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Zero To Hero: Our 972hp, 27-mpg 1989 Dodge D250

Four Years In The Making

Jason Sands
Mar 1, 2012
Photographers: Jason Sands
Back in 2007, we set out to prove that the lowly VE-pumped ’89 to ’93 5.9L Cummins Dodges could indeed be made into rocket ships capable of mucho power, performance, and fuel economy. Four years later, we’re done with the project, and after boosting our fuel economy by 8 mpg and our horsepower by 802 (up to 972 hp at the rear wheels), we feel we’ve done a good job at proving early Dodges do indeed have awesome potential. Read on as we take you through the highlights of Project Rust Bucket, our ’89 Dodge D250.
Photo 2/14   |   zero To Hero 1989 Dodge D250 Finished
What’s It Cost?
We get this question a lot, so we’ve compiled a list of the major parts and components we’ve installed on the truck. If you do your own labor, we figure Rust Bucket would cost about $15,000 to duplicate. That’s a pretty good value, considering 1,000 hp and 30 mpg are probably attainable from the truck with a little more tweaking. The prices we’ve listed are reflective of how much things cost at the time, so don’t be surprised if some have changed in the year or two since we bought them. OK, enough talk, here’s some facts and figures.
K&N air filter $100
Scheid Diesel 5x25 injectors $750
Scheid Diesel 14mm injection pump $2,400
Diamond Eye exhaust $400
Majestic Turbo 62/65/14 S300 turbo $1,300
12-valve Cummins head porting (J&H Performance) $400
Valvesprings $140
TurboSmart external wastegate $250
Snow Performance water-methanol injection $750
Nitrous Express nitrous system $900
Intake (J&H Performance) $300
ARP head studs $450
J&H Performance 47RH transmission (used) $3,000
DPC torque converter $1,300
J&H Performance flexplate $300
B&M Shifter $200
Dipricol gauges $300
Hellmann Performance fuel sump $175
AirDog lift pump $500
Killer dowel pin kit $100
O-ring head $200
Machined rocker arm pedestals $80
Tailgate (used) $150
Total $14,445