A Swap for the Win: F-350 Cosmetics

McNeil racing’s cure for the older body style blues

So you want a newer model Super Duty—get in line with the rest of us. It’s nice to have the latest and greatest of everything, but when it comes to larger purchases, it’s usually smart to stick to the old adage, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, there’s nothing in the rulebook about converting and upgrading, now is there? McNeil Racing understands there are shortcuts to getting what you want, which is why its ’10 Ford Super Duty fiberglass conversion has been so popular among 1999-2006 F-350 owners.

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Transforming the truck you’re already driving into something that looks newer and more aggressive isn’t a magic trick. The guys at McNeil Racing have mastered the art of fiberglass, and now offer a complete Super Duty conversion kit that includes new fenders, hood, grille, headlights and mounting brackets. With one phone call, you can have what it takes to make the change to the later body style Super Duty, and the majority of the kit is completely bolt-on. You won’t need to do any heavy fabricating or apply for a loan to afford McNeil’s kit; you just may have enough dough already stashed aside to pull the trigger on one today. But if not, Christmas and tax refund time are right around the corner. Follow along as the guys at Pro Design Custom Shop in Santa Ana, California pump up the style points on their ’01 F-350. DW

Here it is, an average looking ’01 F-350 pre-facelift. As you can see, the passenger side front fender was already damaged providing the incentive to do the swap.

The first order of business was to ditch the front bumper—later.

Once the grille, fenders and headlights were removed Mike at Pro Design fabricated mounting tabs to secure the wider-than-stock new McNeil Racing Fenders. The tabs were then welded into position.

Next the new fenders were hung and pilot holes were drilled in the new fiberglass fenders matching the stock mounting holes so that the bumpers could bolt on from here. It’s a good idea to drill the holes a bit larger than needed to aid in alignment.

A few turns of the wrench secured the top side of the fender into position, while a couple more bolts were tightened to the lower portion of the panel.

In just a few hours, both front fenders were secured, giving the front end a quick attitude adjustment.

Moving to the new hood, Mike bolted on the hinge brackets, making it a simple add-on. However, aligning the hood is not as easy and took Mike a decent amount of adjustments before it was perfect.

Now for the most exciting part of the installation: getting the grill ready to install. Mike drilled in fasteners that will assist with mounting to the hood.

Once the fasteners were loosely installed Mike began to bolt the grille in for good.

Included in the complete kit are brand-new headlights, which were test fit to double check spacing issues with the new fenders and grille shell.

To secure the new headlight assembly to the core support, Mike mocked-up an extension bracket to keep it in place better.

Finding the correct position for the two side brackets was the next step in securing the new headlights.

Lastly all three mount extensions were tacked in place; the headlight was then mounted to check for fit; and the mounts were then fully welded in place.

With the headlights in place the front end transformation was finished. Later a new bumper was fabricated to enhance the off road look.

With the front end handled, it was time to hack up the rear bedsides. To remove the fenders the sheet metal was cut just below the bed rail along the entire length of the bed; around the taillights; and in the wheel wells.

The new McNeil bedside was then test fit and measured.

The same process was used to secure the rear as was used for the front. Drill a bunch of holes in strong areas along the inner lip of the bed rail; loosely bolt the fenders to the truck; adjust as needed and then tighten down for good. The base of the wheel wells will however need a new support fabricated as the factory piece will no longer lineup. A piece of bar stock and a couple flat tabs were used to keep the wheel wells sturdy here.

The gap here is purely cosmetic, but Mike made the effort to make a filler plate to cover up the dead space.

After the installation, the Pro Design crew added a few other additions as well as a fresh coat of Valspar paint to make the truck color uniform. There you have it, a ’10 burly Super Duty façade on an older model truck.

Sources:
McNeil Racing
619.463.1361
McNeilRacingInc.com

Pro Design Hot Rods
714.436.1158
ProDesignHotRods.com