Ultimate conversion - 1997 Ford F350 XLT 7.3L expedition vehicle

We are tempted by a new project, and we are now evaluating selling our beloved Ulisse, or trading with a large flatbed (ie: Ford 450/550, or equivalent RAM), and maybe some other intriguing options. Ulisse will be in the Showcase DIY at Overland Expo in Flagstaff on May 20th, and we will be happy to show the details in person to all the overlanders interested in a high-end DIY project.

The project started from our plan to start traveling the World and reach the most remote corners while being able to live off-grid for extended periods. Our primary drivers when we were looking for the platform were the following:
  1. A vehicle with enough GVWR to have a closed box but still off-road capable
  2. The least possible electronics, for us to be able to repair ourselves
  3. A diesel engine with no DEF and/or ULSD needed
  4. A 4x4 platform with low range and low mileage
Our final decision went to an ambulance based on a Ford 1997 model F350 XLT PowerStroke with the legendary 7.3L V8 diesel and currently with only 44,000 original miles. The project is still in progress, and we are at probably 90% of what we would like to achieve. So far, we have used the build 5 or 6 times, and it is just amazing!

Asking: USD 130.000 OBO, or a trading and cash difference (plus or minus)

The build is now in Prescott (AZ) and here are the main features of the build.

THE PLATFORM
  • Actual weight (approximate): 11,000 lbs (loaded)
  • Height inside: approximately 5”7
  • Average consumption so far: 13 mpg (mixed on-road and offroad, but slow)
  • Range: around 500 miles (two separate diesel tanks)
  • Sky’s Offroad front leaf springs, with shackle reversal kit, and 1999 leaf springs
  • Sky’s Offroad rear shackle flip, 1999 Superduty leaf springs
  • Additional leaf springs on the rear (plus 1,200 lbs)
  • Professional re-arch for both front and rear from Dunbar
  • Conversion to rear single wheel
  • Bilstein shock absorbers
  • Scheel-man Vario seats, fully adjustable and heated
  • The entry door has been replaced by a composite panel and a Tern Overland door
  • Rear barn doors have been replaced by a composite panel and a Tern Overland window and cargo door
  • Professional repaint - Audi Daytona Grey/Raptor Bedliner
  • Brand new tires (Goodyear Duratrac 285/75/18 - E rated) and Method HD rims (4,500 lbs)
  • New brakes
  • AutoMeter Pyrometer, Boost, and Transmission gauges
  • Anzo headlights and led tailgate lights
  • Rigid camp lights across all sides
  • Buckstop Heavy-duty front bumper
  • Custom Rear swing arm for the spare wheel and bike rack (Yakima)
  • Rear recovery points
  • 15,000 lbs winch Mile Marker
  • Pro Eagle floor jack and mount
  • Front custom fenders
  • Torklift 4-Four Glow Step
  • Mag-Hytec Transmission Pan (7.3-quart additional transmission oil)
  • Tru-Cool Max, 40,000 GVW Low-Pressure Drop Transmission Oil Cooler with Thermal Bypass to optimize transmission temperature
  • 4 original Maxtrax (never used)
  • Custom-made roof rack

POWER SYSTEM
  • Two lithium batteries (Big Battery) for 340 Ah
  • Custom-made anti-vibration battery trays
  • Renogy Inverter (3000 W)
  • Renogy - 6 Solar panels (600 W), mounted in parallel
  • Renogy DCDC charger (50 amp)
  • Battery monitors with Shunt
  • Marine-grade wiring for the entire build

