Pre-Packaged Cummins Performance

How-to: Add 200 hp and 220 lb-ft to Your ’94 To ’98 Dodge For $1,330!

Jason Sands
Oct 1, 2011
Photographers: Jason Sands
We’ve already built the transmission in our ’95 Dodge Ram 2500 (known as Triple Threat) to handle extreme horsepower and torque levels. We’ve also upgraded the nearly 300,000-mile Cummins with a new head gasket—since the original one was already blown. Now it’s time to add some power to our 12-valve Ram, and we can’t believe how easy it came.
Photo 2/15   |   pre Packaged Performance ram Front Three Quarter On Dyno
Jeff Garmon of Garmon’s Diesel Performance in McDonough, Georgia, was essential to the quick jump in power. He’s been into the diesel scene since the late ’90s, so he has a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t. To that end, he offered to let us test his performance package, which included a set of injectors, governor springs, a Mack rack plug, delivery valvesprings, and a ported turbine housing. We also got a tab for our killer dowel pin and a set of valvesprings, which we elected not to run since the engine’s only turning 3,300 rpm.
With a lot of work ahead of us, we enlisted the help of Brown’s Diesel in Riverdale, California, and got started. The payoff came when we hit the dyno, where Garmon had indicated that his bag of parts would be able to make 400 hp at the wheels quite easily. We were leery of his claims at first, but once we hit the rollers, we couldn’t deny the results. Read on to see how it all went down.
On the Dyno
After Garmon’s 12-valve Cummins power package was installed, we had to rig up some gauges (again) before we hit the rollers in anticipation of 400 rwhp. We needn’t have worried, as on our first pull our power went from 230 rwhp (thanks to the free modifications we showcased in “Project Triple Threat,” Feb. ’11) to 429 rwhp and 842 lb-ft of torque. Smoke was also low—especially considering we were still running the stock HX35 turbocharger. The engine’s EGT and boost readings were right at our self-imposed safe limit, with 42 psi coming from the stock turbo, along with a 1,500-degree reading on our pyro. With this type of power, it is highly recommended that you have gauges, especially for towing. If you don’t, and you tow a lot, you run the risk of ruining your engine if you don’t get off the throttle when the EGT nears 1,200 degrees.
Photo 3/15   |   pre Packaged Performance dyno Chart
At the Dragstrip
We hit the local eighth-mile for some dragstrip times, and with our newfound power, we assumed we’d surely be able to better the high 16s we previously ran. We put the truck in four-wheel drive and boosted it up. After a 0.09-second reaction time, the truck launched pretty hard, but the 1.9-second 60-foot time indicated we could have done a little better. With the converter unlocked through First, Second, and Third gears, we ran a 9.1-second eighth-mile at 73 mph. This nearly duplicates the 9.24-second run at 74 mph we recorded with our G-Tech Pro SS, and our launch wasn’t quite as good on the G-Tech run. With the G-Tech, we went through the whole quarter-mile and ended up with a time of 14.24 seconds at 93.5 mph. We’re throwing in a lockup switch soon, which will allow us to lock the Goerend torque converter in Second gear, so we expect mid-13s after that modification (at the same power level).
Performance with Free Mods and Upgraded Transmission:
16.94 seconds at 76.5 mph, 230 rwhp, 625 lb-ft
Performance with Garmon Power Package:
14.24 seconds at 93.5 mph, 429 rwhp, 842 lb-ft
On a Budget? Shift Your Own Gears!
If you’re willing to bang your own gears, picking up an NV4500-equipped Dodge can save you a bunch of money on billet automatic transmission parts. In fact, you can make nearly 400 rwhp for about a $1,000 if you’re willing to burn up the stock clutch in the five-speed. Even if you do upgrade to a dual-disc clutch, building an NV4500-shifted truck will still be much cheaper than a full-tilt, billet-steel-shaft-equipped automatic. An automatic will be quicker at the dragstrip, but if you just want to tow and bomb around on the street, then a manual transmission is definitely the way to go.
Keeping a Budget
1995 Dodge Ram 2500 $5,500 Free mods (+96 hp) FREE
Brown’s/Goerend 47RH (inc. labor) $5,836.16
ATS billet-steel flexplate $525
ARP 2000 head studs $400
Parts for head gasket swap $130
Garmon 12-valve Performance Package $1,330
Total Parts: $13,721.16
Labor cost for free mods $100
Labor to install transmission $480
Head gasket swap and killer dowel pin labor $1,040
Garmon Performance Package install labor $800
Total Labor: $2,420
Project Total to Date: $16,141.16

Sources

Brown's Diesel
Riverdale, CA 93656
559-867-1111
www.brownsdiesel.com
Garmon's Diesel Performance
Griffin, GA 30223
404-557-4972
http://www.garmonsdieselperformance.com

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