So you’re interested in improving the performance of your 2001-2004 LB7 Duramax? Well, we have good news for you, there are plenty of options out there for your truck.
The available 300 horsepower and 520 lb-ft of torque weren’t enough for many LB7 lovers. Despite being one of the most powerful diesel trucks on the market when it was released in 2001 there were hundreds of different performance upgrades available.
With that many options available, how do you narrow down what’s worth getting and what’s a bust? Well, we have even more good news for you. We have put together a list of the 15 must-have performance upgrades for the LB7 Duramax. This is a Buyer’s Guide on all things performance upgrades and we have included a comprehensive FAQ section.
By the time you have finished reading this article, you’ll be ready to run to the garage and supe up your truck. Continue reading to discover the 15 best LB7 Duramax Performance upgrades currently on the market…
In a hurry? Here are our top picks…
|Banks 48123 Monster Exhaust System||Check Latest Price|
|aFe Power 46-52031 BladeRunner Street Series Aluminum Radiator||Check Latest Price|
|POWERTEQ Edge Products Evolution CTS3 GM Diesel Digital Gauge Tuner 85400-200||Check Latest Price|
1. Best of Exhaust Pipes
If you want to overhaul your whole exhaust system then there is no better way than to install this Monster system from Banks.
This set comes with everything you need to get the job done and at a fraction of the cost of most other options on the market.
You’ll see the name Banks pop-up frequently throughout this article. That is because they are one of the leading names in the upgrade parts business.
2. Best of Cooling Systems
Replacing the cooling system in your LB7 is pretty essential, unless you want to use it as an ornament on your driveway.
We recommend starting by installing this Bladerunner radiator. Not only is it the coolest named radiator we’ve ever seen, but it’s also one of the best performings too.
This radiator, combined with the right set of fans will turn your overheating LB7 into a truck you can happily take out for long times in the summer. This Turbofan makes a great partner to the Bladerunner.
3. Best of Custom Tuning
Customer tuning isn’t just for racers. It’s for everybody. It’s simply a matter of picking the right tuning system for your needs. There are many options available including custom tuning and box tuners.
The EDGE CTS3 performs so well, it’s hard to believe it was made here on earth. This thing can add up to 210 extra torque and 100 extra horsepower. No new parts are required. If you get anything on this list, don’t skip this and the Bladerunner radiator.
Performance upgrades for the LB7 Duramax
Below you will find a guide that will talk you through everything you need to know before purchasing upgrades for your LB7 Duramax engine.
Why should you upgrade this engine and other parts of your truck?
Well, there’s no kind way to say this but… this is an old truck. They stopped making it in 2004. Even if your engine were brand new, it wouldn’t be able to compete with a diesel engine made yesterday.
You’re going to notice that we use the word ‘notorious’ a few times in this article. That is because the LB7 Duramax does have a mixed reputation when it comes to its factory parts. There are many that weren’t up to scratch, even when it was first released.
Because of this, there isyour a huge range of upgrades for almost every part of this truck. You can upgrade the problematic cooling system and see a boost in fuel efficiency.
You can tune up the car and get an extra 100 horsepower out of the engine. You can even upgrade the suspension.
Here are our top 15 upgrades that you should consider doing to your LB7 Duramax.
15 Best LB7 Duramax Performance Upgrades
1. Exhaust system upgrades
If you’re looking for a place to begin upgrading your Duramax, start with the exhaust system. Many people make the mistake of thinking just because the Duramax has an incredibly low emissions rate that it doesn’t need upgrading.
That is far from the truth. Upgrading your exhaust system can improve many parts of your truck, not limited to its emissions.
We would recommend looking for exhaust systems that are free-flowing, particularly Turbo back exhausts. Why? Well, with these systems you will see the biggest benefits – lower EGTS (exhaust gas temperatures), louder sounds from your car, and better mileage.
All of these benefits will extend the lifespan of your car.
There are some downsides to installing aftermarket exhaust systems. Not all of these systems are made equally, and the wrong system can decrease other areas of your car’s performance.
Bad exhaust upgrades will also make it far more likely that your truck will break down. Insuring a truck with an aftermarket exhaust system is also a lot more expensive.
|LB7’s are nearly emission-free before any aftermarket additions||Can reduce the reliability of the car|
|Torque and horsepower can be improved||Can weigh the truck down|
|Exhaust gas temperatures (EGTS) can be reduced|
|Improves exhaust flow|
|Decreases back pressure|
|Makes the exhaust louder|
Here are our three favorite exhaust system upgrades for an LB7 Duramax:
- Monster Exhaust system – full system upgrade that will improve sound and milage
- Product Type:Auto Part
- Item Package Dimension:32.766 cm L X 58.42 cm W X 92.71 cm H
- Item Package Weight:26.240 kg
- Country Of Origin: China
- GPX Manifold Exhaust system – complete side exhaust system upgrade
- Direct Replacement | Eliminates "Crushed" Manifold (2001-2010 Trucks) | GM OE Cross Reference #: 12624684,12637647,97224587 | 1-Year Warranty
- High-flow upgrade is only on 2001-2010 trucks.
