You might recognize this GMC Sierra from our '09 Truck of the Year found in issue 2. After we were done testing it in its stock configuration, we started turning wrenches on it to see how good we could make it look and perform, starting with the basics. McGaughy's supplied us with their 2/4 lowering kit to improve the looks and handling. We headed to Traders Sport Trucks in Santa Fe Springs, California, where Ox handled the entire install in just 2 1/2 hours. Don't expect to be able to repeat that in your driveway, Ox has done more than one of these kits.

For the new rollers, we clicked onto to check out their selection. Our Sierra already started its life with 20-inch wheels, and we thought about moving up to 22s, but we didn't want to sacrifice too much in the ride quality department, it also helped to keep the price within our budget. To compromise for the 20-inch wheels, we opted for a little less sidewall in the Nitto NT420S that were shipped from mounted and balanced (with TPMS sensors) to our Liquid Metal wheels. All we had to do was throw them onto the truck and get an alignment.

We also hooked up with True Flow and MBRP to help the sound and performance of the 5.3L V-8, and those two parts we handled in our own garage. Check out the following pages where we'll give a stock Sierra a bolt-on makeover.

From The Driver Seat
The tire-bed gap at the rear of the truck was pretty large on the new truck, and the McGaughy's 2/4 drop put an end to that. Ride quality decreased initially, as the rear suspension only had about an inch before the truck was riding on the bumpstops. The factory bumpstops are a dense foam, and are about four inches long, so we trimmed an inch off the bottom to give more room for the suspension to cycle. There's still a large margin of safety, as there's no way the tires are going to rub with three inches of bumpstop left. We could have gone with a much shorter polyurethane bumpstop, and that's still an option in the future. Our chosen wheel and tire package complements the chrome bumper, grille, and emblems better than the factory machined aluminum, and the Nitto NT420S performance tires add some much-appreciated grip. The installed Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors (TPMS) needed to be synced with the truck through a process of releasing and adding pressure, or you can have your dealer do the same. Our favorite part of the install was the sound of the 5.3L V-8 after the True Flow intake and MBRP exhaust. We drove with just the intake installed for a day and really liked the added rumble that kicked in at about 1,900-rpm under load, and at any rpm under WOT. When the truck was at part throttle, like when maintaining speed on the highway, the truck seemed as quiet as ever. Bolting on the MBRP exhaust only added to the great sounds, but it was noticeable at idle while outside the truck. Inside the truck at cruising speeds, the truck sounded quiet and tame, but mash on the throttle and the intake and exhaust let the V-8 be heard.


Time Spent Working: About 5 hours
(21/2 for the suspension, ½ for the intake, and 11/2 for the exhaust since we did it in our own garage without a lift).
Degree Of Difficulty: Easy
All of the parts bolted on, but a lift was a big help when installing the suspension.

Parts Used:
-Discount Tire Liquid Metal Lithium 6 wheels and 265/50R20 Nitto NT420S tires $1,815.00
-MBRP single side exit cat-back exhaust, part #S5036409 $466.24
(price from
-McGaughy's 2/4 lowering kit, part #34000 $809.95
(price from
-True Flow XDi intake #10708 $339.95
(price from

Total Cost: $3,431.14 (not including tax or labor)

Traders Sport Trucks
Dept. TR
10242 Norwalk Blvd.
Santa Fe Springs
CA  90670
True Flow
Mcgaughy's Suspension Parts
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