How Sniper EFI Helped Get The Andersons' C10 Project Back On Track


How Sniper EFI Helped Get The Andersons' C10 Project Back On Track


In the realm of monster truck competition, the Anderson family of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, is bonafide royalty. Back in early 80s, Dennis Anderson was competing in local mud racing and quickly made a name for himself in the sport. Due to the deep mud pits that they were using at the events, it became an arms race to see which team could run the biggest tire, and with massive tractor tires that he had outfitted on his garage-built truck, Anderson soon started performing in car crushing exhibitions at the events as well.

“The Grave Digger name comes from my dad basically talking smack to his boss,” says Ryan Anderson. "His boss had this nice truck, and my dad had this truck that he was putting together basically from parts that were laying around. He told him that he was going to take that old junk and dig him a grave with it. My dad’s co-workers started writing Grave Digger on his time cards after that, so he decided to put it on the side of his truck.”

Anderson C10 in the weeds

Dennis retired from competition in 2017, and now his sons Ryan, Adam, and Weston, as well as his daughter Krysten, all compete at Monster Jam events in a fleet of Anderson-built machines. Along with chasing points as competitors, the family is also one of the primary builders of the monster trucks that are used in the series. While Krysten, Adam, and Weston drive three of the family’s seven Grave Digger trucks, Ryan is most often found behind the wheel of Son-uva Digger, and he has become one of the most successful drivers in the history of Monster Jam.

“I started driving Son-uva Digger back in 2011, and at that time my dad was still competing,” Ryan explains. “Adam is the oldest of the kids, and he had started competing in the truck we called Grave Digger the Legend a few years before I got my start. We wanted to drive Diggers, but we didn’t want to drive Grave Digger because then we wouldn’t have been able to compete against our dad.”

Anderson family working

Although the Monster Jam series definitely keeps the Andersons busy, they still like to wrench on their own home-brewed projects when time allows, and Adam’s latest project is just as head-turning as anything that they bring out on tour.

“I got this ’65 C10 locally for $200. It was someone else’s project that had just been sitting around,” Adam tells us. “It was in decent shape, but it didn’t have a title or a bed on it. I had always wanted to do something like this build – I had like a dozen of these tires that came off of an irrigation truck, or some kind of spray rig that’s used to go out to turf farms and places like that to spray down fertilizer without damaging the surface. They’re actually wider than the tires that we use on the monster trucks, which are 66 inches tall and 43 inches wide on a 25-inch wheel. These are 66 inches tall and 50 inches wide on a 25-inch wheel. I also really liked the fact that they look like gigantic drag slicks, or something along those lines.”

Anderson C10 Rear Wheel

As you might expect, Adam had to make some significant changes to the C10 in order to adapt the massive rollers to its chassis. “The two rear tires are separated by about six inches of frame rail,” he says. Adam sourced a rear end from a fork lift primarily for its gear reduction system, which is adapted to the C10’s stock three-speed transmission. To make it all work, he cut the stock frame off at the back of the cab and set to work creating a homebrew solution would be strong enough to support the incredible weight of the components. He estimates that the rear axle alone tips the scales at more than 1200 pounds, while each wheel and tire combo is about 700 pounds.

“I’m just a backyard engineer, so a lot of this was sort of just eyeballing it,” he says with a laugh. “Part of the challenge was figuring out how to get them as close together as possible while trying to get brakes on it and make it actually work. The rear axles go about twenty inches into the rear tires, so even just getting the tires on the truck after we got the rear axle attached was a job in and of itself.” The tight confines meant that the rear suspension needed to be tossed out entirely, and Adam used pieces of six-inch-wide box tubing to support the upper and lower sides of the rear axle.

Anderson C10 Installing Pump

“There are also two camshafts that came out of the 540ci Grave Digger motors which I used as additional supports. They go from the top down almost inside the wheels, and there’s also two crankshafts out of those engines that are welded to the bottom side of the factory frame that lead back to the new frame that I built,” he says. “Those are used to help support the chassis when the truck’s under power. It was basically about using whatever we had around...I literally went to the scrap bin and dug these things out.”

