Robert Patton Angie Filer Bob Vallier Jeannette Vallier
Robert Patton Bruce Armstrong Don Bunn Joe Donnelly Polly Holmes Sam Memmolo Bill Millard Brad Nelson James Walker
Jim Anderson Mark Barnes Kevin Cameron John Holmes Ronald Khol Andy Mikonis Jerry Neilsen Bill Stockard G.R. Whale
ILLUSTRATOR Bob Pierce
OFFICE MANAGER Tina Bean
Robin Patton Andy Bishop Ben Forsberg Brandon Parks Wendy Poole Channing Preston
ALL DIFFICULT WORK Pam Rose
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TDR 1150 samples industrial drive cumming, GA 30041 THE TDR IS PUBLISHED QUARTERLY BY DIESEL REGISTRY, INC. DISTRIBUTION TO MEMBERS VIA PERIODICAL POSTAGE IS IN THE MONTHS OF FEBRUARY, MAY, AUGUST AND NOVEMBER. ARTICLES ARE WELCOMED FROM ALL SUBSCRIBERS. LET US HEAR FROM YOU! WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO EDIT ANY SUBMITTED MANUSCRIPTS. WE WILL ACCEPT MANUSCRIPTS IN IBM ASCII TEXT FILES OR FROM ANY POPULAR IBM WORD PROCESSORS, ON COMPUTER DISK, OR SCRIBBLED ON A RESTAURANT NAPKIN.
20 First Generation
Owner-Specific Articles on the ‘89-‘93 Trucks
26 12-Valve Engines
32 24-Valve Engines
Transfer Pump Kit/Clutch/Steering
Owner-Specific Articles on the ‘94-‘98.5 12-Valve Trucks Owner-Specific Articles on the ‘98.5-2002 24-Valve Trucks
40 Third Generation (3G)
Fuel Filter/PTO Gaskets
Owner-Specific Articles on the 2003 and Newer Trucks
Dodge TSBs for 2004
A Listing of Resource Materials
The 2006 Dodge Mega Cab
An Article or Product Review
58 The Way We Were
Crank Up the Way Back Machine to Review Old Topics
62 Your Story
Bob and Jeannette Vallier
Feature Article on a Member Vehicle
64 KORE Adventures
Baja Dream – Part Three
Off Road Adventures with the KORE Race Team
66 Four Whaling
68 Motor Minded
Your Inner Cartographer
Journalist Greg Whale talks about all things Diesel Reflections on the Human Side with Psychologist Mark Barnes
72 First Ride
TDR Writer James Walker Buys a Turbo Diesel
76 Back in the Saddle
Lots of Goodies
Truck Accessorizing with Scott Dalgleish
92 Celebrity Corner
94 Have Ram Will Travel
My Favorite Things
The Shadetree Mechanic/Sam Memmolo Joe Donnelly’s Truck and Travel Stories
Transfer Flow/Reunel Bumpers/Favorite Accessories
100 Idle Clatter
Accessories/Fuel Alternatives/Jim’s Travels
A Review of Frequently Asked Questions by Jim Anderson
108 Ranch Dressing
Esoteric Dissertations on Manure Shoveling by John Holmes
112 Polly’s Pickup
116 Khol Fusion
Diesel Newbie Experiences Merged in a Quarterly Column
120 Life’s a Beach
Stories From the California Coast by Jerry Nielsen
124 Out Standing in the Field
162 Five Points Tour
Quarterly Featured Truck
142 Chapter News
Happenings at Local Chapters
Middle Tennessee/Life on the Edge/Rocky Mt Truckfest
Corrections, Clarifications, Crow Eating
150 Product Showcase
TDR Writers’ Favorite Accessories
A Reason to Travel
Many New Products
Vendor Press Releases
172 Exhaust Note
Hot Rod Cruise/Accessories
COPYRIGHT © 2005. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR PART WITHOUT PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED.
Factory and Home-Made
Mark Your Calendars
Upcoming Local Chapter Events
Accessories/FASS/Injectors Accessories/Driving Awareness
A Feminine Perspective by Polly Holmes
141 All Dressed Up
USPS number 014234 ISSN number 10888241
Oil Cooler/Side Slider
Members’ Solutions to Members’ Questions
THE TURBO DIESEL REGISTER IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH DAIMLER-CHRYSLER CORP., CUMMINS ENGINE CO., OR ANY OF THEIR SUBSIDIARIES. ADVERTISING OF PRODUCTS OR SERVICES IN THE PUBLICATION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OR APPROVAL. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGES, ACCIDENTS, INJURIES, INVALIDATION OF WARRANTY, FAILURE TO PASS EMISSION STANDARDS OR SAFETY INSPECTIONS AND WILL NOT BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE IN ACTIONS RELATING TO OR RESULTING FROM ANY SUCH SITUATION.
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Responses from the Readers
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10 Letter Exchange
Letter from the Editor
Thought-Provoking Discussions with Kevin Cameron
On the Cover: Dodge’s New Mega Cab
TRAVEL COMPANION UPDATE Did you note the TDR Travel Companion book that is a part of this mailer? It has been a busy summer, as the assembly of this valuable guide was quite a project. There were approximately 250 entries in our first 2003 Travel Companion book. We were thankful for the successful start, modest as it was. I’m pleased to report that this year’s book has 681 entries. Yes, we’re growing! And, while many of you may have had a “seeing is believing” attitude towards participation, the book is for real, as is our commitment to continue with the book each year. How do we grow the Travel Companion? To re-run the sign-up pages in each magazine would be redundant. So, you’ll not see the sign-up pages in every quarterly TDR magazine. You will note that the 2006 Travel Companion book contains sign-up pages, and we are hopeful that you’ll use those pages to send in your entry for immediate posting on the website and for print publication in next year’s 2007 edition. As a “thank you” for your participation in the Travel Companion we have started a recognition program. I’m hoping that we will give out 681 Travel Companion Distinguished Recognition (TcDR) grille badges next year. Well now, I take that back, as that would suggest too much trouble on the road. Turn to page 135 for an explanation of the TcDR program. OUR THEME FOR ISSUE 50: CHRISTMAS IN JULY 3½ YEAR UPDATE — FAVORITE ACCESSORIES Dateline: July 21. As you await the August/September/October TDR magazine, the writing staff is earnestly at work on the November/ December/January TDR issue. It is hard to think about the 2005 holiday season as sweltering 90°+ temperatures and humidity levels above 90% surround us. Nevertheless, I purchased an expensive toy for my truck and justified the purchase by telling my wife that “it was Christmas in July—consider her Christmas shopping completed.” Since the holiday season is right around the corner, I gave thought to other accessories that I would recommend to fellow TDR members. I recalled that I had previously asked the writers to list their favorite add-ons. I worried about possible redundancy until I discovered that that topic was previously covered 3½ years ago. A timely revisit of the subject matter would certainly be in order. Thus, our theme for this issue’s TDR: Your favorite truck accessories. As you read this issue, you’ll find that some wrote in with the theme in mind and some didn’t. Regardless, I think you’ll find their articles interesting and entertaining. You’ll find their stories intermingled in their columns or grouped by author in our “Product Showcase” column.