- Some factory hardware and fasteners will be re-used during installation.
- This is a factory-style replacement on the 2011-2016 GM 6.6L Duramax LML.
- Compatible with all 2001-2016 Chevy & GMC 6.6L LB7/LLY/LBZ/LMM/LML Duramax diesel trucks
- MBRP Universal Muffler – filter and silencer
- T-409 stainless steel
- Dual core technology provides optimal flow in conjunction with superior sound suppression
- Perfect for over the road towing applications as cab noise is greatly reduced
- Over a full year of on road testing
- 4 inch inlet/outlet; 30 inch length
There are some great exhaust upgrades out there that can make a real difference to your driving experience. There really is something for everyone.
Whether you’re looking to get more mileage out of your engine, louder revs, quieter revs… The world’s your oyster.
2. Cooling System upgrades
Anyone who’s had an LB7 for more than a month will understand why these cars have a reputation for overheating… One of the best early upgrades you can install is a new cooling system.
Why? Well, these trucks are notorious for being built with radiators, fans, and water pumps that just aren’t up to the job. The good news is that you can replace all of these elements with much improved parts.
There are three main areas you should be looking to improve in your cooling system:
- The radiators
- The fans
- The water pumps
Radiators and Fans
Whoever designed the cooling system in the LB7 clearly didn’t know very much about the laws of thermodynamics. Both the fan and the radiators in this truck are far too small for its engine.
Resulting in the LB7 predictably and regularly overheating when used. Good luck trying to get anywhere in it in the summertime. And let’s not even talk about trying to use an LB7 for towing.
So how should you approach picking out these upgrades? Well, bigger is better when it comes to aftermarket radiators and fans. Avoid getting bolt-in radiators. Make sure to regularly clean your radiators.
Another notorious failure of the LB7 design team was their choice of sealant in their water pump systems.
Many older truck models suffer from outright water pump failure, but leaking water pumps is the most common issue when it comes to LB7s.
Anyone who’s replaced a water pump before will know how much of a nightmare doing it is. For that reason, we recommend getting your upgrade tig-welded in to avoid more leaks.
|No more leaking water pumps||Replacing these parts can be a time-consuming process, and can be quite difficult for DIY mechanics|
|No more overheating engines||Replacing these parts can be expensive|
|Will improve the lifespan of your truck|
|Will stop your car from breaking down so frequently|
Best Aftermarket Radiator Options
- AFE Bladerunner – best name on the market, best performance on the market. It is 100% worth the price tag
- Built from aircraft grade aluminum for superior strength
- 25% Increased volume over the factory radiator
- 100% Aircraft-Grade Welded 1/8 Aluminum End Tanks for Strength and Durability
- Brushed Aluminum Finish
- Includes a Heavy-Duty Brass Drain Valve
- Luxerad C10 – this is a great option for anyone looking for a bargain
- -FITMENT:For 1978-1991 Chevy Chevrolet GMC Jimmy C/K /R/V /P Series
- -Trans Cooler: Included(￠32×215×G1/4(Z))
- -Overall Size:33.25" *20.25" (Include the inlet outlet)
- -Inlet/Outlet: 1.5"/1.57"(38/40mm),Transmission:AT/MT
- Stronger and higher capacity for coolant than stock units,US Stock & Fast Shipping,1 year warranty.
- Mishimoto MMRAD-DMAX-01 Performance Aluminum Radiator – Mishimoto is a well-trusted company, that produces excellent quality upgrades and parts
- Direct fit for 2001-2005 6.6L Duramax
- Overall Size: 45.6" x 20.8" x 5.4" / Core Size: 34.06" x 19.61" / Rows: 2
- Inlet & Outlet: 1.89" / Core Thickness: 2.2" / Tank Wall Thickness: 0.08"
- All-aluminum construction includes magnetic drain plug
- Mishimoto Lifetime Warranty
Best Aftermarket Fan Options
- Fits Dodge Ram 2500 2000-2002 I6 5.9L Turbo Diesel OHV
- Fits Dodge Ram 3500 2000-2002 I6 5.9L Turbo Diesel OHV
- Rotation: Standard Rotation, Clockwise
- Reference Number: 52028894AA, 2842
- 1 year unlimited-mileage quality guarantee
- OE replacement engine radiator cooling fan blade, easy fit
- Fits Dodge Ram 2500 Ram 3500 2010, I6 6.7L Turbi Diesel
- Fits Ram 2500 3500 4500 5500 2001-2012, I6 6.7L Turbi Diesel
- Reference Number: 55056937AA, 620-058
- 1 year unlimited-mileage quality guarantee
- OE Replacement Engine Cooling Fan Blade, Directly Fit
- Replacement for Dodge Ram 2500/3500 1994-2002, D250/D350/W250/W350 1990-1993---l6 5.9L Turbocharged Diesel
- Material: Steel; Diameter: 560mm; 7 Blades
- Reference Number: 52028893AA, 52004927, 52028653, 52028774AA, 620-066
- 1 year unlimited-mileage quality guarantee
Best Aftermarket Water Pump Options
- Sinister aftermarket pump – this is designed for the newer truck model (2006-2016) but fits perfectly into the older models (2001-2004) as well.
