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Old 09-25-2011, 07:10 PM   #1
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Banks Powerpack Installation

I just installed a Banks Powerpack on my 5.9L 12 Valve Cummins. Thought I's share the experience. I live in the Rocky Mountains and wanted a little more power for the hills. The Banks literature makes a lot of claims about power, torque, cooler temperatures, cleaner burning, more uniform air distribution between cylinders, and better economy. After talking extensivly to the Banks engineers, decided to give it a try. I did find other options but Banks was the only one that offers a complete kit specifically designed for my engine in the Spartan chassis.

The instructions are very complete and easy to follow if you have some knowledge and skills of karma kanics (I am in Boulder) in general.

The process starts with removal of the turbo. The 4 nuts are hard to access and mine were frozen. I ended up removing the exhaust manifold which I think is a better way as can clean gasket surfaces and install the pyrometer probe much easier. I did find a crack in my exhaust manifold. $350 latter I was back in business. I'm glad I found it now vs somewhere in the wilderness when it opened up.

You have to split the turbocharger which can be frozen by corrosion which mine was. Several calls to the "experts" recommended more foul language and a bigger hammer. An overnight soak in Sea Foam and a little heat from a propane torch and it let loose. You have to be very carefull that you tap it off straight or you can damage the turbine blades. After cleaning up the surfaces the assembly with the new Banks exhaust housing was straight forward.

Another ($500) option would be to send the turbo in along with the new housing for a rebuild. New turbines wheels, bearings, seals, ballance... might be worth the piece of mind for long term reliability.

The exhaust manifold with the turbo attached is real easy to drop in and bold in place. Again I would recomend doing it as an assembly.

To be continued...
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:15 PM   #2
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The next step is to change out the fuel cam. Pretty straight forward and Banks provides a guide to locate the new cam exactly where the old one was avoiding tuning issues. The removal of the tamper proof screw is a little tricky. I used a chissel in a hand impact driver. A few taps and it backed right out. That black plastic plate is the location template.
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:35 PM   #3
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The intake plenum is next. Some versions of the Cummings like mine require new rerouted fuel lines. When I saw the box of lines I had nightmares. They actually fit very well and drop right in place. Cleaning the old intake gasket can be a lot of fun. The previous owner had the head replaced recently so mine pealed off clean. Like every other surface, orfice, host, etc, keeping everything clean is very important. I pressure washed the engine before I started. Banks supplies caps to keep out ot the fuel distributer and injectors which is extremely important.

The picture of the two old and new plenums show how the air distribution is improved. Installation is straight forward.

I cranked the engine about 4 times for about 30 seconds with starter cool down in between to purge the injector lines of air. It started on the 5 try and idled great.

I let it run for about 10 minutes and shut down to check for leaks.

Next is the pyrometer and boost pressure gauge installation. Nothing tricky there. The picture shows where I located them.

It ran great on the checkout drive. Boost and EGT looked good. It definitly puts out less smoke and the turbo spools up much quicker. It definitly has a significant increase in power. Im finishing up a couple of other little projects before we head up into the mountains for a 5 day color tour. I'll report on how it ran when we get back.
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:34 AM   #4
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Love it!
More please!
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:27 PM   #5
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First Roadtrip With The Banks Powerpack

Nice fall day up here in Estes Park. We scored a riverside campsite at the Paradise RV Park. Nice cozy (small sites) and very friendly people. Great facility but mostly rented for the season. The fall color change was late this year so many were caught off gaurd. We were going to head up across the divide but the threat of winter weather on Thursday along with this nice camp site made hunkering down here seem like a better idea.

The Banks system is definitly living up to its expectations. We were packed for a week with the fuel and water topped off and made the 25 mile climb to 10,000 feet with ease. We did the speed limit all the way up from Lyons except when we got behind traffic. 45-55. I've never run boost or EGT gauges before so it was hard to compare anything with the past. On the steep climbs I ran about 20 inches of boost, 1150 degrees, and around 2000 rpms. in 4th at about 50. The engine ran stayed down in the modulation zone (180 degrees) with no tendancy to climb dispite over 80 degrees air temp. Noticable less smoke on hard acceleration from low speed or a stop. The engine seemed to be running very comfortably if that makes any sense.

I would like to investigate the programming of the Allison tranny controller. It seems to like to lug a little more than I think it should and have to downshift. Lugging down to the 1200 to 1400 rpm range seems to be behind the power curve.

Wont know much about milage improvements till the next trip back east. It will be heading for the barn for the winter when we get home from this trip. I have a bunch of plans for it over the summer. New carpet and tile in the bath are the two biggies. I also have to work out the dent above the passenger side B-pillar.
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:34 PM   #6
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When I first looked at your pics, in my mind I was thinking about how this motor would look in my engine bay... Then I realized that yours is a pusher!
What I thought was fun, was the way the fan blades are... its mounted backward to the way we puller motor owners are used to seeing!
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyair View Post
When I first looked at your pics, in my mind I was thinking about how this motor would look in my engine bay... Then I realized that yours is a pusher!
What I thought was fun, was the way the fan blades are... its mounted backward to the way we puller motor owners are used to seeing!
You have to be carefull not to rev it up in neutral or the thrust will lurch you forward!

I've never driven a front engine Airstream but we rented 3 year old class A in Alaska with a Triton V10 up front. Other than the constant roar, 6 mpg, and being guttless, and a lousy interior design, it was just fine.

We test drove a couple of diesel pushers and decided that was the way to go. Very little engine noise up front and it just seems to be a smoother push down the road. I was very happy to find that Airstream built pushers in the classic design and started about a year long search. One popped up on Craig's list so after an inspection and test drive we haggled and I probably paid too much for it. We are very happy and just love it though. It gets a lot of attention anywhere we've gone.

