Truck Tech Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

Summit Racing
aFe BladeRunner Intercooler Pipes
Summit Racing
Banks Power Ram-Air Intake Systems
Summit Racing
Calvert Racing CalTracs Truck Traction Bars
Summit Racing
Mishimoto Intercoolers
Summit Racing
PPE: Pacific Performance Engineering Stage 3 Tie Rod Assemblies
Matco Tools
MATCO Tools are the Official Tool Supplier to PowerNation
The Industrial Depot
Tools, Hardware, Shop Supplies

Episode Transcript

(Jimmy)>> You're watching Powernation!

(LT)>> Today on Truck Tech Project Dragonali finally meets up to its namesake, the dragstrip.

(Austin)>> Tested and tuned on the dyno. Now what's our e-t? Who knows? [ MUSIC ]

(LT)>> Yeah baby!

(Austin)>> Woo hoo! [ MUSIC ]

(LT)>> Today's a pretty big day for Project Dragonali, our 2011 GMC Denali HD. Now if you remember we just got done doing a complete rebuild of basically the whole drivetrain, most importantly the engine. It got a new stronger crankshaft, different connecting rods, different pistons, cylinder heads, camshaft, larger turbocharger and an all-new fuel system. Plus a built transmission, and today's the day we're gonna fire it up. Now you will notice that it's missing a pretty big chunk up here, the cooling system, and that's simply out of convenience because say something goes wrong or there's a small leak it's a lot easier to access all the stuff on top and on the front of the engine with the cooling system out of the way. Now I did have to take a few extra steps. I made a loop of hose basically between where the transmission cooler used to be and the same thing where the power steering cooler is. Just so it doesn't shoot fluid kinda all over the place and make a mess. Because the cooling system is out I can't run it for that long but I can start it up and let it run for maybe 20 to 30 seconds just to do a basic function test and ensure that I can move on. Now a few steps I already took care of. I primed the oiling system just by cranking the engine over to make sure I have oil pressure, and the same thing with the lift pump. I ran it for a little while and cracked the lines right at the inlet of the CP-3 just to make sure I have fuel up to the injection pump, but there's no fuel beyond that. So I do expect it's gonna crank over just a couple of times before it actually fires off, but this is the moment we've been waiting for. So wish me luck. [ MUSIC ] Well here goes nothing. There's lift pump. [ engine cranking ]

(LT)>> Come on, you can do it. It's a little bit nervous. [ engine cranking ]

(LT)>> Don't be shy, come on! [ engine cranking ]

(LT)>> Must have done something wrong. Well the one thing you can tell about a diesel is if it doesn't fire up it's pretty much one thing, fuel. So either there's a whole bunch of fuel, or rather air, that's trapped in the high pressure lines, which is kinda what I'm thinking or hoping rather, or its something catastrophically wrong. [ engine cranking ]

(LT)>> Come on! [ engine fires up ]

(LT)>> There it is! Ah smooth as silk too. Alright we'll do a leak check. That did take quite a while to bleed all the fuel out but this thing sounds super smooth. I don't see any leaks. [ engine idling ]

(LT)>> Nothing's falling off. I'm gonna kill it so it doesn't get too warm and then we can put it back together. [ engine idling ]

(LT)>> That's pretty awesome right there. I'll admit I was a little bit nervous cause it did crank over a lot more than I expected it would, but a huge sense of relief right now because I know I don't have to take anything back apart. I know we're in business. Our LML Duramax comes with a pretty sizeable cooling system, but even so we're gonna upgrade things a step further. Now when it comes to building lots of horsepower in an emissions equipped diesel, or really any engine for that matter, cooler air temperature is kind of the name of the game and ours starts right here with this Mishimoto drop in intercooler. This has a 101 percent increase in core volume over the stock intercooler and it's 73 percent thicker, and this is gonna pull a tremendous amount of heat away from the compressed air that comes off of the turbocharger. It's gonna flow through these three inch AFE aluminum intercooler tubes, which are much larger than stock, and all the air's gonna start with our Banks ram air cold air intake, which also flows 35 percent more air than stock. So all together we've got less restriction, more volume, greater flow, cooler temperatures, and more horsepower. Plus reduced exhaust gas temperatures and even better fuel mileage. It's kind of like the best of everything, but before I get to the fun parts I've got to put that fan back on the engine. The Duramax uses a massive mechanical cooling fan and to properly secure it to the front of the engine I'm using a special tool that engages with a pulley on the fan nut. Our old radiator simply bolts onto the intercooler.