- Precision TIG welded on Gear Side for high strength and slip-free operation
- Special Notes - Drop in replacement for factory LML, LMM, and LBZ Duramax water pump
- THE SINISTER DIESEL PROMISE – You would be happy to know that your “Welded” Water Pump comes with a ‘piece of mind’ replacement against defects guaranteed. If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, we will buy our “Welded” Water Pump back from you, free of charge!
- SO, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? – Click the ‘Add to Cart’ button now to get your Sinister Diesel “Welded” Water Pump in a Hurry!
- ACDelco kit – water pumping system that is available with a 4-year warranty
- All Makes water pumps fit GM vehicles as well as a wide range of non-GM vehicles
- Thoroughly tested for reliable, leak-free performance
- Coated seals support seal longevity and durability
- Heat-treated shaft assemblies provide superior strength and durability over non-treated assemblies
- High-quality bearings are permanently sealed and lubricated for greater durability and long life
- Seal replacements – a whole new kit with spare seals included.
- The Pacer Pumps rebuild kit 58-977EP-RS is designed to fit all S Series EPDM-fitted Pacer pumps with a 975-30 4-vane impeller, including model numbers SE2RL, SE3SL, SE2JL, and SE3LL.
- The kit features all the internal components needed to rebuild a Pacer S Series Pump.
- Pacer Pumps 58-977EP-RS rebuild kits are manufactured in the USA.
If you want to be able to drive your LB7 for more than an hour (or at all in the summer) then upgrading your cooling system is a must-do. And a no-brainer. There are so many upsides and little to no side effects of getting a new system it’s hard to see why you wouldn’t.
What are you waiting for?!
3. Custom Tuning
We often get asked who custom tuning is for. Our short answer is that everyone can benefit from custom tuning. What kind of customer tuning you will need to install will be entirely dictated by the plans you have for your truck.
Those of you who want to get into competing and racing will need at least one type of custom tuning installed in their truck.
Those of you who are planning to modify your LB7 so it can cope better with day to day activities will also find a lot of benefits to tuning your truck. But you don’t necessarily have to use a custom system to do this.
Daily drivers should look into box tuners. These systems allow someone with even a casual interest in cars to tune their own vehicle. Box tuners come with preset tunes that you can use to simply retune your truck.
They will increase the performance of your LB7 with a minimum amount of effort. You will also save a lot of money when purchasing a box tuner, compared to a traditional one.
|Can add up to an extra 100 horsepower to your engine without purchasing extra parts||Tuning is a complicated process that requires a lot of time|
|Can improve the longevity of your truck||Can be very expensive|
|Can improve torque||Cars with custom tuning are more expensive to insure|
|Box tuners can make these improvements for a very small price tag||May require you to change the base settings of your car|
Best options for Box Tuners
- Better Fuel Mileage
- Less Pedal Lag
- More Torque
- More Horsepower
- Usable Torque Curve for Towing
- 5 inch fullcolor, high-resolution, swipe screen
- Multiple gauge screen layouts
- HDMI style plug for power and linking EAS accessories
- One-touch easy menu navigation
- Available for 1996 and newer vehicles equipped with an OBDII port
- Dimming for lighting outputs
- External trigger to activate up to 2 outputs
- Battery Voltage display on app screen
- Four 35A circuits and four 18A circuits
- Eight user-programmable switches
Best options for Custom Tuners
- EDGE CTS3 – this is one of the best options out there. This one tuner can add up to 100 horsepower and 210 torque with no extra parts needed
- Most comprehensive, state-of-the-art, multi-gauge/tuner touch-screen display on the market
- 3rd Generation design is faster and more capable than ever
- Power levels are included and are designed for daily driving, towing, performance and extreme
- Up to 135 HP and 240 lb-ft TQ
- Monitor key vehicle parameters like EGT, regen cycles, trans temp, boost, RPM and dozens more with a full color, 5” capacitive touch screen with auto-dimming
- DiabloSport – this is an exciting option from an emerging tuning brand
- Banks 63767 Six-Gun Advanced Tuner – Banks is one of the most trusted brands in the world of custom tuning. If you pick up a product from these guys you will not be disappointed
Custom tuning seems too good to be true… Is it really possible to gain an extra 100 horsepower without having to replace engine parts? Whilst custom tunings can do amazing things to your LB7, there is a downside or two.
These are complex and expensive pieces of kit. If you know what you’re doing, and understand what you’re buying then they can be a great addition to your car. But it is very easy to go wrong, and/or overspend.
Beginners may find box tuners a good starting point until they become more familiar with this system.
4. Intercooling System Upgrades
Intercoolers are an upgrade that should not be skipped by anyone who owns a diesel engine. Particularly, diesel trucks. Very specifically LB7 owners.
One of the many things this model is notorious for is malfunctioning and overheating gaskets. This is another point where the design team failed us when making this truck.
So, is there a way to prevent these types of failures in a gasket?