Couple of pic of last week in Estes Park.
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:32 PM   #8
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Banks Evaluation

We just completed a 3000 mile trip with the Banks. It was the first long trip since the install. We did a similar trip last year so I've got a pretty good comparison. First, there is a very significant increase in power but I try to like diesel is $4 a gallon.

On last years trip on I80 from Colorado to Michigan (1250 miles) we cruised at about 60 mph with a tailwind and got about 13.5 mpg. This year we got into a time constraint (50th birthday party in South Bend) and did 70+ into a 10 mph quartering headwind with the dash A/C on max. We got about 12.5 mph and the temp never got above 185 degrees. It would not have done that without the banks. We would have been backing off on the speed and turning the A/C off to keep the temp below 210.

The winds and temps were more favorable heading north through Michigan and into the UP. We cruaised about 55 to 65 and got 13.2 mpg while we were lolly gagging along like we were on vacation. No significant tail wind but at least we were not bucking a headwind.

The trip home from the UP was brutal. A weather system set up bringing record high temps and a strong 20 to 40 mph wind out of the SW. We did the speed limit and beat into hot (90 degree +) winds all the way across Minmesota and SD. We had a New "big box" Tiffin pulling a car following us for a couple of hours. We both pulled into a rest area. He said it looked like tha AS handled the winds alot better than his rig. I said it's still a exhausint handfull. We both stopped a couple hundred miles of our goals at a state recreation area on the Missouri River. Tough day! A/C max and ran about 65. Engine temp never got above 190. The winds and temps were worst across Nebraska with a lot of long grades. I did back down to 55 mph for the gusty winds but engine temp was never an issue.

The previous year we had strong winds but cooler temps and saw about 11.5 mpg. This year we got 12.1 on the last 900 miles into a hot strong headwind cruising faster and never had to back off for engine temps.

My conclusion is that it runs cooler, has significantly more power, makes less smoke, and gets a bit better milage in adverse conditions. Hill climbing across the continental divide last year was definitly improved. The engine seems to run much smoother and quiter at highway speeds. Ann commented on it as she likes to go to the beedroom and take a nap when we are cruising on the interstates. I'd say its well worth the investment if you want to run in hot, windy, and hilly conditions. The fuel savings will never come close to paying for it.

I am going to look into a digital EGT with a limit alert. The Allison doesn't like to downshift quite a early as it should on long grades before the EGT starts getting a bit higher than I like.
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:55 AM   #9
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Before and after emissions test

A year has come and gone way too fast. We've put about 7,000 miles on it since the Banks installation. Here in the front strange of Colorado diesels have to have an annual emissions test on a dynamometer. It visibly runs cleaner with the Banks Power Pack but I was nervous about the emissions test and inspection.

I passed with complements from the technician that its very clean for that engine and really gets up and goes.

Here's a copy of this year's compared to last years results.

As you can see, it runs much cleaner with the Banks.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:38 AM   #10
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Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Banks system. It's on the list for 2014 or so. Ours has the same motor and transmission. It is a bit underpowered in the hills. But hums along nicely on the flatlands. We only saw one shiny pusher like yours for sale when we started looking for a motorhome last year. It was a mess on the inside, so we passed and ended up with a real nice fiberglass one. Oddly, there's no smog test required at all for our '96 pusher out here in California.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:06 PM   #11
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Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Banks system. It's on the list for 2014 or so. Ours has the same motor and transmission. It is a bit underpowered in the hills. But hums along nicely on the flatlands. We only saw one shiny pusher like yours for sale when we started looking for a motorhome last year. It was a mess on the inside, so we passed and ended up with a real nice fiberglass one. Oddly, there's no smog test required at all for our '96 pusher out here in California.
Thanks! We feel real fortunate to have found this one in the condition it's in. We headed out for first real trip across the big passes in the Rockies yesterday. No problems with the climb up to Eisenhower tunnel (11,000 feet) or Vail pass. Tomorrow we cross McClure Pass and then Red Mountain pass. I'm actually more concerned coming down than going up. Installing an exhaust brake on the 12 valve 5.9 requires replacing the valve springs. Maybe someday. You do have to watch the EGT on the high grades. I had to run about 40-45 in 4th to keep it under 1200 degrees on a few of the steep climbs. About what the trucks were running.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:18 PM   #12
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Nice job and nice pics. Thanks for sharing. I would have thought aftermarket parts might have added power but would have heated you up to the point of being useless. Guess I was sure wrong. I'd look into that system now that you have posted your experience.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:49 PM   #13
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Nice job and nice pics. Thanks for sharing. I would have thought aftermarket parts might have added power but would have heated you up to the point of being useless. Guess I was sure wrong. I'd look into that system now that you have posted your experience.
Very definite improvement and it runs much cooler. Water temp used to start climbing when you ran it hard. I didn't have a pyrometer on it before the banks but I do know that the PO warped a head and I found a crack in the exhaust manifold. It does require proper operating techniques in the mountains or you could get in trouble. On the flats you can put your foot in it and everything stays right where you want it. I think Banks did a pretty good job of engineering a whole system.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:44 PM   #14
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I did get a quote from my diesel mechanic regarding the exhaust brake and it was not going to be an inexpensive undertaking. I didn't write it down, but I think it was like $3-$4k due to the valve springs replacement. I drive a rig at work worth 10 times as much as my Cutter with a modern exhaust brake, so it's a little unnerving downshifting the Cutter and stab braking on all the hills. I actually think I would get the exhaust or Jake brake first....

I hope your current trip is going well. You can click on my profile to see how one of our trips this year took a little detour. All was good in the end though.
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