Project Shadowfax

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:ROFLMAO:...do you think there is any possibly that you could have left anything out......wow....birthdays etc,etc....lol
Well, Shadowfax’s birthday is August 9, 2021 (build date), and birth location is the Kentucky Truck plant, of course. :p

In all honesty, though, that’s a subset of what I’ve considered for mods overall. There’s a large number still that were either rejected or just in the backlog such that they’ll likely never get done, but if I somehow come up with time and money for them I’ll do them.

I’ve gone way too far down the research rabbit hole with this truck lol.
 
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I also want to note, related to towing, the WeighSafe pelican case setup is working amazingly well. A couple of times now I’ve towed a trailer to a mission, unhitched, then proceeded to use my truck for transports on dusty dirt roads.

Being able to remove the entire hitch and have it secured in the bed is great. The dust sealing of the case keeps dust out of the grease on the hitch balls, grease doesn’t get onto anything else in the bed, and I don’t need to worry about any gear catching on the hitch components when they go into or out of the bed.

Similarly I can just leave the case in the bed of the truck at all times, then grab what I need. Another trailer I’ve been towing recently takes a 2” ball, but today was the pintle adapter. I have it all with me.

To prevent a greasy mess inside the case, I’m wrapping greased balls in a plastic grocery bag when stored.
 
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Shadowfax got to do some towing today for Search and Rescue! Not the first time towing for search and rescue, but by far the coolest trailer we have IMO. You military guys will appreciate this, I think:

View attachment 59466

View attachment 59465

View attachment 59467

For folks who aren’t familiar, that’s a DRASH tent trailer. On the back it has two large tents that can be deployed. Up front the trailer has an integrated, large (I believe 35kW) generator along with an HVAC system.

Trailer tires are 37x12.50 military tires. Makes the factory size Tremor tires look small lol.

Towed it to a training exercise the Dogs unit are doing so they have a cooling shelter available if they need it. The truck towed it amazingly well. Super stable, and gobs of power. This isn’t surprising considering the trailer is roughly 6000 pounds, but still fun to experience.

Worth noting: Weigh Safe doesn’t condone using the pintle adapter in the rise position. On the other hand, there’s no restrictions to using the tow balls in the rise position. I reached out about why the difference and it’s because the pintle adapter has extra height to it.

Considering I was towing a 6000 pound trailer with a hitch setup rated for 18,000 pounds with a ball (and the pintle adapter is rated the same in the drop position) I made the decision to run in the rise position only half-way up the shank. That’s a lot of safety factor.

Got to tow the DRASH trailer back to HQ today, but this time with a unit truck. It's a gas F-350 as well, though I believe 2008 model year, so made for an interesting comparison. Worth noting that this truck used to be in the Sheriff's department and, since joining SAR a number of years ago, constantly packs around at least 1000 pounds worth of stuff in/on the bed, so it's been rode hard and put away wet for a lot of years.

(Reason for using the unit truck was the road we needed to take had been freshly tarred a couple of days before, so didn't want to get a bunch of tar on Shadowfax when I had the option to use a unit truck.)

Holy smokes there was a difference. First thing I noticed once the trailer was hooked up is how much more jarring it was. I don't know whether that's because the unit's pintle hitch was a worse fit for the lunette ring than the WeighSafe, or perhaps the fact the trailer was at a greater downward angle because the unit truck sits lower. But there was a lot more jarring from the trailer into the truck.

(The downward angle was in spite of a massive rise on on the unit's pintle hitch. I would guess at least 8". This trailer was not meant to be towed by regular pickups lol.)

The other thing I noticed was how gutless the engine was in the old truck. Night and day difference. Godzilla barely noticed the 6000 pounds, whereas this truck it was a long climb up to 60mph. I don't know the specific engine in the old truck, but definitely a gas engine.

That is way cool... Do you have any pics of it deployed??
Here's how we had it deployed! Again, the tent itself was not deployed, just the trailer. You can see the tent in the massive bag at the back. In the middle is the generator, and up front is the HVAC. With A/C! The bow shackles on the rear of the trailer are rated for 12 tons. Those combined with the metal plates welded onto the tongue, with the large holes, allow the entire trailer to be lifted by a helicopter.

Behind the trailer you can see the unit truck I was towing it with today.

