Truckerís Half-Ton: GMC Sierra Daily Driver of Superlift Semi Driver
Roger Ouchley is a truck guy who sets out on the highway looking for adventure. A fan of Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives show on the Food Network, Roger seeks out family-owned greasy-spoons when he's on the road, driving Superlift's 18-wheeler to events throughout the country. (He documents these "Triple-Ds" on his Facebook page.)
When Roger isn't traveling to truck shows, he does tech and sales support in the office at Superlift. His daily driver is a 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4.
Roger's job involves attending shows, so he's constantly exposed to innovative products. A few that stand out from the rest were picked for his personal rig. Most of the aftermarket parts are bolt-on, so this truck represents modifications that enthusiasts can probably do themselves at home.
Roger began with a kit he knows well, a Superlift 6-inch suspension system. Installation requires some welding and cutting. However, Superlift's replacement steering knuckles make this system easier to fit than old-school "bracket" kits, which use drop mounts to restore steering angles. Further, Superlift profiled its knuckles to clear the calipers and wheels with minimal increase to the front track. Wide knuckles require less-precise engineering, but steering feel and components stress increase the farther outboard the wheels get. Also, turning radius and handling suffer when the front track is considerably wider than the rear.
The truck also got top-of-the-line Superide SS replacement struts, built to spec by Bilstein. These dampers improve ride quality when using oversized tires; the base kit uses spacer brackets on top of the OE struts, retaining stock-like ride.
Similarly, Roger chose Bilstein-engineered Superide SS monotube shocks for the rear instead of the cost-conscious twin-tube base Superide dampers. The rear lift comes from leveling blocks. This retains the factory springs along with their payload capacity and spring rate.
The 6-inch lift creates clearance for 33-inch-tall tires. Up to 35s will fit if the squared-off wheel wells are clearanced.
Roger decided against massaging his sheetmetal. This keeps the GMC more streetable and doesn't require regearing the axles.
Commute-friendly LT-sized rubber got the nod: 305/55R20 Cepek Radial FC-IIs. Compared to the closest flotation size, 33x12.50, the LT fitment has a narrower section width. A smaller footprint means less rolling resistance for crisper handling and better fuel economy. It also fits in the fenders without requiring flares for tread coverage. Cepek 20x9 Torque wheels also help keep the rubber flush with the bodylines. Roger chose "dubs" for appearance and also for brake clearance should he decide to add larger front brakes down the road.
The lift, tires and wheels add some weight to the vehicle. Roger compensated for the lost power to the ground by adding an Edge Evolution CTS tuner. The unit offers three power levels: mileage, towing and performance. The late-model GM 5.3L application adds a maximum 20 HP. The Edge display also functions as auxiliary digital gauges and as a code scanner, revealing and clearing Check Engine issues. To help improve exhaust flow behind the more-aggressive Edge fueling, Roger added a Magnaflow cat-back system.
Exterior modifications are primarily functional. Anzo lights look custom but also emit greater-than-stock candlepower for improved visibility. Fronts are halogen projectors with CCFL halos. Taillights have LEDs for improved performance.
Boarding lifted trucks can be a challenge for people who don't play in the NBA. Roger addressed this with Bestop PowerBoards. These auto-retractable boards' popularity is a testament to how well they work.
Pickup beds present nearly unlimited customizing opportunities. Roger chose to prioritize comfort and convenience over hauling, a reason he picked the Crew Cab/Short Bed configuration. For carrying gear without damaging the box, a BedRug liner was installed. It's protected by a Roll N Lock tonneau, which keeps cargo secure and out of sight.
Roger's personal truck often hitches a ride in his work truck. He trailers the GMC in the big rig, using it to get around while the 18-wheeler is parked in the display. Compliments at shows indicate that Roger's tastes are shared by enthusiasts who appreciate a well thought-out cruiser that can keep going when the pavement ends.
Only one items remains on the to-get list: Roger hopes to reupholster the interior in Roadwire leather at some point. Embroidered LSU Tigers logos on the hides are a possibility. The old R. Crumb Keep On Truckin' logo would also be appropriate, considering Roger's line of work.