Road Treasure Part 2

Problem solving the LB7

Published in the August 2012 Issue August 2012 Build, Duramax Brady L. Kay

Even though it tends to make his wife Kris cringe, Dave Friedli never hesitates to investigate those items on the side of the highway that have fallen off another vehicle. Over the years he's found coolers, motorcycle helmets, tools, ladders, CD cases and just about everything else you could imagine. He even once found a Bible that he was able to return to the owner, so it's not always about keeping what he finds. Although he has several hobbies, one of them without a doubt is scouting for what he refers to as "road treasure."

For the Utah-native, his daily driver is a 2003 GMC LB7 Crew Cab Short Bed that is now known as Road Treasure.

Dave came across the 6.6L Duramax a few years back by luck, like he has other treasures that he's found on his journeys. The previous owner made him a deal he couldn't refuse and even though it started out stock, it didn't take too long until he was firmly bit by the mod bug.


In the first installment of this series Dave hooked up with SBS Diesel Performance in Salt Lake City, Utah to install the dual exhaust system from Diamond Eye. SBS owner Gary Connor recommended the Off-Road Dual 4-inch exhaust that is specifically designed for 2001 to 2007.5 GM/Chevy 6.6L trucks and it was the perfect fit for the truck. But this was only the beginning of where Dave wanted his Duramax to end up.

Moonlight Diesel

In northern Utah, Terry Thain's name kept coming up again and again when Dave asked around for a good shop for his next install. Terry is the owner of Moonlight Diesel in Logan, Utah and has quickly developed a solid reputation for being the best place to take your diesel truck when it comes to repairs and performance upgrades.

Dave contacted Terry at Moonlight and set up a time for the install. The full-service shop can recommend and even order in products using its resources, but the Utah-native had already gathered what he wanted for this build before talking to Terry. Dave pulled into the shop with a bed full of goodies that included a Superlift 6-inch kit, Hellwig sway bars, Mickey Thompson tires and American Force Wheels. But before he got started, Terry and his crew wanted to double check and make sure his truck was ready and could handle the upgrades that Dave had planned for it.

Fuel Pressure Regulator

The truck was throwing some codes, which is never good but it's particularly bad when you're dealing with a mostly stock truck. The engine would tend to power surge a little and it was the most noticeable at idle when the truck was in gear, like when at a stoplight. The faulty fuel pressure regulator was surging so it needed to be replaced before Moonlight could move forward with the install.

The fuel pressure regulator sits on top of the motor in the valley, so gaining access wasn't easy, but not a problem for the tech. And once it was replaced it solved the problem completely and the shop was then ready to move on to other problems it found during its initial inspection.

Reaching 110 MPH

The dash cluster was also having issues and this was obvious when the shop had it completely out of the truck and lying on the ground, yet it was still registering at nearly 110 miles per hour at 3500 RPMs. Now that's a good illusion. Using its in-house equipment, Moonlight performed a gauge sweep and was able to diagnose the problem. Three gauges needed to be replaced and for this it needed to be sent to an outside company to repair. Terry recommended DAT (Digital Auto Technology) in California for repair, based only on positive feedback that he had heard concerning this company.

"I'd never worked with them before, but we were under a little bit of a time crunch and needed it fast so we gave them a try," says the Moonlight Diesel owner. "They were quick, at a good price and they really did a good job so I'll be using them again."

On this particular part of the build, Moonlight tech Jake Nielsen was involved with a lot of the work. Besides removing the dash and replacing the fuel pressure regulator, he also replaced the glow plug relay that was giving the truck some problems.

Terry has been good about surrounding himself with quality mechanics who have a lot of experience that not only work well together, but are also willing to make the extra effort to ensure problems are fixed correctly the first time. Terry first started Moonlight Diesel from his home shop in 1996 as a side business with his wife Julie doing the books. From that shop he had a couple of guys working for him including Cody Hyer, who is still with him today. But the increase in business led Terry and Julie to a point where they knew they needed to either jump in or not continue to do it at all. With Terry's passion and knowledge for the business quite obvious, the decision was an easy one. They've been in their new shop location for nearly three years, but are getting close to finalizing the details on an even bigger one that will give them the extra room they need since they've already outgrown their current building.

"Our current shop was really made more for cars," says Terry. "Even though the majority of our business is diesel pickups, we still get RV's on occasion that are hard to get in due to the restricted door and floor layout. The plans for our new shop are done and we hope to be pouring the foundation soon."

Fresh Air

With the dual exhaust in place, the next logical step after solving the truck's other issues is a new cold air intake kit. But Dave didn't want just any intake; he wanted one that would be a good fit for his 4-inch Diamond Eye exhaust. His first call was to MKM Customs. This company is one of those great one-stop shopping places that really know their stuff. Plus this distributor has access to just about anything you could ever need when it comes to modifying your diesel. The guys at MKM Customs recommended the S&B intake and that was good enough for Dave. The cleanable, eight-ply cotton filter is a solid design, plus S&B reports the airflow rating is 47.8 percent better than the stock one that was replaced. Besides the easy install, the enclosed filter and the 99.81 percent efficiency rating is another great advantage over other intakes.

Gaining An Edge

Dave was realistic and knew he wouldn't be able to get to the lift and those other upgrades this time around, but he wanted to make sure Moonlight did get the new Edge Insight CTS installed. When it comes to monitoring your engine using the latest technology, this Insight is hard to beat. It offers many of the same great features and benefits found in other products from Edge, along with a whole host of exciting additional features.

Edge offers products with tuning already included, but in this case Dave wanted to have Terry do a custom tune on his truck so that's why he went with the Insight.

In the next installment in this series that will include the lift, it will also cover the EFILive tuning at Moonlight. The nice part is Dave will still be using the Insight for the gauges, plus it will control the EFILive power levels on the fly. The Insight CTS from Edge is one of his favorite upgrades so far because of all the features on the comprehensive gauge display.

"Having your boost, EGT, RPMs and speed numbers all on one screen is great," says Dave. "It's accurate and more dependable than what I've used on other trucks."   

The Insight CTS is an easy-to-install standalone multi-gauge display. With what would otherwise cost thousands of dollars and take hours to install, the Insight CTS provides inexpensively and instantly.

Another great feature of this Insight CTS is you can upgrade to a backup camera, which makes hooking up to your trailer a breeze and it wasn't hard to talk Dave into adding it to his LB7. When you put the truck in reverse, the screen automatically switches over to show you the full view behind your truck including your hitch. 

Around The Corner

With these projects it takes time and money to keep them moving along, but Dave is already looking ahead to what is planned next. Drooling over those Mickey Thompson tires and the shiny wheels from American Force Wheels has him giddy with excitement.

"You can only stare at them for so long and try to imagine what they're going to look like once we get the 6-inch lift on," says Dave. "But I won't have to imagine for much longer, as I've already contacted Moonlight to get this next part done soon."

Look for part three in the next issue of Diesel Tech as Road Treasure reaches a new level.  

  • Like what you read?

    Want to know when we have important news, updates or interviews?

  • Join our newsletter today!

    Sign Up
You Might Also Be Interested In...

Send to your friends!



Recapping the Vegas Show

Sneak Peek

Already a subscriber? Please check your email for the latest full issue link.