PANDA EX­PRESS!

KEN­NETH ALLEN FOWLER’S TAR­MAC BURN­ING 825HPLMM

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

Ken­neth Allen Fowler’s Tar­mac Burn­ing 825 HP LMM

When 28-year-old air­craft me­chanic Ken­neth Allen Fowler pur­chased his 2010 GMC Sierra 2500 HD, he had no in­ten­tion of build­ing it into a low-slung street/strip ter­ror. The Rem­lap, Alabama, res­i­dent pur­chased the truck with a 6-inch lift kit and large 35-inch tires in­stalled, but the truck was oth­er­wise com­pletely stock and in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion. But like most gear heads, Fowler couldn't re­sist wrench­ing on the truck and soon turned to Brad Kerr at Diesel South in Trussville, Alabama, to breathe a lit­tle more life and fun into the LMM Du­ra­max.

They started by in­stalling a built Sun­coast Al­li­son trans­mis­sion and triple disk torque con­verter in the truck along with a Screamin Diesel Per­for­mance add-on com­pound turbo kit for more power for the LMM. The kit uses an S475 turbo with a bil­let com­pres­sor wheel to work with the fac­tory LMM VVT turbo to spool quickly and make tons of power on the top end. After en­joy­ing the truck lifted for a while, Fowler and Kerr de­cided they wanted to go to the drag strip with the GMC and be com­pet­i­tive, so they re­moved the BDS lift kit and be­gan to go to work trans­form­ing it into what we see to­day.

To re­place the 35-inch off road tires and wheels, Fowler chose a set of Fuel FF19 22X12 forged alu­minum wheels and low-pro­file Toyo Proxes S/T 305/45R22 tires that don’t scream drag racer, but do look great on the truck. For im­proved brak­ing, Kerr in­stalled a Power Stop Z36 kit with slot­ted and drilled ro­tors and ag­gres­sive pads within new Power Stop calipers front and rear. Chas­sis work con­tin­ued by lowering the front sus­pen­sion and in­stalling Cog­nito steer­ing braces along with FFR Fab­ri­ca­tion tie rods and a larger di­am­e­ter Bell Tech sway bar to help the truck han­dle the curves as well as blast down the strip. In the rear, they low­ered the truck by re­mov­ing the over-load springs from each leaf pack and in­stalled a 3-inch drop shackle. Then to im­prove trac­tion off the line, they in­stalled a set of Cal­tracs bars to con­trol the rear axle. Fi­nally, to tame the ride while al­low­ing them to make ad­just­ments to dial in the truck they in­stalled ad­justable QA1 shocks on all four cor­ners of the truck.

With the sus­pen­sion di­aled in Kerr and Fowler turned their at­ten­tion back to the en­gine, but were de­ter­mined to leave the long block un­touched; and in fact, are not even run­ning head studs, and the stock head gas­kets are still in­tact as the heads have never been re­moved. With bolt on parts in mind they con­tin­ued to build on the foun­da­tion they laid pre­vi­ously with the SDP com­pound turbo kit by hav­ing the stock com­pres­sor cover pow­der coated to match the rest of the kit along with an afe Power hot side boost tube. To en­hance the fuel de­liv­ery to the en­gine bay, they in­stalled a Diesel South fuel sump and FASS 150 fil­ter and pump sys­tem in the fuel tank and on the frame rail near the fuel filler. Then at the en­gine, Kerr in­stalled a PPE Dual Fueler kit with an ad­di­tional Bosch CP3 to go with the fac­tory CP3 in the val­ley. The team at SDP de­signed and cut a cus­tom bil­let alu­minum pul­ley for the sec­ond CP3 to match Fowler’s Fuel FF19 wheels and pow­der coated it Il­lu­sion Royal Blue to match the rest of the un­der­hood per­for­mance parts. The pair of CP3S com­bine to de­liver plenty of high pres­sure fuel to a set of 60 per­cent over S&S Diesel Mo­tor­sport fuel in­jec­tors.

On the ex­haust side of the en­gine, Kerr in­stalled a set of PPE man­i­folds and up­pipes to im­prove the ex­haust flow over the stock units. From the ex­haust out­let of the fac­tory turbo in the val­ley, the SDP kit feeds hot ex­haust gases to the S475 tur­bine then out through the length of a 5-inch di­am­e­ter MBRP ex­haust sys­tem that ter­mi­nates in the stock lo­ca­tion with a 6-inch di­am­e­ter black ex­haust tip. Clean air is drawn into the S475 from the at­mos­phere through an afe fil­ter then after it is com­pressed it is sent di­rectly to the fac­tory turbo in­let for ad­di­tional boost. After the in­take charge leaves the fac­tory charger, it is car­ried to the fac­tory in­ter­cooler through an afe boost tube and out of the in­ter­cooler to the en­gine through the SDP in­ter­cooler tube and high-flow Y-bridge in­take.

To clean up the en­gine bay more, Kerr rerouted the coolant hoses and re­worked the Du­ra­max wire har­ness to make it one of the clean­est Du­ra­max en­gine bays we have seen. With base line com­pound turbo tun­ing from PPEI, the truck has put 825 hp and 1,350 lbs-ft of torque to the dyno rollers. Kerr and Fowler are tar­get­ing 900 hp on the stock en­gine and turbo. They hope to get there with cus­tom PPEI tun­ing spe­cific to their pack­age of parts and pos­si­bly some more fuel up­grades if needed. In its cur­rent state at 7,155 lbs, he has run a best 1/4 mile ET of 11.6 sec­onds at 120 MPH and has put down mid to high 7-sec­ond ETS in the 1/8.

