One Owner Mixes Old School And New School
Joey Smith is a flooring contractor. He knows that a good truck is essential to his job, especially a 4×4 truck. He also feels that a truck can be more than just a tool of the trade. His love for trucks has led him to undertake a few builds over the years. His first was a 1997 Ford F-250 that started out stock, but left his stable with 15 inches of lift and a lot of other upgrades too. Of course, no truck is forever, so eventually he decided to replace his tall Super Duty. That replacement is seen here.
Smith’s latest build started life as a virtually stock 2008 GMC Sierra HD2500. He acquired it in 2013, in nearly stock condition. Of course, he wouldn’t leave it that way for long. The first rendition of this rig was upgraded with a TCS 9-inch IFS lift kit, along with a few other minor upgrades. While this lift was cool, Smith wanted more. About a year after the original purchase, he again approached the team at TCS Suspension. This time he wanted something truly unique and cool.
“Smith’s latest build started life as a virtually stock, 2008 GMC Sierra HD2500.”
Mario Leal of TCS Suspension and his crew were again asked to take on the task of improving the wow factor of Smith’s truck, while keeping it practical to drive. After much discussion, the decision was made to lift the truck even more, and do a straight axle swap to the front end in the process. Of course, this meant a custom suspension build was needed.
The first thing required was a straight axle to change out the stock IFS setup. Without this key piece, the brackets couldn’t be built. After some measuring, the TCS crew decided that a Dana 60 out of the front of a 2006 Ford F-250 4×4 was needed. With the Dana 60 in hand, the brackets were developed and tested, and then production parts were fabbed up.
One upgrade that was required in the axle was to swap in a High Steer front knuckle from Reid Racing. This unit raises the steering linkage connection to the axle steering setup by 4 1/2 inches. This significantly improves steering linkage angles on a lifted truck. With it installed on the new front axle, the axle mounting brackets and steering linkage was engineered.
The front suspension is a four-link setup that utilizes King Racing dual-rate coilover shocks. These units have direct mounted bypass canisters and can be tuned for the best on and off pavement ride. They also allow for more suspension travel than the stock IFS setup.
The new rear suspension is a four-link setup that utilizes air bags to allow this work truck to carry a load or run empty, with similar ride height and suspension response regardless of load. The rear also utilizes King Racing dual-rate shocks, without the coil springs. These units also have direct-mounted bypass canisters and can be tuned for the best on and off pavement ride. Front and rear, King bump stops limit suspension travel. Of course, what isn’t painted white is chrome plated, anodized or polished. The final part of this lift package is a set of Mickey Thompson 36×15.5×20 MZT tires mounted on 22×14 American Force, Judge SS8 polished wheels.
“The new rear suspension is a four-link setup that utilizes air bags to allow this work truck to carry a load or run empty, with similar ride height and suspension response regardless of load.”
The body was not left alone. While the front bumper is bright chrome, the rear bumper was removed. A shaved roll pan from Grant Customs was painted to match the body and fills the rear bumper gap. Up front, a T-Rex billet grille looks cool and is stronger than OE. Also, a Rigid LED light bar was mounted over the windshield using TCS light bar brackets. The door handles, mirrors, and AMP steps have all been painted to match the body. Escalon Paint and Body in Escalon, California, did a great job getting all the different materials and surface textures to color match.
At the rear, this truck sports a 4-inch exhaust and the exhaust tip is a 7×18 rolled-tip chrome unit. Other underbody items are the twin Viair 400 compressors and a 5-gallon tank to feed the air bags.
This 2008 GMC Sierra HD2500 is a one-of-a-kind truck. Not only is it a nice mix of old school and new school, the lift kit from TCS Suspension is said to be 100-percent bolt-on, with no welding or cutting required. Unfortunately, when checking the TCS website, you won’t find it listed for sale. Of course, with enough encouragement, we’re sure they can be persuaded to build more. DW