First Guns, Now Pre ‘08s

Published in the August 2013 Issue August 2013 Brady L. Kay

When was the last time you actually found ammunition on the shelves at Wal-Mart? They might as well take the empty cases down or at least stock them with fishing tackle. It’s ridiculous how hard it is to find a round at any price. Now as for actually finding guns to buy: yeah, forget about it.

The next wave of price gouge inflation has hit the diesel industry. Like guns and ammunition, the demand for pre-emission enforced trucks has skyrocked the prices and created a demand that wasn’t there just a few short years ago. Don’t want to mess with the emission restrictions or risk the wrath of the government for installing “race only” mods? It’s simple. Just buy a 2007 LBZ Duramax (but good luck finding one at a decent price).

I didn’t realize how bad it really was until I went in search for our next project truck. I guess you can label me an environmental terrorist because I went in search for a diesel that was built just prior to the mandatory regulations.

I decided to do a little research and see what the Big 3 had to offer just prior to the 2008 model year when the restrictions first went into effect.

One possibility was to find a Ford Power Stroke 6.0L, preferably closer to the 2007 model year than 2003 when this engine was first released. Of course this 6.0L is probably the most maligned of all the Power Strokes. International originally designed the engine (VT365) to make around 245hp, but the 325hp version found in Ford trucks has been plagued with some serious issues. Turbos that stick, blown head gaskets, plugged oil and EGR coolers, and bad injectors are all common problems on these trucks (and not exactly cheap to fix). But after all of the 6.0L’s problems are addressed, they are actually pretty decent engines so I kept it in the running for our next build.

Next up for consideration is a solid 5.9L Cummins. The newer common-rail Dodge trucks are fairly problem-free, although injectors are a wear point and are expensive to replace. Ones with higher mileage scare me a little because going into it I would just plan on replacing those injectors before I did anything else to it. But finding a nice low mileage one closer to 2007 than 2003 can be more than just a small challenge. Because the 5.9L Cummins is a proven engine that has been modified time and time again, finding a stock one that I can start fresh on is nearly impossible.

My third pre-08 version is the LBZ 6.6L Duramax. The problem here is the limited number of these engines available. The LBZ replaced the LLY late in the 2006 model year and production continued through 2007. Mechanically, the LBZ is very similar to the 2006 LLY. The most significant difference between the two is the computer controls. The LBZ features a much “wider” tune, giving it a large increase in horsepower and torque output.

The downside to the LBZ is the potential for cracked pistons when pushed on high-horsepower tunes. But the engine is plenty strong and could easily see over 500hp when tuned up. Plus they also come with the six-speed Allison 1000 transmission, which is capable of holding more power than the five-speed in previous models.

After digging a little deeper I’m not sure I’m any closer to figuring out what our next project truck should be. At least I have an idea now what I’m looking for and when I see her I’ll know it.

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