This article originally appeared in the June 2020 issue.
Here’s a big name in our industry that has had a lot of success with truck builds. Rich Strube is the owner of Richie’s Diesel Performance in Hicksville, N.Y., located on Long Island about a half hour outside Queens in New York City (unless there’s heavy traffic, which is infamously often present in this area). He has a booming business at his full-service shop and has a couple builds of his own there which he’s continually making bigger and better as he can. “At my shop, we’re always building sexy rigs!” Rich says with great excitement.
The truck we feature here is a dream of his. “This Chevy is one of the builds we did last year, and I’ve made even more improvements since these photos were taken,” he adds.
This truck is a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD, the first year of the LML Duramax. Named Red, it boasts a huge figure on the road, and it’s absolutely loaded with mods. The bright red truck also has a lot of powder-coating work below the body, really helping it to stand out even further. Under the hood the powder-coated red can be seen as well. All this red helps emphasize the fact that Rich doesn’t back down from a true build. The tires, wheels and a select few other black components complement the red well for reasons related to toughness. Additionally, the body, wheels and suspension are ceramic-coated to maintain the sharp looks.
Red is actually Rich’s daily driver, but it has seen and continues to see many walks of life.
“The truck has over 140,000 miles and gets driven in everything except mud,” he says, and he has definitely traveled a lot with it. “I’ve taken it off-road in the Glamis Dunes in Southern California, my family farmland in upstate New York, as well as the scrap yard.” The lack of mud use may not come off so surprising to some, given the truck is based near the U.S.’s most populous urban area.
Big & Tall
The largest mod standing out on Red the 2011 LML is its massive 9-inch Cognito Motorsports lift kit with its red powder-coating. The kit, which comes pre-configured with all the standard components pre-selected to properly fit a GM four-wheel drive, gives Rich’s truck an ultra-aggressive look and is one of the most aggressive kits in the industry. The kit is also rust-proof, and even more so with the powder-coating it has now. The suspension, which also includes FOX 2.0 reservoir shocks and traction bars that he fabricated himself, sits on Firestone Ride Rite air bags (controlled in-cab) and Fuel Off-Road Stroke 22-inch wheels with Fuel Gripper 35-inch tires. The air bags help Red to support massive loads, and Rich does engage in some heavy towing activity with the rig.
“It tows my 37-foot deckover with customers’ trucks, my race truck, and hauls bikes, quads, and even scrap metal,” he says. “The trailer weighs 17,000 pounds with my dually on it.”
The Fuel tires have superior off-road grip and have strong stability at high speeds. They even have a rim protector design to protect the wheels from shock damage. The uber-thick, knobby tires might seem less fitting for a more urban setting, but not when Rich frequently takes it out to non-pavement surfaces. Plus, he takes [Red] to many performance events or truck shows as well. “For performance events, I mainly run down the drag strip with it and run it on the dyno,” Rich says. The lift on the truck could allow for larger tires, but they would take up a lot of space. Rich wants attention drawn to his wheel wells, as he has plenty of character to show there.
Engine and transmission work is definitely not lacking on Red, with the biggest mods in that area being the Fleece Cheetah 64mm aftermarket turbo and CP3K injection pump conversion kit. The large turbo provides huge boost, but still spools up quickly like a smaller turbo, and the conversion kit plays a big role in making his truck more capable. “Red makes approximately 575 to 600 horsepower with the aftermarket turbo and CP3 conversion,” Rich says.
Adding to the turbo’s work are an HSP Y-bridge, boost pipes and coolant tube, as well as a Mishimoto hose kit, intercooler and radiator, as the turbo wouldn’t be able to do the job well without these components. Off the other side of the turbo are XDP up-pipes, a PPE down pipe, and an aFe 4-inch dual exhaust connected to MBRP 6-inch tips. A FASS Titanium 150 lift pump ensures a solid fuel flow into the engine for the best performance potential.
Rich additionally fabricated his own 4-inch open air intake for the engine. Cooling the air even further is a Snow Performance Stage 2 water methanol injection system. EFILive tuning tops off all the engine side of performance.
The LML Duramax is known to have issues with oil not draining all the way, so Rich added a 12-quart Banana Pan to the bottom of the engine to tackle that. Further down the driveline are MAG-HYTEC differential and transmission pans and a PPE front differential cover. With the pan and differential cover mods in place, Rich runs AMSOIL synthetic oil.
Body Work & Extras
The body mods and extra gadgets are plentiful on the truck as well. The grille, to start off, is a Royalty Core RC2, adding enhanced protection and a sporty appearance. The truck is sprinkled with colorful, vibrant lights too, including custom taillights and custom bed lights by RECON, along with an E-Series 20-inch light bar, 23 rock lights, four dually pod lights, and two SRQ backup lights by Rigid Industries. When you think about it, being something full of bright lights, the truck is a premium reflection of the area in which it lives.
With the massive ride height on a truck, it’s always strongly encouraged to add steps below the doors, which Rich did; he used AMP Research PowerSteps, which deploy with the opening of the door.
Rich has an ear for good sound, as he added an aftermarket stereo with an 8-inch subwoofer box to crank up the music for more fun when he’s in the mood. Getting more into sound, he even added an AirChime K3LA train horn from Hornblasters, the same three-chime horn in use on many freight and passenger trains in North America today. All of these extra gadgets are better supported thanks to an Optima high-performance battery.
High-End Part Runner
Currently, the truck spends most of its time as Rich’s daily driver and a shop truck that’s used both for display and work. It still spends its time in other parts of Rich’s life, though, when he finds time. “I use the truck a lot for parts runs,” he says.
It’s a very accomplished truck that looks amazing in any light; Rich doesn’t plan on doing many more mods except head studs and possibly a single exhaust. This truck is all built out and when it gets to that point it’s easy to start running out of ideas. The head studs would be very helpful, as an engine that’s beefed up so much will wear out more quickly, especially in the area around the head.
As advice, he encourages other diesel builders out there to keep going for their dreams and not selling themselves short. “Anything worth doing is worth doing the research on,” Rich says. “You can NEVER recover lost time. Develop a structured strategy before executing the plan.”
Yes, it is true that with any experience in life, your money will return and your time won’t. To quote a country song by Alabama, “We’re only here for a while so why not smile? Hey, livin’ ain’t all that bad.”
Firestone Industrial Products
Fleece Performance Engineering
Pacific Performance Engineering
RECON Truck Accessories
Richie’s Diesel Performance