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I also wanted to say that I was really surprised to see your entire rear axle and the bolts on the spring pack to have that much rust. At first I thought you were located in the north with lots of snow and ice and road salt, but you're in sunny cali.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
The truck was built in October 2016, but didn't get to the dealer until Mid January. I suspect that it was sitting at the Dearborn plant while they dealt with some pre-delivery modifications that had delayed delivery of the 2017's...
 

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Discussion Starter #24
fullsizeoutput_8a33.jpeg fullsizeoutput_8a35.jpeg

Here are two (****ty) photos of the sills. They look pretty slick, though this is becoming a more and more common feature in cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Also, since people seem to rarely do this, here are some detail photos of the tonneau cover when its rolled up. You can see how much of the bed is still usable, and details on how the low profile the rails are, and how the grooves look for adding Thule or Yakima racks.
IMG_3129.JPG IMG_3130.JPG IMG_3131.JPG IMG_3133.JPG IMG_3134.JPG IMG_3136.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter #27
So... I've had some bad luck with this truck so far. My wife says she'd make me trade it in if it weren't _brand new_. 5 days after getting it back from the door being crushed (by my neighbor's 19yo son), somebody left a present on the freeway onramp for me at 5:30AM in a pitch black area w/ no lights and a big turn.

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I hit what looks like an old buick chair @ about 60mph as I was entering the freeway. Nowhere to move (both sides of the road were too small to fit, seat was dead center of the lane). It destroyed the front bumper, plastic bread loafs, and mounting brackets. Under the bumper it dented the intercooler, and put a small ding in the frame (really just a bent little tab, and a scratch). There was also a front distance sensor that was cracked and has to be replaced. All in all, ~$2500 so far in parts.

Thankfully I was able to argue to the insurance co that its not-at-fault because I had nowhere to safely move out of the way. I should get it back from the body shop (_again!_) in the next day or so. Also, thankfully, the painted parts of the bumper were unaffected, so there is no replacement paint to deal with. Its all bolt on stuff.

While this sucks big time, its just a good reminder that its not always a car in the road that will cause you problems. Sometimes its just bad timing and bad luck.

I have gone ahead and ordered a full set of RCI Aluminum skid plates for the truck (all the way back, including gas tank). I've also ordered the massively bright XML2 Diode Dynamics fog light kit. Neither of these would have solved the issue .. but you know, its like when your kid gets sick and you give him ice cream? Same thing really... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Added the Thule snowboard racks!

One of the key reasons I picked the Pace Edwards UltraGroove tonneau cover was that it had rails built in for mounting Thule racks. This lets us keep the snowboards up and accessible (and locked!), while the tonneau cover can still be used and all the stuff is hidden away.

rack - 6.jpg rack - 5.jpg rack - 4.jpg rack - 3.jpg rack - 2.jpg rack - 1.jpg

Takes just a few seconds to pop the rails off, and I have some caps coming to cover up those "feet" on the tonneau. Everything will be locked down with the same key, and its all nice and solid.

Down the road I hope to maybe throw one of those bed-rack-camping-tents on there as well.
 

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Crappy luck with the seat on the freeway (at least there wasn't anyone sitting in it). Truck sure is looking good with the upgrades.
Has the damage been fixed?
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Got the truck back last Thursday, but it wasn't _quite_ completed. There were some programming/reset issues with a replacement front distance sensor (presumably for cruise control). I tried to use the cruise control this morning and it threw an "Adaptive Cruise Control Not Available" error. I'm going in to a Ford dealer in a few hrs to have them look at it though.

Beyond that, the truck is back to normal and looks great. I was lucky that there was no damage to the painted-parts of the bumper, so it was pretty much just all bolt on stuff. Getting parts for 2017 trucks is hard though, so every order of parts took days and days to get. That delayed all the work quite a bit.

Gotta say, I've had some sh!tty luck so far.. but I still love the truck. I have the RCI full skid plates coming this week, which will give me a bit more comfort. I'm also thinking about bigger tires and the bilstein leveling kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #31 (Edited)
RCI Skid Plates

So after getting the truck back from the body shop after the bucket-seat-freeway-entrance incident, I felt like it was pretty important to get some skid plates. I figured I got pretty lucky that the damage was all on the front end, and not underneath the body/frame.

So this morning I went out and installed the RCI full Aluminum skid plate package. I went with the raw aluminum because I don't mind the shiny look down there, and then I don't need to worry about scratches/dings/chips/etc. Just lower maintenance ultimately. I picked aluminum because I'm more interested in the "oh ****" scenario, than going off and deliberately beating the bottom of the truck up with some crazy off roading.

rci-plates - 1.jpg rci-plates - 2.jpg rci-plates - 3.jpg rci-plates - 4.jpg rci-plates - 5.jpg rci-plates - 6.jpg rci-plates - 7.jpg rci-plates - 8.jpg rci-plates - 9.jpg rci-plates - 10.jpg rci-plates - 11.jpg rci-plates - 12.jpg rci-plates - 13.jpg rci-plates - 14.jpg rci-plates - 15.jpg rci-plates - 16.jpg rci-plates - 19.jpg rci-plates - 20.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Painted Rear Axle..

