Part Six: Fuel. More Fuel Improving a 2012 LML Duramax
Just six months into ownership of this 2012 2500HD Silverado we’ve tuned it (Edge Products Evolution CTS2), leveled it (Kryptonite Stage 3 Level Kit) and given it an aggressive look and better off-road capability with some Mickey Thompson tires and wheels. There are a few other bolt-ons that have helped move things along like a Deviant Race Parts hot-side intercooler pipe, Merchant Automotive transmission goodies and the Titanium 165gph lift pump from FASS Fuel. Picking up right there on the fuel side of things, this part of the build expands with a new fuel return sump kit and massive Titan mid-ship underbody replacement fuel tank.
If you’re someone who uses a diesel truck for heavy towing, you know just how convenient an extended fuel range can be. For the 2011+ trucks GM finally got smart and replaced the tiny 26-gallon tank used in 2001-2010 shortbeds with a bigger 36-gallon tank. The new tank is standard in every 2500 and 3500 model, regardless of wheelbase or cab variation, which was a welcome addition for most Duramax owners. Before the change you’d be looking for a fuel station every 200 miles. The bigger tank has helped increase that range, but there’s still a lot of real estate left underneath these trucks and Titan Fuel Tanks of Idaho Falls, Idaho, has taken advantage of that. For longbed trucks Titan was able to fit a 60-gallon tank, while the shortbeds aren’t far behind with 57-gallon mid-ship replacements available.
Titan tanks are designed to surpass the build quality of the factory plastic tanks and are produced right here in the USA at the same plant that produces fuel tanks for government military vehicles. They’re constructed of military-grade, cross-linked polyethylene and come complete with a powdercoated or plated steel mounting strap set, extruded rubber mounting bushings and the required accessories. For 2011-2016 models the larger tank offers a low fuel trap design and will only sit 1.5 inches lower than the factory tank’s shield. Once it’s installed you’ll be hard pressed to even tell it’s not the factory tank under there.
In Part 3 we installed a FASS Titanium 165gph lift pump to help with fuel filtration, remove air from the fuel before it gets to the engine, and to help extend the life of the factory CP4.2 injection pump. FASS had recommended the installation of a larger pickup tube and some modification to the factory fuel basket within the stock tank to feed that hungry lift pump, but we’d skipped that part knowing we’d soon be installing this big tank and we hated the thought of dropping the fuel tank twice.
Because we had opted to skip the fuel pickup modifications, our lift pump was running a little louder than it should because it was working harder to pull fuel through the restrictive stock pickup. We knew installing a sump kit with the new Titan tank would be the ultimate upgrade for supplying fuel to the Titanium pump. Deviant Race Parts (DRP) of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has been selling a billet fuel sump kit for a few years and now offers one with a fuel return port. The new design makes installation simple and allows the lift pump return line to plumb to the bottom side of the tank rather than through the fuel fill neck. Returning fuel below the fuel level within the tank leaves less chance of unwanted air being introduced into the system, which would create more aeration to the fuel and more work for the lift pump. The large feed port will feed fuel directly to the lift pump, reducing load on the pump, quieting it down and hopefully extending its lifespan. The sump also makes the fuel feed the lowest part of the system, which can eliminate some of the concerns with pump cavitation at low tank levels.
All of this was done in a home garage using basic hand tools, and while a two-post life and the truck six feet in their air would’ve made it easier, a couple of jack stands and some finagling to get the tank in/out from under the frame wasn’t too tough. This truck is currently averaging around 17.3 miles per gallon and the Titan tank now gives us close to a 1,000-mile range between fill-ups. Once this truck is outfitted for towing a fifth wheel trailer, the increased capacity should be especially nice when fuel mileage drops while dragging that extra 14,000 pounds of weekend fun. Over the course of the next few project installments this truck will be getting some much-needed traction bars, some paint-matched fender flares and an in-bed gooseneck hitch (elsewhere in this issue) so we can really put it to work. There are some exciting power adders on the docket as well with a CP4 pump upgrade and better flowing exhaust manifold and up-pipes ready to go in.
Titan Fuel Tanks
Deviant Race Parts
FASS Fuel Systems