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Old 04-10-2014, 01:23 PM   #1
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New life into an old DP

So we bought our first rv, a 32 foot 1993 rockwood diesel pusher. We're wrapping up updating the old interior, and have started taking it out on trips more. Some of you may remember my air filter discovery ( How to add 10 hp to an old rv... ) and now that I have the correct new filter, and have done an oil change in the rig, I felt it's finally safe enough to take it out.

We took a couple of trips and in each one discovered just how bad this thing is uphill. The rig has a 190hp cummins, and the dreadful allisson 4 speed. Non-lockup, no overdrive. Basically, anything uphill will result in either, dropping down to 30mph or if I'm lucky, a downshift to 3rd and going 35-37 pegged at 2400rpm, well past the cummins' sweet spot it seems.

Would like to get a bit more oomph out of this rig, as right now I don't even want to think about attaching the toad (a jeep wrangler rubicon on 35s, so probably around 4000 lbs) to it. It did come with a bunch of Banks stickers, but I don't think they add any power

From reading about the transmission, it seems it is rated at most for 230ish hp; and some claim that by switching to synthetic to keep some of the heat out of it, can bump it up to almost 300. My main question is, what's the easiest/cheapest way of getting to 230 with the cummins? Fuel plate? different/rebuilt turbo housing? Injectors?

I'm not expecting a hot rod, but would like to stay above 40mph on the inclines, and not get passed by even older gas motorhomes I would like for it to not be anything major, as we already plan on selling it by the end of this year and picking up something newer/stronger next year, now that we know we like it.

All suggestions are welcome!
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Old 04-10-2014, 02:06 PM   #2
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I assume from your description, you've got a 5.9 mechanical Cummins? There are many ways to bump HP, if you Google it, lots of info will pop up. Keeping it floored to 2,400 rpm to go up hill isn't great for engine or transmission, sit back, ignore the MPH and watch the scenery.
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:34 PM   #3
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Allison 540, forgetaboutit. Turn it up and lose the power through the converter. You "could" have a extra low stall converter built that would help some what but most end users are reluctant to spend money on such.
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Old 04-11-2014, 01:42 AM   #4
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Your engine power can be increased fairly easily in your 5.9L. First thing I would do is contact Allison. Depending on which transmission you have, it may be limited to handling much more increased power. There are replacement transmissions, but note that is a pricey option. Noting that you are not going to keep the coach much longer, you will never get your money out of engine and transmission upgrades. For the time being, I would just leave for my destination a few minutes earlier.
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Old 04-12-2014, 05:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gruelens View Post
Your engine power can be increased fairly easily in your 5.9L. First thing I would do is contact Allison. Depending on which transmission you have, it may be limited to handling much more increased power. There are replacement transmissions, but note that is a pricey option. Noting that you are not going to keep the coach much longer, you will never get your money out of engine and transmission upgrades. For the time being, I would just leave for my destination a few minutes earlier.
Yeah, I thought about that. I'm hating the transmission in this thing when i just look at it. It's the AT542, which is rated for up to 230hp and 400tq. 400tq is where a stock 160hp cummins is at; and I imagine a 230hp one would be around 500ish fairly easy. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put a non lockup non overdrive transmission in something that sees 90% highway miles needs to be fired... sigh. If I knew it could take the power, I'd swap the gears in the rear end and bump up the power, which would solve some of the issues with top speed/high rpm... But it can't even take the power bump.

Annoyingly, there also seems to be zero out there on transmission swaps - to put in a MD3060. I would probably drop the 4-5 grand on the trans swap if I knew 100% it would work well and have no adverse effects, as we like the layout of the coach (only one I've seen with 2 jacknife sofa beds).

It looks like I'll be looking into a fuel plate, hopefully get this another 40hp/100tq and not break the trans.
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Old 04-13-2014, 08:33 AM   #6
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You had the best advice. Leave earlier, and enjoy the scenery!

Unless you are LOVING this coach, and planning on keeping it for MANY years, there is no cost effective way to do what you want.

You could bump the 5.9 power a little, and probably be OK. But, "a little" will not make major difference in performance either.

More power, and you will destroy the tranny.
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