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Old 03-03-2015, 01:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
StormCruzzer
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 47
iTrader Score: 0 reviews

StormCruzzer Storm Chasing Truck Build!

Welcome to my build thread! Follow along as I make progress on the Beast. The Tank. The StormCruzzer!

For an extended introduction and back story, check out the most recent blog here! If you don't care about anything but the build and pictures, skip down a few posts.
StormCruzzer

For a TL;DR read version;
My name is Travis Cruz. I'm currently a Meteorology Undergrad at Virginia Tech, and have started my own storm chasing and private forecasting company, StormCruzzer LLC. I'm also the designer and owner of The StormCruzzer, a Top of the Line storm chasing vehicle that I've been designing for the past three years.

A few FAQ to give a general idea on the project.

1. Why would you choose to lift the truck when you put such an emphasis on the importance of stability in wind?

I get this question quite often. Although adding a lift kit and larger tires does raise the center of gravity, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. We now have the ability to drive over much larger debris than before. The truck is also now more capable than 99% of other chasers off-road, allowing us to get places where they cannot. We found out just how capable the truck was this past year, and were glad we chose this route. We were on a supercell in the New Mexico desert with a few other chasers, when the storm crossed the main highway. Due to the poor road networks in the area, the only way we could stay with the storm was to follow it down a (now muddy) backroad, through the desert. The storm exploed after it crossed the road, giving us a good hail show. Sadly it dissipated within 30 minutes, but if it had produced a tornado, we would have been the only ones there to witness and record it.
The stock Silverado HD is also much lower profile than it's Dodge or Ram competitors. Even with the 4" Lift and 35's, The StormCruzzer sits equal in height to the F350.

2. Doesn't having such a heavy, bulky vehicle make you less agile in chase situations, and make it harder to get out of the way of a tornado?

Not at all! In most situations it actually makes it easier! With our mods and tune, the Duramax now produces roughly 450HP, and 850ft/lbs of torque meaning that even with extremely strong headwinds (inflow to the storm), we should have no probelm escaping. Plus, we now have the ability to take dirt roads to get out the way, which other chasers cannot do.

3. Why did we choose such a large, heavy vehicle, instead of a smaller, fuel efficient vehicle like a lot of chasers?

This is a long one, so I'll split it up into sections.

For one, our chasing isn't limited to Severe Storms and Tornadoes. We are interested in all extreme weather, including Blizzards and Hurricanes, and anything else nature decides to throw our way. Without completely breaking the bank on an H1 Hummer Alpha, we have chosen the best vehicle out there for the circumstances we we will face. With the heavy weight of the vehicle, and the extra wide stance, we are very stable in higher winds, even with the lift kit.

Our goals are also much different than most other chasers. We've built the truck to not only chase tornadoes, but get up close and personal with the storms, when safe. This includes enduring higher winds, and potentially large hail and smaller debris. We also chose the truck to be more capable on all kinds of terrain, but I will get more into that in a future question.

Another bonus to the truck is that it's very appeasing to truck and off-road enthusiasts. This has helped us a lot, not only with getting sponsors, but just drawing attention to our cause, both in person, and on our website and Facebook page.

4. How many MPG do you get?

Highway at 70mph, we actually get 16mpg! Of course when we're chasing and trying to catch up to a storm wee go a little faster, so it varies quite a bit. We averaged about 14mpg for our 5000 mile trip. Not bad for weighing over 10K when loaded down with persons and gear.


~ Current Modifications Include ~
- 4" Cognito Suspension Lift
- ARE Z-Series Camper Shell with LED's
- Iron Cross Automotive Front and Rear HD Bumpers
- MagnaFlow Exhaust
- Longhorn Fab Shop Bolt on Tie Rod Sleeves
- Longhorn Fab Shop HD Traction Bars
- EFI Live tuned by Adrenaline Truck Performance
- Speed Demon LED Lights (check pictures for specs)
- S&B Cold Air Intake
- Rhino Liner Paint Job
- N-Fab Side Steps
- 4.56 Yukon Gears
- 35x12.5x17 Mickey Thompson ATZ P3's
- RAM Laptop Mount
- Cobra CB and Kenwood HAM Radios
- Kenwood Navigation System
- Plastidipped Stock Wheels


~ In-Progress Mods ~
- Steel Frame Roof Rack w/ 8, 3x3 LED Lights
- Hail Guards

~ Future Mods ~
- Lift Pump
- Warning Lights
- Roll Cage
- Custom Skid Plates
- Methanol Injection
- Recon?? Headlights and Taillights
- New Grille Insert?
- Truck Bed Organizer
- Seat Covers
- 37" Mickey Thompson MTZ's (If they'll sponsor)
- Extra Line-X Coating (If they'll sponsor)



I want to give a huge shoutout to the following companies for helping Sponsor our Truck!

- Cognito Motorsports
Cognito Motorsports -- Lift Kits, Leveling Kits, Suspension Upgrades

- ARE Truck Caps and Tonneaus
A.R.E. : Manufacturer of Truck Caps, Truck Canopies, Truck Toppers, Camper Shells, Hard Tonneau Covers, Work Caps, Fiberglass Tops, and Truck Accessories.

