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Old 09-14-2015, 11:40 AM   #1
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A CHIP changes a 400 HP Cummins to a 450 HP

We are fast moving forward to purchasing a new-to-us DP and the salesperson is telling us that "The difference between a 450 and a 400 is a computer chip."

Is this true?? Can you do this to any Cummins (500 HP, etc.) or Detroit Diesel?

Does the torq range also increase?

It just seems too easy.
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:49 AM   #2
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You did not say what year DP you are looking at. I am sure you can get a chip to increase the horsepower on most diesels. The coaches with a 400 ISL engine prior to 2006 with Side Mounted radiators on Freightliner chassis are prone to overheating problems. Not all do and basically it seems to be when you are trying to pull mountains in very hot weather. I know my 2005 Allegro Bus has an issue. There was a bandaid fix for the problem but unless you complained under the warranty you did not even get the bandaid fix. I drive my bus without any problems I just have to drop to a lower gear to get up mountains. Some of the peaks in the Sierras that was all the way down to 2nd gear. I hated doing 45 when the engine had enough power to pull the mountain in 6th but i had to keep the RPMS up to keep the engine cool. I am not saying that you do not want to buy a year model with a possibility of doing this. I am saying however when you change the chip to increase the HP you have a tendency to increase the operational temp of the engine. If you are borderline in situations to start with the chip might not be a good idea. I am sure people with more knowledge of this will Post I just wanted to warn you to look into it better.
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:52 AM   #3
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I expect there will be more to it than a simple chip upgrade. If it were that easy everyone would do it. Generally speaking power train units are matched so all of the components are compatible.

IMO you will have enough power with the 400 unless you want to set some land speed records. If that is the case I would go with a unit with the engine size you want.

I am sure there will be more knowledgeable people with information.
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:55 AM   #4
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Cummins , considers a " chip " an un-authorized modification and will void the warranty of the engine. There are some flashes that Cummins can perform that will increase HP with a slight bump in torque.
During my last years working on Dodge/Cummins , any call to Cummins the first question asked would be " any sign of a chip in the system" then the truck would be linked to Cummins via the internet for them to run a scan, to see if there had ever been one installed then removed, prior to service.
If you are not worried about warranty then there are any number of mods that can pull more power from the motors, larger or twin turbos etc. Then the transmission could become the weak link in the power train.
You just have to pick up a copy of " Diesel Power " on the rack at the store to see how wild you can go. But you have to ask. Do you want to give up reliability for more power?
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:15 PM   #5
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The 1st rig is a 2007 American Eagle. The 2nd is a 2005 Country Coach.

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Old 09-14-2015, 01:37 PM   #6
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"Just For Fun"......My previous coach was a 2005 Monaco Diplomat, rear radiator, with a Cummins 400ISL. To start, the ISL is one of the best RV motors ever built and right out of the box has a lot of HP and torque. Mine was in a short coach and was a rocket, yet we all want more power.

In some instances, the ISL can be bumped from 400 to 425 or 450 HP by having a Cummins shop change parameters in the computer. When I called about mine and gave them my serial number, my year model was not capable of being uprated. So a call to Cummins with a serial number will be needed. If still under warranty, there is usually a substantial charge (last I heard was $2500.00) to up the horsepower and keep the warranty intact.

With that said, after a lot of research (my coach was already out of warranty) I added the DIGI CR chip sold by Parleys Diesel ($650.00). When dyno'd by another member, it added 52 HP. More importantly, it widened the power band. It plugs into the fuel rail, adjusts the fuel timing and doesn't show up on the ECM. It also reverts back to stock settings at wide open throttle so you don't blow the engine or trans.

If you look at Monaco products with a rear radiator, they also had a nice upgrade which returned 25 HP (didn't add it). The upgrade was a new engine fan. The OEM fan is big enough for a small Cessna. The upgraded fan was more streamline, better built and cooled as well if not better than the OEM fan. These are $600 from Source Engineering.

With these two upgrades, my Monaco was a beast on the grades (55+ and the power to recover after being blocked/slowed down by another vehicle on a grade) towing my 6K Silverado. Sadly, my new coach brings tears to my eyes while climbing at 45 mph.

If you get serious about purchasing one of the two coaches you mention, get the engine serial number and shoot an email to Cummins. I doubt the 05 can have the computer uprated by Cummins, but the 2007 might be. I don't know what year Cummins made engine changes to allow the uprating, but I suspect it was year models where the 425 and 450 started showing up on higher end coaches.
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Old 09-14-2015, 02:30 PM   #7
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There is a reason why your motor coach was engineered to its specifications. Everybody knows that Horse Power sells so why did they not give you the engine with more HP? The reason is that there are many other engineering aspects in your motor home. One of the biggest is the transmission to weight ratio and HP. If your transmission can only handle the out put of a 400 HP engine, then putting a 450 HP engine would over tax it. The ability of the chassis to dissipate the heat of a 400 HP might be OK but to dissipate the heat of a 450 HP engine, no. These and other aspects are worked into the price of you motor coach.

So just understand the caveats of changing out your chip.
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Old 09-14-2015, 07:24 PM   #8
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We had a 400 ISL on a Spartan that never over heated, to include crossing the Cont Divide.

If the 400 has an Allison 3000, which it probably does, that trans can take up to 450 HP and 1250 ft/lbs of torque. Any increase in either requires the Allison 4000.
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Old 09-14-2015, 07:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
Cummins , considers a " chip " an un-authorized modification and will void the warranty of the engine. There are some flashes that Cummins can perform that will increase HP with a slight bump in torque.
During my last years working on Dodge/Cummins , any call to Cummins the first question asked would be " any sign of a chip in the system" then the truck would be linked to Cummins via the internet for them to run a scan, to see if there had ever been one installed then removed, prior to service.
If you are not worried about warranty then there are any number of mods that can pull more power from the motors, larger or twin turbos etc. Then the transmission could become the weak link in the power train.
You just have to pick up a copy of " Diesel Power " on the rack at the store to see how wild you can go. But you have to ask. Do you want to give up reliability for more power?
Under the Moss-Magnusson act the dealer/manufacturer has to PROVE that the modification caused the problem/failure in order to void the warranty. But Dodge was famous for doing just the opposite and then waiting to be sued. Usually the owners gave up since it cost more to sue than paying for the repairs.
And our ISX Cummins has not been modded in any way but it's still had two top end rebuilds and three turbo's in 45,000 miles!
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