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Project rolling casket

Tyeler18

Proven Member
2,475
204
Dec 16, 2008
Casa Grande, Arizona
The montero forum was taken down. Trying to pull what's left of it with the wayback machine. I figure the crowd here would enjoy this thing though. This is V2 of my turbo LS montero. Currently making 615hp/670ft/lbs on 9lbs.

Since I get asked about a build thread frequently, I've finally started to compile my pictures. I have no intentions of this being a how-to guide to LS swaps, but hopefully some of the pictures can help people decide if they want to tackle this (simple) swap. I'd like to treat this like a standard build thread to help document the truck for myself.

1991 Montero-

Drivetrain: Gen 3 LQ4 (6.0)
Truck intake
VS Racing 78/75 turbo
VS 44mm wastegate
4" full exhaust
Hooker aerochamber muffler
2.5" intercooler piping
3"intercooler core
4 bar GM map sensor
4L80E trans
NP263 Tcase
Custom steel driveshafts

Fuel: intank walbro 450
Snake eater 1000cc injectors

Cooling: Becool 35202 radiator
Dual 12" spals

Suspension: KYB shocks
Cranked torsion bars
Gen 2 rear coil springs
2" body lift

Axles: Gen 2 SR 4.63 rear
Stock gen 1 4.63 front

Brakes: Gen 2 sport fronts
Gen 2 SR rear disc brakes


I've owned the truck almost 5 years now, bought it basically stock from a buddy. We planned to pull the 6g72 out for his mighty max and junk/sell the shell. Neither of us knew much about monteros at the time, and I had no idea how attached I would become to this thing.

His mighty max and the montero right after he bought it.

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

Paid $600 for the truck because it was hit in the front. The bumper was bent and the front grill broken/bent, but it ran and drove great otherwise.

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

Back at my house, you'll notice in future pictures how much that slammed 2wd mighty max changes after getting the montero. I learned low trucks really aren't fun or practical after mobbing around in the montero.

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr


First order of business was ruining the power, or lack of already, and gearing with a set of 33x12.5 deegan 38s on some old K5 steel wheels. I think this aided to the demise of the already high mileage and under powered engine, but it made the truck so much better looking and fun to drive.

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

Some testing on the trails behind my house.
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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

I put a bunch of miles on it like this, it eventually burnt an exhaust valve on cylinder 2 and I gimped it around for another near 10k miles on 5 cyls. Finally the waterpump began to weep and I had no intentions of putting money into a high mileage 3.0. LS swap had been on the table from the start, but it was time to get it now. I picked up a complete 6.0 LQ4 for $800. We drove my 4" lowering blocked, mono leaf spring mighty max 70 miles up the interstate to pick this up. It was frame on axle the whole drive home. Not a fun ride back, but we got it. I can't seem to find the picture but I'll post it when I find it. Next was a 4L80 and NP263 tcase, I had no intentions of dealing with the short comings of the 4L60's, the swap would be a lot easier with a 60, but having been in enough GM builds I wanted a reliable trans.

Started with a 2" body lift to make sure everything clears. This actually wasn't entirely necessary as I have a pretty decent amount of room. I plan to put 35's on so this was necessary anyways.

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

3.0 out, 6.0 test fit in

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

Mocked up the trans/tcase where I wanted them and to see how much room there was. I have an LS1 swap in my e30 which required a 3lb sledge to portions of the firewall to fit. This was much easier. Minor rework of the firewall for extra clearance.
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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

Tcase to torsion bar crossmember clearance. I ended up pulling the engine forward in hopes of being able to remove the tcase with the engine in the truck. This ended up not being possible, my current position is farther in front of this but it was mocked up originally at this position and I will eventually move it back to this.

