IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO UPGRADE THE TURBO ON YOUR LB7 DURAMAX THERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER FIRST
- What is your power goal?
- What do you use the truck for?
- Is there a sled pull class you would like to compete in?
- What are your future plans for the truck?
- Are your mechanical skills up to par for installing it yourself or are you taking it to a shop for installation?
- What is your budget?
What are your Power Goals?
Clearly defining your power goals will help you establish a game plan. No one wants to buy a turbo that will not work with their future goals for the truck. However there are some baselines that you need to set first; like are you going to build the motor? On an LB7 we know the rods cannot handle more than 650HP. So if you're not going to invest $15k-$25k on a motor build, there's no point in purchasing a turbo that is 800 HP capable. On the flip side, if you are going to do a motor build in the future but want something more suited for the stock truck, consider a valley charger that will serve as the perfect primary for a twin kit. This is a great way to maximize your dollar-per-horse-power. Below you will find a list of just a few chargers and their peak horse power raitings.
- Stealth 64 - 640-650 RWHP
- Stealth 67.7 - 750-800 RWHP
- s366 - 650-700 RWHP
- Cheetah 63mm - 600-625 RWHP
- Supermax - 650-675 RWHP
- s475/87 turbine - 750-800 RWHP
What do you use the truck for?
Daily drivers and "grocery getters" require a very different setup compared to a sled pull or drag truck. With daily drivers or tow rigs you want something that spools quick and has a solid response. Quick spool up is more important for these trucks because they do a majority of their work in low end throttle ranges. However, drag racing and sled pull setups allow you to sit and spool the charger until you are ready to launch which means spool up time is not really an issue.
Is there a sled pull class you would like to compete in?
Each sanctioning body (group) for sled pulling has their own rules. Pay close attention to the rules in your specific class and ask the people competing in that class what your turbo limitations are prior to purchasing a turbo. In sled pulls, the turbo is arguably the most important component to the truck so you'll want to be sure you end up with the biggest turbo you can run without being disqualified.
What are your future plans for the truck?
As previously discussed, understanding and knowing the long term goals for your truck before buying a turbo will save you from lots of regrette in the long run. Once you have a long term plan, you can start narrowing down your options. Just remember though, if quick acceleration on the street is something that matters to you sacrificing a little bit of power to go with a smaller turbo with better spool up can definitely be worth it. On the other hand if you're set on making all the power you can its always a good idea to leave a little room in your turbos capability. For instance if your turbo is rated to make 800hp max you'll want to stay around 50hp under that only making around 750hp. This is because the efficient of the turbo is decreasing as it approaches the 800hp mark until it is no longer efficient enough to make any more power. At the 800hp mark the turbo is essentially working as hard as it possibly can to make what little extra power it can. This amount of work on the turbo will certainly cause decreased turbo life and should be avoided.
Are your mechanical skills up to par for installing it yourself or are you taking it to a shop for installation?
This can be a HUGE factor when pricing out a new turbo setup. The cost of installation can vary dramatically depending on which turbo you decide to go with and weather you plan on installing it yourself or taking it to a shop. Drop-in turbo upgrades like the Stealth 64 will be easiest and most straight forward to install. Just remove the old turbo, bolt in the new one and you're good to go. These will also be the cheapest when it comes to having someone else install the turbo as well. Custom turbo setup's like the S366 and S475 require a bit more fabrication which in most cases require more parts, time, and money. For those who are looking run a compound setup or squeeze every possible bit of power out of their engine this may be worth the investment. However, the average diesel enthusiasts probably doesn't require this level of customization. If you're going to get any work done at a shop we recommend call around to a few shops in your area along with reach out to us at, 815-568-7920 ext 2122 to get an idea of ball park cost on an install. This will make the final decision much smoother.
What is your budget?
Once on the Diesel Performance Podcast, our guest Chris Ehmke said "Take whatever your budget is, double it, and throw it out!". This is not the best advice but it brings up a great point; YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN! Sometimes even the simplest builds can run away with your bank account but there is no reason to go into debt over a turbo upgrade. Know what you can afford, and do your research to see what potentially lies in your way. Having a plan B or even plan C is always a good idea and don't be afraid to ask for help it can often save you more than money.