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15 Best LB7 Duramax Performance Upgrades

Improving 2001-2004 LB7 Duramax Diesel Performance

When it was released, the LB7 Duramax was incredibly impressive. It had 235 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque, tremendously more power than earlier GM diesel trucks. In the last year the it was offered, stock performance was increased to 300 horsepower and 520 lb-ft of torque. That didn’t stop diesel performance companies from coming up with creative way to improve the LB7 even more though. In fact, there are a number of LB7 Duramax performance upgrades that every owner of these trucks should consider. In this post, we’re going to list 15 of the best LB7 Duramax upgrades for these trucks. If we had an LB7, these are the products we would have on our own truck. Let’s get in to it!

Why You Should Upgrade Your LB7

Why should you upgrade your 6.6L LB7 Duramax Diesel engine? Well, for starters, even in its best year, 2004, the LB7 Duramax can hardly compete with today’s modern diesels. They offer twice the horsepower, torque, and tow capacity of the original Duramax. It doesn’t have to stay that way though. The 15 LB7 Duramax performance upgrades listed below significantly improve the drivability and performance of the original Duramax.

Many people are still purchasing older trucks like the LB7 Duramax and upgrading them because they cost a fraction of the newer trucks. While everyone is aware of common LB7 Duramax problems, they can even be made more reliable by some of these performance upgrades. In fact, many of these upgrades were designed to address their problems specifically.

LB7 Duramax performance upgrades not only give you more horsepower, and torque, but they can also increase durability, and fuel economy! Before buying any performance products, consider what you’re going to use your truck for. Then base your purchasing decision on that. In this article, we’re going to give you our favorite LB7 Duramax performance upgrades for a number of goals. Whether you’re going to be towing heavy, racing, or just daily driving this list has a number of LB7 Duramax performance upgrades that you should have on your truck.

25 Best LB7 Duramax Performance Upgrades
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1. LB7 Duramax Tuning

When it comes to diesel trucks, it’s hard to beat tuning if you want immediate increases in horsepower, torque, fuel economy, and overall drivability improvements. For this reason, tuning is the first LB7 Duramax performance upgrade on our list. Tuning provides immediate results and is fairly inexpensive. If you’re looking to improve your LB7 quickly, and on a budget, tunes may be all you need.

Now, you have to be careful when selecting LB7 Duramax tuning. Many tuners come pre-loaded with tunes of varying power levels. Custom tuning also often offers different power levels too.  If you want your LB7 Duramax to continue to be reliable, you may want to consider keeping your tuner at lower tune settings. If you keep it at higher settings, you could experience common LB7 problems like a blown head gasket, or you may even limp mode your Allison 1000 transmission.

Different Types of LB7 Duramax Tuners

Custom Tuning

Your goals should determine what tuning you are going to purchase. If you plan on heavily modifying your truck and using it in competitions, you are going to need custom tuning. Custom tuning like EFI Live offers the best performance and totally customizable settings to accommodate all kinds of different performance mods. If you are only going to lightly modify your LB7, you can also use custom tuning from Efi Live. Just make sure you keep your vehicle on lower settings and opt-in for TCM tuning.

LB7 Duramax Efi Live Custom Tuning Performance Upgrade

EFI Live Custom Tuning

Custom tuning with the EFI Live tuner will net you the highest horsepower and torque amongst tuners. If you’re building a competition vehicle, this is what you’re going to want to use. Even a daily driven truck can benefit from EFI Live tuning. Check out PPEI or Duramaxtuner.com for quality LB7 Duramax custom tunes.

Box Tuners

Another option, is to go with a box tuner. These tuners have pre-loaded tunes that have been tested on a number of trucks to provide moderate tuning that still increase performance and are perfect for a daily driver. These tunes may offer slightly lower performance increases, but they’re also at a fraction of the price. Many of these tuners are also Carb approved and EPA tested.

