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2008 GMC Sierra: Fit For A Foreman

This Oil Rig Has Four Wheels and 900 HP

Text By , Photography by Bethany Then

Even though 99 percent of North America’s population chooses to drive gas-powered vehicles, you can still find select areas where diesels dominate the landscape. Take the oilfields of the Great White North for example. Nils MacArthur resides in the oil-rich province of Alberta, Canada, makes a living in the oil industry, and (as is the norm in this region) drives a diesel. “There aren’t too many gas jobs running around up here,” he told us. “Anywhere there’s oil, there’s diesel trucks.”

Because Nils’ ’08 GMC Sierra is his lifeline out in the field, he initially built it to better handle the type of terrain it was often subjected to. Then, once the suspension lift, air springs, and mud terrain tires added the off-road functionality he was after, he focused his attention on the powertrain. As it turns out, through his longtime readership of Diesel Power, he was intrigued by the kind of work Empire Diesel Performance was doing (Aug. ’09 and Feb. ’11) and decided he wanted a quick-spooling, high-powered truck.

After making the 1,300-mile journey to Empire’s Iowa-based facility, the LMM Duramax was transformed into a rock-solid version of its former self, the Allison transmission was bulletproofed, and the truck left with a 900hp-capable package under the hood. With a compound turbo arrangement sourced and fabricated by Empire and a modifications list that reads like a PPE catalog, it’s now a completely different animal.

Back on oilfield duty, Nils says the truck fits right in. “At any given time, you can have four to five heavily modified diesels on one jobsite, so I enjoy it,” he told us. In the end, what’s not to like about a truck that can go anywhere, do anything, make 900 hp, and break the tires loose at 80 mph? Now fully submerged in the diesel performance culture, Nils plans to retire the truck from the oilfields next year and turn up the wick even more.

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