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

I spent a lot of time determining the best route for engine mounts. After going through a bunch of different styles I decided to mimic the mounts in my C5. This allows me to use stock C5 corvette mounts, or any version of C5 aftermarkets which come in shortened height, lifted height, and varying types of materials. Stock mounts were more than adequate for what I wanted as this is a daily driver and I didn't want the vibration acquainted with poly or solid mounts. I planned to use the factory frame horns and making adapter plates off of them, but there was no nice way to do this. Executive decision was made to remove the factory frame horns and weld in frame plates. They are leveled/gusseted and they allow quite a bit of movement to change engine position both fore and aft, height can be altered easily to change pitch.

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

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Here's where things began to snowball. Decided to pick up a turbo setup because why not. 76mm 76/65 with a 44mm wastegate was purchased.
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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

Oh a whim huron-speed had their silverado turbo log manifold on sale. Hoping it would fit I grabbed it, fitment was even better than expected. Like it was made for the truck

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

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Tyeler18

Proven Member
2,475
204
Dec 16, 2008
Casa Grande, Arizona
My e30 uses a 35202 radiator, after some test fitting with it it was as perfect fit for the montero too. I didn't want to cut up the core support, so I notched the frame. I ended up cutting the top of the core support anyways so this was kind of a waste. The radiator sits low at least.

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr
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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

Crossover for the exhaust built along with the down pipe

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Intercooler was next. Frame notched, core support hole sawed for the piping. This was a chore since I kept a/c and wanted to ensure I had room for the condenser and high side hoses.

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

I wanted to stay drive by wire as I wanted cruise control and easy idle control when this engine gets cammed. This meant wiring up the TAC module to control the throttle pedal as well as mounting a throttle pedal. The GM pedal damn near bolts in with some minor cutting/rework of the pedal arm. This was very satisfying how easy this was.

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Now that the engine was situated it was time to set the driveline. I grabbed a stock silverado trans mount for a 4L80 and made a bolt on plate extension to the factory trans crossmember. Very easy, I can adjust output shaft angle up/down with shims from here.

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

Driveshaft measurements made. I bought this pinion flange that converts to a 1310 GM u-joint. It's actually for a samurai but the center hole is the exact same bore as a montero. Just need a minor re-drill of the pinion flange and it bolts right on. Driveshaft built with 1310 joints and a stock GM slip yolk.

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

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Lokar supplied the shift cable. I was hell bent on using my stock shifter. Still could use some minor adjustments to be perfect but it works well enough I'm not concerned with changing things.

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Got a little side tracked here with interior improvements. Evo 8 steering wheel and a touchscreen stereo install to make the cabin nicer. The wheel is such a nice upgrade over the big truck wheel.

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Montero build by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

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I won't go too indepth into engine wiring since it varies from year to year too much, but it's very easy. All my gauges, speedo (cable) aside work like stock. The temp gauge uses the montero sender with an adapter in an open port of the LS passenger head. Oil pressure comes from the oil cooler adapter with a montero sender. I kept the LS digital sender so I can log real oil pressure through the LS computer as well. Being drive by wire cruise was an easy addition. The montero switch works opposite of the GM switches (normally open vs normally closed) nothing a couple of relays couldn't solve. I added in a stealthy "trans brake" to the cruise set switch for launching the truck. Cruise operates under normal conditions just like stock, flip a switch near the fog lights and the cruise set turns into a spool valve button which locks the trans in 3rd gear. This allows me to foot brake the truck up into boost and launch. Release the button and it power down shifts into 1st with full boost pressure.

Air conditioner all operates like stock through the LS pcm. DBW is nice as it controls idle very well with the A/C and fans kicking on/off. I bought a universal 134a condenser mounted up front, then built new hoses to mate the montero evaporator to the LS truck compressor. It was 110F at the time of this picture.

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Untitled by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

Couple of pictures post swap, pre accident. The truck was hit september 2020 by a drunk driver outside my house. My next post will be on the repair and upgrades done post accident.