HISTORY LESSON In Issue 48 and 47 we took time to discuss the history of the Turbo Diesel truck as well as Cummins history. While doing some research on the internet I noted that 2005 marked the 100 year anniversary of the patent for the first turbocharger. Thus, we’ve devoted some pages to look at this important component of our engine. Articles by Kevin Cameron on page 58 and page 172 tell the story. In the next TDR magazine we will have technical writer Joe Donnelly discuss turbocharger design parameters as they apply to your Cummins engine. WRITER PROFILES Based on a member’s suggestion last issue we had the TDR writers do a profile of themselves. Publishing all of the profiles in one magazine would equal a monumental page count, so we started with four and we’ll continue in this issue with another four biographies: Bill Stockard, Scott Dalgleish, John Holmes and Polly Holmes. It is interesting to learn more about the staff and their past. 2006 TURBO TECH AND 2006 MAY MADNESS It is hard to believe that the 2006 May Madness will be the 12th annual Western Regional event. Details on May Madness are on page 130. I had occasion to talk with Joe Donnelly about the audience. It was interesting to note that only seven people that lived east of the Mississippi River were in attendance. Regretfully there has not been a TDR Nationals type event since the summer of 2002. With one exception, the TDR Nationals were east of the Mississippi events and tended to serve as a focal point for what one could consider an eastern regional gathering. For 2006 we’re giving those east of the Mississippi a location and a reason to convene: Turbo Tech 2006 in Columbus, Indiana. No, it is not a national-type event, but we’re certain to have fun and fellowship. Details are on page 132. ENJOY THIS ISSUE With the TDR Travel Companion book as a part of this mailer, Issue 50 marks the biggest TDR magazine to date. I’m hopeful that you’ll enjoy the stories and articles that we’ve diligently worked to publish. Thanks for your support.
Robert Patton TDR Editor
TAILGATING . . . . Continued TDR WRITER BIOGRAPHIES (CONTINUED) In Issue 49 I asked the writers to do a brief profile on themselves, as we thought the members would enjoy reading about the authors’ backgrounds. Considering that the use of all of their characterizations in one issue would equal a monumental page count, I sprinkled several profiles in Issue 49. For Issue 50 I present Scott Dalgleish, Bill Stockard, John Holmes, and Polly Holmes. Bill Stockard I was born in Houston, Texas, in 1940 and graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from North Texas State University, Denton, Texas, in 1963. I have enjoyed working with engines, trucks, tractors and construction machinery since boyhood. I used my father’s tools to take mechanical things apart and put them back together to see how they worked. During high school and college, I drove old cars that were typically the same age as I was and had to keep them running to keep from walking. Sometimes I envied other guys who drove fancy new cars and never had to get their hands dirty. But I didn’t realize at the time that I was getting valuable experience which would be useful the rest of my life. I went to work for International Harvester Company in 1966 as a Zone Credit Representative and, after a year, became a Zone Sales Manager based at the Dallas District Office. Several years later, in the fall of 1969, I went to work for Mahanay International, the International Harvester dealer in McKinney, Texas, where I worked until I retired in the summer of 1993. While at Mahanay International, I had begun my career as a sales representative selling International construction machinery and International medium and heavy duty trucks. I earned many truck and machinery sales by calling on the customer’s service shop first to discuss and assist the service manager with their service problems. Later, I became Sales Manager, and when I retired, I was a Vice-President of the company.
My experience with the B-series was that it was a dependable and a fuel efficient diesel engine.
“I have to buy a Cummins powered Dodge truck to tow our fifth-wheel trailer!” We waited until we could order a Club Cab with the diesel engine and an automatic transmission with overdrive. We ordered our Dodge D350 in early 1992. The ‘92 Turbo Diesel towed our Hitchhiker fifth-wheel trailer over the lower 48 states without a problem for nearly 100,000 miles. After the dependable ‘92, we owned a ‘97 Dodge 3500 with an automatic transmission, a ‘00 Dodge 3500 with a six-speed manual transmission, and presently own a ‘03 Dodge 3500 with an automatic transmission. The ‘03 Turbo Diesel is the best truck we have owned and a real pleasure for both me and my wife to drive. I joined TDR in 1995. Janet and I have attended all five of the TDR National Roundup and Rallies. Through our membership in the TDR and our membership in our local club, the Big D Dodge Diesel Club, we have met many people and have several good friends who are members. We haven’t been in an organization that has given us more helpful and useful information or had more fun and camaraderie than we have had since joining the Turbo Diesel Register.
My wife, Janet, and I have been married nearly forty years. We retired to the family farm between Denton and Fort Worth, Texas, spending part of our time traveling in our recreational vehicles and visiting friends and relatives. Before I retired, I built a heated insulated steel building for storage of my vehicles and RVs and to have a place to perform the required preventive maintenance. I install almost all of the upgrades and modifications on my trucks. In the mid 80’s, while I was on a tour of the Cummins engine plant in Columbus, Indiana, with a group of International truck dealers, Cummins announced that they were teaming up with Dodge to install the B-series diesel engine in Dodge pickups. I was very familiar with the B-series engine since it is used in several medium duty trucks. The four-cylinder and six-cylinder models were used extensively in construction and off-road equipment. My experience with the B-series was that it was a dependable and a fuel efficient diesel engine. Engines used in the construction industry normally get lots of abuse and very little preventive maintenance. When I returned home from that trip I told my wife, “I have to buy a Cummins powered Dodge truck to tow our fifth-wheel trailer!”
Parked at one of our favorite state parks in the Texas Hill Country, South Llano River State Park near Junction, Texas.
