There have been iconic engine combinations throughout the decades that purists will always claim to be “the greatest engine” ever produced. When talking to Gale Banks from Banks Power during the SEMA Show, he brought just that point up. “A 427 is just magic,” shared Banks. Our response was initially – yeah, the Chevy guys love them. But Banks was quick to point out that Ford also had a lot of success with the 427.
Recently, Banks Power has stepped up the displacement of the 6.6L Duramax to 7L or 427 cubic inch. They have achieved the additional displacement, thanks to an entirely new rotating assembly – and before you ask, nope they aren’t just taking the standard crank and stroking it.
Instead, they researched the problems the Duramax engines are having at higher RPM. They noticed that there is a common issue with the cranks breaking and decided it was better to start from scratch and address the problem “head on” rather then to work with something that already has a known issue.
First, they started by increasing the journal diameters by 3mm. By increasing the diameters, the cranks can handle more load and stress. Next, they moved the rod location out slightly to increase the stroke length. For the rods, they clocked the caps 40 degrees to clear the factory block by at least 2mm. Finally, they decided to introduce and design a steel piston to handle the higher heat and stresses of these high horsepower engines. With Banks Power being a Tier 1 engine manufacturer, they know all too well how to produce engines that can endure incredible durability tests. Two examples that were discussed are: the NATO 400 and 800 hour tests.
If you aren’t familiar with these tests, just know that they are basically designed to run the engine at full load, full RPM for either 400 or 800 hours. These tests truly push engines to their breaking point and there are few, if any, truck competition engines that can handle these types of tests. Banks competition engines are actually designed to meet these standards. So, when looking at their 1,500 horsepower “Sidewinder” engine in their dragster, realize that engine can run for 400 plus hours at 1,500 horsepower. That’s pretty incredible.
In addition to the new rotating assembly, Banks was displaying cylinder heads, blocks, intake manifolds and even one of the engines that started it all; their twin turbo small-block, that they originally designed in the ’60s (but have updated since). The Banks crew are all engine people and it really shows by their attention to detail. It would have been way easier to work with readily available parts but they go the extra mile to create new parts that not only fix known issues, but raise the bar completely.