Project Shadowfax

ccw

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1980 Mazda RX-7
With my truck now built and on its way to me, it's time to make a build thread in preparation for its arrival. Let's walk through the name, my goals for the truck, and why I went with the Tremor. A follow-up post will track the state of modifications - planned, purchased, and installed.

Name
I'm going with Shadowfax for the name (thanks to @Backslider for the suggestion, and causing a rename from Gimli). I love Lord of the Rings so it was the logical place to look for a name. Quoting the fandom wiki:

Shadowfax was the "lord of all horses". He was a descendant of Felaróf, of the race of long-lived Mearas, the greatest horses of Middle-earth. Shadowfax was capable of comprehending human speech and was said to run faster than the wind. Originally belonging to Théoden, King of Rohan, Shadowfax was too wild to be tamed by the Rohirrim. Eventually, Théoden gave him to the wizard Gandalf the White.

My truck is my loyal companion and steed, something I rely on with my life. The description above perfectly describes what my truck will become to me. It's also unique here on the forum, and likely for vehicles in general, which is a nice bonus.

Goals
The truck will be my primary vehicle serving all variety of purposes. Some of its jobs:
  • Commuting to and from work, as well as driving around town.
  • Hauling people to the ski hill in winter to go skiing.
  • Hauling materials for around the house (soil, blocks, lumber, garbage, etc.)
  • Towing car trailers for project cars.
  • Forest road exploring, eventually with a slide-in camper (will need to save up again for that).
  • Road trips back home.
  • Should I be accepted in to Search and Rescue (have recently applied) transporting myself and others to incidents and being my vehicle for performing searches. Additionally will offer it to haul or tow any equipment as necessary.
Why Super Duty? Why Tremor?
My current vehicle is a 2009 F-150 SuperCab. It's served me extremely well, but it's time to move to a crew cab. Additionally, I've overloaded it numerous times hauling house materials, overloaded its non-weight distributing tow capacity multiple times, and it cannot handle the weight of a slide-in camper like I'm planning. When it came time to decide on a new truck, I knew I was going heavy duty because in my opinion it has very few downsides:
  • It's the same size as a half ton (nearly).
  • Has dramatically more capacity.
  • I don't mind the ride quality.
  • I don't mind the fuel economy.
I chose to stick with Ford for two core reasons (though there's lots of little things, too):
  1. I have a dealer with a service department I already like and trust. I don't want to go through that search with another brand.
  2. The Tremor package fits my needs perfectly, and is unique in the market right now. I don't need to do anything mechanical to the truck out of the gate, as all I would have wanted to do is lift the truck enough to put 35" tires on. Yet it's off road capable and still retains it's towing and hauling capacity.
Why gas instead of diesel?
There's a few factors that contributed to me choosing gas over diesel:
  1. My needs aren't best for a diesel. I'm going to be driving off-road and hauling payload (camper), but not towing heavy. Additionally, I'll be doing shorter commuting trips in it, which is hard on a diesel engine.
  2. Simpler engine. The 7.3L is so fantastically simple, I love it. No turbo. No direct injection. Minimal emissions equipment. The engine bay has lots of space around the engine. It speaks to my heart and, in theory, will mean it's more reliable and less expensive to repair over time.
  3. Cost. The diesel has a higher up-front cost and maintenance is more expensive. Yes, the resale value is better; however, I'm not convinced you're getting more than your lifetime investment back. Additionally, I intend to keep this truck for a very long time, minimizing the impact of resale value.
  4. Weight. The gas engine is significantly lighter. This better suits my needs off-road while maximizing payload capacity.
The Config - F350 Lariat Ultimate, 7.3L gas engine
Some notable options (in no particular order):
  • Rapid Red with Black Appearance Package
  • Carpet delete
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Heated rear seats
  • No sunroof
  • 5th wheel prep package
  • Upfitter switches
  • Winch
Render.jpg


Window Sticker - Redacted.png
 
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ccw

ccw

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1980 Mazda RX-7
My mods list follows. I will do my best to keep this updated over time as things are installed onto the truck, and new ideas come to mind. I'm also maintaining a large backlog of modifications that may happen in the future, but this post will document the ones that will definitely happen.

Mods will move from one of the priority tables to purchased and finally to installed as their state dictates.

