Diesel Power - The Safe And Clean Way With Banks Power
Banks Shows Us How to Make More Power Without the Smoke
Looking around the diesel market, one can easily find plenty of power-adders that pump black soot from an open 5-inch sewer pipe. With a set of beefy tires up in smoke, the scene certainly lends itself to some manly entertainment. That much available power usually causes an assortment of problems, from overfueling the engine and damaging the injectors to torching the turbo with over-the-top EGT and breaking transmissions incapable of handling the added stress of larger tires and nearly double the factory power output. Towing becomes difficult, too, as the torque becomes less linear and peaks as the tune ramps up toward a short redline. If you add in the mandated emissions testing some states are adopting, you have yourself a laundry list of headaches.
Banks Power opened its doors to us, allowing a behind-the-scenes look into the future of diesel technology. Gale Banks sat down with us to explain his views on why he has chosen to position his company on the cleaner side of all things diesel. Gale started with, “I want everyone to understand all that black soot means the engine is inefficient and wasting power.” Further on in the conversation, he mentioned, “I don’t claim to make the most horsepower and torque for every application. Instead, I lay claim to the most efficient, cleanest, and safest systems on the market, hands down.” Thanks to Gale Banks and his team of talented engineers, we believe the future of clean diesels with plenty of power is well within reach.
"I want everyone to understand all that black soot means the engine is inefficient and wasting power. -- Gale Banks"
To see what could be done without all the smoke, we grabbed an 2008 GMC Sierra HD with a 6.6L LMM Duramax enigne and proceeded to Banks Power’s R&D facilities in Azusa, California. Awaiting our arrival was a complete Big Hoss bundle consisting of a Six-Gun diesel tuner and new iQ 2.0 Man-Machine interface, Techni-Cooler intercooler system with Boost Tube upgrade, Ram-Air intake system with Super-Scoop, and Monster Diesel dual exhaust. Since the truck would be seeing plenty of towing duties, we also opted for the Banks SpeedBrake. The Super-Scoop forces cooler outside air into the airbox for higher oxygen density and efficiency. The Six-Gun tuner allows the driver to change power levels from zero to nearly 130 hp on the fly via the touchscreen iQ or a dash-mounted knob, depending on options chosen. The new iQ 2.0 has the largest screen on the market at 5 full inches and features more than 30 different gauges to choose from, along with a multitude of color and layout options. There’s even GPS navigation, a backup camera option, Bluetooth, music and video playback, ability to read and erase OBD-II trouble codes, and it can make you a better driver by utilizing the fuel economy and fuel cost minders. By far, it is the industry-leading in-cab controller available for your turbodiesel truck. Finally, the SpeedBrake is a speed controller that utilizes all factory components to monitor and control your truck’s speed, especially when towing on a descent. Fully programmable through the Banks iQ, the unit adds towing safety by controlling the transmission’s shifting, torque converter, and variable vanes of the factory turbo to hold your set speed, leaving you to comfortably handle the vehicle and load.
|Stock with stock tires||Stock with 37-inch tires|
|293 hp||249 hp|
|514 lb-ft torque||464 lb-ft torque|
|Banks With Stock Tires|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5||Level 6|
|303 hp||329 hp||352 hp||362 hp||370 hp||387 hp|
|545 lb-ft||569 lb-ft||600 lb-ft||646 lb-ft||687 lb-ft||767 lb-ft|
1. Anxious to gain back what we lost and more with the big tires, the stock exhaust was removed from the muffler back and set in the scrap steel bin. Banks’ intermediate pipe with its Cool Cuff was slipped into position after the original DPF.
2. Since we opted for the Monster Duals, the Y-Pipe was next, allowing piping to head toward both rear bedsides.
3. On the passenger side, the exhaust system only needed one pipe to get over the axle.
4. The driver side required two pipe pieces to span the distance.
5. Since the driver side does not normally have an exhaust outlet, Banks designed this ingenious hanger to support the tubing. It bolted to the frame with the stock hardware holding the trailer hitch in position.
6. Out of the box, the Monster Duals came with polished stainless tips already welded on the exhaust ends. Since we wanted black tips to better match our black BMF wheels, we were forced to cut the welds holding the stainless tips in place.