There is nothing you can do to 100% prevent these failures from occurring. However, you can seriously reduce the chances of this happening by installing something to lower the EGTS (exhaust gas temperatures). As they are the leading cause of this type of malfunction in LB7 Duramax.
What can I install to lower my truck’s EGTS?
As we mentioned earlier, installing a new free-flowing exhaust system will help lower EGTS. You should also try installing Intercoolers. These work well at lowering EGTS from inside the truck.
Whilst they can be a little bit expensive they will save you a lot of money on mechanic bills in the long run.
|Lowers EGTS efficiency||Can be expensive to buy|
|Protects the gasket from overheating||Can be a pain to install|
|Can extend the lifespan of your truck|
Best Intercooling System Options
- 3.0" Gloss Black Aluminum Construction | Direct-Fit Replacement
- Includes: (1) Aluminum Intercooler Pipe | (2) Silicone Boots | (4) Constant Tension T-Bolt Clamps
- 1-Year Warranty
- Compatible with 2004.5-2010 GM 6.6L LLY/LBZ/LMM Duramax Diesel
- Outflows the stock intercooler tubes by 15%
- 3" Hot-Side & Cold-side mandrel-bent stainless steel tubing
- Powder-coated wrinkle-black for heat and corrosion resistance
- Works with aFe or OE intercooler
- This product is not CARB exempt at this time and is not legal for sale in California or use on vehicles registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles
Investing in an Intercooler really is an investment in your quality of life. Being able to take your car for long drives, knowing you do not have to worry about your gasket frying itself. Well, it’s worth the money, trust us.
This upgrade would pair perfectly with picking up and installing a new gasket.
5. Cold Air Intake system upgrades
This is another area of the LB7 you will need to replace if you want to get the best out of it. Whilst it is not as urgent as replacing the Cooling System or the Exhaust pipes it is something that should definitely be on your to-do list.
If you fix the cooling system of your LB7 you will have fewer issues with your cold air intake system. But you will not completely eradicate the problems.
A lot of the problems with the LB7’s cold air intake systems are caused by the amount of hot air being spat out by the engine. The designers did not think about this when creating the truck.
The main issue is, that even when the engine problems are solved the LB7 isn’t able to cope in hot weather. Its cold air intake system is too small and too easily overwhelmed.
Getting the cold air system working correctly can mean the car is being fed correctly, resulting in much more power. We have even better news. Cold air replacements are very cheap and extremely effective.
|You’ll notice a big difference straight after installation||Parts can be harder to get hold of|
|These parts are very cheap||No other cons|
|These can be really easy to install|
|The engine less likely to overheat|
Here are our favorite choices of cold air intake system upgrades:
- ULTIMATE LONGEVITY: 10-Year/Million Mile Limited Warranty protects for the life of your vehicle.
- GUARANTEED INCREASE IN HORSEPOWER: Dyno-tested with up to 50% more airflow than restrictive factory box air filter and intake tube
- BETTER TOWING: Improves acceleration and uphill performance when towing by improving throttle response.
- IMPROVED ENGINE SOUND: Hear the power under the hood.
- WORLD CLASS PROTECTION: Pushing the limits of engine protection by protecting your engine from harmful contaminants
- Includes Filter/Housing/Ducting/Intake Pieces/Clamps/Hardware
- Fit type: Vehicle Specific
- Package Dimensions: 54.61 L x 28.447 H x 47.752 W (centimeters)
- Made in China
Replacing the cold air intake system in your LB7 Duramax is an easy way to solve a big and expensive problem. Even better, the prices of these kits are minuscule compared to other upgrade parts. They’re also incredibly easy to install.
Just like the cooling system, we don’t see why you wouldn’t want to upgrade this part of your truck. It is inexpensive and it will save you a lot of pricey trips to the mechanic.
6. Lift Pump System Upgrades
This is not exactly something you can upgrade. It’s more of a part that your diesel truck should have, but the LB7 doesn’t. If you want to tune your car this is a must install.
So what do lift pumps do and why does your LB7 need one?
There are two main side effects to not having lift pumps installed. Firstly, your CP3 pumps are overworked. They are forced to draw fuel from the fuel tank. Which they would not do if there were lift pumps. Secondly, your fuel rail pressure is messed around with. It won’t be correct and fully functioning until lift pumps are installed.
So, apart from preventing breakages in other parts of the engine, what are the benefits of installing a lift pump system? How do better fuel economy, fuel quality, and engine output sound? How about improved engine durability and cleaner engines sound too? Now you understand why lift pumps are so high up on this list.
Lift Pumps can provide this by offering vastly superior fuel filtration compared to CP3 pumps alone.
