Diesel Addict: The Ultimate Work Truck

Working over a 290,000-mile Duramax

Published in the October 2010 Issue October 2010 Duramax

Ultimate Work TruckWhen Travis Byington set out to build his dream truck I should have known he wasn't kidding when he said it is going to be the ultimate work truck.

With more than four straight months of hard work and countless hours day and night, he's finally wrapping it up. As he explained everything that he has done to it, my mind seized and I sat in his chair like a vegetable for probably more than 30 minutes. I then asked him if there was anything he hadn't touched on his truck and he said "nope" and then looked at me with a big grin on his face.

At first what I asked seemed like a logical question, but in the back of my mind I already knew the answer, as Byington doesn't believe in leaving anything stock. And the funny thing about the guy is he thinks he needs all this horsepower. Taking away his upgrades is like taking a fish out of the fish tank and setting it on the counter and watching it flop around. He can't survive without his upgrades and he is willing to do it all. I am sure if someone told him paint could gain him 10 extra horsepower, his truck would be a different color within 24 hours.

The truck is a 2004 LB7 Duramax with just shy of 300,000 miles that has been driven hard from mile one. The truck has had two bad injectors for 100,000 and has been drinking coolant for more than 60,000. Purpose built for construction, it has a Titan Tank and carries a hundred-gallon tank for keeping equipment fueled in the back as well as a tool box full of every tool you would need to build a house. It goes from its day-job of pulling backhoes and off-road fork lifts during the week to a weekend warrior pulling a four-place snowmobile trailer in the winter, a camper and two-place trailer full of four-wheelers in the summer and is also the occasional grocery getter.

This truck has earned its keep and paid for itself many times over. The LB7 finally blew out the rear main seal due to a cracked piston that pressurized the crank case. It was down but it's definitely not out. He has gathered all the parts necessary to make it the ultimate work truck.

First Byington had to take care of the piston failure issue so he got a hold of SoCal and picked up a set of Carrillo forged connecting rods, a new set of valve springs and retainers, a tow cam and a set of billet injector hold downs. Powerlabs Diesel took the motor out of the truck and took it to a short block state. With parts from SoCal in hand he went to Eckmans Automotive which short blocked the motor with a set of cut stock LB7 pistons. The motor itself was in pretty good shape. They bored and honed the cylinders and decked the block to insure a good seal between the head gasket and heads. They also keyed the crank as well as balanced the engine. The cylinder heads were also ported to allow for better air flow.

Once he got the motor back from Eckmans it was back to work for Powerlabs putting all the "bolt on parts" back on the block itself. He used a set of ARP 4202 head studs with a minimum rating of 260,000 psi tensile strength to essentially make the heads and block one piece. They provide ease of mind because he will be running exceptionally high combustion pressures. He also added a set of PPE exhaust manifolds and up pipes to help flow and decrease backpressure by up to 20 percent. Then he installed a set of DDP Injectors for their precise honing and to insure the fuel is there for the additional boost he will be running. After that he reinstalled the stock turbo and placed the motor back in the truck. A BD Diesel COOL-IT intercooler was added for its exceptional cooling capabilities and ridged design to add peace of mind with the high boost pressure. With the addition of a few fluids the truck was back to moving under its own power. I'm sure glad it was moving again because Byington surely would have asked me to push him down the road while he sat in the driver's seat clinging onto the steering wheel yanking it back and forth. Picture a little kid driving for the first time-this would be him.

Finally being able to drive the truck again made Byington very anxious to get it finished. There was still a lot to do to make the truck perform the way he wanted it to, but it was getting there. Byington took it home and drove it around town a little to start the break-in process to cure the itch of being able to drive his big truck. While at the house he installed a trail-ready winch bumper which will handle anything you can throw at it. Its one-quarter steel construction with 3/16 outer wings will not only handle any abuse thrown its way it but will dominate it. With a bumper like this he needed a winch that would be as extreme as the bumper. That is where TruckandWinch.com came in. He got a 17,500-pound Recon winch with a waterproof cover. They had everything he needed, from a wireless remote to run the winch to the D shackles for the bumper. He also added a set of AMP Research power steps to help ease the gap created by the 36/15.50/20 tires. The extra drop of the AMP steps really helped ease entry and exit to the truck. They also come with a light kit to help you see at night while folding up out of the way when not in use.

