Diesel World - - Contents -

The ba­sic Duramax en­gine hasn’t changed much since GM put it in the first HD Sil­ver­ado and Sierra back in 2001. It’s a good, solid en­gine that per­forms well and can last for hun­dreds of thou­sands of miles at or near stock power lev­els. But for sled pullers, rac­ers and hard­core diesel per­for­mance en­thu­si­asts that want more out of the Duramax plat­form, the en­gine’s in­ter­nals need to be re­worked to re­li­ably make more power and push the per­for­mance lim­its. Jeremy Wagler and his team at Wagler Com­pe­ti­tion Prod­ucts in Odin, In­di­ana, have been at the fore­front of push­ing the Duramax per­for­mance en­ve­lope for years now since launch­ing their first af­ter­mar­ket per­for­mance cylin­der head in 2013. In ad­di­tion to their ex­ten­sive cylin­der head work, the team at WCP has ex­panded its fa­cil­i­ties and ca­pa­bil­i­ties so the com­pany now of­fers com­plete Duramax neu­tral-bal­anced ro­tat­ing assemblies, com­plete en­gine builds, forged con­nect­ing rods, as­sem­bled short blocks and more.


Af­ter the 2016 Wagler Diesel Com­pe­ti­tion in El­nora, Ind., we were able to hang out at the WCP shop for a few days and fol­low along with a Duramax en­gine build that is ex­pected to pro­duce well over 2,000 horse­power

for a new drag race ve­hi­cle that’s in the works. Like their other en­gines, this build starts with a fac­tory GM block that is cleaned, checked and ma­chined in-house to WCP spec­i­fi­ca­tions. Each block is honed to the de­sired cylin­der bore, then decked and line-bored be­fore new bear­ings are in­stalled. To help seal in the com­bus­tion charge un­der high-boost and high-rpm op­er­a­tion, the block is ma­chined for fire rings to work with the Vic­tor Reinz head gas­ket set.


The WCP Race en­gine is built with an in­ter­nally bal­anced Cal­lies Per­for­mance Prod­ucts billet crank­shaft cap­tured by Wagler billet main caps with ARP studs and HX Race bear­ings. The crank swings a set of WCP Hemi wrist pin con­nect­ing rods and Ross Racing pis­tons. The pis­tons are se­cured to the rods with Trend Per­for­mance Top Fuel Hemi wrist pins and dual spi­ral clips, while To­tal Seal rings are used to seal in the com­bus­tion pres­sure. Since the com­plete ro­tat­ing as­sem­bly is in­ter­nally bal­anced, a zero-bal­ance Sun­coast flex­plate is used on the tail end of the crank with a WCP/ATI Per­for­mance Prod­ucts damper in­stalled on the front to han­dle har­monic vi­bra­tions. High per­for­mance ARP bolts and studs are used through­out the en­gine as­sem­bly to en­sure that it all holds to­gether well. With the stock Duramax 3.9-inch stroke and a 4.100-inch cylin­der bore, which al­lows the use of larger 35 and 36mm valves (com­pared to 31 and 33mm stock), the en­gine will have about 412 cu­bic inches of dis­place­ment, ef­fec­tively mak­ing it a 6.8L Duramax.


Top­ping the WCP Race short block you will find a set of sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Wagler Com­pe­ti­tion X Se­ries cylin­der heads. The raw ma­te­rial is sourced from a new foundry that de­liv­ers im­proved met­al­lurgy, lead­ing to im­prove­ments in the head con­struc­tion. In ad­di­tion to CNC port­ing and hand-blend­ing, the heads fea­ture over­sized valves for more air­flow in and out of the cylin­der to make more power. The valves are ac­tu­ated by an al­ter­nate-fire WCP camshaft, stock GM roller lifters, Wcp/trend Per­for­mance chro­moly pushrods, and Wagler billet roller-tip rocker arms. WCP Com­pe­ti­tion bee­hive valve springs and ti­ta­nium re­tain­ers con­trol the valves, while mas­sive ma­chined billet alu­minum valve cov­ers with sight win­dows on top are used to cap off and con­tain the val­ve­train and S&S Diesel Mo­tor­sport fuel in­jec­tor assemblies.


Ad­di­tion­ally, the block is strength­ened with a full billet steel 1-inch Wagler Race Girdle that ties into ma­chined 2-inch alu­minum front and rear plates, as well as the pan rails on the block. For bet­ter oil­ing and less re­quired oil pan depth, the en­gine also

uses a billet alu­minum dry sump oil pan along with a dry sump pump. The ma­chined front cover also ac­cepts the WCP di­rect-drive, triple-cp3 mount­ing kit to drive all three high-pres­sure fuel pumps di­rectly from the cam gear rather than a belt drive as they are with other kits. In ad­di­tion to a very large set of Pro Mod Pre­ci­sion Turbo com­pound tur­bos, this en­gine was orig­i­nally planned to be topped by the Wagler airto-wa­ter in­ter­cooler man­i­fold. But to save weight and com­plex­ity they de­cided that it will be topped with the Wagler billet in­take man­i­fold plumbed with mul­ti­ple nitrous spray bars and enough laugh­ing gas to sup­ply a den­tist of­fice for months.

The Wagler crew built this par­tic­u­lar Duramax en­gine for a high-pro­file racer who plans to in­stall the en­gine in a new ve­hi­cle that’s be­ing built, but who also wants to re­main anony­mous un­til the new racer is fin­ished. Once it’s done, we will line it up in our Canon viewfinder and bring you a full fea­ture on the top-se­cret build. In the mean­time, fol­low along over the next few pages for an overview of Steven Fuhrman build­ing this 2,000+hp Duramax en­gine that will power the new cre­ation.

01 The neu­tral-bal­anced ro­tat­ing as­sem­bly is the heart of the WCP Race Se­ries en­gine. The kit is avail­able to pur­chase so you can build your own en­gine—or you can have the team at Wagler build the en­gine for you.

03 Af­ter the fac­tory GM Duramax block com­pletes its tour of the Wagler ma­chine shop, Steven Fuhrman dresses it up with a fresh coat of paint.

02 Wagler in­ter­nally bal­ances the crankshafts in-house.

04 The Wagler crew does not mass-pro­duce their en­gines; they are each hand-as­sem­bled in the en­gine room. As you can see, most of the in­ter­nal parts are laid out on the counter wait­ing to be put into the freshly ma­chined Duramax block.

08 Next, Fuhrman flipped the block over and lu­bri­cated the cylin­der bores and pis­tons be­fore slip­ping them into their new home in the Duramax en­gine block.

07 While Fuhrman was in­stalling the crank, Jeremy Wagler joined the WCP rods to the Ross pis­tons.

05 Af­ter in­stalling and lu­bri­cat­ing the lower crank bear­ings, Fuhrman gently unites the Cal­lies crank with the Duramax block.

06 Then he in­stalls a set of ARP as­sem­bly studs and the WCP billet main caps be­fore ver­i­fy­ing the proper bear­ing clear­ance on the fully torqued main caps.

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