Friends & Fam­ily Help Build Jeremy Shultz’ Du­ra­max Pow­ered Clas­sic Pickup

Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Contents - Text: Chris Tobin Pho­tog­ra­phy: Chris Tobin

A Du­ra­max-pow­ered Clas­sic Pickup

Thirty-one year old Jeremy Shultz is less than half the age of his beau­ti­ful 1953 Chevro­let 3100 but he didn’t let his youth stop him from re­build­ing his grand­fa­ther’s clas­sic pickup. He and a closeknit group of fam­ily and friends trans­formed the truck from the rough shape it was in when he pur­chased it from his grand­fa­ther to the stun­ning show­piece you see here. While they were at it, not only did they dress the truck up in sparkling new paint with some slick new shoes they also swapped in a Du­ra­max en­gine and Al­li­son trans­mis­sion mak­ing it stand out from the sea of Ls-pow­ered clas­sic trucks.

Shultz is a Nu­clear Main­te­nance Elec­tri­cian by trade but ob­vi­ously can turn a wrench or two on a truck as ev­i­denced by the ex­cel­lent work on the ’53. He orig­i­nally planned a quick build on the truck hop­ing to fin­ish it while his grand­fa­ther was still healthy, but af­ter about a year of work on the truck he was di­ag­nosed with pan­cre­atic cancer and passed away shortly af­ter. With a heavy heart he con­tin­ued with the build mak­ing sure that it would be one that his grand­fa­ther would be proud of.

While the orig­i­nal plans for the truck in­volved a LS en­gine and a Turbo 400 trans­mis­sion; Trent Young of Young’s Farm Ser­vice and Re­pair in Brogue, PA came across a killer deal on a LB7 Du­ra­max that was too good to pass up. Shultz pur­chased the LB7 from Young for next to noth­ing and they teamed up to make the diesel en­gine fit into the clas­sic truck. Prior to work­ing with the diesel power plant Shultz com­pleted the nec­es­sary body work re­plac­ing dam­aged and rusted sheet metal with re­place­ment pan­els and get­ting the body into good shape. Con­tin­u­ing with the metal work­ing theme, he fully boxed the frame to make it much more rigid to han­dle more power with­out bend­ing and tweak­ing his new body­work.

To up­grade and im­prove the steer­ing and front sus­pen­sion Shultz in­stalled a weld-on Hei­dts Mus­tang II sys­tem complete with QA1 coil-overs and rack-and-pin­ion steer­ing to give the old truck sports car like han­dling. The Mus­tang II front spin­dles were fit­ted with 11.25-inch SSBC slot­ted and drilled brake ro­tors and 4-pis­ton SSBC brake calipers to whoa down the truck eas­ily. In the rear he opted to in­stall a chro­moly fab­ri­cated Ford 9-inch hous­ing us­ing a T.C.I. leaf spring kit. Rear brak­ing is han­dled by a set of 11.25-inch Aero­space Com­po­nents drilled and slot­ted ro­tors and 4-pis­ton Aero­space Com­po­nents calipers. Stag­gered fit­ment Boss five spoke 338 wheels with 18X8-inch­ers up front and 20X10-inch­ers in the rear give the truck a street rod stance wrapped in wide Lex­ani Lx-seven tires with 245/45ZR18S up front and 275/40ZR20S in the rear.

Switch­ing plans from the LS gasser to an LB7 Du­ra­max didn’t re­quire a ton of work to the frame aside from new mo­tor and trans­mis­sion mounts the team at Young’s in­stalled since Shultz had al­ready beefed up the frame by box­ing in the complete length of the C-chan­nels. The big­ger en­gine and trans­mis­sion did re­quire him and his friends to ma­jorly re­work the fire­wall and floor to

ac­com­mo­date the Du­ra­max and Al­li­son com­bi­na­tion. The team at Young’s Farm Ser­vice worked with Shultz to get the body mod­i­fied and back on the frame in just a few days.

