Tim Demetrio and Julio Bombachini, engineers from General Motors, participate in a discussion on the latest family of GM trucks and the enhanced capabilities of the ZR2 and AEV-equipped models. The crew also addresses rumors surrounding the 8.3L Duramax, while Lightning experiences some seat time in the Frontier. Proudly sponsored by Nissan in association with Banks Power, this is The Truck Show Podcast.



The following transcription of The Truck Show Podcast was generated using a speech recognition software, and will contain errors. Please review the timestamp and listen to the corresponding audio for accuracy. 

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Jay “Lightning” Tilles (0s):

Holman, I’m excited to announce that I am done with jury duty, completed my four day stint as a juror. And as of today,

Sean P. Holman (8s):

He’s guilty.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (10s):

He was guilty As of today, I can now say that I was a foreperson

Sean P. Holman (15s):

Last time I was served on jury duty. I was the foreperson also. And we had, I had to turn the tide with three people to convict. I was able to make it happen.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (24s):

I turned the, well, I can’t say that I did. We collectively turned the tide of to the jurors and we, so we, yeah. Unanimous guilty guilt. Freaking t what was

Sean P. Holman (34s):

The, what was the crime?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (36s):

Crossing a police line, basically.

Sean P. Holman (38s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (39s):

He was shooting video,

Sean P. Holman (40s):

Which is not, which is not illegal.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (43s):

Nope. Not illegal. But when you cross the police line and you cause a, an officer of the law to delay his attention to the emergency at hand, that’s illegal. And that’s what this guy did. At least that’s how we found him. Like we found him guilty of

Sean P. Holman (58s):

Laying. You’ve just been inching to find somebody guilty.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 1s):

I’ve never been on a jury

Sean P. Holman (1m 2s):

Before. I know. You’re like, did you look at the prosecution right in the eye when they, it said jury number four and you’re like, guilty. You just mouthed it and then winked at him. Like, I didn’t, I got, I got you Holmes dude. The,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 14s):

The defense attorney had some great points and a few times I was on the fence, but then when I read the law, to me it was black and white. Like, did he do this thing? And the answer was, yes.

Sean P. Holman (1m 27s):

I don’t really care about your jury duty as much as I care about the state of the Nissan Frontier.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 32s):

Oh, okay. We’ll talk about that. and AEV second All. I just had to add So. I had to get into this. Yeah. Explain to you that I was in jury duty to ask

Sean P. Holman (1m 38s):

You. Right.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 40s):

Is it okay to show up to your trial in pajamas? Sure. Now, it wasn’t no one on my case, but then the court room next to us, the defendant showed up with plaid pajamas. Yeah.

Sean P. Holman (1m 54s):

Have you seen the kids in high school? They all wear their pajama bottoms now and stuff. That’s just society.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 59s):

I know. But so he has pajama bottoms. Hey, listen, it’s

Sean P. Holman (2m 1s):

At your,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 2s):

With a shirt and a tie tucked into pajama bottoms. Listen, like what? Are you kidding

Sean P. Holman (2m 6s):

Me? I I will say this. Optics matter. Yes, you can do that, but it might be at your own peril of what people think of you. And if you’re gonna go in front of a jury, you probably want them to have a high caliber of thought toward you.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 17s):

I mean the moment you walk in,

Sean P. Holman (2m 19s):

That’s not gonna do

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 20s):

It. The new moment. This, this dude walks in, they go delinquent, lazy. Like what? Clearly doesn’t care.

Sean P. Holman (2m 27s):

Yeah. Well convict. He’s gonna have some baloney later. Is all I all I gotta say about that? Okay, so you borrowed the Frontier that I was borrowing

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 37s):

That Boulder Gray Pearl Pro four x that’s sitting on your driveway.

Sean P. Holman (2m 41s):

Do I I haven’t seen it. I, I could look on my ring camera. I guess it’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 44s):

There. See if it, it’s, it’s in one piece. You see the wristbands on my, on my wrist right here. The yellow wristband and the Optima batteries wristband. That’s from KOH King of the Hammers that was out there visiting our friend Corey Willis, who was racing. Pretty fascinating story. And

Sean P. Holman (2m 57s):

Did you take the Frontier out there?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 58s):

I did.

Sean P. Holman (2m 59s):

Did you put gas in it? I did.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 1s):

It’s got, well, I, it was full when I left, left my house. It was,

Sean P. Holman (3m 4s):

It was full when I gave it to you.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 6s):

Absolutely full. Okay. It was full when I left work last night. Now it’s got nine tenths of a tank. So it’s not all a hundred percent. I would have to have topped it off on the way here. But it’s the

Sean P. Holman (3m 17s):

Way Oh, I topped it off before I handed the keys to you. Listen, It is people, people and AEV podcast land. I get it. People in podcast land. Okay. So you owe

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 26s):

Me, it’s seven eights.

Sean P. Holman (3m 27s):

You owe me at least dinner or something

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 30s):

Done. You owe me

Sean P. Holman (3m 31s):

A meal to make up. ’cause I’m gonna have to replace that gas.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 33s):

It’s fine. I’m happy to buy you two chili dogs with cheese and a large Dr. Pepper and fries. Is that not enough?

Sean P. Holman (3m 41s):

I think that’s acceptable. Okay.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 43s):

This is my honest feedback. I am, I am impressed. Now I want you guys to first say, get it outta your heads that Lightning homeowner shields for Nissan. We

Sean P. Holman (3m 52s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 52s):

This is, no, no, no. This is legit. I wouldn’t say anything if I didn’t feel this way. I’m telling you right now. So I drove it out there. What is it to KOH? It’s a hundred ish miles or something like that. Something. It’s got up down windy roads up in elevation. Getting into the high desert, the, the whole nine, I’ll start with the suspension. It was much softer than I expected. And that is both in road. And I’m not saying that I went on the whoops, but maybe I did on the way out because I was tired of sitting in the long traffic trying to get out. So I went on the whoops section that straddled the, what is that Old man road or whatever it’s called. Old Old Woman road or something. And I took it through the whoops. And the, the rear end did not kick up the way that some of the competition does. It’s firm but it’s not too firm and it’s not too soft.

Sean P. Holman (4m 35s):

It’s quiet, it’s super

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 37s):

Duper quiet. I’m gonna get to the stereo and AEV second because the fenders fricking stunned me. Suspension. I’m gonna give like a four and a half out of five. It didn’t seesaw over the expansion joints on the four or five, which even my TRX seesaws over the expansion joints. This one zero, none of it. The brakes are really good. Polar opposite from its competition. You, you know what I’m talking about, like the brakes in the other mid-size truck. Yep. Blow. These are really good. Almost as good as the willwood on my TRX. Then that’s saying something that, because those willwood are the best I’ve ever had. These are really great, really firm feeling, but

Sean P. Holman (5m 13s):

Easy to modulate easy,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 15s):

Super easy to modulate. Didn’t go to the floor like it was. I felt really good about it. The steering is heavy,

Sean P. Holman (5m 19s):

Very heavy. That’s a kind of a Nissan thing. I really, it

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 22s):

Felt very, to steal a Holman term, dramatic like it felt very German car. I really enjoyed that. You can still do a single finger spin. Like what do you call that? You just put it in the spoken, spin it around and AEV. But it’s, but it ain’t easy. And I really like that you feel like you’re driving a truck with some substance.

Sean P. Holman (5m 39s):

And keep in mind, this is a media loaner that has gone through the media fleet for a year, already has 10,000 miles on it. How many squeaks and rattles did that thing have off road? None. None.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 49s):

Freaking zero. Yeah, it’s, it’s, and I’m, and I, when I say I’m going through the, whoops, I think the whoops that I were going through are about two to three feet tall.

