Testing the TS Stryker and BD Diesel Throttle Sensitivity Module

Finally had enough with the lack of throttle response on our new 6.7 Dodge. The best option for a more power and better driveability (corrected torque management) is probably EFI Live. The downside, of course, is that any tuning on the new platform 6.7 requires that the ECM be unlocked (sometimes corrupted and unlocked/reflashed). Done with the right tuner or sent out, this solution works great for those that can get away with deleting their trucks. But this is California, and the penalties for messing with stuff are getting steeper and steeper, so it may not be worth it. Not to mention that if you have a problem under warranty and your software version isn’t correct (and it isn’t unlocked) you are probably screwed–and these trucks ain’t cheap, so it wasn’t worth it for me
Enter BD Diesel and TS Performance​. The TS Stryker promises 120HP/200TQ from a duration-only box that is DPF friendly. It is also invisible to the PCM and will not cause warranty issues (assuming it isn’t on there when you take it in) I installed one to test out and it did indeed add nice, linear power across the board. I’ll get it on the dyno later to verify actual RWHP numbers. It did not, however, fix the crappy throttle response in 1st gear.

1057712_BD_Power 1290307_TSPerformance_2.1
The folks at BD Diesel sent down a Throttle Sensitivity Box. This thing takes about 6 minutes to install and calibrate and is OK for smog since it doesn’t actually change anything but the throttle signal. It has a “stock” “50%” and “100%” setting. I chose 50% to start and I was shocked at how much nicer it has made the truck to drive. Now the power happens “right now” and with the Stryker installed the combo is pretty sweet. This module is available for most modern trucks and some cars as well. For the money, its a worthwhile investment!

UhOh! DMAX Needs A Turbo!

This 350k Repo truck needs a turbo bad.  Watch it push itself apart when revved!

Does Your Duramax Smoke At Idle? You Probably Need Injectors

This is a customer’s 2002 that he brought in because he thought it might need injectors.  Let us know what you think! (THIS IS AN EXTREME EXAMPLE!!)
LB7 powered (through 2004 Duramax) Chevys and GMCs all suffer from injector failure at some point in their service life.  Many fail as early as 50k miles.  GM recognized this issue and actually had to extend the warranty to 7-years/200k miles.  Bosch redesigned the injector internals a few years ago and essentially corrected the problem; newer injector installations are seeing 150k+ mileage with no issues.

If you drive one, or see one on the road, you can easily spot a truck with injector issues.  At an idle (and worse in gear) these early Duramaxes will haze smoke at idle.  Lots of folks think this is a normal deal for a diesel.  Its not!  That haze is letting you know that one or more injectors are dribbling fuel into the combustion chamber.  Its always a good idea to keep an eye on your oil level.  Failing injectors will often leak fuel into the crankcase, resulting in elevated oil levels and even leaks that appear to be from the rear main seal.

LB7 injectors are also prone to leak on the return side.  This is something you might not see or notice unless you are towing alot.  Owners who experience this problem will have their trucks go into Limp-Home mode when pulling a hill.  The codes will indicate a lack of fuel pressure during enrichment as the fuel is all returning to the tank instead of going into your engine.

GM’s Tech Bulletins basically indicate that if one is bad, replace all 8.  Of course, GM filed for bankruptcy, so dealers were routinely replacing only the injectors that were weak on an injector balance test.  That means that TONS of used Duramaxes are running around with old, leaky injectors in them.  And all of them are out of warranty now.

The LB7 injector job is pretty significant.  The injectors are buried below two layers of valve covers, each with a gasket that is both expensive and generally not saveable.   Each injector also has a return washer that must be replaced.  All of the FICM seals and water seals must also be replaced when performing this job.  Gaskets and seals alone can be as much as $400!  Add 8 injectors at $359 each (dealer price) and this job is pricey.

Left Coast Diesel can knock these difficult jobs out in a couple of days, with significant savings over the dealer.  We use the updated injectors (beware of discount “rebuilds”) and we replace all the seals and gaskets that many other folks might skip.  This means your truck comes back to you more bulletproof than it was when it left the factory!

Dodge Ram DEATH WOBBLE?? What’s that??

Since the release of the 1994 Dodge Ram through the current generation of Rams, there have always been concerns with the dreaded Death Wobble.

WHAT IS DEATH WOBBLE?  It is basically a violent shaking of the front that can only be stopped by literally slowing the vehicle down to a stop.  The most frequent situation in which Death Wobble occurs is driving between 40 and 60 mph, hitting a bump.  Then all hell breaks loose.

Now, if you drive a Second Gen Dodge (1994-2002) then you have several possible causes. Most likely, it’s a track bar issue.  The bushing ends wear out and cause excessive play and this alone can lead to death wobble.  But, its also likely that you have other problems.  Tie rod ends tend to wear at 60-80k, sooner if you are offroad a lot.  Then, of course there is the steering box.  They are basically junk when new, so if yours doesn’t have play, you can consider yourself lucky.  There are great aftermarket boxes available from AGR and REDHEAD, or you can go with a fresh rebuild and use an aftermarket steering box stabilizer from BD or Source.  These stabilizing braces prevent the sector shaft in the steering box from being able to side-load, thereby preventing the box from failing.

If you drive a Third Gen Dodge (2003+) you have a slightly better steering box, although they still wear.  The steering design is pretty much the same until 2008, when Dodge finally changed the linkage design to one that prevents the pivoting motion that allows the Death Wobble to start.  Although Dodge never admitted to a problem, you may find it interesting that you can no longer buy individual tie rod ends for the 2002-2007 old-style steering.  They only thing they sell is a complete linkage kit to convert the older Third Gens to the newer style steering.  This is a marked upgrade and highly recommended.

For all Dodges, balljoints are an issue.  The geometry of the front end tends to beat up the upper balljoints, when those fail the lowers are sure to fail soon after.  There are some outstanding balljoints available from Carli and XRF.  Both are forged construction, no-plastic units and either one is an incredible upgrade from stock.

Death Wobble is scary, its unsafe and it kills tires.  If you have a whole lotta shakin goin on, then we recommend you give us a call to check out the front end in your rig and get you back on the road safely!

In the SF Bay Area, Norcal, North or East Bay, San Francisco, Oakland, or Concord and looking for diesel truck service? Give Left Coast Diesel a call.

Left Coast Diesel Takes Care Of Your Diesel Ride!

Left Coast Diesel offers all of the standard maintenance and repair services for Cummins, PowerStroke, and Duramax Diesels.  We also provide packages to deliver increased Diesel mileage and offer LEGAL Diesel performance enhancements.

Services include oil changes, factory-recommended 30k, 60k, 90k and beyond services, aftermarket accessory installation, and dyno testing on our Load Cell Dynomometer.

Have a fleet account? Give us a call, we can service all of your gas or diesel vehicles, in Northern California, San Francisco, and the SFBay!

With two locations to serve you in Livermore and Concord, LCD has you covered!

LCD Concord: Robert, Brett, Jay, Thomas, Jake, and Adam

LCD Livermore: Kurtis, Rob, Austin, Matt, Junior,  Erik & Ethan