Oil Burner Upgrade

4x4 Garage Premiere Issue

by Fred Williams

photography Fred Williams and Gale Banks Engineering

The Banks Sidewinder Turbo for Early GM Diesels

The install should take a home mechanic about three or four days, and the shop mechanic about two. Since our landlady frowns upon our tearing a truck apart in the driveway, we decided that going to the pros at All Time Gas & Diesel in Glendora, California would work better for us, and hopefully give us some hints to pass onto you. These guys have an amazingly clean shop, and with over 300 Banks install under their belt they made short work of our 6.2.We recently got an old Army truck off a government auction website, and though it looks intimidating, the power in the 1986 GM 6.2 diesel was less than ferocious. We quickly discussed with some other Chevy diesel owners what they found was the best route to more power and the unanimous opinion was a turbo and exhaust kit from Gale Banks Engineering. The premise behind a turbo is that as engine rpm increases the exhaust gases spins a propeller that in turn forces more fresh air into the engine. With more cool air going into the engine the denser air gets compressed and then the fuel burns better and gives off more power. Seems pretty simple, and the result 60+ hp and 115+ lb-ft of torque from installing the Banks Sidewinder Turbo can quickly be felt from the driver seat. Where before we needed to spend any highway time in the far right lane getting passed by everybody, now we can hang with traffic and pass whenever we like. The 6.2 is still no big block, but the turbo kit is cheaper than swapping in a big block, and gives mileage better than a small block. Though we didn’t get a chance to tow with the truck, the Banks kit definitely didn’t care that we were spinning 37-inch tires.

Oil Burner Upgrade
1. We got our army truck off of a government liquidation website (www.govliquidation.com), and it came with tons of cool stuff, but the 6.2 diesel could hardly outrun a Iraqi Arrowhead. We headed to All Time Gas & Diesel where James Day tore into the old veteran to install a camel chasing Sidewinder turbo kit. A check of the head gaskets and general engine status was first. When the results came back positive the install started by removing the battery trays and tearing out the passenger side exhaust manifold and all the old 2-1/4-inch exhaust.
Oil Burner Upgrade
2. We checked the glow plugs and replaced any bad ones next since they are a pain in the neck to change after the turbo is installed. That was followed by turning up the injection pump found on the front of the intake manifold as described in the instructions. We were promised an over 40-percent jump in torque by increasing the fuel delivery capacity of the pump and installing the turbo for greater airflow.
Oil Burner Upgrade
3. The mechanical fuel pump needs to be removed and a plate with an oil return from the turbo installed behind it. This is a good time to check on the condition of the pump rod which is known to bend and break on some 6.2’s. Make sure it is straight by rolling it on a flat surface then replace or reinstall it.
Oil Burner Upgrade
4. A diesel engine need clean oil, and the same goes for a turbo. For the engine we recommend changing the oil and filter at least every 3000 miles, for the Banks Turbo you need to run the stainless steel feed line from an oil outlet on the driver’s side of the engine. Be sure to prime the turbo with oil before your initial start by cranking the engine with the injection pump wiring disconnected.
Oil Burner Upgrade
5. Installing the new passenger side exhaust manifold and turbo is next. You will have to wrestle a bit with some of the plumbing, and we recommend installing the manifold with all the bolts in it as the fit is very tight. Plus be sure all the glow plugs and wires will not be touching the hot exhaust.
Oil Burner Upgrade
6. Finally install the air cleaner box and intake chamber. Then figure out a route for the 3-inch exhaust and install some heatshields and you are practically finished. We found the increase in power so gratifying that any thoughts of future engine swap have been put on hold. The drive home from All Time was much more enjoyable than the long slow trip there. From street cruising speed up through freeway racing this truck is a whole new machine.
Oil Burner Upgrade
7. To end with we would recommend installing the turbo boost and exhaust gas temperature pyrometer gauges. On the Sidewinder kit the boost will most likely max out at 9 pounds and the EGT should be kept below 1,100 degrees.

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