- EFI Live
EFILive - Home

- Adrenaline Truck Performance
EFILive Duramax Cummins Powerstroke Diesel Performance Parts ATPTrucks

- Speed Demon Lights
Welcome to Speed Demon Lights

- Iron Cross Automotive
Welcome to Iron Cross Automotive. We produce American Made Step Products and Bumpers. American Made = American Jobs!

- Longhorn Fab Shop
Longhorn Fab Shop

- MagnaFlow Exhaust
The Official Site of MagnaFlow Exhaust Products - Exhaust Systems For Trucks, Suv's, American Muscle, Diesel, & Sport Compact Vehicles

- S&B Filters
S&B Filters - Performance Air Filters & Intakes

__________________
- 4-6" Cognito Lift Kit
- ARE Truck Cap, Z-Series with interior lighting
- N-Fab side steps (Page 5)
- 1/8" Rhino Linings Extreme Paint Job
- 35x12.5x17 Mickey Thompson ATZ P3 Tires
- HAM and CB Radios Mounted to Center Console
- Kenwood Navigation System
- 4.56 Yukon Gear Swap
- S&B Cold Air Intake
- Magnaflow Cat-Back Exhaust
- Longhorn Fab Shop Traction Bars and Tie Rod Sleeves
- EFI Custom Tuned by Adrenaline Truck Performance
- Iron Cross Automotive HD Front and Rear Bumpers
- Speed Demon LED Lights
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Old 03-03-2015, 01:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
StormCruzzer
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 47
iTrader Score: 0 reviews

I'm sure this is what you're all really here for, so lets get started!

Here's a picture of the truck, stock (minus the tube steps), before I made any modifications.



The first thing we did was go to a local truck shop, as they had the A.R.E. Z-Series Camper Shell that I was interested in. They ended up having the side steps I wanted as well, so we added those to the order. We dropped the truck off a week later, and it was ready in no time.







We then decided that the next best step was to add the protective bed liner. We ended up going with Rhino Lining.





After talking to several companies about lift kits and tires, we decided to go with a Cognito Motorsports 4" lift kit, with 35x12.5x17 Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ P3 tires. Many people question why I would want to lift the truck, when I'm going to be in higher winds. After watching hundreds of hours of storm chasing videos on TV and YouTube, I decided that having the capability to get to any storm, and get out of any sticky situation, was more important. This came in handy multiple times when we chased in May of 2014, as we were the only ones capable of getting close to a few storms as they were forming, and we didn't have to worry about getting stranded on a dirt road like most other chase vehicles.





Next, we installed our CB and HAM Radios, antennas, RAM Laptop Mount, Kenwood Navigation System, and wireless internet signal booster.




After we finished these modifications it was time to chase!




















Came back, cleaned her up, and added a nice touch to the wheels! Plastidipped the wheels but left the center caps chrome for a nice accent.






Next I installed bolt on tie rod sleeves and HD traction bars from Longhorn Fab Shop!



Continued below!

__________________
- 4-6" Cognito Lift Kit
- ARE Truck Cap, Z-Series with interior lighting
- N-Fab side steps (Page 5)
- 1/8" Rhino Linings Extreme Paint Job
- 35x12.5x17 Mickey Thompson ATZ P3 Tires
- HAM and CB Radios Mounted to Center Console
- Kenwood Navigation System
- 4.56 Yukon Gear Swap
- S&B Cold Air Intake
- Magnaflow Cat-Back Exhaust
- Longhorn Fab Shop Traction Bars and Tie Rod Sleeves
- EFI Custom Tuned by Adrenaline Truck Performance
- Iron Cross Automotive HD Front and Rear Bumpers
- Speed Demon LED Lights
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Old 03-03-2015, 01:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
StormCruzzer
Diesel Student
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 47
iTrader Score: 0 reviews

I then started to design a roof rack that will house 8 3x3" speed demon LED spot lights, as well as out hailguards











Then we installed our S&B intake! The difference in sound is incredible!



Installed our Iron Cross Automotive front and rear bumpers, and Speed Demon Lights.









And we're now currently working on finishing the roof rack and hail guards!

__________________
- 4-6" Cognito Lift Kit
- ARE Truck Cap, Z-Series with interior lighting
- N-Fab side steps (Page 5)
- 1/8" Rhino Linings Extreme Paint Job
- 35x12.5x17 Mickey Thompson ATZ P3 Tires
- HAM and CB Radios Mounted to Center Console
- Kenwood Navigation System
- 4.56 Yukon Gear Swap
- S&B Cold Air Intake
- Magnaflow Cat-Back Exhaust
- Longhorn Fab Shop Traction Bars and Tie Rod Sleeves
- EFI Custom Tuned by Adrenaline Truck Performance
- Iron Cross Automotive HD Front and Rear Bumpers
- Speed Demon LED Lights
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Old 03-03-2015, 11:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
Verlon at ATP
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Meridian, ID
Posts: 81
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That is turning into a very nice ride. Keep us updated on the progress.
__________________
2005 CCSB 650hp. Expensive!
2006 CCSB 1000+hp EXPENSIVER!!!