7. New satin black Banks tips were welded on and were much more suited to our GMC’s overall look. By the time you read this, Banks will have already made black tips an option for its kits.
8. After popping the original air intake from the truck, it was apparent that it was in need of some attention. Check your filter more often than we do.
9. First to be installed was the Banks Ram-Air intake box. By using a sealed box, the filter is shielded from underhood hot temps, and the engine can make more power.
10. The mandrel-bent intake pipe and flex coupler were next. It was mounted to the turbo’s original intake tube and does not do away with the air silencer, as testing showed need for modifications there.
11. After mounting the reusable filter to the base of the huge lid, the assembly was set in place over the lower filter housing.
12. Looking down onto the system, it’s easy to see how the airflow runs unrestricted through the engine compartment to the turbo.
13. To allow room for the Super-Scoop to reach the airbox, one of the factory GM braces needed to be modified a bit. Banks supplied fullsize templates in the instructions to ensure installers don’t have to figure it out. The cuts still allow the brace to properly function with minimal degradation to strength.
14. Supporting the lower end of the Super-Scoop is an adjustable brace that allows for variations in alignment so the intake can be perfectly set.
15. Our truck’s large lift and tall tires made slipping the Super-Scoop up the narrow passage between the inner fender and core support a breeze.
16. In final position and bolted on tight, the Super-Scoop is barely noticeable yet delivers a whopping supply of oxygen-rich, dense air into the Ram-Air box.
17. During the original inspection of the GMC, the eagle eye of Ross, an R&D technician and our installer, noticed the factory intercooler was leaking. Without missing a beat, the stock intercooler was yanked from the engine compartment.
18. And here is what he saw. That black gunk is caused by boost pressure with EGR vapor escaping from between the aluminum core and the crimped-on plastic end tank. It’s a common occurrence in this design and ails more trucks than anyone even knows.
19. Banks’ Techni-Cooler replaced our wimpy factory counterpart and brought with it less boost drop across the core and much better cooling ability of the incoming pressure charge. With its welded aluminum end tanks, we will never have to worry about boost leaks again.
20. From the turbo, the stock pipe steps up in size -- but all at once and without smooth bends. With the Banks Boost Tube upgrade, you can see how the bends are rounder and the piping is a uniform diameter from one end to the other. All of that combines to allow the boost pressures to stay high and flow more efficiently along its path.
21. Monitoring exhaust gas temperature (EGT) is imperative in a performance diesel application. We had to drill and tap a hole in the GMC’s passenger-side exhaust manifold to allow a probe to be mounted.
22. After threading a tubular insert into the new hole, the EGT probe was coupled to the insert. The probe’s harness was then added to the Six-Gun tuner.
23. To gather all of the Duramax’s information, the Six-Gun tuner simply plugs inline with the original ECM cabling and MAP sensor. The SpeedBrake harness was routed down to the transmission harness underneath the truck.
24. As you can tell, the Six-Gun harness is quite extensive, pulling information from all of the factory senders, including the IAT, MAF, TPS, coolant temperature, oil pressure, fuel level, transmission temperature, and plenty more. All this is required to create big power in a safe manner.
25. The brains for the Six-Gun and SpeedBrake were stuck to the truck’s fuse and relay center under the hood. We made sure all the added wiring was routed in a clean manner, away from anything that might damage it.
26. Inside the cab, the iQ 2.0 Man-Machine interface was mounted to the windshield and we began running through the huge list of available options before settling on an arrangement we liked. From here, we will be able to listen to music while setting the SpeedBrake for towing, choosing a power level for blasting down the road, and monitoring the backup camera when reversing.
With 37-inch tires on this GMC Sierra, we decided to run all the tests based on factory wheels and tires to more closely relate to the majority of end users. Just for kicks, we ran the 37-inch tires on the dyno before the factory tire baseline to see what we were losing from tire diameter and wheel/tire package weight. Astonishingly, there was a peak-to-peak difference of 44 hp. The numbers came out to 249 hp with the 37-inch rubber and 293 hp on the factory wheels and tires.
Banks PowerAzusa, CA 91702