With more than 160,000 people in attendance, the 2019 SEMA Show boasts the largest turnout of automotive industry professionals for a 4-day trade show in Las Vegas, NV. The event takes of the city with the daytime action sprawling out across the million+ sq ft Las Vegas Convention Center as more than 2500 companies from aroudn the world showcase their latest and greatest products, thousands of media rep get leads on content and stories, and some of the world's best automotive builders show off their creations.
This year BDS Suspension made the trek out to for SEMA to debut several new (soon to be released) products and some super cool custom vehicles. Check out some of the action from around the show.
Its with a heavy heart that we pay tribute to one of our most iconic builds to date, Project SD126, our go anywhere, desert race themed, short wheelbase Ford Super Duty. Built by the BDS engineering team over the course of about 3 months in late 2017, this truck was overhauled from the ground up to make its debut at the 2017 SEMA Show front and center in Ford’s booth and promote at events across the country over the last year.
The truck started out as a bone stock, standard cab long bed F250 brought into the shop and completely torn down to just the frame before cutting out 18” of length for a custom standard cab short bed configuration with a super short 126″ wheelbase (aka SD126 or Super Duty 126).
From there the build team fabricated the custom suspension with front BDS 4-link and rear trailing arm setup to mount 14” travel FOX 2.5 DSC coilovers and 3.0 quadruple bypass FOX shocks at each corner to soak up the terrain. Also added were Pac Racing springs and monster sway bars to allow a set of trussed F450 10-lug axles to be bolted under the truck. The 6.7L Powerstroke engine was kept fairly stock with the goal being to maintain 50-state emissions compliance with the DPF intact. A custom Diamond Eye DPF-back exhaust kit was added along with an S&B cold air intake and EZ Lynk auto agent with a custom tune for a bit more power. Power was sent back through the factory 6R140 transmission and 2-speed transfer case to a pair of JE Reel custom drivelines to the front super Dana 60 and rear M300 axles to turn the 42” BFG Baja TA KR2 tires mounted on a set of 20×11 Stazworks Cheyanne 8 2-piece wheels. In place of the stock aluminum body panels we went to McNeil Racing fiberglass fenders and bedsides with a 6″ bulge to give a menacing raptorized appearance. These flares along with the RK Sport ram air hood and Rogue Racing bumpers were all finished in PPG night orange metallic paint laid down by the pros at Butler Body Shop. All the badging was customized and the bed was fitted with a fullsize spare along with a think layer of Line-X. Due to the additional travel from the rear suspension setup the fuel tank was removed in a custom 30 gallon aluminum fuel cell and DEF tank were built, both protected by 3/16” steel skidplates.
As far as the interior and electronics on SD126 this truck had the works with a custom roll bar console with integrated Kicker audio system and a Magellan TRX7 GPS unit on an electric actuator. The factory bench was tossed to make way for a pair of custom PRP enduro recliner seats and 5-point harnesses. The dash was fitted with custom orange accents and the factory upfitter switches were used to control all of the Rigid LED lights and other accessories. Up front a Warn 12,000lb winch and Factor 55 flatlink were bolted on to help with recovery duties and a set of Amp Research power steps were added to make accessing the cab a bit easier. In place of the factory halogen headlights a custom set of laser etched projector units were swapped in from HIDprojectors.com along with smoked cab, mirror and brake lights from Recon. This build was all about the details to create a truly custom, truly unique Ford Super Duty.
See the 5-part build series for a more in depth look at how it came together:
This truck made its debut at the 2017 SEMA Show, front and center in the Ford booth where it received rave reviews from media and show attendees. From there SD126 went on to make appearances at dozens of events around the country to include Chicago Auto Show, 4Wheel Jamborees, Unlimited Offroad Show, Scrapin the Coast, and the Pomona Offroad Expo just to name a few. It made the cover of both Four Wheeler Magazine and Diesel World Magazine, both times with full feature spreads on the truck. It made multiple appearances in other online editorial. With this truck and its connection to Ford through their project vehicle program we had certain display requirements so the decision was made to use it primarily as a “show truck” for the first year before it’d get thrown into the mix used for more trail rides. That being the case anybody that knows BDS knows that’s a hard ask and the truck still found its way onto the dirt and sand on a few occasions to see how the truck performed. I’ve got to say from personal experience we had a blast every time we got behind the wheel. Aside from the attention this truck demanded, each time the truck charged through the rough stuff it soaked up the terrain powering through the whoops big and small with a comfortable ride.
