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

Ryan Wehrli’s 1970 Chevro­let C/10 Du­ra­max

Ryan Wehrli has al­ways been a truck guy with a great love of older iron, es­pe­cially the 1967-72 C/10 Chevro­lets. Af­ter a few years of driv­ing his Cum­mins-pow­ered 2006 Dodge and get­ting bored with it, he de­cided to start a new pro­ject: mak­ing an old truck new again. As the fab­ri­ca­tion shop man­ager for Wehrli Cus­tom Fab in Sy­camore, Illi­nois, he had the ex­per­tise and ac­cess to the tools and space needed to cre­ate his dream truck. He hoped to find a C/10 truck then put a Du­ra­max driv­e­train and chas­sis un­der­neath it to make it the ul­ti­mate driver.

When a WCFAB cus­tomer wanted to sell his 2006 2WD reg­u­lar cab long bed truck, Wehrli knew he had found the foun­da­tion for his pro­ject and scooped it up. It was a nice truck and he was able to sell off most of the body parts for about half the pur­chase price, mak­ing the chas­sis and driv­e­train a good bar­gain find for his pro­ject. The hunt for a good C/10 went on for about four months be­fore he found the 1970 C/10 you see here, which came from North Carolina to Illi­nois via its previous owner, who in­tended to build it


but ended up list­ing it on­line af­ter own­ing it for about a year. Wehrli pur­chased it as soon as he saw it and be­gan to tear down the pair of trucks al­most im­me­di­ately with plans on hav­ing it on the road in just a few months. But as the pro­ject es­ca­lated and shop obli­ga­tions were put ahead of the pro­ject truck the time line in­flated and it took nearly two years to complete.

Wehrli started from the ground up by strip­ping the 2006 all the way down to the bare frame; he cut ev­ery­thing off the frame ex­cept for the mo­tor mounts and two cross mem­bers. He wanted his new cre­ation to be a 4WD rig, but rather than try­ing to swap a late-model IFS setup un­der the C/10, he wanted to go with a proven straight axle de­sign to show off the fab­ri­ca­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties they have at the shop. And since the C/10 has a shorter wheel­base than the Sil­ver­ado, he knew he would have to re­lo­cate the axles any­how so re­mov­ing the mounts was not an is­sue. Af­ter fit­ting the bed and cab to the chas­sis he welded on new mounts in­clud­ing pro­vi­sions to in­stall the Du­ra­max core sup­port to hold the ra­di­a­tor and in­ter­cooler. For bet­ter pack­ag­ing and ride qual­ity, Wehrli de­signed

and fab­ri­cated a four-link de­sign with air bags front and rear.

To im­prove the vi­su­als of the chas­sis, Wehrli welded all of the holes in the frame closed and smoothed the en­tire chas­sis be­fore send­ing it out to KB Cus­toms in nearby Su­gar Grove to get it painted black with a semi-gloss clear to make it look good and hold up well to the el­e­ments. Up front he’s us­ing a high-pin­ion Dana 60 axle that he fit with WFO Con­cepts cross­over style steer­ing link­age and the fac­tory 2006 steer­ing box, along with WFO mount plates that al­low the fac­tory 2006 brake ro­tors and calipers to be used. To up­grade the stop­ping power, he re­placed the fac­tory ro­tors and pads with EBC Brakes slot­ted ro­tors and more ag­gres­sive Orangestuff pads. Since WCFAB does pow­der­coat­ing in-house, they coated the axle hous­ing gloss black and fin­ished the links, Pan­hard bar and steer­ing com­po­nents with a dark metal­lic gray to stand out from and com­pli­ment the mat­te­black frame. Seven-inch Slam Spe­cial­ties air bags are used in con­junc­tion with a pair of Bilstein 7100-se­ries re­mote reser­voir shocks up front to tame the ride and con­trol the axle.

