Whether you believe it or not, in my opinion, things happen for a reason. For Corey Lewis, an upcoming father, his ownership of his Chevrolet Corvette had to be cut short. Although he’s losing his pride and joy, surely something will come along and take it’s place, right? This is the story of Lewis’ 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and how it came to be.
Traveling from state to state, covering multiple diesel-powered events we come in contact with a lot of people. I was told about Lewis and his Duramax-powered Silverado and so I reached out. We chit-chatted about his truck and how it came to be and he’s really got a nice truck with even more planned in the future.
In 2018, Lewis and his wife were expecting their first child. As mentioned earlier, a change had to be made. As cool as Corvette’s are, they just aren’t practical for hauling a child and the necessary items they require, you know? The search was on. “With my wife and I expecting, the Corvette had to go. I already knew what I wanted which made it nice,” Lewis said. “The search was on for a low-miles LTZ LML Duramax.”
Driving up the interstate or even cruising through town, we see these kinds of trucks all day long, but Lewis was precise on what he wanted. “I looked everywhere for a low-miles LTZ truck for over a year. I just could not find a decent deal anywhere. If the price was there, the mileage wasn’t. If the mileage was there, the price wasn’t,” Lewis says.
How It Started
Luckily for him, he struck gold and found this rig in 2018. I understand some people are loyal to brands or specific engines, but why this one? Lewis explained, “I wanted this kind of truck because I was familiar with it. I am an Air Force Ground Vehicle Technician and I’ve had my hands on plenty of these trucks while deployed and that has prepared me and familiarized me with these platforms.”
The good news is, this truck had already been tinkered on here and there and it was finally his. Upon purchase, Lewis knew this truck had been upgraded from the LMM transmission and a few other things. “This did have an upgraded transmission but there was still some slight doubt about this truck regardless of the familiarity due to the CP4 injection pump,” Lewis says.
For those of you who don’t know, these trucks have a very high failure rate on these injection systems and in the end, it can be costly. Apparently, that didn’t scare Lewis enough because he owns it, right? With 10 months remaining in the military, the plan was to complete his terms and move back home to Mississippi to open up his own shop.
With that being said, this truck was responsible for hauling the Lewis family and all of their belongings back home when it was time. Two days after the purchase of this truck was final, Lewis was hit with a short-notice deployment tasking and within five days, he had to have his bags packed and ready to take off again. “It was certainly a shock and I didn’t even get a full week of ownership to really enjoy my new truck,” he said.
Six weeks into deployment, Lewis’ daughter, Baylee, was born. As if Lewis didn’t have enough going on with the birth of a child, being deployed, not enjoying his new truck, and more, mother nature had plans of developing Hurricane Michael to just throw a wrench in the mix.
“With the hurricane headed for our hometown, there was a chance that the Eglin base would be evacuated. With inclement weather en route, I wanted to make sure my wife and child would have a safe rig to evacuate and keep their belongings safe. So, the first purchase for the truck was an Extang bed cover,” Lewis says.
If the base was evacuated, Lewis didn’t want his family traveling through that storm in her Toyota Camry in case there was a situation where four-wheel-drive was needed. Thankfully, they didn’t have to evacuate and Lewis was able to finish the rest of his tour and returned home to his then six-month-old daughter.
“As I transitioned into the civilian world, life, like it recently has, had other plans. When we took my daughter in for her nine-month checkup she was diagnosed with a rare form of ocular cancer “retinoblastoma’’, so after that happened, all of our plans of getting out were pretty much axed overnight, unfortunately,” Lewis said.
With his daughter’s health condition, there was just no way he could justify getting out financially. On top of that, Lewis’ need for the truck was slowly going away. Due to their proximity to St. Jude Hospital, and other surrounding hospitals, where Lewis’ daughter was receiving treatment weekly, he was permanently locked into Eglin Air Force base until retirement in 2028.
The Snowball Effect
“I had contemplated selling or trading this truck in for something smaller but due to the power of peer pressure, the truck stayed. I had a coworker mention lifting this truck but with my previous experience with lifted vehicles, I wasn’t really on board. The coworker reassured me if I invested money into a nicer lift kit, it would in fact ride and perform much better,” Lewis said.
Turns out, he was right. Just a few days later, Lewis had a Full Throttle Suspension 7-inch to 9-inch lift kit on his porch along with other goodies. This includes the Full Throttle Boxed Upper Control Arms, too. He had already invested this much money into the truck, what is a few more bucks, right? Not loving the dull-black coating the parts came with, Lewis sent these parts to a friend to powder coat.
As you can expect, things started piling up and the truck keeps getting upgrades. For starters, this Duramax was fitted with a set of 22-inch by 12-inch Hostile wheels wrapped in 35/12.50R22 Toyo Open Country AT tires but Lewis quickly wanted a change. With that, the truck was then fitted with a set of 24-inch by 14-inch American Force Octane wheels.
We’ve all been there, the snowball is formed and the farther you roll it, it gets bigger and bigger. In the aftermarket world, I am meaning the more parts you buy, the parts list continues to lengthen. “With the new wheels on, I began started to upgrade on the performance side of things. Things were looking up. I was upgrading, the truck was running good and then life said no again.”
Remember that pesky CP4 injection pump we talked about earlier? It happened. Out of nowhere, just driving the truck normally one day, the CP4 decided to completely fail without offering any warning, engine code, or anything. This inevitably led him into fixing it but going back with the better, more reliable CP3 conversion from S&S Diesel Motorsport. With the help of some good friends, Lewis’ Duramax was back on the road.
This minor setback was merely temporary as Lewis hit the upgrade list harder than ever. This 2011 was equipped with a AFE Power Cold Air Intake, AFE Power 3-inch intercooler piping, Sinister Diesel intake bridge, Wehrli Custom Fabrication EGR Delete, PPEI up-pipes, PPEI 3-inch downpipe, MBRP 5-inch exhaust, FASS 165 lift pump, a Beans Diesel Performance sump, and a SunCoast Diesel Deep Pan.
As for future plans, Lewis is looking to upgrade fully to a SunCoast transmission, Rear Cantilever Suspension with airbags or coil-overs, and if he does a large single turbocharger, he’s planning on building the engine.