Eco Diesel Don’t Care!

This tough little welterweight can punch!

In my first boxing lesson, Pop extended his right fist touching my chest, “You don’t punch to someone…you punch thru someone”. The thru punch came as he said the words and suddenly I was flat on my back! Boxing was a big deal when I was a kid.

Back then, Rocky Marciano was coming up, but he was not quite what we thought of, when we talked Heavy Weight Champions. At 5′ 11″, he was not tall enough, at 67″, his reach was not far enough, at 188 pounds, he didn’t weigh enough! Yeah, he was tough and yeah he’d never lost a fight…But, Heavyweight Champion Contender?

But then, this undersized Italian American, stopped a train consisting of; Jersey Joe Walcott, Roland La Starza, Ezzard Charles (two times), Don Cockell and Archie effin’ Moore! He went 49 and 0 knocking out 88% of the guys, unlucky enough, to get in the ring with him! Style, stamina and the ability to take a punch, that was Rocky. From the fall of ’52 till the Spring of ’56 he showed us all what is possible from a seemingly small package, of Italian extraction.

Banks Power Rocky Marciano
Rocky Marciano in his prime. Like the VM/Fiat based Gale Banks 630 T, this Italian could Punch!

Today another Italian with a hell of a punch, is in one of my Dyno cells. He, and some of his brothers, have been gracing our dynamometers and running in our test fleet since 2011. This stylish Italian is the Gale Banks 630T, a version of the VM Motori/Fiat, 3.0L, V6 Diesel. Our Banks AutoMind ECU takes that style and tosses in a little SoCal attitude. The result is impressive.

For people building vehicles, our cast aluminum torque converter housing and Dual Disk 300mm torque converter feed power to our 6745e, HD 6speed automatic. A recent 302hp calibration is currently running in our military load simulation vehicle and producing well over 500 lbft of torque. The vehicle is an, “ex-Duramax”, one ton Chevrolet Dually. The V6 out runs the Duramax LB7 it replaced! Like I said, this little Italian can punch. To make my point, let me put some numbers with the word, punch.

When the LB7 Dmax came out in 2001 the 6.6L V8 made 300hp or 45.5hp per liter. Our 630T 3.0L V6 makes 302hp or 100.7hp per liter and, it’s not hot rodded. In standard form, in a pickup truck, and rated at 240hp that’s still 80hp per liter, dead stock. In just 13 years, that’s an improvement in diesel technology worth noting. The V8 Diesel pickup engines are at 61 to 65 hp per liter currently, by comparison.

All our turnkey engine packages use our own AutoMind engine management. The AutoMind ECU is based on Bosch Hardware and features Banks firmware and engine calibration. Our diagnostic buss utilizes J-1939 CAN protocol as used in Heavy Duty Trucking, Agricultural Vehicles and Military. CAN enabled gauges, or the upcoming Banks LCD Intelligent Instruments, display this information on your dash.

Our relationship with VM Motori dates from 2005 when we hopped up a VM Turbo Diesel powered Liberty for the guys at Chrysler’s Jeep Studio. The Liberty was displayed in the Mopar Speed Shop at SEMA that year. We started development on our 630T V6 Diesel, in 2011 and had them running in a military vehicle program in 2013.

VM Motori powered and Banks Enhanced, Jeep Liberty
Perhaps the most masculine Jeep Liberty, Ever! This VM Motori powered and Banks Enhanced, Jeep Liberty brought some gravitas to the Mopar Speed Shop at SEMA 2005.

In the same period FCA has begun offering their elegantly engineered and anvil strong Eco Diesel Engine option in Jeep and Ram product, starting with the 2014 model year. The aftermarket tuners have jumped on the opportunity this new Diesel presents. At Banks we have been busy as well, and many new Banks products are now available, or under development, for the Eco Diesel Ram and Grand Cherokee.

My competition won’t tell you this, but…we are out on them by train lengths! We have found this engines limits and we honor them. And, regarding durability, we know where the edge of the cliff is.

Sarge, Jeep Studio's take on the J8 was demonstrated to various military customers by the Banks boys. VM 2.8L 4 cylinder Diesel powers the J8.
Sarge, Jeep Studio’s take on the J8 was demonstrated to various military customers by the Banks boys. VM 2.8L 4 cylinder Diesel powers the J8.

Yep, there’s a lot of tuning and re-flash stuff out there. It’s obvious that some of these guys are far from expert. So, the question must be asked, what the hell do these guys know about Diesel engine durability? I am confident in saying this, absolutely no one else in the aftermarket knows where the edge of the cliff is, or how far from it, they are putting, you!

Banks 630T Powertrain
The Banks 630T Powertrain shown with the 6745 six speed automatic and electric shift transfer case.

How could they know? They don’t develop engines for guys who bet their lives on them. They don’t test engines for hundreds of hours, at or near full throttle or even own the engine dyno cells required. In fact they aren’t in the Powertrain and Engine business at all.

Banks 630T Diesel V6
A Banks 630T Diesel V6 undergoing development for a defense vehicle customer, in the Dyno cell, 2012.

At Banks, that’s what we do…it’s called, “The Banks Advantage”. And, I’m proud to say that it’s baked into everything we design.

Gale Banks

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