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COVID-19 has made 2020 difficult for all of us, but for Chad Lindsey of Legendary Diesel Performance, the pandemic was not the only thing that made last year more difficult. As the pandemic took hold in early 2020, Chad’s diesel store caught fire, making the next five months particularly difficult.
“Basically our chimney started a fire in our attic,” says Lindsey. “He burned down a bunch of trusses from the ceiling, so when [firefighters] pumped the water up there, it compromised the structure, so they had to remove the entire roof of the building, bring in a crane and put all the new trusses in. It happened just at the start of winter so we weren’t able to work on the roof right after. We went all winter with a temporary structure to hold the building up so we had very little space to use in our building.
The fire happened on a Friday night, and luckily Chad stopped by the store at the right time to see that there was smoke coming out of the building.
“I went to investigate and discovered that there were embers coming down from the ceiling,” he recalls. “We were very lucky. We were able to get customers before they actually started to water things. However, because they used about 2,500 gallons of water on our ceiling, it damaged our rooms room where we keep our inventory, some of our toolboxes and stuff like that, but we don’t have anything. lost from the customer point of view.
Lindsey had good insurance to cover the cost of the damage, but having to wait almost five months for a new roof while working in much less space than usual was a challenge. According to Chad, the chimney was not actually the culprit of the fire. This started the flames, but it turned out that the building’s insulation was installed too close to the chimney, and over time this insulation dried out enough that it began to smolder and catch fire.
“It was just an accident,” says Lindsey. “It just happened at a really bad time and it was a very time consuming process.”
In the summer of 2020, Legendary Diesel Performance was back and at full power. The diesel store in Three Rivers, MI is 42,000 square feet. with six employees who focus on maintenance, repair and engine work of light, medium and heavy trucks. Chad himself comes from a family with a long history of diesel knowledge.
“My family owns a trucking business, so we did a lot of our own maintenance,” he says. “I grew up around heavy diesels. My family has always had diesels, heavy trucks and farm equipment. My father, my uncles, my grandfather all did their own maintenance. My grandfather had Detroit two-stroke diesel engines and rebuilt them every 20,000 to 30,000 miles. My story got me into it.
Chad took his first knowledge of diesel working with him to Northwest Ohio University (UNOH) where he learned the skills to work in the field as a technician for dealerships. However, it wasn’t long before he turned his love for trucks into a side gig, and the early days of Legendary Diesel were born.
“I always liked pulling trucks because we used to pull our semi-trailers, so I started building my own pulling truck and pulling it in the working stock yards and stuff like that, ”Lindsey said. “Then people started asking me who did this job for you?” Or who put this together? I started doing the Legendary Diesel stuff on weekends and nights to help support my own cost habit. It kind of turned into a business from there.
Legendary Diesel officially went into business in 2009, and today the store is working on pretty much all diesel. However, when it comes to their repair work and engine performance, this is mainly reserved for Duramax, Powerstroke and Cummins B series customers. Machine work is sent to other local stores, but the actual construction of transmissions and engines is carried out entirely in-house.
One of those customers was a 6.7L Cummins sleeved for drag racing application which Lindsey said should be a fairly “healthy” build.
“It’s a sleeve 6.7L with custom Mahle pistons that are valve cut and coated,” he says. “The rods are Monster Mike double I-beam rods. The motor also has a lightweight, balanced crank and Mahle coated H series bearings.
“The cylinder head is ringed with fire and features 13mm Monster Pump Mike studs. The head also has a B&B side air intake which has been worn. We used Hamilton 110-lb. valve springs and a Keating Machine billet front cover. It contains a Haisley Machine belt with 13mm studs at the lower end.
“It has a Colt Stage 5 camshaft with coated Colt Cam lifters. We also used Trend 7 / 16ths push rods and Trend seesaws and bridges. It also features a D&J billet valve cover, two 12mm S&S pumps and 400% S&S injectors.
According to Chad, the 6.7L Cummins also adds a healthy dose of nitrous boost, but also twin Garrett turbos.
“The customer will probably use nitrous on it, but he has two Garrett turbos – an 88mm and a 103mm – these are Garrett NX turbos. One is a Garrett 45 series and the other is a 55 series. It’s a pretty rowdy engine.
The 6.7L goes in a 2006 Dodge regular cab for drag racing and in addition to the engine construction, Legendary Diesel has also built a new SunCoast transmission for the truck.
“We’re a SunCoast dealer, so we mostly build with SunCoast parts,” he says. “It has a Suncoast Billet Triple Disc Converter, Billet Stator, 38 Spline Billet Input Shaft, GPZ Clutches and a Complete Manual SunCoast Valve Body.”
All in all, this “healthy” Cummins build should be more than ready to take on a drag or two.
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]