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Time to completely fix my truck... But need advise

Discussion in '6.9L IH & 7.3L IDI Diesels' started by groovemonster, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. groovemonster

    groovemonster Registered User

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    Hey gang! I love this forum, it is the best and has the most knowledgeable and passionate idi people around!

    I have an 1986 6.9 idit. It has low miles, approximately 120k-130k (odo broke for a little while). The truck is my current DD but I am having a hard time keeping up with all the issues. So here is the plan. I'm taking it off the road, and I want the suspension, brakes, electrical, and every other major system fully restored. I dream of putting a 5spd manuel tranny, but would be happy with a rebuilt automatic.

    As for the engine, I want about 300hp out of it BUT it needs to be a reliable engine as I plan to resume DD duties until I die!! I'm not interested in racing, just want more oomph.

    Several questions emerge as I consider this project.
    1. Is 300 hp achievable while still maintaining DD reliability?
    2. I love manual transmissions and want one but I don't want to sacrifice reliability to achieve it. Is this swap possible with said results, or is it a perpetual tinkering problem?
    3. I live in Alabamas gulf coast and I can't find a shop willing to do any work on this engine, I'm willing to ship it to the right place, is there anyone who is competant with the engine work? Someone who can achieve 300 reliable horses?
    4. If you have any insights into things to look out for, or to add to my truck please share. I'm in the planning phase right now and hope to begin the process this summer.
     
  2. IDIBRONCO

    IDIBRONCO IDIBRONCO

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    Here's my answers:
    First, I have to ask, just to make sure, are talking about 300HP at the flywheel or at the rear wheels?
    1. If you mean at the wheels, then I'll say "no and you should use a 7.3 for this"). If you mean 300Hp at the flywheel (flexplate in your case), then my answer is that I believe that you should be able to do this or get pretty close.
    2. If your transmission is a good one and you don't try to drive it like it's a 800HP corvette, then it should be a "once and it's done" job. If you decide to stick with an automatic, then you will benefit by upgrading to a E4OD with a stand alone controller.
    4. Here's the caveats. First, remember that horsepower is achieved by burning enough fuel and having sufficient air to completely burn that fuel. Your biggest limiter will be the 7/16" head attaching hardware. You will HAVE to run head studs. There's just no way around that.The next "must have" item is an intercooler. This will help you achieve your goals in a couple of ways. Your boosted air will be cooler, which means that it will be denser, which, in turn, means that you will have more oxygen in a given volume of air than hotter, non intercooled boosted air does. This will help you make more power, especially in the summertime. The general rule is 15 PSI of boost for a studded 6.9. An intercooler will help you "cheat" on this number somewhat. The extra volume of the intercooler will actually drop your boost numbers 2 or 3 PSI which is good. It will also help you to build more power with the lower boost numbers because of the cooler air that I mentioned above. One more thing to remember about the "15 PSI" rule and your 300HP goal. You will not be seeing the maximum boost and power output most of the time. You won't be using full throttle or making your maximum boost unless you're on the throttle pretty hard. So that will also let you cheat on your boost numbers a little bit. Judging by your desire to DD your truck, I'm assuming that you won't be constantly towing heavy or making land speed record setting freeways runs very often. You will need a bigger IP than you have now and a turbo that will push enough air to use all of the fuel that the IP will put out so you will need to plan for that. I'm not going to try to make any recommendations on turbos and IP to meet your goals. Instead, I will recommend talking to someone who deals with these for a living. Talk to Mel (Agnem on here) at Conestoga Diesel, Wes (Thewespaul on here) at Classic Diesel Designs, or Justin at R&D IDI Performance and get their recommendations. Russ (Typ4 on here) also rebuild pumps, injectors, and turbos, but I don't know if he gets into high performance IPs and turbos or not.

    I hope all of this will help.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  3. groovemonster

    groovemonster Registered User

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    Thanks @IDIBRONCO
    I am hopeful about the manual transmission! I'm a retired truck driver so I have a thing for jamming gears lol. I suspected that 300 hp at the wheels was a long shot. Do any of the guys you mentioned for IP do comprehensive engine work?
     
    Ky85 likes this.
  4. Ky85

    Ky85 Full Access Member

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    This is interesting! I have to research this
     
  5. IDIBRONCO

    IDIBRONCO IDIBRONCO

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    I know that Wes and Justin both do. They are also usually pretty backed up with work. I think that Wes would be the closest to you. He's right outside San Antonio. I think that Justin's in Idaho, but I won't swear to that. Russ is in Oregon. Mel is in Pennsylvania. I'm not sure if either of them do engine work for customers.
     
  6. IDIBRONCO

    IDIBRONCO IDIBRONCO

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    I said that in comparison to a C6. There's maybe three companies that make stand alone E4OD controllers. I think that it would be the best way to go if a person wanted to upgrade transmissions, but stay with an automatic. I considered going this route with my Ex Wife project until Wes mentioned the upgraded ZF5 clutches. They may not be inexpensive, but they still cost WAY less than John Woods E4OD which is the way that I would have gone if I kept it being an automatic truck.
     
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  7. Scotty4

    Scotty4 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Justin is just outside Kent Washington.
     
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  8. IDIBRONCO

    IDIBRONCO IDIBRONCO

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    Well I was wrong again. So he's even farther away from Alabama than I thought he was. Any one of these will have a considerable cost to ship an engine to.
     
  9. groovemonster

    groovemonster Registered User

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    Considering I'm not talented enough to build the engine I desire, and no local shops want to touch it [you would think the truck is radioactive the way they act lol] Shipping will need to be a necessary expense.
     
  10. 4drocket

    4drocket Registered User

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    look up classicdieseldesigns.com thats @Thewespaul web site, there are links to his builds which are located here, if i were u, i would talk with wes and try to set up an appt with him and just drive the truck down and leave it. i read on the threads here that he picks guys up at the airport and everything. if i was close to there thats what i would do.

    i have gotten parts from r&d, @typ4 and wes and they are all good guys to deal with, however, they are busy

    plus, as u noted finding anyone that is willing and more importantly KNOWS our trucks is hard to find

    justin from r&d referred me to a shop that is 50 miles from my home (redmans performance in oakhurst ca) its a father and son operation and they both drive idi's. they have a machine shop on site and my truck is there now getting studs, headwork and a cam. that info was priceless from justin plus i got a nice cold air intake from him to boot.

    i got injectors from russrepair.com thats @typ4 website and he has lots of good stuff there

    i got a gp harness from wes and talked with him about other upgrades but he was too busy to accommodate my timeline

    i got a 90cc IP from @Agnem at conestogadiesel.com today, i called monday and talked with them and they expedited getting it done

    i have a zf5 and love it, my bumpside has a c6 and i wouldnt want to drive long distance with that set up although they are pretty bulletproof

    i am sure wes could do anything you want, like the old saying goes:

    guy at hotrod (or harley:)) shop: i want to go faster!

    owner of said shop: how much money you got?
     
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  11. u2slow

    u2slow bilge rat

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    I'd sooner tackle the ZF swap than trying my own hand building an IDI to 300hp.

    IMHO a manual is more reliable than an auto any day of the week.
     
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  12. Farmer Rock

    Farmer Rock just a fella' without a 10mm socket

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    X2




    Rock
     

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