Introduction to the build-up of a ‘96 F350 Ford Power Stroke
The Old Body Style (OBS) ‘94-’97 Ford is one of those trucks that will never go out of style. Like the ’68-’72 Chevys, the OBS Ford is timeless. There’s just something about that 7.3L Power Stroke that drivers continue to love. Whether you owned one, your dad owned one, or your neighbor owned one, many of us have a memory of these old trucks.
With that in mind, it was time to start another big project, and with the overwhelmingly good feedback we receive from readers any time we focus on an older truck, starting on the overhaul and updating of a ‘94-’97 Ford F350 seemed the perfect fit. After months of searching, this ‘96 F350 was located not far from home and showed a promising future. The used-truck market is nuts right now, and we were finding these old Fords in the $15-20K range regularly, so when this one popped up at $12K, it was worth the second look. Meeting up with the owner who had been driving it for over 20 years, we were impressed to find it virtually rust free and with a relatively clean interior. After driving the truck and giving it a good once over, we had an idea of what kind of work was going to go into it and felt comfortable making an offer. It had 224,000 miles on it, which was more than we wanted, but the engine ran strong and the oil and transmission fluid were in good condition.
The previous owner had used the truck as his daily driver and weekend tow rig for more than 15 years before replacing it with a newer Dodge pickup. Since that time, the truck had spent a lot of time sitting and was going to need some basic maintenance and love to be truly ‘daily driver’-worthy again.
When it comes to finding parts for ‘94-’97 F250/F350 trucks, there is one go-to shop that specializes in everything OBS Ford. Located in Jasper, Texas, Complete Performance (CP Addict) is run by brothers Chris and Paul Rutledge, who have nothing short of a sickness for the OBS Ford trucks. They’ve built an entire business around their love for these trucks and are known nationwide for their expertise. So, it seemed like a no brainer to spend some time on the phone with them and surfing their cpaddict.com website for a list of stuff we’d need for this build we’re calling Project OBSessed. To replace the faded grille and lights, the Rutledge boys suggested their six-piece headlight package in our choice of clear or smoked lenses along with some new chrome headlight bezels and all-new chrome grille shell. Because our local laws do not allow smoked lenses, we opted for the clear lens package, which will improve the looks of our old Ford while offering better lighting. All the parts were direct-fit pieces and fit perfectly. We also opted to replace our faded taillights with some new, original red tails from CP Addict.
In next month’s installment, we’ll do some basic performance modifications including a new cold-air intake, exhaust system, and custom tuning to help breathe a little bit of life into that old Power Stroke engine. We’ll be turning this truck inside out with one goal: to build one of the finest OBS trucks on the road. Call us crazy, but we expect to see this old Ford achieve the power of a newer truck, with similar ride quality and the versatility to be a reliable daily driver and weekend tow rig. Anyone can buy the perfect truck, but we’re seeking that sense of pride you feel when you build one with your own hands—and the help of the best aftermarket shops in the country. Stay tuned: Project OBSessed is going to be a fun one.