Once they were sat­is­fied with the chas­sis and power in the truck Fowler turned to Clas­sic Col­li­sion in Oneonta, Alabama, to give the truck its stun­ning looks. The orig­i­nal white paint was in ex­cel­lent shape, so they had a good place to start and sim­ply cut and buffed the fac­tory paint to give it a show qual­ity fin­ish. But to dress up and cus­tom­ize the truck to Fowler’s lik­ing, they had to re­move the fac­tory trim and get rid of all the chrome. So they painted the bumpers and GMC De­nali grille em­blem

to match the fac­tory paint. Then they in­stalled black crys­tal head­lights and smoked the rear tail lights and third brake light to make them look al­most black when they were not il­lu­mi­nated. To make sure the lights could still be seen Fowler in­stalled VLED'S LED lights in all the light­ing po­si­tions around the truck. The team at Clas­sic Col­li­sion also re­worked the front fend­ers to al­low the large 22X12-inch wheel and tire com­bi­na­tion to clear with­out rub­bing at ei­ther end even with the low­ered stance of the truck.

When com­bined with the black ac­cents and dark tinted win­dows the truck takes on a con­trast­ing white and black theme that has led to the af­fec­tion­ate nick­name of the “Panda” for Fowler’s street/strip ter­ror. After the truck was com­pleted, the first se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion he en­tered with it was the 2017 TS Per­for­mance Out­law event where he won the in­au­gu­ral All Truck Shootout that in­cluded show-n-shine judg­ing, 1/4-mile drag rac­ing and 1/8-mile speed/stop chal­lenge. He also fin­ished in the top 10 in the TS show-n-shine and made it to the semi-fi­nals in the highly con­tested ODSS 7.70 In­dex class. The truck is cer­tainly built for both show and go!

Like most gearheads, Fowler says that the truck is not fin­ished, and after go­ing from stock and lifted to low­ered and pow­er­ful on the stock en­gine in­ter­nals, we have no idea what he will pull off next. We won’t be too sur­prised to see Fowler and Kerr meet their 900 hp goal on the stock long block, but where will they go from there, what will they wring out of the LMM once they fi­nally crack it open and go to work on the in­ter­nals? We look for­ward to see­ing what’s next! UDBG

Clas­sic Col­li­sion han­dled the paint and body cus­tomiza­tion that in­cluded in­stalling a color matched De­nali grille em­blem as well as the painted front bumper and black crys­tal head­lights that re­placed the stock­ers.

Open­ing the hood of Fowler’s truck re­veals a hid­den beast with a gen­tle heart in the form of a com­pletely stock LMM long block, down to the stock head bolts and orig­i­nal gas­kets, with an Il­lu­sion Royal Blue pow­der coated Screamin Diesel Per­for­mance...

To help the orig­i­nal CP3 sup­ply plenty of fuel to the Du­ra­max and the 60% over S&S Diesel Mo­tor­sport in­jec­tors the team at Diesel South in­stalled a PPE Dual Fueler kit with a sec­ond Bosch CP3. No­tice the cus­tom bil­let CP3 pul­ley that SDP ma­chined to...

After ditch­ing the pas­sen­ger side fac­tory bat­tery and coolant over­flow tank, the space was filled with the SDP Bil­let S475 com­pound turbo kit to boost the per­for­mance.

The team had the com­pres­sor cover on the fac­tory LMM turbo pow­der coated to match the rest of the in­take com­po­nents in­clud­ing the afe Power hot side boost tube.

After lowering the truck Fowler chose to go with a set of Fuel 22X12-inch forged alu­minum FF19 wheels wrapped in low pro­file Toyo Proxes S/T 305/45R22 low pro­file tires. No­tice the cus­tom fender work that Clas­sic Col­li­sion per­formed to fit the huge...

After re­mov­ing the 6-inch lift kit Fowler and the Diesel South team low­ered the front end to get the axles nearly level for the best drag launch and in­stalled a Bell Tech sway bar and FFR Fab­ri­ca­tion tie rods to beef up the stock IFS com­po­nents.

Look­ing at the back side of the front axle you can see that they also in­stalled a set of ad­justable QA1 shocks to tune the truck for op­ti­mal launch char­ac­ter­is­tics.

The rear was low­ered by re­mov­ing the over­load springs and in­stalling a set of 3-inch drop shack­les.

Look­ing un­der the rear bed­side fender you can see the FASS 150 and Diesel South fuel sump to up­grade the fac­tory fuel de­liv­ery as well as the Cal­tracs bars to help the Panda to hook up on the drag strip.

Spent ex­haust gases are ex­pelled through a 5-inch di­am­e­ter MBRP ex­haust sys­tem that ter­mi­nates in the stock lo­ca­tion with a black slash cut 6-inch di­am­e­ter tip.

Mov­ing un­der the rear of the truck you can see that Fowler in­stalled a set of ad­justable QA1 shocks in the rear of the truck as well to help dial in the per­for­mance and keep the tires planted to the tar­mac.

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