The one downside to installing limp pumps is the installation process itself. Thanks to their location installing them can be a messy, tricky, and time consuming process. If you’re prepared to get your hands dirty then you’ll see nothing but benefits from these pumps.
|Reduces stress on CP3 pumps||Can be quite complex to install|
|Reduces stress on fuel rail pressure||Can be quite expensive|
|Provides better fuel efficiency|
|Provides better fuel economy|
|Filters fuel better|
|Improves engine performance|
|Prevents dirt from building up in the engine|
|Improves engine durability|
Here are our top picks of lift pump upgrades on the market right now:
- Known for their smooth operation and quality finish
- Package Dimensions: 50.8 H x 20.3 L x 33 W (centimeters)
- Package Weight: 11.793 kilograms
- Country of Origin : United States
- 1, Quality and rigorous testing, our products are after rigorous testing and inspecting. Ensure that all performance parameters meet the standard
- 2, Fuel type: Diesel Fuel
- 3, Fit Models: Dodge Cummins 5.9L Diesel 1994-1998 Pickup Trunks Ram2500 Ram3500
- 4, Manufacturer Part Number: 3936316; 4761979, 4944710, 4988747; 4761979, HFP916 P710
- Suitable for car tuners, old car enthusiasts, Dodge repairers
- Fits: 2011-2014 Chevy & GMC Duramax powered trucks
- Supports 500-800 engine horespower
- Package Dimensions: 20.32 L x 48.26 H x 34.29 W (centimeters)
- Package Weight : 8.913 kilograms
Yes, these parts are on the expensive side, but you will make your money back on them, we have no doubt. Not only do they reduce pressure on other areas of the engine but they will make your truck more efficient.
With better fuel economy and fewer trips to the mechanic, you’ll be glad you installed a set of lift pumps.
7. Injector System Upgrades
The Injector system on the LB7 Duramax is not the first part on this list that was lacking at launch, and it won’t be the last. The Injector system is something you should seriously consider replacing. Particularly if you want to use your LB7 for racing.
The LB7’s original Injector system is unreliable, so unreliable that even non-racers will want to look at replacing these parts.
So what type of injector should you get, well let’s look at the options.
Factory upgrades are simply a like for like part change. They do the same thing as the part in your machine currently.
However, they do it better and they break A LOT less. They are designed to overcome the issues the original part had.
Get a performance upgrade if you want more from your car. More horsepower. More fuel economy. These small parts can make a big difference to your drive.
When you’re replacing your injector you should also take the opportunity to replace your injector lines. If they are rusty or too worn they can dramatically decrease your car’s performance.
Both of these parts are pretty simple (but very messy) to replace. However, when you can increase your horsepower so easily, it’s worth a few oil stains on your shirt.
|This mall replacement will make a huge difference||Can be messy to install|
|Lots of options, suited for each driver||These parts can be very expensive|
|Fuel economy increased|
|Can lead to fewer breakdowns|
Here are our top three injector replacement options:
- 【Fitment】7222 Injector Tube Remover fits for GM 6.6L Duramax Diesel, 2001-2021. 6778 Injector Puller for GM Duramax 6.6L engines 2001-2004. 6779 Injector Puller for GM Duramax 6.6L engines 2005-2011.
- 【Direct Replacement】7222 Injector Tube Remover is the same as J-45910 in function and performance. 6778 Injector Puller similar to J-46594. 6779 similar to J-46594.
- 【Powerful Function】7222 Injector Tube Remover specially designed to remove the injector tube for maintenance and reinstallation. 6778 & 6779 Injector Puller designed to safely pull the injector from the cylinder head without pulling the injector cup.
- 【High Quality】The tool set are made of high standard carbon steel which can withstand corrosion, rust and impact, with nice black Oxide finish, ensures an unparalleled long lifespan.
- 【100% Satisfaction Guarantee】Yoursme committed to providing customers with a good product experience, if you are not satisfied with our products, simply return it for a full refund in 30 days. We support 12 months’ Warranty.
- Remanufactured fuel injector
- 1 year, 12,000 mile warranty
- Remanufactured fuel injector
- Remanufactured fuel injector
- Remanufactured fuel injector
Like many of the LB7’s original parts, the injector system isn’t very reliable. However, this can be easily rectified.
By replacing the small part not only can you increase the reliability of your truck, but you can also improve its performance. Whilst this is an expensive upgrade to make, we believe you will find it worth it.
8. Turbo Charging System Upgrades
A lot of people get turned off by the phrase ‘turbo chargers’, we understand that. However, we’d like to put it to you that everyone can benefit from installing a type of turbocharging kit into their LB7.
There are three main types of turbo chargers available to LB7 owners:
- Drop-in kits
- Performance turbo charging kits
- Misc part upgrades
These are a perfect option for those of you who just want a little more power during your daily drive. Many people advertise the LB7 as a 500 horsepower truck. The truth is that you’ll never get that kind of power if you use the factory settings.
So, you could completely retune your truck… or you could buy a drop-in turbo charging kit! Let us explain to you why you want to take the second option.
Drop-in kits are actually as easy as they sound. These are kits that you can install in your truck that don’t involve re-tuning any other parts. They are the ideal option if you want a quick fix and significant power boost.
Performance Turbo Charging Kits
Racers, this is the option you should be seriously considering. Fancy boosting your horsepower up to 600? We thought so. In that case, you’re going to want to install a performance turbo charging kit, or maybe even a twin turbo kit.