IMG_3463.jpg
 
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Another 5000 miles, another 5000 mile servicing (total of 15393.7 miles)! Overall pretty uneventful. Still fine tuning my technique for getting the oil filter off without making a mess, and only sort of succeeded this time. I'm on the edge of ordering the oil udder.

One thing that jumped out at me is the CCA's of the batteries. Passenger side (primary) battery tested at 827 CCA, drivers side (secondary) at 789 CCA. Both are well above their rating of 750, but it's the disparity that's raising an eyebrow.

Nothing worth going to the dealer about yet, but will be keeping an eye on it. May test them again in between services to see if the gap is growing or not. 5000 miles ago they tested nearly identical to each other (off by 1 CCA).
 

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I'm on the edge of ordering the oil udder.
After watching a tech make an absolute mess out of my skid plate on the last oil change (I know, but I was a few thousand miles away and couldn’t do it myself), I determined I need some thing relatively foolproof. What is this oil udder you speak of?
 
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After watching a tech make an absolute mess out of my skid plate on the last oil change (I know, but I was a few thousand miles away and couldn’t do it myself), I determined I need some thing relatively foolproof. What is this oil udder you speak of?
Here’s the website:


Though when doing a quick search for any existing threads on it, I saw this post:

Done both. Hole and udder and still made a mess. When just using the udder XL the amount of oil overwhelmed the space. Next will be a combo of both or let it all drop into a five gallon bucket. Fumoto drain valve with plastic hose works like a champ.

Don’t know what to do now.
 

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Think I’ll give it a go, haven’t come up with a better idea given the really limited space. Guess I can’t do any worse than the Ford tech, right? 🤣

thx for the link!
 
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Think I’ll give it a go, haven’t come up with a better idea given the really limited space. Guess I can’t do any worse than the Ford tech, right? 🤣

thx for the link!
Let me know how it works out!
 

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The AirTec grease gun kit. Which coupler should we get? 90degree, straight or safelock?
 
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The AirTec grease gun kit. Which coupler should we get? 90degree, straight or safelock?
I've been using the safeLOCK connector and it works a treat on the truck. Definitely like that it locks on. Here's the specific kit I got, which includes that connector:

 

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I've been using the safeLOCK connector and it works a treat on the truck. Definitely like that it locks on. Here's the specific kit I got, which includes that connector:

Looks like if I build my own I can save $9 since I won't need to 90 degree coupler.

Thanks for the input.
 

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Let me know how it works out!
Limited success. The Stahlbus drain worked incredibly well, no drips at all. The oil udder had very limited success. There simply isn’t much room between the bottom of the oil filter and the top of the skid plate to work with. I was going to drain the oil udder by attaching a 3/4 inch plastic tube to the bottom of it, but that quickly went the way of the buffalo (sorry, bison for you purists) when it became apparent there was no room to work with in there. So, I put the capped udder on the filter and loosened it. Got a fair amount of oil in the udder, managed to spill some getting it out. PITA to work around the skid plate openings. I now have slightly more empathy for the Ford tech who spilled oil on my skid plate the first time. In any event, I wound up putting a handful of rags on top of the skid plate under the oil filter, let it drip til done, then took it out (over the front axle was the best non-spill route). With the rags keeping the oil from spreading across the whole skid plate, it was a simple wipe up job after that. Hope this helps someone. 😎
 
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Limited success. The Stahlbus drain worked incredibly well, no drips at all. The oil udder had very limited success. There simply isn’t much room between the bottom of the oil filter and the top of the skid plate to work with. I was going to drain the oil udder by attaching a 3/4 inch plastic tube to the bottom of it, but that quickly went the way of the buffalo (sorry, bison for you purists) when it became apparent there was no room to work with in there. So, I put the capped udder on the filter and loosened it. Got a fair amount of oil in the udder, managed to spill some getting it out. PITA to work around the skid plate openings. I now have slightly more empathy for the Ford tech who spilled oil on my skid plate the first time. In any event, I wound up putting a handful of rags on top of the skid plate under the oil filter, let it drip til done, then took it out (over the front axle was the best non-spill route). With the rags keeping the oil from spreading across the whole skid plate, it was a simple wipe up job after that. Hope this helps someone. 😎
Thanks for the follow-up! Will save my money on the oil udder then, and stick with cut-off milk jugs. Pre-emptive rags are a good idea, and I don't know why I haven't thought of that yet. Will absolutely be doing that next time.
 
