Friends can be a huge help when it comes to intensive labor. Anyone who's spent any time turning wrenches has wished at one time or another that they had another set of hands. The truth is that no one person is solely credible for any custom build. It takes a team to build a complex piece of machinery.
Ernie Vole II from Vernon Hills, Illinois, knows this to be true. When asked who should receive credit for helping him build his '02 Silverado, he had no problem attributing it to the techs at Attitude Performance. They went way beyond the call of duty to help the 3/4-ton straight-axle conversion fit the 1/2-ton truck.
Ernie purchased the 1/2-ton 4x4 brand new from a nearby dealer. Being intrigued by custom-built trucks and wanting to own something extraordinary, he took the '02 Silverado to his newfound friends at Attitude Performance to have the custom work completed.
Fitting the Dynatrac Prorock Dana 60 third member to the front of the 1500 was accomplished with Atlas leaf springs and custom brackets built by Fabritech Motorsports in West Virginia. Fabritech, known for its straight-axle conversion, used this buildup to fabricate a standard for its bolt-in front shock hoops and tubular traction bars. The standard kit comes with front-mounted shackles for the frontend, but as we all know, front-mounted shackles fight the natural forces of nature. This, of course, makes for bad on-road handling and an ill-riding vehicle, so Attitude asked Fabritech to build a one-off, rear-mounted shackle for the Silverado.
Atlas also replaced the rear leaves with the big arches needed to push the stock 4x4 21-inchers taller than the stock ride height. With that much lift, a few obstacles needed attention. Steering and U-joint bind were the two biggest problems. The Dynatrac front differential uses its own custom knuckle with a raised tie-rod mounting area. A Super Lift 3-inch block was attached to that to manage the gap between the Sagnaw box and the knuckle. A Dynatrac dropped pitman arm and extended drag link finish tying the front steering together. Indexing the transfer case is essential with a big lift, and Attitude Performance's indexing ring relieves the upper U-joint or CV joints.
The other issues were pinion angle and brake-bleeder position. The front differential was custom-ordered with the correct measurements and came in ready for action. The rear differential was taken from an older GM truck, which meant that all the brackets were cut off and the new brackets were welded on for the proper pinion angle. Off Road Unlimited (ORU) replaced the rear drums with its large disc brake conversion kit, which has plenty of angle designed into the caliper position for tons of lift.
Sway-A-Way Racerunner-series dampers handled dampening the massive springs. All four corners house two remote reservoir 2.5-inch shocks. Up front, the shocks attach to Fabritech's bolt-in shock hoop and leaf-spring mounting bracket. Out back, Attitude Performance custom-built mounts that welded to the stock crossmember and refurbished the GM 14-bolt differential.
With the suspension hung low, filling the huge gap was going to require a big rim and tire combination. Weld Racing wheels were the rims of Ernie's choice. Michelin's monstrous 43.5x14.5-inch hides were stretched over a set of 20x12-inch Dakar rims. A set of ring-and-pinions was in order, so 5.13:1 gears were installed for the high-rollers. A set of Gibson ceramic-coated headers attached to the after-cat exhaust helps the 5.3L engine push the big meats.
Glasurit Red and Black paint covers the big truck's carcass. Jim Brando from Brando Graphics in Illinois headed up the custom graphics, while the base colors were laid by Greg's Auto Body.
An Alpine C-801 head unit replaced the stock stereo. A custom sub box, built by Ernie himself, encloses a set of twin JL W3 flathead subs. Two sets of splits fill the door panels and a JL 250-watt amplifier powers all the drivers.
Ernie's truck has one bad attitude - that's for sure. But if it weren't for the team of people helping him complete the project, all Ernie would have is a pile of parts, and a different reason for a bad attitude. Just make sure your attitude doesn't send you around half-cocked.
|Owner/hometown: ||Ernie Vole II/Vernon Hills, Illinois |
|Vehicle: ||'02 Chevy Silverado |
|Front Axle: ||Dynatrac Prorock Dana 60 |
|Rear Axle: ||GM 14-bolt |
|Shocks: ||Sway-A-Way Racerunner 2.5-inch remote reservoir |
|Differentials: ||5.13:1 gears, ARB Air Lockers |
|Wheels: ||Weld Racing 20x12-inch Dakars |
|Tires: ||34.5X14.5-inch Michelins |
|Other modifications: ||Straight-axle conversion, 21-inch lift with Atlas |
| ||leaves, Fabritech shock hoops and traction bars, |
| ||ORU rear disc brake conversion |