(Pat)>> How much does this thing weigh?

(LT)>> Probably 100, 150 pounds.

(Pat)>> Oh jeez!

(LT)>> And with some extra muscle it reunites with the truck. [ MUSIC ] Get mine, the a/c line there, perfect! [ drill humming ]

(LT)>> If you're building a high powered diesel truck you need to check out Summit Racing since they supplied all of the air flow parts we're installing today, like these intercooler tubes, but also most of the parts on our entire engine build including the fuel system, rotating assembly, and even the cylinder heads. Next a shakedown run to test for leaks.

(LT)>> For your intake system to feed cold air into the turbocharger you can't just have a filter mounted on the end of a tube exposed to engine bay heat. It has to be isolated in a box much like the factory did, and that's what you get with the Banks ram air intake system. This is the last piece to our install and then we can probably get this thing outside and put some test miles on it. [ MUSIC ] Our Denali has been sitting inside the shop for about six months since we tore it apart. So needless to say it's a pretty big milestone to get this thing moving under its own power once again. It might seem a little bit goofy driving this truck around with no grille, no headlights, no hood, just with everything exposed but it's a step that I always like to take because it saves or has the potential to save a whole lot of time. I mean let's say you had a leaky lower radiator hose, a transmission cooler line wasn't seated all the way in and you had to fix it. Well I would much rather know now that everything works, and doesn't leak, and does what it should before I put all that stuff back on because if you have to take it all back apart that's just another hour or two of labor that you're gonna have to put in just to put it back together once you have finally fixed everything. So it's well worth the investment. The Allison 1,000 is a smart or learning style automatic transmission and the t-c-m learns, or basically adapts, the fluid volumes of each of the individual clutch packs inside the transmission. Now when you get a brand new trans you don't really want to just go out and hammer on it right out the gate. You want to let it go through its learning cycle. So once you clear those adaptives with a scan tool just do a couple of easy acceleration runs. Let the transmission shift through all of its gears. Let the converter lock up. Double check your fluid level when you're all done, and then just take it easy for the first 50 or 100 miles and just kinda let everything figure itself out. Now so far everything seems to be doing great. The truck is actually still on the stock tune. It hasn't even been adjusted for all of the parts that we've installed yet but I'm gonna put some miles on this thing just to make sure everything works great, get the motor broken in. Do a first fluid change on the engine and the transmission. Then we're gonna put this thing on the dyno and get a good hot tune up on it, see how much power it's gonna put down. On a brand new build like this you definitely want to pay extra attention on the first couple of miles. You know look and listen. Listen for any weird sounds, anything that's out of place. You know grinding or excessive whistling, like maybe a boost leak, stuff like that, and just keep your eyes out for maybe extra signs of smoke. Something might be dripping or leaking. I figure once I get 5, 10 miles on this thing and I'm comfortable with it I think everything will be good to go. We'll head back to the shop. Then I can put the front end back together and make this actually look like a truck again. If you're gonna be doing any sort of racing with a diesel pickup truck more than likely you're gonna be spending some time at the dragstrip. Since these things are so heavy they really can't corner out on a road course. Now that being said there are a few changes that we've made to the chassis and suspension to help us put this torque down to the ground without spinning. Now it all started some time ago when we rebuilt the rear suspension, lowered it 3 inches with a drop shackle, and then we removed the overload leaf spring which lowered it one additional inch, but then that introduced a little bit of axle hop into the situation. To combat that we installed a set of CalTracs traction bars. Now this is a pretty unique design which eliminates that axle wrap and the wheel hop, and it also improves traction by forcing the spring, the axle, and the tire down into the pavement. Now even with all that we're still gonna have traction problems in a boosted launch situation, but to remedy that all we've got to do is reach down and switch it into four wheel drive. Now that'll eliminate the traction problems but there is one extremely weak link in the front suspension and steering that we need to address first. Because of the geometry that's built into the front suspension the front wheels have a natural tendency to want to toe in whenever you apply power to them, and that affect is increased as you add more power and also if you have a deeper dish wheel, both of which we have. Now there's got to be a weak link somewhere and the first thing to give on a Duramax is definitely the tie rods. This thin spot right here measures in at just over five-eighths of an inch at its thinnest spot, and the first time you go to launch this thing with any amount of power the wheels are gonna want to toe in and they are because that tie rod is gonna turn into a pretzel. To prevent that from happening we're going all out with some PPE stage three tie rods. Now it doesn't take a microscope to see how much larger and stronger these are gonna be. So we'll get these bad boys thrown in and then we can go to the strip. [ MUSIC ] I normally don't have to reach for any sort of a plumbing tool but the only thing I was able to find in the entire building that would work on the inner tie rod nuts is a pipe wrench. Those suckers are about two inches. [ MUSIC ] Nice and snug! [ MUSIC ] Well this wraps up what is probably my favorite build that we've done in a very long time, and that's because you can do anything you want in this truck, whether it's driving every day, hauling a trailer, or just destroying the rear tires in an awesome burnout. Now next time you guys see this thing we're gonna strap it onto the rollers next door and see how much horsepower we're putting down at the rear wheels, and after that we're going drag racing.