Sean P. Holman (5m 56s):

You’re not going very fast.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 57s):

No, I was doing 14, 15 miles an hour. So not very fast. But I was, I was following Jeeps with long travel suspension. And again, we were just trying to get out there. I wasn’t racing through them, but there were a lot of, there was a raptor right in front of me and the Raptor didn’t want to go in these, whoops. ’cause he was just waiting to get out, get on the main road, get past the traffic. It was a just a mayhem trying to get out Sunday afternoon. I’d said, you know, screw it, I’m and AEV freaking loaner truck. What’s the worst thing that’s gonna happen? I’m gonna deliver something broken back to Hol And. it wasn’t that way. And just, I romp through it at a decent speed. Super impressive. I wanna get to the stereo because

Sean P. Holman (6m 32s):

You talked a lot about, did you do your app where you do that? The high and low?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 35s):

No, I should have, you know, we could later tonight. I’ve never heard so much good mid base from the front stage before. If you didn’t tell me, I would say I would think that it had six by nines or large or maybe eights in the doors.

Sean P. Holman (6m 49s):

I would say the, it’s not super bright but it’s warm,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 53s):

It’s not bright. So. I do like a little, a little more brightness. And all I had to do was go into the eq, So I. Apologize, I didn’t set it back to your, your whatever you had it when I left. That’s fine. I went up two bars on treble and that was exactly how I needed it. I was thinking that the mid base was coming from the door speakers. And, it turned out to not be the case. I didn’t know it had a sub to be honest with you.

Sean P. Holman (7m 13s):

Yep. Under the rear seat.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 14s):

Under the rear seat. And I discovered that tonight when you’ll find that I put my little scooter in the back, so I’ll have to take out that out. That’s when I did discover the mid base. But the mid base, whatever you guys have had a sub box. I put the JBL sub box in my truck. You guys, a lot of you have sub boxes in the back. The band is in the front of you. High hat drum, you know, snare drums, singing vol, you know vocals, guitar. and then you hear the bass kick from behind you. The bass was coming from the center stage in front of me. So I didn’t have any idea that there was a sub behind me. I couldn’t hear the delay. It is so well tuned. I mean, did you experience that? The mid base and the bass was equal in front of me and I did not hear it behind me.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 55s):

So how they’ve time aligned it? I can’t wrap my head around. What

Sean P. Holman (7m 57s):

I like about It is you can hear the strings and things like that on at higher levels without distortion. Like you can hear the pucks on the guitar and and whatnot. But yeah, no I mean this truck. I think the one that’s out there is like, MSRP is like 45 And. it has everything. It has adaptive cruise control, it has a sunroof, it has a good stereo system. It’s got, you know, leather trim seats. It’s got the Pro four X package, so you know it’s got the more aggressive tires. It’s got the bill steins, the skid plates, rear locker, tow hooks, I mean there’s a lot of value in that truck for the money. You haven’t driven one before, have

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 31s):

You? No.

Sean P. Holman (8m 31s):

So this was your first experience,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 33s):

So technically yes. For like a test track at two miles an hour, like it didn’t count. Yeah, I had this for like two, 300 miles. I just drove it over the last weekend. What was interesting is I was parked at Cory Willis’ camp. He had the PPI guys and he was there with a bunch of pro Can-Am drivers, the UTVs. And I walked out to say goodbye and they followed me out just like I was giving him some stickers and stuff and they go, what’s up with the, the Frontier and I, we walked through it and they had, they hadn’t seen the latest generation of the Frontier. Corey’s tuned just about every truck on the road and he was impressed and I think that’s hard to do. So, yeah. Long story short, I personally am blown away. And lemme

Sean P. Holman (9m 9s):

Ask you one more question before we wrap up. What did you think about the interior and the ergonomics? So? it doesn’t have a lot of soft touch plastics in it. No,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 17s):


Sean P. Holman (9m 18s):

Me personally, it wipes down easy. There’s no squeaks or rattles. And the graining on what’s in there is really good. Like it doesn’t feel cheap to me.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 25s):

No, look, there is more plastic that’s visible than some of the competitors. You know, you can’t compare it to like my truck, my truck’s got leather on everything. Yeah.

Sean P. Holman (9m 32s):

You also have, it’s double the price. It’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 33s):

The zero gravity seats. I’ve only spent up until this point with you and I an hour at a time. And that’s, and I, that’s how I said okay, I, I like these seats. I really like these seats now. Oh, they’re super comfortable. And I, I will say that these are, they’re more comfortable than the T Rx seats in my opinion. And, it has something to do with the bottom, the seat bottom, the lumbar, the lumbar is in your back, right? The lower, the lower back support. Yeah, the lower back support. I didn’t feel the lower back support. I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t adjustable So it, maybe it doesn’t have it, but I didn’t miss it. What I felt

Sean P. Holman (10m 8s):

It’s adjustable. It’s on, it’s already on the max. It’s on the right hand side of the lever.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (10m 11s):

Oh, it’s, ah, I didn’t, I didn’t find it anyway. It, however it was, it was fine. The seat bottom is what normally makes my the bottom, you know, my ass tired or the, it’s not that your ass It is the, the backside of

Sean P. Holman (10m 22s):

Your legs. It’s the circulation,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (10m 23s):

The backside of your legs. In my TRX So, I have to get on and have to walk. And

Sean P. Holman (10m 27s):

So the zero gravity seats kind of are made, make it so there’s no pressure points on the bottom of your legs. It’s basically even support throughout. And then that makes a big difference while driving. I was

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (10m 35s):

So, that’s what I noticed.

Sean P. Holman (10m 36s):

Yeah. Nissan seats. Especially the zero gravity that’s in the titan in the Frontier. I can drive cross country and I have driven cross country in ’em. It, you can just get in and they feel instantly comfortable. I

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (10m 45s):

Did not find, ’cause you know me, I’m like, I like to get out and take, you know, breaks every rest stop or whatever. Zero on the way out. I, I stopped at the wiener schnitzel on the, on the way through and I didn’t go in to use the restroom or everything. Did

Sean P. Holman (10m 55s):

You spill spill chili in the Frontier

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (10m 58s):

Zero. Kept it pretty clean. It’s no dirtier than you gave to me. It was,

Sean P. Holman (11m 0s):

It was super clean when I gave it to you. The

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 2s):

Footwell was not, you had sand and dirt in the footwell as if you had just gone off operating.

Sean P. Holman (11m 6s):

Well the, the floor mat wasn’t everything else was, was clean because it’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 10s):

Pretty clean. I kept the windows up So. it didn’t get, you know, KOH dust in there or anything.

Sean P. Holman (11m 13s):

It’s a great mid-size truck. So again, if you guys are interested, put at the top of your list to check out and I think you’ll be impressed just like lighting was. You head to Nissan usa.com where you can build and price or head on down to your local Nissan dealer. The Frontier starts at 30,000 0 3 0. So $30,030, you get the 310 horsepower, 3.8 liter V 6, 281 pound, feet of torque and up to six,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 36s):

Six speed transmission.

Sean P. Holman (11m 37s):

Yep. And up to six, 640 pounds maximum towing capacity. Great little truck. We really love it. Over here at The, Truck Show Podcast and please support Nissan by heading down to your local dealer and test driving one today.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 48s):

And please support your friends over at Banks Power who make the pedal Monster throttle

Sean P. Holman (11m 52s):

Booster. By the way, I saw a video that may have popped on the channel this week that was So. Some videos of Gail are Gail explaining science and why competitors maybe aren’t quite what they’re saying. They are. This was a straight up clap back, like calling out item for item from the competitor and, and basically shooting it down one by one by

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 18s):

One. I’m not gonna say that this video was fun to make,

Sean P. Holman (12m 21s):

But it was fun to make.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 22s):

But it was fun to make. How

Sean P. Holman (12m 23s):

About the part where we made a point to say the competition claims to be made in the US and the US based company and they’re all made in Turkey.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 30s):

So one of this brand’s spinoff brands has an American flag on the box itself on the unit, and yet it’s made in

Sean P. Holman (12m 38s):

Turkey. Then when, then when you open it up, it has, it says made in Turkey on it. No,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 40s):

On the website says it’s made in Turkey. They’re not trying to hide it. Oh, interesting. It’s a, so the, the name of the video that we’re talking about is Gail Banks fact checks. Well you don’t want me to name statement, I can’t say the name.

Sean P. Holman (12m 50s):

No. Let people go figure it out. So

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 52s):

Anyway, it’s, it’s the first video that you find if you go to youtube.com/ Banks Power just Google, it’ll come right up. Gale Banks fact checks this other brand’s bs.

