The Forward-Thinking Parts That Made Big Horsepower Possible—As Well As Survivable

Last year’s drag racing and truck pulling season gifted the diesel world with countless innovations, each one geared toward solving a problem, improving performance, or maximizing durability. From trailblazing engines, billet-aluminum blocks and heads, emissions-friendly fuel system components and bolt-on suspension solutions to ingenious, inexpensive parts that solve widespread issues, the diesel industry is a hive of activity at the present time. From the biggest names to the smallest of shops, groundbreaking products continue to be brought to market—all of them helping to drive competition and street vehicles to new heights.

Whether we were at the drag strip, in the dirt, walking through the vendor’s midway at an event, or visiting a specific company, 2022 convinced us that diesel technology is as advanced as it’s ever been. In fact, we can’t think of a time in recent memory where the aftermarket has been so alive. This time, we’re highlighting all of the game-changing parts, pieces, engines, and fixes we came across last racing season. If what we saw in 2022 is any indication of what’s on the horizon for 2023, buckle up. Things are bound to get even more interesting.

Perhaps the biggest discovery within the top ranks of truck pulling in 2022 was Van Haisley’s use of a billet-aluminum block in his Super Stock class Dodge coined “Rock Hard Ram.” For those that don’t know, Van and his company, Haisley Machine, are credited with developing (and then perfecting) the Super B Cummins. The Super B engine program utilized a cast-iron 6.7L block that was sleeved and deck-plated, and Haisley was able to push them beyond 3,000 hp while keeping them rock-solid reliable. After spotting the billet-aluminum crankcase, our educated guess was that they’d reached the end of what the stock crankcase would tolerate, at least reliably.
Believe it or not, Haisley tells us the billet-aluminum block program has been in development for five years. Last year, the Rock Hard Ram was the only Haisley engine’d Super Stock running the new crankcase, but following a successful 2022 season you can bet it will make its way into several customer trucks for 2023. For added holding strength for the head gasket, Haisley machined the aluminum block to accept a 27th and 28th head stud. The cylinder head itself isn’t made of aluminum yet, but who knows what the future holds for Haisley’s engines now that the aluminum block is in the mix. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at Haisley Machine’s billet-aluminum block from us in the near future.
Aside from the billet-aluminum block, most of the usual suspects remain in Van Haisley’s Super Stock setup. That means a Sigma injection pump still hangs from the front cover, multi-feed, billet body injectors still light the fire, a dry sump oil system keeps the bearings happy, and a triple-turbo arrangement continues to cram triple-digit boost into his engine. The two-stage triples are externally wastegated, but the Cummins still sees as much as 165 psi of boost while the engine turns out more than 3,600 hp. Not bad for 391 cubic inches!
As if it wouldn’t be easy enough to sell a billet-aluminum block based engine program to high-end truck pullers, Van Haisley catapulted the Rock Hard Ram to a 348-foot victory at the 2022 Scheid Diesel Extravaganza. It’s the first time we’ve seen 13 feet put on a Second Place finisher in the Super Stock category in recent memory.
For several years, Scheid Diesel has been fine-tuning its in-house cylinder head game and now Pro Stock diesel puller Daniel Whalen is reaping the rewards. Whalen, who drives the blue, “Cumminzed Out” second-gen in the 3.6-inch smooth bore turbo category, saw immediate success with the addition of Scheid’s billet-aluminum 12-valve head. By the end of the summer, Whalen would be awarded as the Illinois Tractor Pulling Association’s Pro Stock diesel truck champion.
Up against the stiffest Pro Stock competition in the country at the 2022 Scheid Diesel Extravaganza, Daniel Whalen and his Dodge finished in Eighth Place on Saturday night which, thanks to a tightly packed field, was within inches of Third Place. The previous night the truck was even more impressive. Whalen stormed out to a Fifth Place distance, a strong showing in a group of 21 trucks—the largest group of trucks (or tractors) pitted against each other at the event.
Longtime Pro Stock diesel truck competitor, Keith Witt, came out swinging in 2022 with a billet-aluminum block and head Cummins from Scheid Diesel. In addition to improved strength, a lightweight aluminum engine allows more weight to be hung forward of the front axle in the weight box. In a class where OEM frames and factory bodies are mandatory, every amount of weight savings is huge in this class. Notice here that Witt’s all-aluminum Cummins is also deck-plated.
