First Drive: Lingenfelter Silverado Reaper

Oct. 22, 2014 By G.R. Whale

Lingenfelter Silverado Reaper Cont.

The rear leaf pack is also stock to maintain payload and towing ratings—just remember the Reaper weighs more than stock so both decline slightly, fitted with a one-inch block to level and new U-bolts. Travel is up by approximately 25% to 9.2 inches front and 11.2 inches rear, and articulation has improved though perhaps not to the same degree.

Except for inverted shocks and the small blocks, rear suspension is stock. So is the spare; we didn’t have a tape measure to see if a matching 33 will fit between the rails.

Standard, unique-to-Reaper cast aluminum 20-inch wheels run General Grabber AT2 305/50R20 tires; for about $1,000 we’d not hesitate optioning-up to the 17x9 beadlocks and more aggressive 33/12.50R17 red-letter Grabbers, even if they are heavier.

The last piece of the puzzle is a Corsa-built-to-LPE-spec exhaust system, 3.5-inch single into the muffler and dual 2.5s out the tail under the bumper where they are the departure angle limit. If you plan on any low-speed wheeling we’d get a couple of mandrel-bent 90s and send the pipes out behind the tires. And there’s another caveat in that regard: This truck’s exhaust note is in-your-face loud so if you drive windows open, along a lot of soundwalls or alongside mountainsides, take that into consideration.

You can get 4-into-1 headers to add another 15 hp or so on the top end on 49-state trucks: While it would pass the sniffer, headers don’t pass the visual test in the 50th state. And since the axles and diffs are all stock, with a 3.42:1 the shortest gear available with a 6.2/8-speed combo, you’re not going to see that 5000-6200 rpm range a lot anywhere except maybe deep sand or mud.

The main option ($8-9K) is a supercharger system for either the 5.3 or 6.2. Built around a Magnuson TSV 1900 blower (running a reliable maximum 6 psi) sitting atop a completely independent liquid-to-air intercooler system and LPE programming, this bumps 5.3 power from 355/380 to about 475/465 and 6.2 from 420/460 to 550/540. Torque managed shifts keep the 6L80E in one piece, and the tow/haul mode gets the same shift point and firmness percentage changes applied to standard-mode operation.

To some this is Reaper’s best angle because of what you don’t see: Payload and tow ratings are only nominally lower (by weight of additions) than stock. Tailpipes are best relocated behind wheels for better departure angle.

The Results
We’ll let you make the call on appearance though if attention’s your thing, this garnered as much as a Raptor did. And if you don’t like it we’re certain you could get a supercharger system and some parts from Lingenfelter and build your own.

With a Raptor-fighting premise we’ll start with the suspension. It is firm, definitely tuned for high-speed travel and what some would consider abuse. However, we also found pavement didn’t clean the outboard inch-plus of rear-tire tread and believe the ride would improve considerably if we dropped some air pressure from the back and a little from the front: The Grabbers are 35-psi tires so it shouldn’t be too hard to make the TPMS agreeable. Indeed, the stiffness reminded a lot of a TRD Pro Tundra we got in with 46 psi that rode much better when we aired down to the spec 33.

Accessory switches are in overhead console on production trucks, fog lights switched by the factory equipment. If only the right switch was real…

We have to give the Raptor the nod in suspension, as the more exhaustive parts combination and tuning yields better overall results than the overhaul of existing parts and new front springs and dampers of Reaper or the TRD Pro. We think the TRD Pro package rides better, and Tundra feels lighter than Silverado to begin with, but only a comparison test will settle that. We also will never complain about gaining inches of clearance, travel and articulation all covered under a truck’s 3/36 warranty, and the tires didn’t rub anywhere even fully crossed up.

On the highway the exhaust drone can be tiring, as it can in the Tundra, though it happens at different engine speeds. There is some tire sing too, though less than we expected with the big-block treads, and if there’s any supercharger whine we never heard it inside. How long have we been telling you the 2014-and-up Silverado is a quiet truck?

We’ve driven stock Silverados through this same wash but Reaper’s extra shock travel is clearly apparent.

Apart from the sound, some exhaust flare from torque-managed shifts and the rare idle-lump following a hot restart the drivability matches the stock truck and the extra torque earlier in the rev range makes either engine easier to drive whether you’re skipping over washboard or creeping up a hill in low. Yes, it has plenty of horsepower but you’ll notice and use the generous torque far more often.

Our glass-ass stopwatch suggests only a few desert-runner pickups might, and we stress might, keep up with a supercharged 6.2 and eight-speed automatic. Although the eight-speed has shorter ratios, most of these trucks will spin rear tires empty in first. A stock Tundra runs quick as a Raptor and the TRD Supercharged (504 horsepower, 550 lb-ft) 5.7 2WD regular cab I drove would clear 60 in less than five seconds with the traction-control light blinking almost incessantly.

Hennessey VelociRaptors come in normally-aspirated 475-hp for about $7,000, supercharged 600-horse (about $13,000 installed) claiming a 0-60 time of 5.2 seconds, and a twin-turbo 810-hp unit (about $55,000), all with a 1-year/12,000-mile warranty.

Driving and fog lights and tow hooks are safely tucked away but easy to reach when needed.

Shelby also does a Raptor at 575 hp and 492 lb-ft of torque for about $18,000 with a 1-year/12,000-mile on Shelby parts but brochure notes it voids the powertrain warranty, and Roush does a supercharged 590-hp/590 lb-ft with an optional Roush complete powertrain warranty.

While the Raptor comes with shorter gears than the Silverado, it also swings bigger tires, tends to be heavier and has more aero resistance than the Silverado. There’s no telling yet if the next Raptor will use a 5-liter V-8 or a 3.5 EcoBoost running close to the 380-hp/460 lb-ft spec used in Lincoln’s Navigator (with 4.10s).

At anywhere near the price we don’t think you’ll find a faster desert assault vehicle than a 6.2 Reaper. The 2015 base vehicle 6.2 option, available only on LTZ-trim or higher, is up $500 to $2,495 because it gets the eight-speed auto. We found the 5.3 more than adequate, but power junkies will clearly favor the big engine.

Lingenfelter has about 140 dealers across the US and one in Canada, where you can order a Reaper on the base truck of your choice or see what they have in stock. The entire package comes with the same 3/36 warranty your truck does and will typically add $15,000 to $23,000 to your Silverado cost depending on wheels, graphics and whether or not you supercharge it.

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