(Austin)>> Smokey, I like it.

[ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ]

(LT)>> Alright well nothing fell off. It's spooling up like it should. Dyno is recording r-p-m, so we're about ready to make a run.

(Austin)>> Yeah one of the challenges we will have though is that we are 100 percent emissions intact. So how much power can we actually make?

(LT)>> Well that's a question that Nick from Duramax Tuner dot com is gonna answer.

(Nick)>> We really want to keep this thing clean. We want to keep this truck running in an air/fuel ratio at a lambda controlled limit. We want a lot of air through the motor so we keep it cool, we keep it happy, and we keep long term durability up there.

(LT)>> So air/fuel ratio is a term that a lot of people have heard of, and in a gasoline engine when you're cruising down the road you're probably somewhere between 14.7 to 1 at cruise and then maybe 12.5, 11 to 1 under wide open throttle. Nick a diesel engine is way different than that. What kind of air/fuel ratios are we going to be expecting to run in this LML?

(Nick)>> That's a good question. On the LML we really want to keep the thing lean. So there's no lean limit. We can run it to 20 to 1, 30 to 1, 40 to 1. It's not gonna hurt anything. Our limit needs to be on the richness, and as we bring that richness below 1.2, 1.15 lambda, or somewhere around 17.5:1, that's when we're gonna see our soot start to accumulate. That's when we're gonna see regen frequency come up, and that's when we're gonna start to see long term durability issues. We want to be really particular about that.

(LT)>> A d-p-f is a technology that's not necessarily brand new but not a lot of people necessarily know what it is. More or less it's a filter that goes in your exhaust and it traps soot, and kind of explain Nick real quick what happens when you increase power on a diesel. What's one of the byproducts of that?

(Nick)>> One of the theories on increasing power in a diesel is running a richer air/fuel ratio. If you do that you have the potential to increase the opacity, or the particulate matter that comes out of the exhaust. Now normally that exhaust would go out the atmosphere but with the d-p-f it gets caught. If you get too carried away with that, if you go too rich, you have the potential to plug the face of the d-p-f, and if you do that the pressure in the d-p-f goes up and you don't want pressure in your exhaust system. Diesel and gas guys alike don't like that. So we want to limit that pressure in the exhaust system and make sure the d-p-f's able to do its job efficiently.

(LT)>> Alright well you've got us a tune sent over. I've got it loaded up in the truck. So let's do a first hit and see where we're at.

(Nick)>> Let's do it!

(Austin)>> Sound like a plan. [ engine revving ]

(LT)>> Alright well did we get a number?

(Austin)>> Alright 516 on the horsepower and 905 of torque.

(LT)>> That's actually quite a bit better than I thought.

(Nick)>> That's more than I thought too.

(LT)>> Well what do you say Nick? We built this motor probably to handle 1,000 plus horsepower. Obviously our plans did change mid-way through the build and we're not gonna be utilizing most of that capacity but it'll certainly handle a little more. So what do you think for an emissions intact truck? How far do you think we could comfortably push this?

(Nick)>> Yeah you know usually 600 horsepower is kind of a durable reliable limit on a turbocharger like this. We're gonna be at the limit of the injector. If we want to do competition use we want to hot rod it a little bit. Certainly we can run it a little richer at the track and get a little more out of it but 600's a good durable limit for the combination of parts you've got.

(LT)>> And I guess it comes down to the d-p-f? Like more fuel than that maybe it'll regen too frequently?

(Nick)>> Yeah it depends on air quality really. So how much air we can get through that motor. If we can keep this opacity down, if we can keep this thing running lean, then we're gonna get more power out of it. We're gonna have long term durability out of the d-p-f. Everything's gonna be happier but if we start chasing power by running rich.

(Austin)>> You're defeating the purpose at that point.

