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2003 Cummins Diesel Dodge Ram Upgrades - The Total Package - Part 1

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on December 10, 2004
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Creating big performance gains from your truck's diesel engine is easy. All it takes is a call to one of the many diesel aftermarket companies and voila, they will send you a bolt-on or plug-in device that will increase your engine's output. BD Diesel Performance is an example of those companies.

We asked BD to recommend some upgrades for our '03 Cummins-powered Dodge Ram. Our Ram is mostly used for towing and hauling heavy loads, so we wanted to increase the engine's horsepower and torque. That's not all, though. We also wanted to perform a series of mods that would address transmission performance and longevity issues as well as overall driveability.

BD recommended a number of components that would help us achieve our goals. So many, in fact, that we've had to split our installation story into two parts. This first story covers the basics of BD's Turbo Mount Engine Exhaust Brake, X-Intake airbox, X-Monitor with Cool Engine Shutdown option and Maxflow exhaust.

Next month's installment will cover five more components. The mechanical side of these installs was completed by the technicians at Attitude Performance in Arlington Heights, Illinois, while the electrical wiring (and there's a lot of it) was done by the wiring gurus at D&R Customs in Bartlett, Illinois.

There are three major components to the BD Turbo Mount Exhaust Brake. The first is the air compressor. It requires that the vacuum pump (found on all automatic-transmission-equipped vehicles) be relocated a short distance away to the rear of the battery tray. A template is included with the kit to aid in relocation of the pump. With the pump out of the way, there is now room for the air compressor to be mounted on the inner fender.

The regulator is the second major component of the engine brake. It's mounted on the passenger-side firewall just below the upper cowling. After the regulator is installed, a number of electrical connections are made. The BD manual gives detailed instructions with illustrations to guide the installer through the process. We also installed BD's TowLok transmission-and-converter control module, which--since it works in harmony with the engine brake--required us to skip the wiring instructions included with the engine brake and instead use the instructions with the TowLok. Regardless of whether you're using the TowLok, it is at this point that the dash-mounted brake-control switch is installed. It mounts to the left of the steering column and draws power from a switched 12-volt power source.

The third major component of the engine brake is the brake valve. To install this turbo-mount device, remove the downpipe-to-turbo elbow band clamp, intake air-temperature sensor harness, turbo air inlet tube, exhaust outlet pipe and the factory exhaust elbow (shown).

PhotosView Slideshow

Our X Monitor is integrated into an A-pillar mount that fastens directly over the top of the OEM A-pillar mount. The X-Monitor is also offered in a dash-mount design. The included instructions cover the electrical connections that feed pyrometer, boost pressure and oil temperature information. Power for the X-Monitor comes from a keyed 12-volt power source.


BD Diesel Performance
Sumas, WA 98295
Attitude Performance
Arlington Heights, IL
D&R Custom Services Inc.

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