Priority 0 - Immediately after getting the truck, essentially as part of purchase

CategoryModificationReason
ElectricalWinch relayProtect the truck before any damage is done.
ExteriorRemove running board chromeFree, easy, looks good.
ElectricalDual-band ham radioWanted for Search and Rescue. Transfer from old truck.
ElectricalCB RadioWanted for Search and Rescue.
ElectricalRemote battery connectionAllows truck to be powered up to unlock doors once Jimmi Jammer is installed.

Priority 1 - Definitely happening when funds and time are available

CategoryModificationReason
MechanicalPowerStop pads and rotorsReduces brake dust that will harm the wheels, along with better stopping power.
ExteriorTailgate seal.Dust is annoying.
ElectricalAmber strobesSafety when on the side of the road is good, and valuable for Search and Rescue.
InteriorEmbroidered headrests (just the front)Bring some Tremor into the interior, and will happen at the same time as the tilt headrests.
ExteriorBlack vinyl wrap tailgate handleLooks good, and will be the last piece of chrome.

Priority 2 - Probably happening, but no rush

CategoryModificationReason
ElectricalRear dually clearance lightsLooks good.
MechanicalStainless Works Legend cat-back exhaustGood sounds are good.
ElectricalReverse lights (on an upfitter switch)Helpful at night
ElectricalSpot lamp override adapterSide lighting is handy at any speed, and while truck is off.
MechanicalBillet valve and coil coversLook amazing.
ForscanReduce minimum tire pressureIt's likely I'll want to run pressures lower than the warning allows.

Purchased Modifications

CategoryModificationReason
ExteriorJimmi JammerProtect the truck before any damage is done.
ElectricalDash camProtect the truck before any damage is done.
RecoveryWinch recovery kitCan't use the winch without it.
ExteriorTonneau Cover and ToolboxNeeded for winter ski season to protect gear.
ExteriorHitch Reducer SleeveGood to have on hand, and relatively cheap.

Completed Modifications

Electrical

ModificationReasonInstall Post
Disable tracking (pull fuse for modem)Nobody needs to be tracked.
Noco block heater plugCheap, easy, and handy if I need to use the block heater
Reroute block heater cordFactory positioning is vulnerable, so protect it before it's damaged
Extra key fobEnables programming a new fob if one is damaged, and acts as a valet key

Exterior

ModificationReasonInstall Post
Rear license plate frameCheap, looks good, replaces dealer frame if they put one on.
Red winch hook strapKeeps the red theme, replacing the blue Ford Performance one.
Amp Research side bed stepsUseful for toolbox access
Paint Protection FilmProtect the truck before any damage is doneN/A
7.3L Godzilla BadgesLooks awesome
Black tailgate lettersLooks awesome
Safety chain shacklesLikely needed for towing
Yellow fog light coversCheap holdover until Baja Designs fog lights can be purchased
Front license plate mount (tow hook)Required by law and the factory bracket doesn't work.

Forscan

ModificationReasonInstall Post
Disable triple honk on startupAnnoying
Enable average speed displayData is fun
Enable numbers above gaugesData is fun
Disable double honk without key in truckAnnoying
Set tire pressures to 50 PSI for all tiresRunning at 60 PSI and tire pressures can drop in extreme cold
Set minimum number of turn signal flashes to 1Annoying and misleading to other drivers

Interior

ModificationReasonInstall Post
Cup holder ambient lightingFixes Ford's cheapness for not much money, and I already have the inserts that work with the ambient lighting
Tremor cup holder insertsCheap and look awesome

Mechanical

ModificationReasonInstall Post
Catch canProtect the truck before any damage is done.
Oil Drain ValveCleans up oil changes with the skid plate.
Engine/Transmission Skid PlateProtect the truck before any damage is done.
Carli front differential guardProtect the truck before any damage is done.

Upfitter Switches

Related to modifications, I've been thinking through what I will want on my upfitter switches. Not everything on this list will fit, and I will need to prioritize as time goes on.
 
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ccw

ccw

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1980 Mazda RX-7
Since this will be my first vehicle I've bought new, and one I want to last for the long haul, I'm planning my maintenance to be more aggressive than Ford's schedule. I've built this up from the YouTube videos at the bottom of this post, all made by Ford technicians listing their recommendations.

