A Juggernaut Among Giants

The standard 8-lug Super Dutys were already the biggest private passenger vehicles on Earth. But then the Blue Oval went ahead and upped that ante with available 10-lug versions—trucks so capable that they can tow 35,000 pounds (or more!) while staying in civilian dress, distinguishable from their 3/4-ton and 1-ton brethren by wheels, flares, and a few badges. When it came time for Diesel Power Products to build another tow rig, they started out with something that could easily pull two 1-ton trucks on a gooseneck trailer while being nowhere near its towing and braking capacities: the 2021 F-450. But leaving it alone wasn’t an option. Extreme roads, extreme loads, and extraordinary requirements necessitated a major modification job that Diesel Power Products was well equipped to handle.

Built entirely inhouse, the F-450 project was dubbed Atlas—an appropriate name for a truck with the ability to haul almost anything, anywhere. The plan was to create something that could do all the work ever asked of it, while hauling its occupants comfortably anywhere they needed to be. On top of that, it needed to do it with some style. A massive truck such as this needed a massive tire, and Continental’s 43-inch-diameter MPT 81 commercial tires provided the perfect footing. To get those to fit properly, Diesel Power Products turned to the F-450/F-550 specialists over at DBL Designs who made the forged 20-inch wheels and the single rear wheel conversion. DBL also provided the front fenders that were paint matched along with the front bumper. To control the Dana Super 60 front axle that was now adorned with MPT tires, a Carli 3.5-inch-lift suspension with King 2.5 shocks was adapted to the front end. Out back, a Kelderman air bag and four-link kit holds onto the rear Dana M300—both axles filled with Nitro Gear 6.17:1 ring-and-pinion replacements to match to the 43-inch tires. With the bigger equipment comes some extra weight, so a No Limit Fabrication air-to-water intercooler replaced the factory unit to increase the cooling ability and decrease the potentially high exhaust gas temperatures that this truck might see when loaded down. An S&B cold air intake was also added to keep dirt out and a Banks Pedal Monster was added to get rid of the pedal lag, but the already powerful 6.7L Power Stroke was otherwise left largely stock. The superb matchup of the 6.7L Power Stroke and the 10R140 transmission make the regeared F-450 a beast right out of the box.

With the powertrain and suspension taken care of, Diesel Power Products let their talented fabricators get to work making the aluminum bed from scratch, with multiple tie-down anchor points using Mac’s Tie Downs tracks embedded on the top and sides of the deck. A full 43-inch spare tire sits up against the headache rack, but we doubt it’ll ever be needed with the robustness of the MPT tires.

While its massive size and prowess might seem a bit daunting to some, we can tell you from firsthand experience that this F-450 build drives like a standard F-350—albeit a bit smoother thanks to the Carli and Kelderman suspension.  It’s rare to run across a truck that has all the go, all the tow, and does it with all the show, but we think that Diesel Power Products did a great job of making that happen with the Atlas F-450.

Check out a video of the Atlas build here: https://youtu.be/cfa1Gv4aZJ8



A custom F-450 needs some custom badging. The painted DBL Designs fenders already set the front end apart from the standard F-450 or F-550, but Diesel Power Products had some custom “Atlas” badges made, too.



When you think “ultimate work rig” this is what will now come to mind. Diesel Power Products made sure to blend some style and elegance into a truck wreaking of power and utility.



The custom aluminum flatbed was built to accommodate a 43-inch spare tire with a Mac’s Tie Downs tire strap holding it in place. Notice the incorporated Mac’s VersaTie track system that Diesel Power Products had welded around the headache rack and the side of the bed allowing tie-down anchors to be located almost anywhere.



With the loads this truck would be carrying and towing, no light-duty off-road tire would work. A 43-inch Continental MPT 81 commercial tire was chosen—a tire built with extreme puncture resistance for mud, snow, and highway. These 365/80R20 tires were fitted onto DBL Super Single forged 10-lug wheels specifically made to accommodate this size tire.


The custom aluminum flatbed was designed and built inhouse for exactly what Diesel Power Products needed it to be. Notice the tie-down anchors all over the top of the deck. Those can be placed in almost any configuration up and down the multiple VersaTie tracks that DPP added all over the bed, including the headache rack and sides of the deck. Besides the obvious side storage, there is a rear drawer that slides out between the Knapheide LED taillights. A rear camera was also retained and installed above the drawer for easier trailer hookup.



It’s best to keep all fabric straps out UV exposure when not in use to ensure they don’t break down so multiple side storage bins were made to fill with Mac’s tie downs and extra hitches to properly secure whatever they’re hauling.




Diesel Power Products did a nice job keeping the fuel and DEF fillers in an easily-accessible spot on the bed. Sinister Diesel caps were added for a bit more style than the factory plastic.



