Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Front Page -

“Built not bought” is the mantra of hard-work­ing au­to­mo­tive en­thu­si­asts and hob­by­ists around the world, pro­vid­ing a ral­ly­ing cry for gear­heads who want to build their own projects their own way on their own terms. Some great in­no­va­tion and in­ge­nu­ity have come about from shops and in­di­vid­u­als not ac­cept­ing the sta­tus quo and push­ing to build the trucks that they want, not what the bean coun­ters at the auto man­u­fac­tur­ers serve up to the masses. While we have been clam­or­ing for the Duramax turbo diesel engine to be placed in GMS 3/4-ton Sub­ur­ban and Yukon XL SUVS since it was put into pro­duc­tion start­ing with the 2001 model year Sil­ver­ado HD and Sierra HD trucks—our cries have fallen on deaf ears leav­ing own­ers to build their own if they want one.

Eric Mer­chant is the owner of Mer­chant Au­to­mo­tive in Zee­land, Michi­gan, and an ex­pert in the realm of all things Duramax and Al­li­son re­lated. He wanted more than a truck. He wanted a large SUV that could tow any­thing he needed or wanted to tow for the shop as well as haul fam­ily or crew mem­bers and their gear com­fort­ably, but he wanted and needed a Duramax engine un­der the hood. Of course, the only way to have a Duramax-pow­ered SUV is to build one, so the MA team be­gan the hunt for a good can­di­date to be­gin their Duramax/al­li­son swap project.

Mer­chant and his team found a high-mileage 3/4-ton 2008 Chevro­let Sub­ur­ban that was a for­mer Bor­der Pa­trol ve­hi­cle lo­cally, so they didn’t even have to travel far to pick it up. The Sub­ur­ban had the LS trim pack­age and

Eric Mer­chant and his team at Mer­chant Au­to­mo­tive trans­formed a plain white, run-of-the-mill 9-pas­sen­ger 3/4-ton Chevro­let Sub­ur­ban into a sharp-look­ing, diesel-burn­ing, Yukon Denali-look­ing SUV that GM should have built!

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