In addition to being fairly aggressive with my schedule, I also wanted to keep it super easy. So I ensured everything happens on a limited number of overlapping intervals. This way I'm not tracking too many disparate things.

As a result of my frequency, my first oil change will be at 1000 miles, the second will be 4000 miles after that, and then every oil change after that will be at 5000 mile increments. If my mileage is divisible by 5000, I know I have work to do.

For oil, I'm going to use full synthetic from the beginning to give the engine the most possible protection. I'm choosing to use Motorcraft oil and filter so that I have the option of the dealership easily doing oil changes for me, should I be on the road or just find it convenient when I'm having other work done there.

Schedule - Mileage Based

Initial break-in at 1000 miles:
  • Change oil and filter.
FrequencyTasks
5000 miles
  • Change oil and filter
  • Grease fittings (only 2 in the front axle u-joints)
  • Rotate tires
  • Cycle locking hubs
  • Engage and disengage 4WD
  • Engage and disengage winch, pull out some winch line and retract
  • Inspect tires and measure tread depth
  • Inspect brakes and measure pad thickness
  • Inspect engine air filter and replace if necessary
  • Inspect battery connections for tightness and corrosion
  • Inspect wheel bearing play
  • Check and top-up fluids (coolant, brakes, washer, power steering)
  • Check underneath for leaks and damage
  • Check tire pressure
  • Check lights
  • Check time-based maintenance items
25,000 miles
  • 5000 mile service
  • Inspect and replace cabin air filter if necessary
  • Inspect belts and hoses for cracks
  • Check ball joints and steering linkages for looseness
  • Inspect spare tire if not included in rotations
  • Lubricate power running boards
50,000 miles
  • 5000 mile service
  • 25,000 mile service
  • Transmission fluid drain and fill
  • Transfer case fluid drain and fill
  • Differential fluid drain and fill (front and rear)
  • Change transmission filter
  • Replace spark plugs
100,000 miles
  • 5000 mile service
  • 25,000 mile service
  • 50,000 mile service
  • Replace belts if not replaced already
  • Replace spark plug wires if not replaced already

Schedule - Time Based
FrequencyTasks
2 years
  • Drain and fill brake fluid
  • Drain and fill power steering fluid
  • Drain and fill coolant

Parts
Oil: Motorcraft 5w-30 full synthetic
Oil Filter: Motorcraft
Grease: AirTec Li400

Reference Videos

What is your MAINTENANCE schedule? LISTEN to PTT & find out his intervals for YOUR FORD POWERSTROKE

Never Follow Ford's Lifetime Fluid Service Intervals: Here’s What I Recommend and Why!

Ford Transmission Tips: #3 Recommended Fluid Change Intervals w/ Examples!

Optimal Oil Change Interval Hasn't Changed The way they market it has!! 3k or 5k?!
 
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ccw

ccw

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1980 Mazda RX-7
Ok, modifications and maintenance plan posts are filled in! Nothing else to fill in until I get the truck. :D

Or I come across more mods to add to the list. :p
 

BroncoHooves

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Ok, modifications and maintenance plan posts are filled in! Nothing else to fill in until I get the truck. :D

Or I come across more mods to add to the list. :p
Plenty of mods on my list that can subtract from your wallet until then :D
 
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ccw

ccw

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Plenty of mods on my list that can subtract from your wallet until then :D
I need to take a closer look at your mods list later, but I think I have most of them in my backlog already. I'll take another look though, and maybe some of them can be promoted out of the backlog! :D
 

DwnSth

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With my truck now built and on its way to me, it's time to make a build thread in preparation for its arrival. Let's walk through the name, my goals for the truck, and why I went with the Tremor. A follow-up post will track the state of modifications - planned, purchased, and installed.

Name
I'm going with Gimli for the name. I love Lord of the Rings so it was the logical place to look for a name. Gimli immediately came to mind. Not because of his stature, mind you - Gimli is small in stature being a dwarf, and the Tremor is most definitely not - but because Gimli is a reliable, sturdy companion. The same adjectives I would use to describe my truck. I certainly hope to use those adjectives. It's also unique here on the forum, and likely for vehicles in general, which is a nice bonus.