There are a number of quality reliable box tuners out there for the LB7 Duramax. Banks Power offers the Six-Gun Diesel tuner for gains of up to 127 horsepower and 345 lb-ft of torque. The Edge Juice with Attitude is another quality plug and play LB7 Duramax tuner. It can be paired with an Edge CTS3 Insight for real-time data monitoring as well! If you want monitoring and tuning all in one product, check out the new Edge Evolution CTS3. It has tuning and data parameter monitoring all in one unit.

Banks Power Six-Gun Diesel Tuner

The Six-Gun Diesel tuner from Banks Power is a well-tested box tuner that offers performance increases similar to custom tuning! It also costs a fraction of the price. As with anything developed by Banks Power, you can view their actual testing results on this product too.

Edge Juice /W Attitude CTS2

The Edge Juice With Attitude offers up to 150 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque over stock. It also allows real-time data monitoring and switch-on-the-fly tunes. That means you can switch between tunes easily, without having to re-flash the truck.

Edge Evolution CTS3 Diesel TUner for LB7 Duramax

Edge Evolution CTS3

The Evolution CTS3 is an all-in-one LB7 Duramax tuner and monitoring solution. It offers tuning for improved performance with gains of up to 100 horsepower and 210 lb-ft or torque. It also has the built in monitoring capabilities of the Edge CTS3 insight.

2. Cold Air Intakes

The factory air intake on the LB7 Duramax is nothing to boast about. It’s restrictive, and it’s basic design can actual hinder performance more than it helps. Many LB7 Duramax trucks experience higher intake air temperatures because hot air is being pulled from the engine bay. The stock filter is also too restrictive.

If you want to improve performance, an aftermarket cold air intake can provide pretty solid gains for a cheap price. Aftermarket cold air intakes like the LB7 Duramax Banks Power Ram Air System provide the engine with cooler, denser air which results in more power. There are several other CAI systems out there for the LB7 Duramax too. Check out some of our favorites below!


Best LB7 Duramax Cold Air Intakes:

Banks Power LB7 Duramax Ram Air Cold Air Intake System : LB7 Duramax Upgrades

Banks Ram-Air Intake System

The Banks Ram Air Intake system is the perfect CAI upgrade to pair with their Six-Gun or EconoMind Diesel Tuners. It outflows the factory intake by 57%, and brings cooler, denser air to the engine. This results in respectable performance gains, lower EGTs, and better fuel economy.

AFE Power Momentum Cold Air Intake SYstem : LB7 Duramax Performance Upgrades

AFE POWER MOMENTUM CAI

The Momentum Cold Air Intake System for the LB7 Duramax has been shown to improve performance by 24 horsepower and 44 lb-ft of torque. Overall, it outflows the stock air intake by 32%!

S&B Filters Cold Air Intake

The S&B Cold Air Intake system outflows the stock intake system by over 40%. It also looks great under the hood, and features a massive filter for better engine protection.

3. Exhaust Systems

Unlike modern diesels featuring a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and urea injection, the LB7 is almost emissions free. These emissions devices greatly reduce CO2 emissions, however it comes at a price. They often hinder performance and also reduce overall reliability. Therefore, the lack of these emissions work in the LB7’s favor. That doesn’t mean they can’t be improved through.

Any factory exhaust, even the factory one of the LB7 still has much that can be improved. How exactly does an aftermarket exhaust improve LB7 Duramax performance though? Well, for starters, a larger, free-flowing exhaust reduces exhaust gas temperatures (EGTS) and back pressure. Horsepower and torque numbers are also increased slightly. If you’re like me and love the sound of your diesel, you’ll also notice your exhaust will be louder. It’s like music to my ears when I hit the gas pedal.

For the best performance on off-road or competition vehicle, you should purchase a turbo-back exhaust.  These exhausts offer a truly free-flowing exhaust from the turbo to the exhaust tip. If not, you can also purchase a quality cat-back system. These will also reduce back pressure and improve overall exhaust flow. Check out a system like the Banks Power Monster Exhaust.

