With all the modifications complete, we began our testing with a trek from Southern California to the San Francisco Bay area pulling a 40-foot Stellar toy hauler loaded with camping supplies, tools, and a Kawasaki Teryx side-by-side. With a trailer weight in excess of 20,000 pounds (a massive load by any measure,) we trudged onward, confident in our Banks Big Hoss Bundle-equipped donor truck's ability to pull the infamous Cuesta Pass grade on Highway 101, just north of San Luis Obispo. Ambient air temperature was right around 85 degrees. We started at the bottom of the hill in Drive with the "tow/haul" mode engaged. The Banks Six-Gun was left in "Tow" mode. About halfway up the hill, we noticed the EGTs were hovering right around 1,100 degrees, indicating that the Banks software was doing its job to maintain acceptable heat levels. Engine oil and coolant temps climbed, which was to be expected and "normal" in light of the truck's loaded condition. Overall speed, acceleration, and power were more than adequate given the weight we were hauling, and greatly improved over a purely stock 6.0L. All things considered, we were very pleased with the performance of the Banks Big Hoss Bundle on our donor's F-350.
With the engine oil temperature at 247 degrees, the Banks IQ was alerting us to a high oil temperature condition. Notice the red "oil" indicator in the right-hand side of the screen (arrow). Evidently, this warning comes on at whatever temperature the end user decides to set it at, but seeing as our unit was brand-new, the factory default of 235 degrees was the established point. At the top of the grade we noticed that the engine oil temperature was 254 degrees-not at all outside of the acceptable range for the fully synthetic Amsoil we installed in last month's issue, but we wanted to double-check it for ourselves. We pulled over at the top of the hill and inspected several places under the hood with our hand-held laser thermometer tool. We found the engine oil temperature was much cooler (198.4 degrees) coming out of the Bulletproof Diesel air-to-oil cooler. We questioned a rep at the Banks tech hotline about where the IQ gets its reading. They politely informed us that the signal comes from the factory engine-oil temp sensor located near the high-pressure oil pump in the valley of the engine. We suspect that the location is probably affected by heat from the combustion chambers and is not a reliable source to judge by.
As we went to press, our donor truck had racked up nearly 6,000 miles of hard towing without any problems. We've demonstrated that the 6.0L Power Stroke can be made to run much stronger and without any of the reliability issues that plagued these vehicles from the factory. The peak power generated at the rear wheels by our donor's truck after the project was completed was 380 hp and 690 lb-ft of torque-not to mention a very welcome increase of 2.3 mpg in highway fuel economy.
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