In the rear, Wehrli used the 11.5-inch AAM axle from the donor truck but did away with the leaf springs in fa­vor of a set of 6-inch Slam Spe­cial­ties air bags and a four-link de­sign. The air bags are lo­cated di­rectly be­tween the frame and axle hous­ing while a set of Bilstein 7100-se­ries re­mote reser­voir shocks are mounted on the rear side of the axle with a cus­tom cross mem­ber for the up­per mounts. He fab­ri­cated the link arms from 1.875-inch DOM steel tub­ing with a thick 3/16-inch wall and used

large 2.625 Bal­lis­tic forged chro­moly joints at each end of the links, as he did up front, for strength and good han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics. The rear axle and sus­pen­sion links were pow­der­coated to match the front as well. EBC slot­ted ro­tors and Orangestuff pads are em­ployed to im­prove the rear brak­ing as well.

Wehrli fab­ri­cated cab mounts to place the cab on the new chas­sis where the en­gine would clear the fire­wall while also al­low­ing the Sil­ver­ado core sup­port to be re­tained and the fac­tory Du­ra­max cool­ing fan to be used. To mount the bed as low as pos­si­ble on the chas­sis, Wehrli cut out the orig­i­nal ribs un­der the bed and re­placed them with shorter ribs to prop­erly align the body and cab. The fab­ri­cated mounts look as though Chevro­let planned to mate the Sil­ver­ado chas­sis to a C/10 body to be­gin with.

While Wehrli could have opted to have the C/10 body re­worked and mas­saged to per­fec­tion then paint it a fresh new color, he loved the patina of the orig­i­nal paint so much that he de­cided to keep it the way it was when he bought it. He did go ahead and have a lo­cal body shop in­stall new floor pans and rockers to re­place the dam­aged orig­i­nal pan­els. They also in­stalled a larger trans­mis­sion tun­nel like the ones fit­ted in the K/10 trucks to clear the larger trans­mis­sion and trans­fer case.

With the chas­sis and body whipped into sub­mis­sion, it was time to build the power plant. If Wehrli worked any­where other than Wehrli Cus­tom Fab­ri­ca­tion it might be ac­cept­able to plug the stock Du­ra­max into the truck and call it a day—but that just wouldn’t fly for the WCFAB team, so they tore into the LBZ to give it a mild per­for­mance re­build. The block and parts were sent off to Per­for­mance Mo­tor Sports in Sand­wich, IL, for ma­chine work then brought back to WCFAB for assem­bly. The WCFAB crew put to­gether a mix of fac­tory and after­mar­ket parts to try to make Wehrli’s goal of 750 streetable and re­li­able horse­power.

At the heart of the Du­ra­max en­gine a new

At the heart of the Du­ra­max en­gine a new fac­tory LML crank­shaft that swings around delipped LB7 pistons on stock LBZ rods with an ATI damper to keep har­mon­ics in check. A Socal Diesel Per­for­mance al­ter­nate-fire camshaft ac­tu­ates the valves through Mer­chant Au­to­mo­tive pushrods with Hamil­ton Cams valve springs to con­trol the valves. In­ter­nally, the en­gine is held to­gether with ARP head and main studs and new bear­ings were used through­out the en­gine. Ev­ery­thing else was re­placed or re­built dur­ing the re­assem­bly in­clud­ing the al­ter­na­tor, starter, wa­ter pump, oil cooler, oil pump, and power steer­ing pump. To help the en­gine to look its best, all of the brack­ets and covers were pow­der­coated in house and all new fas­ten­ers were used through­out.

Spent ex­haust gases are ex­pelled through a set of LML man­i­folds then chan­neled through a set of 2-inch-di­am­e­ter stain­less steel up-pipes that Wehrli fab­ri­cated to carry the hot ex­haust gasses up to a fab­ri­cated turbo pedestal in the val­ley that ro­tates the turbo 90 de­grees. The val­ley charger is a High Tech Turbo FMW S366 that sends the ex­haust along to a High Tech Turbo FMW S480 at­mos­phere turbo mounted on the pas­sen­ger side of the en­gine. From there, the ex­haust is sent out through mostly stock routing through a pol­ished stain­less steel 5-inch di­am­e­ter ex­haust sys­tem that ter­mi­nates be­hind the pas­sen­ger side rear wheel. All of the un­der hood hot-side pip­ing is wrapped in header wrap to keep the heat in the pipes and out of the en­gine bay.