It wasn’t a new addition for 2022, but Keith Witt’s “Cross-Wired” Dodge sports a tilt-body setup now, which makes accessing the engine, turbo, clutch and virtually everything else much easier. Tilt bodies used to be exclusive to the Super Stock scene, but with horsepower comes the need to service equipment. After all, much of the trucks in the Pro Stock field are packing more than 1,800 hp at this point—a power level the Super Stocks were at roughly a decade ago.
You see Power Stroke engines here and there in truck pulling, but you don’t exactly see many of them in the Pro Stock category. In fact, there’s only one Power Stroke-powered Ford that we can think of, and it belongs to father and son, Ferenc and Nathan Vegh. In 2022 they dropped a 6.7L Power Stroke from Hypermax Engineering into their ’16 F-350. It’s a far cry from the P-pumped 7.3L they used to run in the truck, but the electronic common-rail system is likely much easier to fine-tune.
A challenger for the Pro Pulling League’s Pro Stock crown in the past, Keith Witt is no stranger to the winner’s circle. At the 2022 Scheid Diesel Extravaganza, where this photo was taken, he turned in a Fifth Place pull. His 322.37-foot distance was less than a foot out of Third Place.
At the heart of the 6.7L Power Stroke’s fuel system in the Jumping Jack Flash Ford is a pair of 12mm CP3’s. The stroker pumps were supplied by S&S Diesel Motorsport, a company that’s behind a boatload of truck pullers and drag racers that run at the front. Each 12mm CP3 can support roughly 1,200 hp, so needless to say there is plenty of fuel on tap to keep pace in the Pro Stock class.
The massive, T6 foot 3.6-inch smooth bore turbo on Jumping Jack Flash mounts at the rear of the 6.7L Power Stroke, and ironically enough not too far away from where the stock VGT might’ve been located. The Pro Stock charger sends compressed air through a Sandridge water-to-air intercooler that sits in the cab and back to the engine again via 4-inch piping, which eventually breaks into two smaller diameter pieces to feed air into each head. Up at the front cover you can see the oil pump for the engine’s dry sump system.
2022 proved a learning curve for team Jumping Jack Flash as Nathan and Ferenc faced a few unforeseen issues (one being the loss of the dry sump oil pump belt and a subsequent engine lockup), but it’s evident the power is there to be competitive. One thing is certain, the Vegh’s 6.7L-powered Ford is a fan favorite wherever it goes. That could be due to a high abundance of Blue Oval fans in the seats or purists who love seeing a Power Stroke propel a Ford down the track over a Cummins. Or (likely) it’s both of those reasons.
Although you can usually find WP Developments’ Ethan Patterson racing his third-gen Cummins on the no-prep scene, we snagged this shot of him competing in the ODSS Pro Street class at the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza. After showing mid-5-second potential, Ethan broke what sounded like an input shaft on the starting line during the first round of eliminations.
Any time the Super Stock 4×4 diesel trucks are in town, you can always see a lot of activity stemming from the Cummins Killer III camp. But when you’re on an island—i.e. campaigning a mechanically injected, modular aluminum, DX460 Wagler Duramax—it goes with the territory. Here, Randy Kleikamp from Proformance Pros, a big reason why the truck’s chassis and IFS suspension works so effectively, looks on.
With a Wagler DX460, triple Wimer 4.1 turbos and a 17mm P-pump, a rumored 3,600 hp is on tap in Cummins Killer III, which can only mean one thing: it’s just as capable of winning as the proven, Cummins power plants are. At the 2022 Scheid Diesel Extravaganza, driver Craig Dickey nearly put the world’s nastiest Duramax in the winner’s circle with a Second Place, 328.93-foot effort on Friday night.
We quickly discovered it was no input shaft that had broken on Ethan Patterson’s ride, but rather this driveshaft, which links his transmission with the divorced SCS transfer case he runs. For a company that spends a lot of its time developing high-end transmissions (think Chrysler four-speeds, the 68RFE and 4×4 TH400’s), this divorced-style transfer case setup is ideal and makes it much easier for Patterson to both service and try different transmission combinations.