Bill Stockard TDR Writer
TAILGATING . . . . Continued START ME UP by Scott Dalgleish I was the kind of child who washed and waxed his Tonka Trucks. You know, the brightly painted metal kind that today, in antique stores, sell for one hundred times more than they originally cost. I remember one of my favorites was a red, cab-over semi with a white cattle car trailer. Imitating the sound of an unmuffled diesel and the associated Jake Brake were among my fondest pastimes. Although washing and waxing vehicles was never particularly encouraged in my household while I was growing up, it seemed to become an early obsession with me. I remember saving paper route money for a Red Schwinn Sting Ray with a white banana seat complete with a chrome sissy bar and a slick. By the time my best friend’s bike survived the first year, it looked like it had seen an entire life circumnavigating the globe. You know the type: parts missing and broken, paint scratched, seat and grips ripped from early get offs, and the spokes had long ago lost their sparkle, giving way to the salt-air corrosion of living next to the beach in Southern California. Ten years later, I sold my Sting Ray for more than I paid for it . . . it still dazzled in the sun’s light. Washing and waxing the red Ray’s frame and polishing every spoke had long become a weekly passion. The elementary school I attended happened to be across the street from the Carroll Shelby plant in El Segundo. I used to spend lunch times on the playground watching the new Cobras being driven on the test track located on the south side of the LA airport. I dreamed of the day I might own and drive one of those cars. The sound and sight of the Cobras and Mustangs made the adrenaline in my boyish veins boil. On weekends my friends and I would ride our bikes to the Shelby showroom where we were always greeted with the same welcome, ”Don’t you kids even think of going near these cars, they have aluminum bodies and will dent if you even look at them.” That just made it more exciting. Back then I had been reading lots of copies of Hot Rod magazine. My first hot rod consisted of a front-through, self-propelled lawn mower powered by a Briggs and Stratton flat-head type of engine. In the early sixties, like today, exhaust systems and head modifications were popular upgrades to achieve more power. By that age I had been to at least one NHRA event and I knew of the potential from the upgrades. I proceeded to disassemble the little power plant’s parts, shave the head to increase the compression and install a free-flowing exhaust which consisted of a half-inch galvanized pipe. I discovered governors are fun contraptions to play with, and that in a modified state, the governor permitted the engine to spin at a level that invited the little engine’s parts to exit the case they were housed in. Funny, some things never change . . . Today we are still making the same kinds of modifications to much more expensive engines with the same consequences. Neither my father nor the neighbors appreciated my efforts. The shaved head increased the compression to the point that the starter rope broke with predictable regularity and the noise of the modified exhaust could be heard above the roar of commercial airplanes taking off from the major airport we lived by. But if you cracked the throttle wide open and dropped the propulsion wheel, it would do a wheelie for a solid block…mission accomplished.
In high school, auto shop (for that matter all the shops), became my favorite place to hang out. Most of my buddies were playing with Chevy small blocks in ’55,’56 and ‘57 box cars. Some of the guys were fortunate enough to have parents with disposable incomes who supported their passions for new GTO’s, GTX’s, ‘Cudas, Roadrunners, ‘Vettes and Chargers. Me, I saved my earnings from a weekend job at the local Chevron station and paid $25.00 for a 1952 Ford Woody. It had a flathead V-8, three-speed on the column and an overdrive. The broken windshield was rectified at the local junkyard, and replaced for $5. I installed dual, 30” glass packs with chrome slash-cut tips and an 8-track tape player. It was as reliable as they came. It wasn’t fast, but it had room for lots of us, and the little two-barrel carburetor sipped on a gallon of gas that was priced at a whopping 17 cents a gallon. I thought I made the killing of my life when I sold the car to a guy driving by who offered, “Hey kid, I’ll give you two-hundred and fifty bucks for that car.” I still wish I had it today. The thought of attending college became more palatable when I realized I could major in Industrial Arts Education and teach Auto Shop. It was the perfect opportunity to play with the latest technologies and get paid while doing it. It seemed like a great plan. And, while I pursued my passion and received introductions to every imaginable powertrain, the reality of making a living and supporting a family on a teacher’s salary pushed my passion to a hobby status and made way for a career in the construction industry. Some thirty-years later, I have no regrets. Over the years, I continued to participate in my hobby, although I never seemed to have the mainstream equipment. It was always just a little out of my budget, but I was having more fun than was legal with what I had. In 1989 I took a drive in a Cummins-powered Dodge pickup. One drive in that tractor sounding, turbocharged diesel was all it took. If you are a Turbo Diesel owner, the feeling needs no explanation. If you are not, you may never understand. In ’95 I purchased my first Dodge/Cummins pickup and the rest, as they say, is history. In my wildest imagination I would have never predicted what was to happen next. Let’s just say that the purchase of that truck made the way for me to realize most of my fondest dreams and desires. But that, I’ll hold for another story. Scott Dalgleish TDR Writer Scott Dalgleish is Contributing Editor for American Rider Magazine. Scott is also a regular contributor to the Turbo Diesel Register, Monaco Coach Publications, Trailer Life, Motorhome, and Malibu Magazine. After a 4 year absence from Turbo Diesel ownership, Scott rejoins the TDR with the acquisition of a ‘05 Turbo Diesel 3500. Scott’s first TDR article (a Gear Vendor unit added to an automatic transmission) was in Issue 14 (Fall 1996) when the magazine was a healthy 100 pages big. He had a regular column starting in TDR Issue 22, Fall 1998 (another 100 pager).
TAILGATING . . . . Continued JOHN HOLMES’ BIOGRAPHY The editor says we should talk about ourselves and how we got into this mess of fooling around with diesel trucks. It’s sort of a follow up on the history stuff we’ve talked about in the previous issues. I’m so shy, this will be hard.
Pantera International magazine when there was a yellow ‘72 parked in the driveway. This was while assigned to AT&T Headquarters in New York. As times and tastes changed there was the Jeep period for off-roading. I think you get the picture.
It all began during the Great Depression when my parents . . . No, I guess that’s too far back. I’m told that as a child I used to stand by the window and name the cars that passed by. My parents were amazed that I was actually identifying them instead of just blurting out names I’d heard. Things got worse when, later, I started taking the family car apart to see what made it tick. I would do this at the most inopportune times. I don’t know why this upset my father, but he decided that if that was going to be my passion I should learn how to do it right.
In the early ‘80’s, early-outs were offered as the telecommunications industry transitioned from a regulated to a competitive environment and I bailed from Ma Bell. By that time Polly and I were already located in Nevada, and we went into business for ourselves with the ranch and real estate development. The governor called, and for awhile I filled a role on Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission. That lasted until the next election when the new governor canned all of the old political appointees.
