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Banks Brake and SmartLock

  1. Is the Banks Brake compatible with a Banks PowerPack on a turbo-diesel?
  2. Will exhaust backpressure from a Banks Brake hurt my engine?
  3. Is the SmartLock compatible with the TransCommand?

Q: Is the Banks Brake compatible with a Banks PowerPack on a turbo-diesel?

The PowerPack components are completely compatible with the Banks exhaust brake, and in fact, many customers install both a power system and Banks Brake at the same time.

Q: Will exhaust backpressure from a Banks Brake hurt my engine?

No. Diesel engines, in particular, are designed and built to withstand extremely high cylinder pressures under load—that is, when the fuel/air charge is firing and pushing the piston down under full throttle. As opposed to backpressure, you could call this "frontpressure." In this mode, the piston, rod, and bearing withstand a load of as much as 2000 PSI, or more. The Banks Brake, when fully applied, exerts a backpressure of 38 PSI on the Ford Power Stroke, or 60 PSI on the Dodge Cummins, or 55 PSI on the Chevy/GMC Duramax—infinitesimal compared to the power load (plus the power load is applied with extreme heat, while the brake applies no heat to the cylinder). So it should be very apparent that the Banks Brake causes no measurable wear on the engine.

The real answer to this question is that a turbo-diesel engine is built to withstand huge pressure loads; it is lubricated against wear; and it is cooled by a radiator. Your brakes aren't. Every time they are applied, they heat and they wear. They're designed that way—to be replaced. Using the engine to slow your truck is much more practical and efficient. It also saves brake wear and extends brake life between brake jobs.

Q: Is the SmartLock compatible with the TransCommand?

The SmartLock and TransCommand are completely compatible with each other. The wiring installs in a sort of "daisy chain" configuration, meaning that the SmartLock wires into the TransCommand, and the TransCommand wires into the transmission.

The function of the two units is also compatible, although they function under different conditions. The TransCommand increases line pressure in the transmission as load increases, but is non-functional when there is no throttle application. When used in conjunction with Banks Brake, the SmartLock is active whenever the exhaust brake is engaged, which is only when there is no throttle application. When active, the SmartLock keeps the torque converter unconditionally locked down to 1200 RPM, and increases line pressure. As soon as you apply any throttle, the brake and SmartLock become inactive, returning the torque converter lock-up to whatever condition the factory electronics dictate, either locked or unlocked.