With a few bolt-ons and some tuning it’s pretty easy to get a lot of power and torque out of the Duramax engines that GM has delivered in the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra beginning in 2001. Unfortunately, the factory rubber motor mounts are not up to task of keeping the engine solidly located between the frame rails. In many cases, we see the factory mounts fail with stock power levels and they can literally be ripped apart by big-power trucks. Of course, if the engine is twisting around in the chassis it’s putting more stress on the transmission case and mount, and risking damaging external engine components from contact.
Rather than simply replacing the factory rubber mounts each time they fail, the team at Merchant Automotive in Zeeland, Michigan, has developed a permanent motor mount solution. The MA High Performance Motor Mounts are fabricated in-house from plate steel that is precision TIG welded in two halves. These two halves are then united by high-grade fasteners and polyurethane bushings to keep even high-power Duramax engines firmly in place. The mounts are also powder-coated in Merchant Automotive’s signature bright orange color to protect the steel and ensure long-lasting performance of the mounts.
We visited Merchant’s shop and followed along as shop technician Jake Phaff installed a set on shop fabricator Joe Beaudoin’s newly purchased 230,000-mile 2003 GMC Sierra 2500HD. Ironically, Beaudoin is the welder who fabricates the motor mounts, and he knew the high-mileage truck he purchased needed a set of mounts as you could literally watch the motor rock back and forth when you revved the engine even with the truck in park. After removing the factory mounts, we found that they had completely failed with the rubber that fuses the two mounting plates together torn away. The failure meant that the engine was really just sitting on rubber pads and not truly bolted to the chassis.
With the aid of the two-post truck lift and a muffler, jack Phaff was able to remove the worn-out factory mounts and replace them with a new set of Merchant Automotive mounts in about two hours including time for our typical photography slowdowns. While it’s easier to work on and shoot photos when performing the upgrade on a vehicle lift, this is also a project that can be done in your garage or driveway using a quality set of heavy-duty jack stands and a good floor jack. If you choose to perform the installation yourself be sure to practice safe shop techniques especially when working below the truck.
With the bright orange finish and polished MA logo, these motor mounts are undoubtedly good-looking parts for your Duramax-equipped truck, but unfortunately when they’re installed they can barely be seen. So if you’re looking to add some bling to your truck this might not be the right product for you. But, if you want to lock down your Duramax engine solidly into your truck’s chassis so that it doesn’t rock around like a boat in rough seas the Merchant Automotive High Performance Motor Mounts are the product for you and your truck. Installing a set in your GM truck will help to ensure that the engine stays firmly in place and help to transmit all of the power to the driveline rather than waste any twisting the engine in the chassis. DW