An all too common sight in my driveway.

I’m addicted to modifying. Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my passion. Heck, other than the three years when I worked at a restaurant in high school, my entire career has been based around modifying vehicles. Even then I spent all my paychecks on truck parts.

While I have a couple all-out projects, I seem to keep buying things and saying, “I’m just going to do a couple light modifications and call it done.” It’s a flat out lie; I tell myself that every time, yet for some reason I always seem to believe it. My current F-250 Power Stroke is a great example. I bought a 7.3L for one reason: reliability. I didn’t want to go fast—I just wanted something that would drag my toys out to the desert without any problems. That was great for a few years. I spent my time making it a great tow rig and really a good tool for me to have when I needed it. It’s got every sort of hitch on it you could think of, as well as onboard air, a massive inverter, a backup battery system, multiple trailer brake systems, water/meth injection and so, so much more.

Then life changed. My passions stayed the same, but they were moving in a slightly different direction. I started modifying the 7.3L to race it. Not all out because I just can’t afford to do that yet. The simple stuff I had already done, intake, exhaust and tuner. I got a bit more aggressive with the tuning soon after the racing bug bit me, and then I quickly graduated to a new turbo, injectors, and fuel system from there. But as with any build up, when you make one thing stronger or more powerful, everything around it suffers. This starts a chain reaction. The transmission was already heavily built to tow with; it could handle the power, but I burnt up the torque converter fairly quickly building boost at the starting line on the drag strip. I fixed that, added a bit more power with more tuning, bigger nozzles in the H2O/Meth kit and a few other small mods, and then the drive shaft went. Granted it had around 200,000 miles on it, but still it’s an added expense/speed bump for progression. Currently, it’s un-studded, and I’m in need of more fuel to go much further with it. Knowing me, I’ll stud it, add larger injectors, valve springs, push rods and a larger turbo sooner than later, and then I’ll inevitably crack a piston or bend a rod. By the time a new bottom end goes in (hopefully before next year’s racing season) I’ll probably add a bottle and be at the point where the trans won’t be able to handle the power, and you know what that means. The cycle of modifying will start over again.

“I’m just going to do a couple light modifications and call it done. — It’s a flat out lie that I tell myself every time, yet for some reason I always seem to believe it.”

This automotive modifying addiction is my life, as it is many of ours. It’s an expensive hobby, but I love it, and it will always be a huge part of my life. Funny thing is I often think about all the problems I’ve had after I push a vehicle past that point where reliability begins to be compromised in the interest of a different goal, and I ask myself a question: would I be better off adding a simple commuter car to my already stupid-sized vehicle collection? Having everything you own constantly in the garage for new mods can make commuting to work a pain. But then I consider how I’m addicted to modifying anything automotive, and I remember that even if I were to pick up something like an old Ford Taurus, I’d still end up modifying it. And I really don’t need a suped-up Taurus taking money and time away from the real projects. I guess I’ll stick to hopping from one project to another for the commute. Keeps life interesting that way, right? DW

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