For SEMA 2018 we decided this truck had more to show so we brought it back again, this time displaying it in the BDS booth over in the truck and offroad section. All week long the truck was flanked by show goers snapping photos and getting photos and Following SEMA and some more high speed testing out in the desert alongside our newest build Project Ranger X we made the trip from Vegas to Florida to bring SD126 to an end of the year event that was on the schedule. Being there was a few weeks between the 2 events we dropped if off at Precision Offroad, our local BDS dealer in Leesburg, FL to hold onto the truck for safe keeping until show time.
Tragically, one night after the shop had closed the warehouse caught fire due to an electrical short consuming the entire building and everything inside. Among the property lost was Project SD126, that had been sitting on a trailer. Luckily no one was injured, unfortunately SD126 was a total loss.
To say we were stunned to hear the news would be an understatement… Its been a couple months since the fire leveled the warehouse and destroyed SD126. We’re finally coming to grips with the realization that the truck is gone and we won’t get used (and abused) to its full potential. It was an unfortunate fire that destoyed SD126, but in the big scheme of things it was just a truck, a really expensive custom one-off truck, but all the same its just a truck. Luckily no one was hurt or worse yet killed in the fire and at the end of the day we have the technology and skill sets to build another truck, maybe some similar or maybe something completely different. What might the be? We’re open to suggestions, comment below with what you want to see us build next and keep an eye out for future project builds. Thanks for checking out the tribute to Project SD126.
Its an exciting time in the mid sized truck world as the Ford Ranger returns to the great US of A for 2019. While at the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, we took some time to visit our favorite 2019 Ford Ranger builds, including our very own, #ProjectRangerX.
Most of these builds were featured in the Ford booth, and almost all of them featured BDS Suspension Systems on them. These lift systems will be making their way into the market in the near future.
Our friends at Power Automedia stopped by our booth at the 2018 SEMA Show to find out more about what BDS has been up to. We started off by giving a quick run down of #ProjectSD126. This Ford Super Duty was our build that we did for the Ford booth for the 2017 SEMA Show. Project SD126 was built to not only look good, but perform out on the trails and open desert. The frame off overhaul included off the shelf parts from some of the best companies in the industry combined with top level fabrication from the BDS build team. What started as an idea to bring back an old favorite has evolved into a super cool and over the top 2017 Ford Super Duty standard-cab, short-bed, diesel that turns heads everywhere it goes.
We also gave a quick overview of our build for Ford’s booth this year. This year’s build, #ProjectRangerX, was an exciting build as we got our hands on one of the first Ford Rangers to come to America. Find out more about #ProjectRangerX at https://blog.bds-suspension.com/?p=17021.
When asked “what new products do you have coming out,” we were proud to give a quick update of what is to come, including kits for the ’19 RAM, ’19 Chevy, ’19 F150, and Tacoma. While we cannot give out much information, we can say we are as excited as ever for what is to come. With all the new released vehicles, our R&D team is working hard to come out with new kits.
The SEMA crunch is getting real, with just 2 build days to go until we need to hit the road for Vegas, there is still a lot to get done on this build, from wiring, assembly and final installation and graphics. At this point the shop is operating like a well oiled machine with everyone doing their part to get the job done. The “To Do” list is starting to dwindle down and their’s a light at the end of the tunnel. All the parts are back from paint and powder coat, the Warn winch and Rigid lights are installed in the bumpers and its getting bolted up front for the final time. With the larger wheels and tires we needed some additional tire coverage. In the rear the wider design of the service box does just the trick, but for the front we needed a set of fender flares. We turned to Bushwacker and got their first prototype set of pocket style flares for the Ranger and had them color matched to the factory Magnetic paint and swapped out the hardware to black stainless.