Unfortunately, installing a performance kit isn’t as simple as installing a drop-in kit. A performance kit needs a network of supporting modifications to get the best (or anything) out of it.
Before you start to install one of these kits make sure you are fully aware of the supporting modifications you will need. Incorrect installation or the wrong support modifications can seriously damage your engine.
There are a few small parts in your engine that you can upgrade to support your turbo charging kits. These include upgrading the turbo wheel, the boost increase valve, and the actuator.
|Miscellaneous parts – these upgrades take less than half an hour to complete.||Performance kits – can be very expensive, before you add on all the extra mods needed|
|Miscellaneous parts – you will notice a huge improvement for a small price||Performance kits – can damage your engine if installed incorrectly|
|Drop-in units – very easy to install||Drop-in kits – can be quite expensive|
|Drop-in units – require no extra parts|
|Performance kits – drastic improvements in the trucks performance levels|
Here are our top three turbo charging upgrade recommendations:
- Banks Bighead Wastegate Actuator -twice as strong as its factory equivalent
- Product Type :Auto Part
- Package Dimensions :21.336 Cm L X21.59 Cm W X13.97 Cm H
- Country Of Origin :China
- Package Weight :2.0Lbs
- LB7 Stealth 64G2 Turbo – this is one of the best drop-in kits on the market
- DT Duramax turbo – an extremely powerful performance turbo
- 800 HP Peak Power potential
- Fits 2001-2004 Duramax LB7
- True IHI Castings mean 100% Stock Appearing
- Liquid Cooled center section with 360-degree thrust bearing
- Exclusive High Flow Turbine assembly
These are some of the most expensive types of upgrades on this list. However, they are the one that is going to make the biggest difference.
The more you know about installing turbo chargers, the more options you have available to you. However, if this is your first time installing one then we recommend picking a Drop-in kit.
9. Steering and Suspension System Upgrades
These are fewer two broader categories that we have paired together because they really compliment each other.
If you’re going to upgrade your steering we recommend upgrading your suspension whilst you’re at it. They go hand in hand.
The Suspension System
The suspension system at the front of the LB7 is independent and really isn’t up to scratch when it comes to both performance and durability.
If you’re looking to upgrade your suspension we suggest looking into getting a straight axle, rather than sticking with an independent front suspension. The ride won’t be as comfortable, but the suspension will last longer (and is less likely to shatter).
Changing your suspension will be a particularly urgent upgrade if you want to use your LB7 to tow. Or you want to install taller, beefier off-roading tires. Raising or lowering the height of your car will expose different suspension vulnerabilities.
There are three areas you should look at upgrading:
- Tie rods – This is the part of your suspension that is going to break first. The factory rods fitted to the LB7 are half the thickness of the available upgrades and are notorious for splintering at the slightest provocation. Replacing these will allow you to take the bumpier roads with less fear in your heart.
- Upper control arms – Don’t get us started on the factory steering geometry in the LB7s. It is very poor. It’s a good idea to upgrade your upper control arms if you are interested in changing your tires or regularly towing. Doing this will the factory arms will lead to the wearing away of ball joints and a horrible riding experience. Replacing the control arms will have you back to a smooth ride in no time.
- Pitman and Idler – Upgrading the pitman and idler arms in your steering system will extend the durability of your whole steering system. It is very common for these factory parts to wear down and/or fracture.
|Better steering||An extra cost on top of buying your car|
|Stronger suspension||Some of these kits are really expensive|
|Less likely to breakdown|
|Towing will be safer|
Here are some of our favorite Pisk kits, control arms, and tie rods:
- Best of tie rods – MOOG EV80702 Tie Rod
- STRONG AND DURABLE -- Ball studs are heat treated to match or exceed OE requirements to inhibit premature failure and improve fatigue strength
- EASY TO INSTALL -- Wrench flats on housing and stud provide easy installation and alignment adjustment
- RIGOROUS TESTING -- Comprehensive testing throughout design and development processes by MOOG engineers for quality you can count on
- COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE -- Available for foreign and domestic nameplates
- Best of Upper Control Arms – Kryptonite Upper Control Arm Kit
- 1 x Kryptonite Upper Control Arm Pair
- 4 x Control arm sleeves / 8 x Control arm Bushings
- 2 x Bump Stop Part# M21097-BK
- 2 x Kryptonite Bolt on Upper Ball Joints
- 1 x Hardware package
- High Strength Steel Support Brackets
- Solid 5/8" High Strength Heim Joints
- Both Pitman and Idler Side
- Made in the USA
- Lifetime Warranty
If you have the money to spare to upgrade these systems in your car then there really are no downsides to doing this. You will get a more responsive, more durable suspension system.
As well as a steering system that can handle much more. You will be able to tow with your LB7 without exposing any of the fragile suspension parts. And you can also upgrade your tires without fear.
10. Monitors and Performance Gauges
This isn’t an upgrade that is going to physically improve your truck. However, it is going to give you the power to understand a lot more about your truck’s performance than you could have ever dreamed of.