Under that custom aluminum deck is an S&B 68-gallon fuel tank to decrease the number of fuel stops on long trips. The mudflaps hanging out back are detachable but it’s rare they ever come off since Atlas is seldom moved without being loaded up first. The rear hitch receiver is shown in use, but the deck has a gooseneck hookup in the middle of it.



When you’re moving with serious weight behind you, ensuring the best visibility possible is key. That’s why four Baja Designs LP9 lights were added to the N-Fab light bar and two XL80 LEDs were added on ZROADZ hood brackets. Note that they are all yellow lighting—a color that works excellently in fog and low visibility conditions.


Behind the Baja Designs lights sits a Warn 16.5 winch hidden in the stock bumper thanks to a DBL Designs hidden winch kit. In the off-chance that those Continentals were to ever lose traction, the Atlas can save itself.




While many of Diesel Power Products’ project trucks feature extreme modifications under the hood, this F-450’s stock powerplant has largely been left alone. An S&B cold air intake system was added to the induction side, and a Banks Pedal Monster was added to get rid of the pedal lag that plagues most modern vehicles. A No Limit Fabrication air-to-water intercooler replaced the factory unit to ensure that exhaust gas temperatures do not rise too much when the Atlas is severely loaded down.



With 43-inch tires, the stock steering linkage was proving inadequate. After the second tie rod wore out, a Kyptonite tie rod and draglink kit were added to keep this truck in line. Behind that upgraded steering linkage sits a Dana Super 60 with a 10-inch ring gear. The gears have been swapped out for a Nitro Gear 6.17:1 ring and pinion to match the larger MPT 81 tires.


Carli fabricated radius arms hold the Super 60 in place while a Carli torsion sway bar adds additional sway control to the front end. These radius arms are not stock replacement and instead recenter the front axle for lifted truck applications that require a geometry tweak.




A Carli 3.5-inch kit for a 1-ton was adapted to this F-450, using Carli coils and a specifically-valved King 2.5 remote reservoir shocks. A limiting strap guarantees the heavy axle will never hang from the shocks should the front end ever go airborne.



The rear suspension was completely reworked, ditching the factory leaf spring setup for a complete five-link rear setup from Kelderman. Bolt-on brackets hold four links in place between the frame and axle and a panhard rod steadies the Dana M300 axle laterally. The M300 features a giant 11.8-inch ring gear that was also replaced with a Nitro Gear kit to match the 6.17:1 ratio better suited for the 365/80R20 tires.



While the linkage locates the axle, airbags float the load and add infinite load carrying adjustability with a change in air pressure. With both a gooseneck hookup on the deck and a rear hitch receiver, the weight over the rear axle can change drastically and the Kelderman air bags easily accommodate.


To give a quick size comparison, that’s a Ram 2500 with 42-inch tires being towed on that car hauler. The Atlas F-450 makes it look a bit like a toy.



One of the best features of the Kelderman rear air suspension is the ability to dump the air from the airbags, quickly, to more easily load or hook up to a trailer. The improved ride was also welcomed, but the utility of the kit could be its biggest value.




The rear single wheel conversion allows this F-450 to keep a track width no wider than the car hauler behind it, allowing better access to tight roads and entrances where a dually setup might otherwise be difficult.




  • 2021 Ford F-450 (Atlas build)
  • 6.7L Power Stroke diesel, No Limit air-to-water intercooler, Banks Pedal Monster, S&B cold-air intake
  • 10R140 transmission
  • Dana Super 60 front axle w/ Nitro 6.17:1 ring & pinion, Dana M300 w/ Nitro 6.17:1 ring & pinion rear
  • Carli F-450-adapted 3.5-inch-lift front kit with King 2.5 pintop shocks, Carli radius arms, Carli torsion sway bar
  • Kelderman four-link rear with in-cab adjustable air bags
  • Kryptonite Steering linkage and custom Kryptonite stabilizer clamp w/ Fox steering stabilizer
  • Continental MPT 81 365/80R20 (43×14.50R20) tires on DBL custom forged Super Single wheels with DBL rear conversion
  • Baja Designs LP9s on N-Fab light bar, Baja Designs XL80 LED lights on ZROADZ hood hinge light brackets, Baja Designs S1 flush-mount work LED light for rear illumination
  • S&B 68-gallon fuel tank
  • Custom Diesel Power Products-built aluminum flatbed w/multiple storage boxes and Mac’s Tie Downs VersaTie tracks & anchors, Knapheide LED taillights
  • Custom billet fender badges, color-matched mirror covers and bumper
  • ARB twin air compressor and PacBrake Air control kit
  • DBL Hidden winch mount w/ Warn 16.5 winch

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