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When it comes to running a busy diesel shop, Josh Caranci of Caranci Performance Diesel says “it’s not always butterflies and rainbows playing with big turbos and stuff. It’s rusty oil pans and blown up motors.” And, anyone running a general maintenance and repair shop would have to agree.
“Everyone sees the fun part and it’s not always just fun,” Caranci says. “There’s a lot of crap work too.” But, don’t misconstrue Caranci’s words. He truly loves all diesel truck work, and the more regular jobs are his shop’s bread and butter. However, you can’t blame a guy for loving the more fun, big horsepower-type jobs.
Josh Caranci grew up in a family full of truck lovers – from mechanics to truck drivers and everything in between – the Caranci’s live diesel and Josh is cut from that same cloth.
“I just like trucks,” Caranci says. “I bought my first one qhen I was probably 17 or 18, which needed quite a bit of work, so we fixed it all up. From there, I’ve just always been tinkering on trucks and breaking them, fixing them, breaking them some more, and playing around with different things. That stemmed into me going off to college at a technical school and going into the field full time.
“I worked for a Class 8 truck garage, but I found I personally took a liking to the smaller trucks – the medium and light-duty diesels. I got into playing with some performance things like bigger turbos and stuff like that. As I got more into it, everybody kept asking me to do stuff for them and it kind of just went on from there.”
Josh started Caranci Performance Diesel in Perry, OH in mid-2017. He started working for himself out of a two-bay garage.
“We’re not a real big place,” he says. “We’re just a small, family place, but it filled up so quickly that I needed help, so I hired another guy who’s been with me since early 2018. Now, we have three guys full-time and we’ve been jamming ever since. We’re actually getting ready to expand. From 2021 to 2022, we should double or triple in size. The customer demand is absolutely insane. We have some of the best customers you could possibly ask for. Our goal is to grow our company to take care of the amount of customers we have.”
Caranci Performance Diesel will work on anything from general, every day, run-of-the-mill leaks and squeaks, all the way up to full engine replacement, rebuilding, cylinder head work, and performance work. However, the majority of the shop’s work is the working man’s truck and keeping them on the road.
“We specialize in the Powerstroke platform – anything from a 7.3L to a 6.7L,” Caranci says. “We do so much Ford work because in our area that’s what’s big in demand. Everybody has one. There’s a lot of concrete guys, construction guys, and it seems like everybody’s got a Super Duty pickup. We also see Cummins and some Duramax too.”
Caranci Performance Diesel doesn’t do its machine work in-house. Rather, the shop utilizes a specialty machine shop in the area called Advanced Airflow, which is owned by a good friend of Josh’s that will do Caranci’s engine and cylinder head machining.
“We try to take care of people and try to be honest and fair, and I think that’s what keeps the customers coming back,” he says. “Every day this place is full, so we’re pretty blessed as far as that goes.”
One of the jobs Caranci recently wrapped up is the shop’s own work truck they use for towing. It’s a 2017 F450 with a 6.7L Powerstroke under the hood.
“We bought the 450 because that’s a good platform to start,” he says. “We built it to tow any trailer we wanted to tow and use it how we want to use it.”
The truck itself got equipped with a Wicked Customs lift kit and some 22-inch polished wheels. The 6.7L Powerstroke, for now, has remained mostly stock, but Caranci did opt for a few upgrades.
“We stuck with the factory cylinder heads and the bottom end is still stock,” he says. “We have some Maryland Performance parts on the bottom end. We did some Strictly Diesel transmission cooling. To set it up for towing, another big thing we did was the Sam Wyse Stage 2 transmission build with a Mag high-tech Double D pan and a Goerend three-disc converter to handle the beating we’re going to put on this thing. We also did a Fleece 6.7L Cheetah turbocharger, a stroker injection pump and tuning with the EZ Lynk platform.”
For now, Caranci’s plan with the 6.7L Powerstroke is to push it as hard as he can until it can’t be pushed anymore.
“With the ’17-plus platform, we want to see what it’ll take,” he says. “We want to see how hard we can beat on it before we have to do anything. Currently, we’re probably in the 500-600 horsepower range, nothing crazy with this one just because of what we’re using it for. I like to try stuff before I sell it to my customers. We’ll try it and see how it works, and then when customers come in, we can give them a first-hand example. I liked doing that so I can honestly tell a customer this is how it worked.
“In the future, the plan would be a new cam and connecting rods. We’d also have our local machine shop play around with some air flow and some porting on the cylinder heads. We might also change the injectors and leave the Cheetah in the center of the truck and put an S475 turbo out front to run it as a compound set up.”
Eventually, Josh would like to see the 6.7L Powerstroke put out 800-horsepower and be able to tow and be very reliable.
“That way, it’s still fun when you unhook it, but then you can hook that thing to 20,000-lbs. and do whatever you need to do,” Caranci says.
Diesel of the Week 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]