Banks Differential Cover

Banks Ram-Air Differential Cover

Backgrounder: I have installed, used, and liked Banks Power products in the past, and I respect the engineering that goes into everything they do. However, I watched Banks’ YouTube videos regarding the purported inferiority of flat-back, high-capacity, aluminum replacement differential covers while they developed their own aftermarket differential cover.

Their target was obviously the original, and arguably still the best with the most features, Mag-Hytec. Obviously Banks needed to offer more than a rounded rear aluminum cover, as Ram already makes one of those for their trucks, and maybe other OEMs do as well.

Cut-away Mag-Hytec and Banks Ram-Air Differential Covers. 2019 SEMA Show.

Banks says their new Ram-Air Differential Cover “…cools 5X better than flat-backs by directing cool air through its break-away ram-air scoops. Increases fuel economy and extends lubrication life by utilizing proper fluid dynamics”.

Smoother, proper fluid dynamics, I won’t argue with. The theoretical fuel economy improvement is understandable, though I’d like to see a real world test and a measurable increase on a truck actually rolling down the road. For the tow-rigs and hot-rodders that never leave the pavement, the Banks cover might be a great accessory. However, what I noticed and what concerned me in the prototype videos on YouTube I confirmed with my own eyes at the 2019 SEMA Show: the low-hanging “break-away ram-air scoops”.

Solid axle differential housings are generally the lowest chassis component on pickups. Dragging them down the center of a rutted track or caking them with slime on a farm or ranch is not uncommon. During more technical off-road driving, getting hung-up on a differential does happen, which must be why the cooling scoops are “break-away”. During on-road winter travel in our part of The West, we often have a snow/slush mix that gets slung everywhere, and can freeze into a solid mass. Maybe the grimy wintery mix will increase cooling?

Forward-facing, wide and low-hanging cooling scoops are potential anchors and debris catchers.

Some don’t care about all-season or off-pavement performance, and this Banks differential cover might be perfect for them. Because I actually use my four-wheel-drives in rough and sometimes sloppy real-world conditions, the wide, low-hanging cooling scoops are a deal breaker, I’d rather run the stock cover. That’s me, and the Banks Ram-Air Differential Cover might be what you need and want. At press time Banks’ site listed a retail price of $439, with a pre-order sale price of $395.

A version of this article was also published in the Turbo Diesel Register magazine, as part of my 2019 SEMA Show coverage.

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James Langan

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