4. Lift Pump Systems

The lack of a lift pump results in the CP3 injection pump having to pull fuel from the tank. This puts unnecessary strain on the CP3, and also results in inadequate fuel rail pressure when your truck has higher performance levels than stock.  In fact, if you’re going to be tuning your truck, purchasing a lift pump for your LB7 Duramax is a good idea. It’ll help you get the most from your tunes, and it’ll provide constant fuel to the injection pump.

Obviously, a fuel lift pump is a good idea for a number of reasons. We haven’t mentioned their better fuel filtration qualities though! Lift pump systems like the Air Dog or Fass systems provide your engine with much better fuel quality. They come equipped with a new fuel filter and water separator that offer filtration of up to 3 microns. Better quality fuel results in more power, better fuel economy, and improved fuel system durability. Who doesn’t want that?

Air Dog II – 4G 100 GPH Lift Pump System

The Air Dog II 100 GPH Lift Pump System is meant for stock or slightly modified 2001-2010 Duramax trucks. One of the most common Duramax problems is that they lack a factory lift pump. By adding one you take a load off the injection pump and get better quality fuel. This improves power and fuel economy because of the superior fuel filtration you get.

5. Intercoolers

Intercoolers are one of the best upgrades for any diesel truck. That is especially the case on the LB7 Duramax however, because they are susceptible to head gasket failure. Intercoolers help lower EGTs because they provide cooler, denser air to the engine for combustion. Excessively high EGTs can be a factor in head gasket failure. That doesn’t mean they’ll totally fix the issue however, as more head gasket failures on the LB7 Duramax are a result of a poor factory design.

The cooler, denser air an aftermarket intercooler provides doesn’t only provide lower EGTs, but it increases performance too. Intercoolers upgrade kits like Bank’s Power Techni-Cooler increase horsepower, torque, and fuel economy! They also reduce restrictions resulting in much better air-flow than the factory set-up.

Banks Power Techni-Cooler Intercooler

The Banks Techni-Cooler is a fantastic LB7 Duramax upgrade because it helps bring cooler, denser air to the engine. In fact, it has 34% more flow volume. This results in gains in performance, fuel economy, and it greatly reduces EGTs.

6. LB7 Cooling System Upgrades

The LB7 Duramax is notorious for overheating and it’s one of the most common problems associated with these trucks. There are a number of reasons why, including small radiators and fans, water pump issues, and coolant leaks. Let’s dive a little deeper into exactly what problems exist and what LB7 Duramax cooling performance upgrades can address these issues.

Aftermarket Radiators

First, the LB7 has a small radiator and fan, that makes it difficult to adequately cool the engine. This is especially true during summer months and when towing heavy. When the radiator gets dirty or damaged, it can perform even worse. There are aftermarket LB7 Duramax radiators that perform better than stock and are bolt-in replacements. Maybe your LB7 Duramax just has a lot of miles on it, or it’s just getting old. Every LB7 out there is at least 15 years old from the time I’m writing this. Time may be up for an upgrade! Here’s some of our favorite LB7 Duramax radiators available.

AFE BladeRunner Radiator for LB7 Duramax

AFE Power Bladerunner Radiator

The AFE Power Bladerunner Radiator for the LB7 Duramax is 25% larger than the factory radiator. This translates to superior cooling and better performance. It also featured aircraft-grade welding for superior durability.

Mishimoto LB7 Duramax Performance Radiator Upgrade

Mishimoto LB7 Replacement Radiator

Manufactured from aircraft grade aluminum, Mishimoto’s LB7 Duramax Performance Radiator features a 100% aluminum core and polished end tanks. It offers superior cooling efficiency compared to OEM units.

Water Pumps

Unlike the outright water pump failures that occur in later generations because of a plastic impeller, the LB7 Duramax most frequently suffers from a leaking water pump. Overtime the seals in the water pump can deteriorate. This results in lost coolant which can cause overheating.

