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