Snow Performance Power-Max Water-Methanol System
Snow's Water-Methanol Makes Power, Torque, and Boost Gains for '14 to '16 EcoDiesel Rams and Jeeps
At this juncture, a lot has been said and written about the '14 to '16 Ram 1500's optional 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 engine, and it's definitely for good reason, as the company really had to join the "Eco" phenomenon created by GM's EcoTec and Ford's EcoBoost engines. However, instead of going with a direct-injected, gasoline powerplant—and given the inherent efficiency of diesel engines over their gas counterparts—Ram's new EcoDiesel combines the same high technology and boost of its competitors with the enhanced fuel economy of an oil burner.
While Cummins turbodiesels have long been the traditional "Ram engines (offered in the fullsize trucks)," by using the smaller 3.0L—which is actually produced by Italian engine maker VM Motori—Ram gives truck buyers who want torque and power for towing (but don't need a 3/4-ton rig) the performance and economy that make diesels so popular.
In stock trim, the EcoDiesel offers 420 lb-ft of torque—considerably more than Chrysler's 3.6L V-6 gas engine and even more than the 5.7L Hemi V-8. However, on the flip side of that, its 240 hp isn't overwhelmingly impressive.
Of course, since the 3.0L has less than half the displacement, no one expects 6.7L Cummins-type torque. This doesn't mean EcoDiesel owners aren't looking for more power, especially if it can be gained while improving the engine's already great fuel economy. Diesel horsepower and torque are essentially increased by adding fuel. And, in the case of this tech exercise, that fuel is a mixture of water and methanol. Water-methanol increases power through something called the "steam effect," which occurs when the water in this mixture is converted to steam, which increases pressure in the cylinders and puts additional force on the pistons during combustion.
Some of the handheld tuning programmers work for increasing fuel, but simply adding diesel can have a seriously negative affect on a new diesel's fuel mileage. While commanding injectors to squirt extra fuel does yield power gains, economy suffers, because the excess soot produced by overfueling increases the frequency of diesel particulate filter cleaning ("regeneration").
Snow Performance has added a new, easy-to-install, water-methanol system to its Power-Max lineup, designed specifically for improving an EcoDiesel's power and fuel economy, without increasing regeneration frequency. We installed and put the setup through its paces on a stock '14 EcoDiesel Ram and present to you our findings through the following photos and dyno data.
The Power-Max water-methanol system shown here (PN 440; $699.99) is the latest offering from Snow Performance, designed specifically for the '14 to '15 Ram 1500's 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 engine. The kit is chock-full of features, which include a VC-50 controller (with seven-color OLED display), Ultra High Output pump, and a pair of Hyper-Sonic nozzles.
The user-friendly, pushbutton VC-50 controller displays boost (in psi), injection percentage, and secondary-nozzle activation. The device also provides a low-level indicator for the water-meth supply and on-board diagnostics.
The Power-Max kit includes totally plug-and-play wiring harnesses (for the controller) and more than enough high-temp nylon tubing to channel water-methanol from the rear-mounted Ultra High-Output pump to the Hyper Sonic injection nozzles up front.
The pump is capable of 300 psi. The high-pressure pump ensures optimum atomization through the injection nozzles.
Our Power-Max setup was upgraded with a rear-mounted, 10-gallon, Snow Performance Boost Juice (water-meth) reservoir. The new, toolbox-style container is mounted along the side of the truck, which preserves all the cargo space in the bed. Once the reservoir is in place, the system's low-fluid-level sending unit is also set up.
The system's water-methanol injection nozzles are threaded into a trick, pre-drilled, silicone-boot coupler. That's right, unlike systems of the past, there's no need to modify the intake manifold. Simply thread in the nozzles and boost-reference fitting, and it's ready.
Here is the finished installation with the controller mounted on the EcoDiesel's dash for easy viewing, and the coupler, with spray nozzles intact, plumbed into the intercooler tubing down in the engine compartment.
On the Dyno
Our evaluation was conducted using a stock EcoDiesel-powered '14 Ram 1500. In baseline tests on a Dynojet chassis dyno, the 3.0L V-6 engine produced 233.05 hp and 392.64 lb-ft of torque.
With the water-methanol, EcoDiesel performance was improved by another 50.87 hp and 111 lb-ft of diesel torque, with 4.14 psi of additional boost! We noticed in our analysis of the 283.92hp/503.19-lb-ft water-meth pull (see dyno chart), the gains were steady throughout the entire 2,000-rpm-to-3,700-rpm span. Our results were obtained using Snow's Boost Juice, a premeasured and bottled 50-percent-water/50-percent-methanol mixture. This formula can also be duplicated using blue -20-degree-rated windshield washer fluid that's "spiked" with a bottle of Heet fuel-line antifreeze.
From a towing perspective, remember that the additional 110.55 lb-ft actually equates to a near-30-percent gain in torque output, which is definitely noticeable and welcome when pulling a boat or trailer up a sizeable grade. The additional benefits of water-methanol (significant reductions in inlet and exhaust gas temperature) are also important.
While extra power is all well and good, being able to safely utilize that power is even better. Add to this idea the fact that the EcoDiesel version of Snow's Power-Max water-methanol system is DPF-friendly and does not trigger OBD-II trouble codes or affect the ECU's torque-management commands for a Ram 1500's ZF eight-speed automatic transmission in any way, and you have all the makings for a very stout V-6-powered rig.