Aftermarket performance monitors give you the option to track hundreds of individual performance parameters. This will be useful for everyone – those of you who have upgraded every part of your truck, or those of you who still have all the factory parts.
Changes in parameters can give you an indication of when parts are about to fail, or what your next upgrade should be. If you’re interested in racing then a performance monitor will allow you to fine-tune your car to perfection. It really is an upgrade everyone can benefit from.
Some monitors will even code your vehicles for you. Allowing you to see improvements with very little effort on your part. So, if you’re interested in a better performing truck, and catching breakages early. All without having to get your hands dirty. Well, then you should treat yourself to a digital performance monitor.
|Catch breakages before they happen||Better monitors can be more expensive|
|Some monitors will program your car for you||It will take you a little time to fully understand how to use the monitor|
|Hundreds of parameters checked|
|Can help you pick your next upgrades|
|Can help you employ incremental differences that will make a huge difference|
Here are our top digital performance monitor recommendations:
- 5 fullcolor, high-resolution, swipe screen
- Custom color mixer for gauge arcs, needles, and backgrounds
- Multiple gauge screen layouts
- Fully customizable backgrounds
- HDMI style plug for power and linking EAS accessories
This upgrade is so easy to install and will make such a difference to the quality of your truck! We can’t recommend it enough.
It can help you to catch any repairs that need to be done before they cause more damage. It can help you incrementally improve your truck’s performance. Over time you will notice a huge difference by doing this.
11. Fuel Tank Upgrades
We understand that installing aftermarket fuel tanks can make a lot of people uncomfortable. And even less people actually want to do it themselves. However, we think that most people will really benefit from upgrading their fuel tanks.
Why would you want an aftermarket fuel tank?
Well, LB7s aren’t known for their fuel capacity. By installing an aftermarket tank you could double your fuel carrying capacity. That means fewer trips to the gas station and longer road trips for you.
This is a really underrated form on the LB7 upgrade and we don’t think you should miss out. If you’re worried about it being unsafe, your local mechanic will be more than happy to install this one for you.
|Can holder more gas||Tanks can be expensive|
|Fewer trips to the gas station||Many people feel unsafe about the idea of changing their fuel tank|
Here is our top fuel tank upgrade recommendation for the LB7:
- Extra large midship tank, 52 gallon
- Made with military grade cross-linked polymer does not rust or corrode
- No welds or seams titan mid-ship tanks
- For model years 2001-2010 / For Chevy GMC 2500 and Chevy GMC 3500 Models with Duramax Engines
If you have the spare cash we would recommend getting this upgrade. Whilst you will find this a helpful upgrade, it should not be on your urgent ‘to-do list’. Unless you really hate trips to the gas station that is.
12. Differential Cover Upgrades
You may be surprised to see this topic on this list if you’re a diesel lover. It really is a controversial one. We’re well aware of the study done by Banks that showed most aftermarket differential covers having a negative effect on performance. Their study showed that internal temperatures increased and the fuel economy plummeted.
So, why have we put differential covers on this list?
Well, Banks used the results of this study to create something very exciting. A series of differential covers that can provide you with all the benefits of a DC without affecting the performance of your truck. With these covers from Banks, you don’t have to compromise (words we all love to hear).
After producing these new kinds of the differential cover, many other companies began to copy what Banks was doing.
The purpose of a differential cover is to protect the gear mechanisms. It provides the owner access to the gear changing lube and can protect the important parts of this system from being hit by projectiles whilst driving.
The newer generation of differential covers also helps to channel excess heat away from this area. This extends the life of parts underneath it and decreases the number of breakdowns the truck experiences.
|Protects the gear mechanics||Not all differential covers are made equally|
|Can divert heat away from the area||Some will cause the car to overheat|
|Can make your gear system last longer||Some with decreased fuel economy|
|Very easy to install||The good covers are very expensive|
Here is our top choice of the Banks differential covering range, as well as two other options you might want to consider:
- TOUGH: Manufactured from Thick Walled Nodular Iron Design to withstand brutal impact
- DURABLE Powder Coat Finish
- DRAIN PLUG: Magnetic Drain Plug to Collect Particulates
- HIGH STRENGTH Steel Cover Bolts
- FITMENT: Fits Jeep Wrangler JK and other popular Jeep models
- Manufactured from high-strength nodular iron
- Spicer performance diff covers are built to meet the demands of any environment
- Includes: Cover, Spicer Premium reusable performance gasket, Drain Plug and Bolts
If you are prepared to invest in this part then it can make a huge difference to the durability and performance of your truck. It’s very easy to install, so you could see a big difference for a small amount of effort.
However, choosing the right differential cover is a dangerous game. Get it wrong and you’ll see a drop in fuel economy and your truck will overheat more regularly.
But if you do find the right one (we would recommend going with a Banks differential cover) you can see all of the pros without having to worry about the cons.
13. Exhaust Brakes Upgrades
If you’re looking to use your LB7 for towing then this is an essential upgrade for your truck. Even if you’re not going to tow with your truck you will find exhaust brakes will extend the lifespan of your braking system.
