Trick Tow Truck
This Hauler Is One of a Kind
Diesels do not get into the pages of Truckin' magazine all that often. It's not that diesel-powered trucks aren't that prevalent on the road, but trucks that are used specifically for towing are usually not given the extreme aftermarket treatment, and modified diesel haulers are even more scarce.
Air Ride Technologies set out to change that way of thinking, one truck at a time. The company started with its own, a '02 GMC 1-ton dualie. This truck is used to tow Air Ride's 45-foot display trailer to various shows and tows about 30,000 miles a year. It has more demand put on it than a daily driver, and it does everything asked of it flawlessly...on 'bags.
Air Ride started in on the 1-ton dualie at the suspension, where Air Ride does its best work. The company installed a complete ShockWave/AirBar suspension, which lowers the truck 9 inches in front and 14 inches in the rear. In front, Air Ride replaced the stock suspension pieces with its own upper and lower control arms, bolt-on steering arms, and a tubular transmission crossmember. The company also used GM 1/2-ton torsion bars and adjusters on this truck to make the front drop as much as 9 inches. Air Ride replaced the spring and shock combination with ShockWave air springs that surround the billet QA1 shocks. This means that there was no need to relocate the shocks, and the front now uses 12-position valving.
The rear leaf spring setup was removed, and a full AirBar suspension was installed. AirBar is a four-link air suspension that retains driveline angles and the truck's load capacity. To drop the truck more in the rear, the AirBar kit uses a two-piece, boxed C-notch. The compressor is a four-way RidePro kit, which uses two compressors, two 3-gallon tanks, a four-way RidePro solenoid block, and a four-way digital gauge to make sure that the dualie's corners are at the same height.
Once the company was happy with the dualie's stance, it focused on the truck's appearance. The GMC was Summit White from the factory, and this color is still evident on the bottom half of the truck. The top half of the truck was coated in Jeep Bright Silver metallic paint. It was then handed over to Bob Maynard, who usually does graphics magic to Harleys. He spent about 90 hours working on the GMC's graphics at Air Ride's shop in Jasper, Indiana.
In front, the 1-ton received a Trenz billet grille. The bed was coated in Line-X, and the rear bumper was replaced by a Sir Michaels roll pan. To serve the company's towing needs, the stock hitch was removed, and a Draw-Tite gooseneck hitch was bolted on. Air Ride needed reliable towing with this truck and opted to keep the wheel and tire size the same as stock. Alcoa supplied a set of polished 16-inch Hot Shot wheels, which were wrapped in Goodyear P215/75R16 tires.
The company bought the 1-ton equipped with the 6.6L Duramax V-8 diesel engine. The 403ci engine puts out 300 hp at 3,000 rpm and 520 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm, making it an ideal engine for towing purposes. It uses direct injection and a turbocharger with an intercooler and is backed by a five-speed Allison automatic transmission. While the engine/tranny combo is currently stock, Air Ride has plans for a Banks upgrade kit, which will add horsepower and improve torque.
It's true that when someone decides to build a truck as a tow vehicle, there are some compromises that have to be made. In addition, it's almost impossible to build a tow vehicle as extreme as a normal fullsize.. With all of this in mind, the guys at Air Ride found a way to build its tow vehicle so it can tow the big trailer and still be just as cool as a show truck.