In a way this truck is like a mullet, its all business up front with that Warn winch bumper and 6” coilover system while its a party in the back as with custom outdoor stereo, dirt bike, electric fridge, spare fuel, lighting and more. Now that we have the Knapheide service box installed for the final time we’re fitting up the rack and wiring up accessories. With the goal to build this into a capable adventure rig able to haul a dirt bike and gear we knew we’d plenty of fuel supply. We turned to Rotopax for their 2-gallon Fuelpax containers and mounted them to a custom build rack designed for additional storage of gear and lights. When it comes to the auxiliary lighting, we turn to the pros at Rigid Industries. We’re installing an assortment of lights on this truck to include front amber radiance pods in the bumpers, a 40” front facing amber radiance light bar on the roof, and their SR-M floods all the way around the bed to light up the trail or camping spot. To keep things a bit cooler when setting up camp, we added a James Baroud retractable awning off the side for some easy access to shade on hot days and dry covering on rainy ones. Also in the theme of keeping cool is we have a Domestic CF-40W electric fridge/freezer mounted in the bed. We mounted this on one of the slide kits for easy access out on the trail. This truck is full of fun, from the mount for a dirt bike in the back to the bluetooth stereo in the bed. The stereo consists of Kicker’s KMC waterproof head unit powering a pair of Kicker marine grade tower speakers mounted to the rack to keep the party going. Along with the front mounted winch, we have more recovery gear in the back from Ford Performance and Warn along with a pair of Maxtrax recovery mats that we can stick under the tires if we find ourself stuck on in silt, sand or snow. The extra storage on this truck will be used for tools and camping gear. We have on-board air and a 120 volt power inverter to run tools and charge devices. We also have a ramp to load the dirt bike in and out of the truck.
We’re getting close, Project Ranger X is almost complete and ready to make its debut at the 2018 SEMA Show in Ford’s Booth #22200. We’ll have one more update before the show kicks off, a preview of the finished truck and then plenty more coverage of it out at SEMA and as we hit the trails afterwards. For more on the build be sure to head to the BDS Blog, on YouTube and on Facebook and Instagram at #ProjectRangerX. Check it out next week as this truck makes its debut at SEMA.
We’re back again with our latest update on Project Ranger X. The last couple weeks have been controlled chaos around teh shop as the BDS engineering team takes on the 5-week overhaul of our 2019 Ranger along with prototyping suspension kits for all of the other 2019 Ranger that will be on display at the show in Ford’s booth, building up our 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 and prototyping several new lift systems for the Wrangler JL and other new applications to debut at the show. Now nearing the end of our 3rd full week with the 2019 Ranger we’re buttoning up the rear suspension ahead of the service box getting back from paint while its all easily accessible. With the new extended 136″ wheelbase and converted the factory mono leaf setup over to heavy duty BDS leaf springs along with custom shackles and a set of AirLift bags for additional carry capacity. The shock mounts have been relocated as well and once we get the frame painted we’ll be bolting in a set of FOX shocks to match the front coilovers.
Next project was the rear driveshaft. With the extended wheelbase we needed an extended length driveshaft to install in the rear. We reached out to Spicer who builds the factory 2-piece unit to source an OEM quality extended length shaft to bolt right into place under our 2019 Ranger. Perfect fit and finish on this build. Another side effect with extending the frame is exhaust fitment. On this build we’re installing the Ford Performance cat-back system from Borla and need to lengthen the pipe by about 10” to fit like a standard exhaust. This ought to give that 2.3L EcoBoost some deeper sound and free up some additional horsepowers. The wiring needs to be addressed on this truck as well. Along with the extending the factory wiring we’re also adding additional circuits to power all our new accessories like the auxiliary lighting, stereo, air compressor, electric fridge and more. To control all of these additional devices we have an sPod 8-circuit relay system with touchscreen controls. This will allow us to control and customize all of our wiring outputs while cleaning up and speeding up the install process over running individual switches and relays.
Up front we fit this Warn Ascent series winch bumper to offer extra protection. Its a stout design and with a few minor tweaks we’ll integrate their front skid plate in with our IFS crossmembers for extra strength. From here the bumper is off to powder coat so we can get it installed along with the Warn winch and Rigid lighting. The wheels and tires a mounted up and ready to bolt on as well. The prototype BDS 6” lift system will allow us to install this set of 35×12.50×17 BFG KM3 tires mounted up on a set of the new 17×9 XD-Series Grenade OR wheels. These wheels have a great look, strong design and the backspacing we needed to clear the new steering knuckles. We added orange rings to match the rest of the theme we have planned for this build.
Last week we sent out the Knapheide service box to our crew at Butler Body Shop on the other side of town to prep and lay down the matching Magnetic gray paint. They’ve been great at meeting our deadlines with a top quality paint job each time. After paint the bed was sent over to spray Line-X sprayed inside the box for extra protection. Time to start reassembly. Stay tuned for next week’s update as the SEMA crunch gets real with a mad dash to get bumpers, lighting, graphics and all the other accessories installed in the final week before this truck hits the road for the 30-hour drive out from Michigan to Las Vegas for Ford’s booth at the 2018 SEMA Show.