Where would all those iconic, classic cars (and trucks) be if it weren’t for our beloved LS/LT engine swaps bringing them into the 21st Century? You’ve heard us say it before, but it is true: time and technology wait for no man or machine. While a vintage vehicle’s design may endure the test of time, rust and accidents notwithstanding, those dated mechanics will surely relinquish its ride securely into the history books.
Thankfully, enthusiasts such as the group residing at the West Bend Dyno Tuning facility embrace today’s technology and use it with great effect to improve those earlier vehicles. Today’s improvements in performance, fuel economy, drivability, and reliability make even the earliest vehicles more enjoyable. And, in the case of this 1972 Chevrolet K20 heavy-hauler, we also see that size doesn’t matter so far as vehicles are concerned.
As the last year of the second generation of GM’s C/K trucks, also known as the Action Line series, this K20 has all of the updated styling available for its day, but even with all that, Mike, the truck’s owner, wanted more. Somewhere along the way, Mike’s K20 had already been upgraded to LS-swap status, but as we all know, that first scratch is the deepest, and Mike soon wanted another upgrade. That’s when he took his truck to the folks at West Bend Dyno Tuning. This full-service shop handles everything, including complete car and engine building, EFI and carb tuning, performance bolt-ons, suspension and exhaust upgrades, custom fabrication, and power package installations. So while Mike’s truck was mainly there for a fresh, new Chevrolet Performance LS3 crate engine, the rest of the truck received West Bend Dyno’s spa treatment as well.
To start, all body mounts were repaired and replaced to get all those iconic lines back to arrow straight. While the West Bend Dyno team was under the truck, they also replaced those aging axles with an NP205 transfer case, 10-bolt front differential, and Corporate 14-bolt rear differential, which were all built at Automatic Transmission Design. Next, a 4L60e transmission replaced the three-speed TH350 trans, and a brand-spanky new Holley Terminator X Max EFI system fine-tunes the fueling for that new powerhouse. Finally, a pair of Schoenfeld headers are mated to a Stainless Works exhaust to get rid of the spent fumes.
Other improvements include a Dakota Digital Direct-Fit instrument cluster and a Vintage Air Surefit air conditioning system to keep occupants in the cab both informed and conditioned nicely. The additional BeCool DirectFit radiator and cooling fan assemblies make sure the engine is equally chilled as necessary. The addition of electric fans allows for better control of the engine (and A/C) temperatures under varying driving conditions than the earlier clutch-fan assembly could offer.
All in all, Mike’s K20 still has all the second-generation goodness that makes these trucks so desirable today. The additional upgrades performed by West Bend Dyno Tuning have built upon that foundation to make the truck more usable and enjoyable. We’re sure that’s something that Mike can appreciate. And speaking of something to enjoy, check out this quick video posted by West Bend Dyno Tuning, and be sure to stay until the end. That Chevrolet Performance LS3 engine’s beefy idle is definitely worth the wait!