Donavan Harris was getting tired of always being away from home. His previous job was working as a reclamation specialist in the oil patch in Alberta, Canada – a job that required traveling quite often. The job was good and so was the money, but the constant travel was wearing him down. What to do?
Harris had always been interested in trucks and making them go fast, and better yet, it didn’t require a hectic travel schedule.
“That’s how the idea of the diesel shop got started,” Harris says. “I just wanted to be home and I thought I’d give [opening a diesel shop] a whirl, and here we are 12 years later.”
Harris opened Armor Inc. Diesel & Suspension, a performance diesel and repair shop in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, in 2007. Just two years after getting the shop up and running, Harris began drag racing in 2009. Today, Armor Inc. does everything from brake jobs to making 2,100 horsepower!
“We build motors, we do transmissions, full drag race builds, full sled pull builds – basically anything we want to do,” Harris says. “We can build any of the three – Duramax, Chevy and Powerstroke – but our main focus is Cummins. We have a couple of different machine shops that we work with. We also sell and manufacture stock Cummins 2003-2018 motors. We usually have about six motors sitting on the shelf ready to ship out or install at any time. And then we do custom builds from 500 hp to 2,000 hp.”
The shop has six full-time employees who work in the 6,500 sq.-ft. facility. Harris’ brother Darren is also a partner in the business. Over the past few years, one of the shop’s big focal points for performance engine work has been its Ultimate Callout Challenge (UCC) truck – a 2007 Dodge regular cab long box – which features a 6.7L Cummins engine. In the past four years, the truck has been rebuilt three times in order to compete at the UCC event where trucks must do a dyno pull, drag race and a sled pull.
“We started going to the Ultimate Callout Challenge in 2016 and have gone every year since,” he says. “We partnered up with Lenny Reed from Dynomite Diesel Products, and we had D&J Precision Machine do all the machine work on the 6.7L Cummins deck plate motor. We do all the assembly.”
According to Harris, the 6.7L Cummins makes this 4,900-lb., 2007 Dodge the fastest diesel door truck in Canada, having run an 8.44 at 168 mph in the 1/4 mile. The engine build starts with D&J in Ohio.
“D&J did all the machine work on the block and the head,” Harris says. “The engine has D&J rods, pistons, valvetrain components and a side draft intake, Trend Performance wrist pins, a Beans Diesel Triple CP3 kit and Beans Diesel valve cover, a Waterman mechanical fuel pump, a Steed Speed exhaust manifold, and Mahle bearings. It has our own fuel block for distributing fuel to the pumps. The engine has two Garrett turbos – 85mm and 106mm – and we built our own turbo kit. It also has Dynomite Diesel Super Mental Injectors and 12mm pumps.”
Utilizing AMSOIL race oil, the engine makes 2,096 horsepower and 3,020 ft.-lbs. of torque!
“We started using AMSOIL about two years ago, when they came out with their race oil,” Harris says. “When they came out with their 20w50 competition oil and their 15w50 racing oil, that’s when we started using AMSOIL in our motors. It’s been very good.”
The 6.7L Cummins engine was built specifically to compete in all three UCC events – the dyno pull, drag race and sled pull. After the Ultimate Callout Challenge is over, the truck is mostly focused on drag racing and the odd dyno event.
“We kind of avoid the sled pulling after that event is over because of the work involved to change the truck over for sled pulling,” he says. “The Ultimate Callout Challenge is a busy event. It’s long hours. It’s tiring, and after we do it, we don’t want it to go sled pulling again until next year. Plus, we have a sled pull truck, which all it does is sled pull, so we don’t worry about sled pulling with the UCC truck.”
Having competed at the UCC for four years now, and placing fourth several times, Harris says it is up in the air if Armor Inc. Diesel will go for a fifth time.
“We were one of the first 20 to get invited,” he says. “It’s a big investment… to stay at the level we need to be at.”
With a shop dedicated to performance, we suspect big things, so we’ll keep our eye on Armor’s 6.7L Cummins engine and its 2007 Dodge truck!
The Diesel of the Week eNewsletter is sponsored by AMSOIL.
If you have an engine you would like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder magazine’s Editor, Greg Jones at [email protected].