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Seeking suggested mods to a stock 2006 Dodge 5.9L Cummins 2500HD

  
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Seeking suggested mods to a stock 2006 Dodge 5.9L Cummins 2500HD

 
gerebear gerebear
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 11/09
Posted: 11/22/09
08:30 AM

I own a 2006 Dodge 2500HD 5.9L Cummins 325 hp 610 torque (OEM trailer tow package).  It has a four speed 48RE automatic transmission and (I believe) a 4" stock exhaust system.  I pull a 36 foot 15,000 pound gooseneck modified RV with it.  I use a Tekonsha in-cab brake controller for the RV, adjusted to assist the truck in slowing or stopping.  This stock truck pulls and stops my RV satisfactorily as equipped.  Always looking to improve on a good thing, I would like to increase fuel economy, and raise power and torgue while towing, primarily for passing slower vehicles. At the same time, I want to keep the truck quiet as I like to listen to music CD's while on the road.  I have been all over the internet, trying to figure out the 'best bang for the buck' simple and modest modifications I can make to the tow vehicle without risking damage to anything in the drive train of the truck.  I have looked at dozens of intake systems, tuners, programmers, and exhaust systems (including exhaust brakes).  It is all rather bewildering.  Would just a tuner or programmer do what I want done, or need I also include a higher volume intake and/or exhaust system?  I would appreciate any suggestions from those of you who have already gone down this road.  

MarineOne MarineOne
Addict | Posts: 2062 | Joined: 09/08
Posted: 11/22/09
11:10 AM

How much are you really wanting to spend?

I ask because there are some things you should probably do/have now, and there are others that will be nice to have.

For the "must have" list, you should have:

Gauges.  Boost, EGT, and tranny temp at a minimum.  If you decide to increase fuelling then a lift pump pressure gauge and a fuel rail pressure gauge.

Tranny VB (valve body) mod.  Improves ATF flow and helps increase positive shifting, which you really need to increase the life of the tranny pulling that load.

Exhaust brake.  Helps with braking in addition to the electronic brake controller.  PacBrake makes a good one that fits the late model B series.

Aftermarket intake manifold.  CFM+, S&B, and ATS all make good ones, with the S&B and ATS versions being made from cast if you want to increase boost pressures.

Air bag suspension.  I've got the Firestone Ride-Rite on my '08 and haul a Keystone Energy toyhauler/RV.  It makes the ride easier with and without a load, and has been the best under $400 upgrade I've bought.



For the "nice to have" list:

Larger exhaust pipes.  Running it hard with the stock 4 inch might cause some problems, so maybe you should consider a mandrel bent 5 inch exhaust.  Mandrel bends are smoother instead of those crimped portions where the bend is in the exhaust pipes.  This makes the flow smoother and faster, which helps with EGT's.

Smarty Jr.  You can add power or run an economy to increase your mileage.  Good all around tuner without getting into shift points, fueling/defueling, etc.

Aftermarket air filter.  S&B, AEM Brute Force, and AfE all are good choices over stock and allow similar or better filtration with increased air flow.  I've used the Brute Force in my '03 and noticed my fuel mileage go up almost 3 MPG.


There are more options, but it really depends on what you want to spend.



Kris  

2006 Dodge Ram 2500 QC 5.9L - Smarty CR S-06 on SW #5

2008 Dodge Ram 3500 QC 6.7L - H&S MiniMaxx on DPF tune for towing
Titan Fuel Tank
Aero Muffler 4040XL
Nathan AirChime K3LA

gerebear gerebear
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 11/09
Posted: 11/23/09
12:46 PM

Thanks much, Kris, for your reply.  Which of the suggestions you make are the most likely to improve fuel economy?  I have not found good data on that matter.  It seems that an aftermarket intake might boost mileage 2-3 mpg.  An aftermarket exhaust system alone might do the same.  And a Smaty Jr. is reputed to improve economy as well.  My impression is that I might get three or four mpg by installing all three--an intake, programmer, and exhaust.  Regarding the Smarty Jr., I understand that it does not fuel down when the EGT's increase as a result of fuel burn.  There are some competitors that actually do that--fuel down when EGT's get above a certain point, say 1200 degrees.  Any experience with that?  I will definitely check into tranny valve body modifications.  I wish to avoid transmission jobs prematurely.  Another question:  you recommend gauges.  Beyond being able to monitor them visually, what does a person do when, say, the EGT's run high while you are pulling up a long grade?  I like the idea of programming that automatically adjusts fueling when the EGT's get high.  

MarineOne MarineOne
Addict | Posts: 2062 | Joined: 09/08
Posted: 11/23/09
11:57 PM

It's the strangest thing but some things work better on one truck than they do on another, so you're never going to get really good solid data.  IMHO, I think this is more due to the variables of break-in cycle, use or abuse, driver maintenance and care, and fuel.  Your best bet would be to replace the easy stuff first and prep for gauges, then get into the more complex fixes.  This way you can tweak what you need/want as you go along.

