Giving Back To US Military Veterans With Warfighter Made and Gibson

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Our country, culture, and beliefs are protected by extraordinary men and women. Our military prowess has no equals because of the strength, intelligence and perseverance of the people within its ranks. That is exactly why Warfighter Made is dedicated to helping our brave soldiers cope with physical and mental injuries when they return home.

Warfighter Made is a non-profit organization that is all about helping veterans. Together with Gibson Performance Exhaust and Off Road Xtreme, Warfighter Made recently underwent the process of modifying a Chevy Silverado for Jesse Williamson, a lance corporal in the United States Marine Corps.

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While stationed in Farrah Province, Afghanistan, Jesse and his team were on patrol when their vehicle hit an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Sadly, Jesse was the only member of the squad to survive, but he lost both of his legs. Suffering from the loss of limb, PTSD and survivor’s guilt, Jesse did not want to leave his rehabilitation facility when he was cleared.

His stay in rehab was extended and Warfighter Made got involved. The idea behind Warfighter Made is to help wounded veterans adapt to civilian life again by customizing their vehicle. This helps the soldiers continue doing the things they enjoy while their vehicle reflects their individual personality.

Jesse's truck has gotten quite a few upgrades. Deegan wheels, Deegan edition Mickey Thompson tires, K&N Intake, Odyssey Battery and Kicker tunes.

Robert Blanton, a co-founder and full-time volunteer with Warfighter Made, is spearheading the efforts to help Jesse and many others like him. “We wanted to quickly put this truck together for him to let him know that we all appreciate him tackling his issues head-on,” Blanton explains. “And when you surround yourself with good people, good things happen.”

Exhaust Features

  • 2.25-inch Stainless mandrel bent tubing
  • Four-inch Black Ceramic T304 Stainless
  • Baffled & chambered muffler design
  • Dual exits behind the rear tire
Jesse’s truck of choice is a 2010 Chevy Silverado crew cab with a 4.8-liter engine. To pep up the power and give the truck and owner a deserving sound, Gibson’s Cat-Back Stainless Deegan 38 Dual Sport Exhaust system (part number 65638D) was chosen.

The truck has gotten a whole host of treatments. After a leveling kit was installed, freestyle motocross legend and off-road racer Brian Deegan donated a full set of his signature Deegan 38 Pro 2 wheels and Deegan 38 tires made by Mickey Thompson.

Under hood, upgrades include a K&N Blackhawk Intake system, an Odyssey Battery, and all of the fluids were replaced with Lucas Oil products. Interior tunes were amped up with a Kicker Vehicle Specific Solutions (VSS) 10-inch subwoofer. The final addition was the Deegan 38 exhaust system provided by Gibson.

Letting The Truck Be Heard

THe stock exhaust is a tool. It does the job but doesn't have any style to it. Not to mention the extra restrictions it puts on the motor's performance.

Before starting work, disconnect the negative battery terminal. This will allow the computer to reset and recognize the new exhaust system upon first starting it back up. Next, lay out all the new parts as they will go into the vehicle. This gives you a chance to make sure everything is there and that you have the correct parts.

All Gibson Performance products are Made in the USA. The stainless steel is carefully prepped and fabricated to provide the best quality possible.

If you have access to a vehicle lift, it certainly makes life easier. At the least, you will likely need to put the back end of the truck on jack stands so the rear suspension droops out. The extra room between the axle assembly and the truck body makes exhaust removal and installation much easier.

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Using a hoist is the easiest possible way to swap an exhaust system, though it is not much more difficult to do this in a driveway. Before removing things, take a good look at all your hardware. Over time, the fasteners may partially corrode. Using a solvent ahead of time will help the hardware break free easier.

The factory exhaust system is suspended by rubber isolators. Unbolt the joints and use a pry bar to pop the isolators off the hangers. After removing the original exhaust, install the new adapter tube to the back of the catalytic converter. Leave the hardware loose for final adjustments later on.

The head pipe comes next. Attach the new rubber isolators as you move along the system to ensure the pipes are properly supported.

We went through and unbolted all the clamp fittings from behind the catalytic converter. After all of the bolts and clamps were loose, we used a pry bar to remove the exhaust hangers from the rubber isolators. Once all of the stock exhaust system was kicked to the shop corner, we were able to get the new shinny parts installed.

Fit the muffler onto the back of the head pipe, keeping it level; this will ensure the tailpipes are properly aligned. Route the new tailpipes over the rear axle assembly and onto the back of the new muffler, we found that installing the right side pipe first worked well. Each tailpipe has a tab welded to the side of it. These tabs are designed to be bolted together to keep the pipes a specific distance apart from each other.

Install the new tailpipes over the rear differential assembly.

With the last exhaust hanger hung, it was time to bolt the two tailpipes together. They have a bracket on them that makes lining them up something you do not need to worry about.

Once everything is in place, make adjustments accordingly to ensure everything is positioned correctly. Tighten all hardware at this time.

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Last but certainly not least, install the new Deegan 38 4-inch diameter Black Ceramic T304 Stainless Steel tips. The kit includes two Brian Deegan signature Badge of Honor Emblems to be added to the tips or wherever you want to show off your goods.

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Rumble In Your Pants

When we drove the truck before the install we could hear the tires more than the exhaust. The tire noise was muffled with the new exhaust. We could hear an aggressive rumble that matches the style that Brian Deegan is known for.

Even with the truck being the 4.8-liter the exhaust gave the truck a deep rumble. The drone was minimal in the cab and the vehicle was still enjoyable to drive.

Jesse Williamson's truck is a 2010 Chevy Silverado with a 4.8L V8.

Jesse Williamson’s truck is a 2010 Chevy Silverado with a 4.8-liter V8.

Warfighter Made And Gibson

Warfighter Made is dedicated to helping the men and women who put their lives on the line for all of us to enjoy our freedoms. The official rallying cry of Warfighter Made is “Adapted To The Injury…Customized To The Soul.”

Gibson has been working with Warfighter Made for nearly two years now. “It’s not often you meet an organization focused on helping soldiers,” says Danny Adair with Gibson. “Through automotive or powersports recreation therapy. That’s right up our alley!”

Jesse standing with his truck after completing the Lake Elsinore Grand Prix in the 450 intermediate class.

Jesse standing with his truck after completing the Lake Elsinore Grand Prix in the 450 intermediate class.

Gibson and Warfighter Made have worked together on many  projects and plan to continue long into the future. “Brave soldiers like Jesse have truly lost more than we could ever give.” Adair says “We feel it’s an honor to be one small part of his recovery process.”

For more information on the exhaust system, please visit the Gibson Performance website and to learn more about Warfighter Made, head on over to its website. Be sure to check out the video above to hear for yourself the difference in sound with installing this exhaust.

Article Sources

About the author

Jake Headlee

Jake's passion started at a young age wrenching on cars with his Dad. Obtaining that glorious driver's license sparked his obsession with grease and horsepower, and the rest is history. Soon, he was a general mechanic and suspension specialist, and currently designs and modifies products for the off-road industry. Jake enjoys rock crawling, desert racing and trail running, and writing in his spare time.
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