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P400 In The '95 K2500

DieselAmateur

Diesel or Bust
Messages
272
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551
Location
Upstate NY
This thread is several years past due, so I hope to get it caught up to speed quicker than the build took in real time. I was going through a divorce and career change around the same time, which put posting everything here on the back burner. In some ways it feels that the build is still ongoing (see my last transmission swap & clutch issue adventure) as I still have a laundry list of upgrades to do. But it's nigh time to get caught up to speed, so here we go :)

Before going much further, a huge debt of gratitude goes to Chris @Twisted Steel Performance and John @uniquediesel for being instrumental in this project. Both helped me source one of the last P400s coming off the line, and provided all kinds of technical support and insight to a 6.5 greenhorn in yours truly. I get no compensation of any kind for singing their praises, I just have them to thank for having a 6.5 that is way too nice for the girls I date 🤣

The adventure begins back in November 2018, when the connecting rod in cylinder #8 literally left the building. I had driven down to southern PA the day before to pick up an equipment trailer and tow it home. The very next day I was driving back from town when BAM! something let loose under the truck. I initially thought it was a u- joint. Pulled over and oil leaking everywhere, starter blown in pieces. There's pictures somewhere in the carnage thread, but here they are again. Connecting rod snapped & disintegrated, blowing holes in both sides of the oil pan, and breaking the casting where the starter threaded into the block, giving me a nice 6.5 boat anchor

all that was left of the #8 rod on the crankshaft

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Rod took the emergency exit through the oil pan

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Block officially trashed

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Not sure if the pitting seen in the rod on the right side of the picture is indicative of anything wrong in the metal, but here's one more carnage pic

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DieselAmateur

Diesel or Bust
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Location
Upstate NY
Fortunately for me, I had a P400 still in the shipping crate sitting in the back corner of the shop. I had always had plans of saving up for a P400, and with *only* ~220k on the engine in the truck at the time, thought I had at least a few more years of life left in the engine before upgrading. When Chris posted that the P400 was going out of production, I ran over to my local USDA office and took out a loan for a piece of farm equipment (I used to be a commercial vegetable farmer, long story) to secure funds for the P400. I know it's easy to hate on most things government, but the folks who work in the USDA office out here are awesome, helpful individuals. They helped me get my first loan for equipment to start the farm, which subsequently allowed me to easily get another loan for the P400. So, thanks gubmint! 😁

The P400 was purchased in May/ June of that year. I was thinking it would sit in the shop for several years until I needed it, but clearly the truck had other plans. I knew I wanted to have some upgrades done to the engine, such as porting the heads, timing gears, and head studs to name a few. Once I looked at the cost of shipping individual heads, it was clear to me the better option was to ship the entire engine to Chris. For only $230, the engine was shipped from western NY to @Twisted Steel Performance in S.C. to get what would be some serious upgrades.
 

DieselAmateur

Diesel or Bust
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Location
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With the engine in good hands, it was time to make some decisions on what exactly to do upgrade and performance wise. Perhaps still a bit traumatized from the connecting rod blowing up, I decided to have almost everything that could be taken out coated with the applicable thermal dispersant/ wear resistant coating. The following parts that were coated are as follows:

Piston tops, skirts, undersides, wrist pins, connecting rods, rod bearings
Oil pump
Timing gears (DS4)
Cylinder head intake/ runners & valves
IP drive gear
Oil pan (inside & outside)

Pretty much everything in the crankcase was coated, save the camshaft. Had I known at the time that cam bearings are a weak point in the 6.5, I would have included that too. But I told myself I had to draw the line somewhere.

In addition to being coated, the heads were also ported, and the valves were unshrouded

Pistons were machined down to 18:1 before coating, and gapless 2nd rings were installed too
 

DieselAmateur

Diesel or Bust
Messages
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Location
Upstate NY
With all the work being done on the engine over the span of a few months, I decided to do some cleanup/ restoration on the front clip/ engine bay of the truck. The truck is really clean for a 1995, it came from Maryland originally and I purchased it in 2016. With the engine bay empty, the truck was pushed into the shop (doesn't fit in all the way, had to nail a tarp around the opening to somewhat keep out the winter weather) and I proceeded to tear the truck down to the frame as much as felt comfortable for my amateur rank.

Removing the whole front clip and passenger inner & outer fenders is pretty easy. I left the driver side outer fender on as it was easier to have it there keeping the fuse block and some wiring out of my way

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The frame was somewhat greasy and dirty, but in pretty good shape for the year. The only thing really needing attention was the passenger side core support mount

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Since all of the power steering and a/c lines were old or even possibly original, I got all new hoses for each. The original a/c condenser was practically disintegrating, so a new one was ordered and also sent to Chris to be coated with thermal dispersant. The power steering pump looked to be oringinal, and the a/c never worked since I owned the truck, so a new p/s pump and a/c compressor were ordered as well
 

DieselAmateur

Diesel or Bust
Messages
272
Reaction score
551
Location
Upstate NY
Since the truck was getting a shiny new engine, I figured it was only appropriate to do what I could to get the engine bay in the same shape. I rented a massive air compressor, packed about 900# of sandblasting grit into the Camry, and went ham on cleaning up everything forward of the firewall

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She's old but cleans up nicely!

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