Sean P. Holman (13m 2s):

I can’t wait for that brand to come back with whatever they’re gonna come back with. Can

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 6s):

I, can I give you the spoiler though? Look what he’s holding in his left hand. That by the way is a legitimate trophy. No. Like it says that.

Sean P. Holman (13m 13s):

Oh wow.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 15s):

So the trophy says

Sean P. Holman (13m 16s):

Are, are you guys mailing that trophy to your competitors? Oh,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 18s):

You haven’t seen the very end then.

Sean P. Holman (13m 19s):

I have not seen the very end. I saw the short, the shortened version,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 22s):

The actual, I ordered this from the trophy place right next to Cal State Long Beach winner, the name of the company BS Marketing and it’s a like a 24 inch tall trophy. So

Sean P. Holman (13m 35s):

If you want to find out more about the pedal monster, head over to Banks Power dot com

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 40s):

And all the reasons why It is so far superior to the competition. It is the only OBD connected throttle controller and that simply means that it has rich data, it has dedicated 12 volts that solves all the ills of all the other throttle controllers. It is the best one on the market. Find yours today at Banks Power dot com. And

Sean P. Holman (13m 59s):

Don’t forget to use the year make and model lookup tool to find out which pedal monster is the right one for your truck.

2 (14m 5s):

The truck show. We’re gonna show you what we know. We’re gonna answer what? The truck, because truck rides with the truck show. We have the lifted, we have the lower and everything in between. We’ll talk about trucks that run on Diesel and the ones that run on gasoline. The truck show. The truck show. The truck show. Whoa.

3 (14m 37s):

It’s the truck show with your hosts Lightning and Holman.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 45s):

I’m not gonna lie, Holman, I’m kind of excited about this. I actually did some prep. You see this page right here? I actually You did prep. I did prep, yes. Well

Sean P. Holman (14m 53s):

Normally on these deep dives you don’t do any prep so that our guests can lead the entire show.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 57s):

Well no, people don’t like when we interrupt So I figure. If I don’t, if I don’t do any prep then they’ll just

Sean P. Holman (15m 2s):

Talk. If you don’t, if you don’t know anything, you can’t say anything. Exactly.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 5s):

And in this case it’s a little different. I feel like we have two heavyweights. Both guys are, I think they’ve got jobs that I would love to have personally. We got Tim Demetrio, performance engineering group manager and Julia Bombachini who is the vehicle dynamics performance engineer. And I read that as being suspension dude.

Sean P. Holman (15m 24s):

Yeah, he’s into the vehicle dynamics. In fact, we are going to have him on at a later date just specifically to talk about his last project, which I think our listeners will find really interesting.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 34s):

Okay, well I’d like you to shut up and I’m going to dial. Is that okay? I mean You can say yes.

Sean P. Holman (15m 41s):

I bet you said shut

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 41s):

Up. Not now. You can shut up. I’m dialing now.

Julio Bombachini (15m 55s):

Hello. Hello.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 57s):

Tim Julio Lightning and home at Truck Show. Podcast. How you guys doing?

Julio Bombachini (16m 1s):

Pretty good, how about you?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (16m 2s):

Fantastic. We are so well excited to speak with you. We have,

Sean P. Holman (16m 7s):

We should start with the jingle first though.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (16m 8s):

Oh yeah, yeah. I was almost too excited to, to get right into it. Hold on you have a jingle. Don’t move

2 (16m 14s):

It. It’s

Sean P. Holman (16m 29s):

There you go.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (16m 30s):

In case, in case you couldn’t hear that over the phone, it’s the inside job. We’re going inside of General Motors on two of the most impressive trucks. Well, several of the most impressive trucks on the road today. We’re talking specifically about your relationship with American expedition vehicles. Holman has a little more experience. This is Lightning speaking a little more experience with these trucks than I do, but I’ve seen them at SEMA at a couple of events. And I’m not gonna lie, I may have left a little drool on the bumpers.

Sean P. Holman (16m 59s):

So I’ve had a chance to drive all three of the trucks. So actually all six of the trucks really? So Tim and Julio are, they work on both the Chevy side of the house and the GMC side of the house on the product for as engineers. So Julio is the vehicle dynamics performance engineer and Tim is performance engineering group manager. So Tim, if I’m not wrong, you basically get to play with all the toys and GM’s toy box including the Cadillac Black Wings.

Julio Bombachini (17m 28s):

Yep. That is the That’s correct. That’s the joy of my job. I get to play with all the fun stuff we do here at General Motors.

Sean P. Holman (17m 34s):

So there’s, there’s a bevy of trucks. Now you guys have everything from the Colorado Canyon, you’ve got the Silverado and Sierra and you’ve got the HD trucks. Both have hugely upgraded, especially the ZR two and a T four X packages. And then the AEV overlay has special editions on either the bison for the Chevy or the AEV edition on the GMC. And I’ve had a chance to drive all of the trucks. This is what’s amazing is I got a chance to drive the GMC CS out in Montana and the Chevys out in the California desert. So

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (18m 6s):

This is a huge humble brag.

Sean P. Holman (18m 8s):

No, that’s what this is. No, no, no. Two completely different disciplines is the point. You’ve got these similar platforms tuned a little bit different that are absolutely amazing. Out of the box from the factory floor I mean, I I am so impressed I met Tim probably, I guess it was on the first generation ZR two, right? Tim Yes.

Julio Bombachini (18m 26s):

Yeah. Back in 2017 on the Colorado zero two that came out back then.

Sean P. Holman (18m 32s):

And at that time, ZR two was being reintroduced as a brand to the truck lineup And it was. Yep. If, if anybody goes all the way back to the old S 10, ZR two, you’ll remember it had a different chassis, different track width came with BFG 31 inch tires. I think it was a three inch lift at the time. It was a proper factory four by four. It was one of the, I I guess really one of the, the original off-road packages, especially in the mid-size space that actually had a lot of performance parts, if you will on it. And then that truck went away and there was a hole in the lineup. And then when you guys came out with ZR two on last generation Colorado, it completely transformed the mid, the mid-size truck segment, Overlanders and desert Racers and everything in between.

Sean P. Holman (19m 13s):

And now you’ve taken it to the next level with the new trucks.

Julio Bombachini (19m 17s):

That’s always the goal. You never want to be worse than what you did before. Right?

Sean P. Holman (19m 20s):

Well you guys are definitely not that because having driven in Johnson Valley with, with the Colorado version was that thing with the jounce bumpers and the Multimatic shocks and the thing was unbelievable. And then being able to rock crawl with the GM C version of the canyon off-Road. And then we took the big trucks, the hds down the, with the back door to Chocolate Thunder where KOH happens. I remember Tim was like, Hey, we’re gonna take these trucks and going, there’s no way these trucks go down there.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (19m 49s):

Well I I remember you telling me that you were surprised that the staff there at, at GM had had allowed you to do that. You’re like, it was basically Tim Tim. Oh, so well that’s why I love him. I mean like, he’s like Yeah, do it. Make surprise. Do it, do it. Yeah. You guys I mean he came back and he was, he was explaining that he was stunned that he was allowed to do it with you guys, did what you did with those trucks and obviously it showed the capability, but the fact that you had the, the confidence in the platform to do what they did to

Sean P. Holman (20m 19s):

Let a bunch of journalists do it.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 20s):


Julio Bombachini (20m 23s):

That’s exactly it. I mean we, we pride ourselves that we, we design and engineer the capability into these vehicles and what better way to show it than let anybody in their brother drive it. So if it can’t hold up to what you journalists throw at it, then we didn’t do our jobs right? So I’m happy any day to, to let you have fun and experiment and really try out these, these trucks.

Sean P. Holman (20m 44s):

And how many of them did you write off after my colleagues were in them?

Julio Bombachini (20m 49s):

None of them.

