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How to Fit a Big Full-Size Spare Under Your 2009-2020 F150's Bed!

Adding big wheels and tires to your F150 is pretty much a rite of passage for your average 2009-2020 F150 owner, but this can become a bit of an issue if you want to avoid potential issues if you get a flat, blowout, or lost bead out there on the road or the trail. While your truck comes with a stock-sized spare under the bed and tucked against the frame, there are more than a few issues with both its quality, condition, and size that could cause you some serious headaches when you head out. The good news is that it's absolutely possible to fit a larger spare tire under your truck in place of the stock spare. The bad news is that it takes some work and throwing some cash at your truck to make it happen. I know because I tried it myself, with excellent results. Get all the details on what you need to do to get a larger spare under your truck. I managed to drop in a LT305/65R18 Falken A/T3W on an 18x9" wheel with a -12mm offset on my 2011 F150 5.0L with excellent results that gave me some extra insurance against possible disaster.

2011 F150 with Larger Spare Tire
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MBRP Brand Overview

Over the years, we've installed a huge number of MBRP exhaust kits and parts on a huge number of Stage 3 project builds. And while you can read all about these upgrades over at our Projects page, we decided to invite Nick from MBRP to the shop to discuss the brand's many different exhaust systems and components in-person and in detail! In this new series, we'll be discussing MBRP tips, exhaust systems, build materials, install tips, upcoming tech, MBRP history, and plenty more! Be sure to check back periodically for updates and new MBRP-related videos!

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F150 Leveling Kit Breakdown

There's more than few leveling kits out there for the F150s, so we decided to put together a video explaining the main types with both their pros and their cons. Even with our helpful (but very general) Leveling Kit Explainer, there's still a lot to know and a bunch of choices you still have to make when it comes to choosing the right leveling kit for your truck. Check out more after the jump.

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2015-2017 F150 Bilstein 5100 Package installed on our 2017 F150 3.5L EcoBoost Project Truck!

Bilstein's 5100 Series has long been one of the best bang-for-your-buck suspension modifications that you could make to your aggressive F150, and we've been itching to get a set on one of our project trucks forever now. Well, the stars have finally aligned and we installed our 2015-2017 Bilstein 5100 Series Package on our 2017 F150 3.5L EcoBoost Project Truck. The front 5100 Series Struts leveled out our truck's stance, while the rear shocks vastly improved rear-end handling and control. Our 2017 3.5L EcoBoost F150 got a great look and the type of handling it should've had from the factory.

2017 F150 with Bilstein 5100 Front Struts & Rear Shocks

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Lowering Springs Improve Focus ST Performance and Styling!

The best upgrades are those that improve both performance and styling in one package, which is exactly what a set of high-quality lowering springs can do for your 2013+ Focus ST. And if you're on the hunt for a set of premium aftermarket lowering springs, you've come to the right place. We carry lowering spring kits from the biggest names in the industry like H&R Springs, Eibach, Steeda and COBB, so feel free to take your pick! Check out our selection of Focus ST Suspension Lowering Springs to get a head start on your hot hatch build!

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Off-Road Review: BDS 4" Radius Arm Lift Kit w/ Upgraded Fox 2.0 Shocks on a 2017 F250 6.7L

Last month a few of us at Stage 3 packed our bags (and recovery gear) and took the nearly two-hour trek from Phoenix to the forests and cinder hills of Flagstaff, Arizona for the chance to really put our project trucks through the paces. Our five-truck caravan included our 2015 F150 3.5 Ecoboost Project Truck riding on a 6" Zone Off-Road lift complete with Fox 2.5 Remote Reservoir Coilovers and 35" Nitto Trail Grapplers. Needless to say, our stocky 2017 F250 was up against some stiff competition. Thankfully, our Super Duty was equipped with the beastly BDS 4" Radius Arm Lift paired with 35" Toyo Open Country tires, a combination that undoubtedly spared the F250 from embarrassment more than a few times during our off-road review.

