Click for Coverage
  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

2002 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Nuclear Marshmallow

Posted in Features on April 19, 2017
Share this

It’s always good to have an affinity for your work, and dirt-lover Michael Ball lives off-roading during just about every waking moment. You see, he’s a senior sales associate with 4 Wheel Parts San Marcos by day and a truck-jumping fiend come the weekend.

At 33, Ball figured that he wanted a little more bulk around him than the dirt bikes he had been riding, so he bought a ’02 2WD Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and set about turning into something would give him the same rush as the bikes did. His goal was to build a dream luxury prerunner but on the average Joe’s budget; or what he laughingly now calls a “budget luxury prerunner.”

Ball, along with GMR’s Jason Heard, took what was there and built it to the next stage. The cage was put in and the Blitzkrieg suspension mocked up. It was then moved to Blitzkreig so Matt Helton could build a front engine cage and coilover shock mounts and supply the spindles. From there the rolling chassis went back to Ball’s garage where he completed the build to that point. The original single shock has turned into dual Fox shocks (10-inch Fox 2.5 coilovers, 10-inch 2.5 triple bypass) and a pair of 2.0 King bumpstops.

Initially the rearend was helped by Deaver springs, but it was finally C-notched, and, with the help of good friend Brett Sloppy of MMS Racing, a custom built 4-link was added. All the suspension pivot points, links, and the rest were built in the garage. The rear shocks feature Pro Comp 2.0 bumps, Fox 2.5 coilovers (16-inch) and 2.5 triple bypass (18-inch) units. The coil springs are actually King 450/550-pound units.

This classic-era Chevy with up-to-date parts is a truck that can be a ton of fun for a long time to come.

While the front brakes are stock, the rear features Schriner rotors with Wilwood Superlite calipers. On all four corners, however, one will find 17x8.5 Pro Comp La Paz wheels that are equipped with 37x12.50-17 Pro Comp Xtreme AT tires.

It’s a Pro Comp sweep when it comes to the wheels and tires. Pro Comp Xtreme AT tires (37x12.50-17) combine Pro Comp La Paz wheels (17x8.5) to roll the rocks and rip the ruts.

We’ve always liked this era of Chevy truck, and the steel cab, hood, and grille have been only aided in the looks department with the addition of the Trailer products fiberglass front fenders and rear bedsides. They were painted to match the cab. By that we mean the stock, eye-watering, glacier white paint that came from the factory, though Ball says he’d be happy to let someone wrap it if they wanted.

There are five of Hella’s X5 HID’s installed into an articulating mount that rotates up from the bed cage when needed, and folds back down and out of harm’s way when not. A small Rigid LED has been placed on top of the very small front pushbar. Between the six lights (plus headlights) there’s more than enough light to get Ball back if the sun goes down while out on the trail. Speaking of the bed cage, it also holds the Fuel Safe fuel cell, two spare tires, a toolbox, and a pair of handy fire extinguishers.

To protect the five Hella lights, the cage surrounding them can pivot backward.

At least he’ll be comfortable and well protected as Corbeau XP seats have replaced the stock units, and a set of 5-point Crow harnesses replace the stock three-pointer over the shoulder units. Other tricks inside this truck include an Art Carr Shifter, a PCI intercom with Yaesu Race radio, and a Lowrance GPS system.

Again, once Ball had built the interior section of the cage he set about adding to it. Here, he replaced the stock seats with much more appropriate Corbeau racing seats, added a set of Crow harnesses that keep the occupants restrained while the PCI headset’s keeps them in contact with one another.

To get an idea of how healthy this Chevy sounds, check out the accompanying video, but know that it was all thanks to Ball and his tinkering of the Chevrolet LQ9 engine. Displacing 6.0 liters, the 2005 vintage engine has been upgraded with the best of old and new as a custom Schneider Racing Cams bumpstick shares duty with a Black Bear tuner.

Though the induction system uses stock fuel injectors and intake manifold, an AEM cold air intake system keeps the engine filled with cool air. The exhaust system begins with a set of long-tube headers before collecting into an X-pipe then to the 3-inch tubes, which direct the flow to dual MagnaFlow mufflers. Ball figures that the engine produces 400 hp, and, as the guy who did the engine work, he should know.