Af­ter they knew ev­ery­thing would fit it was time to make sure ev­ery­thing would run prop­erly so they stripped the en­gine down to the short block to in­spect, clean and prep ev­ery­thing be­fore re­assem­bling the Du­ra­max. While the parts and pieces were dis­as­sem­bled and clean they took the time to re­paint them to look like new when they put the en­gine back to­gether. Young and his team felt that ev­ery­thing looked good as ex­pected with the 2002 LB7 so they re­assem­bled the en­gine with new gas­kets and ARP head studs to han­dle fu­ture power up­grades. In ad­di­tion to the new gas­kets they in­stalled a set of re­man­u­fac­tured Bosch fuel in­jec­tors to give the LB7 new life.

Shultz pur­chased a stand­alone har­ness from Just Chevy Trucks in Le­banon, Maine that the build team ex­tended to in­stall it in the clas­sic truck with the ECM and TCM mounted un­der the seat in the cab. The cus­tom har­ness work al­lows ev­ery­thing in­clud­ing the Al­li­son trans­mis­sion to func­tion just like it would in a Sil­ver­ado but in the 1953 Chevro­let 3100. For now they are us­ing the orig­i­nal fac­tory turbo charger, but they hope to up­grade that in the not too dis­tant fu­ture. To get a lit­tle more oomph safely from the stock com­bi­na­tion Shultz chose to en­hance the en­gine with a PPE pro­gram­mer. He es­ti­mates that the Du­ra­max is mak­ing around 395 horse­power and 740 lbs-ft of torque which moves the light­weight truck pretty darn well and also yields about 28 MPG out in the wild!

The LB7 en­gine is backed by the stock 2002 Al­li­son 2WD trans­mis­sion with a cus­tom drive shaft link­ing it to the fab­ri­cated 9-inch rear axle. Shultz in­stalled a re­mov­able drive shaft loop to pro­tect the truck in the event of a U-joint fail­ure. Gear se­lec­tion is han­dled by a floor mounted Win­ters Per­for­mance Sidewinder gated shifter that keeps Shultz from ac­ci­den­tally grab­bing the wrong gear. A Derale trans­mis­sion cooler is in­stalled to keep the Al­li­son cool.

Af­ter the build team of friends and fam­ily de­ter­mined that ev­ery­thing was me­chan­i­cally sound and would fit and work to­gether Shultz com­pleted the body work by cre­at­ing cus­tom rear wheel tubs for the bed. Then the body was sent out to his friend Scott Lan­dis in Red Lion, PA where the body­work was per­fected. Lan­dis then laid down primer and sev­eral coats of 2014 Corvette Lime­rock Green color and clear top­coat to make the ’53 stand out in any crowd of cus­tom trucks.

When the body came back from Lan­dis in its beau­ti­ful green fin­ish, the build team com­menced with the fi­nal assem­bly. They also in­stalled the cus­tom in­te­rior that Alex and Austin Ed­wards at EHS Up­hol­stery in Bel Air, MD built for the truck. They used the bench seat out of a 1990 pickup that was nar­rowed 4-inches be­fore be­ing wrapped in grey leather up­hol­stery. They also use grey leather for the door pan­els and fin­ished off

the in­te­rior with cus­tom grey car­pet. To make the bed of the truck as spe­cial as the rest of it, Shultz turned to Seth and Aaron Knisely at Susque­hanna Sawmilling to do the bed wood for the in­side of the bed.

While grandpa Shultz did not live to see the trans­for­ma­tion of his old truck, we’re sure that he would have been proud of the amaz­ing build his grand­son com­pleted on the truck. We know it is one of the best look­ing show trucks we have ever seen and various judges tend to agree. Shultz has won Best of Show hon­ors at the East Coast Diesel Na­tion­als and the Mid At­lantic Diesel Truck Na­tion­als as well as the Best Cus­tom award on Fri­day at the 2016 Scheid Diesel Ex­trav­a­ganza.

De­spite the awards he’s earned with the ’53, like most gear heads he says it’s not fin­ished and he would like to in­stall a sound sys­tem as well as some more cus­tom in­te­rior work in­clud­ing chang­ing it back to a col­umn mount shifter. Of course he also wants to get more power out of the Du­ra­max, so af­ter he up­grades the Al­li­son trans­mis­sion he plans to tune the en­gine with EFILIVE and do some other per­for­mance en­hance­ments mak­ing a great truck even bet­ter. UDBG

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