We last spoke with Steve Burton in 2021, when he told us all about his shop New Performance Automotive and a sweet 6.4L Cummins engine he had built. Since then, he’s expanded into a 9,500-sq.ft. facility and employs 6 people. With a larger scale and more hands-on deck, there’s more and more cool builds coming out of his shop.
The Rural Retreat, VA shop handles everything from general maintenance, in-house manufacturing of specialized parts, and engine dyno services to complete performance diesel engine builds. The shop has a split-level setup, so repair and maintenance gets done on the top floor while engine building and machining get done in the basement.
The engine Burton reached out to us to feature this week belongs in a Pro-Street diesel truck, which is characterized by its 2.6-inch smooth bore charger, no map ring grooves allowed.
“It’s one of the fastest growing classes across the country right now, and one of the most competitive in my opinion,” Burton said. “When they first switched to this smooth-bore class, we all lost about 250 horsepower and hated it. But as technology came around, we found better ways to make horsepower. We were originally sitting around 700 horsepower with these engines and now we’re knocking on the door of 1,200.”
Burton has built a few of these specialized engines as of late, but his most successful runner belongs to Mike Peabody out of Nova, Ohio. That particular truck won podium places at Scheid Diesel Extravaganza and Diesels in Dark Corners this year. Burton says it’s one of the few mechanical trucks that is competitive in the field.
The 5.9L Cummins has a 12-valve block with 24-valve heads and a standard balanced Cummins crankshaft. Billet rods are required for the build to manage the considerable amount of torque which is in the neighborhood of 2,200 lbs.
As it’s mechanical, the team is running a Northeast Diesel P7100 P-pump, paired with Infinite Performance Injectors. The injectors are six-hole by 23 orifice; Burton did not want to disclose the size of the injectors as they are part of the “secret sauce.”
“One of the key aspects of this builds is the piston, camshaft and head flow combo. With the limited air you have to work with, those three things are vital to perfect.”
For the single turbo, Burton ran a T6 2.6” smooth bore from Apex Turbo built specifically for that class, paired with a T6 manifold from Stainless Diesel.