Bushwackers Extend-A-Fender fender flares were also added to help cover and protect the truck. With the additional three inches of coverage they were perfect for the job and added an aggressive look overall to the truck. Another aspect that needed improvement was the lights. When doing construction he finds himself driving a lot at night, so he also installed two sets of ASM Lighting's HID kits. Not only do they produce three times the lumens of the factory bulb, they are a simple plug-and-play application and backed by a lifetime warranty. Plan on being blinded when you drive past his big white truck in the middle of the night.

Then he dropped the truck off to Adrenaline Performance where they are making a custom twin turbo kit using a Garrett T4 flanged 4094 with dual ball bearing for quick spool on the bottom which will flow enough to light the top 4718 which is also ball bearing for easier spool and added durability. To make sure the DDP injectors have the fuel they need at all times, a PPE duel fueler kit was installed with a new LBZ cp3 pump. A FASS fuel pump will also be installed to not only keep constant pressure to the twin cp3 pumps from the tank but to filter the fuel down to three microns and eliminate any air contained in the diesel. The FASS fuel delivers a constant pressure of clean diesel. To help insure great gas mileage he installed a Snow Performance MPG MAX that is a stage 3 kit fully adjustable to boost pressure and egt temps. Not only will it get 10-15 percent better fuel economy, it will also cool egts by as much as 300 degrees while adding up to 100 extra wheel horsepower to a stock truck. Byington also added a set of Cognito's traction bars to prevent axle wrap from the added power while pulling heavy loads.

The additional power he has will make pulling loads up hills easier, but he needed something to help slow those heavy loads down on the other side. Pacbrake was a clear choice. The Pacbrake PRXB delivers the strongest braking horsepower, greatest speed reductions and shortest stopping distances possible without the use of service brakes. Unlike your typical exhaust brake which works best at high rpms, the PRXB delivers constant exhaust pressure (braking) from redline to 1200 rpm.

With all the things happening under the hood we needed an exhaust that could handle the volume of air that will be leaving the truck. That's why he picked up an MBRP 5-inch black exhaust so the exhaust path is wide open. The system is coated with a unique high heat ceramic finish that is specifically formulated for MBRP's exhaust systems. The muffler is a true 5-inch core that keeps the exhaust flow consistent to minimize disruptions and turbulence and the higher EGTs it would create.

To manage all these very important monitoring tools he chose to use an Edge CTS. This monitor is the ultimate in helping perform many important tasks at the touch of the screen. It monitors all engine parameters up to eight at a time like EGT and boost level. It also allows you to switch your preset EFI live setting on the fly. It also acts as a scan tool allowing you to read and clear any diagnostic trouble codes with full text descriptions of the problem. The CTS comes with an EAS system which allows you to connect multiple accessories. We also opted to add Edge's backup camera to assist in backing to a trailer or out of the driveway, which is automatically activated when the truck is placed in reverse.

With every aspect of the truck either altered or tweaked the truck should make every task placed in its way a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable in Byington's case. With everything he wants done to it we now know he won't be flopping around on the shop floor gasping for air.

He plans on having the truck completely broken in before September in order to make it to the Edge days and to put it on the dyno.

I'm sure Byington will be satisfied with the outcome of his big project . at least for a little while.


Snow Performance

Cognito Motorsports


Automotive Racing Products

Eckman Automotive

Powerlabs Diesel

Edge Products

BD Diesel Performance

SoCal Diesel

Pacific Performance Engineering


Adrenaline Performance

Amp Research

Dynomite Diesel Performance

FASS Fuel Systems

ASM Lighting

TrailReady Bumpers

Truck and Winch

MBRP Exhaust

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