Dino’s Dream: Alec Russell’s 2004 Ford F-350 Honors His Father

Family fun and trucks seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. For decades Alec Russell and his family have enjoyed not only working on and upgrading their trucks, but the fun that comes after and in-between. Alec’s father, Dino Russell, was particularly partial to the ’04 Ford F-350 dual rear wheel (DRW) trucks – especially 2WD models – with a low stance and hot-rodded 6.0-liter Power Stroke engine.

Dino searched high and low for a 2WD Ford dually of his own. After what seemed like forever, he found one on eBay in 2015 that fit the bill perfectly. It was a crew cab shortbed (CCSB) 2WD dually with the 6.0-liter Power Stroke engine just like he wanted. It was in bone stock condition with only 130,000-miles on the clock. What’s more, he picked up the truck for only $4,000, meaning he’d have the budget to build the truck just like he wanted.

Alec Russell inherited his 2004 Ford F-350 from his father Dino and continues to build it to finish Dino’s dream truck.

The two-tone white and black theme honors Dino’s passion for Harley Davidson bikes and their collaboration with Ford Super Duty trucks. An ’05 Harley edition grille shell was color-matched and installed on the truck, along with a color-matched front bumper and smoked Harley headlights.

Dino turned to his son Alec for help working on the F-350. Alec works for SunCoast Performance in the sales and marketing department and knows his way around a diesel truck. The two of them, along with other family and friends, began to work on the truck. Alec insisted his father start on the engine since it was one of the notorious 6.0-Liter Power Stroke engines. Dino attacked the trouble areas first, turning to local diesel performance shops Bulldog Motorsports and Hardway Performance for help wrenching on the engine.

The large Bulletproof Diesel engine oil cooler sits behind the Harley grille in the direct path of cool air to help the engine keep its cool. Lifting the hood shows the “bulletproofed” 6.0-liter Ford Power Stroke diesel engine. At the time of our photoshoot it looked fairly spartan with the K&N cold air intake, Sinister Diesel fuel pressure regulator, and Bullet Proof Diesel filters being the most notable items. But there was a stock-appearing PowerMax Stage 2 turbocharger, which was cool. Since the time of this writing, Alec has also added polished aluminum Smeding Diesel intercooler piping and a polished aluminum K&N intake horn to really dress up the engine bay.

Under the Hood

To keep the head gaskets sealed to the block and prevent the heads from lifting, Alec and Dino installed a set of ARP head studs to start the modifications. A Garrett PowerMax Stage 2 turbo replaced the original, while Bulletproof Diesel components improved reliability in the intake flow and oiling system. This was thanks to a filter and remote mount oil cooler tucked in behind the grille.

The PowerMax turbo inhales fresh air through a K&N cold air intake system. They also went with a set of Warren Diesel Injection premium 175/30 fuel injectors fed by the factory fuel system. Tuning is handled through the factory ECU with performance tunes from Warren Diesel Injection to get the most out of the 6.0-liter mill without pushing it into catastrophic territory. Alec estimates that the truck is making around 550 hp with around 900 lbs-ft of torque to motivate the low slung dually quite well.

The Power Stroke engine is backed with a 5-speed 5R110 automatic transmission, but with his son working at SunCoast, there was never a thought of running the stock Ford transmission for any longer than necessary. The crew at SunCoast gave the trans their Competition 5R110 treatment with new Raybestos clutches and steels, along with several proprietary SunCoast internal upgrades and valve body tweaks and upgrades.

The engine and transmission were linked together through a SunCoast SFI-approved flexplate and SunCoast billet torque converter with a 2,300rpm stall speed. A new OEM Ford transmission cooler was installed in the factory location to keep things cool.

Black vinyl provides a great contrast against the bright Oxford White paint. A set of Recon smoked LED cab lights blend in with the vinyl on the roof, showing up when illuminated.

Unfortunately, not long after finishing the 6.0-liter engine “bulletproofing” and transmission build, Dino passed away. Dino was able to enjoy the truck and its improved performance before his passing, and even laid down some healthy doses of rubber on the asphalt. Alec inherited the truck, and with a heavy heart, he decided to complete the truck the way they originally planned.

A gearhead on a budget like his father, Alec wheeled and dealed, searching high and low for ways to build the truck without breaking the budget. Using a combination of used parts and bargains, he is well on his way to completing the truck.

A crew cab shortbed Ford dually is a great looking rig, especially when properly lowered like Alec’s. The color-matched door handles, smoked Recon marker lights and late model tow mirrors also lend to the good looks of this truck.

Under the Fenders

The Super Duty rolls on a set of factory Alcoa 16-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in Mastercraft Courser HX LT235/85R16 tires up front with four Kelly Safari ATR tires on the rear Dana 80 axle. To spice up the stock wheels, Alec bolted them on with a set of black spike lug nuts. He’s since gotten with the team at Wheels A Million and installed a set of 24-inch polished Alcoa wheels to really make the truck stand out from the crowd.