He had a friend, Al Blades, who owned a Nash dealership in our little town of Crisfield, Maryland. He took me down to see Al and asked him to put me to work. Boy did he! I put some of the first Ramblers on the showroom floor. I greased Hudsons with their zillion fittings, put seat covers on Packards and shined up Studebakers. In spite of our age difference, Al and I became close friends, a friendship that lasted over 50 years until his passing. I still fondly remember Al flying out to Reno to join me at Hot August Nights, the mother of all car shows. He used to say that there must be some secret factory on the West Coast that was still turning out ‘55-’57 Chevys. Another one was that he’d seen 110% of the original production of ‘40 Ford coupes at the event. Faced with the draft upon graduation from high school, I joined the USAF. Korea was winding down and little did we know that Vietnam wasn’t all that far away. Eight years in the Air Force taught me a lot. It introduced me to the world of electronics, sent me to college and gave me a tour of the world. I liked it, and I probably would have stayed in if I hadn’t been spit on in uniform, plus the antics of the infamous Jane Fonda. With the antiwar protests going strong, I moved to Sacramento and went back to college to finish a degree in engineering. Later I would do graduate work in market research. The Bell System beckoned since they were heavily involved with the installation of electronic equipment on Air Force bases like SAC’s famous red telephone. Yours truly had the background and a top secret clearance.
Dodge had introduced a pickup with a Cummins powerplant. I told the wife that if the truck was just half as good as the engine I’d buy one. During my 30+ years of communication engineering design, which fed my family, I still pursued my passion for anything with wheels. There were the AMC drag racing days when I drove to work in one of the 500, 1969 model year, red, white and blue Hurst SC/Ramblers and then took it to the track on the weekend. I started writing for the JAVAMX publication, Rally American. Later I moved on to the
Since then there’s been six of those rattling Rams purchased for the 2JP Ranch.
We had big block Chevys for pulling the trailers on the ranch and then something caught my attention. Dodge had introduced a pickup with a Cummins powerplant. I told the wife that if the truck was just half as good as the engine I’d buy one. I was familiar with Cummins in big rigs back to the ‘50s when I worked for Nash and then in the USAF in various types of equipment. They tested these new Rams at the Nevada Automotive Test Center, which just happens to be very close to our ranch. I talked to the test drivers and, you guessed it, we ordered our first Turbo Diesel. Since then there’s been six of those rattling Rams purchased for the 2JP Ranch. I got hooked up with Robert Patton and TDR and, as they say, the rest is history. Of course, Dodge isn’t the only make in the barn. We’ve restored and campaigned on the show circuit a ‘55 Chevy Cameo pickup, a ‘56 BelAir sedan plus a beautiful ‘57 BelAir Convertible. Back to Dodge, let’s not forget the yellow Viper that comes out from under the cover for exercise now that the weather’s nice. Finally, that brings me to where I am today. I was a customer of Carson Dodge/Chrysler for 12 years. Polly and I put on May Madness for six years at the dealership. Finally the Service Manager asked me to come in for a temporary part-time job to concentrate on a Quality Control program for the company. That was four years ago. Now it’s 12 hour days, six days a week when I teach the monthly Diesel 101 class. So much for retirement! I’m having a ball, both with TDR and Carson Dodge. It keeps me young working with the great young techs at the agency. I have to constantly study to keep up with the technological changes that are always coming down the pike. TDR keeps me busy testing new after-market equipment. Someday I’ll retire. John Holmes TDR Writer
TAILGATING . . . . Continued POLLY HOLMES’ BIOGRAPHY Your editor, in his great wisdom, has asked us to tell you a little about those of us who wax eloquently in each issue of TDR. I was raised in a city setting, but my Dad grew up in Wyoming on a ranch. I guess the ranch part must have been stronger than I thought, for in addition to our four-wheeled trucks I also raise four-legged critters.
Well, it just so happens the boss had a nice garage in the back of the office where he parked his Caddy. I made him a proposition . . . I’d keep doing the Post Office run if he parked his Caddy on the street and gave me the garage for the Pantera. He said, “You bet!” Everyone has his/her priorities.
During college, I met a fellow student, John Holmes, at the college radio station. He and I attended many school functions together. One of our first dates was to a CanAm race at Laguna Seca . . . that’s where it all started! After John graduated, he taught evening classes at the university and I took one of his classes. A friend asked how I did in the class. I said I did very well—I married the instructor!
For a long time we had Chevy trucks and Chevy Suburbans. John had been reading about Dodge putting a Cummins diesel in their trucks and he really liked that engine. We considered buying the Chevy diesel, which was less expensive than the Dodge. However, after hearing for more than two years about the Dodge with the Cummins, I advised Hubby that if we bought a Chevy, I didn’t want to hear another word about those Dodges.
Yeah, we got married shortly after I graduated. I guess I should have known what was coming when John arrived at our wedding with his knuckles all busted up from installing a new set of mags on a 1967 AMC Marlin (the only car I wish we hadn’t sold). However, I’m as bad as Hubby when it comes to enjoying vehicles and auto racing. After college, my first job was working for Don Tognotti as the Office Manager for West Capital Raceway in Sacramento, California. I coordinated activities for three racing divisions and helped put on the first NASCAR race held there. There were a lot of late Friday and Saturday nights at that track. Don also had a high performance auto parts store. I guess it got in my blood from hanging out there because when John and I were transferred to the San Francisco Bay area, I wound up as a counterman (woman) in a speed shop called Hawley’s Automotive.
I’m as bad as Hubby when it comes to enjoying vehicles and auto racing.
We then got heavily involved with AMC, the JAVAMX Car Club, and I did some drag racing in our Marlin. I was not real fast, but I was very consistent and won a number of trophies. We then purchased an AMC Hurst SC/Rambler, and I had to learn to drive a stick shift. However, with the SC/Rambler it didn’t matter what gear you were in; if you gave it enough gas, it would go no matter what. Nothing like learning to drive a stick shift that also had a close ratio shift pattern. Thankfully, both the car and I survived several years of drag racing. While John was holding down a position at AT&T headquarters in New York City, yours truly went into real estate in New Jersey. By that time we had a beautiful yellow Pantera. I wanted to drive that to work in the worst way, but I would’ve had to park it on the street. One of my jobs for the first year was to go in early and pick up the mail from the Post Office, then distribute it to the staff’s in-boxes. This job always went to the newest employee during his/her first year. When my year was up, the boss grumbled about having to go back to doing it himself, since there wasn’t a newer employee.
However, after hearing for more than two years about the Dodge with the Cummins, I advised Hubby that if we bought a Chevy, I didn’t want to hear another word about those Dodges.
