Thursday, May 17, 2018

Chase Truck Update!

Here's an update on the flagship chase truck we're building for our Baja support fleet-

Suspension, wheels, tires, lighting, bumpers, bed, radio, P/'s all installed!  Next our team got busy fabricating the rack and other custom features.  We recently got the rack back from powdercoat, secured it to the vehicle, and then installed the transfer tanks.  This thing is starting to look pretty serious - and wait until we show you the super-trick kickout steps!

More to come...

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

We've Got Third Brake Light Antenna Mounts For All the Big Three!

Ram, Silverado, and Sierra Owners Can Join the Fun!
We've long produced the Third Brake Light Antenna Mount for Ford pickups.  After all, we started making them for aluminum-bodied trucks.  Obviously magnets won't work on aluminum, and most folks just don't like the idea of drilling into their truck body for an antenna mount.  

Our Ford offerings fit the following trucks: 
We were happy to hear that our customers liked the mounts, but we were surprised when they requested them for other trucks.  Steel-bodied trucks.  Trucks that can use magnetic mounts.  Well...magnetic mounts can mar the paint of a truck as it wobbles in the wind.  Additionally, it looks temporary - the antenna cable is usually routed in through a window when a magnetic mount is used.  People who regularly use radio communication, it turns out, don't really love those magnetic mounts.

Well, we're here to help!  We've expanded the Third Brake Light Antenna Mount line to include:
One of the best features of this product is the ease of installation.  Unscrew the brake light housing, unclip the power wire, put a couple of bolts in, reconnect the power wire, then screw in the antenna mount and brake light housing.   A few short minutes, and you'll be ready to roll.

Should we further expand our line and 
offer more applications for the Third Brake Light Antenna Mount?  Let us know!  Email us at

Thursday, May 3, 2018

It Begins! Our 2018 F-350 Becomes the Flagship of the Bullet Proof Diesel Chase Fleet.

It was time for a new chase truck...

Ken Neal and the Bullet Proof Diesel race support team have been running the pits for Cameron Steele and the Desert Assassins for many years.  In fact, being down in Baja and learning which support truck parts needed upgrading helped serve as direct inspiration for many Bullet Proof Diesel products.

Ken's 2004 6.0L-powered chase truck has run many a Baja dirt road, and we also have Kenny Kreuter's 6.4L Super Duty in the support fleet.  If needed, we've also got a F-350 dually and a 6.0L Excursion that can be utilized.  That said, it was time to look forward, to check out the new technology found in trucks, and to see how the 6.7L Power Stroke does in a chase truck.

Pow!  This past February, Ken showed up at Bullet Proof Diesel headquarters with a 2018 Cab & Chassis F350.  With a wicked smile, he said "Let's build this thing!" and the project began.

We've got a dream team of companies supplying product: BF Goodrich, BDS Suspension, Fox Shox, Method Race Wheels, Rigid Industries, Addictive Desert Designs, 

We'll be showing the steps to the build on social media, and Diesel World Magazine is going to cover the process as well!  This truck will be a top-level support vehicle, chasing trophy trucks - it's just not something you see built every day.  So join the fun, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and watch as our new flagship is assembled!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Tank Crush Videos...

We've done 27 of 'em at this point.  And we're not done yet.

You may have noticed a tank in some of our marketing materials.  That's a working 65-ton Chieftain, and it sits in front of our building from Monday to Friday.  We like watching people look at it as they drive by.  We've also got a tracked troop carrier and two Joint Light Tactical Vehicles.

Why?  ...Why not?  These cool old military vehicles serve as our mascots, and you'll see them in our promotional materials.  We have fun with them, driving in parades and setting them up at military vehicle events.  Plus, they keep us on our toes--it's not always easy to find parts for them and they can be, well, 'unpredictable'.

The most fun we have with Amanda, the Chieftain, comes every Friday afternoon when we roll her back into our walled yard with the other military vehicles.  We, uh, stick stuff under her (and film it).  And we've done this for a while now, so we've collected a bunch of videos.  From cars to jet skis to old refrigerators, Amanda has rolled over everything we've placed in front of her.  

Most of the doomed subjects are just junk that doesn't work anymore.  Some of it comes from the office - old printers and that kind of thing.  Other stuff gets donated to us.  In fact, if you have an item you just need to see get crushed, email and maybe we can make it happen!

Our four-camera setup gives views of the action from all angles.  We've had Diesel Power, Roadkill, and other guests come join the fun.  Subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you don't miss a single episode! 
Friday, April 13, 2018

Here's What Building a Bullet Proof Truck Really Means

Let’s take a time machine back to 2008.   Ford had just suffered through 5 years of problems and warranty claims related to 6.0L Power Stroke engines.  A replacement engine (6.4L) was being rolled out, but the ailments of the 6.0L had never been completely solved, leaving some Super Duty and Excursion owners to replace the same parts over and over again.  Ford wasn’t looking back, but not everyone was ready to consider the 6.0L-powered trucks a total loss.  Sure enough, there was a way to make these engines reliable and durable without sacrificing power.  Follow along as we describe how that was achieved and exactly what it means to have a Bullet Proof 6.0L Power Stroke.

