Thread: 01 F250 tow rig refresh

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  1. #1 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Got this thread going on the local board and it's getting quite a bit of interest so I figured I'd cross post it over here too. I'm only bringing my posts over, and some of them are answers to questions asked so they may not make the most sense.

    I've had my truck now 9 years, and put close to 100k on it, DD'ing it for the first 4-5 years of my ownership. It's a 2001 F250, crew cab, short box, 7.3 auto. I've done a few repairs and mods over the years, and had been recently contemplating getting rid of my truck and picking up a new 6.7. The new 6.7's are super nice trucks, but I hold the title to my 01 and can keep fixing it for many years before I even come close to the price of a new truck.
    Early on we put the AFE Stage II intake on with a DP Tuner. Running the 80hp economy, 120hp race, 80hp high altitude tow, and a 1500 rpm idle. With the increased airflow and power, started getting turbo surge, put a wicked wheel in and solved that. Right around 140k miles the 4R100 went out and we replaced it with a BTS unit. Added a 4" exhaust 5 or so years ago too. Couple of other minor repairs here and there over the years, HPOP leaking, alternators, starters, etc. Overall been a solid truck and I've mostly been very happy with it.
    Over the last couple of years I've been fighting a wandering in the steering. We really only use the truck for hauling anymore, and when we pulled our gooseneck it masked some of the steering issues that became very obvious when we tried pulling a 28' travel trailer. Over the last year and a half I had done new ball joints, hubs, steering stabilizer, reman'd NAPA steering box. Got a little better, but not enough to comfortably pull our camper long distances. A few months ago I ponied up for a Redhead steering box. Again, it got better, but not good enough. Took the truck to Douglas County Diesel in Castle Rock as I was sick of trying to diagnose the problem. They said the box was too tight, not allowing it to return to center. Redhead warrantied it, and sent us a new one. This one was even worse. At this point I was really tempted to go get a 6.7 and run mine off a cliff. We ended up putting a Ford reman box in it, and this time it was quite a bit better, but still not as good as I had hoped. It had been a while since I'd driven any other trucks, so I went to a Ford dealer to see how a new 6.7 drove, and it wasn't really any better, certainly not $60k better. The power, ride, comfort, everything else was better, but the steering was about the same. So I stuck with it, and have spent some more time behind the wheel and am now more comfortable with it. We're taking the camper up to the mountains this weekend so that will really be the true test of how well it all works.
    Assuming everything works as it should, we're going to start putting some more work in to the truck and plan on keeping it for another 100k. Which at the rate we drive it will be 15+ years.
    There's a few things that have been neglected on the truck because of my frustration with the steering that need attention.
    First thing we'll do is the up pipes. They've been leaking bad for a long time now and it shows in boost #'s and EGT's.
    Injectors and turbo are all original stock equipment. With the mileage the truck has, it's only a matter of time before those need to be replaced. I'm not looking for monster power, just solid driveability and towing comfort. Plus the truck has the powdered metal rods so I don't want to push too much more power than I already am and would rather focus on reliability.
    I'm going to use this thread to chronicle what I'm doing, but also as a place to compile my thoughts about what to do with it and seek advice on what parts folks may have had better luck with than others.