Goals
The truck will be my primary vehicle serving all variety of purposes. Some of its jobs:
  • Commuting to and from work, as well as driving around town.
  • Hauling people to the ski hill in winter to go skiing.
  • Hauling materials for around the house (soil, blocks, lumber, garbage, etc.)
  • Towing car trailers for project cars.
  • Forest road exploring, eventually with a slide-in camper (will need to save up again for that).
  • Road trips back home.
  • Should I be accepted in to Search and Rescue (have recently applied) transporting myself and others to incidents and being my vehicle for performing searches. Additionally will offer it to haul or tow any equipment as necessary.
Why Super Duty? Why Tremor?
My current vehicle is a 2009 F-150 SuperCab. It's served me extremely well, but it's time to move to a crew cab. Additionally, I've overloaded it numerous times hauling house materials, overloaded its non-weight distributing tow capacity multiple times, and it cannot handle the weight of a slide-in camper like I'm planning. When it came time to decide on a new truck, I knew I was going heavy duty because in my opinion it has very few downsides:
  • It's the same size as a half ton (nearly).
  • Has dramatically more capacity.
  • I don't mind the ride quality.
  • I don't mind the fuel economy.
I chose to stick with Ford for two core reasons (though there's lots of little things, too):
  1. I have a dealer with a service department I already like and trust. I don't want to go through that search with another brand.
  2. The Tremor package fits my needs perfectly, and is unique in the market right now. I don't need to do anything mechanical to the truck out of the gate, as all I would have wanted to do is lift the truck enough to put 35" tires on. Yet it's off road capable and still retains it's towing and hauling capacity.
The Config - F350 Lariat Ultimate, 7.3L gas engine
Some notable options (in no particular order):
  • Rapid Red with Black Appearance Package
  • Carpet delete
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Heated rear seats
  • No sunroof
  • 5th wheel prep package
  • Upfitter switches
  • Winch
View attachment 31145

View attachment 31146
Well….we have made it fellas, wasn’t hoping to see the day so soon. 80k for a ⛽️‘er. Unreal
 
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ccw

ccw

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1980 Mazda RX-7
Well….we have made it fellas, wasn’t hoping to see the day so soon. 80k for a ⛽️‘er. Unreal
If it helps I’m getting X-Plan pricing so I’m paying more like $74k. But ya, it’s a lot.
 

DwnSth

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If it helps I’m getting X-Plan pricing so I’m paying more like $74k. But ya, it’s a lot.
Helps for you, if you have a trade in even better. I’m fortunate to have a connection and ordered mine in Jan and took delivery March 11. Before shit hit the fan.
Enjoy your rig as I’m sure you will.
 
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ccw

ccw

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Helps for you, if you have a trade in even better. I’m fortunate to have a connection and ordered mine in Jan and took delivery March 11. Before shit hit the fan.
Enjoy your rig as I’m sure you will.
I do have a trade-in (considering private sale) but it will only fetch me somewhere around $6000 on trade. Unfortunately the market for 12 year old, 150,000 mile trucks isn’t as hot as the market for newer ones. 🤣

I’ve been saving for a while to have a significant down payment, though.
 

DwnSth

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I do have a trade-in (considering private sale) but it will only fetch me somewhere around $6000 on trade. Unfortunately the market for 12 year old, 150,000 mile trucks isn’t as hot as the market for newer ones. 🤣

I’ve been saving for a while to have a significant down payment, though.
Not sure what state you are in, here in Texas we only pay taxes on the amount of the trades in vehicle. Might be a nice win for you.
 
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ccw

ccw

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1980 Mazda RX-7
Not sure what state you are in, here in Texas we only pay taxes on the amount of the trades in vehicle. Might be a nice win for you.
Same in WA. Vehicle tax rate is roughly 10%, so would save around $600.

Certainly nothing to complain about! But not a ton, either. So that’s why I’m considering private sale. If I could get $8000 for it in private sale I would be up $1500. But then it’s a question of whether the hassle is worth it.

It’s definitely a good callout though.
 

Vecman

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Now, when my truck arrives, I don't even want to start a build thread, because I don't know how you made all those nice little boxes to organize your plan! Love it! I will enjoy watching this come to life!
 
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