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The Story of Fullhook Performance’s Cummins-Powered Ford F-5

Fullhook Performance’s Mopar-Powered ’51 Ford F-5

There comes a time when you see something so cool and unique that it just gets ingrained into your memory bank, with little to no chance of it dislodging quickly. That’s pretty much how most onlookers who see Dakota Sargent’s 1951 Ford F-5 truck feel (including us). While its patina-weathered body and lifted stance give it a rugged utilitarian demeanor, there is an elevated level of sophistication to it that made us think right away that it was more than meets the eye—mainly due to some highly impressive features stashed away underneath the hood and the entirety of the truck itself. These are the characteristics that truly showcase Dakota’s engine and truck building talents.

Having a background in diesels, on-highway, and over-the-road trucks, as well as being on-contract as a U.S. Air Force mechanic, Dakota is very well versed in engine maintenance and repair. In fact, he started his own business, Fullhook Performance in Indian Springs, Nevada, a few years ago. Fullhook specializes in Dodge Cummins Ram Turbo diesel trucks as well as specialized suspension components for these pickups. In the world of performance engine building, Dakota has gained some well-deserved notoriety. He has built a solid number of engines for others over the years, but he was looking to piece together something special for himself. While his ’51 Ford truck shouldn’t have much to do with Mopar, its Dodge roots become evident the closer you look at it.

“This truck used to belong to my neighbor, Buddy Seaver,” Dakota says. “Over the last 20 years, I have tried to buy this truck from him on multiple occasions, and his response was always that he had big plans for the truck. Little did he know, so did I. The last time it was driven on the road was in 1960, when it was sidelined due to an engine failure that was never fixed. I tried one last time to make an offer and was surprised to hear what his answer was. He told me that if I was there in the next 20 minutes to pick it up, I could have the truck for free. I was there in 10 with a trailer and a skid loader ready to pull it from the tree that had been slowly consuming it. I’ve slowly built it back to a daily driven rig over the last six years with the first part of that spent in my backyard working on it with basic tools and minimal support from part suppliers. Most of the early welding work completed on it was done while it was plugged into my dryer outlet because I didn’t have my shop at the time.”

With that level of commitment to this particular project, it’s no surprise what Dakota was able to accomplish. To start the ’51 Ford’s rehab phase, he knew right away there was no way the truck’s original chassis system would serve it well going forward. Instead, a 2001 Dodge frame with 2008 AAM 3rd Gen axles proved to be a much better solution since it could be upgraded exactly how Dakota envisioned. A custom front radius arm suspension setup with 2.5×12 King coilovers was put into place, and a one-off 4-link air ride system was devised for the rear end. Mounting the Ford cab to the Dodge frame required fabricating custom mounts, but that type of job is well within Dakota’s wheelhouse. To finish off the truck’s refreshed chassis, a set of 20×12 Method Racing wheels dipped in 40×15.50 Toyo M/T rubber were bolted into position to update the old Ford’s appearance.

With the Ford truck now mounted onto a rock-solid foundation, Dakota then began the process of deciding which engine to plant between the Dodge frame rails. This process didn’t take too long since he had already skipped ahead to this step before the reconstruction of this project even kicked off. A 1996 Dodge 5.9L inline-6 Cummins diesel unit was the engine of choice for his ’51 Ford truck. The compound turbo 12v has since been outfitted with enough performance goods to pump out an impressive 700hp count. Dakota thrives on engine rehab. The entire process of properly outfitting the diesel mill, including installing the ’96 NV4500 5-speed manual transmission behind it was an absolute joy for him, which is plain to see based on the cleanliness and overall performance on the road.

The exterior didn’t require much attention other than general maintenance since Dakota was dead set on preserving the Ford’s patina-clad, rugged good looks. The medium duty flatbed was left in place and only moderately updated where necessary. Inside the cab, the bench seat was wrapped in fresh leather skins and a custom gauge panel complete with Isspro gauges was created. A streamlined approach was key for properly maintaining the original feel for the more than 70-year-old Ford truck, so less amounted to more in order to achieve this goal.

“This truck is not perfect, but with every bit of imperfection came a lesson,” Dakota admits. “My friend Buddy who previously owned this truck might have had different plans than mine, but I can see how proud he is to see it still driving around town. Over the years, I have gained support from a few companies in the industry that have helped get the build to where it is today, and I must take a minute to thank Pureflow Air Dog, Northern Radiator, Smeding Diesel, and After Dark Kreations among others.” .


1951 FORD F-5

OWNER

Dakota Sargent
Indian Springs, NV

ENGINE/DRIVETRAIN

  • Shop: Dakota Sargent @ Fullhook Performance, Indian Springs, NV
  • 1996 Inline-6 5.9L Cummins
  • 700hp compound turbo 12v
  • Mahle pistons and rings
  • ARP rod bolts and main studs
  • Colt Cams Stage 3 181/210 The Big Stick camshaft
  • Manton valve springs and retainers, 7/16 pushrods, valve job and O-ring
  • Dynomite Diesel Products Stage 3 fuel injectors
  • Air Dog 165 lift pump
  • 8-inch exhaust bed stack
  • Water to air intercooler
  • 1996 NV4500 5-speed transmission
  • 1 3/8-inch input shaft, full splined main shaft
  • Valair dual disc clutch
  • 241 DHD transfer case

CHASSIS/SUSPENSION

  • 2001 Dodge frame
  • Custom modifications to mount ’51 Ford cab and custom suspension
  • 2.5×12 King coilovers (front) 2.5×12 King triple bypass (rear)
  • Parallel 4-link air ride suspension in rear

WHEELS, TIRES & BRAKES

  • 20×12 Method wheels
  • 40×15.50/20 Toyo M/T tires

INTERIOR

  • Leather bench seat
  • Custom seat mounts and carpet trim plates
  • Isspro instrumentation w/ custom gauge panel
  • Shotgun shifter