Subscribe to a magazine

Waste Not, Want Not

Front Passenger Side Driving Through Sand
Mike Finnegan | Writer
Posted July 22, 2003
Contributors: Joel Mollis

A New Chevy with HD Style and Performance

Wastegate Technologies is an automotive restyling and design studio that specializes in turning dreams into reality. The crew there routinely takes the often blurred vision of its clients and molds, shapes, and crafts the picture into sharp examples of automotive customization. Take its newest creation, for example: This '03 Chevrolet 1500HD Crew Cab began life as nothing more than a rendering of what could be a super-clean, dual-purpose hauler. Wastegate took the idea and ran with it, pulling the resources of top suppliers, and built a truck that is at home in the dirt and on the street.

For starters, Wastegate Technologies contacted the good people at Explorer Pro Comp to see about giving the HD an altitude adjustment and dirt-worthy suspension system. Pro Comp answered back with its 6-inch suspension lift. The front end of the truck was lifted via Pro Comps drop-down bracketry with E.A.S.E (equal angle suspension geometry), which helps eliminate bumpsteer, a real asset when hauling butt around corners in a lifted truck. To damp the rough and tumble roads this truck would encounter, Pro Comp installed a set of MX-6 six-position adjustable monotube dampers. The new dampers work well in this situation because this lift kit doesn't require any adjustment of the torsion bars to clear the 35-inch tires, making for one smooth ride on the highway. The rear suspension received a combination of 4-inch pinion angle-corrected lift blocks and add-a-leaves to level out the truck to the horizon. Once again, MX-6 shocks were called on for their excellent damping capabilities, and a set of rear traction bars were bolted between the rear axle tubes and framerails to eliminate axle wrap under hard acceleration.

One of the reasons Wastegate Technologies is able to build trucks that stand apart from the norm is its relationship with Powder One Powdercoating. Once the suspension system was completely dialed-in and the shocks were tuned, Powder One was charged with the task of custom coating each and every part of the suspension lift as well as various accessories on the truck. The results of Wastegate's ideas, Explorer Pro Comp's parts, and Powder One's colors is a suspension that looks as good as it performs.

No self-respecting truck would be complete without a bump in tire and wheel size, and this HD is no different. Boyd Coddington kicked down a set 17x10-inch Hot Rod 8 billet wheels that front its new line of wheels designed specifically for 3/4-ton trucks. The rollers were then stuffed inside Pro Comp's new 35x12.50x17 Radial XTerrain tires.

Turning a set of tires that are 5 inches taller than stock would easily put the stock 6.0L motor out of its powerband, so more changes were in order. Wastegate chose to boost the power package by addressing the engine's need to breathe. A K&N FIPK intake system was selected to smooth the flow of air into the engine and improve filtering of dirty air. The extra air that the new intake could potentially pack into the cylinders needed a better escape route, so Ed Hanson Muffler was called upon to craft a 2.5-inch exhaust system that would make exhaling the spent gases more efficient. Finally, a Hypertech Power Programmer III was connected to the stock computer to reprogram the system and correct the speedometer calibration, transmission shift points, and ignition timing for optimum power on pump gas.

Looking good is often just as important as working hard, so Wastegate went straight for the throat in an effort to revamp the image of the HD. Fisk Design Studio of El Cajon, California, was charged with the task of making a bold statement in paint on the truck, and it came through with flying colors. Working against the bright white canvas of the factory paint, Lyle Fisk relied on House of Kolor's hues to lay down the brilliant tribal theme using color-changing paint. After Lyle finished spraying and wet-sanding the new paint scheme, ATS Detailing of Chula Vista, California, expertly cut and buffed the exterior of the HD to a show-quality finish. Backing up the new colors is a slew of choice aftermarket accessories. The front end received a Grillcraft Sport grille and an Explorer Pro Comp skidplate and light bar. A billet grille was also thrown into the mix for an extra dose of style.

The inner sanctum of the cab was the next area to upgrade. Katzkin Leather Interiors came to the rescue with a supple blend of midnight carbon-fiber and putty-colored leather for all of the seating in the truck and the door panel inserts. To make the interior even more inviting and road trips extremely entertaining, Wastegate Technologies installed a high-end sound system using products from Sony, Alpine, and Rockford Fosgate. An Alpine CDA-7875 head unit leads the system, sending the signal decoded from any CDs to a pair of Sony Xplode amplifiers. A four-channel, 75-watt, X4 amp powers the Xplode component speakers that were installed in the factory door locations. Another Xplode amp, this one a 760-watt mono amplifier, was installed behind the rear seat and force-feeds a pair of Rockford Fosgate ten-inch HX2 dual voice coil subwoofers. The subs are installed into a custom-fabricated enclosure hidden beneath the rear bench seat. The combination of equipment cleanly blends brute bass force and clean highs to make dogs bark from a block away.

It's always cool to hear stories of how a range of different companies and products come together to build awesome trucks, and this HD is yet another clean example of a truck that can go just about anywhere and arrive in style. Now that we've seen an example of Wastegate Technologies' designs, we are curious as to what it'll come up with next.

Owner/hometown: Tom Downey/Coronado, California
Year/make/model: '01/Chevrolet/1500HD Crew Cab LT 4x4
Engine: 6.0L fuel-injected V-8
Transmission: 4L80-E four-speed automatic
Gear ratio: 4.10
Suspension: Explorer Pro Comp 6-inch suspension lift with MX-6 monotube adjustable dampers
Tires/wheels: 17x10-inch Boyd Coddington Hot Rod 8 wheels/37x12.50x17 Pro Comp Xterrain tires
Additional features: 1,000 watts of music power from Alpine, Rockford Fosgate, and Sony; powdercoated accessories from Powder One; Katzkin leather interior; Bedrug bedliner


View Photo Gallery
  • This photo is cool because it not only shows off the excellent paintjob by Lyle Fisk but also shows off the bitchin' traction bars from Explorer Pro Comp. Those babies keep the axle from twisting under hard acceleration and plant the 37s firmly on the ground for maximum traction.

  • *Keeping up with the new trend of upsizing both tires and wheels is a set of 17x10-inch Boyd Coddington Hot Rod 8 billet wheels. The wheels make their home in Explorer Pro Comp's new Xterrain treads.

  • The HD in its natural habitat -- the dirt! The suspension and rolling stock are hard at work here, churning up the earth in the midst of a beautiful power slide. We dig the front lightbar and Pro Comp driving lights, too!

  • Our more astute readers have likely noticed that in some of the photos this truck has gray-powdercoated suspension components and in other photos, the parts are orange and purple. Like other projects, this truck is constantly evolving, so we had to go back and snap some new pictures of the new colors after our original photo shoot.