Peer Pressure I

(Finally) building a LML

March 2015 Build Brady L. Kay

They say peer pressure can be a bad thing, but that’s not always the case. Sure, if you have friends who are trying to talk you into doing something illegal or that will get you into some serious trouble, than that would tend to tip the scale toward being bad peer pressure—in case you were wondering. But for Trent Mayes, sometimes you need a little push from your friends to get you motivated to tear into your stock 2012 Chevy LML Duramax.

When Trent first purchased his new diesel off the showroom floor, his friends immediately began putting the pressure on him to modify it. But there was just something about altering a new truck that at first gave him some hesitation, not to mention he was just getting used to his new truck payment.

It took nearly two years—as well as a little budgeting and an understanding wife—for Trent to finally come around to some of the thoughts his friends had been planting in his head.

“From mild to wild, it seems like everyone had some advice for me on how to make my Duramax my own,” says Trent. “Some of the suggestions were just so out there that I’m convinced they were just messing with me.”

Peer pressure finally had won out and with just over 8,000 miles on the odometer, Trent began putting a list together based on input from his friends. To some, that list was a little surprising on just how aggressive he wanted to get. Plus it didn’t hurt that through his brother-in-law, Trent has connections with Bully Dog in American Falls, Idaho, who were willing to do the installs after he rounded up the aftermarket products.

Heading To Bully Dog

Bully Dog Shop Manager Theo Harmison and Assistant Manager Nick Adamson were ready when the truck arrived and were eager to get started. But before picking up a wrench, they first wanted to run the stock Duramax on their dyno so the gains could be measured. After getting it strapped down, the 2012 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD sat at 352hp and 541 ft/lbs. of torque.With the bed of his truck loaded with products, Trent began his journey to Bully Dog to get his truck build started. Bully Dog is best known for products that are designed to increase performance, add safety and improve your fuel economy. This is evident with its Triple Dog GT line of product that has become a popular option for diesel enthusiasts looking to get the full potential out of their engines. Knowing Bully Dog’s solid reputation in the industry, Trent was confident his Chevy was in good hands.

Let Her Breathe

Improving the air flow is a key factor in upgrading your efficiency, and that’s why Trent went with an intake from Bully Dog. The Rapid Flow Stage-2 Intake System for 6.6L Chevy trucks delivers cold, dense air to the vehicle's engine, easily outperforming OEM air intakes while providing additional horsepower, torque and fuel efficiency. Bully Dog's enclosed intake system keeps hot air out of the intake stream by targeting cold air sources and is specifically designed to optimize airflow. Plus the high flow 8-layer cotton gauze air filter provides maximum filtration that protects your motor without 

limiting the airflow.

Removing the stock intake and replacing it with the improved Rapid Flow intake is self-explanatory and only requires a few basic tools, but there are step-by-step videos on the Bully Dog website—as well as a tech question hotline—if further assistance is needed. Often Theo and Nick are involved in making these how-to videos for Bully Dog, so when it came to doing these installs they really made it look effortless.

Bye Bye Exhaust

Although the intake is usually one of the first upgrades truck owners make, the stock exhaust was something that bothered Trent from the day he bought his truck. So although upgrading to the MagnaFlow 6.6L 4-inch DPF exhaust was for efficiency reasons, the cosmetic improvement of the 100 percent stainless exhaust with the polished tip was something the truck owner was looking forward to.

Nick took a reciprocating sawzall to the old exhaust and then with the help of Theo was able to quickly insert the MagnaFlow exhaust and get it tightened and into place. With this specific design, the installation couldn’t have gone any smoother.

“This has to be one of the easiest exhausts we’ve ever installed,” said Theo. “We like working with MagnaFlow products.”

Triple Dog

The last install for the day was the Triple Dog GT-Diesel tuner from Bully Dog. Besides the tuner, a pillar mount and pod mount from Bully Dog was added to provide the ideal setup. The tuner does come with a windshield mount, but Trent preferred the look of having a pillar that helps give the truck a finished look inside his cab.

The Triple Dog GT is four products in one, which explains why it’s so popular in this industry. The unit is a vehicle engine tuner, monitor, gauge and a diagnostic device that increases horsepower, improves your fuel economy and provides a comprehensive set of monitoring features and diagnostic functions. 

“There really is a lot that you can do with this tuner and we have a ton of videos online to step people through it,” said Theo as he pointed out the features following the install. “Really if you just sit down and scroll through the screens it really is easy to use. One of my favorite features is you can set your desired fuel economy and the screen will update and let you know where you can improve your driving habits. If you’re really driving your truck hard, it will display a bad grade like a D minus on the screen.”

With the new Triple Dog GT unit, Trent can’t help but scroll through the screens as he instantly begins to figure out the system while it’s still in the shop. The satisfied expression on his face is all that Theo and Nick were looking for as they decide to call it a day.  

“Just like that” is what Theo says after each completed phase during the build and while he and his crew are just getting started on this truck, day one has come to an end and the rest will have to wait for another day.

Future Power

With the final plans of where Trent wants to take his Duramax still unknown, for now the ARP head studs will have to wait. At one time the Chevy owner, with of course pressure from his friends, was dreaming of twin turbos and bigger injectors. When you start even considering adding this kind of power, heads studs from ARP are a must. While the Triple Dog GT-Diesel tuner, Rapid Flow intake and the 4-inch exhaust from MagnaFlow provided a significant increase in power, it’s still not enough at this time to tear into the engine just to add head studs. For now Trent’s holding on to them just in case he needs the head studs in the future.

“I of course noticed the added power right away, but it’s the nice deep rumble the exhaust makes now and how I’m able to keep an eye on everything with the tuner that I love the most,” says Trent. “I’m just excited after the first day, who says peer pressure is a bad thing?”





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