That doesn’t mean outright water pump can’t occur though. Sometimes the water pump can fail because of impeller walk, when the impeller spins on the shaft. This leads to a big time reduction in cooling system efficiency and is often a cause of overheating.

Aftermarket LB7 Duramax water pumps are often tig-welded to prevent this problem from happening again. If you’re going to replace your water pump, you’ll find you don’t want to do it again. It’s a pain. So make sure you get a quality water pump. There are several aftermarket welded water pumps available.

LB7 DUramax Problems: Water Pumps

Sinister Diesel Welded Water Pump

Sinister Diesel Water Pump For The LB7 Duramax

LB7 Duramax Water Pump Upgrade Kit From Merchant Automotive

Merchant Automotive Water Pump Kit

Merchant Automotive Water Pump Kit Part # 10541

7. Upgrade Your LB7 Duramax Head Gaskets

The factory head gaskets on the LB7 Duramax are known for failing. It’s not a matter of if you will experience head gasket failures, but when. This is especially true if you’re going to be modifying your truck and improving its performance. When this failure occurs, replace your factory head gasket with a re-designed one that features an updated design. You should also invest in new upgraded head studs, like the ARP head stud kit. They offer vastly superior clamp-down strength and they will make sure you never experience these same issues again.

ARP Head Stud Kit for LB7 Duramax engines
ARP Head Stud Kit 230-4201

Solve one of the most common LB7 Duramax problems with ARP Head studs! These provide vastly superior clamping force than the factory head studs, and can support significantly more horsepower and torque.

PartPart #
Head Gasket (Left)GM 12637785
Head Gasket (Right)GM 12637788

8. LB7 Duramax Injectors

If your LB7 Duramax injectors are in need of replacement, or if your truck is down for the count because of the notorious cracking injector the LB7 Duramax is known for, it’s time for an upgrade! A new GM injector with the updated design is a good replacement for daily driven trucks if you’re not seeking a ton of horsepower and just want factory-like reliability.

Bosch LB7 Duramax Factory Replacement Injectors

Bosch Factory Replacement Injectors

If you’re not seeking higher performance numbers, the factory Bosch LB7 Duramax injector featuring a new design and internals is all you need! These solve the factory Lb7 Duramax injectors’ original design, making them more reliable than the original factory design.

If you’re seeking maximal horsepower and torque, you can buy upgrades injectors with bigger nozzles. These injectors provide more fuel, but they often require other upgrades. You don’t want to add fuel without also offering more air too. That’s why the next item on our LB7 Duramax performance upgrades list is the turbocharger.

DDP Performance Upgrade Kit

DPP Performance Injector Set

Upgrade your factory injectors and replace them with injectors that will improve performance! If you’re looking for higher horsepower and torque and want to dominate at the track, consider one of DDP’S Performance injector sets. DDP makes aftermarket injectors for almost all diesel trucks.

Because of the factory design, your OEM injector lines may be rusty. Rusty injector lines can cause issues with the injectors or other fuel system components.

DDP Fuel Injector Line Kit LB7 Duramax

DDP Fuel Injector Line Set

DDP Fuel Injector Lines for the LB7 Duramax

9. LB7 Duramax Turbocharger Upgrades

Drop-In Turbocharger Kits

The factory IHI turbocharger on the LB7 Duramax isn’t really a problem, it just limits performance. You’re not going to make it above 500 horsepower with the factory set-up. With that being said, there are much better units that are essentially “drop-in” for better everyday driving and towing performance.  These turbochargers allow you to get better turbo performance and drivability without having to upgrade a bunch of other parts in your truck too. Here are some of our favorite “Drop-in” LB7 Duramax turbochargers.

2001-2004 LB7 Duramax Fleece 63mm Billet Cheetah Turbocharger

Fleece 63MM Billet Cheetah Turbo Kit

2001-2004 LB7 Duramax Fleece 63mm Billet Cheetah Turbocharger . This turbocharger set-up is good for up to 625 horsepower. For optimal performance, fuel upgrades and tuning should be purchased too. – Photo courtesy of Fleece Performance Website.