Most diesel trucks come with built-in exhaust brakes nowadays, but back in 2001, this was unheard of. Thankfully there are many great exhaust brake system upgrades available. When towing you’ll notice the difference this upgrade makes immediately.
|Extends the lifespan of the regular braking system||Extra cost on top of buying the truck|
|Makes towing easier|
|Makes towing more economical|
|Will bring your truck up to modern day standards|
Here are some exhaust upgrading kits that you should consider purchasing:
- Pacbrake's PRXB exhaust brake delivers the strongest braking horsepower, greatest speed reductions & shortest stopping distances possible without the use of service brakes.
- Providing 50 percent more braking power at lower RPM's, PRXB gives you the best holdback in the 1400-1800 RPM range (where you typically drive).
- The spring controlled pressure regulated mechanism on the exhaust brakes protects against engine overpressure.
- The brakes use industry exclusive Arcor nitride coating on housing and components which increases resistance to wear and corrosion.
- Upgrade any standard exhaust brake to a PRXB for an improved design and a longer lasting brake with significantly increased performance.
- Product type :AUTO PART
- Package dimensions :10.414 cm L x23.114 cm W x30.48 cm H
- country of origin :Canada
- package weight :2.5lbs
14. Transmission Upgrades
When the LB7 launched in 2001, its transmission was one of its main attractions. It outshone all of the other trucks coming out at the time.
Unsurprisingly, 20 years later the Alison 1000 is no longer a market leader. It also does not cope well if you install other upgrades or modifications to your truck. So, we would recommend putting a transmission upgrade on your list.
There are many different elements of the transmission system you need to consider when upgrading it:
- The transmission itself
- Transmission cooler
- Transmission pan
- Transmission cooler lines
If you’re doing major upgrades to the rest of your truck, you may find it easier to install an all in one transmission upgrade. Rather than separately upgrading each part.
|It will allow you to upgrade your truck without worrying about transmission failure||These upgrades can be expensive|
|All in one upgrades are difficult to source|
- Best of coolers – MAG HYTEC
- Best of pans – Mishimoto
- Direct fit for all 2001-2003 Chevrolet/GMC 6.6L Duramax (LB7)
- Stacked-plate construction for maximum durability and superior cooling
- CNC-machined adapters make it easy to connect Mishimoto cooler to stock fluid lines or AN lines
- 174% greater core volume than stock cooler
- 192% greater external fin surface area over stock cooler and comes with the Mishimoto Lifetime Warranty
- Best of cooler lines – Fleece
- Peptide serum.
- Target multiple signs of ageing at once.
- The Ordinary.
- This products have NO safety seal.
As far as upgrades go, these feel kind of boring. However, they provide an essential foundation for all your future upgrades. You should definitely put this upgrade on your ‘to-do’ list.
15. Head Gasket Upgrades
Our final recommendation is to upgrade your LB7’s head gaskets. Like many other factory parts in this truck, they have a reputation. And not a good one. The head gaskets in the LB7 are known for failing.
The best way to deal with this is to get a gasket and head stud upgrade kit. Replace both parts at the same time and then rest easy, knowing you’ve solved one of the biggest issues with the LB7 Duramax.
|Prevents one of the most common LB7 failures||An extra price on top of purchasing the truck|
|Easy to install|
Here are our top upgrade kit recommendations:
- DIRECT FIT REPLACEMENT - Fits 6.6L L5P Chevrolet GMC Duramax 2017-2020 Models. Engineered to unleash more performance out of your vehicle. Centerless ground to assure perfect concentricity.
- ULTRA STRENGTH - XOTIC 7200 material properties allow for far greater tensile strength compared to 8740 chromoly steel head studs. Rated at 220,000 psi tensile strength. Threads rolled after heat treatment for optimum fatigue strength. Ample clamping strength prevents cylinder heads from lifting.
- EASY INSTALLATION - Broached stud ends install & make cylinder head removal easier. Installation manual is included with drawn diagrams to ease the installation process. Head studs are designed to retain cylinder seal even with today's extreme high pressure turbo systems. These studs far exceed clamping forces provided by standard head bolts.
- KIT INCLUDES - 36x Heads Studs, 36x Nuts, 36x Hardened Parallel Washer, 12x Rocker Arm Bolts, 1x 10mm Socket, 1x 16mm Socket, 1x 5mm Allen Wrench, 1x Fastener Assembly Lubricant & Instructions Manual. Black oxide finish protects from wear and tear. Hardened parallel washers allow for uniform load distribution and accurate torque readings.
- WORRY-FREE PURCHASE - Xotic Performance is dedicated to offering LIFETIME WARRANTY and full money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied. Rigorous quality inspections are undertaken to ensure premium product standards.
This is an easy upgrade that will solve one of the most common problems with the LB7. This is a purely preventative upgrade. You won’t see ‘improvements’ from installing it. But you will be able to drive your drunk without worrying about when your factory gasket is going to fail you.
There you have it, a list of the first 15 upgrades you should be doing to your LB7. Have you done any of them already? Are there some that surprised you?
Well, what are you waiting for?! Get your tools and start upgrading your truck!