Customized Multi-Tool Truck: 2015 Chevy Silverado Z71
"The world is what you make of it, friend. If it doesn't fit, you make alterations." -Stella the barkeep, "Silverado" (1985)
While Linda Hunt's character in Silverado wasn't talking about the truck of the same name, the quote still applies. If the truck doesn't quite fit your intended driving, there's a whole big aftermarket to make it fit. That's exactly what Paul Rohm did with his 2015 Chevy Silverado. The stock truck was almost versatile enough to multitask in the way he wanted, but there was plenty of room for improvement.
A Whole Lotta Miata
Paul started messing with cars almost since he was old enough to legally drive. His custom car odyssey began when he was eighteen, with one of the most un-trucky vehicles around: "I used to have a super low, well-known Miata with a roll cage," he says. Later he got into an XJ, followed by another Miata for track mayhem at places like Laguna Seca and Willow. Trucks really weren't on his radar. At least, at first.
Vibratory Stress Machines
Job changes are one of those alteration things you make; especially because unemployment doesn't fit most people. During all of this Miata madness Paul worked with vibratory stress machines. No, not the ones one finds in a nightstand with extra batteries nearby. The machines he worked with shake large pieces of metal. Specifically, welded ones like fuselages. See, when those large hunks of metal are cut or welded, they endure stress. Offset weights and motors in the machines shake the metal to build strength back into it. Unfortunately, a big dip in the manufacturing sector ended Paul's stress machine days.
That's when Paul Rohm started work at Design Inifini and met the truck market. Fast forward to the present, and now he's in charge of their truck marketing stuff. "I was a car wheel nerd," he says. 'After working at DI, I got into truck wheels. The more I learned, the more I got pulled into the off-road world."
It was only a matter of time before Paul's love for tinkering and his newfound enthusiasm for trucks met. When those two crazy kids got together they produced a cateye Silverado. "I made a mid travel coilover for it," Paul told us. "It was a lot of fun but it was an older truck. It wasn't too reliable." After selling it he moved on to a bunch of normal, stock vehicles like a used Yukon. And by used, we mean cheap and beat down. That was the last of the old beaters for him, though. "After that Yukon started having problems, I was done with jenky old boxes." So he got this here 2015 Silverado with all the options but he didn't get it new; just newer. It was cheaper because it was used. His initial "plans" for it were as simple as it gets: "Eh, I’ll leave it stock…"
Fox on the Run
And then he went to SEMA and saw the Fox Suspension booth. "There's lots of room for upgrades for desert trips with my truck," Paul thought. "Maybe I’ll introduce myself and talk collaboration." The fact that you're looking at that truck right now should tip you off as to how that conversation went. Everything fell into place from that talk.
Yes, the custom bug bit Paul again. He didn't go whole hog on the changes, though. He's been in the custom game long enough to know that you don't just throw parts willy-nilly onto a vehicle without some sort of endgame. He wanted it to look good and take the truck off-road, but he also needed it to tow trailers and get decent mileage on the road. "I didn’t want to go full long travel on it or kill the mileage with 37s. I didn't want a truck that should be caged but isn’t."
Paul enlisted Redlands Motorsports to get the job done. Although the changes were few, they targeted essential areas to get more out of the truck off the pavement without sacrificing roadability. Redlands installed the Fox 2.5-inch Coilovers with DSC Adjusters to Mazzula Upper Billlet A Arms up front. Out back, the Silverado gained Fox Shocks with DSC Adjusters. To say Paul Rohm was satisfied is sorta kinda an understatement: "It's pretty unbelievable how well the suspension works, now." You can't get much more of an endorsement than that.
Wheels of Fortune
Except, maybe, for the wheels and tires. Redlands also swapped in the Gear Off Road 17x8.5 +2 760BZ wheels shod in Nitto Terra Grappler G2 35x12.5x17-inch tires you see here. Paul says, "My friend has property in Johnson Valley. We pull the tires down to 18 lbs pressure off roading out there. The Nittos are part of why the truck rides so well and why we can go over obstacles with a bolt-on setup. I went with the G2's because I didn’t need a full mud tire."
"I wanted something more for daily driving but when you air the G2's down, they work really well off-road, too. Nitto really killed it with the way they designed that one." He put a lot of thought into which wheels, too. "The Gear Off-Road wheels are a 17x8.5-inch, no offset, standard Silverado off-road setup," Paul said. "The wheels give the truck the right amount of stance without putting too much pressure on the wheel bearings." Hw went with a 17-inch wheel to get more sidewall. "Since the tires are properly load rated, I can also tow, too."
There were a few other changes, too. Paul brought in an Airaid Cold Air Intake for increased airflow to the powerplant and added a Peragon Bed Cover to the cargo space. GG Lighting pods and Race Series Single Row 30-inch Lightbar shed light in the dark when Paul's having fun in the dirt after hours.
But Wait, There's More
The first round of changes may be over but by no means is the job done. It rarely ever is on project. Even as we speak, Paul is starting the next phase. "Currently I have a Banks PedalMonster going in because the stock one sucks. The tune on it sucks. It’s built for economy driving so you really have to mash it to go fast." He's also expanding the light setup with more spotlights in the grill to supplement the light bar floodlight behind the grill.
Got a Viair 450 portable air compessor going in and an ARB Type S fridge for the bed. That should get it to where he wants it. For now. "Maybe I'll go crazy on it in five or six years after I get another daily truck," he says, "But right now it’s perfect. Yet there's also the itch to go faster." Once the truck no longer fits Paul's world, he'll alter it again.
Photography by Paul Rohm