Sean P. Holman (20m 51s):

You know what’s funny is we did that, I, I, you know, posted some photos and if you go to OVR Mag you’ll see in the current issue that’s out right now of a Chevy 2,500 heavy duty ZR two with AEV package going down the, the back door to Chocolate Thunder And. it was funny because people were going, I don’t know why you would need high clearance bumpers on a heavy duty truck. That’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (21m 14s):


Sean P. Holman (21m 14s):

And here we are, we literally at the bottom as you got to the bottom of the hill and the rocks, the difference between scraping and not scraping or getting hung up or not getting hung up was literally the increased approach angle from those bumpers.

Julio Bombachini (21m 27s):

The people asking those questions have never ripped a corner off their side by side need to go yank it out of a valley. So I’ve been there, done that and I appreciate having a recovery truck be able to get tough places because that’s less pushing for me.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (21m 40s):

We expect this type of performance out of the 15 hundreds. But when you introduce this to a 2,500 platform, the hd, especially with the Durmax in it, that to me was a game changer because there are a lot of guys that want the heavy towing capabilities of that truck, but they oftentimes have to sacrifice for the, the desert prowess. But in this, there is no sacrifice. How did this, how did you pull this off on the HD platform? Like where did you start?

Julio Bombachini (22m 12s):

Well we started with our awesome HD platform. I mean when you build a truck that’s as capable of hauling and towing as It is a, a lot of what you have to do to be, to build a truck that’s capable of hauling and towing as much as It is, it benefits the truck off road. You have very robust control arms and chassis. You have a powertrain that’s got gobs and gobs of torque. All of these are all things that every off-road or dreams of. So the HD platforms actually a, a very great starting point when you wanna build a serious off-road capable truck. And from there we just, we take the ZR two formula and apply it to the heavy duty, you know, bigger tires, suspension lift with ESSV dampers, E locker boating.

Julio Bombachini (22m 54s):

It’s, it’s a really good recipe that’s proven out across our, our truck lineup. And we were really happy to get the chance to execute on heavy duty

Sean P. Holman (23m 1s):

So I was always interested in what the heavy duty capability level could get to. Obviously the GM platform uses IFS where everybody else is using a solid axle. So that’s a marketplace differentiator. But on the first generation of sort of the big hd when you move to the newer platform, I always felt like the ride was pretty stiff. The capability was there but it wasn’t as comfortable. So I went into the new 24 trucks thinking, you know, I’ve had experience with these trucks, I like ’em a lot. The interior isn’t as good as I think it could be And, it rides a little bit rougher, but the capability’s there and then you get in the 24 truck, the interior’s completely redesigned, completely competitive or better with, with the competition and the ride that you guys were able to get out of the ZR two and the AEV additions with the 35 inch tires, the Multimatic DSS vs is incredible.

Sean P. Holman (23m 57s):

It, it went from a truck that I didn’t necessarily enjoy all the time unless I was doing, you know, big time work with it to a truck that could literally be your daily driver and the amount of compliance you got outta the suspension on the front end, the DSS vs. And I’ve said it before, those things are magic. And Julia, I believe you’re coming back on and AEV future episode to talk about more specifically about the Colorado Canyon, but talk to us a little bit about the DSVs,

Julio Bombachini (24m 24s):

You know, fun fact when we, just going back a little bit, when you were talking to Tim about the first ZR two and when you guys met in 2017, So I was, at that time I was working still behind the scenes. So I was the suspension DRE. So the design release engineer for that first G-S-S-V-I was the engineer responsible to put that in, in production in 2017. So that was when I started working with Multimatic, right? And being an an engineer and working direct with multi-med, I was able to learn a lot on all the capabilities of those DSS vs.

Julio Bombachini (25m 6s):

Because the amount of knobs that you have to, you know, that you can turn and tweak, it’s just a lot more than and AEV and AEV any regular shim or shim damper, right? And, and because of that you can really have that, you know, exactly what you mentioned about having a good on-road performance, excellent off-road performance with no compromise. Right.

Sean P. Holman (25m 30s):

Well and one of the things that I’ll say is, you know, I think everybody is used to your, your typical shim style piston on a piston rod, all that kinda stuff. But what’s different about the Multimatic is they have spool valves and Julio is famous for having a couple in his pocket to show the journalists And it. No, really? Yeah, if you’ve never seen a spool valve, they’re, they’re tiny. And what happens is think of like the shape of a funnel. Turn that funnel upside down and outline it and then think of inside that funnel shape, right, is a line that’s perpendicular to it and that line goes up and down. As that line goes up and down, it reveals the, the thin part of the funnel and then it widens out to the fat part of the funnel.

Sean P. Holman (26m 10s):

What’s amazing is these little windows cut out these little like funnel shape reliefs in the spool valve and as the spool valve is working, it’s revealing more of that and as it reveals more of it more flow can get through it. And so they’re really precise and you can do a lot more computational fluid dynamics CFD ahead of time to get closer to what your final tune will be. So you don’t have to do a hundred versions of it. Maybe you only do 25, 30 or 50 versions of it because it’s so precise and so you don’t have the deflection discs like you do and AEV shim style shock. The other cool thing about spool valves is, and AEV Multimatic DSV, all the oil travels in one direction. So unlike a a typical body and reservoir where the oil just goes back and forth between two housings, all of the oil is circulating throughout the entire shock, which is good for heat dissipation and things like that.

Sean P. Holman (26m 59s):

What amazes me about DS Svs is when Chevy took ’em on, they were only I think on the ZL one Camaro and Corvette right doing on the road racing applications,

Julio Bombachini (27m 9s):

Well it was Z 28 28 That one 14.

Sean P. Holman (27m 14s):

So there was no off-road version of these. Multimatic kind of did it in conjunction with General Motors for that program. Everybody’s like, ah, spool valves will never work off road spool valves because of how precise the machining is. Any dirt or contaminants that get into it are gonna change the valving or the performance

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (27m 30s):

And trucks. That’s why they were saying just because they thought if they got dirty they would stop working

Sean P. Holman (27m 33s):

Properly or Well yeah, because the windows and reliefs are so small, if you get contamination in there and you change the viscosity of the fluid, now you don’t have the same damping effect. And so there’s a lot of naysayers out there, but

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (27m 43s):

How would, how would dirt get inside the shock body? I mean you’re talking like,

Sean P. Holman (27m 46s):

Like if a seal leaks or something like that, if you’re in, in like silt or a fine dust environment, if you don’t have your wiper seal in good shape or your, your rod seal in good shape and dirt gets past that into the oil, that was one of the comments is, oh spool, it’ll mess up the spool valves. They’re too precise on the inside. Any dirt is going to basically, you know, gum up the works. And then GM proved on the first generation Colorado zero two, that wasn’t an issue. Not only were those shocks amazing off road, but from a reliability standpoint, I think you guys proved that that technology definitely belongs in the dirt.

Julio Bombachini (28m 19s):

Yeah, we, we worked really close with multi-med developing this off-road capability on those DSVs, right. All of our validation process, it’s It is a tough test for you to pass for our, to meet our off-road validation requirements. And what I’m talking is not even and AEV and AEV vehicle level validation, it’s a component test validation and AEV bench where we can, we can have that even a, a test that is even more severe than and AEV vehicle, right? Because we can control the environment the way we want when we do our component level validation. Testing I mean you take a damper, you expose it and AEV salt chamber, a gravel blast chamber I mean we just, we have some very nasty tests that a lot of suppliers have a lot of difficult time passing.

Julio Bombachini (29m 10s):

So you know, if it passed our validation test, it’s very robust and and proven for environments that these trucks are really gonna be and

Sean P. Holman (29m 19s):

AEV and I would even say that this, the program was successful enough where they expanded it across the entire truck portfolio and different use cases. The other thing about the original DSS fees that I was super amazed with is the shock probably only had, I don’t know, I think the, at the wheels it was like eight or nine inches of travel on the original ZR two, which means you probably had three and a half or four inches of shock travel, something like that or shaft travel. It was amazing how much energy, especially on compression that you could feel those shocks dissipating as you would come down. Like if you jumped it. And I was lucky enough to be out at SRO a couple times, which is at the Yuma proving grounds and to validate the original ZR two and work with the hall racing program and all that.

