Just imagine being broken down on the side of the road at night. You make a call to AAA, and they send someone to assist you. You can hear a vehicle coming down the road, but you can’t see it. It’s miles away, but the rumble of the exhaust tells you otherwise. A few minutes later, a yellow service light blinks on and off on the dark road as the noise of exhaust gets louder. You think to yourself, “Is this the service truck AAA sent?”
As you stand there wondering what you are witnessing, the truck gets closer. It is, in fact, a service truck, but it’s not here to help you. The vehicle thunders by doing a hundred plus miles per hour, the sound of the exhaust is defining, and you plug your ears for momentary relief as the truck blows by and disappears into the night’s sky. You think to yourself, “What in the world was that, and where is he going?”
There is an excellent chance that it’s Thomas West, Operations Director for Specialized Truck Repair, and he’s on a mission to make LS Fest.
You never know what you’re going to get when you go to LS Fest. We have seen all kinds of creations, and every year we leave with our minds blown. Fortunately, lack of creativity is not at a standstill in the LS world, and the crazy ideas keep coming. Thomas West and his service truck are a perfect example of an out of the box build.
Thomas purchased the 1993 GMC C/K 2500 from his friend Tommy Mantlo just three months ahead of the big show in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The C/K came factory equipped with a 6.5 diesel engine that was replaced by a 5.3 out of a Tahoe. Tommy was having problems with the fuel system and told Thomas he could have it for $1,000. Before he could finish his sentence, Thomas said, “Done.”
After the purchase of the service truck, Thomas got to work. He had intentions of bringing it to LS Fest East 2019, and he knew that it would come down to the wire. He had three solid months of work, staring back at him, and it would take every single second to make it happen.
The first order of business was to scrap the 5.3 that came in the truck and replace it with an LQ4 6.0-liter engine. Thomas recognized it was going to take some serious power to get the hefty 6,000-pound vehicle to move at the rate he desired.
The engine was bored to 370 cubic-inches and retained the stock crankshaft. A set of DSS turbo pistons were attached to factory Gen 4 connecting rods that were equipped with ARP hardware. Tommy’s Auto Machine of Springfield, Tennessee, handled all of the machine work and serviced a set of 799 heads. The engine was then assembled by Joey Armstrong and Michael Johnson of Boost Addicts of Gallatin, Tennessee.
For fuel management, the guys turned to Holley and used the Terminator X EFI system. A Holley Hi-Ram intake houses a set of 1000cc FIC injectors and is feed by a 450 liter-per-hour fuel pump. A Holley fuel pressure regulator controls the fuel, while a 92mm Holley 92mm takes control of the airflow.
A set of “eBay special” long-tube stainless steel headers fit the bill and was connected to a 3-inch exhaust system. While some of the Boost Addicts guys told us the engine sounded good with the big diesel muffler, Thomas didn’t like it. He decided to cut it off and allow all of the noise to dump before the rear end, and it’s loud. During the show, we could tell you exactly where the truck was at all times.
Thomas and the guys of Boost Addicts love power adders. When the service truck hit the property, it was armed with a D-1SC ProCharger and an Innovators West pulley ready to make 18-pounds of boost. Unfortunatly, the untested setup would only crank out 3psi due to a significant belt slip. But not to worry, Thomas met up with the guys at Nitrous Outlet and purchased their Rental Car nitrous system and installed it on site. They even used the vice on the rear bumper to put the system together.
Due to the trucks heavyweight, Thomas needed a drivetrain that could take the abuse. He opted for a 4l80 built by Tim Hollis and Billy Steward. A Circle-D Specialties 4,000 RPM stall convertor was used in conjunction with Jake’s shift kit, and a TCI Outlaw shifter controls gear changes. Dave’s Driveshaft built a custom shaft to get all of that angry horsepower to the ’08 factory 14-bolt rear end with 3.73 gears and a spool. A set of Pro Comp ladder bars —these have to be the longest set of bars in human existence — are used to keep the rear axle pointed where it should be with the Hoosier tires planted.
Other than the engine and drive train, the truck is stock other than the utility bed and the service light. Thomas did take the C/K to Rick Harris to add logos and custom pinstriping to the body of the Chevy. On the interior, it’s more of the same with a Holley 2.5-inch screen in the A/C vent and a TCI shifter. The only thing that might grab your attention is the girl on a stripper pole air freshener placed on the dash.
Thomas was able to push the1993 work truck to a 16-second 1/4 mile at 97 MPH with a 200 shot of nitrous and 3-pounds of boost. Not bad considering the weight of the truck, belt slipping problems, and the street tune by Matt Sanford of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, the night before the event.
When asked if he had more plans for the truck, Thomas replied, “Absolutely… We will be switching to twin-turbos housed in the side boxes of the utility bed and a direct port nitrous system. A 10-second pass is our goal, with BIG boost and lots of nitrous.”
We can’t wait.