Part 2: How To Make A 6.0L More Powerful While Maintaining Reliability
Editor's note: Last month we showed you how to cure most of the common engine-related issues associated with the 6.0L Navistar International-built V-8. The mill can be found in a variety of diesel-powered Ford platforms, including Super Duty pickups, Econoline vans, and Excursion SUVs. Our coverage was tailored specifically for the heavy-duty pickups built between 2004 and 2007. This time we're going to demonstrate how much power you can expect to make with a series of proven modifications that do not compromise longevity. Installing performance- and durability-enhancing upgrades such as the Banks Big Hoss Bundle featured in this article can be a rewarding and fun endeavor. Naturally, you want to begin such a project with a sound and solid platform. The many recommendations featured in last month's issue coupled with the upgrades detailed here in Part 2 will not only result in a powerful, useful, and incredibly versatile machine, but also one on which you can depend for many years to come.
Gale Banks knows diesel engines. Having been in the business for more than 52 years, his name is to the diesel industry what Vic Edelbrock's is to hot rods. And it didn't become that way by accident. Banks is a detail-oriented man, who stops at nothing to ensure that his products are innovative, reliable, and user-friendly. His electronics feature triple redundancy to ensure fail-safe operation, and his no-smoke approach to producing power is as forward thinking as you can get. We have been to his impressive manufacturing facility in Azusa, California, a handful of times and can attest to the high level of detail and thought he so proudly puts into his products. Above all, we felt Banks was the best possible fit for a 6.0L build because his power numbers are expertly metered to be safe and sustainable for an engine that is already pushing the limits of reliability in stock form. For this story, we spent three days at the Banks factory, including several hours with the legend himself. The experience was surreal and the results were impressive. Check it out.
Where 6.0L Power Stroke Inefficiencies Start
To harness additional power from a 6.0L engine, you must first understand where the OE design falls short. Think of an engine as a massive air pump. As fresh air passes through the stock filter, resistance rears its ugly head right from the start. The inlet to the filter housing features a small opening that inhibits airflow to decrease noise and the likelihood of water intrusion. The paper filter element resembles a four-pack of paper towels, like the kind you might find on the shelf at your local supermarket. Only these towels have been squeezed tightly together to increase surface area. While the OE element does a great job removing particulates from the air, it does so at a significant cost to efficiency-especially after several thousand miles of debris becomes trapped in the first few inches of its labyrinth-like design. After the filter, airflow makes an abrupt left turn, creating turbulence and further resistance. The result is a significant amount of suction restriction for the turbo to overcome to do its job. The effect is compounded by a 2-inch-diameter turbo boost discharge tube that has a section that is compressed even further to clear a part of the battery tray. Next, charged air passes through the factory intercooler, which features internal support partitions that interrupt flow. Can you see a pattern? Ultimately, the whole engine intake design is flawed if performance is a factor. The folks at Banks have addressed these issues and figured out a way to open up a window of efficiency for the 6.0L to capitalize on.
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