Local Legend Betsy 1418


Well-known member
Apr 13, 2022
Betsy started out as an 1999 F150 that I bought in HS. It had a 6 inch lift. I always wanted long travel, but was a poor kid with a truck payment and no money. I was an amateur garage fabber if you could call it that. I had a Lincoln 110 welder, grinder, HF pipe kinker, and minimal tools. That being said I saved my pennies and did any research I could mainly on DR. I Learned what I could and started buying parts slowly. My first lowers were cut out of 3/16" mild steel with a 4.5" HF grinder. I had roughly 70 to 80 hours into those arms. The uppers were DOM tube with a horizontal uniball. I had read somewhere on the forums that the shocks were supposed to be mounted at 90*. No where did it say at bump and 90* to the arms. Well I soon found out the shock mounts were wrong and were digressive at bump. Believe it or not the truck actually worked pretty well with the Sway Aways. As the truck evolved I fixed the shock geometry and got deavers with 18 inch threaded bodies because I knew I would eventually link the truck when I learned more... More in future posts.
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You guys are still running a 5.4l, correct? What transmission are you running?
Yeah we are still running the stock 5.4L . we have a build 4L80 that a buddy of our built. When o get time the new motor will be going in. I have to build a custom belt system for it and currently don't have any spare time.
Who's adapter did you go with? I currently have a 4R70 in my F150 and if I'm going to spend money on a built trans I'd rather have a 4l80 then a 4R100 or 4R70
SO we finally got the truck wrapped up and our first trip out to ocotillo with the leaf springs was a good time until it wasn't. The axle wrap caused the u joint to bind and snap the drive shaft. At the rear end and sounded like the trans fell out of the truck. Lol. We were going up devils slide when it happened. Luckily this was yhe first time we trailers out do it was easy to get it home. Once we got home we decided to link the truck because it was something I had never done and wanted to lead to. I spoke with geoff at giant and we ended up buying his weld it yourself links and pockets. I had originally built the bed cage with intentions to link it. All we had to do for that portion was cut out the old shock mounts and design and build new ones. Card board was our friend back in the day. We linked it using the stock rear end and tied the upper truss into the axle tubes as much as we could and welded it to the cast center section. We ran the stock housing for about 3 years with no issues. The truck stayed the same for those 3 years with minor changes and just got miles logged with many good times had.
We have a Coan Racing adapter/ mid plate. I also had the factory computer chipped and reflashed to run a manual trans. I wanted to keep the 4r100 that was in it and have it built. The only issue and reason I went to the 4L80 was no one made a manual valve body for the 4r100 and I didnt want to deal with electronics.
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So fast forward to 3 years after we linked the truck, I decided to cut apart a perfectly good working truck and try my hand at center-mounting a truck. So at the same time I cut the front off, I also cut the rear cage work off and had just a cab with some frame under it. The next day we found out we were prego with our first son. Little did I know it would be 5-ish years before I would drive the truck again. That started a snow ball and the truck evolved over the 5 years. This truck has been through man stages and I have learned lots over the years of working on and building it. Fast forward to today and we race the truck 1 to 2 times a year and use it as the family desert toy. The truck currently is center-mounted and linked with 4 seats in it. It still has a stock 5.4L with all of our suspension components on it. Front is strapped at 26" and rear is roughly 29" so the truck is very balanced.

We just raced Rage at the River and got a 4th place finish overall for both days. We will take that for starting 14th day one and ended day one in 8th. We currently have a new motor waiting to go in that we've been building for the last 10 years 🤣 that we'll be putting in when we find the time, along with a few other upgrades on the way for the rear.

One recent upgrade we did for Rage was a Sway Bar running our Billet Sway Bar Arms. I was curious as to if I was going to like it due to never driving a truck with one. At the end of the day it helped in the spots we wanted it to which was slow speed turns in flat corners.
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Little update. Old motor was pulled out. We had a day with no electricity so we decided to work on the race truck. I decided to pull the motor and slowly start working on it. If I didnt I know I would just keep pushing it off anothe year etc. While the moyor is out I will be sandblasting all the rusted undercarriage and fire wall and coating it with lizard skin and top coating it with steel it. I also measured all the supercharger hardware and will be replacing it with arp. Excited to get this new power plant in and be more competitive in racing from a power stand point. We were hoping to race prim but will probably just race rage again for the year.


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Specs on new engine? I looked heavy into MMR. Also, is this the first time that original 5.4 has come out?
It will be a .020 over 5.4 lightning motor with forged internals. Billet rear cover, trick flow timing chain with mmr billet guides and timing gear. Mms composite windiage tray. My buddy moruzzi cnc ported the heads for me . comp cams with stock rebuilt blower with cbr heat exchanger and air to water intercooler. All as I hardware where it matters. Lol only took me 10 years to build it. This is the first time the stock 5.4 has been out since it was dropped in. I am going to brace a few junctions while it is out just cuz. As we built the motor I learned a lot and got parts that pweople recommended to prevent common failures. The top end and timing was done by my buddy Trent. We are pretty excited.
So stoked for this! Can't wait to see how fast the truck is with the new powerplant. Gonna do any trans upgrades at the same time?
Thanks, The trans has been built for a few years. Should be plenty for this motor according to my buddy that built it. It is a few years old so may need a freshen up eventually.