So, our first diesel was a ‘94 Dodge/Cummins and by the time it arrived John had read the complete shop manual . . . not the Owner’s Manual, the shop manual. He knew more about that truck than most mechanics. Then he heard about a publication for Dodge/Cummins owners, the Turbo Diesel Register. I guess the rest is history. In summary, the words to a popular Country and Western song describe me best, “I’m just a redneck woman, I ain’t no high-class broad.” Polly Holmes TDR Writer The first correspondence from the Holmes household (the 2JP Ranch) was back in TDR Issue 8. Subsequently, the Holmes name could be found in our “Member2Member” section of the magazine on a regular basis. In our Issue 23 magazine we added “Ranch Dressing” and “Polly’s Pickup” as regular columns to the magazine. Issue 23 was a modest 112 page book. The contributions to the TDR by John and Polly far exceed the stipend paid for their regular columns. They started May Madness back in1995 when there was not any type of outlet for members to gather. They both continue to help with the May Madness event. John’s occupation at Carson Dodge has resulted in a class, Diesel 101, that he holds for the dealership’s new diesel owners. The class is a model that should be used throughout the country. What a great marketing opportunity for Dodge and Cummins . . . My thanks to John and Polly for their long standing support. I’m not sure the TDR would have succeeded as well as it has without their mentoring.
COWBOY UP, ERNIE
In Issue 46, page 100, last paragraph on left side of page, author Brad Nelson states that he stripped the four wires in a flat four wire trailer harness and crimped them into one connector. I don’t think it will work too well!
I regularly travel to the South to pick up rust-free, used tractors and trailers. My ’93 Turbo Diesel has traveled over 210,000 miles and is still a strong performer.
I recall an incident that we had on a F102 Delta Wing Aircraft. On the 102 the factory had a harness of three wires woven together (size was 8 or larger; it’s been too long since I was working on them) to supply power from generator to main buss. After a year or so, the planes started dropping their electrical load. After many man hours of research, it was proven that resistance in the woven wire was the culprit. The woven wire was replaced by a large single cable and the problem was solved. Fast forward 30 years . . . I’m rewiring a small trailer. I made a threewire harness (almost same as Brad, but one less wire) for different circuits I wanted in the trailer. After a couple of years I started having trouble with the circuits. After much cussing and many hours in church begging forgiveness, I found oxidation in the connector so that the lights were not getting the proper voltage. I had to separate the circuits to separate power terminals. I hope this is read by someone and not filed in the trash before it is given some thought.
Ernie’s ‘01 Truck
My passion for the Turbo Diesel convinced my friend Ernie to purchase a ’01, 2500 truck from an owner in Texas. He bought the truck sight unseen. The previous owner was not a truck enthusiast and did not know the truck’s rear end ratio. It turned out to be a 4.10 and now Ernie is looking for a 3.54 differential.
Charles Bradshaw Poway, CA ISSUE 49 COVER PICTURE Just a note to say thank you for the best front cover picture of any TDR issue to date. Although the vehicles pictured were not mine, the photograph depicts my idea of a favorite truck pulling a favorite tractor. I will not forget the day my dad had a brand new “44 Special” Massey Harris delivered to the farm. His tractor was the talk of the town, as it had the most horsepower of anything in its class in 1954. It towed anything we hooked to it. The tractor is still being used by my brother on the farm where I grew up. The only thing done to the engine was a valve job. Thinking back, 1954 was a good year. My first car was a new ’54 Dodge Hemi. With a new Dodge Hemi and a new Massey Harris 44 Special tractor, I was really living the good life for a farm boy. Bill Shirk Corrina, ME
Dean’s ‘93 Truck
With the truck’s cow-catcher front bumper I often joke with Ernie that it is time to “cowboy up” and help me in hauling loads from the Southland. Congratulations, Ernie. Dean Gamelin Christmas, MI
LETTER EXCHANGE . . . . Continued GRATEFUL?
GREETINGS FROM BAGHDAD
Are we grateful for what we have? How many in the world have never had the opportunity for an education, let alone the freedom to grow and prosper with that education, and to come and go as they please. There are still places in the world where you have to have a license to own a simple typewriter. In addition that license is more difficult to get than is a license in this county to own a machine gun. One of my classmates never made it to the ten-year high school reunion because he was killed in Viet Nam—just hoping against hope to give those people an opportunity for freedom.
I just received an e-mail from the TDR wishing me a happy birthday. Thanks! I’m over in Baghdad right now. I’m in the SEAL Teams. You would not believe all the rigs that they have in this country.
The world situation is getting real close to home right now. The father of two of my grandchildren has been told he is going to Iraq. The neighboring community of Warden, Washington, just buried a National Guard member ambushed in Iraq. Every now and again we as individuals have to take a stand for something. And once in a while taking a stand for something will get us bruised and battered. All that needs to happen for us to lose our freedom in this great land is for good men to do nothing at all. It took a great deal more than a little bruising and battering to gain our freedom in the first place. Nothing is perfect in this world and mistakes are made. However, God forbid that we as individuals or that we as a nation ever turn our back and do nothing when we could have made a difference. By the way, if you do not vote, you have not the right to criticize elected officials.
I miss my Turbo Diesel like crazy. I can’t wait to get back and hook my fifth-wheel up to it and cruise. I will say that I don’t miss the fuel costs though. Fuel costs about a buck for 80 Liters (about 20 gallons) over here. There isn’t really a pump for it. Kids come out with fivegallon jugs and fill you up and that is that. They have funnels that they put in your tank and then spill fuel all over themselves and the ground. For sure, OSHA would have a heart attack. All the trucks over here are armor-plated and heavy. Conditions for a diesel engine couldn’t be worse. Overloaded with armor, dust like you have never seen, and ambient temperatures that are just out of control. These diesels are workhorses. I haven’t seen any B-series Cummins over here, but I have my eyes peeled. I wish that my Hummer had a Cummins in it. The power would be so much better with all the weight on them. They are armored-up to where they weigh over 10,000 pounds each. Well, take it easy over there in the good ol’ USA. We all miss it. We are making the best of it and doing good things. Enjoy your cool weather. Trust me, it is cool.
To my son-in-law Brian and to all who are on the front lines for freedom: LIVE what you are. Let those you meet want freedom because freedom made you what you are. Thank you for taking a stand. May God bless and protect you. Return with honor.
Curtis Stone San Diego, CA
Post script: I am thankful to have Brian home safe. My heart goes out to those of you who have lost loved ones in the defense of our freedom.
Throughout my battle with cancer, the TDR’s web site has provided entertainment and enlightenment. It gave me something to do when I could not be in the garage tinkering with my truck.
Brad Nelson Royal City, WA
I’m still not physically 100%. But, should someone need help in the central Maine area, I do have tools, a garage and a fair amount of knowledge on Second Generation trucks. Let me know if I can be of assistance.