After running race support for years in Baja, Mexico, trucks driven and maintained by brothers Ken and Gene Neal fell victim to many of the stock 6.0 design flaws.  This can be particularly dangerous in the remote stretches of desert below the border, so the engines were repeatedly torn apart and 5 common pattern failures were noted: 

    The insides of a 6.0L OE oil cooler, plugged with coolant debris.
  • The most significant common pattern failure related to the engine oil cooler.    It turns out that bits of debris within the coolant tends to block the miniscule coolant passages within the oil cooler within about 50,000 miles of use.  When this happens, any engine component needing coolant ‘downstream’ from the oil cooler (such as the EGR cooler) was likely doomed.  Additionally, ineffectively-cooled oil affects fuel injector operation negatively.  If a leak occurs within the oil cooler, oil and coolant mix, causing a huge internal mess within the engine.
  • Another pattern failure identified was the tendency of the 6.0L EGR cooler to rupture.  This component needs coolant from the oil cooler and will fail without it.  Also, uneven temperatures within an EGR cooler cause metal fatigue and can lead to cracks, allowing coolant into the exhaust system.  
    A ruptured EGR cooler, filled with soot-filled coolant.
  • The moving component within 6.0L water pump—the impeller—is made of plastic within stock units.  This plastic piece has a tendency to crack and break after sustained use.   This occurrence was identified as a common pattern failure.
  • The fuel injection control module (FICM) needs to send 48-volt pulses to the 6.0’s fuel injectors to properly time fuel spray into the engine’s cylinders.   Stock Ford units tend to get ‘tired’ after time and voltage drops, negatively affecting fuel delivery to the combustion chambers.   This common pattern failure affects overall engine performance, especially when cold.
    The plastic impeller on this OE 6.0L water pump has shattered.
  • Finally, it was noted that the cylinder head bolts within the 6.0L had a tendency to stretch during engine use, especially if the engine had been modified to produce more power than it would have in stock form.  When the bolts stretched, head gasket seals were compromised and blown heads would often be the result.
The Neal brothers developed and started producing solutions to these specific pattern failures, and trademarked them as ‘Bulletproof’ products.   The recipe for solving the five pattern failures was established, and ‘bulletproofing’ as a term came to mean that 4 of the 5 failures within the 6.0L Power Stroke engine were addressed with genuine Bullet Proof Diesel and ARP products.  These products are:

  • Bulletproof EGR Cooler: rather than small finned passages within the EGR cooler, larger coolant tubes are used.  This alleviates failure due to metal fatigue, as the tubes have sturdier connections to the bulkheads of the EGR coolers.  The large diameter of the tubing also prevents clogging caused by debris in coolant.
  • Bulletproof FICM: military-grade components with an available 2 extra circuits share the power load, and create as many as 58 volts to ensure proper fuel injector function.
  • ARP Head Studs: unlike bolts, studs are threaded on each end.  They have a higher clamping force than bolts, and won’t stretch under tension.  This protects gasket integrity and saves cylinder heads.

Again, 6.0L common pattern failures must be resolved using these specific Bullet Proof Diesel and ARP parts in order for a truck to be considered ‘bulletproof’.  Use of EGR cooler delete kits, the ‘improved’ Ford oil cooler, or other branded products to combat these problems do not add up to a ‘bulletproofed’ truck, no matter what keyboard commandos might tell you.   So beware, and insist on doing the job right: use official Bullet Proof Diesel products.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Cylinder Heads and the 6.0L Power Stroke – Know What Can Go Wrong

Here at Bullet Proof Diesel, we talk a lot about the five common pattern failures found within the 6.0L Power Stroke engine.   And we’re serious about fixing them – we manufacture, sell, and install upgraded parts designed for both reliability and durability.  We refer to 6.0L’s as ‘Bullet Proof’ when these pattern failures have been corrected with our products.
There’s another common 6.0L problem worth discussion: leaks within the cylinder head injector bores.   Within the cavities that house the fuel injectors, small cracks can form in the bore wall and leak fuel into the coolant.  Until recently, this occurrence called for a new cylinder head and the associated costs.  However, Bullet Proof Diesel has developed two different treatments for leaky cylinder bores that don’t require head replacement:

·         The BulletProof Cylinder Head Injector Bore Repair Kit doesn’t require removal of the cylinder heads.  Instead, to utilize the kit, the engine’s valve covers and fuel rails are removed to allow access to injectors.  After removing injectors and cleaning the bores one at a time, they are filled with WD-40 and the coolant system is pressurized.   If bubbles appear in the bore, there’s a leak that needs to be filled.
A special tool (included with the kit) is dropped down into the injector bore, and a sealant solution is fed to the tool.   The bore is pressurized to force sealant into cracks, and then some time is required for curing.  After that, the leak should be repaired and shouldn’t reappear even after years of use.
·         Alternately, for customers who visit Bullet Proof Diesel directly, we offer a cylinder head repair that utilizes brand-new injector bore sleeves (as of now, this service is only available to customers having trucks repaired at Bullet Proof Diesel headquarters).  This repair process is often preferred if there are multiple injector bore cracks in cylinder heads, and it should be permanent – solving the problem within both cylinder heads forever.
The most common reasons for choosing one solution over the other involve cost and labor time.  The Cylinder Head Injector Bore repair kit retails for less than $700 and can be utilized by those with basic mechanical knowledge and tools.   The cylinder head repair service requires that the heads are removed, and then thoroughly cleaned, surfaced, and drilled – so the time spent and the cost of the service is higher – about $2300.   Either option is preferable to having to replace 6.0L cylinder heads – even remanufactured sets will run $2600 or more, and those still maintain the defect that leads to leaks in the injector bores.  Add labor costs – which can run $3000 or more for a head replacement – and the savings are apparent.
6.0L Power Stroke owners who actively seek out any danger areas in the engine will want to keep an eye ready to spot the symptoms of leaky injector bores.  Fuel in coolant is a dead giveaway – there simply aren’t a lot of other scenarios that would lead to this phenomenon.  From there, the test described above will confirm if there is indeed a leak.  It’s never fun to confirm a problem exists, but the head repair options offered by Bullet Proof Diesel at least provide some options that are easier on the wallet.

Here’s Why 6.0L Power Stroke Owners Replace Cylinder Head Bolts with Studs

It’s easy to squeeze some extra performance out of a stock modern diesel truck – just buy a tuner, tweak some settings, and POW!   You’ve got more horsepower and torque.   Power-adding modifications don’t stop there, and there’s a healthy market for larger turbochargers, high-capacity fuel injectors, and other products that increase a diesel truck’s go-power.  No complaints here – everyone loves better performance.   There are, however, things to think about when an engine is pushed beyond its stock form, such as component strain.   Parts within an engine are designed to function at certain power levels, and when these are exceeded, failures can result.   One of the best examples of this phenomenon might be related to the head bolts in 6.0L Power Stroke engines.  Let’s discuss why head bolts plus more power can lead to cracked cylinder heads:

The 6.0L Power Stroke engine utilizes torque-to-yield head bolts.   Simply put, these are bolts that stretch just the slightest bit when they are tightened to spec.  As a result, they become permanently elongated.  In some cases, the preload that is caused by the elongation of the bolts can limit the strain applied during load, helping to combat metal fatigue.   That’s why this type of bolt was used in 6.0L Power Stroke engines – the idea is that they would last longer than conventional bolts.   However, when more power is produced within the engine than the bolts were designed to contain, the bolts stretch a little too much.   And when head bolts stretch, gaskets don’t seal correctly and get burned up.   Cylinder head damage follows, and at this point we’re talking about major engine carnage.

It’s also important to note that the 6.0L Power Stroke engine uses less head bolts than the older-generation 7.3L Power Stroke.   Fewer bolts equates to less clamping force, which can be problematic even in stock-power 6.0L engines.  If the EGR cooler within the 6.0L ruptures (another common problem), coolant can get into the cylinders, which creates steam and stretches the bolts.  Once again, a burned up gasket and eventually a blown head will most likely be the result.  It’s also worth mentioning that stock 6.0L head bolts can’t be reused after being loosened, because they stretch too much to be re-applied effectively.

For those wanting to add more power to the 6.0L, finding a solution to the stretching head bolts is a necessity.   But with the understanding that even stock-power 6.0L engines can be damaged as a result of stock bolts not being up to task, we can consider this kind of occurrence a common pattern failure.   A shortcoming of the engine configuration.  But there is a solution: head studs.

Studs look a lot like bolts, but are threaded on both ends.  A separate nut is used, and this configuration can provide greater tension than a typical bolt.  A conventional bolt gets twisted as it is tightened, so it’s reacting to two different forces at the same time.   With a head stud, the vast majority of force gets applied to the vertical axis, so a more even clamping force is the result.  And clamping force is what we’re after here.

Some studs, like the ones produced for the 6.0L by ARP, are threaded after heat treating is completed.   This can increase fatigue strength by more than 2000% - that’s 20 times the resilience!  At this point, the advantages provided by head studs are pretty clear.  Greater and more even clamping force, better resistance to fatigue, and the capacity for re-use all combine to make head studs a solution for 6.0L owners who are serious about reliability or are preparing for monster power.