Won a couple times in the NHRDA.....

Work at http://atptrucks.com/
208-685-1000

Here to help.... If I can....
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Old 03-05-2015, 12:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
GraystoneHD
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Nice looking rig but I'd go back to wherever you went for the rhino liner and have them finish the job. They completely missed under the doors where you would most likely have any form of damage/rust occur. Just my 2 cents...
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2013 Silverado 2500HD LTZ
Z71 Appearance Package
LineX Premium
DuraFlaps
T-Rex Mesh Bumper Filler
Skyjacker DEF Skid Plate
21" Billet Antenna
Rancho Steering Stabilizer
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
StormCruzzer
Diesel Student
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 47
iTrader Score: 0 reviews

Working on making a switch panel for my interior and exterior LEDs and whatever else I may need switches for!

Fun fact: The plastic I used for the panel is cut from a plastic piece that's meant to go under a toilet.

__________________
- 4-6" Cognito Lift Kit
- ARE Truck Cap, Z-Series with interior lighting
- N-Fab side steps (Page 5)
- 1/8" Rhino Linings Extreme Paint Job
- 35x12.5x17 Mickey Thompson ATZ P3 Tires
- HAM and CB Radios Mounted to Center Console
- Kenwood Navigation System
- 4.56 Yukon Gear Swap
- S&B Cold Air Intake
- Magnaflow Cat-Back Exhaust
- Longhorn Fab Shop Traction Bars and Tie Rod Sleeves
- EFI Custom Tuned by Adrenaline Truck Performance
- Iron Cross Automotive HD Front and Rear Bumpers
- Speed Demon LED Lights
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Old 03-23-2015, 02:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
LBZFORME
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 136
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The Suburban Club Member

Nice!! What did you use for the roof rack mounts? I'm putting one on my build and wondering what to use to mount the rack to the roof... I like the build! And I agree they missed the pinch weld area with the liner....
__________________
"The Beast" 92 2500 4x4 Suburban 6.5 NV4500 6' lift on 37's with 4.10 gears REALIFT torsion bar relocators, rear disk brakes, Riddler diff cover.
"JD" 2013 Camaro SS 6M with a few bolt ons.
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Old 03-23-2015, 02:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
StormCruzzer
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LBZFORME View Post
Nice!! What did you use for the roof rack mounts? I'm putting one on my build and wondering what to use to mount the rack to the roof... I like the build! And I agree they missed the pinch weld area with the liner....
I'm using Smittybilt defender roof rack mounts for my rack They gave me a credible reason for why they didn't do the bottom but I can't remember off the top of my head.. If I do I'll let you guys know. I honestly don't mind it though, the Rhino Lining is for penetration protection and I don't need the protection from down there
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Old 03-23-2015, 02:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
LBZFORME
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 136
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The Suburban Club Member

Quote:
Originally Posted by StormCruzzer View Post
I'm using Smittybilt defender roof rack mounts for my rack They gave me a credible reason for why they didn't do the bottom but I can't remember off the top of my head.. If I do I'll let you guys know. I honestly don't mind it though, the Rhino Lining is for penetration protection and I don't need the protection from down there
Good point on the protection from debris/hail. In AZ I don't care about rust and all that but my OCD would kick in whenever I could see the pinch weld. I'll look into those mounts too. Thx!
__________________
"The Beast" 92 2500 4x4 Suburban 6.5 NV4500 6' lift on 37's with 4.10 gears REALIFT torsion bar relocators, rear disk brakes, Riddler diff cover.
"JD" 2013 Camaro SS 6M with a few bolt ons.

Last edited by LBZFORME; 03-23-2015 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 03-23-2015, 02:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
StormCruzzer
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LBZFORME View Post
Good point on the protection from debris/hail. In AZ I don't care about rust and all that but my OCD would kick in whenever I could see the pinch weld. I'll look into those mounts too. Thx!
I actually kinda like the little bit of red.. gives you a preview of what's inside. When you open the door it's like opening a jewelry box, its bright and shiny red haha. The defender mounts aren't cheap at all, but they're easy to make the rack level on surfaces that aren't level. And they're incredibly stong

__________________
- 4-6" Cognito Lift Kit
- ARE Truck Cap, Z-Series with interior lighting
- N-Fab side steps (Page 5)
- 1/8" Rhino Linings Extreme Paint Job
- 35x12.5x17 Mickey Thompson ATZ P3 Tires
- HAM and CB Radios Mounted to Center Console
- Kenwood Navigation System
- 4.56 Yukon Gear Swap
- S&B Cold Air Intake
- Magnaflow Cat-Back Exhaust
- Longhorn Fab Shop Traction Bars and Tie Rod Sleeves
- EFI Custom Tuned by Adrenaline Truck Performance
- Iron Cross Automotive HD Front and Rear Bumpers
- Speed Demon LED Lights
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