With performance as his passion, Gale Banks leads the way with development of new technologies. Most of those technologies seem to dwell in the spotlight are for the diesel truck market. We're quite sure you have seen many trucks and RVs sporting the telltale logo that signifies loyal customers. Having planted his hot-rod roots some 50-plus years ago, it should come as no surprise that Gale Banks and Banks Power know a thing or two about performance in many other engine arenas. In our search for performance answers, we received an inside look at the Banks approach to gasoline engine efficiency.

One of the main concerns for most new truck owners is the question of what problems may arise from the influence of aftermarket parts working with factory computer systems. Additionally, do the parts fit directly, or are additional modifications necessary? Banks labels its components as a "Full Circle Approach." As Gale tells us, "The Full Circle Approach is well-matched, interacting parts working in harmony to produce that marvelous thing we call power. I've always viewed the upgrade process the exact same way. The path to your truck's fullest, safe potential is a system approach." The system we'll be focusing on here is the PowerPack system with Banks AutoMind and iQ 2.0 man-machine interface. In a nutshell, the PowerPack addresses the complete intake and exhaust path with tuning by the AutoMind to optimize those modifications. Changes can be made on the fly through the iQ 2.0. While Banks was busy preparing its California emissions exemptions on new GM truck models using a donated 2011 GMC Sierra sporting a 5.3L under its hood, we thought it was the best time to take a closer look at what goes into the Banks Full Circle Approach.

The Banks PowerPack system includes everything needed to help your engine breathe easier, run more efficiently, and make the most power.

Part 1: Breathe In
The Ram-Air Intake (PN: 41850, $368.95 at autoanything.com) was designed with plenty of improvements over the factory intake system on Chevy and GMC V-8s. Developed using the latest computational software and proven with a long-standing history under the hoods of thousands of trucks, Banks' Ram-Air does away with all the stock airflow restrictions put in place to reduce the factory's cost of manufacture and need for NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) compliance. The Ram-Air is a fully enclosed, larger-diameter housing designed to keep hot underhood air out, while drawing in cooler, denser air through its oversized, reusable filter.

Part 2: Breathe Out
We can say with much certainty that the cast factory exhaust manifolds on newer GM trucks are about as good as they can be while still complying with the factory's need for longevity, NVH balance, and power-making ability. Banks' large-diameter, stainless steel TorqueTube manifolds (PN: 48006, $586.07 at autoanything.com) are just better. Built with extra-thick flanges and mandrel-bent to flow precisely into a high-velocity collector, they are a perfect match for the stainless steel Monster exhaust (PN: 48082, $441.87). Built from 3-inch constant diameter tubing, the Monster exhaust delivers a nice exhaust note without being too loud.

Part 3: Get in Tune
Adding the ability for the 5.3L engine to inhale and exhale more efficiently did little on its own. We had to dive into the ECM and tell the computer to do what we wanted. Essentially, we needed to change bits and bytes into horsepower and fuel economy. To do that Banks designed the AutoMind (PN: 61207, $368.86 at autoanything.com) flash-programming module. By tuning the Chevy's fuel injection, ignition, and transmission shift characteristics, the Banks AutoMind offered improvements in both power and mileage. The maestro to it all was the iQ 2.0 (PN: 61231, $647.87 at autoanything.com) man-machine interface. On the 5-inch touchscreen display, you are allowed to switch between multiple power and economy modes, alter the tire size, transmission shift points, and even check and clear trouble codes. The unit also has navigation, a backup camera, and even plays your favorite movies and music.

Part 4: The Results
All of this work would be nothing without quantifiable and repeatable results across the board. When the dust settled and all the airflow testing, computer checks, dyno work, and California Air Resource Board (CARB) compliance was completed, we were ready to see the final outcome. Tests were run on 87 and 91 octane, and through each of the AutoMind's four power choices. Those choices were Economy 87, Work/Tow 91, Sport 87, and Super Sport 91. What we found were big gains "under the curve" and great gains at "peak to peak" comparisons. The AutoMind on Super Sport 91 with the factory intake and exhaust managed to gain an even 10 hp (+4.5%) under the curve and 8.4 hp (+3.7%) peak to peak. The addition of the Banks PowerPack more than doubled those numbers with an under the curve gain of 22.3 hp (+10%) and 18.7 hp peak to peak (+8.3%). All that extra afforded the Silverado a 0.74-second reduction to the truck's 0-60 times (-9.3%) and an additional 1.4 mpg (+12.9%).

SOURCE
Banks Power
546 Duggan Avenue
Azusa
CA  91702
866-738-5915
www.bankspower.com