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Old 06-20-2008, 08:48 PM   #1
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A while back I made a post about my getting ready to install a Banks PowerPack and the new PacBrake PRXB on my 2002 Country Coach with an ISC 350. Well, I finally got around to installing it so I thought I'd write about the installation process and the results.

I'll start with the install. Frankly, I was procrastinating on doing this install because I knew the wiring to the gauges would be a bear and I wasn't relishing the turbo install either. The total install took me about 25 hours which is more than double Bank's estimate of 10. However, now that I've done one, I think I could do everything except the gauges in less than 10 hours.

I knew the turbocharger R&R would be a bit tough due to the lack of access to the engine on my DP and it was but not too bad. The Country Coach has a 1 foot by approx. 3 foot access cover in the bedroom that is easily removed however you pretty much have to work one handed. However, after I started the work I found that the Country Coach is also designed such that you can remove the entire floor area above the engine and have full access. I opted not to do this because you must remove the wardrobe doors and the bottom track to do so and I felt that by the time I did this I could be done. In retrospect, it really isn't that difficult to remove the access panel and I should have done it because it would have saved a lot of time.

The most difficult part of the installation was removing the turbo charger. It is absolutely necessary to significantly move out of the way or remove the turbo air inlet tube and on my Country Coach, disconnect and move out of the way the intercooler output tube. I spent A LOT of time trying to get the turbo out without doing the latter item without success. Once I moved it though, the turbo came out much easier.

Swapping out the turbo housing was no problem. My coach has very low mileage and the bolts were not rusted in place so they came out easily. One important note when reassembling with the new houseing is that it's VERY important to put the new housing on in EXACTLY the same position with respect to rotation as the original or the oil return tube will not line up with the crankcase nipple. You won't know this until the turbo is re-installed and bolted down. Mine was off just a tad but the connecting hose for the oil return tube was flexible enough to compensate.

Everything mechanical on the upgrade goes together fairly easily and exactly as the Banks instructions indicate (except one item which I describe next) - they did a good job.

The electrical install was a breeze except for two items. The wiring harness Banks provided plugs in exactly as described in the manual. The only difficulty here was finding the 12 volt power for the Banks unit. The manual describes the location of a connector that you can use to obtain power for the Banks computer and there was, in fact, a connector where they described it but it was the wrong type and, when checked with a volt meter, there was no power to it. I pored over the 65 pages of Country Coach schematic prints and could find no 12 volts that was switched with the ignition key at the back of the coach. I resolved that I would have to run wires from the front of the coach to the rear but sanity prevailed and I decided to wait until Monday (I was installing this over the weekend) and call Banks. Good thing I did because the correct connector does in fact exist on the ISC but it was in an unexpected spot (although technically, it is pretty close to where they said it would be).

With power to the Banks unit, my next challenge was to wire the gauges at the instrument panel. As I expected, this proved to be quite a challenge. The Country coach is completely enclosed on the underside starting from the rear wheels to the front wheels and you cannot safely run wires along the underside since they will be only a few inches from the ground. Therefore, you must run any wiring through the center of the coach between the frame rails. A call to Country Coach confirmed this.

This area of the coach is not easy to access and the initial recommendation I received was to use "whatever means you can to fish the cable through". Country Coach tech support mentioned that they now pre-install PVC conduit in this area to facilitate accessory installation but only started this recently. Since my coach is a 2002 it does not have this feature. However, I decided to try a variation on this theme. By removing the access panels inside the pass-thru storage I was able to gain partial access to the frame rails and was able to thread 25+ feet of grey PVC conduit into this area and push the cable thru the condiut. Sounds simple but on Country coaches the entire frame rail area is sealed by 4" thick styrofoam plugs starting at the rear wheels to just behind the front wheels. So, I had to use a thin walled aluminum tube as a drill to make a hole in each end. I was able to do this via the access panels in the basement storage areas. Then I pushed through a ten foot section conduit to the rear, a ten foot section to the front, and then connected them with a 7 foot section in the middle.

After getting the cable to the front I had to get it into the cab. I did this by routing it with another bundle of wires from the frame rail area into the service compartment on the front left of the coach and then pushed it up through a 2" thick seal of silicon and calk into a junction box under the transmission control panel. Then I routed it to the new gauges I mounted at the bottom left of the instrument panel. I connected the gauge lighting to the existing gauge lighting via the included butt connectors so they all work from the same dimmer. This part of the install job took about 6.5 hours.

The other slightly challenging wiring issue is the single wire that goes to the transmission. You've got to crawl under the coach and identify the correct wire in the transmission wiring bundle and pull the wire out of the bundle then splice in a wire which comes from the Banks controller. Then make sure it is properly dressed so as not to get pulled out or tangled with something. Not as difficult as the gauge wiring but not a simple plug-in either.

Before I describe the startup and results, let me say a word about the the new PacBrake. This was EXTREMELY simple to install. Especially since I already had the turbo out. Two clamps and a hose connection. Even with the turbo in place I estimate this to be less than a one hour job. With the turbo out it took about 5 minutes.

With everything in place and double checked it was time for startup. This was completely uneventful. It started up just like normal. The temp came up a few hundred degress immediately and the boost came up if I reved the engine. I let it run a few minutes while checking over the engine for leaks - none - so I was good to go.

