Duramax Diesel Truck Takes the Venom Out of a Cobra

When Ford released the 1995 SN Cobra, they were looking to revive an old classic. Trying to bring this classic muscle car towards the new millennium is no small task. Yet, when up against a turbo charged LB7 Chevy Duramax – things sure got interesting. This isn’t the typical back country quarter mile race.

When Chevy worked with General Motors to produce one of the world’s best turbo diesels on the market, it was truly a no holds barred race to the finish line. And the LB7 model of the Duramax engine line is a great example of where they started to really get some great performance out of an engine built for tugging – not flying down the road.


In this classic LB7 design, it’s a turbocharged and intercooled overhead valve with four valves per cylinder. All said and done, the Bosch 23,000 psi high pressure system is taking a normally sludgey and viscous diesel and pushing it through at extremely high pressures. This changes the very way racing is done.

Let’s be honest – the turbocharged diesel competitors such as Ford’s Powerstroke and the Cummins 6.2 – 6.7 liter series all share some common power features. Because in order to use diesel the most efficiently, its properties have to change. That means a specialized fuel injection system is a must. But make no mistake – Duramax engines aren’t generally built for speed. There’s a little extra under the hood.

And undoubtedly, it’s a second turbocharger modification.The ironic part about the LB7 versus the older and newer variants is actually its fuel efficiency. Produced in 2001 and 2004 for a variety of GM and Chevy trucks, it didn’t have any of the emissions equipment required in engines afterwards. This surprised a lot of critics because it produced actually a more powerful engine. Who would have guessed that? In the early 2000s, many trucks and SUVs were still made without emissions equipment which resulted in more of the engine’s power going efficiently to the drivetrain. After the LB7, GM developed emissions equipment that consequentially boosted the peak horsepower and torque (and fixed that nasty problem with the injectors). So, good moves and bad ones.

Performance specs of the LB7 Duramax:
• Peak horsepower – 300 hp at 1,600 rpm (2004 model)
• Peak torque – 520 lb-ft at 1,800 rpm (2004 model)
• Oil capacity – 10 quarts
• Direct injection – Bosch 23,000 psi high pressure common rail

Let’s not forget the SN 95 Cobra – bad performance here but. That’s because while the LB7 Duramax is a beast to race against – it has to warm up first. The SN 95 Cobra is straight off the line with its unleaded premium fuel system and the classic 5.8 L Windsor engine from Ford. According to the specs, the SN 95 Cobra and the LB7 Chevy Duramax actually have the same rated peak horsepower. The only drawback is that this bigger 5.8 L Windsor engine was only found in a limited edition run of the 95 R model. For the standard SN 95 Windsor SVT Mustang Cobra, it had a bit lighter 5.0 L Windsor. Out of the gate, that translates to a 60 hp drop right off the bat. There’s ways of getting around this. For what it’s worth, in the mid-90s, Ford got a lot right with the redesign of their SVT Mustang. Arguably extremely powerful for what was on the market, it definitely made light league racing accessible to the common man.

Newly Redesigned 2016 Mustang – What’s Changed?

Starting off, Ford dropped the SVT line in 2003. Was it a bad move? It was part of Ford’s attempt to redesign the powertrain and bring this muscle car back to its roots – raw power, performance and handling.The 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 differs a lot. For starters, it’s working with a bigger package 5.2 L Flat Plane Crank V8. When comparing it against an SN-95 Ford Cobra, it’s an easy 320 hp improvement. That’s like theoretically placing two 5.0 L Windsors beneath the same vehicle and still getting better performance. The GT350 is a track-centric vehicle. Ford made the GT350 for one thing and one thing alone: racing. It’s what a lot of Ford Mustang enthusiasts have come to expect and with the Shelby GT350 – they certainly delivered. What does Ford have in mind for future Mustang variants? If the Detroit National Auto is any indicator – big things. This beast is made for speed and seems to have absolutely no issue getting up to some blazingly fast speeds. While the Duramax line is only improving in terms of fuel economy and torque potential – future races between Duramax and Mustang will likely look very, very different.

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Let’s be honest – the turbocharged diesel competitors such as Ford’s Powerstroke and the Cummins 6.2 – 6.7 liter series all share some common power features. Becaus