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Fantastic the First Time

Conquering a self-set challenge is a rewarding and satisfying feeling that only a few get to experience. Long term, money sucking projects are tough obstacles that cause many to give up. But it takes more than that for diehard, determined guys like Howard McDaniel throw in the towel. No matter how hard or how much, they figure out a way.

So, when the time came for a new long-term, hair-pulling project for Howard to tackle in his free time, a custom built, highly modified Chevy dually truck kept creeping into his thoughts.

“I’ve always wanted to design a crew-cab dually, but I wanted my build to set myself apart from the rest,” says Howard, a police officer in Lufkin, Texas.

Starting with restyling the rear of this ’07 Chevy Silverado, the factory short wheelbase bed was modified to hold a set of ’07-’14 Chevy Silverado 3500 dually fenders. A custom built back half section replaced the rear of the OEM chassis, which utilizes a triangulated rear four-link and Air Lift Performance airbags. The original rear axle was removed and replaced with a 14-bolt Full Float rear axle from a ’96 Chevrolet k2500, which connects to the GM 4L80e transmission with a split drive shaft and a Summit yoke. Some 4:10 rear axle gears give it the perfect gear ratio for all types of driving, and custom coolant lines keep the transmission at the correct temperature. TCI Internals and a Nelson Performance 4L80e Harness were the final puzzle pieces for the conversion to be complete. This was the first time Howard performed a half-ton to three-quarter-ton conversion, which taught him some lessons along the way, and luckily, he had some help from good people like Woody’s Transmission in Huntington, Texas.

Up front, an Ekstensive half-ton front bag kit was slightly modified to fit ’06 three-quarter-ton Belltech spindles and Air Lift airbags. For steering, the front tie rod ends were a problem in the beginning until Howard’s buddy Rocky Fox lent a hand and suggested ordering a steering kit upgrade from Nfamus Customs. With the problems solved, everything was assembled and installed by Howard himself. Very impressive!

With the suspension complete, the truck was ready for some rollers. After being custom machined by One Off Wheel and wrapped in a set of 255/30/24 Carbon Series CS89 tires, Howard was able to bolt on these amazing 24-inch Accuride Freightliner wheels using One-Off Wheel 10-lug wheel adapters. Brakes were as important as anything else for Howard, so a fresh set of three-quarter-ton front brake rotors and calipers were installed along with a rear disc brake conversion to get rid of those big drum brakes. The final exterior mods included a new billet grille, roll pan, some factory color-matched bumpers and fender flares, and Recon cab lights to top it all off.

The engine and interior were the last to receive love, since it’s already pretty darn nice from the factory, but Howard wanted a bit more style. The factory seats were recovered with brown/black leather, Dakota Digital ODY-19-6 gauges were added, a Billet Specialties BLVD75 steering wheel gave it some bling and the double din DS18 head unit is the entertainment control unit.

Some painted interior panels and a massive panoramic sunroof add additional details, and the center console with subwoofers sounds amazing on full blast.

Howard brings this truck to all types of events including LST, Layin at the Lake, Texas Wake and Scrape and Battle in Bama. So, if you see him out there, tell him you’re a fan! It would really make his day, we guarantee it!

Future plans for this terrific truck include a true body-drop to set the cab on the concrete and a 12-valve Cummins engine swap. We can’t wait to see it!

TRUCK SPECS

 Owner

Howard and Lindsey McDaniel
Lufkin, TX
2007 Chevy Silverado
Committed Truck Club
Cost to build: 1½ years, $25K

Chassis
  • Custom built back half of chassis
  • Air Lift front and rear airbags
  • Ekstensive half-ton front bag kit modified to 2006 three-quarter-ton Belltech spindles
  • Triangulated rear four-link
  • Nfamus steering kit
  • Suspension work done by Howard McDaniel from Lufkin, TX
Exterior
  • Billet grille
  • Roll pan
  • Painted bumpers
  • Painted flares in front and custom dually fenders
  • Recon cab lights
  • Magma Red w/ graphics
  • Paint and graphics by Patrick Reid from San Leon, TX
Engine
  • 2007 GM 5.3L V-8
  • Installed by Howered McDaniel
  • 3-inch Flowmaster Exhaust
  • Engine driven compressor
  • Ekstensive fuel cell
  • Tuned by Chad Cates
  • GM 4L80e transmission
  • Nelson Performance 4L80e harness
  • DTR Fab custom crossmember
  • Lokar dipstick
  • Summit yoke
  • Split drive shaft
  • Custom coolant lines
  • TCI internals
  • 14-bolt Full Float rear axle from 1996 Chevrolet k2500
  • 4:10 rear axle gears
  • Transmission work done by Woody’s Transmission in Huntington TX
Wheels
  • 24-inch Accuride Freightliner wheels
  • One-off 10-lug wheel adapters
  • Custom machining by One Off Wheel
  • 255/30/24 Carbon Series CS89 tires
Brakes
  • Three-quarter-ton front brake rotors and calipers
  • Rear disc brake conversion
Interior
  • Brown/black leather covered factory seats
  • Dakota Digital ODY-19-6 gauges
  • Billet Specialties BLVD75 steering wheel
  • Double Din DS18 head unit
  • Painted interior panels
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Center console with subwoofers
  • Suede headliner

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