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Off-Road Ass-Savers: MaxTrax Mark II Traction Aids

In our arrogance, we prayed for snow. The snow gods delivered with gusto.

Flagstaff, Arizona, is a bit strange when it comes to snow. Some years, there's so little that the ski resort doesn't even open. Other years, there's so much snow that it's nigh impossible to get around outside of main roads. This time around, it was the latter, and it wasn't necessarily a disaster, since we came well-prepared with a host of recovery gear. The stars of the show were the MaxTrax Mark II Traction Aids which really helped save our bacon on more than one occasion as we tried (in vain) to make it back to some of our favorite trails in the woods surrounding the San Francisco Peaks.

MaxTrax Mark II Tracion Aids

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Improve Ride Quality, Reduce Suspension Wear and Sagging with an Air Bag System!

Most folks rolling around in a Ford Super Duty are no strangers to heavy duty towing and hauling. And while a Super Duty is practically built for that sort of thing, every truck has its limitations. Whether it's a 5th wheel trailer or a massive payload, your suspension can take a real beating which can result in sagging and eventually structural and mechanical degradation. That's why any one of our premium air bag systems can be just what you need to improve ride quality and preserve the integrity of your suspension system for the coming years. We've recently beefed up our selection of air bag suspension kits to include both 4WD and 2WD variants as well as gas and diesel.

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F150 Towing 101: The Basics To Safely Tow Your Toys!

If you've never hauled a trailer or RV behind your F150, the chances are good that you might be missing out on a few key elements that will ensure your big plans don't get derailed along the way...or before you even pull out of the driveway. Towing may sound simple but until you get behind the wheel and start to feel the difference in weight distribution and realize you're now making turns for two, things can tend to get a little nerve-wracking. The good news? It doesn't have to be stressful if you have the right tools from the start. By equipping your truck with the right components and some basic knowledge of how they all work together, you can be a pro from the start.

F150 Towing 101

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Just Added: F150 / Super Duty Air Lift Air Springs & On-Board Compressor Systems!

While we love our tough Ford trucks here at Stage 3 Motorsports, that doesn't mean that each was born for every job under the sun. When it comes to towing all your toys or hauling heavy loads for work, there's a lot of room for improvement in order to keep you and your payload safe while making your journey on the road or during any times you need to leave the pavement to blaze a new trail off-road. Our great selection of air springs in our 2009-2014 F150 towing section, 2015 F150 selections or our 2011-2015 Super Duty towing upgrades can help even things out and put you back in the driver seat with comfort and control.

Air Lift Wireless On-Board Compressor System

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Why we need your F150's PCM Updated to the Latest TSBs

There's still a fair bit of confusion going around as to why we here at Stage 3 Motorsports and the folks over at 5-Star Tuning need you to get your truck's PCM updated to the latest software/firmware versions issued as Ford Technical Service Bulletins or TSBs for short. The short, simple answer is that the latest Ford PCM software is needed so that 5-Star can get you the most reliable and powerful custom tune that they can. The more complicated answer is that there are fairly serious issues with Ford's early PCM software and firmware versions that may not rear their ugly heads until your truck is tuned, and 5-Star's tuning capabilities are at least partially based on Ford's PCM software. Dealing with software and your local Ford dealer isn't much fun. We're all too aware of both, but it's an absolutely necessary step in the custom tuning process that needs to be performed so that your truck runs at its best.

2011-2014 F150 EcoBoost PCM Location

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Rigid Industries 40" E-Series vs. 40" E2 Off-Road LED Light Bars

Just what the specific difference between the Rigid Industries E-Series and E2 families of off-road LED light bars is probably one of the most-asked questions that we here at Stage 3 Motorsports get when it comes to Rigid's LED light bar lineup. We got the question often enough that we decided to grab a 40" E-Series Combo LED Light Bar and a 40" E2 Series LED Light Bar and put them side-by-side and go over the subtle, yet very important differences in their designs to see which one would work best for you and and your off-road vehicle of choice.

