Even though it tends to make his wife 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."
"I missed a welder by a day once because I was in my car when I spotted it," says Dave. "I've found too many gas cans and tie down straps to even count."
But not everyone shares his enthusiasm for a good find.
"We'll be in the middle of a conversation when he'll suddenly slam on the brakes," says his wife Kris. "Besides, it's not very safe either."
For the Utah-native, his daily driver is a 2003 GMC LB7 Crew Cab Short Bed. He came across the 6.6L Duramax a few years back by luck and the previous owner made him a deal he couldn't refuse. For the most part the truck is still stock, but big plans are already in the works to upgrade this GMC, starting with a new exhaust.
Call it luck or possibly just determination, but Dave simply enjoys stumbling across those hidden gems in life as well as the highway that others may have overlooked. One business he's glad he took a closer look at is SBS Diesel Performance in Salt Lake City, Utah. This shop first opened its doors in October 2007, but owner Gary Connor is still working to get the word out as he competes with larger shops that have been in business a little longer. It was by chance that Dave discovered SBS and when it came time to upgrade his exhaust, Gary was his first call.
"I didn't know exactly what I wanted when I called Gary, I just knew I was looking for a dual exhaust system," recalls Dave. "I trusted that Gary would steer me in the right direction."
SBS Diesel began after Gary bought a 1999 Dodge Cummins and started doing all the work on it himself. When he reached the point where he had done what he could with it, he got bored and decided to put a stack exhaust on the back.
"I'm not a chrome kind of a guy and so I wanted it black," explains Gary. "I searched everywhere on the Internet and even asked around, but no one had them. So on a very limited budget, I went down to a local automotive store and bought some 5-inch pipe, had it cut to the length and then had it coated with a satin black high-heat coating, which we re-named black denim."
After installing it, Gary got asked about it constantly and people began asking him to build them a stack and kit and install it for them. At the time, all he offered was a miter cut because that's all he had access to.
"Again nobody had black stacks at the time," says Gary. "Things began to get so busy that I figured I better start a business and that is when I bought the web domain www.blacktruckstacks.com and registered the business."
The Big Picture
A few short months later, Gary changed the name to SBS Diesel Performance so he could expand his product line. Recognizing this was a business that could really take off, he didn't want to be known just for exhaust stacks.
What started out as a side-business out of his garage has turned into his own shop where his cousin CJ Connor also works.
"CJ has been by my side the whole time," says Gary. "He sells for us and is always helping on installs. My brother Tyler came to work for us this past year and has since done a great job and has become a business partner."
The dual exhaust system that Gary recommended for the 2003 GMC is the Off-Road Dual 4-inch from Diamond Eye Performance in Athena, Ore. Model number K 4115A is specifically designed for 2001 to 2007.5 GM/Chevy 6.6L trucks and was the perfect fit for the truck.
Diamond Eye is recognized as being one of the most modern and progressive companies in eastern Oregon. The company has invested heavily to incorporate several CNC mandrel bending machines and support equipment. Located on a 23-acre complex, Diamond Eye Manufacturing utilizes over 60,000 square feet for manufacturing components. Its state-of-the-art research and development center was established to keep pace with the ever changing automotive performance aftermarket.
Gary and CJ got busy and quickly removed the old 3.5-inch stock exhaust. It had to be cut into sections to be removed and soon they were hooking up the downpipe and getting the new Diamond Eye exhaust installed. With a dual setup there are some challenges, including getting both tips to evenly match up, which SBS did a great job with. Dave works as a custom fabricator at B & D Welding where he's the project/shop manager and has a critical eye for quality craftsmanship. Gary and CJ continued to adjust the exhaust before tightening it all up until Dave was completely satisfied the tips were balanced.
"I had my tape measure out, but I wanted to make sure it passed the eyeball test," says Dave. "They made sure it was right and that is important to me. I couldn't be happier."
SBS Diesel is a short drive through the canyon from Dave's house in Hyrum, Utah. Heading over the mountain on his way to the install his EGT's were around 1100 compared to his return trip where he witnessed a little bit of an improvement with the bigger exhaust with his EGT's around 970.
As far as improving the performance with this new exhaust from Diamond Eye, the difference in his 0-20 mph, 20-40 mph and 40-60 mph times was minimal. But the biggest improvement came from his miles per gallon. Before the install the GMC 6.6L Duramax was averaging around 15 mpg, which includes his daily commute as well as around town driving. Today, he's improved to over 17 mpg, which with the price of diesel fuel climbing, is a welcome break for him at the pump.
Improving his fuel economy was his main goal heading into the upgrade, but the fact he loves the look of the new dual exhaust from Diamond Eye is just an added bonus. Getting more miles to the gallon means he can now spend even more time on his favorite hobby, looking for road treasure, as he commutes to work each day.