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Finally another update here! Life has been busy, so Shadowfax hasn't seen a ton of updates, though he has been getting used and working great!

Yesterday I finally got around to fitting the tire chains I purchased...last year. 😳 Oops. Life gets away from you sometimes. Reminder that a full parts list, with links, is at the bottom of the post.

31c1dba9-da19-4e4f-ba1a-a74021b8d165-jpeg.104472


Overall impression is that these chains are clearly well built, and plenty heavy, though I'm not sure how badly you can mess up chains.

I'm super happy to have gotten the storage bags for them! In some respects I would love hangers like the semis have, but given how frequently I'll be using them that would probably be overkill. The medium sized bags are perfect for two of the chains along with the tensioners. Given the weight of the chains I wouldn't want to be able to fit more than two chains per bag, and it nicely splits them up if I only want to chain up the rear tires.

When selecting your tire size on TireChain.com you can choose between "Regular Duty and Tread" and "Load Range E, KO2, AT Tires". I naturally chose the latter as, while I don't have KO2's specifically I do have E rated AT Tires. Quoting their FAQ:

Do off road mud tires use the normal sized chains?

No. Off Road Mud Tires, Super Swamper, and BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO tires deep lugged tires require one size longer in tire chains to make up for extra depth of the tread. Please call or email to determine the appropriate chain for your application.

In hindsight I really should have contacted them, as I'm not sure I should have chosen the longer size. Admittedly I can always downsize my chains if needed since I have the extra length, but I'm on the edge of them being too long. I'm on the last link before needing to remove a cross chain, with all of the cams tightened. They do seem tight (I can't get a finger under the cross links), but I would prefer to have a bit of room to tighten things up.

To deal with the extra chain length, the most obvious approach is to cut off the extra links. If they don't exist, they can't cause any damage! Downside is that you can't easily get that length back if needed in the future. I could see needing it if I go to a more aggressive tire in the factory size, or perhaps a true 35" size, and I just don't like making permanent changes if they're easily avoidable with no downside.

In this case there are two non-permanent ways to deal with it:
  • On the inside, as recommended by TireChain.com, I used bailing wire to secure the extra links back on to the chain (picture below). Securing the links in two spots means they can't flop around at all, but I made sure the extra links aren't bearing any load.
  • On the outside, I could have done the same bailing wire trick but instead opted for a bungee cord from my local hardware store. By keeping the loose end available, it allows me to hook up part way, roll forward to free up slack, and then tighten the rest of the way. I went for EPDM (thick rubber) bungee cords, rather than the fabric ones, from my local hardware store for durability. The smallest length they had four of were 19" long. This is too long to go directly from one side to the other, but as you can see in the picture I simply did one wrap around the opposite side to take up the slack. If you want to go directly across, I suspect you will want no longer than a 12" bungee cord.
122EA669-4E50-4C0D-945A-D1E321060E46.jpeg


Caveat on my comments around fitment: I was unable to test them with the suspension compressed.

Despite Ford saying we can't run chains on our trucks, the chains seem to fit well with tight, but reasonable clearance. As I expected from when I looked at clearances before purchasing the chains, the radius arms are the closest to making contact but avoid doing so at full lock (couldn't hear them making contact while holding full lock and reversing, and no witness marks on the arms). Even though my chains sit fairly low on the sidewall, they are plenty clear of any brake lines. Also enough space near the mud flaps, despite having Gatorbacks.

39ea26a5-76bc-4b25-b1cb-0082ef1c048a-jpeg.104478


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d7f07643-6f3e-4c5c-bada-8fe7222343ba-jpeg.104473


Something I purchased that is not noted in the parts list, because you shouldn't buy them, are the Sno-Chain Ramps. These are intended to let you easily drive onto the chains when you're mounting them. Note the product page claims they support 7000 pounds per pair. I'll quote myself from when I tried them last year:

So pro-tip: don’t bother with the tire chain ramp things from TireChain.com. Neat idea, but way too weak for our trucks.

Tried them out this evening and this is what happened:

View attachment 45266

Not only did they crush under the weight of the front end (the 7.3L front end! Not even the diesel!) they were too small to even notice when I had gone over them. When I felt a bump I thought I was feeling my first entry onto them. Turns out that was me rolling completely over them. Whoops.

