Matt and Kim Rossi like their trucks big. Their '00 Ford Excursion makes other big trucks look...not so big. Both Matt and Kim have always enjoyed running 4WD trucks on the street and participating in the show circuit, although taking them off-road was never really a priority. When it was time for a new family vehicle, they chose the Ford Excursion, optioned to the max. Matt drove the truck stock at first as part of his car transport business, planning only a few minor additions. All that changed, however, when the custom bug bit and the truck started gaining altitude. During various customizing phases, Kim also enjoyed the truck, using it as her daily driver and causing quite a stir when she rolled in to her job at the day care center on the 8-inch lift and 38-inch Super Swamper tires.
As the number of mods slowly increased, Matt desired more power to turn the even-bigger tires he was planning for the truck. Although the big V-10 was great, more is always better, so Matt chose a combination of power-adders. A Kenne Bell supercharger augmented with a hundred shot of nitrous and a Jet Hot coated 3-inch dual exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers added the extra punch. The package bumped up the stock 310 hp to more than 460 hp and dramatically improved performance.
In the winter of 2002, they decided to renovate the undercarriage, adding more heavy-duty components, designing the front and rear ladder bar suspension, powdercoating the frame, and raising it another 6 inches. Even after that, Matt could not leave well enough alone. Less than a year later, he added another foot of lift to the truck, for a grand total of 25 inches of nosebleed-inducing altitude.
Upon closer inspection, it's easy to marvel at the innovative engineering; the meticulous detailing of the undercarriage reaffirms that the Rossi's genuinely enjoy their "on-road" 4x4. When every last stock suspension component was eliminated, the powdercoated blue cradle in the center was installed-a setup similar to those used in monster trucks. The cradle holds the transfer case and the four ladder bars that stabilize both ends. The front and rear axles are heavy-duty Dana 44s equipped with 4.56 gears and are held in place by massive Atlas 18-inch leaf springs using a J&B Motorsports 3-inch shackle kit. The cradle also serves as the mounting point for the eight Fox Racing 2.0 Reservoir Racing Shox, ensuring the big Excursion takes even the biggest bumps in stride. Additional components include ORU crossover steering, a hydraulic ram assist, chrome shock hoops, and custom differential covers. Drivetrain parts from the Driveshaft Super Store include the High Angle Bad Boy Jr. front driveshaft, which uses Eaton posi units fitted front and rear for plenty of low-speed torque. The Ford AOD transmission and transfer case allow shifting into the low range from the dash. Matt says that with all the mods, the huge vehicle is quite streetworthy and easy to drive. (Special thanks to Joe and Brian Costira of J&B Motorsports for all their help.)