UNDER THE RADAR

A STOCK-APPEARING, 700HP 6.0L POWER STROKE

Unmatched reliability, versatility, and adequate power right out of the box are all part of a diesel’s appeal. When Josh Todd traded in his square body Chevy hobby for this ’04 F-250, he was looking for all of these advantages. “I was tired of wrenching—it’s all I ever did,” he told us. “I told myself I am buying a new truck because I am not working on trucks anymore.” Thing is, gearheads will always be gearheads. And while Josh somehow managed to resist the urge to modify the 6.0L Power Stroke for several years, the need for more power eventually overcame him.

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With somewhere between 700 and 750-rwhp on tap in Todd’s ’04 F-250, it’s proof that the 6.0L Power Stroke’s factory rotating assembly can handle quite a bit of power. Aside from the time Todd pulled the oil pan to install a set of ARP rod bolts, the short block has gone untouched for 79,000 miles. Up top, the heads have been ported, equipped with hardened valve seats, and refastened to the block via ARP studs. Todd is quick to point out that without tutelage from Warren Diesel, Irate Diesel Performance, and Red Diamond Diesel over the years, the truck wouldn’t be where it is today.

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Thanks to a T4 turbo mounting kit from Irate Diesel Performance, Todd is able to run a fixed geometry turbo instead of a restrictive VGT unit. This High Tech Turbo S467, obtained through Holderdown Diesel Performance, features a 67.7mm compressor wheel, 83mm turbine wheel, and a spool-friendly 0.90 A/R exhaust housing. The 90-degree cast elbow (which is ironically a Cummins part) and hot-side intercooler pipe were also sourced from Holderdown Diesel Performance. Under full load, the S400 produces 45 psi of boost.

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Being that Todd still has an OEM-style oil cooler in the mix, an external coolant filtration system is employed. This Sinister Diesel kit makes use of a WIX 27-micron spin-on filter, ball valves for easy filter changes, and keeps coolant free of large debris (which is the primary culprit behind oil cooler failures).

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With a set of 215cc injectors (fitted with 75-percent over nozzles) on board, consistent fuel supply is a necessity. For that, Todd relies on a 150-gph AirDog fuel system to send diesel from the tank to the heads. Up on the engine, a Driven Diesel regulated return system removes fuel flow restrictions and also keeps fuel from dead-heading in the rails. An adjustable regulator from Fuelab locks in fuel supply pressure at 70 psi.

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The original 5R110 TorqShift was beefed up locally at Tegeler Transmission in Morrison, Illinois. The clutch packs, TransGo shift kit, and billet input shaft installed during the build were purchased from Sun Coast, while the torque converter came from Precision of New Hampton. To match the S467 charger, the triple disc converter features a 2,400-rpm stall speed.

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After growing tired of watching the pyrometer peg 1,600 degrees, Todd installed a Straight-Shot water-methanol injection system from Banks Power, which netted a 200-degree drop in exhaust gas temperature. Todd told us that once the fixed geometry turbo was added, it too shaved 200 degrees off the engine’s peak EGT number.

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A set of Calvert Racing CalTracs keep the rear 10.5 Sterling from rotating, the leaf springs from twisting, and the wheels digging. Not interested in a set of long, gaudy traction bars—yet still wanting to sled pull and drag race—Josh likes the fact that they serve their purpose in a semi-concealed, discreet manner.

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Nothing reels in prospective kills faster than a truck that rides on factory wheels. Completing the sleeper look, Josh’s F-250 sports the same 16×7-inch Alcoas it left the dealer with back in ’04. He relies on a set of BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A’s measuring 255/85R16 for traction.

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The extent of the truck’s suspension tweaks include a Rancho 5000 shock mounted at each corner and removal of the factory lift blocks, which effectively lowered the truck two inches in the rear. For the occasional sled pull, adjustable suspension stops are used to eliminate rear suspension travel.

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Analog-style Pro Comp Ultra-Lite series Auto Meter gauges keep tabs on boost, transmission temp, and fuel pressure, while a Banks digital water-meth gauge (doubling as a pyrometer) resides at the top of the driver side quad pod. For complete control of converter engagement, a lockup switch was installed and attached to the shift stalk.

