02' LB7 Tow Pig Build

Bdsankey

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Well its about time I create a thread for this truck. It's not an over the top build or anything like that, just a solid running reliable tow rig that I won't have to open the motor up for quite awhile even once I add compounds.


Some back story. I bought the truck in 2017 from the third owner with ~253k on the clock. It had borderline injectors and I knew that going into it. I drove it for about a week until my other vehicle was ready and then I parked it until Spring 2019 as it underwent a complete paint job and waited for funding for injectors as building my LLY was more important. In March 2019 I got it back on the road with new Bosch injectors and drove it for most of the summer. At that time I also tuned it and installed an exhaust/lift pump. Fast forward to October 2019 and it decided one morning to spin a main bearing on the highway. My assumption is either the guy I bought it from or the guy before him had filled the crankcase with fuel from bad injectors and partially damaged a main. I think the straw that broke the camels back persay was the trip to Diesel Power Challenge 2019 and back. The truck never overheated and we were loaded pretty heavy (~24k gross) but I do believe the factory oil cooler was not doing an adequate job of keeping oil temps in check allowing the oil to get thin and doing the rest of the damage to the bearing. Mind you this is all guessing.

I originally was just going to do a bone stock OE rebuild but then I started acquiring parts. It started with a 2020 oil cooler, then an LML oil pump/piston cooling nozzles, then a massive Derale external oil cooler and took of from there. The original plan was to use LBZ rods with delipped LB7 pistons but the cost difference from LB7 pistons to Mahle motorsport pistons isn't enough to justify LB7 pistons in my mind. I also managed to find a SCREAMING deal on these Howard's rods that also helped solidify the need for Motorsport pistons. As of now the plan is to build an LBZ based short block (I have a good known short block with a cracked piston that needs to be bored 0.010 ish to clear out).


Parts List:
1) Howard's X-Beam rods
2) Mahle Motorsport 16.8:1 pistons
3) Mahle bearings (HX mains, split set of H/HX rods, cam, thrust)
4) BD flexplate
5) Fluidampr
6) Screw-in injector cups
7) Billet injector hold downs
8) LML oil pump and piston cooling nozzles
9) 2020 L5P oil cooler and Derale external cooler
10) Wagler stage 1 std firing cam
11) LLY+ lifters
12) F1/Flux Diesel Hybrid SAC70%
13) Danville water pump


At this point I still need to purchase gaskets, Fluidampr, pistons, flexplate, thrust bearings, cam bearings, and some misc hardware plus then take everything to the machine shop to get balanced. I'll update this thread as parts come in/progress is made. Currently the truck is still together.
 

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Bdsankey

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Nice. That's a stout looking set of rods
I had never seen them before but they seemed to be extremely popular with the sled pulling crowd. For the price I paid I would have been a fool to say no. They’re stronger than anyone’s entry rod and seem to be on par with Carrillo. The thing that is icing on the cake is forced wrist pin oiling, should hopefully ensure everything life’s a long happy life.


My goal (while lofty) is to not touch it for 150-200k miles. Planning on 650-700hp max.
 

Bdsankey

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Sounds good. Is that the complete build list or will there be some additional things going in as well ?
For now that’s the current plan. If money allows it’s getting a pump. Times are tight trying to get this engine together as well as get triples done on my LLY.
 

fl0w3n

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Did I miss what the plan is for air?

Also curious, would you still consider this a 150-200k reliable build @ 650-700HP if they were entry level or LBZ rods?

Is cutting the threads into the head a pretty simple thing to do for the machine shop while they do the heads?

After reading through James' cooling thread about towing with around the same HP levels, I also wonder what your plans are to keep it cool?

One day I'd like to do a similar build but with probably a lesser HP goal, trying to learn as much as I can in the meantime.
 

Bdsankey

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See my comments in red below.

Did I miss what the plan is for air?
For now it's a stock ihi. Eventually it'll be a 476 over a stock ihi or even a 64mm ihi. I don't think I'll go S300/S400 coumpounds but honestly with as cheap as some of the options are these days I may.

Also curious, would you still consider this a 150-200k reliable build @ 650-700HP if they were entry level or LBZ rods?
Depending on air setup the LBZ rods will handle that relatively reliable. With compounds and trying to reach the limits of that HP range LBZ rods wouldn't be my ideal choice. Any budget rod will handle that goal easily. I went with these Howards simly because I found them for a steal used.

Is cutting the threads into the head a pretty simple thing to do for the machine shop while they do the heads?
Yes

After reading through James' cooling thread about towing with around the same HP levels, I also wonder what your plans are to keep it cool?
James also lives in an area that is higher elevation than me and also deals with significantly higher ambient temps than I do. I've never had an issue cooling the truck (coolant temps) and I am taking measures to rectify the oil temp. Also, to be clear, the tow tune will not be 650-700hp. I want something that I can turn up and still have loads of fun with but also something that I am not scared to lean on towing with gobs and gobs of torque from a fast spooling compound setup.

One day I'd like to do a similar build but with probably a lesser HP goal, trying to learn as much as I can in the meantime.
 

Chevy1925

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my goal was 600rwhp and no lower on hp with jaunts up to 8-900hp. i had a goal of 50k and she was going beyond that till the block let loose. big difference in scenario compared to brads build.

stock crank and block brad? or lml crank or ???
 

