Bang For Your Buck: Banks Big Hoss Bundle Install

Anyone that is looking to up their horsepower and torque on their diesel truck will obviously do some scanning at pricing and read the testimonials. While every brand is different and may offer something that stands out from the rest, Banks Power strives to offer the best of both worlds – quality parts and a competitive price.

Today, we’re going to put this Big Hoss kit on our 2009 GMC Sierra and run it through its paces.

Now, you’re wanting to come up with a huge list of parts that you’re wanting to install on your truck. Banks Power has made it easy for you, the enthusiast, to make a convenient purchase with the Big Hoss Bundle. The kit makes it simple to decide what you’re upgrading your diesel with. Banks has carefully selected the correct parts for maximum power for you.

In this bundle, you’re covering all the important factors to upgrading your diesel: Tuning, air intake, exhaust, and a gauge monitor. Seen here are the Banks Six-Gun Diesel Tuner, Ram-Air Cold-Air Intake System, Ram-Air Oiled Filter, Techni-Cooler Intercooler System, Monster Exhaust System, Banks iDash 4.3-inch digital monitor, and all the hardware necessary to install. All of this is going on a 2009 GMC 3500HD. Now let’s see how this kit breaks down into is individual components.

Banks Six-Gun Diesel Tuner

The Six-Gun is very simple to install and the offered horsepower and torque are only a few minutes away. The Banks Six-Gun with Speed-Loader is one of the best value tuners on the market.

With using the Six-Gun, you’re able to tune the pulse width, timing, and fuel pressure, all in one device. To gain the ability to do that with any other other devices, you would have to utilize more than one tuner or programmer which leads you to spend more money. You’re getting all of the tuning capability in one unit.

With that being said, how much are you really getting out of it? The Six-Gun is proven to gain your truck an additional 155 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque. While you aren’t forced to run it on maximum power, you are given the option to chose from six distinct levels for the ultimate versatile tuner. The lower levels on the Six-Gun are obviously for towing or low-power applications, while the higher end of the tuner has hot street tunes for play.

For those of you that are concerned with damaging the driveline in your truck with the additional horsepower and torque, the Six-Gun features transmission slip monitoring. It will monitor the condition of your transmission during all driving experiences and will control the output of your engine to avoid damage. Also, the Six-Gun will monitor turbo speed. Turbo Speed Protection is a feature that will calibrate and maintain a safe turbocharger speed at all altitudes.

Ram-Air Cold-Air Intake System

With this better flowing air-intake system, you’re going to be allowing more cool air to be entering the engine.

The Banks Ram-Air is a tried and true unit. It has been extensively tested and validated and continues to prove its superiority over others. Its enclosed housing keeps out the unwanted hot air that robs valuable horsepower from your engine. The monster air filter maximizes the flow and filtration, and allows a big opening for bringing in that cool air.

With the Ram-Air, you’re allowing your engine to run cooler by forcing cool fresh air into it. Compared to stock, the Ram-Air flows up to 47 percent more than the factory air intake, and has proven to lower exhaust gas temperatures. The Ram-Air Intake also comes with a five-year limited warranty.

Techni-Cooler Intercooler System

The Techni-Cooler Intercooler system will super-cool all the air and force it into the engine. 

The Techni-Cooler intercooler system comes designed to outperform whatever is in its path. The wide-mouth inlet and outlet ports make it easier for the boost to flow through into the engine, resulting in improved power, torque and fuel economy. With that, you’re experiencing an increase in air density, cooler exhaust gas temperatures, and improved fuel mileage.

This cooler, compared to stock, allows for 25 percent more flow, and is built with two strong aluminum end tanks, whereas the factory comes with plastic. This must-have upgrade comes with a two-year limited warranty and for even more gains out of this cooler, check out the Boost Tube Upgrade Kit.

Monster Exhaust System

In this bundle, you’re going to get an upgraded exhaust system. This Monster Exhaust is made completely of mandrel-bent stainless steel and virtually eliminates backpressure. With a larger, better-flowing exhaust system, you’re lowering exhaust gas temperatures, improving engine exhaust flow, and cutting down backpressure by nearly 57 percent. Along with the improved performance from this exhaust, it also comes with a black tailpipe and the Cool-Cuff design that lowers tailpipe temperatures.

