Aside from bolt-on power adders, this truck is getting a full exterior makeover with custom badges, side graphics, emblems, a BedRug bed liner, Recon Smoked Mirror markers, a Recon smoked third brake light, a set of four XD Misfit 18x9" matte black wheels, and General Grabber tire with red lettering that are all going to work together to give our new 5.0L Project Truck an awesome black-on-red look.
Stay tuned for updates to this page as we actually get some of these F150 5.0L Performance Parts up and running on our soon-to-be-badass project truck!
We've just completed the first part of our F150 FX4 build, and the results are amazing. The combination of the ICON Stage 2 kit and the ReadyLift 3" Block gave our truck what's effectively a 3" lift kit that adds just enough ride height for a great look without being too crazy. The customized vinyl decals, XD Misfit wheels, and General Grabber Tires with red lettering all work together to give our awesome truck a perfect black-on-red color scheme that easily makes it one of the most stylish things we've ever put together.
The overall ride quality is pretty good on the street. There is a slight increase in road noise and harshness, but we're attributing that more to our over-inflated tires than anything else. The overall look is nothing short of amazing. The 3" of lift in the front and rear is just enough to give our project truck an aggressive look and some extra ground clearance without being too dramatic or over the top. Now that we have our project truck looking awesome, now we need it to move a bit faster and scream a bit louder. Stay tuned for even more fun and games when we compare cold air intake kits, tuners, and exhaust systems to see what got use the most power and sound!
With our project truck's suspension in amazing shape and its looks all in order, it was time to stack on some serious amounts of horsepower and torque to make our heavy 5.0L FX4 get a little more spring in its step. First up was aFe's Stage 2 cold air intake, which the guys at Extreme got installed in just a few minutes. Then came BBK's 85mm throttle body, which dropped right into place in minutes. The aFe cat-back had that we initially had installed for our dyno run took some work and required cutting proper fitment on our truck. With all of our truck's hard parts installed, we mounted our Livewire on our windshield and hooked into our OBD-II port to upload our custom tune from 5-Star. While the Livewire did its thing, Kris from Extreme got our truck on the rollers and hooked into the dyno for our testing.
With what basically amounts to one of our 2011 to 2013 F150 5.0L Phase 2 packages, our project truck put down 301 horsepower and 307lb-ft of torque at the wheels, up from our initial baseline stock dyno of 277 horsepower and 293lb-ft of torque. Our new numbers are roughly equivalent to 391 horsepower and 399lb-ft of torque at the crankshaft for a total gain of 31 horsepower and 19lb-ft of torque at the crank. While a little short of our advertised 35RWHP, our truck's 4WD drivetrain causes a pretty big loss in wheel power and we were using 91-octane gasoline while our peak numbers are based on 93-octane. What's more important than power is how much better our truck drives thanks to that additional power and the tuning from 5-Star that adjusted our transmission's shift points and shifting firmness to give the truck much better drivability.
With some time left in the day after our dyno run, we took our truck out to an empty stretch of road for some sound testing, first with the aFe Mach Force XP 3" Cat-back kit and then with the Solo Performance MR400 4" Cat-Back system. Both sound amazing, but I think the Solo kit edges out as the more aggressive system. Over the next few few weeks we went down to Extreme Performance for even more exhaust installs and testing. On top of the aFe and Solo MR400,we tested the Borla S-Type, Borla ATAK, Stainless Works Dual Rear Exit, Solo Mach-X Dual Exit Cat-Back, MBRP XP-Series Single Exit, and MBRP Dual Rear Exit F150 5.0L cat-back exhaust kits. We have a few more exhaust systems to go, but so far, opinion around Stage 3 is that the Solo Mach-X system has been our best-sounding cat-back kit thus far. Check out our videos below and decide for yourself!
Parts Installed: BedRug Bed Liner Kit, Raptor-Style Grille Lights, Recon Smoked Third Brake Light, Rigid Industry D2 Dually Off-Road LED lights, Recon Red Illuminated Side Emblems.
For our next step, we wanted to fine-tune our truck's already pretty good looks with a few aftermarket F150 lighting components while improving its general utility with a Bedrug Bed Liner kit. The Bedrug liner was first, and we'll be honest, we were itching to grab one of these ever since we we first added them to the site. While not really a rug, the liner consists of woven plastic fibers on a flexible backing. Out of the box, all you need to do is zip together the bottom of the rug with its side panels, align it in your truck's bed, and start pulling tape. Check out our install video below to see how we put this kit on our truck.
Next, we needed some lighting upgrades, and our 2012 FX4 wouldn't be a Stage 3 project truck with a few lighting upgrades from our friends over at Recon. Our first piece of aftermarket lighting was our Recon Smoked LED Third Brake Light. While definitely not the most aggressive lighting upgrade ever, the Recon third brake light is much better than stock and fit right in with our black on red color scheme. Take a look at our install video below on our 2011 EcoBoost Project Truck!
