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GMC 2500HD Duramax Truck Comparison - Totally Maxed

A Fully Built LLY Or A Bone-Stock LBZ?

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You don't always realize how many little choices you're bombarded with during the course of the day. Paper or plastic, creamy or chunky, left or right-little decisions are no-brainers. But when it comes to purchasing your new daily driver you've got to burn a few more brain cells. Case in point: Our buddy recently bit the bullet and saddled himself with a $45,000 bank loan with the expressed purpose of buying a Duramax-equipped pickup that could serve comfortably and reliably as a daily driver and tow his fifth-wheel toy hauler on the weekends.

While most Duramaxophiles would head straight to the nearest dealership and bite into a brand-new LBZ, we intervened and pleaded our case. For starters, the LLY makes a damn good basis for building diesel performance. And who cares that the used LLY is bound to have some miles on it. As long as the interior is clean and the body is straight, the buy-in price on a used LLY is going to be thousands less than a similarly equipped LBZ fresh off the lot. Let some other sucker take the depreciation hit and put the extra money toward highly coveted items like performance parts, lift kits, and bling rolling stock.

To complement this truck's intended purpose as a daily driver and weekend workhorse, we chose an assortment of products that fit well and work as advertised. We went with a 4-inch Rancho suspension system (PN RS6548) with nine-way adjustable Rancho RS9000 shocks, five LT285/70R17 Nitto Terra Grapplers, five Moto Metal series 951c chrome 17x9 wheels, and a Banks Six-Gun Bundle with the new Power PDA tuner and vehicle interface.

Adding it all up
In the end we wound up with a used pickup that rides nicer than a new stock vehicle, turns heads, and has way more power. While a new LBZ may be rated at 360 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque compared with the '05 LLY's 310 hp and 605 lb-ft, our '05 now has up to an additional 155 hp and 385 lb-ft available at the press of a button. And those numbers are taken at the rear wheels. Our "older" GMC now has a taller stance for better off-road ground clearance, whether towing the toys to the desert or pulling up to the job site. Scraping the undercarriage isn't an issue anymore, and the nine-way adjustable shocks allow us to dial in just the right ride no matter what the terrain. The Nitto tires are as quiet as passenger car tires on the street yet give good bite in the dirt, all while still retaining an E-load range rating so we don't lose any safe towing capacity. In all, we'd say it's money well spent.

TAG's Jay Miller began the transformation by plugging the Banks Six-Gun tuner into the LLY's factory ECU and mounting the unit securely on the driver-side fender. The best location is right on the side of the fuse box and in front of the master cylinder.

'07 GMC 2500HD Crew Cab Shortbed
* Purchase price: $44,273
Total: $44,273

'05 GMC 2500HD
Crew Cab Shortbed

* Purchase price: $30,668
* Banks Six-Gun Bundle: $2,087
* Rancho 4-inch lift: $1,579.99
* Rancho RS9000 shocks: $359.99
* Nitto Terra Grapplers: $939.95
* Moto Metal 951c wheels: $1,054.95
* Installation labor: $1,550
Total: $38,239

SOURCES
Rancho
500 N. Field Dr.
Dept. 4WDSU
Lake Forest
IL  60045
TAG Motorsports
8-00/-928-1766
tagmotorsports.com
Wheel Pros
www.wheelpros.com for nearest de
Nitto Tire
Dept. MM&FF
6261 Katella Ave.
Cypress
CA  90630
Gale Banks Engineering
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