When Bryan Cullen of Hackettstown, New Jersey set out to transform his '82 Chevy K10 into an extraordinary trail machine, he knew he was facing a variety of challenges. Fortunately, he had two things in his favor. First, his vocation and training as a GM technician ensured that he possessed the mechanical experience needed to complete the project; and second, he had years of practical hands-on four-wheeling experience. By using these two things to his advantage, he created a trail truck that seemingly defies its size and weight to become an amazingly capable fullsize trail rig.
But there was another requirement that was critical to the truck's buildup. It was the simple fact that it had to serve as Cullen's daily driver. This meant it had to successfully pass New Jersey's stringent vehicle inspection laws, including a 15-degree off-camber test that shows the state that the vehicle is stable after suspension and tire modifications. Amazingly, Cullen achieved his goals, and then some, in only five short months.
The Chevy is powered by a 383ci stroker motor that kicks out 385 hp at 5,000 rpm and 427 l
Under the hood rests a potent 383ci stroker motor built by the folks at Competition Engines in Raritan, New Jersey. Its lengthy list of performance upgrades include a Callies crankshaft, JE pistons, Eagle piston rods, a Competition Cams roller cam, valve springs and roller rockers, and Edelbrock Performer intake manifold. Air and fuel are correctly mixed via a Holley Truck Avenger 770-cfm four-barrel carburetor in even the most off-camber situations, and the mixture is sparked by a jolt of electricity from an HEI coil and carried by an MSD billet distributor, Taylor 10mm wires and ACDelco spark plugs. Exhaust is piped away from the combustion chambers by Hedman headers and a 2 ¼-inch dual Dynomax exhaust. When the engine was dyno'd before it left Competition Engines, it showed flywheel horsepower of 385 at 5,000 rpm and 427 lb-ft of torque at a relatively low 3,500 rpm. Other engine-related mods include a 140-amp Summit alternator, three Exide batteries and aluminum Perma-Cool Maxi-Cool dual-circuit cooler with 900-cfm fan that cools the rig's engine oil and power-steering fluid.
A Ram 168-tooth flywheel and a Centerforce dual-friction clutch hands the power off to a durable SM465 four-speed transmission. Exceptional crawlability was paramount in the design of the K10, and Cullen addressed this issue by installing a dual transfer-case setup. It consists of NP203 and NP205 transfer cases joined by an Off Road Design doubler kit. They are guarded by a 4x4 Iron crossmember/skidplate combo and controlled by twin-stick shifters. Cullen sourced a pair of custom-modified 1-ton driveshafts with 1350 U-joints from High Angle Driveline, and these beefy 'shafts transfer the power to a well-built front ¾-ton 10-bolt axle with Warn chromoly axleshafts, CTM U-joints, a Lock-Right locker and a rear full-float 14-bolt axle equipped with a Detroit Locker. Both front and rear axles sport 4.10:1 gearing, as well as Missouri Off-Road axle trusses and Rock Bruiser differential covers. Further, Cullen ensured that the K10 would have effective, durable steering under any circumstances by installing a West Texas Off Road hydraulic steering-assist system and Missouri Off-Road heavy-wall tie rod to the custom crossover steering. Cullen also installed a Missouri Off-Road replacement front crossmember to eliminate the drag link contact associated with crossover steering on these vehicles. While he was under the Chevy, Cullen eliminated the stock side-mount fuel tank and replaced it with a 31-gallon fuel tank from a '78 K5 Blazer.
A custom 10-point rollcage ensures that the Chevy's occupants will remain safe in the even
For Cullen, the suspension posed a special challenge because he wanted stability, flex, height and driveability. Often these are not compatible bedfellows. His solution was to install a modest 6-inch Skyjacker leaf-spring lift up front with Off Road Design greasable spring shackles and Ford F-250 shock mounts. He says using the Ford shock mounts allow him to use longer Skyjacker front shocks that provide 2 inches of increased compression travel. In the rear of the K10, Cullen also installed a Skyjacker 6-inch suspension lift and Off Road Design Shackle Flip kit, but used single Pro Comp shocks at each wheel. The suspension allows plenty of room for full travel of the 35x15.5-15 Swamper TSL SX tires, which are mounted on 15x12 Eaton Simulock wheels.
When Cullen purchased the Chevy in January 2003, the body was exhibiting the nasty results of numerous New Jersey winters, so he replaced the entire front clip and bed. He also had to replace the rusty cab floors and rocker panels. After he completed the body restoration, he went to work bolting on a slew of functional exterior items, including a 4x4 Iron hybrid front winch bumper, rear bumper with Side Armor Protection Kit and a pair of Integrated rock sliders. He then used the proven spray-can method of trail-rig painting by using numerous cans of Rustoleum to lay on the NATO camouflage paint. He finished up the exterior mods by installing a Warn 15,000-pound winch to the front of the truck and an Oasis Off Road electric air compressor, 4x4 Iron bed-mounted spare-tire carrier and loads of tools and recovery gear to the bed of the truck.
Inside the truck, Cullen sits on Summit seats and grips a Grant steering wheel. He is protected from trail mishaps by a custom 10-point rollcage. He monitors engine functions via a suite of Auto Meter gauges. Trail tunes come from a Pioneer/MA Audio system and trail info from a Cobra CB radio.
Cullen says that even though the Chevy has been finished for a relatively short time, he has already 'wheeled it in a variety of locations, including the New Jersey Pine Barrens and the Paragon Adventure Park in Pennsylvania. Soon, Cullen says the truck will carry him to Colorado for some high-altitude 'wheeling. In the meantime, it's serving as grocery-getter and daily commuter. He's got no problem with that.
Cullen integrated loads of functional and safety items into the interior of the Chevy. The
Functionality was paramount in the design of the Chevy's front suspension and axle. The fr
An Off Road Design transfer-case doubler kit was used to mate the NP203 and NP205 transfer