Motivation is provided by the C10’s original 292-cube straight six. After Adam initially got the truck running, one of the guys in the family’s shop convinced him to install the turbo from a Cummins diesel that was yanked out of a third-generation Dodge Ram 2500. He also nabbed the stock exhaust system from his dad’s Duramax-equipped 2011 Chevy Silverado and chopped it up in order to route it from the turbo to its side exit underneath the driver’s side door. The engine was initially fed off of a single barrel carburetor, and Adam says that, much to everyone’s surprise, it actually ran reasonably well.

Anderson C10 Turbocharger

“But the piping for the turbo was not sealed up like it should have been,” he recalls. “Some of the guys in the shop wanted to fix it up, put some gaskets around it. I was like, ‘No, that’s our wastegate!’ I didn’t want to create so much boost that we would blow something up, and it worked. For a while anyway.”

After a volley of shakedown runs and some other shenanigans, the carburetor started to show major signs of distress. “It started weeping fuel from every orifice on it – it was just pouring fuel out of any spot that it could,” Adam says. The project went stagnant at that point, but shortly thereafter, the internet caught wind of the build. “It kind of became this viral sensation afterwards, and it was like, ‘Man, we need to get this thing going again.”

Anderson C10 Sniper Installation

To get the truck back into fighting shape, they selected a Holley Super Sniper EFI 2300 system and the requisite hardware needed in order to bring the fuel system up to snuff. “I have four other vehicles with Sniper systems on them,” Adam notes. “So, I already know what it’s capable of and how simple it is to use. And that’s what we needed – we may be good drivers and we may have great visions for projects, but we are not smart at all! We knew that this was what we needed to make it work.”

Still, the Anderson crew managed to implement some of their creative engineering here as well. “I just straight-up forgot that it had a single barrel carburetor on it, and the system we ordered was for a two-barrel manifold,” Adam points out. “We didn’t have an adaptor for it or anything like that, and we were pressed for time. We only get two or three days at home a week if we’re lucky, and we really wanted to get this thing running again. We just didn’t have time to order the right thing to adapt it, so we had to make something right then and there, and hope that it worked. Thankfully it did. The adapter plate that we created is very crude and simple, but it also kind of goes with the theme of this build. It’s not really even a plate – it’s more like a plenum. It’s tall and kind of gaudy, but at the same time it’s kind of cool. We basically cut up some box tubing and made the flanges that we needed to go from the single to the double. Honestly, we kind of just hoped for the best.”

Anderson C10 Sniper Install everyone

The solution worked, but not long after the truck was back up and running, other fixes were suddenly needed. “It was running unbelievably well,” he says. “And less than an hour after we got it fired up again, someone texted me a picture of one of the wheels broken off. I don’t know if they were doing donuts or what…I mean, I had done donuts with it before, but I didn’t tell them. And I didn’t tell them because I only had four little spot welds holding each of the rear wheels on. I initially wasn’t sure if the wheel was going to fit right, and so I never got around to finishing that. But then these goons go out there and they’re ringing donuts with it, and they break the center out of the wheel. On my way out to the airport the next morning I see my truck sitting in the middle of the field on jack stands, and it’s half-way laid over on its side. And I’m like, ‘Well, this is sweet.’”

Along with improving those welds, Adam says he’d like to get some better brakes on the truck and re-install the headlights, but he doesn’t want to make too many changes from its current state. “ the fuel tank still ratchet-strapped down?” he asks Ryan. “OK, I guess the fuel tank is still ratchet-strapped down. We should probably finish that, too. But at this point it’s really just about buttoning things up. We don’t get many opportunities to go out to car shows or anything like that, but every once in a while we do, and I’d love to take this thing out and drive it around. I want to share this thing with the rest of the world – not just via the internet, but live and in-person.”

Anderson C10 not doing donuts


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