Monster Jam’s Latest Monster is Duramax Powered
In the Monster Jam world of Monster Trucks, big, loud, and blown methanol engines have ruled the roost for years, but there’s another force rising on the horizon. The BroDozer Monster Truck is the newest member of the Monster Jam family and since it was inspired by the original BroDozer that Dave Sparks (a.k.a. Heavy D from the Diesel Brothers TV show) and his crew built, it was appropriate that it would be powered by a diesel engine. The original BroDozer was a Ford truck with a Power Stroke diesel but the Monster Jam team turned to the crew at Wagler Competition Products to build a stout Duramax engine to power this monster.
Just moving a 13,000-pound truck with 66-inch-tall by 45-inch-wide BKT tires requires a ton of grunt, and putting a highly built Duramax engine into the chassis is just what the doctor ordered to help move this truck along. Feld Motor Sports VP of Operations, Bill Easterly, is a diesel guy at heart and knew that working with the right people, he could bring a diesel into the Monster Jam fold to compete on the big stage against the supercharged methanol-burning monster trucks. To bring it together he worked with the team at Sparks Motors including Diesel Dave and Dave “Heavy D” Sparks along with the teams at Wagler Competition Products and S&S Diesel Motorsport, who worked to develop and tune a Duramax engine combination that could keep up with the methanol-burning Monster Jam trucks without blacking out the stadium.
After much design, testing, and evaluation, the engine team settled on a stock GM Duramax block that housed a Wagler Competition Products Race Series rotating assembly consisting of a Callies Ultra Billet crank shaft, WCP billet rods, and Ross pistons. The block is capped with a set of factory LBZ heads that the crew at Wagler ported and installed larger valves and PAC valve springs. A Wagler alternate-fire Street camshaft is used to actuate the valves through a set of WCP pushrods, while a WCP Street girdle and billet main caps work with ARP studs and fasteners to hold the package together from top to bottom.
After trying a few combinations of forced induction, the team settled on a compound turbo arrangement using a Precision Turbo 6870 T4 divided high pressure stage turbo that’s perched upon a Wagler T4 divided Twisted Pedestal. A Precision 3×3.5 turbo draws in air from the atmosphere through a large K&N air filter element that’s shielded by an Outerwears cover. After the intake charge is compressed it’s channeled to a custom air-to-air intercooler that the WCP team fabricated in-house then down into the engine through a WCP Street intake manifold. On the exhaust side, custom tubular log-style headers were built to send the exhaust up to the 6870 with a pair of Precision PW46 wastegates to regulate pressure. Outlet from the 6870 is channeled to the 3×3.5 turbo then out and up through a small stack at the base of the rear edge of the cab when the body is installed.
Of course, fuel requirements for the BroDozer would be high, so the team at S&S Diesel Motorsport built a pair of gear-driven 10mm CP3s that were installed in a billet WCP front cover. The high-pressure CP3s send the fuel to a set of S&S 200% over LBZ fuel injectors to deliver it into each cylinder. The S&S crew also handled the wire harnessing for the engine and configured and tuned the stand-alone Bosch Motorsport ECU that controls the Duramax. The package is said to deliver around 1,100 horsepower in its current trim and there’s more available when needed.
Power from the monster Duramax is sent to a Coan Powerglide variant HD transmission that was specially built and tuned for the diesel monster truck application. It’s linked to the engine through a Coan torque converter and Browell bell housing. To get the power from the transmission to the axles, the BroDozer utilizes an SCS drop box transfer case. Custom axles get the power from the transfer case to the axles with shielded and strapped U-joints to prevent a broken shaft from flying into the stands. Pinion brakes are used to stop the truck on demand thanks to TBM Brakes F4 calipers and Revolution rotors.
Chassis & Suspension
The monster truck’s tube chassis isn’t only the safety cage for the driver. It’s also the support for the 4-link suspension as well as the engine, transmission, and bodywork. Large link arms keep the front and rear steering axles under the chassis as the truck twists, jumps, and bumps over and through obstacles in competition. Within the safety cage, the driver is cradled in an ISP full-containment racing seat and held securely in place with a set of Simpson harnesses. The hydraulic steering system uses two rams on each axle, with the front controlled by the steering wheel through an orbital valve while the rear steering is electronically controlled with a switch on a handle next to the wheel. The system is incredibly fast and responsive, allowing the driver to precisely drive the beast while doing incredible stunts like driving on two wheels and racing around a tight track with the 13,000-pound machine.
The Sky High Debut
In the BroDozer’s Monster Jam debut at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 23, 2018, it was a roaring success. The crowd loved seeing the truck at the pit party and was thrilled to see the diesel monster race around the stadium and fly through the air as Heavy D delivered some of the biggest jumps of the night. Despite putting up one of the quickest times in the practice session the day before the event, he stumbled in the racing on Saturday night losing in the first round to Brad Allen in Brutus. Sparks finished in 10th in the 2-Wheel Skills Challenge after delivering a great two-wheel bicycle, but faltered on his second trick with an attempted stoppie. Heavy D came to life in the freestyle round of competition, going out second. He laid down a great routine with high-flying jumps, miraculous saves, and a little diesel smoke to thrill the crowd. He finished freestyle with a score of 9.003 that stood as the high score for most of the night. With three trucks to go BroDozer was still in first place, but those three were monster truck legends Ryan Anderson, Adam Anderson, and Tom Meents, who took the top three spots and dropped Sparks to fourth place. But a fourth-place finish in both the truck and driver’s first Monster Jam competition is a great start to what we hope will be a long and happy diesel adventure that’ll likely continue to grow.
Moving a 13,000-pound truck with 66-inch-tall by 45-inch-wide BKT tires requires a ton of grunt.
Crew chief Daniel Crawford told us: “After the Nashville event, there were a few bugs to work out, but after those are resolved, the BroDozer Monster Jam truck is going to be a long-standing competitor in Monster Jam events.” Sparks added: “There’s still some lag… once the truck started to spool, the boost would jump from 12 lbs to 40+ lbs in a split second. It was like driving a rocket ship around that track.”
For more photos and details on the truck as well as additional on track action from BroDozer’s test session and Monster Jam debut, check out the December/January 2019 issue of our sister magazine Ultimate Diesel Builder’s Guide or online at DieselWorldMag.com. Until then, look for the truck to be attacking the course at a Monster Jam event near you—to see the schedule and even videos of the BroDozer in action with Sparks behind the wheel tune your browser to MonsterJam.com.