“I can’t do it.” How many times have you said that in your life? How many times has it actually been true? We would be willing to bet that of all of those times when you have said that, it has never been true. “Never” is a strong word to use here, but we think it applies. Think about it this way: the reality of today’s information age is that examples are available for any project you can think of. If you can come up with a project, chances are that someone has created a tutorial or a forum that can help guide you to finish that project.
In fact, that is exactly the premise that keeps us in business. If you are reading this, then you have proven that people come to this site to learn about a hobby that they love. In response, we are going to provide stories of inspiration and accomplishment for your reading pleasure. Okay, so we may be hamming it up a bit, but the point is that there is not much of an excuse for not completing the projects that you dream about.
This story is a real refresher for anyone that has ever felt like they wanted to go big on a project, but also felt like they just didn’t have the money, skill, or time to commit a project. We’ve all seen those commercials that talk about how things are so easy that even if you are a caveman, you can still do it. Well, this story is all about the fact that if you are as committed and have an attention span as long as a 22-year-old, you can in fact do a big project like the one you see here and accomplish a dream. For Paul Herbach, his dream was to come up with a rig that could propel him over big dunes and wide-open spaces comfortably and with the reliability of a daily driver.
Paul is a young wheeler from Toledo, Ohio. We met him last year during an off-road trip at the Silver Lake Sand dunes in Michigan. Recently, he met with us to talk about his incredible, dune-crushing F-150 prerunner conversion. The truck started life as a 2010 F-150 two-wheel-drive and has now grown into the dune destroyer you see here. While all of that is awesome, what really stands out about this particular build is its background. Paul is not ridiculously rich, nor does he have unlimited tools and other resources to make his build. Instead, he has relied on personal work ethic and resourcefulness to help make his prerunner dream come true.
“I work at Tireman and I just can’t afford to have someone do a full build for me,” Paul admitted. “I’ve been working on it for about three years. It started with a leveling kit, 33-inch inch tires, exhaust, and tune. I started going off-road, but I was getting stuck all the time, and hunting with it was out of the question. Then I met someone that introduced me to prerunner trucks and I learned that a lot of them are two-wheel-drive. After that, I saw some posts for Ford Raptor runs and I messaged back and forth with some of those people for a few months. They convinced me to swap it over to Raptor suspension, so then it was a stock F-150 truck with a Raptor suspension. I went to the Silver Lake Sand dunes and had a blast!”
Following that first dose of the sand dunes, there was no turning back for this guy. “I got most of the parts used off of the Ford Raptor Forum,” Paul said. “I could not afford to pay someone else to do all of this to it, so I just learned to do it myself and figure it out. Paul admitted, “I’ve had some really cool co-workers and friends that have helped me along the way. It’s usually just me and my buddies working on it in a friend’s garage or in a driveway. There’s some stuff that you need a lift for, but most of what we’ve done has been on someone’s driveway. Probably the main things I haven’t been able to do are the cam phaser lock outs and the rear differential, because I don’t know how to set up gears.”
Overall, Paul completed the vast majority of the work on this truck with a little help from friends and a whole lot of time investment. Like many of our own builds the project remains ongoing. A new front bumper with custom notching of the front valance, 3.0-inch-diameter shocks in the front suspension to replace the stock Raptor shocks, race seats, and a full cage are all on the list for future upgrades.
There is even the possibility of a dual shock setup in the front, depending on how well the new shocks handle the big hits. The overall point here is that with the truck being a daily driver, priority needs to be placed on having the vehicle drive at all times while keeping costs to a minimum. This is a project that has taken three years for Paul to complete, and he sees no need to rush things now. Instead, he keeps his focus on doing things when he can and planning for future big runs. Paul reports that he has visions of himself out in places like California, Nevada, and Colorado where more prerunners live. We think there is no question he’ll be out there someday, smashing new dunes.
Seeing this build and talking to Paul was a great reminder for us that there are still a lot of people out there doing their own work and balancing their wheeling lifestyle. It’s nice to see and have the chance to talk to like-minded people that have their priorities straight.
It also reminds us of times when we were too broke to afford new parts or have someone do the work for us. Guys like Paul are a good example for all of us that if you are willing to make sacrifices and place a higher value on hard work than money, then you can accomplish way more than you ever thought you could. It will take a lot of late nights in friend’s garages and driveways, but this dune jumper is pretty clear evidence that the word “cannot” is not a word found in the off-roader’s vocabulary.