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Old 11-07-2011, 07:54 PM   #1
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Dodge Ram 3500 diesel mods

Is anyone out there towing 14-16,000 lbs fifth wheel with a 2004-2006 Dodge 3500 5.9 diesel?
If so, have you done any upgrades like "Banks" power products with a noticeable increase in towing ability and or fuel milage.

My wife and I have noticed we seem to find the mountains more enjoyable than the coast and as such we are constantly going up and down secondary roads with our 403 Fuzion.
The 3500 does go and stop however I would like more towing power.
And of course, better mileage.
I have the Banks exhaust and air intake . I get 18-19mpg highway not towing.11-12mpg on the highway, but it tanks 7-9 when I get in the hills towing.
I would really like to hear from actual users if there are mods available that really pay off.

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Old 11-07-2011, 08:34 PM   #2
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We had several hp/torque numbers for the Cummins engine in the years you mention. Which year engine do you have ?

'03 Dodge 2500 Cummins HO 3.73 NV5600 Jacobs
'98 3500 DRW 454 4x4 4.10 crew cab
'97 Park Avanue RK 28' 2 slides
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:40 PM   #3
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The 5.9L diesel 325/600 auto.
4 wheel drive , dually
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:50 PM   #4
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I have a 2004 3500 with the 5.9 that I bought new. At less than 1000 miles I installed the Banks 6 Gun, SS Exhaust and Ram Air intake. Night and day difference. I pull a 13,000 pound boat and a triax car trailer with it. I also installed an ATS Trans Command system with torque converter upgrade. I just turned over 70,000 miles and I have had zero issues. With the Banks system, I believe it also comes with a new air intake box that will replace the stock air cleaner. Once that was done you can hear the turbo all the time. I like that but some people don't. I am getting about 36 pounds of boost max.
2017 RAM DRW
2018 DRV Full House JX450
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:53 PM   #5
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Did you install the air scoop from Banks?
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:00 PM   #6
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This is the air intake I installed....yes it is a Banks. The air cleaner and "funnel" that I bought that connects to the Banks RAM was a K&N system.

Cold Air Intake - Diesel and Gas Performance Products

Mine has a dial from 1-6. If I am pulling a heavy load I need to dial it down to 2-3 or I will throw a high rail pressure alarm. I believe Banks suggests that as well. You will notice a difference when towing. When you are not towing anything and the truck is dialed at 6, the truck moves!!
2017 RAM DRW
2018 DRV Full House JX450
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:27 PM   #7
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My thoughts so far are all the components of the Banks Power Pack set up.
Plus the torque converter.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:41 PM   #8
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There are many MODS that are much cheaper and perform as well as Banks. They are well built but quite pricey. Follow the link to one of the Cummins forums and ask your questions. Much good info.

Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum
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Old 11-22-2011, 05:40 AM   #9
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I just got rid of a 2007 6.7 that I modded out. I was pushing in the neighborhood of 600hp. The best advice I can give is install a exhaust temp (pyro) gauge and turbo boost gauge when you start installing mods. The exhaust gas temperature will increase and can cause fatal damage. However, when you buy a complete kit (like banks) they usually will have gauges and larger intercoolers to adjust. You can join Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum and get all the advice and guidance you need. Hope this helps. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
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Old 11-22-2011, 07:41 AM   #10
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I don't own a Dodge but the Super Chips tuner I got for my F-350 works great. On the heavy tow mode it gives me 48 more HP and 110 ft lbs. more of torque. It's also a "safe" tune and not over loading my engine. Made a big difference.
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:43 AM   #11
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As I do more and more research it seems that I can appreciably increase power within safe limits. This will help with over all towing. More MPG? Seems to be more of a gray area. The question of investment vs return looks to be obvious. At one or two MPG I will never re-coup the investment in up grades. So now it seems a "what will make it a better more enjoyable" vehicle.
I believe the following is in order. Banks "Power" package ,plus a new torque converter.
I would love to have some exhaust braking capabilities but it doesn't look like Banks makes the hardware for my 2005 Ram 3500 3.9L
Looks like the old hot rodder in me isn't dead. Just been asleep for a while.
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:47 AM   #12
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There is still a question within the exhaust system I have not gotten answered to my satisfaction.
The previous owner put a 5" Turbo Back exhaust system in. Eliminating the Cat. Conv.
Talks with Banks has told me to replace the Cat. Conv. and put their Exhaust system on.

The only issue I have with the system now on the truck is it is toooo loud.
Muffler is very small.
Banks claims to get the "drone" out. Maybe all I need is a bigger muffler?
Anybody out there have a 5" turbo back exhaust with a muffler that mufles?
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:11 AM   #13
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There is a saying in the Diesel community that does sled pulling. "Friends don't let friends drive Banks systems". Banks systems are over price for what you get.
I do not have the same model of truck or engine as you do, but I do have a 6.7L Cummins. I am using the MBRP 5" TBE with a 6"tip, I tow in the 1700 to 1900 RPM range, the engine is quiet (subject input) with no drone. If I am above the 2200 RPM's I will get a drone in the exhaust system, so I up shift to another gear to get back to 1700 to 1900 RPM's range.
I am using gages on my truck in an A pillar mount, an EGT, Boost and transmission temperature gages. For your year of truck, I would also recommend a fuel delivery pressure gage. The fuel delivery pump in the tank has been known to have issue with it when using a programmer.
The programmer is a Smarty S67 for the 6.7L engine. The only programmers to use for the Cummins in my opinion are either a Smarty or H&S, like the black max.
I am running the stock air box and filter, do not want to dust the turbo with an aftermarket air filter. In fact Cummins has been noted to void the warranty of your engine with some aftermarket air filters such as K&N. They do not filter the air enough and let in too much debris.
BTW, I am 62 years young.
Jim W.
Jim & Jill
Sold: 2010 318SAB Cougar:New: 2016 Cedar Creek 34RL. 2008 Dodge 6.7LCummins the original 6.7L engine, w/68RFE Auto
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Old 11-23-2011, 06:43 PM   #14
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I second Jim's recommendations. Do not begin any modifications until you have installed those gauges Jim mentioned. Another thing to keep in mind is the transmission, which will withstand just so much HP/torque before it fails, whether it be manual or automatic. Another website is dodgeram.org for information and tips about your truck.

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA 1SG, retired;PPA,Good Sam Life member,FMCA."We the people are the rightful masters of both the Congress and the Courts - not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution. "Abraham Lincoln"
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