LOOSE BOLTS AND NUTS In Issue 49, page 28 summarizes TSB 09-002-01; titled “Use of Exhaust Manifold Bolt Retention Straps to Prevent Torque Loss.” I found the bolts to be loose and naturally I tightened them. I then took the truck in to get the TSB done in Columbia, SC. They refused to do the TSB, as the bolts were not loose. When I returned to California, I made an appointment at a dealership in Oakland. I loosened the bolts, drove to the dealer and they did the TSB. Cwsoules You’ve proven that there is “more than one way to skin a cat.” Please see page 148 for discussion about this cliché. C.W. it is unfortunate that the first Dodge dealership did not correct the problem. Their likely response was “No problem found.” However, I’m in agreement that common sense should have prevailed.
TDR WEB SITE
Ray Guzzo Benton, ME TIP WORTH SENDING I never thought I would have a tip worth sending to the TDR, but here goes. When changing oil in my ’98 Turbo Diesel there is always a small amount of oil spill. I usually use a quart oil bottle with the bottom cut off as a funnel. However, I could not find my homemade funnel. In looking around the garage, I spotted a one liter mouthwash bottle. I cut off the bottom, leaving about two inches below the shoulder. I started to insert it into the oil filler hole, but it did not fit. Something urged me to try and screw it in. I turned it into the hole and it took hold! The threads on the bottle matched the threads in the rocker arm cover. It screwed down tightly and there was no tipping over of the funnel. Glen Nichols Lynnwood, WA
LETTER EXCHANGE . . . . Continued YOUR PICTURE
The attached is a picture of Clifford. It is my wifeâ€™s truck. It just turned 225,000 miles last week. We are looking forward to another 250,000. The rig runs great! David DeWitt Gardnerville, NV
I think you will agree with me when I categorize Turbo Diesel owners as independent people who are not afraid to try something new. You are an ingenious membership who reinvents and improves a product to make it better serve your needs. You show a strong willingness to share your “Shadetree Solutions.” With your input each quarter, we publish the “Member2Member” exchange to give you a forum to tell other members how you solved a problem.
THE OIL COOLER—WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT FAILS by Jim Anderson The Cummins diesel engine in your truck is equipped with an oil cooler assembly. This oil-to-coolant intercooler seldom gives any indication of trouble, but I occasionally receive a phone call or e-mail where the driver describes symptoms of coolant in the lube oil, or more often, oil in the coolant. The oil-in-the-coolant problem is more prevalent as oil pressure exceeds coolant pressure, so the oil escapes outward rather than coolant invading the oil system. Such was the case when I got an e-mail from member David Tygart, whose radiator on his ‘96 Dodge was filled with a nasty oil sludge of mixed oil and coolant. Of course, he was asking what might be the cause, since a couple of local shops told him they would look at his truck for the phenomenal fee of $2,000 for starters, and they said the bill could run much higher when they got the engine disassembled. David wisely decided that perhaps engine disassembly might not be necessary if other options were available through better diagnostics. In logically trying to identify the problem, the most likely cause for oil getting into the coolant system is a failed oil cooler. The second most likely cause is a failed cylinder head gasket. The third most likely cause is a crack in the engine block or cylinder head between an internal oil passage and a coolant passage. So let’s be positive and check out the cooler first before going into the much more expensive and time-consuming engine disassembly process. The oil-to-coolant intercooler is located behind the oil filter on the passenger side of the engine. The oil filter boss and oil pressure relief valve are both made as part of the oil cooler cover. Inside the cover, the oil cooler element tubes are bathed in a continuously moving stream of coolant that is on its way to the radiator. A prime reason for oil leaking from the cooler is failure to regularly change the coolant. Acid, suspended salts, and lime buildup in the coolant can corrode the oil carrying pipes of the oil cooler element just like they can corrode the rest of the cooling system.
Oil cooler cover is painted a contrasting color here for clarity; note oil filter boss is part of cover. Oil Pressure relief valve is to right of filter boss.
An indication that your truck may have a problem with its oil cooler would be when you discover oil in the coolant, which is what happened to David Tygart. Again, because the oil pressure is higher (45-60 psi) than the coolant pressure (up to 15 psi), oil will enter the coolant rather than coolant entering the oil when the engine is running. When the engine is stopped, oil pressure falls faster than coolant pressure, so coolant can then also enter the oil. The result is both the coolant system and the lube oil system can become contaminated. The oil cooler element, gaskets, engine oil pressure regulator and spring are available at your local Cummins engine distributor. Part numbers differ with model year of truck. Be sure to furnish your friendly Cummins parts guy with your engine serial number and CPL number to make sure you get the correct parts. Both of these numbers are stamped on the driver’s side of the engine’s front cover on a data plate.
MEMBER2MEMBER . . . . Continued Remove the oil pressure regulator plunger and spring from the housing using a 19mm wrench to remove the cover plug. The plunger should slide right out if you stick your little finger into the top of the plunger and lift up. Be sure to get the spring out first.
Use air pressure test to check cooler element for leaks.
Once removed, the cooler element can be tested for leaks by immersing it in a pan of water. When air pressure is applied (65 to 75 psi) to the inlet while blocking the outlet, a stream of air bubbles in the water will indicate a cooler element leak. Removing and testing this cooler will certainly be easier and faster than removing the cylinder head or the entire engine, so try it first. It may even be faster to simply replace the cooler with a new one while you’ve got it apart, especially if your truck has a lot of miles on it. To replace the oil cooler or remove it for testing, first drain the oil and coolant from the engine. Then remove the oil filter. Also remove the turbocharger inlet hose and any other obstructing assemblies or wiring to give you the best possible working room in the area. You may also want to remove the passenger side battery. Be sure to cover the + post on the rear of the alternator to ensure tools don’t contact it and cause a spark which can also damage the alternator’s.
Oil pressure relief valve assembly should be replaced rather than reused. Check the valve bore.
Using a 10mm socket or box wrench (whichever gives you the best access), remove the bolts holding the cooler cover to the engine.
Clean around the lubricating oil filter boss and the oil cooler cover. Make sure the entire area is clean and dry, since dirt will surely find its way into the cooling system through the big hole you will be creating. Disconnect the turbocharger oil supply line from the oil filter boss using 16mm and 19mm wrenches. Exploded view of cover, gaskets, cooler element.