They’re now in the trash can.

Maybe they would work better for a lighter vehicle. But they definitely aren’t for HD trucks.

If you want to learn how to install tire chains, this video is fantastic. It's long, but it is incredibly thorough and well presented. While it's for semi trucks, if you're using ladder-style chains, such as what I've purchased, it applies to pickup trucks exactly the same.


Parts:
 
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Another 5000 miles, another 5000 mile servicing (total of 15393.7 miles)! Overall pretty uneventful. Still fine tuning my technique for getting the oil filter off without making a mess, and only sort of succeeded this time. I'm on the edge of ordering the oil udder.

One thing that jumped out at me is the CCA's of the batteries. Passenger side (primary) battery tested at 827 CCA, drivers side (secondary) at 789 CCA. Both are well above their rating of 750, but it's the disparity that's raising an eyebrow.

Nothing worth going to the dealer about yet, but will be keeping an eye on it. May test them again in between services to see if the gap is growing or not. 5000 miles ago they tested nearly identical to each other (off by 1 CCA).
I loosen the filter so it’s loose but not leaking used oil. I then put a gallon zip lock bag over the filter and pull it as high up as I can. I then unscrew the filter by hand and let it and some used oil fall into the bag. Seal the bag and discard.
 

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Would you do a long term review of your Toyo at3’s please?
 
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I loosen the filter so it’s loose but not leaking used oil. I then put a gallon zip lock bag over the filter and pull it as high up as I can. I then unscrew the filter by hand and let it and some used oil fall into the bag. Seal the bag and discard.
That’s a good idea! Will try that next time!

Would you do a long term review of your Toyo at3’s please?
I basically did that in another thread just a couple of days ago lol, so I’ll quote myself here. :D

Here’s a direct link to the first post I’m quoting if you want to read the original thread with full context:


FWIW, based on my experience last year with the ATIII’s, they are fine in winter for an all terrain tire. Certainly better than the factory non-3PMS DuraTracs that came with my truck, but less impressive (to me) than the 3PMS DuraTracs I ran on my F-150, though the major caveat being that’s a different vehicle.

My intent is to try the Falken WildPeaks next go around. The ATIII’s are just meh to me in most regards. And surprisingly noisy.

Ya I’m mostly road miles. “Meh” is because they haven’t stood out in any way. Especially for what is supposed to be a premium tire that costs a premium amount.

Winter performance (on-road) was worse than I was hoping, while noise was greater than expected. Dry and wet have been fine, nothing noteworthy. Though let’s be honest, I’m not driving my Super Duty in a way that tests any tire on dry, paved roads.

I don’t do anything in the dirt that would truly test the tire other than puncture resistance. Been fine in that regard.

Meanwhile, with all the meh on performance, they also look meh. Definitely a downgrade in appearance from the DuraTracs, and having seen WildPeaks in the wild (pun intended) they look better IMO.

That’s a good point about the softness! The Toyos are also unremarkable there, at least compared to the factory DuraTracs. Not better but not worse. More meh.

And to be clear with all of my posts: I don’t think you will be unhappy with the ATIII’s. Just don’t have your expectations too high. They’re still better than the non-3PMS tire in winter, will wear well, and function just fine as a tire.

But don’t expect them to be a wonder tire.
 
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Limited success. The Stahlbus drain worked incredibly well, no drips at all. The oil udder had very limited success. There simply isn’t much room between the bottom of the oil filter and the top of the skid plate to work with. I was going to drain the oil udder by attaching a 3/4 inch plastic tube to the bottom of it, but that quickly went the way of the buffalo (sorry, bison for you purists) when it became apparent there was no room to work with in there. So, I put the capped udder on the filter and loosened it. Got a fair amount of oil in the udder, managed to spill some getting it out. PITA to work around the skid plate openings. I now have slightly more empathy for the Ford tech who spilled oil on my skid plate the first time. In any event, I wound up putting a handful of rags on top of the skid plate under the oil filter, let it drip til done, then took it out (over the front axle was the best non-spill route). With the rags keeping the oil from spreading across the whole skid plate, it was a simple wipe up job after that. Hope this helps someone. 😎
I am probably not often enough underneath my truck yet - is that a factory skid plate you are talking about or after-market?
 
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