Hailing from Utah, Dylan Ford’s journey into diesel engine work began directly after his military service. His early experiences in the Marine Corps and driving trucks laid the foundation for a lifelong passion for diesels.
“After I got out of the Marine Corps, I bought my first truck and I’ve always turned wrenches as a hobby,” Ford says. “I’m a Ford guy, and my last name is Ford, so it’s fitting. I’ve always been a 7.3L and a 6.7L [Powerstroke] guy. I never really grasped why anybody liked the 6.0L until I started working on some of the higher horsepower ones, and it really opened my eyes. About four years after I got out of the Marine Corps, I transitioned my hobby into a day job.”
Dylan honed his diesel chops at a shop called Diesel Laboratories in Utah before finding his way to Texas and Abilene Diesel Performance. The Abilene, TX-based diesel shop prides itself on versatility. From routine oil changes to frame-off restorations and high-performance engine builds, the shop has become known as the local Powerstroke shop in the diesel community.
“Scotty Bergeron, our shop owner, competed in the Ultimate Callout Challenge, which is like the Super Bowl of diesel drag racing,” Ford says. “His brother owns a sister shop based out of the Dallas area, and they’ve both kind of sponsored me to help me pursue this build in ways I originally wouldn’t have been able to. I’m very grateful for them.”
Dylan’s latest Powerstroke project began as a daily driver, but after a rollover accident, he decided to transform it into a race truck, and eventually began competing in NHRDA events. The build includes meticulous machine work by Highway 277 Machine Shop in nearby Anson, TX, where the block was decked and bored .030” over.
“Originally, the truck was just going to be a rowdy 700-800 horsepower street truck,” he says. “After I wrecked, it just kind of turned into a full-blown race truck.”
Dylan’s 6.0L Powerstroke engine build features a comprehensive list of upgrades. The engine has a bored .030” over block, a set of Wagler rods, a Colt Stage 2 camshaft, ARP head studs, o-ringed factory cylinder heads, coated and valve relief cut pistons, upgraded valve springs, and XDP pushrods.
“We also went through and tapped the oil galley plugs to change them from freeze plugs to pipe plugs, so that way we wouldn’t have to worry about a freeze plug failing on the oil side,” he says.
The 6.0L also features a SoCal billet S400 turbo kit with a DS Racing 475/87 turbo and BD exhaust manifolds and an Odawg’s intake. For the fueling system, Dylan opted for Warren Diesel injectors, an XDP fuel bowl delete, a regulated return, and a FASS fuel pump. He also has a Warren Diesel dual high-pressure oil pump kit to maintain high-pressure oil for the larger injectors.
“I’m also running a mechanical IPR so we can keep ICP pressure steady and don’t have to worry about blowing open IPRs or losing ICP,” Ford says. “We’re able to keep it more consistent and drive the injectors better.”
The 6.0L also benefits from running a Nitrous Express Maximizer 5 with two kits of nitrous. “When it comes to nitrous, there’s a lot of room to grow to help it get done the track a little faster,” he says.
Dylan’s Powerstroke boasts over 1,100 horsepower on a modest tune. With a goal of running in the 6.70 index, the truck consistently outperforms expectations.
“When we started assembling it, I wanted the engine to have reliability and more horsepower than the class I intended to race in,” he says. “That way, I could turn it down and get longevity out of it and be able to be consistent in the class I race.
“Realistically, the 6.0L should be capable of anywhere from 1,200 hp to 1,400 hp on the high end. That said, there’s a lot of unseen potential still in this truck and plenty we could do with it. I’m just trying to get more seat time in the truck before we go and turn it up. I’ve made 10-15 passes in the truck, and we’ve gotten faster every time. We’ve dropped from 6.80s to 6.50s. The bottom end is built, but the fuel and air are the limiting factors.”
While the build is already a complete package, Dylan envisions further improvements, which would involve tweaking the truck’s weight for enhanced performance and exploring nitrous tuning to push its limits further.