Remove the cooler element and gaskets. You may need to pry lightly around the cover with a small screwdriver to break the gasket seal, but don’t bend the cover! Clean all gasket surfaces on the engine block and on the cover if you plan to re-use the old cover. Mating surfaces must be clean and dry and must be free of all old gasket material. Inspect the pressure regulator bore in the oil cooler cover. If the bore is scored or cracked, replace the cover with a new one. Polished areas in the bore are okay. Test the oil cooler for leaks as described above. Hold line nut with 16mm wrench while turning 19mm nut.
MEMBER2MEMBER . . . . Continued Install a new or good oilcooler using new gaskets. Tighten the cover bolts to 18 ft-lbs. Use blue Lock-tite on the bolt threads. Install a new oil pressure regulator plunger and spring. Lube the regulator plunger and spring with engine oil before assembly, and make sure the regulator plunger slides easily in the bore. If it doesn’t, replace the cover with a new one. Install the plunger with the narrow end down. Install a new o-ring on the plug and tighten the regulator plug to 60 ft-lbs. The plunger goes into the bore first, followed by the spring. The o-ring is installed under the top of the plug. Install the turbocharger oil supply line and tighten to 24 ft-lbs. Since it is likely that coolant has also gotten into the lube oil, an oil and oil filter change is also essential. Prime and install the oil filter using a new one. Fill the engine with new oil. Flush all contaminated coolant from the cooling system and refill with fresh coolant. A 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water is best, or you may also use a pre-mixed coolant. If you pressure-flush the system or use a commercial flushing solution, be sure to turn the heater temperature knob wide open so that the flushing includes the cab heater radiator. Some oil contamination may remain in the coolant passages, so it may be necessary to change the coolant several times over a period of weeks to purge the cooling system of all remaining oil contamination. Rather than use the radiator drain valve for flushing, remove the bottom radiator hose at the radiator end. The liquid will move out faster from both the engine block and the radiator, thus carrying more contaminants with it. Since coolant is classified as a hazardous material, dispose of used coolant properly. Don’t dump it down a convenient storm drain. I put used coolant in plastic jugs and take it to a waste oil disposal facility, the same place I take my used motor oil for recycling.
Since there are no special tools required other than a basic torque wrench, this is a good shadetree or garage project . . .
As an added precaution, drive a few miles (or a few hundred miles, depending on your level of trust in the tooth fairy) to ensure complete removal of any remaining coolant from oil passages. I also suggest either another oil and filter change or doing an oil sample analysis to ensure no coolant contamination has remained in the engine oil lubrication system. The analysis will show coolant quantities too small to appear as bubbles on the dipstick. Oil Sample Analysis kits are available in the Geno’s Garage catalog and at your local Cummins distributor.
After you have completed your work, check everything for proper tightness. Test drive the truck. After the engine has cooled off, check the radiator and radiator cap for the presence of oil in the coolant and that the coolant is at the proper level in the radiator. Also check the oil cooler cover area and the oil pressure regulator plug to make sure there are no coolant or oil leaks. Since there are no special tools required other than a basic torque wrench, this is a good shadetree or garage project that can be accomplished by most members without much fear of messing up your engine. Alas, I had a later phone conversation with David, who had removed the cooler from his engine and tested it as outlined above. His test showed no oil cooler leaks, so he’ll have to remove the cylinder head and delve deeper into his engine to find the problem and cure it. Some days are like that! I am once again indebted to Art Clifton and the helpful folks at City Diesel in Knoxville, Tennessee (865-689-6389), whose shop is really topnotch, and who allowed me to shoot photos for this article of engines that have been removed from trucks in their shop. Being able to work around an engine sitting on the floor is always better for photo lighting and clarity than trying to maneuver a camera and flashgun in a cramped engine bay. Jim Anderson TDR Writer BE CAREFUL WITH ELECTRICS I just finished connecting the anti-theft switch as was described in Issue 43, on page 112. I have a ’01 Quad Cab, automatic and used the clutch safety switch loop. I’m proud to say I did not have to stand on my head to do the connections, but rather removed the wire loop and did the work on a work bench. I used a push-pull switch whereby “out” is on and “in” is off. Thank you for the great technical info that allowed me to accomplish the task. I do, however, have a technical question. Somewhere in this process the fuel gauge does not indicate the fuel level in the tank. Did I disconnect something during my anti-theft installation in the struggle to get a clear path to the clutch loop wire? Or, did this fuel gauge failure just happen to be during this same period of time? Coincidental? Here is an update which answers my questions. I just got back from the Dodge dealership, Ronnie Robinson in Green Cove Springs, Florida. The lead truck technician checked my truck’s computer. The technician was pushing this button and that button until the fuel gauge started to move to indicate the level of the fuel in the tank. Problem solved. As it turns out, I remember unscrewing the nut assembly on the large multi-wire plug to move it just a bit to allow access. At any rate, he “flashed the cluster” that included the fuel gauge and it works like new. I thought I’d give you a little insight in case someone has a repeat of this problem. Ed Sheaffer Jacksonville, FL
MEMBER2MEMBER . . . . Continued The Side Slider Toolbox By Brad Nelson The problem: Securing tools on your truck. The first truck I had was a ‘63 Ford F-350. It had a utility bed on it when I bought it that was soon replaced with a flat bed. My toolbox was small enough to fit on the floor of the passenger side of the cab. Looking back, I am amazed at all the things I could fix with the contents of that little toolbox. My current truck is a ‘97 Turbo Diesel Dodge BR 3500 with a flat bed. My tool situation is much different. At work I have a toolbox that I can barely see over (I’m 6’4” tall) and it is longer than it is tall. It is on rollers but it takes about three of us to move it around. Since the whole crew uses items from my toolbox, I keep things that are costly in my truck. I do not have the luxury of a shop at my house, so I carry a good assortment of tools with me on the truck.
pieces I thought I would need. I went to a local overhead door company and purchased some overhead door track, at about $3.00 per foot, and a handful of the rollers that run inside the track for a couple of bucks each. The fellow I was dealing with made the comment that I was making something not even related to a garage door. I complimented him on his observations, paid him, and left him standing there wondering what I was going to make. With all the parts in hand, and the idea in mind, I drove to the shop. This was about 7:30 on a Saturday evening. The measuring, squaring, cutting and welding began. I built the framework on a pair of steel sawhorses and moved it onto the bed of the truck when it was finished.