While our factory headlights do a decent enough job lighting the way on the street, they don't really do much for us on the huge multitude of back trails and washes around the Phoenix area. When it comes to off-road lighting solutions, the first people that come to mind are the guys and gals over at Rigid Industries. As much as we love their massive E-Series and SR-Series light bars, we were going for something a little more subtle for our project truck and we picked up a pair of their D2 Dually Driving Lights, fabbed up some mounts, and plopped those bad boys behind our truck's grille. The result is pretty awesome and we get some extra off-road lighting in a clean package that's almost impossible to see during the day.
Our last bit of aftermarket lighting so far was a pair of Recon's F150 Illuminated Side Emblems. Having a red truck with black decals and accessories, we naturally chose the version that featured red lighting and black trim. Install was pretty straightforward, though it took forever and day to get the factory adhesive off the paint. Recon's badge kit comes with a full set of wiring that snakes up through the fender and into your engine bay where you can wire them into your parking lights, turn signals, or wherever else you please. We personally chose the parking lights, but to each their own. The Recon badge lights are pretty awesome and quite a bit brighter than expected, but they do add a cool look to our FX4 Project truck.
Now that our truck was pretty near where we wanted it, it was time to have some fun. And nothing says fun like a trip up to Prescott with our 3.7L 2WD Project Truck to see if we could find some trouble. The forests around Prescott made for a perfect stomping ground and our 2012 5.0L FX4 performed wonderfully and really carved things up.
Parts Installed: N-Fab F150 Light Bar Roof Mounts, 50" Rigid Industries SR-Series LED Light Bar, Starkey Product's Complete Backup Light Kit, 800 lumen LED puddle lights, 2012 F150 Power Stop Complete Rotors and Pads Kit, N-Fab's Nerf Bar Steps.
We wanted to push our truck to limits both on and off the road while giving it an awesome look, so we invested in some N-Fab F150 Light Bar Roof Mounts and a 50" Rigid Industries SR-Series LED Light Bar to make it happen. Installation was a bit difficult, but the end result was a tremendous amount of light output that was more than enough to pierce even the blackest darkness out in the wilderness. We even had a custom switch made for the cab so we could get a clean, mean-looking way to activate our light bar whenever we needed.
One of the most common complaints about nearly all of Ford's trucks is their poor rear lighting and visibility. Even Ford's optional backup cameras don't help you out much after the sun goes down, and our 5.0L Project Truck needed a little something extra for those pitch-black nights out on the trail. Starkey Product's Complete Backup Light Kit was our winning ticket. This awesome package comes with a full set of wiring, your choice of Rigid Industries D-Series Lights, and an OE-style switch for your cab that make it one of the best choices on the market for getting the vastly improved reverse lighting that your truck so desperately needs. We chose a pair of 60° D-Series Diffused Lights for our truck, which is by far the most popular option for Starkey's kit.
We're known to be lighting accessory fiends, so while we were on grabbing light bars and backup light kits, we also ended grabbing a pair of 800 lumen LED puddle lights for our mirrors. These things are surprisingly handy and drop right into place of the optional factory puddle lights without any modifications. The LED puddle lights are extremely bright and provide much better visibility than the pretty weak stock halogen puddle lamps.
Now, we've put a good bit of miles on this truck since we first picked it up. Of those miles, may of them have been pretty aggressive and outright mean driving. This naturally means that our factory brake rotors and pads had both seen much better days. Good thing that our friends over at Power Stop have a complete set of front and rear rotors and pads that they threw our way. This complete Power Stop F150 brake package comes with a full set of four drilled and slotted rotors and brake pads for all four corners of our truck. The Power Stop kit was huge improvement over our worn factory rotors and pads and has an extremely quiet operation with no "whirring," squealing, or whining. The Power Stop Complete Brake Package is a great way to get your truck's brakes back in tip-top shape.
While our FX4 came with factory optional set of cab steps, which definitely did their job admirably. Still, we wanted something a little different and stronger for our 5.0L project truck. So, we went and grabbed a pair of N-Fab Nerf Bar Steps to get it done. The N-Fab Nerf Bars were pretty easy to install as they bolted on in place of stock. Still, it helped to have two people because of the large size of the bars. In any case, N-Fab's Nerf Bar Steps were a great upgrade that added an even tougher look to our project truck and worked perfectly with our black-on-red color theme that we've been going for.
5.0L F150 Performance Parts Testing:
5.0L F150 Cat-Back Exhaust Testing:
F150 5.0L Exterior Parts:
F150 5.0L Lighting Upgrades:
F150 5.0L Audio Upgrades: