David “Potter” Williams
2007 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD
When Chevrolet designed its new body style Silverado HD, the main objective was to make the strongest and beefiest 1-ton that could pull trailers like nobody’s business. With that in mind, the company created a truck that could accomplish all this with the help of a hefty chassis and drivetrain. Once the goal was met, the truck went into production without a thought that anyone would do anything else with it.
Then came David “Potter” Williams, who is deeply into the custom truck scene and has owned numerous ‘bagged and body-dropped trucks since his high school days. With years of experience owning asphalt-scrapping trucks, Potter has progressed to building both mini and 1/2-ton trucks at his shop, The Kustom Edge. While working on his ’06 Chevy Silverado crew cab, planned to be a full show vehicle, Potter envisioned building a dually that could not only tow it on a gooseneck trailer, but also lay body with a custom frame and suspension.
Though he knows how to fabricate at a decent level, Potter felt that he still didn’t have the ability to build a body-dropped frame that would be strong enough to safely tow a big load. So after purchasing his brand-new, top-of–the-line Silverado 3500HD with LTZ package, he slapped some major cash down and left the truck at Ekstensive Metalworks in Houston so that Bill Carlton and his talented crew could make the build happen. Potter knew that Ekstensive was the right shop to do the work because Bill has a lot of experience creating air ride suspensions for large tow vehicles. This is especially true since Bill even ‘bagged his own Top Kick that he regularly uses to haul a three-car trailer to shows across the nation.
On a lift at the shop, the Ekstensive crew was able to jot down some measurements of the original frame in order to make a new one out of 3 x 5-inch rectangular steel tubing for the stock floor body drop. For further towing support, the crew welded up a bunch of extra supports and an additional set of bars to go under the rear step notch. When it was finished to the specifications of the truck, all but a small section of the original rails was removed, while the new frame was slid underneath. For the bridge that extends from the driver’s side rear notch to the passenger side rear notch, a set of bent round steel tubes was welded together with a 1/4-inch steel plate in the center that the gooseneck trailer ball is mounted to.
As if creating a heavy-duty frame for this truck wasn’t enough, the plan was also to tuck a set of 24-inch wheels between all four fenders. Since Potter wanted the truck to be low slung and beefy, he chose to fit six Alcoa semi-truck wheels to it. To make this work, the 24.5-inch diameter wheels were milled down to 24s so they could accommodate the 295/30R24 Toyo Proxes ST tires. To make them more stylish, Potter created a multi-spoke design and had them cut accordingly.
With the wheels ready, the Ekstensive crew was able to work on creating the adjustable suspension to raise this beast up to drive and lower it for show. Up front, a new set of upper and lower control arms was made to narrow the width by 2 inches so the semi wheels could clear the fenders. To minimize negative camber, the uppers were mounted higher than factory; then for good toe angle at all heights, heim joints with drop down spacers were used to reconnect the steering linkage to the factory spindles. After a set of Slam specialties RE-8 airbags and KYB shocks were mounted from the frame to the suspension, the front end was complete.
In the rear, the suspension was bit easier since the crew didn’t have to worry about alignment and steering like they had for the front. Once the rearend was narrowed 14 inches to fit the stacked set of 24s on each side, they made a triangulated 4-link. For further support under load, the Ekstensive crew installed a panhard bar and mounted a pair of Firestone 5,800-pound double convoluted airbags. When the frame was done, it was time to get the turbocharged and intercooled Duramax diesel engine running again. Because the truck had been raised up for the body drop, all of the intercooler tubing had to be extended to function again. Once that was finished, a K&N intake was modified for hood clearance, and the computer was tuned for more power with a RBP programmer.
Because Potter wanted to show the truck, he knew he had to revamp the exterior finish. Up front, billet grilles were added, while 2 inches were taken off the bottom of the bumper for ground clearance. On to the inner portion of the bed, it was skinned with sheet metal, while the tires were covered up with trailer fenders. To clean up the outer bed, Potter ordered a Grant Kustoms three-piece roll pan, tailgate handle shaver and custom-made sheet metal bed caps. To top it off, BK Kustoms provided the GM Cobalt Blue paint that Ekstensive sprayed.
Inside of the cab things were relatively simple. Since this is an LTZ Silverado, it came with deluxe dash and factory leather seating. While at Potter’s shop, The Kustom Edge, the objective was to up the entertainment system and add a splash of the exterior color. Thanks to the help of Rockford Fosgate, Potter received four Power series T1 10-inch subwoofers with two 1,000-watt amps that were mounted in a custom center console. At the top of it is a Pioneer AVHN-4000 head unit and two Firestone air gauges. For the rest of the audio system, each of the doors has a Rockford Fosgate component set that is wired to an 800-watt amp. While playing with fiberglass on the console, Potter took out the center piece of the dash and installed a 13-inch monitor. Once worked smooth, these and a few small interior plastics were painted to match the exterior. Since the console runs from the dash all the way to the back of the cab, the 60/40 bench seat was cut and sent over to Lake Side Auto Upholstery of League City, Texas, along with the fronts. After the bench was fixed, all four seats got blue suede inserts.
As it sits, this large Chevy is straight out sick with its slammed stance over huge semi wheels. Yes, Chevrolet did build a nicely functioning, new HD truck; however, Potter was able to take the truck to a whole new level with the help of Ekstensive Metalworks. Though this truck is unable to haul Potter’s ’06 crew cab because it’s still in the works, we can’t wait to see this dually hauling it down the open highway.
The double stacked set of 24-inch semi-truck wheels tuck nicely between the dually rear fenders with the help of the 14-inch narrowed rearend.
It takes a lot of guts to throw out a perfectly good frame on a 1-ton truck and start over from scratch. With help from Ekstensive Metalworks, a new one was built with extra reinforcement for towing.
Clear Lake Auto Upholstery upgraded the factory leather seats with blue suede inserts to match the exterior color of the dually.
Potter dressed up the LTZ package premium dash by installing a 13-inch monitor and painting a few accent pieces.