I wouldn't say that the Salvaged Powerhouse project is finished. But it's come a long way. We've taken it from a boring, average (and wrecked) truck and converted it into a mean bundle of power waiting to burst off the line and haul butt up any hill you can point it at. How did we do it? Well, a lot of blood, sweat and tears, not to mention a load of goodies that would make any form of male species cry on Christmas morning.
The truck, though totaled by an insurance company, was still salvageable. The frame and drive train were still good, so we replaced the cab with another Quad Cab from a scrap yard. The hood and fenders were toast, but they were being replaced anyway. In the process we converted the front end to the '06-style grille and headlights.
The transmission that we are running comes from North American Diesel Performance. This Heavy Hauler is five years in the making with parts durable enough for extreme towing, right up our alley. When NADP was developing these, they would build, test, tear down and rebuild until every weak link was made strong; then they load test it on their electric motor-equipped dyno up to 700 lb-ft of torque. Installation was clean and instructions were easy to follow, plus this tranny comes with a one year or 25,000 km warranty (15,500 miles). The most impressive feature on this transmission is how firmly it shifts, which really comes as no surprise given their reputation. We have not experienced any slipping; everything runs very solid even with heavy loads of 15,000-lbs or more. Another bonus is a larger Mag-Hytec oil pan, giving us extra fluid capacity to keep the transmission from overheating when the going gets tough. Included with the NADP transmission is NADP's Triple Disc Torque Converter. This provides superior lock friction area as well as superior fluid coupling. It also helps lower our transmission temperatures, helping out with mileage and longevity. Billet input, center and output shafts take the worry out of towing heavy loads with the power of the compound turbos coming through the drive train.
Fluidampr also sent over a flywheel balancer for us to try out. The cool thing about the Fluidampr is that it is built with special silicone fluid inside to self balance and dampen any vibrations in the crankshaft. The silicone fluid can dampen torsional vibrations at ay frequency. We've noticed that this has eliminated engine vibration resulting in a smoother running motor, thus making the engine more durable and reliable. Small details like this may not seem like a big deal, but it all adds up especially if you're planning on doing any towing, which we are.
FUEL TO SMOKE
PureFlow Technologies provided us with the new AirDog 150 fuel pump and filter kit. These installed very clean with no problems at all. By separating air from diesel, we can now deliver more fuel to the injectors. The AirDog also allows us to maintain fuel pressure to the CP3 for maximum power every time. Diesel without air in it at the point of injection will always result in more horsepower.
Because every project is not complete without making something complicated in one form or another, we decided to modify our exhaust. What we needed was a way to do dual stacks with a flatbed. We worked with Grand Rock Exhaust for the stacks and piping we needed to put the custom system together. While most kits are made to bring the stacks up through the inside a stock pickup bed, we have installed a flatbed and needed to bring the stacks out to the edge of the cab. Once we got the package, the real fun began. Rounding up parts to modify the exhaust to fit took some work, but once that was done everything fell into place. We made some extensions and had them powder coated to keep our install looking clean and professional. It turned out pretty sweet and is one of a kind. The exhaust utilizes two flow-through mufflers to keep in-cab noise to a minimum. Once the exhaust reaches the end of the cab, it splits and runs along the backside of the cab and turns up to each chrome stack. The 5-foot Grand Rock stacks have the curved top and a 5-inch inlet.
We snagged an intake manifold from CFM-Plus to improve charge air flow to the intake manifold. The CFM-Plus elbow is made of a special composite material that doesn't absorb heat like aluminum does. This prevents the elbow from becoming heat-sinked by engine heat. The charge air that has just been cooled by the intercooler is insulated from engine heat by the composite CFM-Plus elbow for maximum air efficiency. While towing, there is a noticeable increase in air flow efficiency. We also noticed that our air is running cooler which adds up to better fuel economy in our book. Every little bit helps.
ON THE EDGE
Edge Products hooked us up with a Juice with the new CTS monitor. Once you've tried one of these, there is no going back. The CTS is on-the-fly adjustable with the new touch-screen interface. We took our truck from 331 horsepower without any software to 476.9 horse just with the Juice on Extreme. Then we added a Smarty Programmer from KLM Performance on top of the Juice and brought the dyno numbers up to 517 horsepower. At that point we are running out of fuel with the stock injectors and stock single CP3 setup. We like having the capability to download upgrades with the Smarty`s USB connector. In this fast changing world, it's always good to stay on top of tuning software updates.