While Josh’s 6.0L has cleared 685-rwhp on a chassis dyno in the past, that number was achieved with the transmission in third gear (not fourth) and the turbo producing considerably less boost than it sees on the street. With a history of modified 6.0L’s dynoing “low,” we have no problem believing his truck produces 700 hp—and that it’s capable of running high 11’s at the track…

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“I left it alone for six or seven years (when it was bone stock), but then I got the itch.” Jumping right in, Todd, his cousin, and a good friend, Zac Wright, didn’t waste time adding power in small increments. Instead, the truck’s first round of modifications called for a set of 155cc injectors, a PowerMax turbo, ARP head studs, and a built transmission— which effectively catapulted the truck into the 500hp range. Later, as Josh’s horsepower goals increased, the fuel, air, and hard-part mods would become more serious.

Stock Bottom End

Throughout the truck’s stock-to-700hp journey, the 6.0L’s bottom end went virtually untouched. The one occasion where Todd ventured into the short block was when he and Wright pulled the oil pan and added ARP rod bolts. When the heads came off, Todd had them ported and fitted with hardened valve seats. OEM Ford head gaskets and the aforementioned ARP studs keep the heads clamped to the block and combustion contained.

Fueling the Fire

After undergoing two overhauls, the original 155/30 injectors now flow 215 cc’s and benefit from 75-percent over nozzles. The conventional style (i.e. non-hybrid) injectors are on the verge of what the factory high-pressure oil pump can support, but ICP voltage holds strong at 4.8 volts. Steady, air-free fuel supply comes by way of a 150-gph AirDog system combined with a Driven Diesel regulated return.

Fixed Geometry Turbo

Once he’d learned that considerable performance could be gained by switching to a fixed geometry turbocharger, Todd ordered a T4 turbo mounting kit from Irate Diesel Performance and a High Tech Turbo S467 through Holderdown Diesel Performance. The S467—equipped with an 83mm turbine wheel inside a 0.90 A/R exhaust housing—sends 45 psi of boost through a Banks Power intercooler. Todd told us that the additional air volume provided by the S400 dropped peak exhaust gas temperature by 200 degrees.

Fortified 5R

Thanks to a host of internal parts obtained from Sun Coast, the 5R110 TorqShift was built for extreme use at nearby Tegeler Transmission. Among the five-speed transmission’s upgrades include higher count clutch packs with more holding capacity, a TransGo shift kit, and a billet input shaft. In order to match the S467 charger, a Precision of New Hampton torque converter was spec’d with a 2,400-rpm stall speed. Custom PCM and TCM tuning from Gearhead Automotive Performance keeps the injection system, turbo, and transmission all working in perfect unison.

The Silver Sleeper

Once you realize Todd is the type of guy that doesn’t take kindly to being told he can’t do something, it makes perfect sense why he built a 700hp 6.0L. If you tell him it can’t be done with the 6.0L, he will go out of his way to prove you wrong. Thanks to encountering his fair share of naysayers over the years, his determination to stick with Ford’s most notorious Power Stroke has only been heightened. Sporting factory 16-inch wheels, a traditional exit exhaust, and even a snow plow mount, Todd’s F-250 is a textbook example of a sleeper. By design, its stock-like appearance makes it a nightmare come true for Cummins and Duramax owners.

SPECIFICATIONS

2004 FORD F-250

OWNER: Josh Todd
HOMETOWN: Milledgeville, Illinois
ODOMETER: 79,319 miles ENGINE: 6.0L Power Stroke V8 with ARP rod bolts, ported cylinder heads, ARP head studs
FUEL: 215/75 conventional injectors, stock high-pressure oil pump, 150-gph AirDog system, Driven Diesel regulated return
AIR: High Tech Turbo S467, Irate Diesel Performance T4 turbo mount, ported intake manifold, Banks Power Techni-Cooler intercooler, Banks Power cold air intake
INJECTABLES: Banks Power Straight-Shot water-methanol system
EXHAUST: Irate Diesel Performance 4-inch downpipe, Silverline 4-inch system with 5-inch polished tip
TUNING: Gearhead Automotive Performance via SCT X3 programmer
TRANSMISSION: 5R110 TorqShift built by Tegeler Transmission with Sun Coast rebuild kit, billet input shaft, TransGo shift kit, 2,400-rpm stall Precision of New Hampton triple disc converter, manual lockup switch
HORSEPOWER: 700-rwhp (est.)
TORQUE: 1,200 to 1,300 lb-ft (est.)
TIRES: 255/85R16 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A
WHEELS: 16×7-inch factory Alcoa
SUSPENSION: Calvert Racing CalTracs, Rancho 5000 shocks