CAMPER
  • Outdoor dual induction cooktop mounted on Expedition Essentials Exo Table and Overland Gear Guy organizer
  • Indoor induction cooktop
  • Heated floor, with large vinyl planks
  • Indoor shower with Bullfinch outlet
  • Outdoor shower with Eezi Awn cube, Bullfinch outlet, and custom-made swing arm
  • Wrappon toilet system (inside the camper)
  • Isotherm Fridge 4.5 cu ft (130 liters)
  • Isotemp Water heater - 4.5 gal (with hoses to the engine and electrical)
  • Weboost for signal boosting
  • Planar Diesel heater ready for winter and high altitude, with a 2 gal Rotopax
  • Lagun swing arm with teak folding table
  • Guzzle UV Water purification
  • Fiamma 80s Awning
  • 40 gal fresh Water Tank - Tank Mart and
  • Flowmeter to check exact water consumption
  • 10 gal gray water - Tank Mart
  • Shurflo water pump (with a backup unit)
  • Lockable MaxBilt Console in the cabin, and lockable safety box from Ranger
  • Thule locks for all doors
  • Backup wireless camera (Tadi Brothers)
  • BlueSea Control Panel
  • Vizio led Smart TV
  • PEX piping for the entire build
  • Two MAXXAIR Maxxfan
  • Roam Adventure panel organizer
  • Krazy Beaver shovel, with Eezi Awn mount

View attachment 7210412.jpg3.jpgSeats.jpgBed.jpg5.jpg7.jpg4.jpg.jpg
 

Attachments

Last edited:

jlcanterbury

Active member
Cool rig.

I have never seen a super single done with the Goodyear Wrangler tire.
What did you do to achieve this setup? What is the rated weight and the loaded weight? Still under capacity?
 
Cool rig.

I have never seen a super single done with the Goodyear Wrangler tire.
What did you do to achieve this setup? What is the rated weight and the loaded weight? Still under capacity?
Thank you for the kind words and interest. It has been a pretty complicated and expensive exercise. In short, for the front, we replaced it with new hubs, bearings, and all pieces from a single rear wheel truck. For the rear, we used 2" spacers. Then for the rims, we bought the Method HD, with Max Load (LBS) 4500, and finally, for the tires, we are using the Wrangler Duratrac 285/75/18, E rated and 129/126, with a max load single of 4080 lbs. Then of course we had to change all suspensions, etc., as per the description above.

The GVWR of the vehicle is 11,000 lbs (see sticker). When fully loaded, including spares, tools, fluids, camping gear, water, food for a century, etc., etc., the last time I weighed it was 11,200 lbs. I have a couple of cool ideas to shave off some weight, and I will do so if I will decide to keep the rig.

I hope this helps.

Wrangler.jpgSticker.jpg
 
A weekend bump, and an invite to get in touch with a PM to discuss a reasonable deal or a trade. I hope to see you in person the next weekend at Overland Expo in Flagstaff. We will showcase the rig between 4 pm and 4.50 pm in the DIY area.
 
Last edited:

80t0ylc

Hill & Gully Rider
Did you consider a "dually" setup on the rear? The flatbed conversion "body" looks to allow it. It would add stability for the weight. And for that size of rig (IMHO) it wouldn't take away off road ability, not to mention give the rear axle, where more of the weight is carried, better flotation on soft surfaces.
 
Did you consider a "dually" setup on the rear? The flatbed conversion "body" looks to allow it. It would add stability for the weight. And for that size of rig (IMHO) it wouldn't take away off road ability, not to mention give the rear axle, where more of the weight is carried, better flotation on soft surfaces.
Thanks for the note, and yes, if I will keep the rig, I would like to think of an improvement for the rear "quarters". I must say that the re-arching of the leaves (which are F550) and one additional leaf per part (+ 1200 lbs each) did make a difference. I am also evaluating a simple Timbren Active bump stop, which I used in the past with satisfaction.
 

landman

Well-known member
Sweet rig!!! Love this thing. Old school platforms are becoming more and more rare so I love to see these. Killer job on the build out and GLWS!
 
Sweet rig!!! Love this thing. Old school platforms are becoming more and more rare so I love to see these. Killer job on the build out and GLWS!
Many thanks! What I love about the old school is NO DEF, no ULSD, no problems with altitude, and very easy troubleshooting. These are immense assets for traveling in remote areas, and this is the reason why it is worth considering a high-end build on a 25-year-old platform.
 

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