Building A Cross-Country Rig has always been a goal of mine. Converting an everyday vehicle into something you could toss all your gear and supplies into along with a few friends and family and take out on the road was a dream. With friends and family still living back on the East Coast and me relocated to Los Angeles, I decided that this would be a great time to do an East Coast build and use my hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, as the starting point for a cross-country trip. I'd end up in L.A. after trekking cross country for a week. Now all I had to do was find a shop that was willing to work with my crazy schedule. Luckily shop owner Danny Farrow at Cape Fear 4x4 was more than happy to help me out with the build. I decided on an '00 Ford F-250 7.3L four-door shortbed. The reason? It had all the right parts: strong solid axles, simple leaf-sprung suspension, and a big diesel engine that high miles would not affect like its gasoline brethren. And with Super Duty series being one of the hottest selling trucks in history, I knew parts and support wouldn't be a problem. Along with a little help from some old friends and family, we were able to pull through many long nights in order to meet our deadline and turn an F-250 into a formidable wheeling machine. For our first installment we tackled the most important part of the rig, the drivetrain. With 38-inch tires, a heavy front end, and 3,000 miles of unknown terrain ahead, we decided it would be best to remove a couple of the weak links on the F-250 and toss on a few easy upgrades starting with Dynatrac's Super Duty combo kit. Along with installing a handful of beefy dirt-devouring goodies, we only upgraded what we thought we needed and left the rest as part of the adventure. Stay tuned as we move on to body protection in Part 2 of the build, then begin our journey across this great nation of ours. The factory steering knuckles were discarded in favor of the new Dynatrac knuckles that have a bolt-on high-steer arm and work with a new spindle bearing that replaces the problematic factory unit bearing. This not only improves the steering geometry, but gets rid of the vacuum-actuated hubs.The factory steering knuckles were discarded in favor of the new Dynatrac knuckles that ha The factory hub assembly (shown on left) is designed to run the wheel bearings side by side versus the Dynatrac spindle that separates the weight farther apart. When combined with the heavy weight of our diesel and offset wheels, the unit bearing's side-by-side formula adds strain and friction on the bearings. The unit bearing is nonserviceable and extremely expensive to replace, while the Dynatrac kit is simply money well spent.The factory hub assembly (shown on left) is designed to run the wheel bearings side by sid Upgrading to the Dynatrac free-spin kit also means upgrading the axleshafts. The stock 1.31-inch 30-spline outer shaft is replaced by a 1.50-inch 35-spline unit from Dynatrac that should have no trouble handling our 38-inch tires.Upgrading to the Dynatrac free-spin kit also means upgrading the axleshafts. The stock 1.3 With the wheel bearings greased, the Warn selectable hubs are fitted. The Dynatrac kit provided us with everything we needed to reuse the factory brakes and remain compatible with the factory ABS, complete with tone rings and caliper spacers.With the wheel bearings greased, the Warn selectable hubs are fitted. The Dynatrac kit pro Finishing off the free-spin kit is a set of Warn selectable hubs that keeps expensive front-end components from spinning all the time at highway speeds. This will hopefully help with the fuel mileage and give us definite cool points for still being able to manually lock in our hubs.Finishing off the free-spin kit is a set of Warn selectable hubs that keeps expensive fron Dynatrac's combo kit retains the stock pitman arm and provides a complete upper drag link and lower tie rod that bolts right into place. To complement their steering, Dynatrac also replaces the stock track bar and bracket to keep the steering angles in line and make bumpsteer virtually disappear.Dynatrac's combo kit retains the stock pitman arm and provides a complete upper drag link Designed to work with lift kits ranging from 4 to 12 inches, the combo kit's beefy track bar is reinforced using dual track-bar mounting braces. This is to help combat the side-to-side movement of the heavy diesel truck.Designed to work with lift kits ranging from 4 to 12 inches, the combo kit's beefy track b Since our Super Duty was already outfitted with hydraulic assist, we decided to freshen things up with a new ram from PSC Motorsports. And for all you not ready to make that fluid leap, don't worry, because dual steering stabilizers are standard equipment with the Dynatrac combo kit.Since our Super Duty was already outfitted with hydraulic assist, we decided to freshen th Matched with 4.56 gears, we equipped both our Dana 50 front and Sterling 10.5-inch rear with a trail-proven set of ARB Air Lockers. This should give us a little aid in the turning department as well as reduce stress on drivetrain components if or when we get into a bind.Matched with 4.56 gears, we equipped both our Dana 50 front and Sterling 10.5-inch rear wi For the brass ARB inner air line to clear properly it is necessary to notch the differential bearing cap so it will not be restricted or damaged...For the brass ARB inner air line to clear properly it is necessary to notch the differenti ...Once the notch is made, a slight bend in the line helps feed it through the hole at the top of the differential....Once the notch is made, a slight bend in the line helps feed it through the hole at the To keep heat from damaging our new ARB Air Locker, we tossed on this massive differential cover from ATS. The new cover allows for more fluid, a drain plug, and even a temp port in case we get curious just how hot our 10.5-inch axle gets. With the differentials set in place, we plumbed the air lines for the ARBs. We sleeved each one of the air lines using clear shielding tube to add a little air-line protection. This stuff can be picked up at most home improvement stores.To keep heat from damaging our new ARB Air Locker, we tossed on this massive differential With 83,000 miles on the stock 4R100 transmission, we decided to keep it running cool and smooth by adding an ATS deep transmission pan and auxiliary cooler...With 83,000 miles on the stock 4R100 transmission, we decided to keep it running cool and ...And to try and keep the new cooler out of the muck, Danny at Cape Fear 4x4 fabricated a custom mount that tucks the cooler nicely behind the grille....And to try and keep the new cooler out of the muck, Danny at Cape Fear 4x4 fabricated a We also decided to toss on a 4-inch turbo-back exhaust from Flowmaster. Opting to use the new Hushpower muffler, we gained more power without the loud noise and drone often associated with aftermarket diesel exhaust.We also decided to toss on a 4-inch turbo-back exhaust from Flowmaster. Opting to use the SOURCES ARB 2-06/-264-1669 www.arbusa.com Dynatrac ATS Diesel Performance www.atsdiesel.com Flowmaster 8-00/-544-4761 www.flowmastermufflers.com Cape Fear 4x4 www.capefear4x4.net PSC www.pscmotorsports.com By Ali Mansour Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!