Sean P. Holman (30m 2s):

They built a course out there, we were able to jump the trucks. There’s silt there, there’s crawling there, there’s high speed stuff. The only drawback was there wasn’t as much down travel within the original truck, but on compression it was amazing that, you know, a a 5,000 pound truck was able to feel like it was landing on marshmallows with, you know, a shock shaft, you know, going in three and a half, four inches or something like that on the new truck. There’s more travel and that only makes it even better because with the 30 fives now you get longer travel and you have the ability to add the jounce shocks in the back to kind of as, as a secondary shock for compression. It’s like a little bob pre-runner truck I mean you can huck the heck out of that thing.

Sean P. Holman (30m 44s):

We were launching it over whoops, dunes fast trails there would be like a a square edge dropout. The truck doesn’t care. I mean it’s, it’s, it’s really close to Raptor and TRX where you don’t believe like you, this is a truck off the showroom floor and Chevy now has that technology in their trucks and then scaling it up for the 1500 and the hd, you still get that really high level of performance where it feels like the chassis shouldn’t be that capable, especially in the high speed stuff. And you’re going This is ridiculous how, how well this works.

Julio Bombachini (31m 14s):

It’s really because, you know, we have this position sensitive damping, which is like a second spool valve that works deeper in travel as we, you go in travel regardless of the speed of the shaft, right? You engage the second one where we kind of bump the compression forces and gives you that support when you, especially when you, you going over some high amplitude events, right?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (31m 44s):

Tim or Julia, when, when you were testing this system, did you ever hit something that you thought, oh I’m gonna break this, this is not gonna go well. and then you rode through it like Holman described where you thought, oh we did a good job, we built something that lasted

Sean P. Holman (31m 58s):

Funny. You should ask that. ’cause I think every time I did that out in the desert was like, oh, let’s do that again. Oh really? Yeah, nothing happened.

Julio Bombachini (32m 5s):

You’re talking to the two that have had more close calls and used truck than like doing that. But Tim It is, it’s always on a closed course, right? Of course.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (32m 19s):

That’s the benefit

Julio Bombachini (32m 20s):

Of having our own proving ground army defense system around it. Of

Sean P. Holman (32m 23s):

Course, by the way, if, for those of you who are curious, the Yuma proving grounds are right next door to a Mexico Well that and AEV and AEV base. And so they take off with the C one thirties and the paratroopers jump out. So when you’re on the GM side, sometimes the wind blows and they land like in the middle of the Race Corps or the the testing course and stuff. So I was out there one day and we’re watching guys jump out and the parachutes come down. I’m like, what happens when they land here? They’re like, ah, we just bring ’em to the front gate and they have a bus ready to take it back to the base. Oh really? Yeah.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (32m 55s):

That’s cool. They get to see stuff before it comes out, years before

Sean P. Holman (32m 58s):

It hits stores. Well Jim, Jim Dunn was famous for buying property next to GM’s, old proving grounds and then he would just sit up in his tree. He was a famous, my photographer and take photos of everything GM was doing. There’s a, a legal dispute and a lot of back and forth and he’s like, Hey man, I’m on my property. Not my fault that that’s the fence is low. It created

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (33m 15s):

But dirty.

Sean P. Holman (33m 15s):

So when they developed the Yuma Approving grounds, they put it on the, the base there at Yuma. So to keep all the raff from buying property around it, I think and make sure journalists couldn’t see things early, I’m guessing.

Julio Bombachini (33m 26s):

Yeah. And don’t worry, it’s not GM coming after you when you take pictures that our Yuma proving grounds it’s the US Army and they’re a little more aggressive than we are.

Sean P. Holman (33m 34s):

Which saying a lot.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (33m 37s):

So let’s talk guys about AEV. So when it comes to teaming up with a an aftermarket company, you’ve got your first off, you could do it yourselves or you can team up with a company and you, you’ve got the pick of the litter, meaning your GM, you can choose from anyone. Why AEV? How did that relationship start and blossom?

Julio Bombachini (34m 1s):

Well it’s, it’s kind of really easy. I mean if you look out through all the aftermarket, there are a ton of great companies out there, but AEV kind of stands head and shoulders above the rest. I mean there are company made up of employees that are passionate about off-Road. This is what they do day in and day out. A lot of them have previous OEM experience. So they know the challenges that we face as an OEM. You know, there’s, there’s a lot of things the aftermarket can do that the OEM can’t. So it’s great working with AEV ’cause they understand the balance of, of what we’re allowed to do with an OE versus what you can do in the aftermarket. And then that level of experience they have with OE just adds to the quality. The, the product they deliver is topnotch, it’s OE grade quality.

Julio Bombachini (34m 44s):

We talked earlier about our validation requirements. That’s something that AEV really brings to the table is is their level of, their quality level of their parts really stands out and meets all of our expectations and requirements as far as durability and quality. And it’s, it’s just a great partnership. You know, just my my opinion, what I like the most is how well integrated the, the truck look. Right? It doesn’t look like it’s a, it’s a up theater or aftermarket company that is doing, they do a job that looks like everything is so well integrated, right? It doesn’t look like it’s It is not from a factory. That’s what I, and that’s ’cause it truly is I mean. It really is it’s partnership.

Julio Bombachini (35m 25s):

They’re in our design studio early on when we have the full size clay, we get the AEV parts actually mill in clay. It’s, it’s a true OEM collaboration. It’s not an aftermarket company that we design a truck and hand to and stay here. So they’re upfront, early on we can make a lot of accommodations in our design for their components, for anything they ask for, you know, winch provisions. All of our AEV bumpers are winch capable. so we take that into design early on. And it, it really makes a great product in the end for the customer.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (35m 54s):

What’s some of the testing that you go through or you put the AEV parts through? I don’t think the average guy has, or truck buyer understands. We see crash tests, You know what I mean, like on, we see crash tests and all that stuff. But like, you know, you talked about salt spray, things like that gravel, you know, blasting with gravel, all those things. But like we just assume that if I can go to, you know, the, the local four Wheel drive shop and pick up a bumper e every bit as good as something that GM’s making And it, it’s not the case. Can, you just talk us through just a couple of the tests that might fascinate us.

Julio Bombachini (36m 28s):

Sure. It’s, it’s eye-opening the amount of complexity that goes into a vehicle build from government regulations that dictate things you can and cannot do that, you know, you’d never imagine. So bumper height, you know, why don’t we have a 60 degree approach angle on every vehicle. We make I mean there’s a criteria that the, the bottom of your bumper or the frame has to take X amount of load for so much without contacting the tire. So it’s basically if they don’t run over a, a Corvette, a small car in front of you. So you have to have a, a significant structural component, 16 inches or less, less off the ground. There’s little things like that that you never think about.

Julio Bombachini (37m 9s):

Just looking at the vehicle. Again, the corrosion is mindboggling. You, you think of what you see in the aftermarket and we’ll put ’em in our corrosion tests and they’ll make it not even a 10th of the way through the cycle that we require for OE grade parts. So the coatings that are out there that we require as an OE are, are just next level because we have 15 year corrosion requirements designed to run our trucks. Yeah, yeah. Like another example Tim that vertical spare tire carry in the bad. It’s like you have no idea how hard was to validate and design a vertical spare tire carrier that will be durable and that will allow you to offroad and send it, right?

Julio Bombachini (37m 55s):

Yeah. I I think two months of fights I’ve had in meetings about spare tire carriers and how to mount tires in beds. I mean you look at everything somebody does in the aftermarket, they throw some bars up, you roll a tire in, put a ratchet strap over the top. I’ve lost numerous hours of my life arguing. Why can’t we just do this? And we have good requirements. When you look at, you know, for the life of the vehicle, stuff like that just doesn’t hold up and, and everything we have to design that

Sean P. Holman (38m 21s):

Reminds me of a, of an aftermarket company who is very in tune with one of your competitors who makes a version of their truck that’s goes to them for upfitting and it’s a real well known name and both of ’em, both the competitor and the vehicle. And there may have been photos of this vehicle, which is alleged to be a truck that can go off road and be hucked and jumped and all that kind of stuff. And they mounted the spare tires to the, the rails on the bedside and the tires completely ripped the bed. They’re laughing. They know because I know they know, I know they know and I’m sure our listener knows too, but, but those circulated around the internet and you’re going like, who would design that?

