Single-Turbo LBZ Duramax Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

Single-Turbo LBZ Duramax Engine

This LBZ Duramax came from a donor truck Josh Kaye had purchased at an auction. After bringing it home, he tore everything apart and started building it back to the 850-horsepower state it sits at currently. Check it out!

Diesel of the Week is presented by

It’s always a good feeling to finish up your first build, and in this industry, there’s no shame in showing off what you’ve created. In fact, some of our favorite guys to talk to are the ones who just got started in the industry, or ones that have been in it for years and just got around to their first major build. It’s awesome to see the progression from first timer to professional, and oftentimes those first timers blow us away with what they’ve come up with.

Josh Kaye from West Bend, WI recently reached out to us regarding an engine he put together for his 2006 Chevy Silverado 2500. He owns a business called Kaye’s Trucks and Parts where he sells repair parts and equipment for Chevy and GMC trucks, alongside a small dealership he opened just a few years back.

Performance work isn’t really a part of the operation at the moment, but that could change in the future. For now, Kaye is content with his recent build.

“This truck was originally a gasser I shipped up from Texas in 2017,” Josh Kaye says. “I did some minor frame work, put an Escalade 6.0L motor in it and did a cam, lifters, valves, and all that. The 9-inch lift kit happened in 2020 and then in 2021 the engine blew up. That’s where the diesel project started.”

The LBZ Duramax came from a donor truck Kaye had purchased at an auction. After bringing it home, he tore everything apart and started building it back from the ground up. To make sure the block was clean and ready for a rebuild, it was first blasted and then surfaced.

After doing some research on rotating assemblies for sub-1,000 horsepower builds, Kaye decided to stick with the factory crank, which he had balanced, keyed and polished by No Limit Manufacturing. The connecting rods also stayed stock.

“I went with Mahle LB7 de-lipped pistons with a thermal coating to withstand the high heat,” Kaye says. “I got a Mahle grade C head gasket kit on it, and I went with Exotic Brand head studs. They were a cheaper alternative to ARP, and they’ve been holding up really well so far. The H-series cam bearings, main rods and thrust washers also came from Mahle.”

Pretty much everything else bolt-wise on the engine is from ARP, including crank bolts, rods bolts, and main bolts.

LBZs are known to have a prolific crankshaft issue where they snap due to the firing order. To fix this, Josh installed an alternate-firing order cam that changes the firing order and puts less stress on the front snout of the crank. Mounted to the crank is a SoCal billet flexplate. The factory heads were ported, cleaned, decked, and pressure tested before being put back in the engine.

“The factory dampers on the trucks are fine, but overtime they tend to stress out a bit, so I went with an ATI Super Damper and that worked really well with doing the keyway on the crank,” he says.

“There’s PPE stainless up pipes and PPE race manifolds on it, we a have a full WC Fab high-flow intake kit, there’s a 12mm CP3 from Dan’s Diesel Performance, an AirDog 24G 165 lift pump, and for injectors we have 100% overs from WC Fab. Then, on air, we have a 72mm Stage 2 10-blade turbo from Dan’s as well.

“I think that’s the one thing limiting it at the moment,” Kaye continues. “Since it’s a 72mm, it’s kind of pushing the size of a stock housing. I was told these are used mainly for pulling or in drag trucks and I’m just driving this thing on the street, so eventually I’ll probably end up changing it up and going with an S400 setup or some sort of compound configuration.”

Altogether, Josh’s LBZ Duramax makes right around 850 horsepower, which is just right for what he’s using the truck for. Josh mentioned that he might look into getting into drag racing in the future, so we’ll be sure to keep up to date with any of his future builds!

 Diesel of the Week is sponsored by AMSOIL. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected].

You May Also Like

Chase Wells’ Turbocharged 6.8L Cummins Engine

Chase Wells and his team at 1 Way Diesel Performance are capable of all sorts of different diesel builds from show stoppers to all-out race vehicles. This week, we highlight one of Chase’s own trucks, which features a single-turbo 6.8L Cummins engine! Check it out.

A few weeks ago, we featured a diesel build from Chase Wells of 1 Way Diesel Performance. Chase owns and operates the Texas shop, which pumps out cool diesel builds all the time, many of which are featured on the MotorTrend show Texas Metal’s Loud and Lifted. Wells’ 47’ Ford build with a 5.9L Cummins under the hood is definitely a sight to see, but it’s more of a show truck than a performer.

Compound-Turbo 6.0L Powerstroke Engine

Tyler Lambert’s Ford F-250 started as a project with a simple goal – to extract as much power as possible. Equipped with a 6.0L Powerstroke engine, the truck underwent a series of transformations, including a compound-turbo upgrade, that elevated it to the powerhouse it is now.

6.0L Powerstroke engine
First-of-its-Kind Compound-Turbo L5P Duramax Engine

While incredibly rewarding, nothing about this L5P Duramax build was easy for Lead Foot Diesel Performance – everything was custom or a first. From the billet crank to the one-off compound turbos, this L5P Duramax is impressive. Check it out!

L5P Duramax engine
Turbocharged 5.9L VP44 Cummins Engine

A few years ago, Jordan Blackard stumbled upon a 2nd Gen 2001 Ram 2500 that was being sold by Chase Fleece of Fleece Performance. After a few years of casual driving and fixing it up, he decided in 2022 to get working on a race build featuring a 5.9L VP44 Cummins engine. Check it out!

415 cid Billet Cummins Engine in a Pro275 Cadillac

Ring Racing owner Jared Ring revealed a metamorphosis to this 2016 Cadillac ATS-V last week. The Cadillac is now equipped with radial tires and a 415 cid Cummins engine built by Freedom Racing Engines, and the combo just competed at Lights Out 15.

Cummins-powered Cadillac ATS-V Pro275 drag car

Other Posts

All About Diesel Fuel Lines

There’s more than might meet the eye when it comes to diesel fuel lines.

fuel lines
Why Your EGR Cooler Will Fail

In this episode of AMSOIL Garage we discuss the EGR Cooler, an emissions device that reroutes exhaust gases back through the engine to be burned a second time. This device sounds like a good idea, but it can cause issues for your engine, and due to the environment the EGR Cooler is placed within, the

Fire Rings for a Better Sealing Diesel Engine

As the typical diesel engine continues to see more performance, a simple job like fire ring installation can go a long way toward keeping your engine together and working properly.

fire ring block
Diesel Transmissions for Performance Applications

Today’s diesel crowd is using their truck like a truck, and like a toy too, which requires a robust transmission.

Firepunk diesel transmission