(LT)>> Alright we've got one more hot setting to go. So let's see what it'll lay down. [ MUSIC ] [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ]

(LT)>> Alright that sounded a little better I guess. How'd we do?

(Austin)>> Pretty substantial increase. 587 on the horsepower at the tire and the torque is right at 1,027.

(Nick)>> That's not a bad number! I like that close to 600 number. The torque I feel like we probably could have got up around 1,200, 1,300 foot pounds if we could have loaded it a little harder against a brake but 600 horse is 600 horse.

(LT)>> Now that's just two of the positions Nick, and when you guys tune a Duramax like this you have five different options the driver has to choose from. Walk us through real quick what those are.

(Nick)>> So typically when we do five position switch it's for the different uses on the truck. A lot of guys tow with these trucks. So if you're running heavy we've got a tune for if you're over 8,000 pounds. We call that the Heavy Tow. If you're running under 8,000 pounds, Light Tow. Daily driving, sport economy looking for good mileage and pep the Sport Tune, and then for what you guys are about to do on the eighth mile we've got the race tune.

(LT)>> Now even though you are called Duramax Tuner you guys tune everything right?

(Nick)>> Yeah all the late model common rail trucks. I love the new Fords, the new Rams. We can do basically the same mods we did on this Duramax and get similar power if not more out of some of those platforms.

(LT)>> But the Duramax is your favorite though?

(Nick)>> I love the Duramax, I love the Ford, I love the Dodge. They all run good.

(LT)>> Well thanks again Nick, we appreciate it. We do have an appointment at the track. So we've got to get this thing unstrapped and hit the road.

(Austin)>> Yeah thank you.

(Nick)>> My pleasure guys, good luck!

(Austin)>> Time to have some fun huh?

(LT)>> Get in the front, and that's where we're headed next.

(Austin)>> Well buddy we made it. We got the truck fully assembled. We made a few runs on the dyno. So we know what power it has and we know it's gonna do it reliably. The only thing we just don't know how fast it goes yet.

(LT)>> Well that's why we're here today at our second home, the eighth mile dragstrip. Now I'm really not expecting to set the world on fire with a sub-600 horse heavy duty diesel truck but it's all about having fun. Even though we did pick probably the second hottest day of the year to do it.

(Austin)>> There's no doubt about that one. I'm not even sure what e-t's we're gonna run. How fast or quick we're gonna be, but I know we have a lot of torque and that will help us out on the takeoff.

(LT)>> I guess let's see what'll happen. [ engine revving ]

(LT)>> It gets down and boogies for tune three, not bad. Looks like about 75 mile an hour. Well I know we can do a little better but that was fun. Alright, alright.

(Austin)>> How did it feel?

(LT)>> Not amazing.

(Austin)>> Tune 3 you ran a 9.92.

(LT)>> At?

(Austin)>> 73.

(LT)>> Okay that's not bad.

(Austin)>> That's what I expected.

(LT)>> Alright tune number four here we go.

(Austin)>> Do number five.

(LT)>> One at a time man, one at a time. [ MUSIC ] [ tires squealing ] [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ]

(LT)>> It didn't actually feel much quicker I'll be honest. Not amazing.

(Austin)>> Slightly slower that time. We did have some tire slippage at the takeoff but that's alright. There's room for improvement.

(LT)>> Well I'll be honest that didn't really feel a whole lot quicker.

(Austin)>> Slower.

(LT)>> Slower yeah.

(Austin)>> 10.3 at 71, but you did spin some tires taking off and you didn't go to the max tune like I said. So what do you expect?

(LT)>> Alright just for the heck of it biggest tune, four wheel drive, let it all hang out. [ MUSIC ]

(Austin)>> There we go! That was a quick run, I like that. See max tune running 9.2. I mean I don't know why he wants to see these slow numbers. Max it out! [ tires squealing ]

(Austin)>> It's not my fault man, it's different. [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ]

(LT)>> Austin's 9.85 at 74 miles an hour wouldn't be his best. He had a much better launch on pass number two.

(Austin)>> It felt good.

(LT)>> Well that was the magic combination, 8.91, about 75 miles an hour.

(Austin)>> Dude broke into the 8's?

(LT)>> Broke into the 8's.

(Austin)>> Tune 5 that's about as hard as we can launch it on the boost cause we broke traction.

(LT)>> It'll just start to kinda push through the brakes. It'll spin a tiny bit but for a street truck, less than 600 horsepower, I'm happy.

(Austin)>> Dude win!

(LT)>> Don't forget Powernation t-v dot com for more information on any of our truck builds.
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