Sean P. Holman (39m 3s):

Like literally you design that, great, it’s a great spot to store your tire, but it’s not a functional way to do it for a vehicle that’s gonna be on rough roads and off road and you know, a truck has 12 or 13 inches of Wheel travel. Guys are gonna go out there and use it 4, 5, 600 horsepower. They want to have every bit of that experience. And you know, I, it’s funny, somebody had mentioned, oh well you can’t really see out the back window with the spare tire. So like on the Colorado it’s off to the driver’s side. I’m like, well if you look over your shoulder you’re fine. And I’m like, besides I have a Jeep with a 37 on the back. I haven’t been able to see out the back of my, in my rear view mirror for like 10 years here. 15 years, right?

Sean P. Holman (39m 43s):

So that’s why they have mirrors and cameras and all that kinda stuff. But the bottom line is if you look at the structure and how beefy It is and the decisions that they made to have a full-sized spare on there, all the stuff that comes with that package and, and you think about like what you would spend for that complete thing, the skid plates, the front rear bumpers, winch capable rock rails, 35 inch tires, a full-sized spare, a place to mount the full-sized spare. And you look at what the upcharge is and you’re going, man, this is a pretty good deal because it’s also covered by your factory warranty and all that. It’s just, it’s it, to me it’s an amazing package that, to Tim’s point about what they have to go through with regulations, with ADOS coming on with the sensors with adaptive crews and parking sensors with bumper height and and and headlight height regulations.

Sean P. Holman (40m 29s):

How all that needs to be. I I mean AAV even told me the story about how they had to redesign the corner brackets to crash correctly. That is such an oe such a, a massive step up in engineering over your standard aftermarket company and it’s, it makes guys who are welding plate in their, you know, garage like they’re, you know, in the stone inch chipping at rocks to make. But I love wheels for the wagon. Yeah, but I love, I love

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (40m 53s):

Diamond plate, the same stuff. You make those, the spare the gas tanks out of right. And the,

Sean P. Holman (40m 58s):

The bed and look at the aftermarket, look at what companies in the aftermarket are doing stamped steel bumpers that match your body lines.

Julio Bombachini (41m 5s):

Yeah, yeah. Nobody the rear, the rear bumpers are very, very critical for, for for crash, right? For rear crash because of the fuel tank. So this is definitely something that we, we did a, you know, a a lot of work with them to make sure they’re not gonna have issues with the fuel tank. I’ve had people swear at me for the way bolts are put in our truck, why didn’t you just put the bolt the other way And, it makes you made a 10 hour job out of something that should take 10 minutes because of the way you put this bolt in. I’m like, well there’s a reason it’s in, we’re not stupid. Trust me,

Sean P. Holman (41m 36s):


Julio Bombachini (41m 36s):

Had arguments because I had that exact argument you just had. And you know, there’s a good reason we had a, there was a, you know, suspension, the leaf spring bolt. If you look at the leaf spring bolt on the last Chen Colorado, the bolt comes in from the inside of the frame rail outside, which means you have to drop the fuel tank to take the bolt out or cut the bolt out. And it would be super easy if you just turned the bolt around and put it in the other way. Well the problem is, and AEV side impact that bolt goes right through your gas tank and you now have flammable liquid dumping on the ground underneath your vehicle. And it crashed.

Sean P. Holman (42m 7s):

And, and this is exactly the type of insight that I think, you know, our listeners listening to the show are going, okay, wow. You know, these, these guys, there’s a reason for everything. And I understand that ’cause I’m sure there, I I know several of our listeners who have z twos that have performance suspension and I’m sure they probably, you know, they didn’t know they’re swearing at Tim, but they were, now they know his name. There might even be a voodoo doll that they poke Don don’t over here with you.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (42m 33s):

They’re they’re banging on their dashboard, cursing his name. Now I know the guy.

Sean P. Holman (42m 36s):

Yeah. But I’d rather them be mad at Tim than have a, you know, a fire if and AEV and AEV bad crash or something. Exactly.

Julio Bombachini (42m 44s):

Yeah. It is, it’s our job as engineers to protect the customer from the unknown. And it’s truly eyeopening that the history we’ve been, we’ve been building trucks a long time and we’ve learned a lot of things over the years and, and we have a lot of requirements and best practices that are there for a reason. And when you start looking into some stuff, it’s, it’s honestly astounding that vehicles can get put together and function the way they do, knowing everything that they have to go through, different use cases. We’ve seen over the years, different environments. Everything has to live in it. It’s truly one of the most complex products in the world. And it, it’s kind of a blast engineer, especially being a gearhead and going, why can’t you just do this?

Julio Bombachini (43m 27s):

And then somebody goes, well no, you didn’t think of this And. it was like, oh wow, that’s something I never thought of.

Sean P. Holman (43m 32s):

Why, why would I think of that? Oh, I have the government looking

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (43m 34s):

So, I think it would be fascinating, Tim and Julia, that if you guys panned like, not memoirs necessarily, but like the behind the scenes on a vehicle and don don’t know what GM would let you share, but this is why we did the bolt, just That one bolt because you, there’s so many guys that have had That one bolt that have to, you know, shear off Oh yeah. Or whatever. And if you guys said here, here like, you guys were confused by these 20 things. I’m gonna reveal the secrets behind ’em or, or just

Sean P. Holman (43m 58s):

And it like a generic vehicle, right? Like not even about this specific, but here are the shit decisions as an engineer that we have to make in order to make this a, a vehicle that can be sold. I

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (44m 7s):

Got, I assume a lot of things are because of tooling, the way they’re manufactured

Sean P. Holman (44m 11s):

Or ergonomics on the production line. Some of It is just, just, yeah, that what I’m

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (44m 13s):

Like this the way the substructure has to go together, you can’t put it together or it makes more sense. Yeah, a bolt send a bolt through the frame this way and not that way because the, the machinery can’t clamp a

Sean P. Holman (44m 22s):

Certain way or the order of operations. Like what order does the fuel tank go in, when do the axles get attached to the frame? All that kinda stuff. And what people don’t realize is not only are you guys building, so a designer designs a vehicle and then you guys get something from the product planner that that’s the easy job by the way, the designing. So then you guys get something from the product planner that says, here’s all the capabilities, here’s the requirements you need, here’s the towing, here’s the braking, here’s all this. And so you have to take the dream of a designer and the reality of a product planner and put ’em into a, something that takes as much as you can from each, but can actually, I don’t know, pass emissions and safety and, and be certified and all those things. But then on top of that, now you also have to figure out, okay, how do we build it?

Sean P. Holman (45m 4s):

So a mechanic who’s doing warranty work gets paid, you know, a decent amount of whatever their flat rate is to swap out this component. Oh, and also when you’re putting it together as it’s getting sequenced on the production floor, these parts come in this order and we need to make sure that that operator isn’t stressed putting these components together. Also I mean don don’t think people have any idea how complex It is to, it’s one thing to design a vehicle, it’s one thing to engineer a vehicle, but then to put it together and then to sell it and then have aftercare and then have it last four, five, 600,000 miles or more and not return to the earth through rust in all sorts of climates and salt. And you, you’ve got customers who are, have your vehicles and AEV hundred 40 degrees in, you know, like a perfect example might or 130 degrees the Dubai or Death Valley, even the, the, the Park Rangers drive, you know, full-size trucks out in, in that weather.

Sean P. Holman (45m 56s):

And then you’ve got people in Canada, in the oil fields or at the Arctic circle and it’s minus 40 below and the same weather seals or the same oil or the same electrical system or whatever has to operate at both sides of those extremes. It just, It is, It is mind boggling to me.

Julio Bombachini (46m 12s):

I I couldn’t have said it better myself honestly. I mean that It is, It is astounding when you look at the number of components and AEV vehicle and like you said, working with design make the Beauty that they make a reality, safety, you know, is number one or priority. You have to make these vehicles safe. And, and what we do for safety under the skin of vehicles is often a trade off for the performance that you and I would really like. You know, why don’t I have the room for 40 inch tires? Well, there’s some componentry that has to go in our chassis so that you have a safe vehicle and AEV crash that gets in the way if you want to put a 40 inch tire on. So, you know, there’s a, there’s a lot of compromises along the way in designing a vehicle. One of the things GM refuses to compromise on is safety and really executing the performance of the vehicle and a beautiful design that everybody wants to aspire to.