Banks iDash Digital Monitor

Now that you have all of your upgraded parts on the truck, you need the Banks iQ Dash. With the iQ, you’re going to have a completely customizable gauge display that reads boost pressure, EGTs, engine coolant temperature, and so much more. With this monitoring system, you can save yourself from costly repairs.

This monitor will display between 2-5 parameters at a time, and reads up to 80 OBDII mode 01 values. The iQ has over 300 parameters available to choose from when setting up your display, and has the ability to data log up to 100 values continuously. Also, the built-in RPM gauge and shift light are exciting features, along with Auto-Dimming.

Due to the excessive oil leakage out of the turbocharger, we went ahead and ordered a refurbished unit from MAHLE. We don’t want leftover oil to contaminate all of our new components.

For starters, to install all of the bolt-on components, it’s obvious that we were disassembling the front of the truck to access all of the parts due to be replaced. The headlights, grille, radiator, and plastic trimming surrounding the front of the truck had to be removed, especially for the intercooler installation.

With our new intercooler system going on, it was important that we removed the existing charge pipes that were on the truck. We didn’t want to have a new cooler get filled with debris from a past exposure to particulates. As we saw, the old cooler charge pipes had oily residue inside of them. That usually means the turbocharger has a leak and is forcing oil through the cooler.

Oil residue on the charge pipes was no good. We would be replacing these parts as soon as possible.

As we removed the turbocharger it was also necessary to remove the exhaust manifolds. After further review, it was clear that our exhaust manifolds were nearly compromised. Since we were tackling a project like this, we figured we might as well upgrade to a better exhaust manifold, or at least try to clean up what we had the best we could.

Our technicians attempted to clean up the old exhaust manifolds, but the rust was just too much. Something to remember when doing work to an exhaust manifold on any engine is to be careful when pulling the mounting hardware out. The extreme heat of the exhaust causes any type of protection which would normally be on them to burn off. This causes the cast iron to rust.

After removing these exhaust manifolds, we broke multiple mounting studs off inside of them. We tried drilling out all of the broken studs, but decided it was best to just replace them rather than spend extra time repairing the current ones.

With the new exhaust manifolds here and ready, we prepared them for installation with new gaskets. We also drilled and tapped them for the EGT (exhaust manifold temperature) probe for the Banks Six-Gun tuner to read the temperatures on the monitor.

After taking the measuring the distance from the edge of the manifold, our drill spot was narrowed down. We used some penetrating oil while drilling these holes out, to ensure that our bit wouldn’t try to walk and also to keep the bit from binding up and breaking off in the new manifold.

The new EGT probe is installed.

Reassembly followed this step. We bolted the new manifolds up with the gaskets and rested the new turbo at its new resting place. We were extra careful while removing and installing the hardware from the turbocharger; it makes for an inconvenient spot to have to drill out broken hardware.

Moving on, our Banks Monster Exhaust system was laying there ready to be installed. The new exhaust is mandrel-bent for this LMM application and would provide maximum airflow versus the factory pipes. It had a four-inch diameter and utilized the Cool Cuff designs that lower the temperatures of the exhaust at the tailpipe.

We let the bolt flanges on the exhaust soak for a while with some penetrating oil. It made the process of removing the hardware much easier.

When installing the Ram-Air Intake system to these LMM Duramax-powered trucks, we modified some of the existing front-end frameworks for this kit to fit correctly. As you can see, the kit came with a paper template for us to go off of and cut accordingly.

This air-intake system allows more air to enter your engine which in turn, creates more horsepower, torque, and above all, fuel mileage.

After our encounter with the Banks Big Hoss Bundle, our expectations were easily met. The truck runs smoother due to our tuning from our Six-Gun, sounds better from our Monster Exhaust, made more horsepower and torque than before, runs cooler from our Techi-Cooler intercooler, and now we can constantly monitor all the parameters of the truck using our new iDash monitor.

Our run on stock power (black) was noticeably less than our run on the level six tune (red) using the Six Gun programmer. It was here that we saw a great increase of both horsepower and torque.

For more information on all of Banks Power’s products, check out their website.

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About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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