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4lb wastegate spring wasn't cutting it. Turned it up to 6lbs, this turbo is way to small. It spools instantly on the 6.0, 78mm should help with that

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Untitled by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr
 

Tyeler18

Proven Member
2,475
204
Dec 16, 2008
Casa Grande, Arizona
Fuel upgrades involved swapping what appears to be the original factory pump with a walbro 450. The sock on this pump was non-existent, im mildy suprised it even still worked. All the rubber had turned to goo.

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Catching up to current, the truck was hit by a drunk driver while parked in front of my house at night. The rear axle was shoved into the front of the wheel well, trailing arm mount ripped off the frame, axle bent, suspension bent, and amazingly very minimal damage to the body. The rear bumper end was bent in and there was some small impact areas on the body, but the wide tires actually saved most of the truck.

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As of this post I still haven't settled with insurance on this. While the truck is down it was time for some upgrades. The 76/65 turbo i've been using is way too small for a 6.0, I've been wanting a 78/75 since the start of the build. Christmas this year the gen 2.5 billet 78/75 went on sale, so I grabbed one. Going from a .80 A/R turbo to a 1.25 A/R will greatly help as well as gaining 10mm of turbine wheel size. This turbo has made over 900whp on multiple 6.0 setups as it is, which is more than I plan on making.
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Out with the old, the compressors look similar since ones 76mm and the new 78mm. The exhaust housing is significantly larger.

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I ended up trading the old turbo for a 5.3L swap for a buddies international traveall. I sold it with the 44mm wastegate planning to upgrade to a 50mm instead. I wasn't expecting the size difference of the 50mm to the 44mm. Space was already a concern and the height difference wouldn't allow me to fit this and close the hood easily, so I ordered a new 44mm gate and will be welding this to the new turbo hotside just like the previous turbo. 44mm left, 50mm center, tial BOV right.

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Untitled by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

Next was to fix the rear diff. Mine was beyond what I wanted to spend on saving, I wanted disc brakes ideally too. Gen 2 montero's are normally fairly common in the local yard, naturally when I need something there's none to be found. I contemplated buying a full truck just for the diff and any other upgrades I could scavenge. After some research it seemed the montero sport diff had potential to work, we pulled a 9.5" sport rear axle with 4.63LSD only to figure out why they wont work. The montero trailing arm mounts toe inwards as the trailing arms mount on the inside of the frame rails, the sport mounts have zero toe as the arms mount under the frame. There's enough difference that it won't bolt in, looks like the mighty max gets a coil spring rear upgrade and a 9.5" LSD. Over christmas I found a salvage yard in Colorado with a 96 SR being parted. 9.5" rear, disc brakes, 4.63 gears and a factory air locker, perfect for my truck. I paid just under $600 shipped and they included the e-brake cables, track bar, and gen 2 trailing arms to upgrade from my gen 1's.

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Untitled by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

We swapped the diff in over New years, now I'm just waiting to fix the trailing arm mount. I'm building a new 4" exhaust as the 3" that I built for the old turbo is too restrictive. 3" was a big enough pain to fit, this 4" is going to be even more fun. Luckily I made accomodations while building the 3" for up to a 5" exhaust so I have some work cut out for me.

Had some free time at work today so I started prepping my exhaust housing. Wastegate hole drilled, burred, and ready for welding.

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Housing is cast, the flange is stainless, luckily these weld nice and easily. Pre-heated the housing to 350F before welding.

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Wastegate mounted. Wish I had remembered to bring my downpipe to work, I would've merged the wastegate dump back into the downpipe if I had it. Maybe a weekend project now.

Playing catch up again. Spent a sunday afternoon building my downpipe. I didn't plan to finish this, I was just planning to tack weld things together but it was a perfect day out and I got caught up trying to see things finished. This turned out really nice, I'm glad I made room for 5" exhaust because this gave me near perfect fitment for the 4".

Downpipe tacked up

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Untitled by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

Obligatory wastegate dump to appease all my buddies that still want to see this thing spit 3' flames out the hood.

