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Cody Fordahl’s 1972 F-250 Highboy

Fordahl Bilt’s 7.3-Powered Bumpside F-250

In a scene where there is such a definitive line drawn in the dirt that divides lowered and lifted trucks, it’s refreshing to meet a guy who proudly stands with a foot on BOTH sides. Cody Fordahl of Brentwood, California, is a dead-set Ford fan—and why wouldn’t he be based on the first four letters of his last name? He has Blue Oval heritage imbedded in his blood (although there is no relation, it just happens to be a cool coincidence).

While there is no question about his brand loyalty, he didn’t bother choosing which type of truck to pledge his unwavering allegiance to. What he does spend most of his time focusing on is keeping his interests pure. He sticks to what he likes, which ranges within the realm of 1967-1997 Ford trucks, with very little to no deviation from that path whatsoever. With that approach, Cody has been able to develop a unique style of truck building and parts development that he practices on under his ever-evolving Fordahl Bilt branding.

If you’ve paid attention to anything that Cody has built over the years, you must have noticed another one of his specialties is a dedication to Powerstroke diesel performance. He has applied his interest in coal rolling power in the creation of his award-winning ‘bagged Ford Bumpside that he built off-and-on over the years, but we will instead aim our focus on another truck that has gained arguably more attention for Cody—his Highboy 1972 Ford F-250.

Looks-wise, this truck is a perfectly preserved driver. The original two-tone paint had only a very light patina on it from the start and has since been buffed and polished to release the oxidization from the factory luster. The Ranger XLT package the F-250 sports adds the right touch of utility to its façade, as does the capable all-around 4-inch lift with meaty STA tires. While all these attributes attached to Cody’s Ford pickup are attractive enough in their own right, it’s what lies underneath the hood that creates this truck’s main source of excitement and sheer desirability.

We have already mentioned that Cody is a diesel guy, but you really must look at how naturally the 1997 7.3 Powerstroke engine fits within the bay to understand the full scope of his enthusiasm. To make it work, Cody built his own engine mounts and assembled his own standalone engine harness and electric fuel supply system.

“You’d be surprised at how well these engines fit into these trucks,” Cody says. “This one is still sporting the original firewall and radiator from the 1972 truck, and it still had just enough room to use the 7.3 clutch fan for cooling, and it does great. Even all three original driveshafts were never lengthened or shortened; it was literally meant to be. I strongly agree that the ’97 engine is much easier to work on inside of the ’72 engine compartment. Everything is easily serviceable, which is great since I like to use this truck for trailer hauling during long road trips.”

To add to the prowess of the freshly implanted engine, Cody also fabricated his own front mount intercooler and piping, a 5-inch intake as well as a full custom 4-inch exhaust system. The 7.3 has also been upgraded with a RicanBuilt T4 mount, a billet compressor wheel inside the Super Duty turbo, a CNC Fab 4-line fuel kit, an AirDog 165 5G lift pump, a Hydra chip with JeliBuilt tuning, and the necessary components from RiffRaff Diesel to reseal the bottom end. Best of all, the factory High-Boy mount and crossmember allowed for a ‘97 ZF5 five-speed manual transmission to be bolted right into place.

To get the truck sitting at just the right ride height, Cody removed 4 inches from the F-250’s previous lift and created his own leaf packs to gain a total of 4 inches of even lift all around. Skyjacker front and rear shocks along with a stabilizer help achieve an optimum ride quality, and the 9.00×16 Super Lug bias ply tires that wrap the factory 16-inch steel wheels give the F-250 the exact aesthetic he was looking to create.

Even though there is still some work left to do inside of the cab, Cody is very happy where the truck is currently.

“My goal with this build was to keep it as close to ’70s period-correct style on the outside with a touch of contrasting ‘modern’ performance under the hood,” he states. “I think of it along the lines of a sleeper truck. I love when people walk by and peek at the engine and are surprised that it isn’t a traditional Cummins swap like most of these trucks tend to be.”

While Cody has put a lot of work into his Highboy, he has also gone the extra mile to build parts that can help others conduct similar engine swaps. Fordahl Bilt specializes in individual swap components for 1967-1997 Ford trucks and Powerstroke conversions but can also help with full builds as well. Cody doesn’t see the line of separation between the lowered and lifted crowd. He instead maintains a laser focus on pushing the boundaries of unadulterated diesel performance for his preferred vintage of pickups that can hopefully benefit others with a similar passion for the same rides.


1972 FORD F-250 RANGER XLT

OWNER

Cody Fordahl
Brentwood, CA

ENGINE & TRANSMISSION

  • Shop: Fordahl Bilt (owner), Brentwood, CA
  • 1997 Ford 7.3L Powerstroke
  • 16-18 MPG
  • Custom engine mounts and standalone engine harness by Fordahl Bilt
  • Factory forged connecting rods, pistons, rings, camshaft, and resealed bottom end
  • AirDog 165 5G lift pump
  • Full custom 4-inch exhaust system
  • Custom front mount intercooler and intake piping in Illusion Cherry finish
  • 5-inch intake
  • RicanBuilt T4 pedestal
  • VS Racing S467.7 turbo
  • Hydra chip with Jelibuilt tuning
  • CNC fabricated 4-line
  • Various accessories from RiffRaff Diesel
  • Dual batteries w/ custom cables
  • 1997 Ford ZF5 transmission swap w/ factory Highboy mount and crossmember
  • Stock transmission w/ South Bend single disc clutch
  • Custom bent shifter

CHASSIS & SUSPENSION

  • Shop: Fordahl Bilt
  • 4-inch total suspension lift with custom spring packs
  • Skyjacker front and rear shocks and stabilizer
  • 1979 F-250 power steering box
  • 36-gallon slip tank in bed
  • Dana 24 transfer case
  • Factory Highboy driveshafts w/ conversion U-joint for trans slide
  • 1976 F-250 Dana 44 front axle, original Dana 60 rear axle

WHEELS, TIRES & BRAKES

  • 16×7 factory Ford wheels w/ original hubcaps
  • STA 900-16 Super Lug 8-ply tires
  • 1976 F-250 disc brakes
  • 2000 Super Duty hydroboost and master cylinder

BODY & PAINT

  • Original Hunter Green and Wimbledon White two-tone paint
  • Ramsey front bumper w/ Warn 8274 winch
  • Mr. Pickup rear drop bumper

INTERIOR

  • 1991 F-150 bench seat
  • 1967 Ford F-250 steering wheel
  • Original instrumentation and AM stereo
  • Overhead console with speakers from LMC Truck Highliner
  • Cobra 29 LTD CB radio