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Johnny Lightning's 2001 Ford F150 - Truck Construction for Competition Destruction
Johnny Lightning may have gone too far with his SVT F-150.
With the roar of up to 6,600 horses and enough torque to move a mountain into another state, the John Fabick Caterpillar Company manufactures mega-machines suited for anything--if you can justify it in your budget, that is. Its lineup of vehicles includes dump trucks that could fit an entire neighborhood in its bed and street-legal dumps hosting more than 600 bhp with torque numbers well over 1,000 lb-ft. For the truly hard core, there are 18,000ci motors with 11-inch pistons with an 11.8-inch stroke.
You probably won't see Johnny Wiker's new quarter-mile pavement pounder at a construction site, but that doesn't mean it's not one toughly constructed truck, because it sure looks the part. His new chopped-top hauler may tip the scales at 3,800 pounds, nevertheless, it boasts over 900 hp and an astounding 1000 lb-ft of torque. This has proven to be more than enough to catapult this pickup into the high nines with the stock 5.4-liter modular engine block, making it the quickest second-generation Lightning in the world.
After Johnny bought his first Lightning in 1999, destiny settled in and he declared himself, "Johnny Lightning." Since then, he and Sue, his wife of 22 years, began introducing their own line of products, marketed under the Johnny Lightning Performance label.
The excessive baggage this full-sized truck has to tow is always the first topic of discussion, hence bigger meats would need to be first on the agenda. Peter Visser of the Susquehanna Auto Clinic in Harve De Grace, Maryland, upgraded the chassis to include a new, custom four-link suspension for the bigger tires as well as the requisite rollcage to pacify any SFI requirements for the eight-second timeslips expected in the future. Visser whittled away the stock under-carriage to fit wheel tubs accommodating the huge 15-inch-wide Bogart wheels.
A DTS 9-inch rear was fitted, and a cus- tom chrome-moly four-link and swaybar were fabricated to the unusual truck chassis geometry. Strange Engineering 35-spline axles, differential, and brakes were utilized to fill the housing voids. The front suspension consists of Anthony Jones Engineering A-arms and QA1 coilovers (which are also used out back).
The 5.4 begins with a reworked stock crankshaft, a set of Manley I-beam rods with CP pistons, and a BHJ balancer that equates to 360 ci of modular muscle. Johnny didn't mind telling us he had a 0.550-inch lift hydraulic camshaft, but he was reluctant to even give us a clue to the actual duration of the stick. The JLP race-prepped aluminum heads flow a modest 240 cfm on the intake side, with the exhaust running at 210 cfm. In this case, the exhale numbers are more important with 21 pounds of boost forcing the gasses out. To complete the block prep, a Meziere electric water pump replaces the stock unit for reduced drag on the engine.
JLP has been conducting lots of R&D on aluminum sheetmetal upper intake plenum designs on its in-house chassis dyno. The new truck is sporting the latest; JLP believes the piece is finally worthy of resale to horsepower-hungry customers. Kenne Bell's 2.3-liter supercharger is attached to said intake.
Next comes the Billet Flow 133mm throttle body and JLP 102mm mass air and Racing Thunder Tube to assure the air is properly atomized with the 60-pound injectors for optimum air-to-fuel. Johnny found the fuel rails on an '05 F-150 to have three or four times the flow rate of old Lightning units, and his are fed by an 1100 Aeromotive fuel pump. The 5.4 uses a stock intercooler, an Afco heat exchanger, and a JLP Power Cooler.
JLP collaborated with Bassani to design 1 5/8-inch to 1 3/4-inch long-tube headers with 3-inch collectors and a complete 3-inch exhaust system. Johnny also swears by DiabloSport tuning and uses the stock distributor with Nology coils and Denso Iridium spark plugs.
Hooking up the beast had been quite the challenge, and with the addition of the big 16-inch meats, it won't be long until the Level 10 C4 transmission is traded out for a C6. The triple clutch lock-up trans and Precision Industries converter have held up fine with the 2,400 stall and low-10-second runs. But, Johnny says, "If we're going to have a shot at the eights, we are going to need at least a 4,000 stall to make use of the new chassis, even though we got her down to 3,800 pounds."
When this article was written, the truck had gone as fast as 9.70s at 142 mph with a new race-tested nitrous system.