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  • 2008 Chevrolet 2500 Duramax LTZ - If Speed Is An Addiction...

2008 Chevrolet 2500 Duramax LTZ - If Speed Is An Addiction...

We’re Not Interested in the Cure!

Joe Greeves
Mar 1, 2012
Photographers: Joe Greeves
Alex Kelso is a devout Chevy guy who had a lifelong dream of owning a black-on-black Chevy Duramax. When he spotted this ’08 Chevrolet 2500 Duramax LTZ, it was the perfect choice, and he grabbed it. Alex tows a 27-foot powerboat, and the truck provided lots of torque—but he had another idea in mind for his versatile Chevy. Smiling he says, “My original goal was to have a truck that was deceivingly fast; a sleeper that no one expects to eat them!”
Photo 2/13   |   The all-black ’08 Chevrolet 2500 Duramax LTZ sports a moderate 3-inch lift, rolls on Nitto Trail Grappler rubber wrapped around 20-inch Jesse James rims, and uses a clean Carriage Works billet grille.
Luckily, Alex met Adam Pela of Pela Motorsports near his home in Jupiter, Florida. Adam is a mechanical design engineer by day and a performance guru after-hours, specializing in the Chevrolet Duramax. Alex wanted to go faster, and Adam was the man for the job.

One of the first steps was upgrading the transmission with a Sun Coast Stage V package, incorporating billet input and output shafts along with a 1056 converter. Once the drivetrain could handle the extra torque, Adam dialed in his specialty: using EFILive software to reprogram the factory ECM. This gave Alex’s ride a serious boost in horsepower and choices for towing, mileage, or the strip. That first step was the beginning of a very long list!
Photo 3/13   |   The distinctive powdercoated tubes call attention to the twin-turbo setup under the hood. Intake, exhaust, and electronic upgrades deliver 722 hp from the 6.6L diesel.
Serious performance mods began with Adam adding lots of special tweaks to the 6.6L Duramax—beginning with augmenting the factory boost with a twin-turbo kit from Screaming Diesel. The Bullseye Power S475 turbo was mounted in series with the factory unit and equipped with a BatMoWheel and race housing for even faster spooling. Higher boost meant higher fuel requirements, so 40-percent-larger Exergy Engineering injectors were added along with a Pacific Performance Engineering ported fuel rail, race valve, all new ½-inch fuel lines directly to the CP3, and a 165-gph pump from AirDog (upgraded with a larger fuel pickup and return). While the turbos pressurize the 3-inch intercooler pipes and the Profab high-flow Y-Bridge on the intake side, the Profab cast-flow manifolds, extreme up-pipes, and Pela-modified, 5-inch MBRP straight pipe guarantee a smooth-flowing exhaust.
Photo 4/13   |   2008 Chevrolet 2500 Duramax Ltz If Speed Is An Addiction 2008 Chevrolet 2500 Duramax Ltz Twin Turbo
Adding to the appearance (and ground clearance), the Nitto Trail Grappler rubber (35x12.50-20) wrapped around 20x10 Jesse James Lawless 8s contributes to the truck’s aggressive stance. Adam pie-cut the inner fenders for tire clearance and added a Fabtech 6-inch lift kit with a twist (literally). Since sky-high altitude was never the goal, he adjusted the torsion bars downward, decreasing the lift to just 3 inches, making it the perfect combination for both tire clearance and the most effective altitude for maximum launch. As a result, there is no camber or tow change, the truck sits level, and the tie rods are parallel to the ground. Front suspension changes include Fabtech upper control arms and dual shock hoops. The four Dirt Logic reservoir shocks on the front end were rebuilt by Hal’s Express Shock Service and made a huge difference with a softer ride, more powerful launch, and minimized squats. Al uses a shock dyno to measure the dynamic response then changes the valving to provide a smoother ride. Alex says the difference was like night and day, with the truck riding like a Cadillac and launching like an artillery round! Final suspension additions include a Crank It Up Diesel centerlink and Cognito braces to prevent the pitman and idler arms from being bent under hard acceleration, a Sun Coast billet transfer case brace that provides support during the massive horsepower loads, and Rare Parts tie rods and limiting straps to complete the front end. In the rear, 60-inch Cognito Motorsports traction bars and shocks were used to eliminate axlewrap and ensure stability under hard, four-wheel-drive launches.
Photo 5/13   |   Dual shock hoops with custom-valved Dirt Logic 2.0 reservoir shocks keep the truck on the straight and narrow.
With the powerplant producing tons of torque and the suspension able to cope with it, Alex moved inside, improving the elegant, wood-trimmed, LTZ interior with a sophisticated stereo system that retained the original Bose head unit and door speakers. Augmenting the factory sound with just the right amount of bass is a pair of Alpine 10-inch, Type R subs in a custom enclosure beneath the backseat. The subs are driven by a separate 500-watt Rockford Fosgate amplifier. The combination blends the subtleties of treble and bass together for full dimensional sound. A Power Acoustik DVD unit in the driver-side headrest transforms the stereo into a complete audiovisual system.
Photo 6/13   |   Check out the Mag-Hytec diff cover and the four-trumpet air horns.
Externally, the front and back of the truck were color-matched, the badges and emblems were removed, and Cool View towing mirrors were added. A Carriage Works billet grille, HID headlights, toolbox, and bed rails (and tubs in the rear for fender clearance) wrap up the outside. Underneath, the Horn Blasters Shocker package uses four air horns, powered by a pair of Viair 480C compressors with a 3.5-gallon reserve tank. They will get your attention! Alex originally wanted something that was unbeatable from a stoplight, and we can tell you from the photo shoot that going head-to-head with this 7,500-pound beast is a humbling experience. He launches with a four-wheel-drive start, and you see a plume of black smoke from the pipe, white smoke from the tires, and with 722 hp and 1,423 lb-ft of torque . . . game over! He’s gone!
Photo 7/13   |   The factory, wood-trimmed LTZ interior was already plush, but it was made even better by an elaborate audiovisual setup. Twin subs and an amplifier reside in a custom enclosure under the rear seat with a 7-inch DVD monitor in the driver-side headrest.



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