After warm-up I took it out on the city streets toward the freeway. I immediately noticed a more "peppy" feeling on acceleration. My first significant test was the freeway on-ramp. All I can say is WOW! The thing really goes! Acceleration was quick - very quick for a 34,000 pound motorcoach. Boost went to 32 and it never went above 1100 degrees. Accelerating and passing at highway speeds was much improved and on a long up-hill stretch where previously I could only hold about 50 MPH I could accelerate to 65 MPH and beyond GOING UPHILL! This was all on a near 100 degree day. I say again WOW! I also tried some short trips towing our Jeep Wrangler and the new performance is much welcomed and now I feel I can actually get out of the way of dangers more easily, accelerate away from troublesome drivers, as well as maintain highway speeds on most hills whereas before I could not. The Banks controller manages things and keeps temps basically the same as before so I'm very comfortable with the system.

Now for answering the question about how well the new PRXB PacBrake works. In a nutshell, it's an improvement. Especially at lower RPMs (like around 1300 RPM). It is not as good as a compression brake but it is better than before. Would I do it again? The improvement on braking isn't on the same level as the improvement the Banks PowerPack makes on acceleration and hill climbing but it is improvement and I'd do it again. If I was strapped for money though, I'd spend it on the Banks rather than the PRXB.

Conclusion: The Banks PowerPack is awesome and does everything they claim on performance. I'll be checking the Banks claim of "up to 17% fuel mileage improvement" on my upcoming trip. The PacBrake PRXB is good and and definite improvement but it's not a "Wow!" like the Banks upgrade is.The bottom line is I can recommend both of these modifications but if I had to pick only one I go for the Banks in a nanosecond. Best of luck to you!
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Old 06-21-2008, 03:21 AM   #2
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thanks. really enjoyed your post as we've been talking about doing the powerpack for about a year now! i think you may have pushed us over the edge. ha! ha! jim
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:42 PM   #3
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Nice writup on the installation. I might do the same in the future but more with an eye on improving fuel economy, I would be intersted to hear if you perceive any improvement in fuel consumption and how much
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Old 06-24-2008, 03:54 PM   #4
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Very interesting. I'll file this one away in case I stumble across a bag of $1700 that no one wants...

I WANT to do it but the $$$ isn't there right now. Now if Diesel gets to $6-$7/gal, I'll call Banks and order the kit immediately.

Thanks for the excellent write up and pitfalls to avoid.
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Old 04-12-2009, 01:13 PM   #5
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Banks Powerpack

Hi Ron:

Saw your post on the Banks powerack, just wodered if it is still working good for you---We are seriously considering taking our 2006 Newmar Ventana to Banks In Ca for a instlall of the powerpack we have a 300Isl with a 3000 Trans It does good on the flats but really needs help on the hill and passing. What do you think ?

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Old 06-29-2009, 07:45 AM   #6
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I had a Banks kit installed on my 2000 model ISP260. It has made a world of difference in performance and the fuel milage is better. I just completed a 3000 mile trip in the 36' Fleetwood pulling a Dodge Durango from Virginia to Florada then over to Mississippi to follow the Natchez Trace parkway to Nashville then back across the mountains to the coast of Virginia. I averaged just under 11 miles per gallon.

Prior to installing the Banks kit the RV had difficulty pulling the Durango up the mountains and would downshift even on the slightest hill. Now it takes a pretty good hill to make it downshift (obviously much more torque now)

The price tag on my kit was $2500.00 but I caught it on sale for $2000.00. I then had it installed at by an approved installer (Banks can tell you who they are and it will protect your warranty) for an additional $800.00.

I would highly recommend the Banks kit.
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Old 05-15-2011, 10:04 PM   #7
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This is the information I have looking for. Sounds Great, The ISC 350 preforms well pushing a 40 DS. for me, but allways looking to improve milage. I have average around 8 mpg. Will it be worth the time and money?
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:11 AM   #8
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I have average around 8 mpg. Will it be worth the time and money?
We purchased a used MH with the full Banks kit installed. It's on an ISC 330 and a 40' @ 32,000lb MH. We get 7.8 to 8 mpg so doubt it will help that much.
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quikduk View Post
Very interesting. I'll file this one away in case I stumble across a bag of $1700 that no one wants...

I WANT to do it but the $$$ isn't there right now. Now if Diesel gets to $6-$7/gal, I'll call Banks and order the kit immediately.

Thanks for the excellent write up and pitfalls to avoid.
If you can buy the Banks kit for an ISC 350 for only $1,700 I'm sure a bunch of people will be interested!!
As I remember it was something over $3,000 for mine back in '08.
I had a couple problems with mine: One, the new turbo housing had different joints than the old one. Banks said to swap the ends, but mine was warped and I had to sand it flat. Then, the wiring loom they sent was defective and I got a check engine light all the time. I called Banks and they said to go ahead with our trip as, unlike a gas engine, you can't run a diesel too lean.
Anyway, I can now go up a hill at 60 mph on I-5 in 6th gear, on cruise control with throttle left that I used to start at 60, and be down to 50 at WOT in 4th. Yes, there is that much difference!!
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