Ever wondered what the difference was between a stock CP3 and Exergy Performance’s entry-level CP3, the Sportsman? For starters, the Sportsman produces 1800 bar vs. 1600 bar on a factory CP3. Sportsman pumps also come with larger, high-flow, double-guided valves (which send fuel out to the rail), allow fueling capability up to 4,500 rpm (vs. 3,000 rpm stock), and support up to 650 hp. Here, Exergy’s higher-flowing double-guided valve is visible on the right.
Another area that receives attention within Exergy’s Sportsman CP3 are the buckets (or cam buckets). The buckets ride on the flat area of cam (i.e. polygonal ring) and absorb pressure from the cam in order to keep the plunger above it from side-loading. Exergy includes buckets with considerably more contact area to ensure utmost durability in this section of the pump.
One component that’s prone to considerable wear within the CP3 is its plungers. To maximize their longevity in its Sportsman pumps, Exergy treats the plungers to DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating. As a result, the DLC coated plungers benefit from vastly improved wear resistance, sliding friction reduction, and high hardness. DLC coatings are common in the injector world, too.
On all Duramax and 6.7L Cummins-intended CP3’s it builds, Exergy builds its own gear pumps. This is done to supply better flow and higher low-pressure fuel supply, and Exergy’s tighter tolerances make the pump notably more efficient. We’ll note that Exergy recommends a 150-gph lift pump system be run, at a minimum, with any of its CP3’s.
Not unlike other big name companies, Exergy has developed a permanent solution for the rampant CP4.2 failures that occur with the LML Duramax. Its LML CP3 (shown) will be the center of a CP3 conversion kit offered through Dirty Hooker Diesel, Screamin’ Diesel Performance, and Wehrli Custom Fabrication. The CP3 conversion will be CARB-compliant, which means it will be a 50-state legal upgrade for ’11-’16 LML-powered GM trucks.
Pulling the inlet metering valve (i.e. MPROP, FCA, or volume control valve) is the first step in a suspected CP4.2 pump failure. Specifically, you’re looking for debris on the metering valve’s screen. The roughly 85-micron OEM screen has its work cut out for it in stopping pump debris from slipping past it, ultimately being passed on to the fuel injectors. Exergy came up with a higher quality, lower micron screen to limit (and in some cases completely stop) the amount of metal debris that gets through.
In addition to Exergy’s inlet metering valve screen featuring a 10-micron rating, it’s also double-rolled (left) as opposed to the factory, single-rolled screen. It might not seem like a subtle upgrade or an insignificant insurance item for some, but Exergy’s improved inlet metering valve has already been proven to save truck owners thousands in fuel system repairs.
Hoosier Hills Performance Engineering, a small upstart in southern Indiana, showed up on the drag racing scene in 2022 with a fully-adjustable, 100-percent bolt-on four link rear suspension system for ’01-’10 GM trucks. Better yet, they illustrated what it could do for cutting down 60-foot times by running it on their classic body Duramax in the 6.70 Index category.
With zero frame modification needed to make it work, Hoosier Hills Performance Engineering’s adjustable four-link system calls for 10 holes to be drilled prior to bolting everything in place. There is no cutting, no having to remove rivets, no removal of spring hangers, and no welding of any kind. Its four-link setup works on all ’01-’10 GM 2500 and 3500 HD’s, are made to order, and can be had with customer-specified custom powder coat colors. The kit starts at $4,999 without shocks.
Out on the track, Hoosier Hills Performance Engineering’s four-link system put its Duramax right in the thick of things in the 6.70 Index class at ODSS Outlaw Diesel Revenge. Driver Kyle Beck made it to the third round of eliminations thanks to the consistent launches and repeatable 60-foots provided by the company’s bolt-on system.
Meet the problem-solving part you didn’t know you needed until you decided to swap turbos on your 6.7L Cummins. Made by Fleece Performance Engineering, it’s a silicone turbo oil drain tube and is flexible, unlike the factory steel tube. It also boasts a larger inside diameter than the stock oil drain tube. Sold as a kit, Fleece’s turbo drain tube comes with anodized billet-aluminum fittings, integral O-rings for a leak-free seal, and brand-new fasteners.


Exergy Performance

Fleece Performance Engineering

Haisley Machine

Hoosier Hills Performance Engineering

Hypermax Engineering

Proformance Pros

Sandridge Custom

S&S Diesel Motorsports

Scheid Diesel

Wagler Competition Products

Wimer Fuel Injection & Turbo

WP Developments


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