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Problem-Solving Diesel Parts for Ford, Chevy, and Dodge Trucks

Every diesel engine leaves the assembly line with utmost reliability in mind. However, as miles (and age) rack up—or when power-adders help push the stock hardware to its limits—a few factory shortcomings are bound to surface. This brings us to three common pitfalls which, thankfully, have all been solved thanks to a thriving diesel aftermarket. First, we’ll call attention to a potentially catastrophic problem for the 6.7L Cummins, which is reminiscent in its destructive nature to the killer dowel pin that plagues many 5.9L power plants, and then present the solution that eliminates the headache for good.

Aftermarket Problem Solving Diesel Parts

From there, we’ll shine a light on the well-known 7.3L Power Stroke pitfall that is cracked injector sleeves and solve it with a permanent, American-made fix. Last but not least, we’ll call attention to a performance-based solution that replaces the LB7 Duramax V-8’s restrictive factory exhaust manifolds. Whether you’re after improved durability, performance gains or peace of mind, each of the following problem-solving parts will make your Ram, Ford or GM a better truck in more ways than one.

The Cummins Conundrum

6.7L Cummins Grid Heater Fastener Failure

Thanks to the deep digging Banks Power has done on it, this particular problem is no longer a mystery. But for several years, many failed to sound the alarm as to just how destructive this little fastener could be. It’s located on the underside of the grid heater assembly on the 6.7L Cummins’ factory intake plate and over time the stud and nut are known to corrode and deteriorate. In many cases, the stud ends up breaking off and falling into the intake runner, bound for the cylinder head or (worse) the number six cylinder. It’s a problem that’s become more and more prevalent as these engines continue to age.

It Can Cost You An Engine

Cummins Piston Damage Grid Heater Failure Banks Power

In a lot of ways, the intake grid heater nut and stud is the "killer dowel pin" of the 6.7L Cummins. It can strike at any time and when it does it can cause serious internal mayhem like this. With well over a million 6.7L Cummins engines produced (and a considerably high percentage of them still on the road today), this is a failure that hits home for all ’07.5-present Cummins owners. After all, Ram buyers went with the Cummins option for its million-mile durability. Upon learning of the growing problem with grid heater fastener failure, most owners immediately look for a solution.

The Monster-Ram Intake System

Banks 6.7L Cummins Monster Ram Intake System

For a permanent solution, Banks takes the grid heater fastener out of the equation completely with its Monster-Ram intake system. Its high-flow, billet intake plate is void of the grid heater assembly. But not only that, its oversized inlet is CNC port-matched to the Monster-Ram intake elbow it comes with for a restriction-free path for boost to enter the engine. Flow test data shows that the Monster-Ram system provides better than an 88-percent airflow increase over the stock intake plate (grid heater in place) and intake elbow. With this system in place you truly get the best of both reliability and performance.

7.3L Ford Injector Sleeve Failure

7.3L Power Stroke Diesel Fuel Injector Sleeve

The 7.3L Power Stroke lasts forever, right? That may be true, as there are tens of thousands of them still out there on the road. However, the combination of age and cold-weather has always been one of its weaknesses. And no, this isn’t a story about its notorious glow plug issues. It’s about the injector sleeves, also known as injector cups, which can become brittle and corroded over time. When a factory injector sleeve cracks, fuel (which is pressurized much higher than the engine coolant) quickly contaminates the cooling circuit. A telltale sign of injector sleeve failure is finding diesel in the degas bottle.

Cracked Injector Sleeve

Cracked Fuel Injector Sleeve 7.3L Power Stroke

Not only does the injector sleeve keep the fuel system separate from the cooling circuit, it protects the cylinder head when aged, worn and distorted fuel injector O-rings begin to allow moisture into the injector bore. An additional role for the brass piece is that it’s used to cool the injector. When an injector sleeve fails, the hairline crack isn’t always visible to the naked eye. However, in most cases the crack occurs vertically. This failure wasn’t particularly common back in the day, but now that all of these engines are more than 20 years removed from the production line, factory injector sleeve failure is on the upswing—and will only become more common as time goes on.

A Stainless Steel Solution

Riffraff Diesel Stainless Steel 7.3L Injector Sleeves

Seeking a more permanent solution to injector sleeve failure, Riffraff Diesel developed these extreme duty sleeves. Precisely CNC machined from billet stainless steel, the company’s newly-patented sleeves feature a thicker wall than the OEM cups and are expected to last much longer than the originals as well. What’s more is that the folks at Riffraff also offer a patented injector sleeve puller tool, which allows you to extract the sleeves without removing the cylinder heads or resorting to using a slide hammer—and it also won’t leave metal shavings behind like the often-used taps tend to do.

Restrictive Duramax Exhaust Manifolds

Chevrolet Silverado HD Duramax Diesel on Mud Grappler tires

The factory cast-iron exhaust manifolds on the LB7 Duramax aren’t exactly known to fail, but they are known to be a major restriction and source of high exhaust gas temperature (EGT) when owners pursue higher horsepower. To be sure, the factory turbo is a major choke point on the exhaust side, but the stock exhaust manifolds certainly don’t do the engine any favors. In addition to being restrictive, they’re considerably heavy and feature thin walls. It’s no wonder that when an LB7 owner pulls the trigger on a bigger turbo the exhaust manifolds are (justifiably) replaced with higher flowing, more durable replacements.

High-Flow, Tubular Manifolds

Dirty Hooker Diesel Tubular LB7 Duramax Exhaust Manifolds

Leave it to the company that campaigns the quickest 4x4 Duramax-powered truck in the world to produce a set of exhaust manifolds that outperform virtually everything else on the market. Made of tubular stainless steel with 0.130-inch thick walls, ½-inch thick steel flanges and TIG welded inside and out, Dirty Hooker Diesel’s high-flow tubular LB7 exhaust manifolds flow 45-percent more than factory and weigh 5 pounds less (per manifold) than the stockers. This freer flow translates into lower EGT, reduced drive pressure and quicker spool up. An additional 30-percent gain in flow can also be had by port-matching and port-blending them.

  • Curious how deadly the killer dowel pin issue is for the 5.9L Cummins? Get all the dirty details—along with the information you need to permanently fix it—right here.
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