BD’s TapShifter for Early Duramax’s

One of the cooler features of 2006-and-up Duramax-powered GM trucks is the shifter, which allows drivers to manually shift up and down gears, making the Allison automatic feel more like a manual transmission. This is especially helpful when passing cars on two-lane roads, trying to keep exhaust gas temperatures down while climbing hills, or while dyno testing, sled pulling, or drag racing a vehicle.

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Unfortunately, 2001-2005 truck owners were left out in the cold, until just recently, when a number of companies started marketing kits that could convert the early-style shifters, enabling any Duramax enthusiast to tap away up or down to their heart’s content. The shifter we chose to install was BD Diesel Performance’s offering, which we bought because of its competitive pricing, excellent instructions and simplicity of installation.

We performed the install on Brian Peterson’s 2003 Chevy, which with a hot tune, aftermarket turbo and fueling upgrades, could definitely benefit from manual controls. Brian reports that since the installation, he’s now able to keep the rpm up in spirited driving situations to make sure the aftermarket Garrett GT4094 turbo always stays up on boost, making passing and towing a breeze. Best of all, the install only took about thirty minutes and required only simple hand tools. Here’s how it went: DW

1. The first step of the install involved disconnecting the vehicle's batteries, negative sides first, then moving inside and removing the snap-in trim around the instrument cluster, plus the cover down by the knee bolster.

1. The first step of the install involved disconnecting the vehicle’s batteries, negative sides first, then moving inside and removing the snap-in trim around the instrument cluster, plus the cover down by the knee bolster.

2. The factory shifter, which just has a tow/haul button (but not a tap function) will be removed in just a few more steps.

2. The factory shifter, which just has a tow/haul button (but not a tap function) will be removed in just a few more steps.

3. To gain access to the shifter, the steering column cover must be removed. When doing this step, take extra care not to break the clips on these covers. Only slight force is needed.

3. To gain access to the shifter, the steering column cover must be removed. When doing this step, take extra care not to break the clips on these covers. Only slight force is needed.

4. With the cover off, the stock shifter can now be removed using a T27 Torx bit.

4. With the cover off, the stock shifter can now be removed using a T27 Torx bit.

5. With a quick shifter swap, the updated TapShifter changes out exactly into the same location and is then secured with the same T27 Torx bit.

5. With a quick shifter swap, the updated TapShifter changes out exactly into the same location and is then secured with the same T27 Torx bit.

6. After the new shifter is installed, the steering column cover is snapped back into place. We were careful not to catch or pinch the rubber shifter boot on anything at this point in the install.

6. After the new shifter is installed, the steering column cover is snapped back into place. We were careful not to catch or pinch the rubber shifter boot on anything at this point in the install.

7. With the column cover back on, the rest of the dash was then reassembled, which took just a few minutes.

7. With the column cover back on, the rest of the dash was then reassembled, which took just a few minutes.

8. Next, a little bit of wiring needs to be done. The TCM (which is located up on the driver's side next to the radiator) needs to be accessed to complete the install.

8. Next, a little bit of wiring needs to be done. The TCM (which is located up on the driver’s side next to the radiator) needs to be accessed to complete the install.

9. The factory red retainer is removed, and a BD-supplied blue retainer is installed to enable the TCM to function with the new and improved shifter.

9. The factory red retainer is removed, and a BD-supplied blue retainer is installed to enable the TCM to function with the new and improved shifter.

10. The BD harness is then connected to the engine harness and TCM to complete the updated wiring.

10. The BD harness is then connected to the engine harness and TCM to complete the updated wiring.

11. With the new TapShifter in place, owner Brian Peterson can now select the gear he wants for towing, passing, or in this case, dyno testing the truck. Holding the truck in one gear allows the driver to build boost and results in some slightly better power numbers than the truck previously put down.

11. With the new TapShifter in place, owner Brian Peterson can now select the gear he wants for towing, passing, or in this case, dyno testing the truck. Holding the truck in one gear allows the driver to build boost and results in some slightly better power numbers than the truck previously put down.

SOURCES:

BD Diesel

DieselPerformance.com

Brown’s Diesel

559.867.1111

BrownsDiesel.com