Replacing the intake manifold, intake tube/filter, exhaust, and adding the Smarty Jr you could be getting up to a 5 MPG increase or more depending on how much you fight your own heavy right foot and what you get for mileage now.  I've found the sweet spot for my '06 to be between 62 and 68 MPH and get around 18 MPG stock.  With some aftermarket parts and a Smarty Jr, I think I'll max out around 20 or 22 MPG.  Most of the late model trucks will max out around 22 MPG unless you get into propane injection, which simply acts as a catalyst to burn diesel better.  The recent Diesel Power Challenge in Diesel Power Magazine had a truck getting something like 34 MPG in the mileage challenge portion of the competition because of an assist with propane.

Now if you want to get into defueling at certain EGT's then you'll need the programmer, however there are guys like me that watch their gauges almost as much as watching the road so I don't need it.  If EGT's are a concern you can reduce them with a water-meth injection kit which will drop EGT's from 100 to 300 degrees.  I've heard of mixed reviews on the Snow Performance water-meth injection kit so I'm looking to get a kit from CoolingMist for my '06 (wife's truck) to help with mileage .... and of course make it go a little faster.

And if you're pulling high EGT's the fixes are a bigger exhaust, slow down, or use water-meth ...... or some variation of the three combined.




Kris  

2006 Dodge Ram 2500 QC 5.9L - Smarty CR S-06 on SW #5

2008 Dodge Ram 3500 QC 6.7L - H&S MiniMaxx on DPF tune for towing
Titan Fuel Tank
Aero Muffler 4040XL
Nathan AirChime K3LA

Jomax Jomax
New User | Posts: 26 | Joined: 10/09
Posted: 11/24/09
07:06 AM

Hello Kris, Are you happy with the 6.7 cummins? Whats the MPG you get with it?  

MarineOne MarineOne
Addict | Posts: 2062 | Joined: 09/08
Posted: 11/24/09
12:08 PM

I'm very happy with it, and I plan on doing the deletes for the DPF and EGR.  Right now I'm getting about 15.5 MPG and it's not broke in yet, with only 3500 miles on it.


Kris  

2006 Dodge Ram 2500 QC 5.9L - Smarty CR S-06 on SW #5

2008 Dodge Ram 3500 QC 6.7L - H&S MiniMaxx on DPF tune for towing
Titan Fuel Tank
Aero Muffler 4040XL
Nathan AirChime K3LA

gerebear gerebear
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 11/09
Posted: 11/26/09
03:53 AM

Kris:
I genuinely appreciate your thoughtful responses to my inquiries.  One of your recommendations that I know very little about is modification of the valve body on the 48re four speed automatic transmission in my truck.  Can you enlighten me further?
If you would, please go to cumminsforum.com and read my thread there--gerebear.  I have laid out a tentative program in that thread.  I would value your opinion on it.  Thanks much.  

nosey1 nosey1
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 05/10
Posted: 05/06/10
10:27 PM

well for the best bang for your buck i recomend a tuner i have the same exact truck same year and everyting and i put a diablo sport predator on it. it only cost me $500 ( but thats in ontario canada price may vary depending on where u are) and while i have the truck in tow mode jus crusing not towing the power and tourqe gain is quite noticable while towing it is also noticeable and the average fuel economy computer on the roof tells me i gain 3-6 mpg while towing a 40ft park model camper trailer whether or not it is true dont know the only bad thing is the truck rolls coal (black smoke) going up hills or when u first crack the throttle to pass someone. it looks cool as hell but police and smog patrol people dont like it to much and the front of ur trailer will get black soot on it over time. also when not towing put the tuner in extreme and holy *** the truck turns into a light to light racing nightmare for the guy in the other lane i cant find anyhting in my town that can touch it including mustangs, twin turbo all wheel drive tuner cars nothing touches it. as for intakes and exhaust an intake will make the turbo sound really loud but ur music should make it go away as for exhaust depending on if u go cat delete ( catalytic converter) or wat type of muffler whether u put stacks or just stock looking it can get loud but not to loud in the cab especially on the highway my buddy has a 4' MBRP stainless system and on the highway u cant hear the difference between it and my stock exhaust. also with a intake and exhaust your exhaust temps will go down so u dont have to worry about over heating the valves and hurting the engine towing a heavy load like that i recomend a pyro gauge if not already installed. anyway that should get u on ur way to what u want  

pbrbullhauler pbrbullhauler
Enthusiast | Posts: 556 | Joined: 03/09
Posted: 05/08/10
11:17 AM

before you do any mods spend the money and get a better fuel filtering system that will allow you to run a 2 micron fuel filter.  this will save the wear on your injectors and your motor by helping to prevent injector failure which is highly common on cr motors  

pbrbullhauler pbrbullhauler
Enthusiast | Posts: 556 | Joined: 03/09
Posted: 05/08/10
11:17 AM

before you do any mods spend the money and get a better fuel filtering system that will allow you to run a 2 micron fuel filter.  this will save the wear on your injectors and your motor by helping to prevent injector failure which is highly common on cr motors