When we were deciding what platform we should build, we knew that the F150 wasn’t the top choice for most. However, it was the top choice for Truck Brigade’s co-founder Ryan Horton. This was due to a couple reasons including his deep love for Fords, interior room, and proven V8 motor.
The Truck Brigade F150 that you see today was once a stock 2016 Ford F150 with a 5.0L and four-wheel drive. One of the driving factors for the build was the desire to get hands on experience using many of the products Truck Brigade offers. In addition, we figured that the build would act as a good showcase of products at different events across the U.S.
The beginning of the build started as many do with suspension, wheels, and tires. Fox 2.5 remote reservoir bolt-in coilovers were selected for the front of the vehicle and Fox 2.5 external reservoir shocks were selected for the rear of the truck. There was not any particular reason why we selected Fox Shocks over something like King Shocks. We believe both brands make a comparable product that will stand up to just about whatever is thrown their way. For the wheel and tire combination, we utilized (5) Method 305 NV in bronze wrapped in (5) BFG 35” KO2 AT tires. The tires were a tight fit and trimming was done in order to accommodate them especially when articulating.
The next wave of modifications started with a wrap done by Marvin at Beyond Wraps in Southern California. We can’t express enough about his quality and attention to detail. Following the wrap was a DECKED drawer system. The DECKED was super appealing from both a storage standpoint as well as a usability standpoint. The system for full-size trucks such as the Ford F150 features two full-size drawers and four corner cans. We also elected to install drawer dividers and a DECKED D-Box and DECKED Crossbox. We have found all DECKED products to be super well made and a must-have item for those looking for additional secure storage.
Next up was a Leitner Designs Active Cargo System (Classic). Leitner Designs was one of our first brands we brought on and we got nothing but wonderful feedback from customers using their products. To this day we think Leitner Designs offers the most versatile and functional bed rack on the market. This is primarily due to the number of accessories that work hand-in-hand with the rack including gear pods, mounting plates and much more. Our Leitner Designs setup to this day included the Active Cargo System Classic Bed Rack, (2) Leitner Designs Standard Gear Pods, Leitner Designs Gear Pod XL, (2) Leitner Designs Universal Mounting Plates, Leitner Designs Hi-Lift Mount, Leitner Designs Gear Pod XL Maxtrax Mounting Brackets, Leitner Designs Additional Load Bar, and Leitner Designs Tent Mounts. This combination has proven to be extremely functional and perfect for our needs while out on the trail and for everyday life.
Since this truck was being built as not only a daily driver, but also an all-purpose exploration vehicle it was only fitting to add a roof top tent. Our first-choice brand for a roof top tent was FreeSpirit Recreation. This was due to a few reasons, but most importantly the quality of their tents. We have long felt that their tents stand up to the harshest conditions and offer a great experience. The particular model that suited us best was the Adventure Series Tri-Layer Roof Top Tent. This was due to the fact that the tent pops up as opposed to flipping out. This results in a lower profile footprint when closed which was beneficial due to the tent hanging out the cab about 14 inches. The lower-profile tent results in less wind drag. The Tri-Layer option was also a definite need as the truck is used throughout the year including in freezing temperatures. We are happy to say that the truck has been across the country in numerous weather conditions including rain, snow, sleet, etc. and we have been happy with the warmth and protection the tent has provided.
Some additional benefits and highlights of this tent are the integrated boot bags and the super easy setup and take down compared to some other tents on the market. We also find that the ladder accompanying the tent is of high-quality. Since we added the tent, FSR has made some minor changes to the tent including an integrated LED light and added gas strut.
After adding the bed rack and accessories, DECKED System, and roof top tent, we noticed the truck start to sag in the rear. With close to 1K pounds in the rear, this was no surprise even with the Fox 2.5 shocks already installed. In order to address this issue quickly we installed a 2-inch block on the rear to prop the rear of the truck up. This was a temporary fix until we could contact Deaver for a new leaf pack. We ended up running the block for a few months with no issues and then contacted Deaver. Deaver suggested that they did not have an out of the box setup for the truck and its specific configuration, but were willing to build us a custom set of springs to fit our needs. At the end of the day, Deaver installed a custom 12-leaf pack to handle the additional weight on and off the dirt. This leaf pack brought the back of the truck up about 1-2 inches and increased the smoothness and feel drastically. We can’t say enough about how happy we were with Deaver and their products.
Front and rear bumpers was our next main focus. We were not super happy with the options for a front bumper out there, but ended up settling for an Addictive Desert Designs Lite front bumper. This is more of a temporary solution for us until we develop a low-profile winch bumper for the truck.
Since we replaced the front, we thought it would only be fitting to also replace the rear bumper. The rear features an Addictive Desert Designs Stealth Fighter Rear Bumper. This is also more of a temporary bumper until a rear bumper is developed.
To top-off everything we listed above, the truck also features a number of accessories that are far less noticeable, but equally as functional. These accessories include a long list of items such as DECKED D-Boxes for enhanced organization in the DECKED System, DECKED Cross Boxes for tool storage in the DECKED System, DECKED Drawer Dividers for additional organization, LifeSaver Jerrycan for clean drinking water no matter where you find yourself, BuiltRight Industries Ford F150 Dash Mount for a clean and safe way to mount your phone and/or other accessories while driving, ROAM Adventure Co. 105L Rugged Case for safely storing the camping and cooking gear, Hi-Lift Jack because every rig should carry one, Curt Hitch for our towing needs, 4.56 Gears to move the 35” tires, and a Mountain Hatch Tailgate Insert to keep our beer secure on the tailgate.
This build has been all over the country on 6K mile trips as well as super market runs and has performed above our expectations on every adventure in between. We have put all the products through rigorous testing and couldn’t be happier with the result. The whole goal of this truck was to feature many of the products we believe in and get hands on experience using the products. We are happy to say that the whole team has an enhanced appreciate for the brands and products we work with given the experience we have had in the Truck Brigade F150.
If you have any questions about this build or are looking for suggestions on your personal build don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our team members who can help you build that dream rig. Lastly, if you are planning on attending any events such as the Overland Expo be sure to stop by the Truck Brigade booth for an in-depth look at the Truck Brigade F-150 build.
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