Bdsankey

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my goal was 600rwhp and no lower on hp with jaunts up to 8-900hp. i had a goal of 50k and she was going beyond that till the block let loose. big difference in scenario compared to brads build.
Yup! I want the absolute fastest spooling compounds I can get and will likely go through a few turbos doing response testing to get there BUT I think it will be worth it. I'm not looking to make crazy power, I have my LLY for that.
 

fl0w3n

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See my comments in red below.
:thumb:
my goal was 600rwhp and no lower on hp with jaunts up to 8-900hp. i had a goal of 50k and she was going beyond that till the block let loose. big difference in scenario compared to brads build.

stock crank and block brad? or lml crank or ???
You say that like the block letting loose was an anomaly? Was it? When you guys are saying these lifetime mileage goals, I'm interpreting that to mean the whole package. Am I wrong?



Meaning, yeah the parts list of aftermarket stuff is good for those mileage goals at that power, but I assume the things you don't touch are not touched because they are also anticipated to live for that long at that power?
150k mile internals are no fun if the cooling system can't keep up, rear end blows up, block cracks, charge system grenades/can't keep up etc.
 

fl0w3n

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Also, that truck looks so damn clean. Really makes me wish my LB7 had some color instead of white, and that it was a Chevy front end instead.



Guess that just means I'll have to get another one :woott:
 

Bdsankey

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my goal was 600rwhp and no lower on hp with jaunts up to 8-900hp. i had a goal of 50k and she was going beyond that till the block let loose. big difference in scenario compared to brads build.

stock crank and block brad? or lml crank or ???
Just saw this part of your comment. It'll be LBZ block and either LB7 or LBZ crank depending on if my LB7 crank is hurt from the bearing failure (haven't torn it down yet due to the whole COVID thing and getting customers trucks done). I don't think I'll have any block related issues at that power level. I am debating about o-ringing the block while it's apart for peace of mind but I don't think I really need to. The plan is still either an S362/476 or Dan's stage 3 64mm/476. I'd keep tight housings on the 476 to start and see what drive pressure makes me swap to. The truck is not intended to be any sort of RPM monster, but something I can hook 20k to and drive without worrying about "is it going to hate life" or "will this be its last hill?".

:thumb:

You say that like the block letting loose was an anomaly? Was it? When you guys are saying these lifetime mileage goals, I'm interpreting that to mean the whole package. Am I wrong?

Meaning, yeah the parts list of aftermarket stuff is good for those mileage goals at that power, but I assume the things you don't touch are not touched because they are also anticipated to live for that long at that power?
150k mile internals are no fun if the cooling system can't keep up, rear end blows up, block cracks, charge system grenades/can't keep up etc.

In my opinion things external to the engine are trivial. IE water pumps, coolant hoses, thermostats, radiators, belts, idlers etc as they all can and do wear out typically before an engine internally wears out. My goal is to put this engine and trans in and not have to remove them for 100-150k miles or more. If I have to change a fan clutch, radiator (mine has 10k on it), water pump, injectors, injection pump etc that doesn't bother me as those are much smaller tasks than say rebuilding the bottom end.

I personally am not worried about the AAM taking the abuse as quite frankly I've beaten the hell out of mine in my LLY for the last 40k miles with really not much going wrong.


Also, that truck looks so damn clean. Really makes me wish my LB7 had some color instead of white, and that it was a Chevy front end instead.

Guess that just means I'll have to get another one :woott:

Thanks, this truck is absolutely rust free and just had a complete paint job in fall 2018. Next on the list is swapping my 2005 front seats into it as I personally think they are much more comfortable.
 

fl0w3n

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Sure, that makes sense on the trivial items.



I'm 100% with you, the 03+ interior is more comfortable/slightly better looking than the 01-02. I eventually want to swap the steering wheel on mine.



When you say complete paint job, do you mean like a real respray into the door jambs and engine bay? Was the truck black already? I'm not usually a paint guy, but I've considered eventually in my build plan, depending on the direction it goes, painting the truck a different OEM color
 

Bdsankey

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Sure, that makes sense on the trivial items.



I'm 100% with you, the 03+ interior is more comfortable/slightly better looking than the 01-02. I eventually want to swap the steering wheel on mine.



When you say complete paint job, do you mean like a real respray into the door jambs and engine bay? Was the truck black already? I'm not usually a paint guy, but I've considered eventually in my build plan, depending on the direction it goes, painting the truck a different OEM color
So the truck was black with red underneath and the jams were done horribly by someone before me. I had my body shop sand and then respray. The jams and engine bay will be done when the engine is out of it. I will be lining the front of the cab and trans tunnel with dynamat heat shield.
 

Bdsankey

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I have also made the choice to get my pistons coated in Polyphen Gold piston coating from Tech Line coatings as the cost was too good to pass up. There are mixed reviews about piston coatings but I figure if this truck is going to be a test mule I might as well test as many things as I can.
 

slowlml

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That will be interesting to see if it burns off in x amount of miles. Do you plan on pulling the heads after so long to see if the coating is still there? Oh and im assuming you finally found out where your pistons were at? Lol
 

slowlml

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What is the sales pitch on coating the pistons?
Its suppose to reduce friction/wear, heat build up/dissipation, some guys says it will increase horsepower, tighter piston to wall clearance,it also depends on what coating is used and who is doing the coating on the benefits. Ive always been told/read/seen to skip the coatings as they burn off overtime anyways.
 

Bdsankey

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That will be interesting to see if it burns off in x amount of miles. Do you plan on pulling the heads after so long to see if the coating is still there? Oh and im assuming you finally found out where your pistons were at? Lol
I will pull a glow plug or injector and borescope to see. I won’t pull the head unless it makes me die to a failure of some type.


As for where my pistons went, turns out my warehouse sent them back to themselves instead of to the coater like I paid for so we got that squared away
 

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