Stealth 64G2 Turbocharger

LB7 Duramax STEALTH 64G2 Drop-In Turbocharger

Performance TurboCharger Kits

If you want to achieve more than 600 horsepower, a drop-in turbo kit like what is pictured above won’t be adequate. You’re going to have to go with a significantly bigger turbo or a twin-turbo set-up. This will require several other support modifications too though. You’ll have to install head studs to support the higher boost, beef up the transmission, and provide adequate fuel to the engine. Without these supporting mods, an upgraded turbocharger will do you no good! In fact, it’ll probably cause more harm than good.

If you don’t know what supporting mods you will need, or if it sounds a little above your head, stick with a drop-in replacement turbo! You’ll get quicker spool up, lower EGTs, and it won’t reduce your LB7’s reliability. If you have the supporting mods, however, here are some quality performance turbo kits to consider.

The LB7 Duramax Stealth 67G2 Turbocharger is good for up to 800 horsepower. Despite it’s factory look, this turbocharger offers more power while still being able to be used on a daily driven truck. – Photo courtesy of Duramaxtuner.com
Twin-Turbo or Compound Turbo kits offer the best of both worlds. They retain the quick spooling characteristics of the factory turbo, while giving you significantly more power, over a larger rpm range. This boils down to more power, all the time. The kit above is from Wehrli Custom Fab Shop. If you’re looking to give your truck more power, and you want it to look good, these are the guys you need to contact. The kits are expensive, but they’re totally customizable, and all-inclusive. Photo courtesy of WCFab Website.

Other LB7 Duramax Turbo Upgrades

You don’t have to replace the entire turbocharger if you’re only seeking moderate gains in performance. By upgrading components on your factory turbocharger, you can improve performance for relatively cheap. A new turbo wheel, or a boost increase valve can do wonders at a very economical price. Here are some of our favorite factory turbo upgrades.

PPE Boost Increase Valve

The PPE Boost Increase Valve costs less than $50 and helps increase boost! Most people experience a boost increase of 3-5 psi. It also only takes 5-10 minutes to install!

Banks Bighead Wastegate Actuator

The Banks Bighead Wastegate Actuator offers twice the spring pressure and diaphragm area of the factory unit. Under high boost conditions or when turbo back-pressure is high, the factory actuator will open, reducing boost and torque. The Banks actuator stays closed for longer, to retain boost and torque levels.

Diesel Site Wicked Wheel 2

Diesel Site’s Wicked Wheel 2 is an upgraded turbo wheel for the factory turbocharger found on LB7 Duramax trucks. It offers quicker spool times, greater performance, and reduced EGTs.

Bullseye Power LB7 Batmowheel

Bullseye Power’s Batmowheel is a drop-in upgraded turbo wheel for the factory turbocharger found in any LB7 Duramax. It offers quicker spool times, increased flow, and improved throttle response. They can also reduce EGTs!

10. LB7 Duramax Transmission Upgrades

Bullet-Proof Your Allison

The Allison 1000 transmission found on the LB7 is fantastic, especially when compared to rival automatic transmissions during the same time period. It isn’t perfect though. On modified trucks, the Allison can fail fairly quickly.

If your truck is going to be left stock, the factory Allison transmission will last you a long time. They can last hundreds of thousands of miles without a rebuild.If you’re going to upgrade your LB7 Duramax however, it’s a different story. Even just aggressive tuning can cause your transmission to limp-mode. This limp-mode is normally caused by slipping in 5th gear at first. At higher horsepower levels or after wear and tear, slipping will occur in other gears as well.

Best Allison Transmission Upgrades

Exactly how much work your Allison transmission will need depends on your current mileage and your horsepower/torque ambitions. If you just want to run a decent tune, the ATS Co-pilot is a great first step. Many people find they can run a more powerful tune safely with this upgrade alone.

