WHITE HOT WORK TRUCK
MATTHEWALCUMBRACK’S2005 CHEVROLET SILVERADO2500HDTOWRIG
Matthew Alcumbrack’s 2005 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD tow rig
Many truck owners own a truck simply because they like trucks. But diesel truck owners tend to purchase their trucks because they NEED a truck. Matthew Alcumbrack is a truck owner who falls into that category. The 39-year-old Tool & Die company owner from Grand Rapids, Michigan, purchased his 2005 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD new in March of 2005 and has been using it and upgrading it ever since. The truck is a multi-purpose machine for him that he uses to tow a trailer for work frequently as well as for taking his wife and their three kids on family road trip vacations with their RV and boat in tow.
Alcumbrack liked the power and comfort of his crew cab Silverado, but felt that he could use some simple performance upgrades for the engine as well as a major brake upgrade. For the first 150,000 or so miles he used a Bully Dog tuner along with an S&B cold-air intake, and he replaced the hot-side intercooler tube with a 3-inch-diameter tube from afe that flows better and will help reduce EGTS. In addition to airflow improvements under the hood, he also improved the exhaust flow with a Silverline stainless steel 5-inch-diameter exhaust system that culminates in a 6-inch polished stainless steel exhaust tip in the factory location.
He then turned to the Duramax experts at Merchant Automotive in Zeeland, Michigan, to deliver some more oomph. To up the performance, they tuned the truck with EFILIVE tuning and installed a DSP5 switch next to the steering column to allow Alcumbrack to select tunes at will, based on his needs. They also rebuilt the stock transmission with a Merchant Automotive build optimized for towing heavy as Alcumbrack is known to do. While the truck is not built for competition or dyno performance and has yet to be dyno tested, it likely delivers well over 500 hp to the rear wheels on the highest performance tune setting. He has over 250,000 miles on the combination and is still enjoying the performance of both the Duramax engine and the Merchant built Allison transmission.
To improve the chassis to meet Alcumbrack’s towing needs the truck is equipped with Merchant Automotive stainless steel tie rod sleeves up front to protect the tie rods when the truck is under power in 4WD. They also installed a huge Wilwood front brake upgrade that required the addition of 20-inch AVE wheels by MKW wrapped in Load Range E rated LT305/55R20 Bfgoodrich All-terrain tires. The chrome wheels feature a 6-spoke design that allows the Wilwood brakes to be easily seen. Massive 16-inch two-piece rotors replace the factory rotors while giant 6-piston calipers replace the factory units, giving the truck more clamping power and more leverage to stop much more effectively, especially when it’s loaded down and towing heavy. To help stabilize the truck in all driving conditions, Alcumbrack installed Bilstein 5100 Series shocks on all four corners and a Pacbrake air bag system in the rear to help when towing.
He also installed Westin side step bars and a front push bar to both protect the truck and make it easier for the family to get in and out. Then, to make it a little more secure for his daily work use, Alcumbrack installed a color-matched ARE shell to keep prying eyes away from tools, supplies and equipment that he has to transport in the bed at times.
With the truck’s performance and towing attributes upgraded to Alcumbrack’s liking, he focused on the interior. To keep an eye on the engine’s performance he installed an A-pillar pod and a pair of Autometer gauges to monitor boost and EGT at a glance. Then he turned to the experts at Extreme Audio in Grand Rapids, Mich., to upgrade the sound system in the truck to make it more enjoyable on those long family road trips. They installed MB Quart component speakers front and rear with the front tweeters mounted in the A-pillars for great staging presence. Then for bass they installed a sub enclosure with a pair of JL Audio V3 subs behind
the rear seat. Two Alpine amplifiers power the system, a four-channel model mounted behind the rear seat for the mids and highs and a mono sub amp mounted below the rear seat for the bass. All that wonderful audio equipment gets its signal from a Pioneer DVD receiver mounted in the factory dash location. To help keep the kids entertained in the back seat on long road trips, he finished the system off with a Directed Dvd/monitor installed in the headliner.
Alcumbrack is happy with his truck, but like all gearheads, he says it isn’t finished. We’re not sure what else he would want to add or improve, but we’re sure he’ll do it in a way that builds on the great foundation he has already laid with this hard-working rig that pulls double duty as a work truck and family road trip hauler, perfectly meeting all his truck needs. UDBG
Text: Chris Tobin Photography: Chris Tobin & Matthew Alcumbrack
Alcumbrack’s Chevy has a great stance with larger wheels and tires, but not so large that he can’t use the truck for its main purpose of towing and working hard. He removes the ARE shell and installs a diamond plate tool box when he tows his RV with the bed-mounted 5th wheel hitch.
The factory driver-side (hot) intercooler tube was replaced with an afe 3-inch-diameter intercooler tube for additional flow and improved fuel mileage as well as reduced EGTS, which is a critical factor for Alcumbrack since he tows with the truck most of the time.
To improve filtration and airflow he installed an S&B cold-air intake kit with a washable filter and easy visual inspection.
Under the hood, Alcumbrack relies on the durability and reliability of the stock Duramax engine with some minor upgrades, including a pair of Optima Yellow Top batteries to ensure that it starts whenever he needs it to, no matter how harsh the conditions.
Alcumbrack found that the factory brakes were not up to his liking, so he had the team at Merchant Automotive install a massive Wilwood brake upgrade with huge 6-piston calipers that clamp down on enormous 16-inch two-piece brake rotors. Of course, the AVE by MKW 20-inch chrome wheels look good on the truck, but their purpose is function over form and the brake upgrade requires a large wheel to clear the caliper and rotor. The wheels are wrapped in Load Range E rated LT305/55R20 Bfgoodrich all-terrain tires. Looking at the front suspension, you can see that he installed a set of Merchant Automotive tie rod sleeves to strengthen the factory tie rods.
It’s a work truck in Michigan, so it’s not perfect, but Alcumbrack has done a good job of keeping up with cleaning and undercoating the chassis to prevent rust damage.
From the rear you can see the 5-inch diameter stainless steel Silverline exhaust system and the 6-inchdiameter polished stainless steel Silverline exhaust tip exiting the truck in the factory location.
Look more closely and you can see the Pacbrake air springs that are used to help level the load when Alcumbrack is towing or hauling heavy loads. Also notice the Bilstein 5100 Series shocks that replace the factory shocks to help tame the ride.
When the Alcumbrack family loads up for a family road trip, they really load up! He uses his Duramax to tow not only his RV but also the boat at the same time with a bumper-pull receiver mounted on the back of the 5th wheel.
The tan leather interior is still in great shape, making the cab a comfortable place for the family to ride while they travel for family road trip vacations. Looking into the driver side of the interior we see the focus on towing with a pair of Autometer gauges in an A-pillar pod to monitor boost and EGT. Additionally, you can see the electronic trailer brake controller and the Pacbrake air bag gauge and switches to adjust pressures as needed. The Pioneer navigation head unit helps to keep the driver on the right path while delivering tunes to make any trip more enjoyable.