The Ultimate OBS Tow Rig Series - Part 1

Posted by Chris R. on May 29th 2020

The Ultimate OBS Tow Rig Series - Part 1

What does the ultimate obs tow rig look like? That’s a question we have asked ourselves here at Complete Performance several times. Sometimes you just have to find out for yourself, so we have set out to do just that. I personally need a truck to tow my camper and haul tractors etc. so what better excuse did we need.

Now that we have decided to build one what truck do we start with? After some brainstorming on what makes it the “ultimate” tow rig we chose a 1997 F-Superduty, I know some of you are asking what exactly that is. Well, it’s the OBS truck version of the modern F450 all the way down to 10 lug axles. Here is were it gets cool, the truck we chose isn’t just any ole F-Superduty this one is a Quigley Conversions 4x4 and had the cab converted to crew cab by Centurion, from Ford you could only get them in regular cab and 2wd. That just wouldn’t work for me as I’m a crew cab guy and I mean haul trucks just shouldn’t to be 2wd. There really aren’t any number on how many trucks were upfitted like this but its safe to say there weren’t many built, most were ordered by city municipalities or fire departments. This one started life as a light rescue truck for the city of Cincinnati but was very rarely used as it was about the time most fire departments converted to heavy rescue units. The result is this 97 F-Superduty has only 17,900 miles on it.

Why did we choose the F-Superduty? Well, it was the most logical choice for several reasons. First off, the most obvious reason being its GVWR is 15000lbs, a full 5000lbs over a standard F350. The F-superduty from Ford is a 10 lug truck boasting a massive Dana 80 rear axle and after the Quigley 4x4 conversion an equally hefty low pinion Dana 70 front axle, these trucks were equipped from the factory with dual piston four wheel disc brakes unlike the F350 that had disc front and drum rear brakes. F-Superduty’s were ahead of their time with hydro-boost brake boosters like the newer Superduty trucks providing a far superior braking over the F250-F350 trucks that were vacuum operated boosters. Being that we have set out to build the ultimate tow rig the F-Superduty provides us with a far thicker frame over the ¾ - 1 ton frames making it more capable of hauling that extra weight. Our particular truck was equipped with the ambulance charging packages so it has the much larger alternator and charging wires which will keep our batteries optimally charged even with all of the add-ons we intend to install.

In an effort to build the absolute nicest tow rig possible I have decided to do a complete nut and bolt restoration on the truck effectively bring it back to 100 percent showroom quality while upgrading it in the process. This will be a series of blog posts highlighting and following this processes from start to finish.