2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Elevation Diesel
Here at Street Trucks magazine, we are always tinkering on trucks, a lot like you guys do. Whether it’s a full-blown frame-off show truck, a daily driver, or even something in the middle like this new project truck we are about to tackle, we’re always getting our hands dirty. For most of us gearheads, the physical act of turning wrenches, regardless of to what extent, is our getaway. Or, in some cases, it can also be a headache, but we still enjoy the process. Hanging out in the garage or driveway with friends, talking smack to each other with music or the game on in the background, and our favorite beverage in hand is how most of us pass the time when not knee-deep in the daily grind.
Let me introduce you to our newest project truck: a 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Elevation Crew Cab Short Box 4WD with the brand new 3.0L Duramax diesel engine. Throughout the next several issues, on Motortopia.com, and over on our YouTube channel, we will show you how the modifications are done to this truck to make it the final version we are after, which can be seen in the rendering.
This truck is being built as a super functional daily driver with a show-truck vibe—something to bridge the gap between the two styles.
This truck is being built as a super functional daily driver with a show-truck vibe—something to bridge the gap between the two styles. Even though a lot of the modifications being done are minimal, the truck will have enough upgraded details to stand on its own at any car show. With this being a brand new truck with a newly redesigned engine for 2023 (the new LZ0 diesel), we feel it will be a good platform to show you how, with simple do-it-yourself modifications, you can make your truck not only look better than your neighbor’s truck, but make it drive and perform better than stock.
Currently, the truck is in production at a GM plant and should be to us by the time you guys are reading this article. A lot of the parts are already in hand, and more are on the way. We chose to plan ahead with this project to ensure that once we took possession of the truck, we could immediately dive in and knock out all of the installs without waiting on parts to show up due to the still-delayed supply chain. This truck will make its debut at this year’s SEMA show in the Dropstars Wheels booth, which is another reason we opted to get as many of the parts shipped before the truck was ready. With a small window between its arrival and the projected end date, we couldn’t risk waiting on parts.
Follow through the rest of this article as we break down some of the parts used for the build. We will add more as we get closer to completion, such as performance and audio equipment, but this will give you an idea of the process we will go through for the build. Watch the build’s progress in future print issues, on our website, and on our YouTube channel.
01. Even though this truck is a 4WD, we opted to lower it. I know what you are thinking: “Why would you lower a 4WD truck?” Well, for several reasons, actually. Knowing we wanted the look of a lowered late-model truck, we chose the suspension first. Being it is still a functioning 4WD, we can still use it when we need to. Think about this—have you ever had to park in a field at a friend’s wedding and the grass was wet? Or have you tried to pull a boat out of a boat ramp in a rear-wheel drive truck with no weight in the bed? Having the ability to still utilize the 4WD in situations like these make the truck more usable for our needs.
Also, if you live in an area that only gets one or two small snowstorms a year, still being able to drive the truck to get to work or the store sure would come in handy. Therefore, we knew ordering a truck with a 4WD was needed.
To get the desired lowered look we were after, we reached out to our friends at Belltech and picked up the company’s 4/6 drop kit. This kit will lower the truck 4 inches in the front and 6 inches in the rear. This is done with 2-inch drop spindles and a set of 2-inch drop coilovers in the front and an axle flip in the rear. With that much rear drop, the rear requires their bolt-in notch to allow axle clearance when under load or larger bumps. We opted for Belltechs upgraded kit that changed 2-inch front lowering springs for the adjustable coil overs in this kit, it also came with heavy duty front and rear sway bars. With this full lowering kit, the truck should ride and handle way better than stock.
02. To keep the truck level when towing a trailer or a load in the bed, we wanted to add a helper-bag kit. But because the truck will be lowered, all the standard bolt-in bag kits won’t work, so we contacted Switch Suspension for the company’s bolt-in kit designed for the Belltech rear notch. This kit bolts directly to the bolt-in notch with no modifications. To keep the rear bags inflated to the preferred pressure, we picked up an Air Lift Company Wireless Air with its EZ mount. This system mounts directly to your rear frame rail and has a wireless remote that lets you adjust the PSI from inside the cab via remote control.
Air Lift Company
03. With the height of the truck handled at this point, it was time to pick out some wheels and tires. For this, we contacted Dropstars Wheels and picked one of its new billet designs, the B5 design. This let us dial in the fitment for the look we wanted. We went with a 26×10-inch wheel with a brushed finish and are wrapping them with 305/30-26 Lionhart LH-TEN tires. Being the wheels are being custom cut, we have no officially released photos of them, so here is the rendered look of the wheel.
04. To add another bit of piece-of-mind to the truck as it will be used to drive all over the country covering events and shooting cool truck features for you guys, we are adding a Viair Onboard Air system to the truck. This allows us to keep an air tank full of air with a quick-connect fitting mounted in an accessible location so all we have to do is connect an air hose. We can fill our tires or help a friend air up a project truck at a car show that doesn’t have air management yet.
05. Because we will have the onboard air system supplying us with compressed air, we had to contact Hornblasters and order one of their Shocker XL train horn kits for this truck. Not only does it add the safety of a much louder horn in an emergency situation, but it’s extremely fun scaring all of your friends as well.
06. Because our project truck will be used to haul camera gear to photoshoot locations, we needed something to secure the gear in the bed. For that, we contacted Undercover Truck Bed Covers and picked up one of its Ultra Flex, trifold covers. The cover not only keeps the weather out of the bed, but it also locks securely when you lock the tailgate. Being it’s a hard cover and only opens from underneath, accessing the bed when locked is difficult. It also folds out of the way when we need taller things in the bed.
Undercover Truck Bed Covers