Diesel World - - Contents -

In the age of pur­pose-built, com­pe­ti­tiononly pulling trucks, many en­thu­si­asts like to harken back to a time when things were sim­pler. You know, when you could pull your truck on Sun­day and then drive it to work on Mon­day. While those days are likely gone for good, a few diehards are still able to win in the dirt with a truck they reg­u­larly drive on the street.

An­drew Karker of Illini Out­law Diesel is one such be­liever. A long­time truck puller and Duramax guru, he en­tered the sport at a time when your daily driver dou­bled as your puller—and that work-and­play men­tal­ity has never left his mind. As you can imag­ine, when his lo­cal sanc­tion­ing body (the Illi­nois Trac­tor Pulling As­so­ci­a­tion) in­tro­duced a street­based truck cat­e­gory for 2017 Karker im­me­di­ately got to work build­ing some­thing that could com­pete.

Coined the 8,000-pound Pro Street Diesel Truck class, key lim­i­ta­tions en­tail a 2.6-inch smooth­bore tur­bocharger rule and sin­gle-rear-wheel con­fig­u­ra­tion. And al­though the field of trucks in this class can the­o­ret­i­cally still be driven on the street, ev­ery­one knows that nine out of ten won’t be. Mak­ing a con­scious ef­fort to buck this pur­pose-only trend, Karker made sure each and ev­ery com­po­nent that made its way onto his ’02 Chevy Sil­ver­ado 2500 HD served two pur­poses: It would give the truck an ad­van­tage both in the dirt and on the pave­ment. The parts recipe em­ployed in this build will likely re­sult in a truck that makes close to 800 rwhp, com­petes at the front of the new Pro Street Diesel Truck field, and can run low 11s at the drag strip. Fol­low along for an in­side look at the truck’s First Place-cal­iber pow­er­train, chas­sis, and sus­pen­sion setup.

 From the front of the frame rails to the hitch, no area of An­drew Karker’s ’02 Chevy Sil­ver­ado 2500 HD went un­touched. With the body still sit­ting in the paint booth at the time of our photo shoot, we were able to get up close and per­sonal with a chas­sis that had been spec’d to per­form at the top of the newly-cre­ated Pro Street Diesel Truck class within the Illi­nois Trac­tor Pulling As­so­ci­a­tion (ITPA).

 A re­mote turbo mount moves the charger out of the lifter val­ley and makes swap­ping tur­bos a seam­less process (and luck­ily for Karker it’s al­lowed in the Pro Street Diesel Truck class). Hav­ing the abil­ity to change out a charger in a timely man­ner is ideal in the truck pulling world—where turbo tech­nol­ogy is al­ways im­prov­ing and you can lit­er­ally hook to the sled just about ev­ery other night. The re­mote mount sys­tem was built by Wehrli Cus­tom Fab­ri­ca­tion in Sycamore, Illi­nois, and uti­lizes a T4 mount/pedestal, 2-inch stain­less steel up-pipes, and re­verse flow 3-inch in­ter­cooler pipes.

 At the heart of the ground-up build rests an Lb7-based Duramax that’s re­in­forced with Wagler Com­pe­ti­tion Prod­ucts con­nect­ing rods, Di­a­mond Racing pis­tons, a Wagler al­ter­nate-fire camshaft, and ARP fas­ten­ers from top to bot­tom. To keep the en­gine ef­fi­cient (and ul­ti­mately, street friendly), Karker elected to run non-de-lipped, fac­tory-com­pres­sion pis­tons. The heads are stock (and were sourced from a Ko­diak, iron­i­cally enough) aside from a set of Per­for­mance valve springs from Hamil­ton Cams and Mer­chant Au­to­mo­tive heavy duty chro­moly pushrods.

 To keep the po­tent LB7 an­chored be­tween the frame rails, Karker fab­ri­cated a set of stain­less steel mo­tor mounts. It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that with­out prop­erly bat­ten­ing down a high-torque diesel en­gine it will twist in the chas­sis, which can lead to dam­aged mo­tor mounts, ex­cess wear on the trans­mis­sion mount (and trans­mis­sion case), or both.

 The LB7’S ro­tat­ing assem­bly was bal­anced by “Bert” at River City Diesel in East Peo­ria, Illi­nois, and topped off with an ATI su­per damper. A bil­let flex plate from BD Diesel, rated to han­dle 1,500 lb-ft of torque, also made it into the bal­anc­ing process.

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