Diesel Power Source sent us a screaming compound turbo kit. Several key points caught our attention right off the get go. First, with its finely-tuned turbine and housing ratios between the two chargers, there is no lagging off the line. Diesel Power Source uses what they call a quick spooling D-Tech primary charger that produces boost quickly. The next eye-catching feature can be summed up into one word: compounds. Two turbos placed sequentially allowing air to flow from one into the other multiplying the charge air factor and feeding it into the engine. It is also worth noting that with this turbo kit, we've brought our EGTs down to 1,290 degrees F from about 1,700 at stock. This kit is a direct bolt-on application and has the largest air filter on the market. This application is specifically tuned for a range of 350 to 750 horsepower, which means we can turn our truck back to stock fueling and still have great drivability. Not to be overlooked is the 3-piece pulse manifold kit that comes with the turbo. These allow better pulse flow, once again cooling the exhaust temps and gives us a quicker spool. It is strongly recommended that head studs be installed when running over 45 psi of boost, so we turned to Automotive Racing Products for a set of head studs and fasteners. Using studs instead of the factory head bolts allows for a much tighter and more reliable force of pressure on the head gasket. Factory bolts rely solely on the threads in the block to hold all of the combustion pressures. ARP's head studs split the work load between the threads of the studs in the cylinder and the threads between the studs and fastener nuts. It may not make sense, but ARP head studs can withstand boost pressures in excess of 75 psi, where factory head bolts may fail at 40-45 psi. These are very stable and allowed us to go from 38 psi boost up to 70 psi boost with out blowing any gaskets or requiring head modifications. Definitely a must on our list.
RIDE IN STYLE
PML also provided us with front and rear differential covers to help increase our oil capacity as well as pitching in to cool the oil temperatures. We can add a full quart of oil more than stock. Other great features are oil fill, level check and drain holes, making it easier to service. It also has an undrilled boss for a temperature sensor. This was easy to install and all the hardware was provided. We couldn't go to this extreme and not touch the suspension. KLM Performance answered our call and hooked us up with a Carli 2.0 Performance Series Suspension. We love this because not only does the suspension increase the drivability on the truck, we now have the "rides like a Caddie" feel from the inside. The suspension kit includes Bilstein 7100 series shocks as well as 6061 billet clevises. Along with the suspension kit, KLM threw in a set of Long Travel Airbags. These are made with quarter-inch plate steel and add to the off-road performance while helping to increase load and towing capabilities of the truck. These airbags offer the best of both worlds, we simply air them up to haul a load then drop the air when we're ready to play in the dirt. A Full Progressive Spring Pack replacement wraps up our load from KLM. These are built by Deaver Spring Mfg. specifically for Carli. Designed in a two stage pack, we get the comfort of a street driver and the capacity to handle any heavy load we might throw on them.
That about wraps up the performance end of our build for now. Our goal is to eventually get around 650 horsepower with a few more modifications. We'll do CP3 (injection pump) modifications and change injector nozzles but that's another story.
STEPPING OUT FROM THE CROWD
Because every bad truck has to look good, we converted our truck to a dually and added a custom flatbed fabricated by Line-X of Idaho Falls' specialty modifications division, and completely encapsulated it in a Line-X protective coating to keep the rust at bay and prevent any possible dents or chips. Line-X of Idaho Falls also hooked us up with the coating for the bed, rockers and bumper. The bumper, from Throttle Down Customs, is rock solid and was easily mounted. We are impressed with the clean bends and welds on our it. TDK makes its bumpers out of 3/16-inch plate steel which means maximum protection for our truck. The bumper mounts into factory holes in the frame which, as always, allows us to easily install it.
For the rest of the front end on this truck, we turned to Desert Racing Concepts for the fenders and LMCTruck.com for the hood. We love the would-eat-a-Volvo-for-dinner look the truck ended up with. And we we're especially happy with the fiberglass rally-style fenders allowing us to increase our tire size with out making fender modifications or having to go to an extreme lift. Recon sent us come smoke-colored cab lights, which send off a cool glare to any would-be road kill. Finally, providing the finishing touches, Les Schwab of Idaho Falls threw in a set of tires. And not just any tires, but a set of six Toyo Open Country M/T in a 285/75R17 size. These hook up to the ground well and have been great for towing and in the tractor pulls. Last but not least, Capitol Auto Body painted our beast with a wicked blue metallic on midnight black. There's also a few other interior additions that'll be coming along, including all-new leather seat covers and much more. But for now, I wouldn't want to run into this thing in an alley on a dark night.
Diesel Power Source
North American Diesel Performance
Grand Rock Exhaust
Automotive Racing Products
Desert Racing Concepts
Recon Truck Accessories
Les Schwab of Idaho Falls
Throttle Down Kustoms
Line-X of Idaho Falls