Pickups are king at Diesel Day Dreams
Northglenn, Colo.—When Wade Boyd talks about making diesel pickup trucks go faster, his eyes light up just like his customers’ tires. Enthusiasm for modifying his own Duramax-powered Chevy let him exit the mortgage industry years ago, and embark on a journey down the diesel performance road, eventually landing him in role as owner of Diesel Day Dreams.
The ACDelco Professional Service Center specializes in diesel performance modifications and general repair of Duramax-, Power Stroke-, and Cummins-powered rigs, said Boyd, who works alongside his wife, Angela Boyd, the shop’s bookkeeper.
After receiving editorial coverage on his personal Chevy pickup, an 1,150-HP machine dubbed Blue Angel, Boyd said his reputation for building fast Duramax-powered trucks began to spread, leading to a sales management role with ATS Diesel, several diesel-related roles with other employers around the country, and eventually working on other people’s trucks out of his home garage. Racers pulling their cars with Duramax-powered Chevys became a natural source of customers, he said.
A desire to eliminate business travel and making room for more family time were two major factors in opening Diesel Day Dreams, the Boyds said, who were raising two young girls at the time.
“During race season, it got to the point where we were only seeing him one weekend a month,” Angela Boyd said.
With three jobs in queue that would cover one month’s rent in his new facility, Boyd said he took a leap of faith and opened Diesel Day Dreams in 2009. Angela remained in the mortgage industry while her husband went to work building the business. After her third pregnancy, Angela said she eventually decided to leave the mortgage industry and join the family business. She has been managing the shop’s books for the last two years.
“For me, the family aspect is the biggest reward,” Wade Boyd said, adding that he even has an area at the shop where his daughters can be during the day. The shop’s employees, which include four technicians and two service advisers, are also part of the family, he was quick to add.
“We work as a family and like to keep it that way,” said Bill Peruti, service manager with a five-year tenure. “We’re all in this together.”
Angela Boyd said they aim to hire trainable technicians because of the niche services they offer. Despite the diesel expertise, she said, they try to stay humble. “There’s always something to learn.”
Customers typically fall into one of three categories, he said, those who want to go fast, those using their pickup to tow campers or toys, and those who use their truck for work. Even though the shop’s initial focus was performance, 85 percent of sales are now with general maintenance and repair. “It’s our bread and butter.”
Unlike flatlanders, pickup owners in Colorado have to contend with thin air, he said, which diminishes performance of gasoline engines quickly, hence the proliferation of diesel pickups. The extreme driving conditions, coupled with owners who actually use their rigs for recreation, adds up to ample work.
The net result is about 105 trucks a month rolling through the shop, Angela Boyd said, and $1.3 million in annual sales.
Rather than spend money on marketing, Boyd said he relies on his reputation and relationships at the tracks, creating additional exposure through Facebook.
Always a gear head, Boyd said he enjoys the technical aspect of performance work, and is currently studying CAD design in preparation for launching his own brand of parts that include turbo billet flanges, PTO cover plates, a C3 cooling system for Allison transmissions, and more.
In addition to developing their own parts, when it comes to parts brands to procure and install, the Boyds said they’re very picky.
“We’ve done the ‘R&D’ and we know what parts fail,” Angela Boyd said, adding that there are times when they have to reject customer recommendations.
For performance applications, preferred brands include Wagler Competition Products, SoCal Diesel, FASS (Fuel Air Separation System), Suncoast Diesel Transmissions, S&B cold air intakes, and MBRP performance exhaust.
OE parts are preferred for general repair, Wade Boyd said, citing Motorcraft, ACDelco, and remanufactured Bosch for pumps and common rail injectors that are OE for most applications. Central Motive Power is the area’s authorized Bosch remanufacturer, he said, and is their main supplier for injectors.
The risk is far too great for a job that could take up to 15 labor hours, Boyd said, referring to the amount of time it takes to install new injectors in an earlier model year Duramax. Factory Motor Parts is another key supplier for Motorcraft and ACDelco parts, he added.
Attention to quality work has resulted in a two-week wait for most jobs, Boyd said, prompting them to seek out a larger facility. They plan on purchasing land and constructing their own, larger building in the near future.
The Boyds continue to work on developing new processes, plans, and procedures to increase efficiency. “If we want to move and grow, we better be busting butt and turning wrenches,” he said.