6.5L GMC Turbo Diesel engine

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Courtland Bowles III knew next to nothing about diesel engines when his father bought a Massey 265 tractor with a 4-cylinder Perkins engine. In fact, Courtland’s dad also knew very little about diesels. However, Courtland’s passion for diesel was immediate and he quickly began to learn all he could about how diesel engines work. Today, a decade later, Courtland is still embroiled in a lot of diesel shenanigans.

“My passion for diesel started a little over 10 years ago,” says Bowles. “I learned slowly and about a year later a friend asked me if I could help revive his late uncle’s 6.5. I started with a stack of parts and a Haynes manual.

Courtland continued his education in manufacturing engineering and also worked full time as an engineering technician. Working on diesel stuff on the side has become a sort of vacation for him.

“I never thought I would stick with diesel for as long as I did, but here we are,” Bowles says.

Courtland posts about her diesel adventures on social media such as Instagram, Facebook and Youtube under the Gingersnap Customs nameplate.

“It’s a nameplate that I use to display all of my diesel shenanigans,” he says. “Everyone called me ‘Gingy’ because of my red hair, so I decided to use it as a nameplate to keep everything under one roof. “

One of Courtland’s most beloved diesel projects is a 1999 GMC two-wheel drive 3500 with a 6.5L turbo diesel under the hood and a rebuilt 4L80e putting the power to the ground.

“In the fall of 2012, I was walking into Dundee Truck and Trim, which is my all-time favorite GM salvage yard here in Michigan, when I saw him sitting there,” Bowles says. “It had been destroyed and forgotten, so I made a deal and traded in my spare ’54 Chevy truck for this one.”

Courtland named the truck Casper, for obvious reasons, and put in a drivetrain, BD torque converter, rear axle, new grille, lights, and a few junk before it became his. daily driver.

“He had 116,973 miles and I was thrilled,” he says. “I drove it for a little over a year when I ran into financial trouble and had to pay the tuition. Casper was sold to a local horse farm where [the new owner] only traveled 1,000 miles before a tree fell on the roof. I bought it back around Christmas 2015. I fixed the cab as best I could and continued to drive it daily.

The 6.5L turbo diesel is still a stock long block. In fact, Courtland says he never had to open the engine, even after running several different turbo setups, injector setups, and tweaks. The 6.5 is fitted with a set of HSP diesel drawbars, Quadstar 5-blade billet turbo, Quadstar marine injectors, Courtland’s air-to-air intercooler configuration, water pump balanced flow to high flow rate, a FASS Dmax booster pump, the maximum effort towing setting from Quadstar Tuning, the upgraded oil cooler line from Leroy Diesel, a Fluidampr and a rear exhaust 4 “Diamond Eye turbo.

“It used to be a target to detonate it, because I’ve always been told these engines are made of glass,” Bowles explains. “This one proved the opposite. This is one of the most reliable trucks I have ever owned and I don’t think I’ll have more fun on a tight budget. It rolls at 15.97-87 mph at 6,000 lbs, so it’s rated at around 300-315 rwhp. Stock, my 1/4 time was just over 19.8 so that’s a long way.

Casper, the 99-GMC 6.5L turbodiesel, has driven some 67,000 miles since it was pulled from the scrapyard and the truck does it all: daily drive, sled pulling, drag racing, heavy towing, and Moreover. In fact, in King of the Street 2020 he hosted the ET drag racing event and took second overall.

Next on Courtland’s list is a trip to Rudy’s Spring Opening the weekend of April 23-24. He also drives the truck to ODSS events and plans to be back this fall for the King of the streets challenge 2021 in Ohio. We hope to see him there!

Diesel of the Week is sponsored by AMSOIL. If you have an engine that you would like to feature in this series, please email Greg Jones, Editor-in-Chief of Engine Builder at [email protected]

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