We walk you through the 5.3 LS install into Travis’ ’99 Tahoe. This video will explain what parts we used, the main steps we took and the outcome. It is almost like these trucks were made specifically to LS swap as it is fairly easy to do and fit well.
Held in Glendale, Arizona, the world-famous Dino’s Git Down brings together more than 1,600 Chevrolet/GMC trucks from all over the U.S. Originally, this event only accepted Chevy trucks between the years of 1947-1987. After enough requests from the GMT400 crowd, however, Dino and crew decided to open the field this year to include Chevy OBS trucks and SUVs. This gathering is the elite of elite when it comes to quality and craftsmanship, and it’s strictly Chevy/GMC trucks only. That’s right—no Fords allowed!
Dino Battilana is a hardworking business owner during the day and one of the most hardcore Bow Tie believers in the country. Building badass trucks and having friends over to your house for a cookout is satisfying enough for most men, but not for Dino. A once-per-year gathering of gearheads with limits on the line-up and no money needed is more his style. No registration and no admission are necessary—just show up hungry and be ready to talk trucks! For the last 10 years, he has been doing that exact concept, and the whole country is taking notice.
Even though the event was promoted as a single-day event, there were plenty of other cool things to do before and after the show, including a pre-show mixer on Thursday and a Saturday morning cruise to Switch Suspension for tacos! Saturday night is the official 21-and-over after party where things get a little crazy, but more fun can’t be had anywhere else. Try and describe a better weekend than that! Be sure to follow them online so you don’t miss out on your chance to be a part of the biggest free C10 event nationwide. Now let’s check out the OBS pics!
Taking a truck from modified daily driver to something show worthy can be a hard transition for vehicle owners. Committing to take that build as a whole to the next level is usually never the issue—it’s more like remembering to take it at bit easier on the truck to maintain that pristine condition every show vehicle aims to be.
Will Meadors of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, however, decided that was precisely what he wanted to do: spend more time than ever driving this truck once it was completed. After owning the truck since 2010, Will attended SEMA in 2016 and made the choice that he needed to step it up. From there, the rest is history.
You can catch this beautiful truck at shows in Oklahoma and all across the Midwest.
First thing on the laundry list of upgrades Will wanted to make was suspension. On his suspension and frame setup at that time, he wasn’t able to run deep dish wheels, and that was a must. Let us be clear: It was not a want; it was a need. Knowing the amount of work it would take to completely change his as-is setup, Will decided to make the jump from a decked out extended cab to a single cab. Why cut the cord on all that work? Because body-drop, that’s why. With that, he sold off the old cab and built a new chassis, using all the previously worked up body panels, dash, etc. Now that is commitment. He enlisted a handful of friends and got to work. Between the parts lists from Stone Fab, Air Lift and Belltech it is easy to guess how well this truck lays out after the framework was complete.
Every fresh suspension setup needs a fresh pair of wheels. Wanting the deep dish that started all of this, Will chose a staggered set of 22-inch Intros Twisted Vista 2. Packing a full 22×12-inch wheel in the back, that aggressive set of shoes gave an entirely new look to laying out the 90s GMC.
To better turn those massive new wheels, next in line for the Short Stack was motor work. Why not put down more power than ever when debuting a new look, right? To accomplish that, almost the entire Comp Cams motor catalog was used from camshaft to springs and lifters, then topped off with Billet Specialties valve covers. Throw in the matching air cleaner to those valve covers, then tuck it all neatly between the perfect-fitting Slosh Tubz fender tubs and firewall panels. The engine bay was ready to shut down shows just as quick as the exterior.
Last but not least came the paint and interior work to complete the one-of-a-kind single cab. Will enlisted Albert Stem from Stemco Body Works to knock out the paint work on the freshly installed single cab to match the previous extended-cab paint work, which Will had done himself. Like a true pro, Stem absolutely nailed it. Seeing the paint and bodywork on this truck in person, it looks seamless as if it were all done at once. In addition to that, Brandon McCoy of Gooch Pinstriping laid out the incredible ghost lace on the roof as well as the insane graphics on the Slosh Tubz in the engine bay, setting off the purple and black theme with a pop all its own.