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  2. #2 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Lighting is definitely on the list as well. I will likely add some auxiliary lighting on the front as well. I put an LED light bar on the front of the ZJ and have been happy with it, and it was less than $200. It doesn't happen often, but if we're trying to get into camp at night the lights would help out a lot.
    And you're right about the electronics too. My power locks haven't worked for years, windows are pretty slow. Luckily most of the engine sensors have been pretty trouble free. Had a fun issue with the alternator 4 years ago where the current coming out of the alternator was so bad that the truck thought it was going 35mph, even though the speedo showed 0-5, so it would shift the tranny and lock the torque converter stalling out the truck. I also need to run a new line for the brake controller as I don't think enough current is getting through there.
    One other thing that should help prolong the life of my truck is having the shop now I can actually park it inside when the shop isn't a complete mess.
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  3. #3 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Replaced the water pump a few years ago, maybe 10k miles, so should be good there. Swapped the PS pump out a little over a year ago as well when I put new hubs on the front axle. New IC boots are on the list soon as well, they seem to have been holding up well so far. All good info on lighting. MOST of my driving is all daytime, but I get spoiled by a lot of things in my DD and lighting is certainly one of them. Infiniti did a great job with the headlights on the Q50.
    We took the camper up to Clear Creek Reservoir this weekend and the truck pulled great. Still a little play in the steering, but everything was stable, almost no wandering, I was very happy with it. I left my stabilizer bars a little looser than normal on the trailer too just to make sure I was getting the full experience. There were a couple times when I was glad I didn't have a brand new truck too, like when the dogs jumped in the back seat all dirty from playing in the lake.
    Next trip with the truck will be up to Rapid City with my gooseneck to get my mother in law and some of her stuff in a few weeks. Hoping to have the up pipes done by then, and maybe a new head unit for tunes.
    One of the things I'm struggling with too is if I should put much effort into the exterior of the truck. The clear coat is peeling on a majority of the hood, and since it was parked under a blue spruce for a while a lot of sap has fallen on the truck and started to eat away at the clear coat on the passenger side door and fender. The truck also got a fair amount of hail damage on the top of the cab in a hail storm last September. I've started a claim with my ins co for the hail damage, but haven't followed through with any of it yet. I don't need the truck to look perfect, but don't want it to look too beat up either.
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  4. #4 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Dropping off the truck this afternoon to have the up-pipes done. Normally I'd just do them myself, but I have enough other projects going right now and have a quick trip to Rapid City coming up in a few weeks where I'll be hauling some stuff back and I'd like to spend the rest of the nice weather camping and not wrenching . . .
    Also looking at upgrading the stereo a bit. I put a head unit in it a long time ago, with a couple 10's behind the back seat. The head unit is a little outdated and if I'm going to be driving the truck more I'd like something nicer. Looking at some of the Pioneer units and will probably put a backup camera above the license plate and another in the 3rd brake light. Most of the ones I've seen out there are for the license plate, but I like the way the newer Dodges have the one that can see the bed. And with my car hauler being a gooseneck and us looking for a 5th wheel at some point down the road, I figured having the 2nd camera would be nice.
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  5. #5 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Just picked up the truck from getting the up pipes done. I didn't get too many chances to really test it out, but it seemed to build quite a bit more boost much faster and at lower EGT's. It would take a LOT for my truck to get over 20psi on the turbo during normal driving, and I hit 24psi pretty easily. Starting running out of road before I could push it any harder.
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  6. #6 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Washed her for the first time in a long time today. Most of the body is actually in decent shape and I was able to pressure wash off a lot of the sap on the passenger side fender and door. The hood is gone though, clear coat is only on about 20% of it. I might plastidip the hood and leave the rest alone, but put a good coat of wax down. We'll see what the adjuster says when I finally get around to getting the hail damage looked at.
    Also got a chance to get in the throttle a bit more tonight. It's faster, smoother, and a heck of a lot quieter at WOT. Cruising EGTs are down a good 100 to 150 degrees. Have the boots on my to do lost too which should only help further.
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  7. #7 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Ordered up the new stereo parts this morning. Went with the Pioneer AVH-X5700BHS: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 It's a 7" screen, with 2 inputs for backup cams. I only ordered one cam for now, want to play around with a bit in different locations before I order the second one. Went to Car Toys this morning to put my hands on the head unit and really liked it. They wouldn't price match though, said it was below their cost, and even if they did by the time sales tax gets added on I come out > $20 ahead at Amazon. Listened to the 2 way version of these speakers as well at Car Toys and liked them. The bass response on the 2 ways was quite impressive, but I already have 2 10" subs in the truck so I have plenty of bass, but with the 4 way they should handle the highs even better. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Should have most everything by mid week, just need to clear out some space in the shop for the truck and start tearing things apart. Heading to Rapid City next weekend so it will be a good test run for the up pipes and everything else. Hopefully it doesn't get too hot that weekend as an a/c recharge is on the list as well, but I might just do the cheapo version and dump a can of refrigerant in before I go.
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  8. #8 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Dash blown apart and ready for the new head unit. Rear speakers are out as well, ordered some door panel tools that should be here tomorrow and then I'll pull the fronts out and all the lock actuators.
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  9. #9 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    95 ZJ | Clayton 6" | 8.8 | HP30 | 4.88s | Aussie F/R | 242 SYE | 35 MTZs

