Chargin' Cummins

Adding Torque & Power to Your Ram Powerplant

Randy Bolig
Sep 13, 2005
Photographers: Randy Bolig
Photo 2/16   |   Dodge Ram Diesel Front View
It's a familiar sight on many a highway-diesel trucks belching out a lot of black smoke and making gobs of power and torque. The diesel engine is the workhorse powering the nation's trucks and buses. Because a diesel delivers more power and is more durable than its gasoline-burning counterpart, diesel-powered engines are also prevalent in light vehicles, including pickups and other work trucks. So, it's no wonder that folks like us would be curious about hot-rodding our diesel Dodge pickups. But, what's involved in accomplishing this task? We can all replace a camshaft in our musclecars, but put a diesel engine in front of many, and the nail biting and confusion begins. There's no need to be worried; it's no more difficult to increase the power in your diesel than it is in your gas engine. In fact, the guy's at Jannetty Racing Enterprises set out to prove it's actually easier.
We recently had the opportunity to visit Jannetty Racing Enterprises in Waterbury, Connecticut, and find out if smoke and power go hand in hand. We found out quickly that you can make a load of power without smoking out the guy in the lane next to you. JRE opened its doors in 1987 and has been building and racing cars for a very long time. In 1991, however, proprietor Ted Jannetty got the itch to add something new to his abilities: diesel powerplants. Ted was quite possibly one of the first people to ever express an interest in combining a diesel engine with performance. Ted is a strong proponent of not only building power, but he will design a package tailored to your needs, and as an added bonus, that black billowing cloud will not be emitting from your tailpipe.
With our baseline out of the way, it was time to change some parts. Our first point of attack was to make sure the engine could take in enough air. The stock air filtration system from the factory is a restrictive, EPA-certified box and inlet with a muffler installed. Efficient airflow is not a priority using this filter box. An aFe cold-air kit was installed. The install is really straightforward, and just by adding the aFe kit, horsepower climbed just by getting more air into the engine. Keep in mind, just adding the cold-air kit allowed the Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) to rise, because it was taking in more air but still restricted by the factory exhaust.
Getting the airflow moving better coming into the engine is one thing, getting out is another. The guys at JRE decided that a Banks Monster exhaust will outflow the stock pipe, and the streamlined 4-inch intermediate pipe and tailpipe are formed of stainless, heavy-wall tubing with constant-diameter bends to reduce backpressure. The Banks polished, stainless steel Monster muffler also features a straight-through 4-inch-diameter flow-path with a specially designed expansion chamber to dissipate the annoying mid-range exhaust drone. The exhaust was really a straightforward install, and we left the catalytic converter in place, which keeps it 50-state legal. We only installed the system from the converter back at this time. We'll do the down tube in another step. Not only did the power number increase, but also the EGT came down. At peak horsepower, with the cold-air kit and exhaust, the EGT was 1,294 degrees-a definite improvement.
That's right, power and torque with no smoke. Sound like an impossibility? Follow along, and find out that we're literally not blowing smoke.
Photo 3/16   |   0511dp Ram 02 Z
There are different performance modifications you can do to your diesel; it all depends on what you plan to do with your truck. We started by going to the dyno at Jannetty Racing, to see what a stock '04 diesel Ram was capable of at the wheels. In bone-stock trim, our Ram churned out 507.5 lb-ft of torque at a leisurely 2,100 rpm. Horsepower peaked at 264.9 at 2,950 rpm. That's definitely enough power to haul anything you need.
Photo 7/16   |   Dodge Ram Diesel Undercarriage Stock Exhaust Removal
Making an engine breathe is a must to create horsepower, and the Banks Monster system definitely lets the gases out. Our Dodge came equipped with a catalytic converter, and to remain emissions legal, it was retained. The Banks exhaust features a 4-inch pipe and exits in the stock location. We first removed the stock system.
Photo 10/16   |   0511dp Ram 09 Z
The Edge Juice control box is designed to be used in conjunction with the Edge Attitude monitor box, and it is a highly sophisticated package capable of dramatically improving your Cummins' driveability, towing, mileage, and, most importantly, power. Hooking up the Edge box consists of connecting a couple factory-style connections into the existing engine harness. By just plugging the harness in, you can add five levels of adjustable power ranging from 40 to 100 hp and increase torque to 250 lb-ft. The Juice greatly improves responsiveness and driveability, while at the same time increasing fuel economy. The hardest part of installing the Edge box is drilling the exhaust manifold for the EGT probe, and that's a simple task with a drill and tap.
When used in conjunction with the Attitude monitor you can control the five power levels on the fly from inside your truck. The Attitude displays all the information a complete set of gauges would, and it will automatically monitor and display exhaust gas temperature (EGT), turbo boost, and transmission slip. It also de-fuels the engine to prevent excessive EGT, boost levels, or transmission slippage. As an added bonus, it also displays 0-60 times, quarter-mile times, and actual speed if you are using non-stock tires, as well as a host of other parameters.

The following power gains are representative of a 5.9 Dodge Cummins (600 Series) equipped with the Juice module with Attitude monitor:
Power Gain
Level 0
Level 1
25 hp, 80 lbs./ft. of torque
Level 2
40 hp, 120 lbs./ft. of torque
Level 3
60 hp, 150 lbs./ft. of torque
Level 4
80 hp, 200 lbs./ft. of torque
Level 5
100 hp, 250 lbs./ft. of torque

Photo 11/16   |   0511dp Ram 10 Z
We wanted to see how accurate the Edge box was as compared to the SuperFlow dyno with regard to EGT readings. We drilled another hole into the manifold for the Edge probe. Don't worry, since this is a stock manifold and is getting changed. Anyway, it's not hard to add a plug to the hole after you're finished.
Photo 15/16   |   0511dp Ram 14 Z
With the monitor installed, it's time to set up the parameters. You can program everything from maximum levels to alarms and displays. It's all at the touch of a button.
Photo 16/16   |   Dodge Ram Diesel Aerial View
Once again, we strapped the Ram down on the dyno. We were able to progressively increase horsepower with each level of the Edge box. At Level One, we had 315.4 hp at 2,900 rpm. At Level Five, we had a tire-frying 395 hp at 2,950 rpm. Torque came in at 620.7 at 2,150 at Level One, and with Level Five, it was 707.6 at 2,100 rpm, and climbed all the way to 738.0 at 2,800 rpm. Also, at Level Five, the EGT touched 1,600 degrees, the Edge unit de-fueled the engine, and they quickly dropped.



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