1989 To 1993 Dodge Ram Power Recipes - Budget-Build

For $1,500, $2,500, $5,000, And $10,000 Budgets

Jason Sands
Jan 1, 2010
Photographers: Jason Sands
First-generation Dodge Rams manufactured for '89 to '93 are on the comeback. They have the legendary 5.9L 12-valve Cummins engine, along with a Bosch VE rotary injection pump. While the VE pump doesn't have the performance potential of the Bosch P7100 pump (found in '94 to '98 Dodges), it works pretty well up to about 500 hp. These early trucks are cheap, simple, plentiful, and easy to work on. They can also be made to go plenty fast, thanks to their 5,000- to 6,000-pound curb weight, which is much lighter than newer diesel trucks. They also offer non-lockup transmissions, which means you'll be spending a lot less on transmission parts than with any of the newer vehicles. If you're looking for super-cheap power, non-intercooled trucks built from '89 to '91 1/2 have larger injectors. The early engines can produce nearly 300 hp at the wheels with almost no modifications. But, the '91 1/2 to '93 trucks have an overdrive transmission and an intercooler, which really helps later in the drivability and performance department. Since most people who buy early Dodges are looking for buildups on the cheap, we've included builds from $1,500 to $10,000, although it's pretty hard to spend $10K on a first-gen Dodge without switching to a P-pump injection system. Also, before you get started, make sure your factory lift pump and transmission are in good working order. These are known weak points on first-gens and should be upgraded if they are questionable. Other than that, choose the amount of cash you wish to spend, and have at it!
Photo 2/8   |   1989 To 1993 Dodge Ram Power Recipes first Gen Truck
BUDGET: $1,500
Modification: Turn up full fuel screw
Reason: Turning the fuel up past stock levels can yield 50 to 70 more hp than stock
Price: Free
Modification: 3,200-rpm governor spring
Reason: Because you'll be glad you have that extra 500 rpm
Vendor: Dynomite Diesel, Pure Diesel Power
Price: $30
Modification: 4-inch exhaust (after downpipe)
Reason: Stock exhaust is a restriction
Vendor: Local muffler shop
Price: $300
Modification: Air filter and intake
Reason: More flow through the intake is needed with the 3,200-rpm spring
Vendor: PDR Diesel Performance
Price: $219
Modification: Boost and exhaust temperature gauges
Reason: Keep an eye on boost and EGT numbers-anything above 35 psi or 1,500 degrees is bad news
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $250-$300
Modification: Prince of Darkness (POD) injectors
Reason: They're smoky and you'll have poor fuel economy, but they make power
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $440
Modification: Performance fuel pin
Reason: Because it's worth 20 hp over the stock fuel pin
Vendor: DennyT Performance
Price: $105
Modification: Killer dowel pin kit
Reason: Because engine failure is no fun
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $60
HP: 250 to 300
Weak Links: Torque converter or clutch, smoky exhaust, high EGT
TOTAL: $1,404 to $1,454
BUDGET: $2,500
Modification: Turn up full fuel screw
Reason: Turning the fuel up past stock levels can yield 50 to 70 more hp than stock
Price: Free
Modification: 3,200-rpm governor spring
Reason: Because you'll be glad you have that extra 500 rpm
Vendor: Dynomite Diesel, Pure Diesel Power
Price: $30
Modification: 4-inch exhaust (including downpipe)
Reason: Bigger turbo needs a 4-inch downpipe
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $485
Modification: Air filter and intake
Reason: More flow through the intake is needed with the 3,200-rpm spring
Vendor: PDR Diesel Performance
Price: $219
Modification: Boost and exhaust temperature gauges
Reason: Keep an eye on boost and EGT numbers-anything above 35 psi or 1,500 degrees is bad news
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $250-$300
Modification: Prince of Darkness (POD) injectors
Reason: They're smoky and you'll have poor fuel economy, but they make power
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $440
Modification: Performance fuel pin
Reason: Because it's worth 20 hp over the stock fuel pin
Vendor: DennyT Performance
Price: $105
Modification: Killer dowel pin kit
Reason: Because engine failure is no fun
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $60
Modification: 60mm compressor upgrade
Reason: More air = lower EGT
Vendor: Gillett Diesel
Price: $225
Modification: Aftermarket low-stall torque converter
Reason: Less slip adds 25 hp
Vendor: Spec-Rite Converters, Goerend Transmission Inc.
Price: $900
HP: 300 to 350
Weak Links: High EGT, stock fuel system may not support power levels
Total: $2,529 to $2,579
BUDGET: $5,000
Modification: Turn up full fuel screw
Reason: Turning the fuel up past stock levels can yield 50 to 70 more hp than stock
Price: Free
Modification: 3,200-rpm governor spring
Reason: Because you'll be glad you have that extra 500 rpm
Vendor: Dynomite Diesel, Pure Diesel Power
Price: $30
Modification: 4-inch exhaust (including downpipe)
Reason: Bigger turbo needs a 4-inch downpipe
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $485
Modification: Air filter and intake
Reason: More flow through the intake is needed with the 3,200-rpm spring
Vendor: PDR Diesel Performance
Price: $219
Modification: Boost and exhaust temperature gauges
Reason: Keep an eye on boost and EGT numbers-anything above 35 psi or 1,500 degrees is bad news
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $250-$300
Modification: Dynomite Diesel Stage 4 or 6x0.016 injectors
Reason: With a bigger turbo, more fuel will equal more power
Vendor: Dynomite Diesel, New Era Diesel, Scheid Diesel
Price: $700-$900
Modification: Performance fuel pin
Reason: Because it's worth 20 hp over the stock fuel pin
Vendor: DennyT Performance
Price: $105
Modification: Killer dowel pin kit
Reason: Because engine failure is no fun
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $60
Modification: Holset Super 40 turbo or BorgWarner S300
Reason: A larger turbo is needed to match the larger injectors
Vendor: Majestic Turbo, My Holset Turbo
Price: $1,100-$1,300
Modification: Aftermarket low-stall torque converter or new clutch
Reason: Less slip adds 25 hp Also, at this power level, the stock clutch will slip
Vendor: Spec-Rite Converters, Goerend Transmission Inc., South Bend Clutch
Price: $900
Modification: Performance fuel system
Reason: A new lift pump is needed to feed the larger injectors
Vendor: FASS, AirDog
Price: $500
HP: 350 to 400
Weak Links: Manual transmission clutch
TOTAL: $4,349 to $4,799
BUDGET: $10,000
Modification: Turn up full fuel screw
Reason: Turning the fuel up past stock levels can yield 50 to 70 more hp than stock
Price: Free
Modification: 3,200-rpm governor spring
Reason: Because you'll be glad you have that extra 500 rpm
Vendor: Dynomite Diesel, Pure Diesel Power
Price: $30
Modification: 4-inch exhaust (including downpipe)
Reason: Bigger turbo needs a 4-inch downpipe
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $485
Modification: Air filter and intake
Reason: More flow through the intake is needed with the 3,200-rpm spring
Vendor: PDR Diesel Performance
Price: $219
Modification: Boost and exhaust temperature gauges
Reason: Keep an eye on boost and EGT numbers-anything above 35 psi or 1,500 degrees is bad news
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $250-$300
Modification: Dynomite Diesel Stage 4 or 6x0.016 injectors
Reason: With a bigger turbo, more fuel will equal more power
Vendor: Dynomite Diesel, New Era Diesel, Scheid Diesel
Price: $700-$900
Modification: Performance fuel pin
Reason: Because it's worth 20 hp over the stock fuel pin
Vendor: DennyT Performance
Price: $105
Modification: Killer dowel pin kit
Reason: Because engine failure is no fun
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $60
Modification: 62mm or 64mm turbo
Reason: At this power level, a larger turbo is needed
Vendor: Majestic Turbo ATS, Industrial Injection
Price: $1,300-$1,800
Modification: Aftermarket low-stall torque converter or new clutch
Reason: Less slip adds 25 hp Also, at this power level, the stock clutch will slip
Vendor: Spec-Rite Converters, Goerend Transmission Inc., South Bend Clutch
Price: $900-$1,100
Modification: Steel planetary, billet input shaft (auto only)
Reason: The transmission will need these upgrades to survive
Vendor: TCS Products
Price: $1,000
Modification: Performance fuel system with 40-psi spring
Reason: A high-pressure lift pump is mandatory witha 14mm head. The front seal must be fitted with Loctite to keep from blowing out
Vendor: AirDog
Price: $700
Modification: 14mm pump head
Reason: A 14mm head is worth about 50 to100 hp more than stock
Vendor: Rocken Tech
Price: $400
Modification: ARP 625 head studs
Reason: Because nitrous makes lots of cylinder pressure
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $1,300
Modification: Nitrous Express two-stage nitrous system
Reason: Because love it or hate it, nitrous makes power
Vendor: Nitrous Express
Price: $913
HP: 500 (fuel) 700 (nitrous)
Weak Links: Reliability-at 700 hp, nothing will last forever
Total: $7,962 to $9,112

