In 1981 Gale Banks was already an established name in the world of speed records on both land and sea. Since 1958 Banks was in business building engines originally to fund his way through college at Cal Poly Pomona. His earliest efforts were with a diesel engine in his Mother’s 1931 Ford Model A car. It was never lost on the young man how much power was available from the diesel using performance parts.
Over the next 20 years, Gale Banks Engineering set speed records in cars, trucks, boats and even motorhomes. He set tongues wagging of small block Chevrolet enthusiasts with the twin-turbo system in 1978. By 1997 he envisioned unlocking performance via reprogramming vehicle electronics. In 1981 though, General Motors was installing 6.2-liter diesel engines in light-duty trucks, Banks saw a market emerging.
Diesel pickup trucks are as much a part of the fabric of America as baseball, apple pie, and the bald eagle. The diesel has come a long way since Rudolph Diesel published his Theory and Construction of the Rational Heat Motor essay in 1893. Since then the diesel engine has rattled and grunted its way around the globe helping to build an entire civilization. They did it by rattling and blowing thick black smoke from their exhausts. There had to be a better way to get more power without the mess.
Banks set to work finding diesel performance on the 6.2-liter by adding a turbocharger and optimizing the intake and exhaust system. He came up with a module for the early overdrive transmissions reprogramming shift points and fluid pressures. After that, he set his mind to the 6.9-liter and 7.3-liter International engines that Ford was installing in F series pickups. When manufacturers saw the light and started turbocharging, Banks simply set about making the factory system better. Better intercoolers, better intakes, and exhausts, electronics. Anything Detroit could do, Banks could make better.
Today, Gale Banks Engineering occupies a 12-acre campus in Azusa, California. From this headquarters comes cutting edge diesel performance for your ride. That performance was featured here at the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas in the form of the new Derringer Tuner with Active Safety coupled with a Banks iDash 1.8 DataMonster.
Available at this time for the 2017-2019 Chevrolet and GMC Trucks with a 6.6-liter Duramax and the 2014-2018 Ram and Jeep vehicles with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel. Ford applications include the 2011-2016 Ford 3.5-liter EcoBoost and 2011-2019 Ford 6.7-liter.
The Derringer interfaces with the OBD-II port to communicate directly with the vehicle ECU for simple plug and play operation. Chips, flashes and fancy ECU’s would not make the kind of safe and reliable power Banks were looking for. He had to make a new kind of tuner. It took over 1,000 man-hours of development and all of their 20 years of tuner programming experience. What came of it was nothing short of revolutionary.
Different vehicles produce different results in gains of horsepower and torque. The Derringer has six different levels of power adjustments and even works while on cruise control. According to Banks, “Level 6 produces Best in Class performance and knocks you back in your seat. The Level 3 setting is for work use and has a great mid-range feel. When running Level 3 with a loaded work truck and/or pulling a trailer, your on-ramp merging speeds and passing times are greatly improved.”
The Duramax engine sees at maximum setting 61 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of extra torque while the 6.7-liter Ford Powerstroke gets 72 horsepower and 148 lb-ft more torque. Even the smaller Ford diesel sees impressive gains like a nine percent faster zero to 60 time. The 3.0-liter Chrysler engine enjoys similar gains.
Extra power is good, but what good is it if it is hurting your truck? Any kind of tuner can send your MAP and fuel rail pressures soaring but none of them monitor the entire spectrum of OBD-II inputs to make sure everything is nominal before applying that extra power. If the Derringer senses readings out of range (50 times per second!) the unit backs off to stock power levels. This technology that is not available in any other unit keeps your truck from getting damaged.
Having the power and diesel performance is all well and good, but what good is it if you cannot monitor it? To this end Banks has come up with the iDash 1.8 DataMonster. The Banks DataMonster can display up to eight parameters per gauge, multiple gauges can be installed if you desire. This unit tracks 100 separate parameters and can display exactly what you want.
The DataMonster also allows you a range of options from setting custom high and low alerts to any parameter to adjusting shift points to any RPM value. Need readouts of your engine performance, DataMonster is compatible with Excel. But make sure you have lots of printer paper because there is no limit to how long you can record data.
Not only can the DataMonster read from a stock ECU, it can read many aftermarket units as well. Motec, Haltec, AEM, Link, and Megasquirt are all supported with more coming soon. If 100 parameters are not enough for you Banks has an extended line of 40 different sensors to keep you busy. Just don’t forget to look at the road from time to time.
The competition has a hard time keeping up with Gale and his engineers. From the looks of things there are going to be some sleepless nights trying to match this new level of innovation.