ATS Diesel Co-Pilot

The ATS Co-Pilot allows the Allison 1000 transmission’s clutch packs to receive full line pressure. This helps the transmission accommodate significantly more hp/tq before it will go into limp mode.

There are quite a few other Allison transmission upgrades that can help with overall transmission durability and performance too. These are upgrades that improve performance even if you’re not planning on tuning your LB7 Duramax. Allison upgrades like a deep transmission pan or electric transmission cooling fan help keep your transmission fluid cooler, especially while towing or under extreme conditions. This helps extend overall transmission life.

Transmission Pan Upgrades

Deep transmission pans are a fantastic way to keep transmission fluid temperatures down, especially under extreme conditions. They add more coolant, and often have an exterior design featuring fins that help with heat dissipation. Just remember, you may require a deep internal transmission filter when installing a deeper pan. Some issues have been found with the deep transmission filters staying in place too, it might also be wise to install Merchant Automotive’s Filter Lock.

There are also upgrades available that match up closely to factory size. These don’t reduce clearance, and they still offer better performance than the factory pan.

Mag Hytec Allison 1000 Deep Transmission Pan

Mag Hytec A1000 Deep transmission pan offers up to 4.5 quarts over the stock pan. This translates to cooler trans. temperatures. It’s also American Made!

PPE Transmission Pan Upgrade

The PPE standard Transmission Pan offers better heat dissipation thanks to its aluminum fins. It also largely maintains OEM pan dimensions so it doesn’t severely reduce clearance.

Transmission Coolers

Another way to decrease transmission fluid temperatures is by installing a transmission cooler. A number of diesel performance companies make coolers that will lower transmission fluid temperatures, especially while towing. Just make sure you get the proper sized lines with your transmission cooler. Some of these kits are universal, which means you will have to figure out how to mount them and the hardware is designed to fit most applications. You may have to get a little creative.

BD Double Stacked Auxiliary Transmission Cooler

If you’re in need of significantly cooler trans. fluid temperatures, this is the kit for you. The BD Double Stacked Transmission Cooler has two cores and a huge surface area for maximum cooling capacity.

2001-2003 Mishimoto Transmission Cooler

Mishimoto’s LB7 Duramax Transmission Cooler replaces the factory cooler. It offers 174% greater core volume than the factory cooler and significantly more surface area too!

2003-2005 LB7/LLY Duramax Transmission Cooler

This is Mishimoto’s Transmission Cooler for 2003-2005 trucks that is bolt-in and offers significantly better cooling than the factory unit.

Transmission Cooler Lines

On the LB7 Duramax, it’s not uncommon for the cooler lines to leak. This can cause elevated temperatures and a loss of fluid. Upgrade your old leaking lines, with aftermarket ones offering superior strength and durability. These are some of our favorite cooler lines available from the aftermarket.

Mishimoto Transmission Cooler Line Kit

Mishimoto’s Transmission Cooler Line Kit offers a solution to leaky factory cooler lines. This kit completely replaces the old lines with more durable lines that offer superior oil/heat resistance and have a nylon braid exterior for extra abrasion protection.

Fleece Transmission Cooler Line Kit

The Fleece Performance Transmission Cooler Line Kit offers heavier duty cooler lines that are flexible and more durable than the OEM set.

LB7 Duramax Transmission Overhauls & Built Transmissions

If the Allison 1000 transmission on your LB7 Duramax has seen better days, it may be time for an upgrade. You may also need an upgrade if you are adding a bigger turbo and performance injectors. Upgrade kits can make your Allison significantly better than how you received it. Rebuilding a transmission isn’t a do-it-yourself task for most people though, so be ready to pay some substantial labor rates.

It might make sense to just buy a fully-built transmission and send your old one in, rather than upgrade your current one. You’re also limited to a shop near you if your truck isn’t working. Why not let a company that specializes in Duramax diesel transmissions build your perfect transmission? Here’s some of our favorite Built Allison transmissions available on the aftermarket.

