2006 GMC Sierra 2500 HD - The Perfect Foundation

A Blueprint For Adding Horsepower

Mike McGlothlin
Jun 27, 2014
Photographers: Mike McGlothlin
While the excitement of adding big fuel and air to any modern diesel is tempting, the newfound power at the crank can often wreak havoc on the driveline parts behind it. This is why Kyle Hansen took very strategic steps when building up his 2006 GMC Sierra 2500 HD. Every mod serves a purpose and was purchased for a reason. He ruled out failure points in the transmission, steering system, and front suspension before pouring on the power. And, in the process, he put together a 500-plus-horsepower GMC that’s functional and virtually unbreakable. “I wanted to build it in steps and get the power to the ground first,” he told us.
After conducting some research, Kyle found himself parked at Flynn’s Shop in Alexander, Illinois. Right off the bat, the six-speed Allison was pulled, gutted, and stuffed with a GMax 6-pac kit from Sun Coast. A Sun Coast 1058 torque converter -- ideal for working in conjunction with variable-geometry turbochargers -- replaced the factory unit. While the transmission was bulletproofed, the truck’s transfer case was torn down and treated to a pump rub kit from Merchant Automotive.
Photo 2/13   |   With dyno-proven EFILive tunes from Duramaxtuner.com and all the right supporting mods, it’s safe to say Kyle’s GMC puts the advertised 530 rwhp to the pavement. Accompanied by an estimated 1,000 lb-ft of torque, burnouts come easy—even for what most would consider to be a mildly modified Duramax.
Strengthening the AAM 9.25 IFS is a set of PPE’s stainless steel tie-rod sleeves, as well as Cognito Motorsports’ pitman and idler arm braces. As for the rear axle, a set of One Up Offroad traction bars keeps the AAM 1150 under control, and Kyle tells us adding the bars made a night and day difference in how the truck drives.
Under the hood sits a factory, almost-untouched LBZ Duramax. The extent of the engine’s mods include a race fuel valve and ported fuel rail fitting from PPE, a High Flow intake system from All Season Diesel Performance, and a Ram-Air cold-air intake from Banks. A 150-gph FASS fuel system maintains 15 psi of supply pressure to the factory CP3.
Without a doubt, the truck’s biggest power-adder comes in the form of EFILive. The custom-tuned ECM and TCM from Duramax-tuner.com help Kyle’s Sierra send approximately 530 horses to the pavement. Five on-the-fly tuning options are available via a cab-mounted DSP5 switch. Since arriving at Flynn’s, the truck’s horsepower level effectively doubled -- and this is only the beginning. “The next step is to add a bigger turbo, 60-percent-over injectors, and a stroker CP3,” Kyle said.
Kyle’s truck is a textbook example of everything Duramax enthusiasts should do before stepping up to larger nozzles and a bigger turbo. The parts combination spelled out here is good enough to send the 7,300-pound Sierra through the traps in 13 seconds flat -- and there isn’t even a whole lot done to it. When the added fuel and air makes its way onto the truck in the future, it will only complement the bulletproof mods he’s already bolted on, such as the built Allison, shimmed fuel pressure relief valve, ported rail fitting, FASS system, and traction bars. With all the truck’s weak links addressed, Kyle’s GMC can survive being beaten, day in and day out -- and that’s exactly what most of us strive for: reliable horsepower.
Photo 6/13   |   2006 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Rear Three Quarter
Photo 13/13   |   2006 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Banks Ram Air Intake System
The Banks Ram-Air intake system (left) that graces the truck was the first modification Kyle made to his Sierra many moons ago. It’s proof that a system with a cleanable, reusable filter element is a worthwhile investment—and that the Banks system is built to last.

2006 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
Owner: Kyle Hansen
Hometown: Jerseyville, Illinois
Odometer: 64,500 miles
Engine: 6.6L LBZ Duramax V-8
Fuel: FASS Titanium 150-gph system, PPE race fuel valve and ported fuel rail fitting
Tuning: EFILive via DSP5 switch
Transmission: Allison 1000 with Sun Coast GMax 6-pac kit and 1058 torque converter
Horsepower: 530 rwhp (est.)
Torque: 1,000 lb-ft (est.)
Tires: 305/55R20 Nitto Terra Grappler
Wheels: 20x10 XD Monster
Fun Fact: Kyle dedicates the need to build the transmission to a few good friends, who used to wait for him to call it an early night, steal his keys, and proceed to find out who could pull off the longest burnout with his truck.

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