Project Duramax Gets the Goods!

Chevy 2500HD Build-up Part II

Sep. 01, 2005 By Mike Lyon

      Last month you read about Part I of our project Duramax having the CST lift with FOX Shox installed. This month we will cover the rest of the goodies that were installed to make this truck stand out. 


      To be able to get into this truck we contacted N-Fab for a set of their nerf bars. The N-Fab bars are different from others in that they mount to the body rather than to the frame. While it may seem that they wouldn’t be very sturdy being mounted this way, we found them to be extremely sturdy. They feature a hoop at each door and even with 2 people standing on them at the same time, they hardly flexed at all. We also liked the N-Fab steps because they have a different appearance than the bars that most people use and they do a good job at hiding the frame of the truck. If you have a long bed truck, N-fab makes steps with a third hoop for easy access to the bed of the truck. N-fab also sent one of their light bars that attaches to the stock bumper. We had tons of problems with this light rack. The light tabs weren’t welded very well. Ultimately, with 3 heavy lights mounted to the bar, the whole bumper would ‘jiggle’. It ended up rattling bumper mounting bolts loose and just couldn’t handle the lights we wanted to use.


      We ended up contacting Dorian at Buck Stop for a bumper. He was in the process of designing a new bumper called the “Baja Edition”. The main section of the bumper is made from ¼” thick steel, the upper tube is a huge 3” in diameter, and it's all mig welded together. When we got our front bumper from Dorian our jaw hit the floor! The craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into designing and building this bumper is simply amazing! It was shipped on a pallet with no coating. We took it for powdercoating and they were able to match the color of our truck almost exactly. This bumper is a full replacement/bolt-on bumper. It has plenty of room inside the bumper to mount a wench with a convenient door on the top of the bumper to access it. It has two 6” holes in the front to mount fog lights and comes with replacement tow hooks. Buck Stop makes a wide variety of front bumper styles for all trucks. We are very happy with it and we get tons of compliments on it! 

      Speaking of lights, we opted to get 3 Hella 4000 HID’s. We decided to modify these lights slightly.  First, we had the front, orange rings (that hold the light into the housing) powdercoated black to better blend in with our truck. We also modified the adjustment bolts on the bottom of the light housing so they can’t be removed as easy. We were concerned with these lights being stolen since adjustment bolts could be fully removed and the light itself could be taken. We used longer bolts and drilled a small hole in them then inserted a cotter pin through the hole. This way they can still be loosened for adjustment but not fully removed. Stock headlights provide no where near enough light when off-roading at night.  With the Hella HID’s there is more than enough light to safely see any up-coming obstacles.  We also added 2 standard Hella 500 series lights in the bumper openings. We are very happy with these lights!

      To get this truck looking better we had Steve Zubaite of Fleet Painting in Lakeside, CA paint a few items to match the color of our truck. He painted the side view mirrors (housings), door handles and tailgate handle. Painting these items drastically changed the way our truck looks! It now looks much cleaner and has a uniform look to it. Steve did a fantastic job at matching the paint.  

      Another improvement on the front end was the addition of Clear-Guard. We added the Clear-Guard to the hood, front fenders, front grill housing as well as special blue tinted material to the headlights and the extra Hella lights. Clear-Guard helps protect the paint and light lenses from being chipped by flying debris on the freeway. The blue tint on the lights adds a nice, subtle look to our ride as well. 


      Awesome Products in Riverside sent one of their very trick aluminum grills. These are billet machined (yes ‘billet’ is a machining term) out of high grade aluminum and highly polished for a great look. The Awesome Products grill really set this front end off with a unique look. For the bowtie in the center of the grill we wanted something different than the standard aluminum bowtie. We had Walter Rapp ( order us a new bowtie and custom paint an American Flag onto it. He did a superb job! The attention to detail is amazing. Walter also painted the small bowties on the side of the doors to match the front. He made them look like it’s blowing in the wind rather than just a flat looking flag. The grill and bowties look great on the truck.

      We added a class 5 Putnam receiver hitch rated at 15,000 pounds. We had read a few horror stories about the stock receiver and decided to be extra safe when towing heavy loads. Putnan also sent a set of their weight distribution bars (Trunnion style) along with a drop hitch and a heavy duty ball. For lighter loads Ultra Hitch out of Idaho sent one of their polished aluminum hitches. Adjusting the height of this hitch is very easy; you simply pull a pin, raise or lower the position of the ball and reinsert the pin. This hitch is rated at 10,000 pounds and its appearance is a work of art! 

      In the bed we had Line-X of El Cajon spray in a bed liner. Line-X liners are tough! They sand down the inside of the bed and the bed rails to make the coating stick better. Once it’s finished it’s hardened and cured in about an hour and is ready for use. It has saved our bed numerous times. We highly recommend Line-X!

      Dennis from DuraFlap sent a set of his mud flaps. At first we were not crazy about the look of mud flaps but found them to be necessary since our front tires stuck out beyond the fenders. Water, mud, and sand would spray the side of the truck all the way back to the bed. The DuraFlap mud flaps work great at saving our paint and ended up looking great too! They are CNC cut, have polished stainless weights and are easy to install! 

      To aid us while connecting to a trailer we added a rear view camera from Rear View Systems. The camera is able to be used in total darkness due to it’s built in LED’s. We mounted the LCD screen inside the lid of the center console. This kept it out of the way but still easily seen when needed.

Building a truck into what you want it to be is no easy task. It takes lot of time and patience to get it to come out the way you want. In the end it’s well worth it. Stay tuned for more info on the added engine performance for this Duramax!

  Contact Information •


Hella USA

Buck Stop

Fleet Painting

Line-X of El Cajon

Rear View Systems


Putnam Hitch Products

Ultra Hitch


Awesome Products

Custom Painted Bowite
Walter Rapp

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