    Paragon ♠ Tellico ◊ Big Dogs ♣ Rausch Creek ♥ Moab ♠ Rubicon
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  10. #10 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Man she looked clean back then!
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  11. #11 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Test fitting the deck in the dash after trimming it.





    In the dash.








    New front and rear Pioneer speakers.





    A sub box with 2 JL 10's and a JBL amp that I built a long time ago. The box slides around a bit, hoping the ratchet strap helps that as it sounds like crap after it's been moving a bit.







    Liking the new deck so far. Sounds really good with the new speakers and lots of functionality, close to on par with my DD. Still need to figure out a few quirks, but I'm happy. Haven't hooked up the back up cam yet, still need to put some work into that. Also need to get my SXM subscription moved over.
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  12. #12 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
    The class retard Lifetime Supporter ajmorell's Avatar
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    Curious to know how the new head unit works out for you. I've been thinking of upgrading the HU in my truck and adding a backup camera as well. What does that HU have in the way of Android control/compatibility?
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  13. #13 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajmorell View Post
    What does that HU have in the way of Android control/compatibility?
    Those are the "quirks" that I mentioned. It has MirrorLink which is supposed to be full control and compatibility. I tried it out last night and couldn't quite get it to work right. I did get Pandora to work though, and it works quite well. Has all of my playlists and everything, full control of the app from the HU. I would like to get the MirrorLink working as I can apparently use the phone's nav apps on the HU, which would be nice since I didn't pony up for the nav on the deck. There were 4 Pioneer units I was looking at that were all very similar. The 2700 has a 6.2" and 1 camera input, the 3700 has a 6.2" screen and 2 cams, the 4700 has a 7" screen and 1 cam, and the 5700 I got has the 7" screen and 2 cam inputs. There's a couple other minor differences as well with HD Radio and such, but that wasn't super important to me as I rarely listen to local radio. I hope to be able to play around with it all a bit more tonight and get the MirrorLink working.
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  14. #14 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    I think one of the next things I'm going to tackle is the lights. There's a Ford Dealer in MN that has some pretty good pricing on OEM lights, looks like I can get the headlights from the 02+ for about $100 apiece. I also want to add a light bar to the front, just need to figure out how big. I want some lights out back too for helping with hooking trailers in the dark, etc. Kind of tempted to get LED taillights and such too as the OEM ones aren't that bright, but a lot of them look pretty ricer.


    One of the quirks on some of the new head units too is that they require a signal from the parking brake to operate a lot of functions on the head unit, including quite a few different settings. There's a wire off the back of the deck that's supposed to be spliced in to the parking brake, and you can't just ground it off on some head units, mine included. If it's just a constant signal it won't actually work. Since I would like to be able to use these additional functions whenever I want, I ordered a gizmo off Amazon that I can hook in to 12v constant, ground, and the lead from the head unit to trick the system into thinking the parking brake is always on. This should show up tomorrow. I might hook up the back up cam at the same time since I didn't do that and now have to pull the whole dash off to get to the back of the head unit.
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  15. #15 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Truck did great on the way up to Rapid this morning. Granted we were only pulling an empty gooseneck, about 4k, but I tried to push it as much as I could to get a good feel for it. On one longish hill I stayed at WOT as long as I could and the EGT's maxed out just over 1200 and I was still making plenty of power, ended up getting off the throttle around 85mph. Will have a bit more of a load on it on the way home tomorrow, a zuki and some of my mother in laws stuff so that should be close to what I would be pulling when the ZJ is on it, or at least close to the camper.