Upgraded Allison transmissions from ATS Diesel offer superior durability and performance when compared to the factory units. They hold power better, and address the common limp mode issue attributed to the factory transmission. They also come with a 5 year, 500,000 mile warranty!
If you haven’t visited Dmaxstore.com yet, and you’re the owner of any Duramax truck, you’re seriously missing out. They specialize in everything Duramax, so of course they offer an upgraded Allison transmission too. Pictured above is the Stage 3 transmission capable of supporting up to 550 horsepower. They come with a 2 year unlimited mile warranty. – Picture courtesy of Dmaxstore.com

11. Steering And Suspension Upgrades

The independent front suspension found on heavy duty GM trucks like Silverado and Sierra 2500/3500HD models with the LB7 Duramax leaves much to be desired in terms of durability. While the IFS system offers a more comfortable ride, many of the components are weak, especially when compared against the straight axle designs that Ford and FCA use on their diesel truck counterparts.

These weak front end parts are exposed when you tow frequently, offroad, or if you have a lift, bigger tires, or bigger wheels. They can even fail in factory set-ups. You’re probably wondering what these LB7 Duramax weak links are when it comes to steering and suspension components. Everything you need to know is right below.

Tie Rods

The most frequent front end problem you will encounter is the factory tie-rods snapping/breaking. If you compare the factory tie rods to any aftermarket replacement you will notice the factory tie rods are extremely thin. This lack of beefiness results in common failure. Replace your factory tie rods with aftermarket ones from Kryptonite or Cognito Motorsports.

LB7-Duramax-Tie-Rod-Upgrades

Cognito Alloy Series Tie Rod Kit

The Cognito Alloy Series Tie Rod Kit offers more articulation and a more durable design. These tie rods are significantly stronger than the factory ones.

Kryptonite Tie Rod Kit

The Kryptonite Tie Rod Kit is no joke! If you’re looking for the some of the most durable Tie Rods available, check these things out. They’re significantly thicker than the factory units and they can hold up to almost 2.5x as much pressure according to research done by Kryptonite!

Upper Control Arms To The Rescue

Another issue occurs if you level your vehicle, or crank the torsion bars. You’re going to experience excess wear and tear on ball joints and poor ride quality. This is because your factory steering geometry is out of whack! Upgrading your Upper Control Arms is the best way to bring back factory ride quality and improve steering geometry. Check out these aftermarket Upper Control Arm upgrade kits.

Cognito Box-Style UCAs

Cognito’s Box-Style Upper Control Arm kit fixes steering geometry on leveled or lifted trucks and offers a significantly better design than the factory unit. This results in superior ride quality and greater durability.

Kryptonite Upper Control Arms

Kryptonite Upper Control Arms are another UCA kit that offers superior performance over stock. They even come with a lifetime warranty like most other Kryptonite products.

Other LB7 Duramax Suspension/Steering Upgrades

There are a number of LB7 Duramax suspension and steering upgrades that we haven’t already covered that can greatly improve upon your stock front end. Check out some of our favorites down below.

Cognito PISK Kit

Excessive pitman arm and idler arm wear is a common issue on ’01-’10 Duramax trucks. Cognito’s Pitman and Idler Arm Support Kit greatly improves steering durability and overall feel by increasing pitman and idler arm support and eliminating problem components.

Kryptonite PISK Kit

Kryptonite’s PISK Kit offers essentially the same benefits as the Cognito Kit.

12. Exhaust Brakes

One of the best features the newer diesel trucks all come with is an exhaust brake from the factory. They reduce wear and tear on your brakes and make towing significantly easier because they help you slow down faster. Unfortunately, early trucks didn’t come from the factory with exhaust brakes. This is one of the best LB7 Duramax performance upgrades for towing. It’ll save your brakes and make towing significantly less stressful. Here are some of our favorite kits!

