Duramax Re-Power Project

Russel Sweet, a veteran firefighter of 30 years and a professor of EMT services at a local college, loves to see the “spark” in the eyes of students when they get what he’s teaching. He’s enjoyed the videos on Banks’ YouTube channel, especially the new BANKS BUILT series. “To me it’s amazing to see that kind of educational material about something that I love,” said Russ. “I know it has to be causing an “aha” moment with people. One such instance happened to him as he watched a recent episode.

He sent a message to Gale after seeing BANKS BUILT Ep 8 where Gale answered questions from viewers. Something that resonated with Russ was when Gale was asked why he was building a truck that only millionaires can afford. “Gale he answered that this kind of project is possible for anyone,” he recalled. “I felt like he was talking directly to me, especially when he said that sometimes it takes a while because it’s a project. I thought that was amazing what he said, because it’s so true. I’ve been working on my own Duramax project for six years now. I’m no millionaire! It doesn’t just happen over night. It’s a little bit at a time.”

Russ’ project is much like LokJaw: it’s unique. He had worked with Ohio’s Progressive Automotive on a past project where they built him a chassis. He went to them with his new project in mind, the restoration and customization of a 1946 Chevy Suburban. He asked them to build him a frame based around an ’06 Duramax LBZ and 6-speed Allison transmission. Progressive was able to do it which was a great starting point. Figuring out the rest of the truck has been part of the adventure. “I had to figure out a way to service the back of the engine, so I fabricated a doghouse much like you’d see in a motorhome or van that you could remove from inside the cab and get to everything. It’s things like this that take time to figure out, and what makes it unique.” Although his engine is mostly stock, the goal isn’t for it to be powering a street rod. “When this is all done, I’m going to use it to tow my wife’s own project vehicle on a trailer, her award-winning 1948 Willys. She did a great job on her project, and it’s going to be really cool driving up to shows with these two gems.”

As for BANKS BUILT, Russ is pretty excited to see where the series goes. “I’m learning a lot from the segments and going inside places that I could never go. It’s great to see how they do everything and it gives me ideas for future projects.”