On the in­take side, plenty of clean air is drawn into the HTT S480 turbo through an afe Pro Drys cone fil­ter then af­ter it is com­pressed it is handed off to the HTT S366 in the val­ley be­fore be­ing chan­neled through the fac­tory GM in­ter­cooler then routed into the en­gine through a WCFAB Y-bridge in­take. Wehrli used Vi­brant Van­jen clamps and welded V-band clamps to plumb the com­pound turbo setup to min­i­mize the chance of ex­haust or boost leaks and make it easy to ser­vice while giv­ing an ul­tra-clean look. All of the cold-side pipes and the turbo com­pres­sor hous­ings were pow­der­coated black then given a gold flake clear coat for a unique look un­der the hood that’s sure to draw at­ten­tion to the ex­cel­lent fab­ri­ca­tion work and unique com­pound turbo setup.

Wehrli sim­pli­fied and cleaned up the en­gine har­ness pro­tect­ing it with braided sheath for a much cleaner look than the fac­tory pro­vides. A sin­gle stro­ker 10mm Ex­ergy CP3 is in­stalled in the AC com­pres­sor lo­ca­tion; it is spun by a WCFAB ma­chined bil­let pul­ley while a WCFAB block off plate

is in­stalled in the stock CP3 lo­ca­tion in the val­ley. The high-pres­sure fuel is fed into the en­gine through a set of 60% over Ex­ergy fuel in­jec­tors. EFILIVE tun­ing by Cal­i­brated Power So­lu­tions is used to get the most out of the com­bi­na­tion, yield­ing 753 horse­power and 1,390 lb-ft of torque as mea­sured on CPS’ dyno and meet­ing Wehrli’s power goal for the truck.

All of that mod­ern Du­ra­max power would eas­ily over­whelm the trans­mis­sion orig­i­nally in the C/10, so Wehrli opted to go the mod­ern route and use the Al­li­son from the ’06 Sil­ver­ado. The trans­mis­sion was re­con­fig­ured with a 4WD out­put and con­nected to a fac­tory trans­fer case that was pow­der­coated black to match the rest of the chas­sis. The trans­mis­sion was given a per­for­mance re­build by the WCFAB team with Sun­coast in­ter­nals to han­dle the ex­tra power. The en­gine is linked to the trans­mis­sion through a LML flex­plate and Sun­coast 1058 triple disc bil­let torque con­verter while cus­tom drive shafts send the power to the front and rear axles.

To make the truck more com­fort­able, Wehrli in­stalled sound dead­en­ing on the fire­wall and cab floor and then in­stalled a new car­pet kit and the seats from the Sil­ver­ado. The Sil­ver­ado’s steer­ing col­umn and wheel were also adapted to the C/10 in­te­rior, as was the gauge clus­ter. The rest of the in­te­rior is stock C/10 down to the sim­ple door pan­els, crank win­dows, clas­sic sun vi­sors and steel dash. Wehrli hopes to one day in­stall a stereo sys­tem in the truck but right now he is hav­ing too much fun en­joy­ing the sound of 750 Du­ra­max horses snarling each time he mashes the loud pedal.

Like most truck guys, Wehrli says his truck still isn’t done; he would like to in­stall heat and AC to make the truck more en­joy­able to drive as well as some ad­di­tional cus­tom touches. But he is cer­tainly en­joy­ing the C/10 as it is now. He fin­ished it in time to de­but it at the 2016 Scheid Diesel Ex­trav­a­ganza, where it took home the Best Cus­tom Diesel hon­ors for Saturday’s show-n-shine. It is not a trailer queen ei­ther, as Wehrli has put more than 4,000 miles on the truck in the five months since he fin­ished it at­tend­ing diesel events and just plain hav­ing fun in his dream ride. If you hap­pen to see a rusty/green old C/10 at a diesel show, you may want to take a closer look. It may be one of the nicest diesel trucks you’ve ever seen—we know it’s one of the nicest cus­tom trucks we’ve seen! UDBG

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.