Finishing up its extreme makeover Sierra edition, the GMC went to Cody at Code Zero Customs for interior. The combo of the custom black leather bucket seats with purple stitching mixed with the iPad mini and JL Audio setup make any drive you take in the Short Stack a comfortable time.
With more details left to discuss than we have space for, we recommend you find this beauty in person! You can catch this beautiful truck at shows in Oklahoma and all across the Midwest.
Will wants to give a huge thank you to a few people who helped his dream become a reality on this build: “First and foremost, thank you to my wife Jamie, of course; Mike Losh of Slosh Tubz; also Seth Curry, Cody Landis of Code Zero Customs; the King Covers crew, Mike Hall, Eric Banks, Albert Stem; and Brandon ‘Gooch’ McCoy. Finally, thank you to anyone else who ever played a part in this truck taking shape.”
[divider] TRUCK Specs [/divider]
Will Meadors (Billy Bob)
1992 GMC Sierra
Hometown: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Build Time: 4 to 5 years
Estimated Cost: $25k
Reason for building: Love old body style trucks, had one in high school
Name of truck: Short Stack
Generally, truck trends are unpredictable and cycle quickly through the ranks of the top industry builders and ballers. F-100 bump-sides and pro-touring, patina-paneled C10s are just a few recent examples of popular projects that the average Joe wouldn’t think to produce until they see a fully completed custom gracing the pages of national publications or influential social media channels. These ideas and completed concepts come from the mindset of being unique with the goal of making a statement at massive events like SEMA, LST and Texas Heatwave. With that said, I think it’s safe to say we all see the next major trend hurling down the pipeline like a 6-foot surfer named Bodhi riding a 15-foot wave off Bells Beach during the 50-year storm. (That was a “Point Break” reference if you didn’t catch it. What a great ’90s movie!)
Speaking of the ’90s, if you were a natural born truck junkie finally making it to the legal driving age around those times, you most certainly wanted a Chevy C/K truck since they were literally everywhere. Everyone from utility company employees to school district secretaries used these heavily produced pickups for their day-to-day operations. Even your grandpa’s grocery-getter was most likely an ’89-’98 Chevy. They came in so many different visual styles with factory options galore. Originally designed by Donald Wood in 1983, Chevy was able to move 551,223 of these GMT400 trucks by 1989 alone according to the Standard Catalog, not to mention the popular 454 model released in 1990 that sold 16,953 units over the four years with 13,748 of those units selling in the first year of production alone.
With that heavy of a number, it’s easy to see why we not only saw a massive increase of these trucks in magazines, but also why the custom aftermarket scene is heating up so much right now. These trucks are still pretty easy to come by and the demographic of buyers are slightly older and more well-off than your average new-truck enthusiast. The guys who wanted these trucks in their teens are now older, generally successful and more comfortable than they were at 16 years old. These factors are driving the great custom parts manufacturers to focus on these industry icons to get ahead of the curve.
It’s easy to talk the talk, but it’s far more impactful to walk the walk. So, we put on our Airwalks and jumped into the deep end of desire by picking up a running, driving 1995 Chevy C/K truck from the original owner for a smooth $2,000. Cold A/C and a solid cranking 4.3-liter V-6 gave this truck the appeal, but a full gas tank and a fresh oil change just shows that the previous owner still has love for this 20-plus-year-old family member.
In the next few issues we are going to take you through the process of giving this truck new life on the same old roads it’s been cruising down since its inception, first starting with suspension, brakes and wheels/tires, followed up with a facelift for the ages. The plans don’t stop there, but you’re going to need to stick to the script the see the next steps. If you’re not a subscriber already, I implore you to do so. If this truck doesn’t motivate you to go out and start wrenching on your own project, I’m not sure you picked up the right publication. Now let’s get to the good stuff!
Key features of these brakes: