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Discussion Starter #1
I apologize if this thread is too basic for all you diesel gurus but I could really use some help! I own a 2003 Dodge 5.9L Cummins that does not have any performance modifications. I have recently been driving a similar truck that has the Banks Six-gun, 3.5" exhaust, and banks intake and basically I gotta upgrade my truck to perform like this one does! I am a mopar guy through and through and have built several big block muscle cars. The thing is, I know very little about diesel engines. I tow show cars with my truck, drive about 80 miles a day on average, and really enjoy having the extra power (not to mention improved mpg). I am looking to add performance parts, but the more money I put into my truck, the less I can put into my cars. I would like to spend about a thousand dollars give or take five hundred depending on how much power and performance gained. I really don't know where to begin and thought that several of you would have good advice and where to start and how to get the best bang for my buck. I really appreciate any advice as to what brands, what components, weak links, and any other tips you may have. I would be happy to do the same for you on any mopar gas engines or old school muscle so feel free to ask!
Thanks for your time, and I would really appreciate any help!
 

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well for starters, if you plan on over 100 additional HP you are going to need some transmission upgrades. if not, check out the quadzilla tow boxes. youll get better milage, and a little more HP.

What kind of power goals are you looking at?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have heard the trans and torque converter are the weak link. What kinds of upgrades need to be performed to make the trans handle the added power?

As for my goals, I am honestly just looking to be able to get up going with a heavy load, and pass on the interstate easier. Being a mopar muscle guy I love power, the more the better. But realistically I just want to boost my performance for easier and better highway towing capabilities.
 

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i would say that a TC, and valve body at least. maybe a programer/chip, and a turbo upgrade to keep everything cool, along with all the usuals like intake and exhaust.
 

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Upside Swordfish
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first start off with simple.. Afe Cai stage 2.. some decals to add some hp LOL ... then exhaust to lower you egt;s and make the truck breathe better.. then before anything else.. trans for a fact.. no questions asked.. just do a trans and get it over with.... then.. smarty with tst.. then injectors.. then twin it.. then whatever else you want to do..
 

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Sabbath5.9 said:
first start off with simple.. Afe Cai stage 2.. some decals to add some hp LOL ... then exhaust to lower you egt;s and make the truck breathe better.. then before anything else.. trans for a fact.. no questions asked.. just do a trans and get it over with.... then.. smarty with tst.. then injectors.. then twin it.. then whatever else you want to do..
Man jeff, hes building a tow truck not a race winner!... LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys! I appreciate the tips!

I have already installed a better breathing K&N air filter and intake pipe kit. Any suggestions on a good intake manifold? How about the exhaust, size, brand, style? I really like the Banks stuff that I have seen but, again, I'm a newbie to diesels.

Also, on the performance tuners, are their pro and cons to having a replaced module compared to a programmer that uses the oem computer?
 

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Upside Swordfish
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BillM2004 said:
Man jeff, hes building a tow truck not a race winner!... LOL

oh yeah.. its not me.. sorry.. LOL LOL
 

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Go with a Smarty programmer! 30-200 (soon 230hp) rear wheel horsepower all in one box. It is a good box to grow with. Most guys start with 100hp and then start planning for some trans mods....Not to worry as it won't break right away. With an 8 minute adjustment you will have enough power to rip your buddy's six gun truck a new one!
Go easy on the settings or that trans will quickly fade.

Next purchase should be gauges.
Diesels make serious heat. Performance boxes add to this....Something you need to pay attention to while towing.

Banks makes nice stuff ...slow...really slow!..... but nice!
You are a muscle car guy...you'll figure out what I'm getting at.


Do your homework.
 

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stay away from banks stuff! not worth the $. you cant go wrong with a smarty!
 

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The smarty has a lot of nice features, including being able to set back to stock and leave no traces of a tuner having been on there when you take it in for service.

First thing, get rid of the K&N, they work great for gassers, but diesel need too much air. Go with AFE, Volant, etc. Then exhaust. 4 inch diameter straight pipe (no cat or muffler) from the turbo back will really help with EGT's. Before you do any programmers tho, make sure you get a good set of gauges (EGT and Trans. Temp are necessary) Then go with a boost or fuel pressure gauge. After that, Torque Convertor (your choice) and valve body, and you will be good to go. As long as you don't go too agressive w/ the programmer, the trans should hold it.

Just tow on the lower power settings, because towing anything above 100+ on the programmer, and you will wrap a 1500* EGT gauge in about 5 seconds
 

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Upside Swordfish
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oh and dont forget intake mani
 

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i love my K&N, no problems with not having enough air, although i have heard there is better brands for diesels. I had plenty of air to win the diesel shootout last weekend with mine.
 

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Its Cute Aint it!!
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Yeah thats a big 10-4 on the banks. They suck! Smarty by far the best. But for lees than 600 the diablo buddle aint bad either. Dollar for dollar they make good product. If i was wanting a truck to tow with and nothin else i would get diablo.
 

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CRAZY CANUCK
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kc04 said:
Yeah thats a big 10-4 on the banks. They suck! Smarty by far the best. But for lees than 600 the diablo buddle aint bad either. Dollar for dollar they make good product. If i was wanting a truck to tow with and nothin else i would get diablo.
i agree, or maybe a Smarty jr.?? i mean hes not gonna be drag racing it, so it would do fine

K&N are junk, the gauze isn't woven finely enough to catch everything that the turbo can suck into it(you'll dust the turbo and do a lot more damage to the engine too!), get an AFE or AEM intake

TRANNY!! god get a tranny! even if you just get a billet torque converter and valve body you will be a lot better off! but.... you can still break your input shaft doing a 4x4 boosted launch:damnit with only an extra 100hp

gauges too, trans temp, boost, pyro, you shouldn't need a rail pressure gauge as long as your not running like bigger sticks and a huge programmer then you shouldn't have a problem there:popcorn:

and no you shouldn't need a new turbo, the stocker should hold for a about 400-450hp, pull out the silencer ring from the turbo inlet, and just open up the exhaust, cut the kitty and get a straight-thru muffler(unless you want an ungodly loud drone)

now i know this doesn't fit your $1000 budget, but you asked what to do... LOL

P.S. the banks stuff is ok, but your really not getting your moneys worth its over priced and under powered:shrug:
 

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HighTQCummins said:
The smarty has a lot of nice features, including being able to set back to stock and leave no traces of a tuner having been on there when you take it in for service.

First thing, get rid of the K&N, they work great for gassers, but diesel need too much air. Go with AFE, Volant, etc. Then exhaust. 4 inch diameter straight pipe (no cat or muffler) from the turbo back will really help with EGT's. Before you do any programmers tho, make sure you get a good set of gauges (EGT and Trans. Temp are necessary) Then go with a boost or fuel pressure gauge. After that, Torque Convertor (your choice) and valve body, and you will be good to go. As long as you don't go too agressive w/ the programmer, the trans should hold it.

Just tow on the lower power settings, because towing anything above 100+ on the programmer, and you will wrap a 1500* EGT gauge in about 5 seconds

:whs

Get a non oiled filter! And the standard intake, exhaust, and gauges. I like the edge because it has gauges and backdown. But a smarty makes the best power.

Don't waste your money on stuff like manifolds. They don't have the same power for your money factor. Actually for the best I would even keep the stock intake system and just remove the cat and replace the muffler with a high flow muffler to take care of the exhaust. Skip the systems.

:2cents
 

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CRAZY CANUCK
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:whs for sure on the dry filter, just wash, let dry and put it back on, no oiling required! thats why i suggest AFE or AEM because they both offer dry flow filters:woot:

oh and water/meth too if your going to be towing a lot, will drop your egt's a few hundred degrees... extra power(100hp on some kits) too if you run 50/50 water to methanol
haha!:sly:
god i wish i had more money!
 

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you bought what ?????????
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just dig thru this site and youll see what to do. :believe :sofa :shrug:
 

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I like the bullydog and can computer upgrade 230hp after you upgrade trans and tc cheap exhaust is to cut out conveter and muffler and put in a 4 inch glasspack for nice deep tone and no restriction any muffler shop for $100 then get a fass pump they are worth every $ if in texas check out relentless diesel for trans upgrade ask for chris he knows his sh** upgrades should be around 2500-3000$ or just put a set of gauges in and alot fuel to it then you will have to upgrade trans but it will pull
 
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