Sources

ATS Diesel
Arvada, CO 80002
866-490-5573
www.atsdiesel.com
Pure Diesel Power
Marshfield, WI 54449
715-254-1833
www.puredieselpower.com
Industrial Injection
Salt Lake City, UT 84104
800-955-0476
www.industrialinjection.com
South Bend Clutch
Mishawaka, IN 46545
800-988-4345
www.southbendclutch.com
AirDog
Jefferson City, MO 65109
573-635-0555
www.pureflowairdog.com
Denny T Performance
Waco, TX
www.dennytperformance.com
Dynomite Diesel Performance
Monroe, WA 98272
760-794-5732
www.dynomitediesel.com
Fass
Spokane, WA 99223
866-379-8685
www.fassride.com
Gillett Diesel
Bluffdale, UT 84065
800-638-4679
www.gdsdieselparts.com
Goerend Transmission Inc.
St. Lucas, IA 52166
563-778-2719
www.goerend.com
Holset Turbochargers
Memphis, TN
www.myholsetturbo.com
Majestic Turbo
Waco, TX 76101
800-231-5566
www.majesticturbo.com
New Era Diesel
Columbus, OH
740-819-0457
www.neweradiesel.com
Nitrous Express
Wichita Falls, TX 76310
940-767-7694
www.nitrousexpress.com
PDR Diesel Performance
Lynden, WA 98264
604-888-4159
www.piersdiesel.com
Rocken Tech Products
Petaluma, CA 94952
707-658-1915
www.rocken-tech.com
Scheid Diesel
Terre Haute, IN 47805
800-669-1593
www.scheiddiesel.com
Source Automotive
Clackmas, OR 97015
503-654-9004
www.sourceautomotive.biz
Spec Rite Converters
Redding, CA 96001
530-243-8300
www.specriteconverters.com
TCS Products
Langley, WA
800-960-1177
www.tcsproducts.com

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