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Actual wastegate dump routing and finished routing. I forgot to upload a finished install picture, but I'll do that later. Now that this is built I can transition this back under the frame into the factory exhaust tunnel. Downpipe is going to be coated and either wrapped, heat shielded, or wrapped and shielded. Goals with this new setup is to keep engine bay temps down as low as possible.

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Silver was a boring color for the compressor cover. This isn't exactly the green I had in mind, hoping for a more metallic green that matches the body color. Valve covers and BOV (if I add one) will be done in the same color as this.

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Untitled by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

Lucky me, finally a gen 1 shows up in the yard and it was clean. Spent a sunday clearing parts out of this, carpet, interior bits, a RR door panel, grab handles, a minty gauge cluster for future experimentation, window seals in nice shape, and a second bouncy seat frame.

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Also stopped across a flex fuel truck that still had the flex sensor in it. I've been lazy about ordering these as they're very inexpensive, but now I have one so I can actually utilize the flex fuel portion of my tune which will come in handy when this turbo starts getting turned up. I have plenty of access to ethanol locally, so I'm excited to be able to transition between pump 91 and e85 as I please.

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Untitled by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr
 

Tyeler18

Proven Member
2,475
204
Dec 16, 2008
Casa Grande, Arizona
Slowly plugging away. Intake built, 5" long 4" inlet K&N just barely fit with a 4" 90* coupler and small junction pipe. It's a tight fit but its in there. Planning to build an air box around it to seal off bay heat, water, and just improve ducting. Once the exhaust is finished it'll get ceramic coated along with the turbine housing. Turbo is getting a blanket and wrapping/heat shielding the downpipe to keep engine bay heat as low as possible.

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Turbo blanket and exhaust wrap after ceramic coating black.

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This is as far back as I could save from my build thread, I'll have to start over from here up to it's current chassis.

July 2021- Out wheeling in the mud with a buddies SAS tacoma, drove through a flooded road to clear the mud off and pulled off to let my buddy unlock his hubs. Pulled out onto the road and laid into it for far longer than I should've. Like a mustang driver at a cars and coffee the truck went hard right ~50-60mph and 130+mph wheel speed. Came up over a landscaping boulder, spun 180, and flipped on it's lid. I opened my eyes and was staring at the front of my buddies tacoma which had been behind me. My girlfriend ended up in the back seat, blew all the windows out, totaled the body. Pretty incredible we didn't get seriously injured considering no one was wearing a seat belt, I was still in my seat on my side holding the wheel. Within 5 minutes we had it flipped, cleaned, and I was on my way home with the A-pillar against my forehead. I had a few weird looks as I passed cars home LOL

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Last edited:

Tyeler18

Proven Member
2,475
204
Dec 16, 2008
Casa Grande, Arizona
So that moves us into the new truck. I posted on the montero facebook page the day it happened and I had an outreach from the community that I was not prepared for. That first day I think I had 30+ sales listings sent to me across the US for various gen 1 monteros to use as a new donor, luckily for me one of the guys put me in touch with a local that was an hour away with a 1991 LS model that had rod knock but was otherwise in good shape. He hadn't listed the truck for sale yet so I had first dibs. 2 weeks later, truck and trailer in tow came monstero V2.

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Untitled by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr

The PO smoked heavily in and around it. It wreaked of smoke, had ash dust all over it, and it was filthy, but it was all there and very minimal pieces inside needed replaced/were missing. I stripped it down, cleaned, steamed, shampooed, and swapped any good panels, parts and seats in better shape from the green truck over making what's definitely a nicer truck than V1.

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Previously the truck was making 14lbs of boost and would run right along side a buddies 625whp procharged C5 up until around 110, but the stock cam and converter were always holding it back. I couldn't foot brake the car into boost which really kills the launch and the cam was taming ~100hp at the boost it was making, with the engine out it was prime time for cam, converter and intake manifold. Summit's stage 2 turbo cam (.600/.575) and some trick flow .660 springs for the cam, and since I wanted to tow, drag race, and street drive the truck a 3000 stall circle D billet triple disc converter came in. I also swapped my crappy gen 3 intake for a gen 4/TBSS intake.

