L5P Tuning Is Here: The Banks Power Derringer 2017-2018 Duramax

Yes, you read the title correctly: the oh-so-wanted 2017-18 Duramax trucks with the L5P engines now have tuning capabilities available. It’s been stated in earlier months that Banks Power owner and operator, Gale Banks, is very familiar with this engine platform and has been testing it for nearly three years. After hearing rumors of offering the Derringer for the powerplant, it turns out they were true – the L5P Derringer is here.

To gain another perspective on the matter, we reached out to Jay Tilles at Banks Power. “No one knows the L5P like Gale,” said Tilles. “We have been working on it for almost three years now because of our military contract. Having said that, Gale is adamant that we will have a Derringer inline tuner for the L5P.”

Inside The Derringer

When it comes down to it, you want a real L5P tuner. You want something that makes big power and doesn’t kill your truck. After all, you just spent a lot of money on that beast, and according to Banks, the Derringer L5P tuner is the only option you should consider.

“We tested every other tuner on the same dyno, same day, same weather conditions, with the same technician, same damn test, period. There’s only so much you can do by just intercepting the fuel rail pressure sensor,” said Banks. “The Derringer actually utilizes your truck’s ECU to make intelligent calculations.”

Banks Power taps into the ECU via the OBD2 port, which is the only true way to communicate with the ECU. Nothing through a wire lead can open the necessary doors to tuning the L5P.

“These guys don’t add any air to their tuning, and they don’t talk to anything that could initiate more air to be used,” said Banks. “The point being, you start fueling, the EGTs climb to 1,450º F, the Derringer begins to remove stock fueling to maintain that temperature rather than continue to climb.”

How The Derringer Works And Why

“There’s no easy way to make more power in a daily-driven L5P with GM’s ECU and factory turbo, no magic flash or special ‘chip’ available,” says Banks. “We had to go the tuner route, and making an inline tuner for this truck was no easy task. We have almost 1,000 man hours into Derringer development. Fortunately, we’ve been making tuners for 20 years, so we know what we’re doing.”

The Derringer is a plug-and-play microcomputer designed for easy installation. It’s waterproof for convenient under-hood mounting, and connects to the iDash 1.8 Super Gauge for the ultimate in information and power selection, unlocking three additional power levels.

Unlike the fixed tuning used by others, the Derringer calibration is continuously adjusting to provide you the peak possible performance under every driving condition. By utilizing the power of the OBD-II data, the tuner intelligently fine-tunes its calibration on the fly without you having to change its power level.

Even to this day, Banks Power is still testing on these L5P engines. Although it has been tough to get them where they are now, we are optimistic about what the future of the engine holds.

The Derringer has the ability to sense EGTs and maintains the fueling to a safe level, ambient air pressure to maintain boost pressure in changing attitudes, and DPF re-gen status to calibrate the system to ensure the re-gen process completes successfully. The Derringer senses accelerator pedal position to roll in additional power progressively, optimizing part-throttle fuel economy and giving max power when you ask for it.

The Derringer senses coolant temp to control added power. During warmup, no power is added below 120° F, then power is ramped in and fully available above 150° F. If the coolant overheats for any reason, the Derringer starts removing its power at 230° F and additional power is totally removed if you exceed 240° F.  If set on Sport level, the Derringer allows for 30 seconds of wide-open throttle before transitioning to the recommended power level for sustained tow/haul.

“Our research has shown that the stock L5P when at full power, will hit 1450ºF EGT and after a minute or so, it will pull out fuel to cool things down,” said Banks.

TransCommand Active Transmission Safety System

In addition to AutoRate Adaptive Tuning, the Derringer utilizes the key engine and transmission parameters to enhance shift performance and improve the longevity of a transmission. Without the information provided from the OBD-II, competing tuners can only add more power when at WOT, which can cause excessive transmission slip, torque converter clutch slip, and even 170-horsepower engine derates in order for the transmission to complete the shift. This harms the overall performance and degrades the transmission.

The Derringer has Intelligent Shift Tuning. The transmission shift request signal is monitored to optimize the power level prior to shifting, protecting the driveline components and increasing shift speed avoiding ECU derates. Boost and fuel by gear selection adjust to modulate the TCC slip to safe levels.

Active Safety

The Derringer is the only tuner on the market to include “Active Safety,” an active failsafe system that utilizes bypass relays to smoothly transition a vehicle to stock power levels in the event of any trouble signs in the Derringer.

“The system constantly monitors various parameters at over 50 times a second to ensure that everything is operating as it should,” says Banks. “If any competitive tuners lose power or fail in any way, they will instantly trigger a ‘limp home’ mode where all power is lost and the vehicle dangerously slows to a crawl. If the same fault condition occurs to our Derringer, it will gracefully remove its additional power and return to stock power levels without a hitch.”

Looking for a discreet way to monitor all parameters? The Derringer is iDash capable, allowing you to monitor everything during your driving experience. Also, with the iDash, using the micro SD card, you can data log all of your parameters.

This one-stop shop for L5P tuning self-diagnoses 50 times per second and monitors MAP and FRP signals for out of range conditions. CPU activity is constantly being monitored by the built-in Watchdog timer, and an active safety engages if 12-volt power is lost to the Derringer. All of these features are available to you by a simple plug-and-play design.

No reflash is required after removal, and no footprint is left on the truck when brought to a dealer, although the Derringer is 100-percent warranty friendly. In this rugged waterproof design, you’re offered three different power levels and is able to be changed on-the-fly with the switch.

Additional Features with iDash 1.8

With the Banks iDash, you can adjust levels on the fly while still monitoring those vital parameters of your truck’s engine. The power adder bar shows the Derringer adding power to your truck immediately, and also will show the regeneration status of your DPF in real-time. Using a microSD card, the iDash can datalog up to 100 parameters.

Finally, the wait is over. With the Derringer L5P tuner, you’re able to improve not only your horsepower and torque but also better your fuel mileage.

If you’re in the market for an L5P or even acquired one recently, you can sleep at night knowing you have tuning available for that new truck and it is state-of-the-art. For more information about Banks Power and their products, check out their website.

Article Sources

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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