Ball must be a muscle car guy at heart because he went big with the ’05 6.0L engine and then put a Schneider Racing cam in it! He topped it off with a Black Bear tune.
An AEM cold air intake with a K&N filter—like us, Ball has a few filters and rotates them out.

The Chevrolet transmission is the stock 4L80E that has been upgraded with a manual valvebody, 3,200-stall converter, and PWR X3 trans cooler with a remote K&N filter.

Even with a lot of power, the gearing needs to be right, so Ball used G2 5:43 gears and Detroit locker when he built the GMR 9-inch rearend. Also in place are Schriner full floating hubs and Speedway Engineering axles. Putting the engine torque to good use is not a problem.

Ball says that he built this Silverado to be able to get out with friends and have good times. He also says that his “Marshmallow” still needs a few things for sure, but that “it all comes with the budget.” Some future fun will include a 40-spline rearend, complete back half and bigger shocks. He also concedes that it definitely needs some paint.

Ball seemed to be having one as he tossed his truck around for our cameras. Go to www.fourwheeler.com then hit the DS+OR tab to see the video.
Once Ball and GMR’s Jason Heard had the cage built, they attached a Blitzkrieg long-travel system to it and backed it up with dual Fox shocks (10-inch, 2.5 coilovers and 10-inch, 2.5 triple bypass) and a pair of 2.0 King bumpstops.
Brett Sloppy of MMS racing custom-built the 4-link. The rear shocks are Fox 2.5 coil-overs (16-inch and equipped with King 450/550-pound springs) and Fox 2.5 triple bypass (18-inch) but this time a Pro Comp 2.0 bumpstop is used. The rear brake system features Schriner rotors with Wilwood Superlite Calipers.
The owner-built cage extends into the bed, where a PWR X3 trans cooler (with a remote K&N filter) and two spares are mounted, as well as a Fuel Safe fuel cell hidden beneath the spares.
The stock dash has been upgraded with a Lowrance GPS, the PCI Race Radios system and a single Pro-Comp gauge. Ball says that the A/C works and the stereo screams. What more could you want?
An Art Carr Sidewinder shifter connects to a manual valve-bodied 4L80E.
PhotosView Slideshow

Sources

Corbeau Seats
Sandy, UT 84070
801-255-3737
www.corbeau.com
Crow Enterprizes
Anaheim, CA
888-869-2769
http://www.crowenterprizes.com
Schneider Racing Cams
San Diego, CA
619-297-0227
http://www.schneidercams.com
PCI Race Radios
Signal Hill, CA 90755
800-869-5636
http://www.pciraceradios.com/
King
Garden Grove, CA 92840
714-530-8701
www.kingshocks.com
Fox Racing Shox
Watsonville, CA 95076
800-369-7469
www.ridefox.com
Lowrance
Tulsa, OK
800-324-1356
www.lowrance.com
Fuel Safe
Redmond, OR 97756
800-433-6524
fuelsafe
Deaver Suspension
Santa Ana, CA 92701
714-542-3703
www.deaverspring.com
G2 Axle & Gear
Compton, CA 90220
310-900-2687
www.g2axle.com
Trailer Products Inc.
Hemet, CA 92543
951-654-7334
http://www.off-roadfiberglass.com
Wilwood Brakes
Camarillo, CA 93012
805-388-1188
http://www.wilwood.com
Pro Comp USA
Compton, CA 90220
800-776-0767
http://www.procompusa.com
Hella
Peachtree City, GA 30269
770-631-7500
http://www.hella.com
AEM Electronics
Hawthorne, CA 90250
310-484-2322
www.aemelectronics.com
4 Wheel Parts
Compton, CA 90220
877-474-4821
www.4wheelparts.com
Blitzkrieg Motorsports
714-841-1862
www.blitzkrieg-motorsports.com
Black Bear Performance
877-809-4070
www.blackbearperformance.com

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results