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We spent labor day weekend swapping the driveline between the trucks and another couple weeks improving swap parts and wiring the new truck up. And we're back in action!

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Tested the converter out towing the green truck and my 98 montero out to a buddies house for storage. Circle D didn't think this converter would tow that well but we cruised at 70mph with the cruise set and the converter locked up in OD without ever needing to build boost. Taking off from a light put it right into power and had no issues there either. This towed nicer than the chevy trucks I normally use.

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Dyno day was next, I tuned it myself on the prior setup, and had it good enough to drive with the new cam and converter, but wanted it done professionally now. My original goal with the truck was 600hp, which has snowballed since. We were shooting for 20-25lbs of boost, but after the first pull on 91 and wastegate 7psi we made a rod scaring 650ft/lbs of torque. The tuner wasn't sure how to rescale my load tables and I couldn't remember off hand, so 7lbs of boost was maxing the stock airflow table. I told him to stick the e85 in and turn it up as much as he felt comfortable using the last load cell to lock AFRs and timing. It picked up 100whp to 587whp and despite trying to back down the timing to reel in torque it matched it's torque still on wastegate. We decided to turn it up a little more and call it quits for the day, I had a 3000 mile trip planned across the US for christmas and was happy to drive it home and not put it on a trailer. On a measily 9lbs it made 615whp and 664ft/lbs, still trying to keep torque low and not winning that fight. I made my goal for power, and was able to drive it home. It was a good day despite not being able to crank it up.

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Don't mind the weird loop at the end, he wasn't sure if I was overspinning the hubs and they couldnt equalize or if the 3rd gear clutch was trying to slip (this is a junkyard unknown mileage 4l80).

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Hauled all 6 of my huskies from AZ to SD for christmas without an issue. Managed 15mpg as the best mileage averaging around 13mpg the whole way. Not horrible for a 2800rpm cruise at 80 in a 6.0 truck with the aerodynamic of a large toaster.

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Back home with some new (warranted) fog lights after driving through one hell of a snow storm in new mexico.

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And with my new to me Evo 9, I trade my C5 for. One more mitsubishi to the collection and a 9 to go with my 8. Now that were back I'm going to go back and see what she makes on a kill tune. Itll make 600whp on pump 91, hoping for 850+ on e85. Then i'll see if I survive.

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Evo 9 by Tyeler Andersen, on Flickr
LOL
 

Tyeler18

Proven Member
2,475
204
Dec 16, 2008
Casa Grande, Arizona
I fought tooth and nail to keep a factory ecu in this truck for all the functionality it has and the OEM reliability. In an effort to reduce module clutter I tried to avoid as many add on's as possible. Unfortunately at this level there's no easy way around it. In my quest for simplicity I made things more complicated. I have a throttle control module, wideband, EBC and some extra wiring for functions like cruise, A/C etc that wouldn't normally be needed. I came to my senses and finally caved for a standalone ecu- the holley terminator X max. I no longer need a wideband gauge as the ecu uses wideband based fueling, I can ditch both my stock narrowband O2's, my profec B EBC is getting removed in lieu of computer controlled boost, A/C no longer needs diodes to run the fans and clutch as the holley will control outputs. The tac module and it's associated wiring is gone, and I now have fail safes, ignition cut launch control, and a whole slew of extra features I wanted (paddle shifters, boost scramble) that the stock ecu couldn't do. My only gripe is the lack of DBW cruise control, I will have to add one dakota digital DBW module to run the cruise but that beats the 4 other modules I can remove from the truck in the process. Now I can see if this will make 900whp and feel a little better about preventing a rod on this SBE from entering the nasa space program.

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