Built Ford Tough is a good slogan, but when it’s not as tough as I need it to be, then I gotta make it tougher. That’s why I spend almost as much time working on my truck as I do driving it. For example, three weeks ago I went off-roading with some buddies. It had just rained and it was pretty slippery out there. Luckily I had a brand new set of mud crawlers on, which got me through most of it, but my truck just wasn’t lifted enough to get me through deep stuff. I ended up hitting a hidden pothole of the muddiest kind; this led to three hours of troubleshooting, a whole lot of elbow grease and a broken axle. After getting the truck towed back to my house, I took a shower and got cleaned up. Then I got online and ordered a new replacement axle, along with some new shocks and a six inch lift kit. Three days later, my truck was up on jack stands and I was on my mechanics creeper wrenching away.
First things first, I had to repair the broken axle. Off came the tires, then I started removing the A-Arms and axle assembly. This was not easy since the axle had snapped and bent upwards into the vehicle. I actually had to get an acetylene torch and cut it out! After much work and a few beers, I had the new axle in. Then I went to work on the suspension; since the tires were already off and the A-Arms were loosened, it was pretty easy to get in there and swap the shocks. After I was done with that, I put everything else back together and boy, she was good as new… no, better than new. My truck could now get through the deep stuff easier, but it wasn’t necessarily any tougher. So to avoid snapping another axle during my weekend wheelie sessions, I cut and welded a diamond plated skid shield to the bottom of my truck. Now she’s no longer built Ford Tough, she’s built Ryan Tough.