Banks Exhaust Brake System

Cut downhill speeds up to 52% without touching the brakes with a Banks Exhaust Brake System. The kit pictured here can only be used with the factory exhaust system. If you have a banks exhaust use kit # Banks 55232.

Pacbrake’s 4” PRXB Exhaust Brake Kit

The Pacbrake 4″ PRXB Exhaust Brake kit is one of the highest rated exhaust brake kits on the market. If you have an aftermarket 4″ exhaust, make sure you also pickup two adapters with part # C11342.

13. Performance Monitors and Gauges

A performance monitor or gauge set-ups are valuable LB7 Duramax performance upgrades whether your truck is heavily modified or completely stock.  Why is a monitor or gauge display so important though?
Well, first they give you access to literally hundreds of parameters about your truck. Newer diesels have a lot more parameter monitoring built in to the display or cluster. Older trucks like the LB7 Duramax don’t have the same capabilities, so you’re limited to what’s there.  By installing a monitor or gauge set-up, you’ll have a lot more information about your truck in real-time. This makes keeping an eye on things like EGTs significantly easier.

Digital monitors offer another vital feature that makes them invaluable. They can read trouble diagnostic codes and clear them. One of the most common LB7 Duramax problems, especially when these trucks are modified, is an Allison transmission going into limp mode. Sometimes it can be cleared by cycling the key. This isn’t always the case though! You may need to clear the code and a monitor will do this for you.

In addition to these two major benefits, performance monitors also offer a myriad of other benefits. Some can hold tunes and actually program your vehicle. Often they’re used to switch power levels when you use EFi Live tuning. Some monitors have accessories that they can pair with like rear view cameras, or the monitor can even control accessories by being a switch.

There are numerous performance monitors available out there for your LB7, but some are definitely better than others. Here are the ones we would consider.

Edge Insight CTS3

The Edge Insight CTS3 is the latest diesel monitor offering unparalleled parameter monitoring capabilities and the best user interphase of any monitors we have seen. Check out our review here.

14. Aftermarket Fuel Tanks

Aftermarket fuel tanks are one of the best and underrated LB7 Duramax performance upgrades out there. They offer almost twice the fuel capacity of standard tanks and are bolt-in for an easy installation. Cut your gas station visits in half and save precious time with an aftermarket fuel tank! Here are some quality tanks that we would recommend.

Titan Fuel Tanks

Titan has been making aftermarket fuel tanks for a while. If you want up to 62 gallons of fuel capacity, check out the Titan Super Series Fuel Tank. – Pictured is the model for Crew cab short bed models. For Extended cab short bed models buy part # 7010101 and for crew cab long bed models buy part # 7010301.

S&B Tanks 62 Gallon Replacement Tank

If you have ever had an S&B Air Intake, you know that this company pays special attention to making products that not only work well, but they look fantastic. If you have a Crew Cab Short Bed LB7 Duramax, the S&B Replacement Tank offers 62 gallons of fluid capacity compared to the original tank with 26.

15. Differential Covers

Differential Covers are a controversial topic amongst many diesel owners. Why? Well, for starters a number of aftermarket differential covers on the market actually negatively impact performance. In fact, Banks Power did a comprehensive study and researched differential covers before designing and selling their differential cover. They found most differential covers actually resulted in higher temperatures and lower fuel economy. They used this information to design their own cover, that actually decreases fluid temperatures and extends fluid life. This cover actually improves overall performance too, and helps increase fuel economy.

If you’re looking for a differential cover for your diesel truck, especially your LB7 Duramax, the Banks Power Differential Kit is the perfect upgrade.

Learn More About The LB7 Duramax

Want to learn more about the original Duramax? Visit some of our other LB7 resources by clicking on some of the links below!

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ABOUT Kamil

Founder of Diesel Resource and a complete diesel head. Has a little bit of problem buying too many trucks. Learn more about him by checking out his truck.