Rigid Industries 40-Inch E-Series vs. 40-Inch E2 LED Light Bars

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SCT's X4 Handheld Tuner: How to find your PCM/ECU Strategy Code

Being able to find a given vehicle's PCM or ECU strategy code has become increasingly important in the last couple years. With software being an even more critical factor in engine operation, manufacturer Technical Service Bulletins and dealership reflashes wreak havoc with your vehicle's engine management computer. That's why knowing your vehicle's hard embedded strategy code is extremely important when it comes time to tune your vehicle and why our friends over at SCT made it easier than even to find your vehicle's strategy on their new X4 Handheld Tuner. Here's how:

How to Pull a Strategy Code with SCT's X4 Handheld Tuner

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SCT's X4 Handheld Tuner: How to Return Your Vehicle to Stock

When you want to sell your vehicle or if you're trying to diagnose something really specific, you may need to get your performance tune out of your ECU or PCM and return it to stock. SCT's new X4 Handheld Tuner makes the process so much easier and faster than the outgoing SCT X-Cal 3s and SF3 series, and comes with five total unlocks, giving you plenty of room to use your X4 with your current vehicle and any other vehicle you may own down the road. Returning to stock is pretty easy, and here's how:

How to Return Your Vehicle to Stock with an SCT X4 Handheld Tuner

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Stage 3's F150 Custom Tuning How-To for 3.7L V6s, 5.0L V8s, 6.2L V8s, and 4.6L V8s

So, you've ordered the SCT tuner of your choice from Stage 3 Motorsports that includes powerful custom tunes from 5-Star Tuning. Now you're asking "Now what?" Like anything, there's a bit of a process to how you'll actually receive the performance PCM tunes for your truck so that you receive everything you need and that we need to get your F150 running at its best.

F150 5.0L PCM Strategy Code Sticker Location

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2011-2013 F150 EcoBoost Tuners and Programmers

We here at Stage 3 Motorsports are madly in love with the 2011 to 2013 F150 EcoBoost trucks. It's almost an unhealthy obsession, and we may need an intervention at some point. Honestly, what's not to love? Two Borg-Warner turbos dumping boost into a high-compression, direct-injected cylinders is just too sexy of a thing not to love. When you add in powerful PCM tunes that give it a smidge more horsepower and a whole hell of a lot more torque than an SVT Raptor, the sexy levels shoot through the roof.
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A quick visit from Air Lift Suspension.

We're getting to know Airlift Suspension systems surprisingly well. They attended our car show back in November, where they showed off their line of airbag suspensions on a Saleen Mustang, and to a lesser extent, their Scion xB show car. Despite all our efforts to the contrary, Airlift's Air Ride suspension system for the 2005 to 2013 Mustangs is still getting a bad rap. Yes, the kiddies with their Golf's and GTI's love these things. Yes, they can slam your car down until it's resting on the pavement. But do all those things really invalidate the entire system? The answer is no. No, they do not. The fact is Air Lift's Air Ride kits for the Mustang are the last kits that you'll probably even need, if you're willing to pay for the privilege. Luckily, Air Lift gives you every reason to want to.
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Airaid Filters Factory Tour

Airaid makes intakes and high-performance air filters, and they wanted to prove that they make some of the best cold air intakes and filtration systems on the market so bad that they invited a few of us here at Stage 3 Motorsports out to their headquarters across town to take a tour of their facilities. Needless to say, they sold us and sold us well. Those guys and gals over at Airaid have something really special going on in every facet of their operation that results in some of the best high performance cold air intakes and filter systems on the market.
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Airaid CAI (450-177) Installed in a 2007 Mustang V6

Dan, one of customers, sent us in a whole bunch of great photos of his new Airaid intake installed on his 2007 Mustang V6.
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