behind an ORU polished aluminum differential cover. The rear axle is linked to the transfer case with a custom drive shaft from Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts in Ogden, Utah.
Pigg installed a set of Atlas spring leaf springs to work with the hanger kit, giving him 28 inches of lift.
PAINT AND BODY
With the suspension completed, Pigg and his son, Zach, filled all the holes and completely smoothed the frame. After many hours of grinding and welding, they had a custom wrap installed on the frame by Andrew Porter of Steindler Signs to honor his late father, Charles. The image of Charles on a checkered flag background can be seen through the rear wheel wells on each side of the truck. The remainder of the chassis is gloss black.
As one would expect from a paint-and-body man, the two-tone gray and black paint job is flawless. It’s accented with polished Deaknbuilt flamed pinch weld covers that highlight the flames cut into the window tint on the front windows. Nestled behind the pinch weld covers are a set of motorized swing-down steps to help Pigg and his family climb into the mammoth truck. To give the exterior some additional attention, he installed 2005 Harley Davidson Edition headlights as well as billet aluminum grille and bumper inserts. He replaced the original hood with a cowl hood for a meaner look (as if the monster-truck-size tires were not enough). In the rear, he installed a set of carbon-fiber styled tail lights and had the plastic bumper caps hydro graphic dipped with a carbon-fiber pattern that looks great and caps the gloss black bumper. The door handles were also dipped for the carbon-fiber treatment.
POWER AT HAND
Moving inside the truck, the first thing you’ll notice is the abundance of carbon fiber graphics throughout the interior. Virtually every panel or component that was removable was dipped to achieve the carbon fiber look. The factory gray leather seats are comfortable for Pigg and his family. To keep an eye on the engine and transmission performance, he added an Autometer A-pillar pod and a trio of Phantom gauges to monitor EGT, boost and transmission temperature. To match the Autometer gauges, he installed a white gauge face overlay in the factory cluster.
Pigg’s 7.3L Power Stroke engine and transmission are largely stock, but thanks to the gear ratio change in the axles, they are not under much more of a load than a stock configuration truck. He did enhance the tuning with a Super Chips tuner and allows the engine to breathe easier with a turbo back polished stainless steel 4-inch diameter exhaust system that terminates with a 5-inch diameter tip behind the passengers’ side rear wheel.
Despite working on the truck for over 13 years, like most truck owners, Pigg doesn’t consider his build finished; he has further plans to upgrade, including getting more performance out of his 7.3L engine. Still, he enjoys the truck in its current state and takes it to 4X4 Jamborees, diesel events and local truck shows on a regular basis. He has won awards including Best Ford, Best Paint, Best Interior and even a few Best of Show awards giving this sky-high show truck the recognition it deserves. DW