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Dodge Ram Diesel VP44 Injection Pump Fix

How to Replace the '98 1/2-to-'02 Dodge Ram's Problematic VP44 Injection Pump

Jason Sands
Sep 24, 2015
Photographers: Jason Sands
There are many advantages that make 5.9L Cummins-powered '98 1/2 to '02 Dodge Rams very desirable trucks—especially from an engine standpoint. First, the engines don't have the killer dowel pin problems that plagued 5.9Ls of the '94 to '98 models. And engines in '98 1/2 to '02 trucks are also easily upgraded for increased performance, thanks to inexpensive fuel injectors and electronically manipulated fuel and timing trims. It's not uncommon for rigs of this later vintage to put 400 to 600 hp on the ground. Despite the favorable attributes, the 5.9L Cummins in this generation uses a VP44 injection pump (the weak link, if you will) known for lasting anywhere between 100,000 to 150,000 miles before it fails completely or throws OBD-II "death codes" at the owner for quite some time (P0216 is a popular one) before conking out.
Photo 2/21   |   VP44 Replacement
The bottom line? Failure among VP44s is quite common. If a truck has 250,000 to 300,000 miles, it could be on its third or fourth injection pump. This VP44 problem is so mainstream that companies have started building injection pump pullers for those who are looking to tackle the job. To see how a VP44 removal and install is done, we followed Matt Ray and mechanic Jared Estrada at Siskiyou Diesel Performacnce, a Central Point, Oregon, shop that averages two or three VP44 replacements per month.
Photo 3/21   |   VP44 Intake Horn Removal
The first step in replacing the factory VP44 pump is the removal of the intake horn, which is accomplished by loosening the manifold bolts and the hose clamp on the intake boot. The batteries are also disconnected to avoid any shorts.
Photo 4/21   |   VP44 Pump Cover Off
Next, the pump's cover is removed, along with a small electronic plug.
Photo 5/21   |   VP44 Electronics Plug
Siskiyou Diesel Performance technician Jared Estrada then removes the plug to the electronic portion of the VP44. Note that this plug has a sliding portion that's used to lock and unlock it from the pump port.
Photo 6/21   |   VP44 Fuel Lines
With the electronics disconnected, both the banjo bolt feed line and injection-pump-to-injector lines are loosened at the pump itself.
Photo 7/21   |   VP44 Loosening Injector Lines
Since the pump needs to be moved around quite a bit for removal and installation, the injector lines are also loosened at the injectors and removed. When performing this task, keep the clamps that hold the individual injector lines together attached (arrows), so the lines go back into the truck smoothly.
Photo 8/21   |   VP44 Pump Loosened On Gearcase
With the lines, plug, and cover removed, the pump itself is loosened from the case, by removing four bolts (two on top, and two underneath the pump).
Photo 9/21   |   VP44 Pump Nut
With the pump loose, the pump-gear nut is removed. It's helpful to have a barring tool or to hold the harmonic balancer to prevent the engine from turning.
Photo 10/21   |   VP44 Keyway
A puller is needed to remove the gear from the pump shaft. However, before it can be extracted, the engine must be slowly rotated until the pump keyway faces up to ensure a broken or loose keyway won't fall into the gearcase when the pump is removed.
Photo 11/21   |   VP44 Pump Removal Tool
The final step for removing the VP44 involves using Industrial Injection's new pump-removal tool.
Photo 12/21   |   VP44 Removal
With the fuel lines and intake horn removed and the pump gear pressed off the shaft, it's finally time for the tired stock VP44 to be removed.
Photo 13/21   |   Industrial Injection VP44
A new injection pump from Industrial Injection replaces the factory VP44.
Photo 14/21   |   VP44 Reinstall
Siskiyou Diesel's Matt Ray handled the delicate-but-muscle-intensive job of working the pump shaft and keyway back into the old pump gear.
Photo 15/21   |   VP44 Torquing Down Pump Nut
Once the pump is bolted back onto the gearcase, it's time to secure the drive gear. With Matt holding the alternator, Jared torques the nut on the gear to the recommended 125 ft-lb.
Photo 16/21   |   VP44 Injection Line Install
The injection lines go back on after the new pump is installed. Jared starts by laying the lines out, then tightens them down at each injector first.
Photo 17/21   |   VP44 Lines To Pump
Connecting lines to the VP44 comes next, followed by securing the lines to the engine by their hold-downs.
Photo 18/21   |   VP44 Banjo Lines
The final two steps involve connecting the fuel-feed lines to the pump, then the plug for the electronics.
Photo 19/21   |   VP44 Intake Gasket
Since diesels (especially if they're modified) operate with large amounts of boost pressure, using the stock intake gasket is never a good idea. Before reinstalling the intake horn (remember to remove any rags from the intake), a new gasket is set in place.
Photo 20/21   |   VP44 Pump Cover Install
With the new, Industrial Injection VP44 injection pump installed, the pump cover (which includes a small electrical plug) is returned to its original position.
Photo 21/21   |   VP44 Fire Up
Before starting the engine, it's common to loosen one or two injector lines to bleed any excess air out of the system while the engine is cranking over.

Sources

Industrial Injection
Salt Lake City, UT 84104
800-955-0476
www.industrialinjection.com
Siskiyou Diesel Performance
Central Point, OR 97502
541-826-3437
http://www.siskiyoumuffler.com

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