Julio Bombachini (47m 2s):

It’s, it’s an awesome challenge as an engineer. There’s, there’s so many moving parts and pieces, especially, you know, at the end of the day, it, it’s a business, right? Every vehicle has to make money, every consumer wants to pay as little as possible for the vehicle. So as an engineer, it’s, it’s this awesome problem solving skill of how do I make this awesome vehicle in the most cost effective way so that I can meet all the customer’s demands that they expect at a price point that they’re willing to pay. If you look at $200,000 vehicles, it’s easy to do that. What what exotic hypercar do that, that’s easy. You, when I’m member the budget, I can put all the best parts on it and make it perform. But when you have to make a, a consumer product and AEV high volume at a price point that every person can afford it really, it really becomes a fun challenge.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (47m 53s):

I wanted to talk about something really quick. Tim and, and Julia, you have an advantage, I think with AEV. I don’t, as an outsider, it seems like what you’ve done with the bison and the a T four X you couldn’t have done without scale. Meaning like the quality you’re able to have and at, at at the price that you’re able to sell it for is only it It would not only, but it’s, it’s largely thanks to your scale. Correct. Meaning you can make many of them and sell a lot of them. ’cause otherwise it would’ve been cost prohibitive because the parts are so good and they would be too expensive.

Julio Bombachini (48m 31s):

I would argue kind of the other way. We don’t, our bison products aren’t a huge volume as far as the grand scheme of GM trucks go. It’s I mean we’re still lower volumes than, than the mainstream products. But AEV has the, the perfect opportunity of their manufacturing capability and their partners to bring to the table. That’s kind of that in-between volume. It’s not low volume, it’s not hundreds of trucks, but it’s also not tens of thousands of trucks. So that in between volume is very, very hard to do in the auto industry. You’re talking about you can’t do components and AEV Mon PA shop, and yet you don’t have enough volume to amortize huge equipment.

Julio Bombachini (49m 12s):

So that’s where AAVs really the perfect partner there to fill in that medium volume load to medium volume specialty need that we have with our bison products. And it, it, and I, I keep saying it’s a great partnership because what they can bring to the table, what they can do, their flexibility and expertise in that space. It’s just everything we could ask for and more.

Sean P. Holman (49m 34s):

And I know that we have set it, but I just wanna reiterate, these vehicles aren’t being built on the production line and then going to an upfitter and then being shipped to the dealerships or, or going back to QC or something like that. You guys have worked with AEV. These pro these products are going on as the trucks are built, they’re being sequenced in in line at the factory. That is an amazing accomplishment. In feet. I mean you have to have special dunnage and all the things that go,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (50m 1s):

All the tooling has to

Sean P. Holman (50m 2s):

Work, right? Just in time delivery. Well, but you gotta make sure that, that that aftermarket company AEV, in this case bumper can sequence in line and be installed just like the Chrome steel bumper on a work truck. Or some of these have winches from the factory. How do those get put in? They can’t slow down production to put ’em on. So you’re, you’re getting this additional capability and I would argue that you guys have it the hardest out of all the engineers because not only are you doing all the on-Road stuff, I think the, the, the car guys, they, it’s, it’s more of a a, I don’t wanna say one trick pony, but it’s not as broad of a use case. A truck’s doing everything a truck has to tow, A truck has to haul, the truck has to go 85 miles an hour down the road.

Sean P. Holman (50m 43s):

A truck has to go off road. It has to be able to be overloaded because we all know that all of the customers are not following the payload. Although it’s nice that GM trucks now have the payload in the door that helps. But all those things, you’re fi you’re constantly fighting other things, right? You wanna have a more aggressive tire. Now you’re fighting NVH, but you know, you need more thermal management. I, I laugh right now because I think in the last probably 10 years, maybe eight years as the Diesel wars have really picked up and, and Ford and GM and Ram have all kind of gone back and forth and then you’ll see, and even Toyota to an extent, not in the Diesel wars, but if you look at the new Tundra, all of these trucks have such a high level of capability they need massive radiators for, for thermal management.

Sean P. Holman (51m 26s):

And it’s so funny when somebody goes, oh, I can’t believe these designers, you know, they’re, they’re just putting these big mouths on all these trucks and they all look ugly. And you’re going, no, no, no. That’s the engineers telling the designers that if you guys want to have this power output pulling up, you know, the Eisenhower pass or so something like that with a

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (51m 43s):

40 foot fifth

Sean P. Holman (51m 43s):

Wheel. Yeah. Then

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (51m 44s):

An altitude.

Sean P. Holman (51m 45s):

We need all of that, you know, all that cooling ability and all that thermal management, if you look under a modern truck, you guys have oil coolers, sometimes you have inner coolers, you’ve got a regular radiator, you’ve got a transmission cooler. I mean air has to get to all of those things. And you just think about that’s another balance versus design and truck guys have it the worst because there’s so many things you’re trying to, it’s like balancing a marble on the tip of a pencil or something. Can

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (52m 9s):

We talk about that for a second? Just to take a side note because that is something that Holman and I have spoken about a lot is that some of the people who are accusing trucks, like you talked about, of having too big a face. Right. Talk to me about, about that. You know, like maybe some of the designers like a sloping hood, more sports car esque, but is that a battle between you and the designers?

Julio Bombachini (52m 33s):

I will say luckily the design theme appears to be going towards bigger grills. Our studio guys always seem to be drawing larger grills and more aggressive faces lately on the trucks. But honestly that’s where we go for requirements for airflow. You, you talk about our heavy duty and what its capability is for pulling trailers. You nailed it on the head. The airflow you need climbing up Eisenhower pass on a 90 degree day at full GCW. You need a lot of airflow and there’s only so much you can pull in with a fan. So you need a large opening So. it is part of what’s driving a lot of these trucks to bigger and bigger front grills and higher hoods is, is packing larger and larger radiators and oil coolers and trans coolers.

Julio Bombachini (53m 18s):

All of that above is, is trying to increase the capability of the trucks.

Sean P. Holman (53m 22s):

And, and in that packaging of your cooling stack as, as it’s referred to, you also have to have room for the winch. You also have to have room for suspension components like your sway bars and things like that are kind of in that of, you know, in front of the axle on the frame. Also have to have room for dissipation of energy for crash for your airbags and crumple zones. And then on top of that you put these big giant mouths on it for thermal management and you still have to hit arrow numbers for the rest of the truck.

Julio Bombachini (53m 49s):

Yes. And oh by the way, with a winch, I have to design that airflow around that winch being there and blocking that space. Winches aren’t small, especially the bigger and heavier the trucks get bigger and every winches get. Yeah. So again, that’s, that’s a balance we’re constantly trading off and and designing around in, in our trucks is I need as much airflow as I can arrow for fuel economy wants me to have as small of a, a cross section as possible. So, you know, if it were up to the arrow and fuel economy guys, I’d have no opening on the front and everything would look like an ev but obviously, you know, we have to have airflow for towing and making the power numbers. We need to haul heavy things

Sean P. Holman (54m 30s):

While we’re on the, the, the conversation of compromise Julio, how do you make sure that you have a vehicle at one passenger, the driver who’s gonna commute in that on a daily basis ride well and then also make sure that that same vehicle can handle a trailer or payload in the back. And also make sure that the suspension’s compliant enough for good ride off road I mean that, that seems like that’s probably one of the hardest things to solve for in, you know, all of the automotive design and manufacturing engineering is gonna be the suspension engineer’s job to balance all of those needs out

Julio Bombachini (55m 10s):

As, as a, as a vehicle dynamics. Right. And handling engineer. I’m, I’m really responsible for all of all of that, like you mentioned. And not only that but you know, we are responsible for the tires. I I mean the tires are a major player for the suspension to work the way you want it. Right. So the steering calibration is another point. Then you have all the bushings, right? and then you have the damper and, and it’s, it’s really like there’s a recipe for the basics on how you do it. That final tuning it, it really depends on the person and on the characteristic of of of the, the person that is tuning Tim.

