Barb the Bus: My 2015 Ford F250

#1
Meet Barb the Bus.

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When I purchased this vehicle I imagined it would end up with a manlier moniker like Goliath or Devourer of Refined Petroleum, but my daughter dubbed it Barb...Barb the Bus, and the name stuck.

Barb is a 2015 Crewcab F250 that came into my possession with around 55,000 miles under her wheels. She had one owner before me and spent *most* of her time in the salt free south. Good service records were available and overall she was in good condition when I picked her up. Proudly sporting the XLT trim she has a few optional upgrades. The snow plow prep package added stiffer springs up front and a heavier duty 200 amp alternator. An upgraded interior package provides power seats, rear under seat storage and an integrated brake controller. The previous owner added a Century camper top and the bed sports a factory spray in liner. Under the hood is the 6.2L gas engine mated to a 6 speed transmission pushing 385 HP and 405 lb-ft of torque. With a 12,500lb towing capacity and a 3,250lb payload capacity I've got some options for travel trailer and camper upgrades.

I just got back from a 1200 mile round trip tour of south Georgia and Florida and Barb eats up the miles (and the fuel) averaging roughly 15mpg for the trip.

I've already made some suspension and tire upgrades since purchasing her, but held off on any sort of build thread because I trade vehicles a lot and she might not have lasted long enough to earn a build thread. Remember that Jeep I owned for three months? :rolleyes: Barb has been in the family for 9 months now and I reckon that's enough of a probation period. Barb is going to be setup for long distance hauls with just enough off road chops to get me away from tourists.
 
#2
First up on the things to modify were the tires. When inspecting the truck before I purchased it I knew the tires would need to be changed immediately. The previous owner had installed Goodyear Wranglers (yuck!), and at an inappropriate load rating. I debated for a second or two throwing a 12 inch lift and 40 inch tires on Barb and then decided I was secure enough in my manhood that I didn't need to do that.

This is a big, heavy truck. It's not going to see anything extreme so the need for an aggressive all terrain tire just wasn't there. What I really needed was a dependable, long wearing tire with good road manners and enough off road grip to handle fire roads and unused rural dirt tracks. I decided on Michelin LTX A/T2 tires in the stock 275/70R18 size. In hindsight I do wish I had stepped up to a 35 inch tire. The heavier front springs that came on the truck with the snow plow prep means it already sits almost level and would clear 35's with no modifications. The stock size tires just don't appear to be the proper proportion to match the rest of the truck. With a 60,000 mile tread life warranty it's probably going to be a bit before I move up to 35's now...

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Messing around on soft sand covered roads in Florida earlier this week they seemed to do well enough and they're quiet on the road. I think they'll serve me well. With tires taken care of it was on to other concerns.

Early on I found that the truck had a bit of a shimmy or vibration at highway speeds and if you really paid attention that vibration could be felt at lower speeds as well. Digging through things it appeared that the tie rod ends and drag link end had some play and needed to be replaced. In addition to going after these items I opted to add a Fox Steering Stabilizer, and Fox 2.0 Performance shocks with remote reservoirs on all 4 corners. I tapped Greer Automotive to do the work since I didn't have the means to safely lift and suspend a vehicle this large at the time. Patrick and his team made quick work of things and the truck rode 100% better.

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#3
Tires, steering and suspension taken care of it was time to tackle the infotainment. Barb came equipped with a 6 disc cd changer and no rear view camera.

This was updated with a Kenwood Excelon DMX706S. Coupled with a Maestro module I retained the use of the factory steering wheel controls, eliminated the Ford Sync system. Picked up front and rear cameras, TPMS monitoring and some other features that make use of data from the OBD port. Android auto takes care of music and navigation and the built in amplifier helped on the audio side of things.

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I added a Kenwood amplifier and a 10" Infinity sub to round out the audio upgrades. I then modified the stock Sync USB connector to provide a connection for the phone and to support a RAM mount for a phone.

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The truck is also equipped with the upgraded instrument cluster that includes Ford's Off Road Apps.

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#4
Norweld flat bed with a Four Wheel Camper?

I didn't grow up a Ford guy, but I am pretty impressed by the Super Duty 250. I don't expect to buy a truck for a few years, but in about 10 years me and the Mrs. will be nearing retirement. Our plan is to get a 250 and do the FWC thing with it and spend our retirement wandering the country.
 

Greg

Adventurist
Senior Staff
#5
Norweld flat bed with a Four Wheel Camper?

I didn't grow up a Ford guy, but I am pretty impressed by the Super Duty 250. I don't expect to buy a truck for a few years, but in about 10 years me and the Mrs. will be nearing retirement. Our plan is to get a 250 and do the FWC thing with it and spend our retirement wandering the country.
I have very similar plans. I know it's kinda pointless to do so since who knows what's going to be available when that time comes but i have about 10 Ram 3500 and Ford F350 built on their respective websites.
 
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