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2003 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD - Dixieland Duramax

Two Brothers With A Winning Combo

Photography by Dan Davis

What do you get when you turn a quick-witted businessman and a master fabricator loose on a Duramax-powered Chevy? You guessed it, a one-of-a-kind truck that is as impressive in the dirt pulling a sled as it is on the street. It just so happens that these two guys, Jason and David Smith, are brothers, and own Smith Brothers Harley Davidson in Johnson City, Tennessee. They used to race Yamaha R-6 motorcycles in the Formula USA National Road Racing Series, so they aren't exactly strangers to transforming vehicles into hot rods-and the need for speed is just in their blood. This '03 Chevrolet 2500 started life with a 6-inch Fabtech lift and some mild EFILive tuning, but soon Jason found himself wanting to compete in area sled pulls.

You see, not only is the Tennessee-Kentucky area big on NASCAR and Harley Davidson motorcycles, it's also a prime area for sled pulling. When Jason realized he was only a few hours away from getting in on the weekly Kentucky Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pulling Association (KOTTPA) sled pull action, he began researching how to create the truck you see here.

When Jason had concluded his preliminary research on what to do with the truck, David went to work. The LB7 engine was taken to Performance Automotive in Greenville, Tennessee, where all the machining was done. The engine was gone through from the bottom up, as the block was honed, and the crank was balanced. From there, the stock pistons were cut and coated, then a radius valve job was performed for optimum flow. When re-assembling the engine, David threw in a set of Crower connecting rods as well.

To provide adequate fueling, the factory injectors were Extrude-Honed by Pro Performance Diesel in Pennsylvania, and now flow 80 percent more than stock. An extra twin CP3 injection pump from ATS keeps fuel pressure constant and reduces drive load on the factory pump. The truck breathes via an AFE Stage 2 intake, which feeds the big, non-wastegated Aurora 5000 turbo. According to Jason, he's even competed against the likes of Brad Ingram and Dan Painter in 3.0-inch-diameter inducer pulling classes.

Custom EFILive tuning by Jason's good friend Bob Olson ties everything together, and is where the "Team Twisted" windshield sticker comes from. As you know, over the years EFILive tuning has helped unlock unimaginable power from Duramax engines. And the fact that it is only available for the GM mill has led to a secret society of sorts when it comes to sharing tunes. To make a long story short, Jason belongs to Team Twisted, while many other groups share what they believe are the best performance tunes for the Duramax. And, thanks to Olson's tuning, he believes his LB7 makes an estimated 700 horsepower and 1,400 lb-ft.

To keep exhaust gas temperatures at bay, David fabricated a 4-inch exhaust with a 5-inch stack, fitted the truck with a Spearco intercooler, and added a Stage 3 water-methanol injection system from Snow Performance.

An ATS transmission with a Five Star converter and billet input and output shafts has proven more than durable for Jason's needs so far. A stout 6-inch Advanced Driveline & Machine driveshaft with billet aluminum ends helps get as much of that 700 hp to the ground as possible. And, to ward off any unnecessary axlewrap, Jason had TNT Race Cars of Piney Flats, Tennessee, build him a set of traction bars from 4130 chromoly steel. Before we got ahead of ourselves picking Jason's brain about his pulling truck, he made sure we knew he never intended to build a dedicated sled puller. "It's not a pulling truck that I sometimes drive on the street, it's a street truck that I sometimes pull with. I built it like a Diesel Power Challenge contender would."

Jason is definitely a grassroots kind of guy. He isn't worried about how fast his truck is in the quarter-mile, or how competitive he needs to be in a given sled pulling class. His main concern with this truck is to have fun. With the help of ATS, Performance Automotive, Bob Olson, and a big hand from his brother David, Jason has what he set out to build-a hot rod diesel that can tear up the town or wreak havoc at the sled pulls.

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