Julio Bombachini (55m 54s):

Well my comment on that, I always tend to have my tuning more sporty than most of the, the trucks that sometimes they go on more the comfort side. I, I like a little more support and and that’s one of the characteristics that I, I like to have on a ZR two family. So it It is,

Sean P. Holman (56m 19s):

I I will say on That, one of the things that I notice across the ZR two lineup and I can feel that is there’s some people who like really marshmallowy suspension, but obviously that’s not great for high speed handling. It’s not great for load control, it’s not great for head toss and all those other things. For me, I like more like a a, I like to say Germanic feel something that’s taught but compliant. Yes.

Julio Bombachini (56m 40s):

That’s, yep. Right, because

Sean P. Holman (56m 42s):

Then you can still drive the road, but then when it hits a bump or something, the suspension still works but you don’t have to worry about it not being able to handle it. and AEV moose test or an emergency maneuver.

Julio Bombachini (56m 52s):

Yeah, that’s the golden ticket of the DSS fees. I mean you really get the bi modality of on-road performance, everything you expect, everything you just highlighted there of a tot vehicle that responds well on road and yet still has the capacity for what you throw at, at off-Road. Trust me, I I I tried and we can, we can talk about that in, in in the future, but I tried several different tunings. I went to the extreme of having like a what if we go like a more race variant and that was too much. Right? There’s always, you know, not always like a, the more the better.

Julio Bombachini (57m 33s):

You have to really find that balance.

Sean P. Holman (57m 36s):

I really appreciate the trust that GM’s PR team and then you guys as engineers ’cause I’ve been on many different vehicle Drives with you. I’ve had the, the honor of being allowed to drive SUA a couple times and I don’t think that’s something many people outside of the company have ever done Is is drive. You

Julio Bombachini (57m 54s):

Are lucky. Yeah, you’re lucky. Yeah.

Sean P. Holman (57m 56s):

Yeah. It’s amazing. And, and you guys let me go. I wasn’t like, here we’re gonna take you for a ride. Sit in the, the passenger seat. It was like, Hey, are you ready to get behind the Wheel now? And to have that experience on the proving grounds and to be able to write a story about it and experience what you built for these trucks to go to or being on a program and where, I’ll just say it, I’ve, there’s been a few times where they said, Hey, hey Sean, we know, you know you’re capable. Hang back, let let the group go ahead and then if you want to, you know, feel it out a little bit more, you could do that. It was air quotes, feel it out. Sure. But the ability for for It is, I I think That one of the hardest things as an off-road journalist is there aren’t a lot of true off-road journalists out there who focus on solely off-Road.

Sean P. Holman (58m 43s):

There’s a lot of journalists who are capable off-Road and there’s a lot of journalists who do do anything off-Road and I appreciate that you guys are really good at recognizing and putting together Drives with the people that you know are capable and allowing us to really experience the vehicle more than the average bear, if you will. Because it, it shows that you have the confidence And it just like us taking the HDS down, you know, the backside, the backdoor to chocolate thunder. That’s not a normal thing. Most manufacturers have like a watered down course that they built with a bobcat like, oh here’s our off-road course. We were literally doing trails in HD Silverados that are part of King of the Hammers and you guys are like, yeah, let’s do it And. it was awesome and I just wanted to e express that I appreciate the relationship that we have where, where you guys have let me really kind of take the vehicles and and and push ’em and test them the way that you had tested because it’s given me a, a lot of insight into the, the quality and the capability of what you guys are producing there.

Sean P. Holman (59m 39s):

And the new trucks are awesome. I’ve driven all three or all six if you wanna look at both the GMC side and the Chevy side. And they’re all impressive, especially from a, a chassis and and platform level. And I think before we let you go, the question that I had remaining was you guys launched ZR two back on Colorado and then there was, you know, Z 71 and Trail Bosses that kind of came on the, on the full-size trucks. And then the company decided, you know, what ZR two needs to be across the whole lineup. What was it for like for you guys as engineers to get the green light and said this overlay that was So successful in Colorado needs to represent the Halo vehicle across our entire truck portfolio.

Sean P. Holman (1h 0m 19s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 0m 19s):

You go out to lunch to celebrate?

Julio Bombachini (1h 0m 22s):

I’m still going out to lunch and celebrating.

Sean P. Holman (1h 0m 26s):


Julio Bombachini (1h 0m 26s):

You know, the, the inner workings of a large company are always fun to dissect and stories after retirement. But I will say that the enthusiast group inside of GM was extremely passionate. After the previous gen Colorado ZR two came out, we had developed a formula with the ZR two that was truly class leading. And like you said, we wanted to expand it. A lot of the US Engineers really made pitches and plays of how we could do this across the 1500 and the 2,500 And. it, it’s been a, a real blast to just bring it across our full lineup and then build on from the previous col gen Colorado to this one to now having 30 fives to jounce control dampers.

Julio Bombachini (1h 1m 11s):

The, the next level that we’ve gone on the mid-size truck has really been up a shining star and kind of mine the larger team’s achievements here at GM and what we were able to bring and AEV factory truck. It’s really humbling to hear your praise on our trucks and at the same time that’s exactly what we set out to do. Your comments about the Drives and really showing the potential I mean I could stand up there in front of a PowerPoint and read you specs all day long and show you pictures. But to experience the capability of our truck, there’s no replacement for going out and doing it. I

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 1m 44s):

Gotta say it’s pretty cool that, you know, we, we are very fortunate we get to interview quite a few engineers and engineers are often not what you expect. You guys are way cooler, way hipper, way more in the know about what, a lot more in tune with the customer than I think maybe a lot of consumers would expect. You have all the seat time, you understand why things are made from the inside and how they’re perceived on the outside and how they’re used. And I think that’s refreshing for me anyway. ’cause Holman is really inside being a journalist. I’m just a regular schmuck and I I love the fact that you guys are so into it, it and so passionate about, again, the, the geometry of every nut and bolt, the way it faces to every little thing you care about.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 2m 28s):

And I I love that I

Julio Bombachini (1h 2m 30s):

I particularly spend time going on, you know, websites, forums and, and podcasts and everywhere trying to learn and get feedback not only from our customers and our trucks but also some from, from our competitors. so we try to be really on top of everything and It is just because we are really off rollers, right? Right. Tim, we, we, we enthusiasts and we so we like it so we love what we do, right? I mean our comms team rolls their eyes every time at me, but every time any one of you journalists asks for my job title, I’m just saying I’m an educated redneck.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 3m 9s):


Julio Bombachini (1h 3m 9s):

Is what I do in my garage and I have the, the pleasure of my career being, getting paid to do what I would do in my garage now with a lot more engineering and requirements behind it. But it’s truly my, my passion and, and it’s, it’s awesome to wake up every day and you know, you think of the hard days, you think of the arguments you have, the the, the fights you have to fight for performance. For our variance I mean you look at what we do and everything goes against what a car company would like to do. You know, like they want the most fuel efficient vehicle you can have at the lowest price point ever. But our performance vehicles, you know, the enthusiast customers to satisfy them to build vehicles, trucks and cars that can do what they can do.

Julio Bombachini (1h 3m 55s):

I always joke, I like to do everything you’re not supposed to do with a vehicle. So I wanna build a vehicle for me? And it, it’s, it’s a true blast to be able to do that inside our company.

Sean P. Holman (1h 4m 5s):

I heard they were originally gonna call it the, the 2,500 Tim edition, but that was shot down by the marketing team.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 4m 13s):

Can, you imagine the logos all over it. Just black. DIM Tim Tim Tim Tim

Sean P. Holman (1h 4m 17s):

Tim. Hey

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 4m 18s):

What Sean, what’d you buy? Tim A Tim Tim. Yeah. Chevy dealer’s got two of ’em on the lot.

Julio Bombachini (1h 4m 24s):

All the old Turbo, Diesel, Crees, Diesel and Equinox. Diesel the 1.6 liter. We always had a TD badge and I was like, hey, my initials are on all of our cards.