The diesel addiction started in March of 2010 when Bruce Stafford returned from Afghanistan while serving in the US Army and bought a 2010 Chevy Silverado and tricked it all out. But that truck didn't last nearly as long as he had expected. Sadly his house caught fire by the garage and took his Chevy down in the blaze, just a few months after he got it
After recovering from the fire, he went out and bought a 2011 GMC 2500HD LML Duramax diesel and was tempted to just leave it stock.
"I loved every part of my truck and the first thing I told my wife Desarae was that I wasn't going to play with this one, meaning I was going to leave it alone," says Stafford. "Well that didn't last too long."
He loved his truck, but never felt it had enough power since the day he bought it. He wanted to do what most diesel enthusiasts do when they first get a truck and that is to go online and get a cold air intake, exhaust and a tuner coming. But at the time he wasn't able to find a manufacturer who had any of these products available yet or were even in the process of designing them. So he patiently waited and when they did become available he had everything overnighted to him.
Stafford started with an H&S Performance Mini Maxx tuner, an aFe exhaust, a Banks intake, as well as a Line-X sprayed bed liner. For a few months he was content with his 6.6L Duramax, but that all changed after he had it lifted in November of 2011. He added a SkyJacker 7-inch, non-torsion bar drop lift on his truck, with 37-inch Pro Comp tires.
"Those 37s took away some power from what I had before I added the lift, so I went back to the computer to find out about turbo upgrades," recalls Stafford. "But again, I found that nothing was available for my truck yet."\
Owning a brand new truck has a lot of advantages, but one disadvantage is waiting for the aftermarket companies to develop new products for the new models and this became a common theme for the GMC owner. Another obstacle he was facing was at the start of the year he found out from the Army that this fall he would no longer be able to stay on active duty due to an injury he had sustained in combat over in Afghanistan.
"I'll be medically discharged from the Army around October and the news broke my heart," says Stafford. "But I couldn't give up on my dream of building a truck from the ground up, so I continued on my search."
A Hunt For A Turbo
A little frustrated by not being able to find much for his new truck, Stafford started calling around the country to different manufacturers when he ended up talking with Industrial Injection, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. The owner Brady Williams loved the idea of a developing a turbo upgrade for the LML Duramax engine and was more than willing to work with Stafford to create the first one for this specific model. So Stafford got his truck from his home in Colorado and headed out to Utah the following week.
Developing the first one takes time, so the truck stayed at Industrial Injection for just over a month while they fabricated the pipe work to support the compounds. Industrial decided to build this kit around the BorgWarner S474.
"While they were busy with the fab work, Dustin, who is one of the techs at Industrial Injection, installed some ARP 625 head studs for me to help prevent the heads from rising under high boost," says Stafford, who is currently on active duty and is stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado. "They also made a slight modification to the injectors as well."
Weeks went by when he finally got a call from Williams letting him know his truck was ready and they were anxious for him to come get it so they could dyno it. The truck ended up with 553hp and 1103 ft/lbs. of torque, which was not too bad considering he was still turning 37s. He left Utah and headed back to Colorado, thrilled about the power.
Stafford had heard that Flo Pro Performance had recently released its new 5-inch SS DP back exhaust for the LML so he wasted no time in ordering one. Next he got on the phone with FASS to see if they had a lift pump available yet and he found out that they did so he got that coming as well.
Three days later Stafford installed the FASS TITANIUM 220gph lift pump on his truck. "It gave me much better throttle response with the pump," recalls Stafford. "Plus I wasn't going into limp mode anymore from draining the fuel rails."
After driving the truck around for a week or so he noticed the rear end began to hop, which he knew would lead to problems if he didn't get some well-made traction bars on there soon.
"I remembered meeting the guys from Alligator Performance at Industrial Injection's Cinco De Dyno event," recalls Stafford. "They had talked about an idea on how to implement an already-made set of traction bars for a 2010 Cummins. So I knew they'd be able to help me."
Stafford decided to head to Coeur d' Alene, Idaho, where Alligator Performance is located, but first he wanted to make a stop into Snow Performance. During his recent road trips through the mountains he noticed his EGTs were around 1300 and he felt his fuel economy could be better. This led him to Snow Performance and wanting to know more about its water/meth kits that are known to reduce EGTs, while increasing your horsepower and improving your fuel economy. He ended up picking up the Snow Performance MAX MPG kit on his way and was now ready to continue on to northern Idaho.
"When I arrived at Alligator Performance I was welcomed as if I was part of the family," says Stafford. "They quickly got my truck into the shop where Mark, Lee, Chad and Vince started working on the MAX-MPG kit as well as the T/Rex Technology traction bars."
Soon the truck install was complete and ready to be tested and Alligator Performance owner Chad Hall was more than willing to do that.
"Chad was the first to test drive the truck, and Chad's way of test driving is a work of art," says Stafford with a smile. "He was able to drift my truck all the way around the corner. Alligator Performance had also snuck on a 3-inch driver's side hot pipe to help out with my EGTs!"
Heading For Home
After a week with Alligator Performance it was time to hit the road again and head back home to Colorado. But with Stafford he doesn't believe in going straight home and he ended up making a pit stop in Arvada, Colo., to talk with ATS Diesel owner Clint Cannon. While there he decided to have his rear differential serviced and ended up with a new ATS differential cover for an 11.5 AAM rear end.
"I decided on ATS's differential cover because of the added fluid capacity, the added cooling surface, and the looks with the solid case," says Stafford. "But I had other ideas in mind as well since I knew ATS builds some of the best transmissions and no one else had even thought of building a transmission for the LML yet."
Stafford ended up taking Cannon for a ride in his truck and even though the ATS owner was pleased to feel the power, he could also feel the weakness of the stock transmission. They talked about it for a little bit and then Cannon agreed to build a transmission for the LML. Plans are already in the works to build an ATS billet 6-speed Allison transmission as Stafford continues to lead the way and be the pioneer for other LML owners to follow.