We recently got an old Army truck off a government auction website, and though it looks intimidating, the power in the 1986 GM 6.2 diesel was less than ferocious. We quickly discussed with some other Chevy diesel owners what they found was the best route to more power and the unanimous opinion was a turbo and exhaust kit from Gale Banks Engineering. The premise behind a turbo is that as engine rpm increases the exhaust gases spins a propeller that in turn forces more fresh air into the engine. With more cool air going into the engine the denser air gets compressed and then the fuel burns better and gives off more power. Seems pretty simple, and the result 60+ hp and 115+ lb-ft of torque from installing the Banks Sidewinder Turbo can quickly be felt from the driver seat. Where before we needed to spend any highway time in the far right lane getting passed by everybody, now we can hang with traffic and pass whenever we like. The 6.2 is still no big block, but the turbo kit is cheaper than swapping in a big block, and gives mileage better than a small block. Though we didn’t get a chance to tow with the truck, the Banks kit definitely didn’t care that we were spinning 37-inch tires.
The install should take a home mechanic about three or four days, and the shop mechanic about two. Since our landlady frowns upon our tearing a truck apart in the driveway, we decided that going to the pros at All Time Gas & Diesel in Glendora, California would work better for us, and hopefully give us some hints to pass onto you. These guys have an amazingly clean shop, and with over 300 Banks install under their belt they made short work of our 6.2.