As nearly a million new diesel pickups hit the road each year, it's only natural that the aftermarket expands to keep up. Hot-rodding diesel engines is nothing new, but Gales Banks is attempting to bring it to a level normally associated with "tuner" vehicles with his Sidewinder packages for Dodge, GM, and Ford pickups. Each of these vehicles gets a suspension lift of 3-10", larger wheels and tires, lower axle gearing, and of course Bank's "Big Hoss" engine package including the "Six Gun" calibration tool that uses a either a PDA or a dedicated hardware loader to program the vehicle's ECM.
The changes enable the engines to make between 450 and 500 HP with up to 1,000 lb-ft of torque, depending on the
application (the B-series Cummins makes the most power due to its strength, with the GM Duramax and Ford Powerstroke
forced to run a bit less boost). The author reports that each vehicle managed at least 12 MPG while being
thrashed-upon, which is truly remarkable mileage for such a rig (and yes, I understand that such mileage is not likely
to prevent an oil crisis).
I don?t know why, but the new 20? wheel trend for larger truck tires is oddly appealing to me. It just looks ?right? to my eyes for the bigger (35? and taller) tires.
If this type of thing turns your crank, check out the print version of Hot Rod?s September ?05 issue, where they have some additional diesel coverage on page 110. It?s stuck towards the back, on page 110. This minimizes the humiliation of the ?fast? car guys when they find out that Richard Madsen?s Cummins-powered Ford F-350 crew cab does low 10s in the quarter-mile while making 136 PSI of boost. No, nothing in the preceding sentence is a mistake, so please do some research into Madsen?s truck before flaming me with the announcement that Fords don?t have Cummins engines.