Some folks just think of their rides as transportation and year after year, blindly get into a stock car or truck for the commute to work. They own one vehicle at a time, maybe two, and are happy with the factory option, wanting little more. Others are true enthusiasts who own several vehicles in a lifetime, are always looking for the best way to upgrade and update their vehicles, and think nothing of replacing upgrades as soon as a better one comes along.
Ryan Thacker, of San Pedro, California, is one of the tinkerers—a kindred spirit to most of you reading this. In his 36 years, he’s owned a lot of cars and trucks; this is his 46th vehicle to date.
Ryan began tinkering with diesel-powered trucks in 2005, with a 2004.5 Dodge Cummins-powered 4×4. He found that they offered something he liked: power and the ability to make even more power. Better still, this power translates into the ability to go fast. And the one thing Ryan loves is to go fast. As a kid, he was introduced to drag racing by his grandfather and has had the “need for speed” ever since.
Jason’s latest Diesel truck is a 2007 Silverado 2500HD. Recently, he upgraded the motor—again. This time the LBZ engine was taken to PPE, where it was bored to .030 over, resulting in a 409cid displacement. Carrillo rods and Manley lightweight pistons where used on the build. The heads were upgraded to a set of So Cal Stage 2, CNC ported units with titanium retainers. The intake was updated with a PPE Y-bridge, and a Bullseye S472 Billet turbo helps pump out the horses. Estimated power now is 604 hp and 1,109 lb/ft of torque.
Programming is handled by an EFI Live Tune unit, and some custom tuning was done, too. PPE up-pipes and manifolds pull the spend diesel exhaust into 5-inch exhaust system with MBPR crossover pipe and muffler. On the transmission side, the Allison six-speed auto has been fitted with an ML billet converter, and Inglewood transmission has converted the valve body into a manual unit and added a shift kit.
On the suspension side, the rear overload springs have been removed, the D.J.M. drop shackles installed, and some Rancho RS9000XL adjustable shocks added. Up front, a set of Bilstein 5100 shocks were swapped in as the only upgrade. The brakes on all four corners have been updated with ceramic pads and slotted rotors from NAPA. Also, the two stock batteries have been replaced with a pair of Optima Red Tops.
In the looks department, a custom paint job was done by EK Autoworx, in Gardena, California. They used a mixture of candy root beer brown and candy red, with some black pearl and silver birch metallic, to make this truck stand out. The hand-painted graphics wrap all the way around the truck, and a wild, flaming skull graphic is airbrushed on the hood. Topping off the looks and adding handling is a set of 285x50R20 Toyo Proxes S/T tires mounted on BMF Novakane wheels.
When Ryan is not commuting to work, his truck is usually at the track. In between, Ryan spends time on this Silverado build with friends and co-conspirators Mike, Dale, Tom and Joe, who are constantly working to make this truck even faster.
By Trent Riddle
Photography: Jason Mulligan