Why buy a new truck? Maybe you'd like to, but it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Especially when there are ways to get into good trucks for far less money. And that leaves a little room in your budget for some modifications to make the truck more fun and improve its fuel economy. But is it safe to buy a relatively new diesel truck that has rolled the sixth digit on the odometer?
We spent the end of summer shopping around for a good used truck, this time a Duramax. We were looking for either a good LB7 (2001-2004) or a cheap LBZ (2006-2007). We built an LLY not too long ago, so we wanted to play with a different generation of the engine.
Good, clean LB7s were going for low to mid $20k. Good, clean LBZs were going for low to mid $30k. Our compromise? A high-mileage, bone-stock LBZ.
We found this 2006 Silverado 2500HD crew cab LT with the LBZ Duramax engine. The truck had 118,000 miles on it, which to the general car-driving public seems like a lot. To us, it's nothing to worry about. It was in excellent condition. We picked the truck up for $25k and change. It needed a wheel bearing and a rear seal in the transfer case. But the tires were good and the motor ran strong. We chose to go with this LBZ over an LB7 because of the difference in the fuel injection control modules, the injectors, and the capabilities EFI Live has on an LBZ over the LB7. That, and the 6-speed Allison is sweet. There are a few LBZs running around peaking at over 500 horsepower and still running a stock Allison trans. The other benefit to the 2006 and 2007 Allison transmissions is the added webbing on the tail housing, which strengthens the housing and helps prevent the transfer case from breaking the tail housing.
Our long-term plans for this truck aren't set in stone, but we do plan to try a couple different turbo setups (single drop-in replacement and a compound system). We'll play with the CP3, add a lift pump and build the transmission. We've also picked up an Edge Insight CTS, which we'll go over in detail soon.
Right off the bat, though, we went for the easy mods: a Stage 2 intake from AFE, and a Mach Force XP stainless steel turbo-back exhaust system. And our plan is also to do as much of the build ourselves in a garage. If we're going to tell you all of these installs are DIY jobs, we'd better be doing it ourselves, too.
Read Part II - Insights CTS, backup camera, EFI live tuning, truck cap, bed liner, front bumper, wheels
Read Part III - Powertrain, turbo
Follow all our builds by subscribing to Diesel Tech Magazine.