    Also ditched the backup cam I originally bought and found another one to use. I'm going to drill a hole in the 3rd brake light and stick it in there.
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  16. #16 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    The camera is even smaller than I thought it would be. Hoping to get it in today.





    Truck did great coming back from Rapid. Seemed to not need to downshift as much on the longer climbs and the EGTs were quite a bit lower than before. On cruise control in the stock tune it held the speed limit with no issues. With the 80hp 5-9k lb towing tune I could exceed the speed limit whenever I wanted. With the cruise on it would get a little warm, up around 1300, but if I kept the cruise off there was no issue. Looking forward to getting the CAC boots done and pulling some heavier loads.
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  17. #17 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Drilled out a hole in the 3rd brake light for the camera, ran the wires through the dome light area on the back of the cab and then up to the dash.





    Installed and mounted on the truck.





    The view from the cam. Doesn't quite hit my GN ball, but I still like the view it gives. The guidelines appear to be a smidge off as well, but the image quality is about as good as the OEM on my Infiniti.


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  18. #18 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
    The class retard Lifetime Supporter ajmorell's Avatar
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    Are you planning to install an additional backup cam for a bumper pull (does that HU have inputs for 2? I think I remember seeing some do)?
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  19. #19 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    This head unit does have 2. I haven't decided yet what I want to do with the 2nd cam input. I have the cam already to hook up on the bumper, so I might just do it. I also kinda like the idea of having one on the front bumper as well. I'm debating putting one of these in the ZJ too and having cams front and rear almost as rock cams. In the back I could put it right over the hitch receiver for protection.
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  20. #20 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
    The class retard Lifetime Supporter ajmorell's Avatar
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    What cam is that one you installed? I was looking at the Clarion CC510 as it's got really good Amazon reviews, but it's also $65. I was thinking of wiring it up through a switch as I really only need/want it for hooking up the camper and maybe occasionally in tight spots.
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  21. #21 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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  22. #22 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Just got back from the insurance estimator, there was a lot more hail damage than I thought there would be. The check I got was about double what I planned on, but we still didn't go near the range where they want to total it out. They found damage on just about every part of the truck. I had only found hail dents on the hood, top of the cab, and the left bedside. So I have a nice check now to help fund some more work on the truck. I'm still thinking about plastidipping the hood, but will likely try to get one from Stadium Auto Parts or somewhere similar and just paint it myself. If they magically have one in my color in good shape I'll just rock it like that. They wanted to cut the roof off and replace it, as well as the left bedside.

    I'm going to order up the new lights today I think, and start working on the hood. May end up replacing the grille while I'm at it since the chrome finish is peeling pretty bad.
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  23. #23 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    U-pull and pay and other "self pick" places are awesome for that kind of stuff!
    "ZJ's were designed with the intention to take 1 really good hit, and fold up. As long as the occupants walked away, it was a success. In the wheeling world, we expect our vehicles to take multiple really good hits, drive out of it, and run the obstacle again!"
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  24. #24 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    ...unless you're looking for SuperDuty parts. If you're lucky enough to find a donor, it's been picked through like looted stores in a riot.

    Either that or it's in the premium section and you have to buy half the truck
    Jim Karlin
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  25. #25 Re: 01 F250 tow rig refresh 
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    Quote Originally Posted by fpkites View Post
    ...unless you're looking for SuperDuty parts. If you're lucky enough to find a donor, it's been picked through like looted stores in a riot.

    Either that or it's in the premium section and you have to buy half the truck
    This. I wanted a headlight switch and cup holder, yard wanted to buy the whole beat to shit and back dash for $200. I'll get ZJ stuff all day long at the yard, but there are so few Super Duty trucks in yards it's almost not even worth trying.
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