Also while I was down there, I sanded and painted the rear axle with some Rustoleum Rust Reformer and then a top coat of Gloss black. I figure in a week or two it will match the rest of the dirty undercarriage .. but at least its not rusty anymore.

(I deliberately didn't paint the u-joint)

axle-paint - 1.jpg axle-paint - 2.jpg axle-paint - 3.jpg axle-paint - 4.jpg axle-paint - 5.jpg axle-paint - 6.jpg axle-paint - 7.jpg axle-paint - 8.jpg axle-paint - 9.jpg axle-paint - 10.jpg
 

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Man! That RCI setup looks like some pretty robust steel! What kind of weight addition was it to add all three pieces? +/-100 lbs?
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Man! That RCI setup looks like some pretty robust steel! What kind of weight addition was it to add all three pieces? +/-100 lbs?
The plates I got were Aluminum - and in total are around 90lbs including the fuel tank plate. I think the steel is about 50lbs heavier.
 

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The skids look great, and the rear diff... looks like it shoulda!
 

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SOB, you have a matching 22" wheel for spare?
Yes, axle housing looks much nicer now.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Leveling and Tires!

So after a few more weeks of driving on the factory 22" wheels, I couldn't take the look any more. I found a set of 2017 20" Sport wheels on Ebay, ordered up some Bilstein 5100's, and got some new Hankook ATM RF10 Tires 275/60r20 tires.

First, here's the bilstein install.. I had a local shop do the work, and it was $450 total including alignment. This may sound expensive to some people, but in the bay area the "by the book" price for just the front strut replacement is $550 without alignment. This was all 4 struts, and alignment. I also know this shop very well, and if I ever have any problems, they'll take care of me.

Obligatory Strut Shot
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To prevent any damage to the front axle CV boots, not only were all the parts hung up out of the way, but the actual axle was unbolted from the brake/hub assembly. This gave them plenty of room to get the struts out without stressing anything. Total install time was ~3hrs + alignment time.

lift-and-tires - 6.jpg lift-and-tires - 10.jpg lift-and-tires - 7.jpg lift-and-tires - 4.jpg lift-and-tires - 3.jpg


Installed shots.. looks fancy and shiny in there.
lift-and-tires - 9.jpg lift-and-tires - 16.jpg lift-and-tires - 12.jpg lift-and-tires - 15.jpg

Finally, this is the right-after shot with the factory 22" wheels and the lift. Its not bad, it definitely looks better without the rake IMO.
lift-and-tires - 13.jpg lift-and-tires - 14.jpg

But lets get real, those tires had to go..
lift-and-tires - 21.jpg lift-and-tires - 20.jpg lift-and-tires - 19.jpg lift-and-tires - 17.jpg lift-and-tires - 22.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #39 (Edited)
Why these Tires?
Why didn't I go with BFG AT KO2's? Or some other big meaty E-rated tire? Why the Hankooks? Am I just that cheap? Also, what about the odometer?!

So the factory tires were 275/45r22 Pirelli's that weigh 41lbs each and have a rolling diameter of 31.7". They had nearly no sidewall (total 4.9") and every time we hit a bump you could feel the suspension flexing to absorb it. There was no real give in the tire itself. That said, the tires felt "tight" and cornering on them was great. Any time I needed to pass or make any kind of quick maneuver, the truck felt solid and level the whole time. I didn't want to lose much of that feel, but I definitely wanted a bit more sidewall.

Also ... MPGs MPGs MPGs! A huge reason I upgraded trucks was that my old Tundra pulled in a whopping 13.5MPG on its best tank. I didn't want to add a ton of rolling weight that slowed the truck down, decreased MPGs significantly, and hurt stopping distance.

The Hankook ATM RF10's have decent reviews, and even at 4.1% larger diameter (33" tall, 6.5" sidewall) they only come in at 44lb. Thats an amazing feat. Sure, they aren't going to take me rock crawling.. but duh, thats not happening in this truck anyways. These hopefully will last ~40-45k miles with mostly freeway and snow, and support us on the occasional camping trip in the woods.

(edited: side note, bfg at ko2's in the same size are 57lbs each)
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Bilstein 5100 thoughts?
So I have a whopping ~50 miles on the shocks so far .. so take this with a grain of salt. Everyone loves to talk about how the bilsteins make a massive difference in the truck and make it a whole new beast. Maybe thats the case with old worn out struts. Or maybe the more normal F150 models (not limited/platinum) come with different struts. For me, they're maybe mildly better at this point.

In the ~50m I've put on it so far, I found that the bilsteins feel stiffer all around -- I feel bumps and dips a bit more than before with regular driving. Its not bad, and I suspect that when I hit something big (I havn't yet), that there may be a more pronounced difference. Or maybe when we're towing or hauling a load there will be a more significant difference. Right now, it feels pretty similar.

I will point out that there is a pretty significant dip on our freeway that I will hit tonight when going home. This normally causes the F150 to shoot up and take ~90% of the weight off the tires (no air, just "almost" air) then the front end usually dips down pretty far, while the back end lands a bit more soundly. I am interested to see how the truck behaves when I hit this dip tonight, as I suspect this is where the big difference in the struts will show.

For now, I'm happy enough that the struts act as a better-than-a-spacer level, and I have reasonable confidence that they will outlast the factory struts.
 
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