2002 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD - Hard Chargin’

A 900hp Duramax’s Climb To The Top

Mike McGlothlin
Apr 7, 2014
Photographers: Mike McGlothlin
Running at the front of the pack doesn’t come easy -- especially if you’re into sled pulling. While rising to the top didn’t come easy for Heather Powell and her 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, it sure happened fast. Once built, the truck was immediately put to the test, and by the end of 2013 she laid claim to First Place finishes in two reputable pulling organizations. “I always had a passion for pulling,” Heather told us. “When I got out of college, I knew I wanted to sled pulling competitively.”
Teaming up with Dan Clarke of Dan’s Diesel Performance, the idea of a 2.5 Class (i.e. Work Stock) truck was born. The 270,000-mile LB7 Duramax was torn down and the short-block was rebuilt using ARP main studs, Carrillo rods, fly-cut Mahle Motorsport pistons, and a MaxSpool Engineering cam. The heads were ported and fitted with stiffer, MaxSpool Engineering valvesprings and Harland Sharp roller rockers that ride on Smith Brothers pushrods and fasten to the block via ARP studs.
Photo 2/11   |   2002 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Front View
Dual AirDog II systems, each fed by its own Sinister Diesel fuel tank sump, send diesel to a 12mm (stroker) CP3 and a set of 150-percent-over injectors from Exergy Engineering. At the heart of the Chevy LB7’s horsepower recipe lies a T6-flanged, S400-based turbocharger from Engineered Diesel, which meets Heather’s local 2.5-inch-inducer class rules. It mounts courtesy of a ProFab Performance pedestal and feeds the Duramax 45 psi of boost during a pull. Exhaust restrictions are eliminated thanks to a set of ProFab Performance headers and up-pipes. On the intake side, a Spearco air-to-air intercooler, 5-inch intake tube, and custom intercooler plumbing keep incoming air as cool and free flowing as possible. A slew of electric Flex-a-lite fans -- three in front of the intercooler and two behind the radiator -- also help keep temps in check. EFILive tuning from Dan’s Diesel Performance maximizes what the LB7 sends through the driveline.
Harnessing more than 900 hp is a triple-disc clutch from Valair, and a stock Chevy ZF-6 manual transmission and NV261 transfer case. An Eaton ELocker rests in the front differential and a Yukon spool sits between 38-spline axleshafts in the rear to ensure all that power is put to use. The IFS’ steering gremlins are alleviated thanks stainless steel tie-rod sleeves from Merchant Automotive, and an innovative four-link traction bar setup makes rear axlewrap nonexistent.
Photo 6/11   |   2002 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Engine View
From top to bottom, every area of this Chevy Silverado HD has been built, or modified, to make the most of its time spent in the dirt. And with horsepower approaching the four-digit mark, it showcases just how much power you can squeeze out of a 63mm turbo these days. A few short months from now, Heather will be competing and defending her crown in two sled pulling organizations: the Southwest Wisconsin Pullers, and the Midwest Tractor and Truck Pullers. Given the stiff competition she’s up against, we can’t say a First Place finish is a guarantee -- but it sure wouldn’t surprise us.
A balanced and blueprinted LB7 resides under the hood of Heather Powell’s 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD. It sports a set of Carrillo connecting rods; fly-cut, cast-aluminum Mahle Motorsport pistons; a keyed factory crankshaft; ARP main studs; a MaxSpool Engineering keyed camshaft; and LML piston oil jets on the bottom end. The heads were ported and anchor to the block courtesy of ARP studs, while MaxSpool Engineering valvesprings, Harland Sharp roller rockers, and Smith Brothers pushrods sum up the valvetrain mods. TIG-welding the factory water pump in place ruled out any failures at high rpm. All machine work was performed by Green County Machine in Monroe, Wisconsin, and the assembly took place at Dan’s Diesel Performance in Marengo, Illinois.
Photo 7/11   |   Strengthening the rear AAM 1150’s internals is a spool from Yukon Gear & Axle, and 38-spline axleshafts. Two-inch wheel spacers widen the truck’s rear-wheel stance, and a pulling hitch from BigChevyHitch.com links the truck to the sled.
Photo 11/11   |   Not cutting any corners in the fuel supply department, Heather’s Silverado utilizes two Sinister Diesel fuel tank sumps, each feeding its own 165-gph AirDog II system. This ensures the Exergy Engineering 12mm (stroker) CP3 never runs dry, and that the fuel rails always have plenty of diesel on tap for the 150-percent-over injectors.

Fast Facts
Year/Make/Model: 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
Owner: Heather Powell
Hometown: Richland Center, Wisconsin
Odometer: 270,000 miles
Engine: 6.6L Duramax V-8
Fuel: Exergy Engineering 150-percent-over injectors, Exergy Engineering 12mm CP3, two AirDog II 165-gph lift pumps, two Sinister Diesel fuel tank sumps
Air: Engineered Diesel 2.5 Competition Turbo, Spearco intercooler
Transmission: ZF-6 six-speed manual with Valair triple-disc clutch
Horsepower: 945 hp
Torque: 1,400 lb-ft
Tires: 305/70R17 BFGoodrich All Terrain
Wheels: 17x8½-inch H2 Hummer
Fun Fact 1: After earning an Agricultural Power and Equipment Technician degree from Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, Heather went to work in the diesel pickup industry and is now co-owner of Dan’s Diesel Performance.
Fun Fact 2: The truck is nicknamed “Hank.”

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