Alec installed a set of used DJM Suspension I-beams and coil springs up front to give the 2WD dually a three-inch drop without sacrificing towing and hauling capability. The ride is tamed by a set of Nitro shocks. The original 16-inch Alcoa aluminum wheels are bolted on with spiked lug nuts and look great on the truck, but Alec has since stepped up to a set of 24-inch Alcoa wheels from Wheels A Million. Also, note the Harley Davidson F-350 fender emblems Alec installed to replace the original F-350 badges; a nice touch on the Harley-inspired dually.

To enhance the F-350’s stance, Alec installed a used set of DJM Suspension springs and I-beams up front to lower the truck. In the rear, he installed a new set of DJM leaf spring hangers and shackles on the factory leaf springs to lower the truck without losing his towing and hauling capabilities. To help tame the ride of the lowered rig, he installed Nitro lowered shocks all the way around. The truck was lowered a total of three inches up front and five inches in the rear, giving the dually a sporty stance.

Looking under the rear of the truck, Alec retained the factory rear leaf springs, but lowered the truck five inches in the rear with DJM Suspension shackles and hangars to retain its “Super Duty” hauling capabilities. You can also see the four-inch MBRP exhaust system with a black five-inch tip stuffed under the rear fender. With the five-inch drop, Alec installed the 16-inch Alcoa aluminum wheels and Kelly tires to fill the fender wells and leave a good-looking gap, but the 24-inch Alcoa wheels it's riding on now look even better.

Looks to Match

To improve the visuals from the front of the F-350, Herbie Henry at 53 Garage in Crestview, Florida color matched the 2005 Harley Davidson front grille shell with a white and black Ford Oval emblem. He also color matched the front bumper and smoked the Harley edition headlights to round out the facelift.

Out back, Alec installed a 2008 Super Duty tailgate (also color matched by Herbie) along with the factory rear bumper. The tailgate features black “SUPER DUTY” lettering and a white and black oval emblem to match the front. The door and tailgate handles were also given a spray of Oxford White paint to match the rest of the truck.

A set of Anzo USA LED taillights round out the updated look in the rear. The bright white paint is offset by black vinyl that Dino installed on the hood and roof of the truck to make it stand out as different from other Fords. A set of smoked Recon cab marker lights blend in with the black vinyl on the roof, making their presence known only when they are illuminated.

The truck looks great from any angle and the fat dually fenders look great sitting lower to the ground. From the rear, the repainted 2008 Super Duty tailgate, custom Ford emblem, and Anzo USA LED taillights all make for a cleaner look and better visibility. Lowering and raising the tailgate is easy thanks to the DeeZee Tailgate Assist strut Alec installed on the driver side. With it down, it's plain to see that Alec still uses the truck for work as well as play. There's even a B&W gooseneck hitch for heavy-duty towing needs. What's more, the black diamond plate Husky storage box lets him store additional gear.

The ammo can mounted in front of the storage box contains a HornBlasters air compressor and tank. These power the train horns mounted below the cab.

Dino handled the most noticeable interior upgrade. For $200 on Craigslist, he found a full set of used 2005 Harley Davidson black leather seats, along with the center console. To further enhance the interior, Alec upgraded the sound system with a Sony double-DIN A/V head-unit in the stock dash location.

Alec also installed Kicker component speakers in each of the four doors. He even installed a custom enclosure stuffed with a pair of Kicker 10-inch SoloBaric subwoofers, powered by a 3,000 watt Power Acoustik amplifier for some low bass thump. The passenger side rear seat wears one of Dino’s riding vests to help keep a part of him with the truck, no matter what.

Dino picked up the Harley Davidson black leather seats and matching center console from a Craigslist find for only $200. They are worn, but still look great in the truck. In back, Alec keeps one of his dad’s riding vests installed on the back, along with the sub-enclosure stuffed with a pair of Kicker SoloBaric woofers to put some boom in his tunes. The rear seat passengers are usually the family dogs, so the loss of legroom is not an issue.

Wrapping It Up

Like his dad before him, Alec is continually upgrading the F-350 as he has the time and funds to wrench on it. Since our original photoshoot, he dressed up the engine bay more with polished aluminum Smeding Diesel intercooler piping and a polished aluminum K.B. Diesel Performance intake horn.

Alec sent off a few smoke signals with his mild 6.0-liter as we wrapped up our photoshoot; Dino would be proud for sure.

We are sure he will continue to upgrade the F-350 as time goes by. But he will never forget where it came from, or the time he had with his father wrenching on Dino’s dream truck.

About the author

Chris Tobin

Chris Tobin has been interested in motorsports since before he could legally drive. He has built, driven and raced just about everything from scale RCs to motorcycles, cars, and trucks on the drag strip and off-road.
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