Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Contents -

Our High­light Reel from SEMA 2017

Each year in Novem­ber Las Ve­gas plays host to the Spe­cialty Equip­ment Mar­ket As­so­ci­a­tion (SEMA) show, where thou­sands of buy­ers, sell­ers and com­pa­nies get to­gether to revel in the best the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try has to of­fer. Diesels and diesel-pow­ered trucks were hot, as there were tons of com­pres­sion-ig­ni­tion prod­ucts and rides to drool over.

Diesel tech­nol­ogy has pro­gressed quite a bit in the last few years, and SEMA is def­i­nitely a spot where com­pa­nies could strut their stuff. Tun­ing took a big step for­ward as EZ Lynk showed off their cloud tun­ing soft­ware, which al­lows for tun­ing and data log­ging in real time. As for rides, the ’37 Chevy in the Premier Per­for­mance booth was pack­ing some se­ri­ous heat in the form of a 500ci Du­ra­max-based Wa­gler Com­pe­ti­tion Prod­ucts DX500 en­gine that was fit­ted with a huge PSI screw blower in­stead of the nor­mal mul­ti­ple tur­bos.

New prod­ucts are a big part of SEMA, and here too the per­for­mance in­dus­try was out in full sup­port of diesels and diesel per­for­mance. Tuners for every­thing from Vp44-pumped Rams to ’17 Fords were on full dis­play, as com­pa­nies like Banks, Bully Dog, PPE, SCT and more had the lat­est in com­put­er­ized diesel per­for­mance. For those look­ing for hard parts like in­takes, tur­bos, in­ter­cool­ers or ex­haust man­i­folds, there were ven­dors like afe, BD Diesel, Borg­warner, Gar­rett, S&B and many oth­ers to pe­ruse.

If en­gine per­for­mance isn’t your thing, there was also a plethora of sus­pen­sion sys­tems and com­po­nents, wheels and tires avail­able for view­ing at SEMA. Amer­i­can Force was still rolling strong in the wheel de­part­ment, although a lot of up-and-com­ing wheel com­pa­nies are start­ing to get into the diesel mar­ket. The ’17 Fords seemed to be the hot trucks to build, and we even saw a lifted F-350 diesel in the Ford

dis­play. The “big­ger is bet­ter” trend was def­i­nitely alive in this de­part­ment, as we saw dou­ble-digit lifts (over 10 inches) for Fords, GMS and Rams alike.

We also spot­ted a num­ber of diesel swaps at SEMA, which shows that diesel per­for­mance has in­fil­trated the main­stream per­for­mance mar­ket. It looked like 12-valve Cum­mins en­gines were the pow­er­plant of choice, as more than half of the swaps we saw had these me­chan­i­cal mon­sters, some of which were push­ing up­wards of 800 horse­power! The va­ri­ety of these diesel swaps was also very di­verse, as we saw every­thing from rat rods, to semis, to show trucks that were Cum­mins-pow­ered.

Af­ter three days of the wildest rides and prod­ucts one could imag­ine, we left SEMA with hun­dreds of pho­tos and the be­lief that diesel per­for­mance isn't go­ing any­where soon. Tun­ing is still alive and well, en­gine swaps are nu­mer­ous, and tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion is still pro­gress­ing at a rapid pace. The point was clear—what­ever diesel you set out to build, the af­ter­mar­ket per­for­mance diesel in­dus­try has your back. UDBG

The Premier Per­for­mance booth had this awe­some ’37 Chevy Pro Mod. The EZ Lynk-spon­sored coupe (which most peo­ple thought was gas-pow­ered), was mo­ti­vated by a Du­ra­max-based DX500 from Wa­gler Com­pe­ti­tion Prod­ucts that was topped with a huge PSI screw...

Row af­ter row of diesel trucks could be seen in the Amer­i­can Force Wheel dis­play area as crowds gawked at the lat­est forged cre­ations from the man­u­fac­turer and the cool trucks that wore them.

There are all types of rides at SEMA, and this 5.9L Cum­mins-pow­ered car hauler pegged the cool fac­tor. The com­pound turbo rig was es­ti­mated to pro­duce 800 hp.

Borg­warner has in­tro­duced a num­ber of ad­vanced, high-flow­ing SX-E tur­bocharg­ers over the past cou­ple years. So far the com­pres­sors have been con­fined to 69mm in size, but they had this even larger 72mm ver­sion on dis­play at SEMA, which should be out in...

Wheels have got­ten larger and louder over the years. We dig this wild new gold color from Hos­tile Wheels.

Gone are the sim­ple spring lifts of years past. The new nor­mal for ver­ti­cally mod­i­fied trucks is re­mote reser­voir shocks com­ple­mented by air springs—like the setup on this Ram.

Like sar­dines freed from a can, the huge throng of per­for­mance au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try folks mi­grate into the Las Ve­gas Con­ven­tion Cen­ter as soon as the doors open.

This uniquely col­ored Ram sported a cool bumper from Mer­ce­nary Of­froad, which matches the body lines and gives an im­mense amount of tire clear­ance.

Rhino Lin­ings has been in the mar­ket for years with their tough line of bed­lin­ers. For those who didn’t be­lieve in their dura­bil­ity, they had this “wreck­ing room” set up where you could try and smash var­i­ous Rhino-lined prod­ucts. It was great fun.

A num­ber of tire com­pa­nies were at SEMA, like Cooper Tires, which spe­cial­izes in off-road and diesel-spe­cific tires.

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