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2003 Cummins Diesel Dodge Ram Upgrades - The Total Package - Part 2

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on December 10, 2004
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In the October '04 issue, we commenced a series of mods on our '03 Cummins-powered Dodge Ram using products from BD Diesel Performance. Our goal with this project is threefold: Increase the engine's horsepower and torque, address transmission performance and longevity issues and enhance overall driveability while hauling or towing heavy loads.

You'll recall that we contacted BD and asked the folks there to recommend a few upgrades that would help us achieve our goals. They recommended so many cool items we had to split our story into two parts. The first part included the installation of BD's free-flowing X-intake airbox and Maxflow exhaust, Turbo Mount Engine Exhaust Brake and nifty A-pillar mount X-Monitor with Cool Engine Shutdown option. This month we complete the upgrades by installing BD's EZ Tow Pro, X Converter, Deep Sump transmission oil pan and Tow Loc.

The guys at Attitude Performance in Arlington Heights, Illinois completed the mechanical side of these installations, while the wiring gurus at D&R Customs in Carol Stream, Illinois completed the electrical wiring of the Tow Loc.

Once we removed the transmission from our Ram, swapping the stock torque converter for the new X Converter was quick and painless. The only important step to remember when installing the new torque converter is to make sure that it's filled with two quarts of transmission fluid prior to seating it on the input shaft.

Installation of the BD Deep Sump cooling pan is quick and easy. Simply remove the stock pan, clean the surface on the transmission where the new pan will mount, install the new gasket on the new pan and mount the pan and gasket to the transmission.

The EZ Tow Pro module is a plug-in module that simply connects between the MAP sensor and the fuel-pressure sensor. Since it's completely sealed, it can be mounted under the hood. We mounted ours on top of the underhood fuse box using a chunk of Velcro. The Tow Pro comes with a new easy-to-install elbow that mounts on the turbo and helps to increase boost and lower exhaust gas temperature.

We mounted our Tow Loc transmission control module under the dash next to the control module for the previously installed X-Monitor. The module itself is weather-resistant so it can be mounted underhood, if you wish. The installation instructions guide you through the 10 to 12 electrical connections that provide control and sensing. The other major component of the Tow Loc is the dash-mounted switch, which we mounted to the right of the steering column.

So, How Does It Work?
Before we started with our installations, we put our Dodge Ram through a battery of tests. After we installed the BD items, we duplicated those tests to gauge what benefit, if any, we gained. All on-road testing was done while pulling a dual-axle trailer with our Project Fiery Redhead Ford F-150 lashed onto it. The total weight of the towed pair was more than 6,000 pounds. Our testing was gritty, real-world style using a GPS to track speed and a stopwatch to track elapsed time. The results were exciting. But let's back up a bit. Even before final testing began, it was clear that the BD mods had a significant impact on the big Dodge's performance because the truck exhibited improved acceleration throughout the rpm band; also, fuel mileage had improved by approximately 4 mpg. We like the way BD addresses transmission function and durability instead of just concentrating on making gobs of engine power. We also like the Cool Engine Shutdown feature, though we're still getting used to removing the ignition key and having the engine continue running until the turbo cools.It's important to note that these test results are provided to illustrate our truck's before-and-after performance. They're probably specific to this vehicle because of our testing location, the ambient temperature and altitude, our vehicle's modifications and so on. So your results may vary.

Performance Data

Stock
BD Modifications
HillClimb*
28.6 mph
32 mph
Downhill**
40.7
34.7
0-60mph
28.7
22.2
30-50mph
16.2
10.05
PeakHP***
219.7
245.1

* From dead stop to top of 495 foot hill
** Cresting the hill at 30 mph and allowing the truck to roll unbrakeddownhill
*** Tested on DynoJet Model 248

Sources

BD Diesel Performance
Sumas, WA 98295
800-887-5030
www.dieselperformance.com
Attitude Performance
Arlington Heights, IL
847-593-0505
www.attitudeperformance.com
D&R Custom Services Inc.
630/407-0415

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