I thought I had overdone it when I purchased a Proto toolbox to use as a truck box. It is 12” wide by 26” long and about 15” tall. The day I brought it home I bolted a piece of ¾” plywood to the bottom of the toolbox to stiffen it and give it some protection from the vibration of riding on the bed of the truck. The Proto dealer warned me that this box was not rated for truck service, but with the plywood base it has served me well. It is of the drop-front style so rainwater does not go directly into the drawers. The deck on my flat bed is 2” planks, so I used strips of plywood screwed to the bed of the truck to surround the base of the toolbox and keep it from sliding around. For security, I ran a chain through one of the lift handles on one end of the box and padlocked it to the truck. When I was in an area of concern, I would make sure the door of the toolbox was also locked. As metric fasteners became common, I ran out of storage space. I ended up with a couple of smaller boxes and a good sturdy plastic storage bin all arranged near the cab on the flatbed. The frustrations were accessibility and weather protection. To gain access to the toolbox while hauling something was also impossible. The invention process began. I needed access to the tools at all times and in all weather conditions. I wanted to be able to stand on the ground beside the truck and reach the tools. I looked closely at everything on the market for tool storage and none of it provided what I wanted. What would be ideal would be for the toolboxes to sit on the bed of the truck facing the rear. Now, if I could mount some form of a slide under the boxes so they would slide to the side of the bed, I would have access to the tools no matter what else was on the bed of the truck. Then I would make a permanent cover so that the slide looked like a big drawer; only accessing the tools from the side instead of the top as you would a normal drawer. With a cover heavy enough to bear some weight, I would be able to haul just about anything and still have access to my tools.
To permit the tracks for the slide pieces to move back and forth, I bent a long piece of 10-gauge steel into the shape of a light channel iron. Into this I placed two pieces of the overhead door roller track, back to back. To weld the track and the 10-gauge together, I drilled holes in the 10-gauge every six or eight inches, and welded the track and the formed channel into one piece through the hole. With two of these pieces laid across the framework, I welded a pair of overhead door rollers on the inside end of each side of one slide. This set ran in the inside track. The opposite slide also had a pair of rollers on each side, which rolled in the outside track. It’s a close
Better yet, how about one slide on each side of the truck? I pondered how to do this before figuring out how to make the slide mechanism overlap in the middle without excessive size and weight. Once I had overcome this obstacle I went looking for the hardware to make it work. After pricing Torrington roller bearings from the bearing supply house I stumbled onto simple parts almost ready-made for my project at about a tenth the price. I gathered up the parts and
MEMBER2MEMBER . . . . Continued fit but it works. With about four feet of slide moving out when the side slider is pulled open, another three feet of slide stays anchored to the track via the rollers and keeps all the tools from falling to the ground. The inside extensions of the two slides (one on the left side of the truck, the other on the right) overlap each other with one riding the inside track, the other the outside track. It’s a close fit, but it works. As the project progressed, the ideas seemed to flow as to how to gain the clearances between the parts, how to add positive stops so the slides would not move out too far and how to keep the slides in alignment with the respective tracks. As the pieces of steel took form, I seemed to be on an adrenalin high. The mind is doing this. The weeks I had spent figuring out how to do this were taxing, and seeing it come together now was a release. With this phase of the project finished and loaded on the truck, I began to feel tired. I found my watch and discovered that it was almost 3:00 in the morning.
Now that the side slider has been in service for a couple of months, there are a couple of things I need to go back and alter. The rollers on the outboard side need to be heavier and they need a lip to control the position of the slide fore and aft. Also, it ended up too tall. I wanted in mind to be able to stack a small toolbox on top of the unit. But, the base of the slide-and-roller assembly took up more space than that which I had allowed. However, I do have lots of lockable, out-of-sight storage available. For what amounts to a working prototype, it is very nice. If I live long enough, I’ll make myself a polished model. As it is, my son Dan wants a version to mount on top of the bed of his ‘04 2500 Turbo Diesel just behind the cab. When we get that one done, there will be more pictures.
Monday evening I decked the two halves of the slides with ¾” plywood and mounted the toolboxes on the slides. It worked as planned. I could now stand flat-footed beside my truck and slide the toolbox I needed straight out from the truck bed and pull out whichever drawer I needed. All this without disturbing anything else on the truck bed. Now, how would I enclose the unit with a compartment the full width of the unit for long items like shovels and jacks? The day before I assembled the cover, the boys at Huss and Huss had an auction. I became the proud owner of three partial pallets of remnants of fiberglass reinforced plywood (FPR). The FRP would cover the toolboxes for a fraction of what steel plate would cost. Auctions are wonderful things. Just remember that the bargain you brought home was something no one else at the auction thought was worth as much as you paid for it.
Right side open with the tool box also open. Note that when closed the heavy toolbox will be in the center with the space for other, usually lighter items on the outside. This is convenient for weight balance.
The pictures show the working base of the unit. I did try it out with the two major toolboxes in place, and it works just like planned. By the way, if any manufacturers have interest in building these things commercially, I would be interested in talking with them.
This shows the left side open.
Brad Nelson Royal City, WA The slides are fully extended. Note that the near slide runs on the inside of the tracks, while the far slide runs on the outside. Rollers for overhead doors are welded onto the slides and run in the track holding the slides in place. Notice the shafts on the near slide. These are the shaft or axle of the rollers.
Coverage of the ‘89 through ‘93 Model Trucks. Web Site Correspondence Edited by Bill Stockard and Andy Mikonis. ALTERNATOR DRIVEN TACHOMETER I am attempting to install an alternator-driven tachometer on my ‘91 Turbo Diesel W-350. The installation instructions ask how many poles the alternator contains and the choices for pre-calibrated settings are 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16. Also, the instructions require an “R,” “W,” or “AC” terminal. I know that my alternator doesn’t have the R or W terminal. Where is the AC terminal location, or could it be one of the field terminals? CMiddlebrook I added a W connection wire for my alternator-driven tachometer to function. Here are basic instructions and some photos. Remove the screw from the stator wire. I made a short jumper wire with a ring connector on one end and a spade connecter on the other end for easy removal. Heat-shrink a double layer of heatshrink tubing on the ring connector end for protection. Place the ring connector under the stator screw and re-install the screw.
Disconnect the negative battery cable. Remove the alternator from the engine. On the rear of the alternator remove the three small nuts and one large nut that hold the plastic wire guard.
Carefully trim the rear cover to give the new wire clearance. Install the rear cover while feeding the wire through the rear cover. Reinstall the three small nuts and the large nut on the rear cover. Install the alternator and connect the wiring.
Remove the rear cover. You may have to gently pry it off.
Complete wiring the tachometer according to your instructions. Re-connect the negative battery cable. PToombs, Minoa, NY
FIRST GENERATION . . . . Continued BATTERY CHARGING PROBLEM
INJECTION PUMP REPLACEMENT TIPS
I am having trouble with the battery charging system on my ‘91 Turbo Diesel D250. A week ago, while on my 35-mile drive home, the voltmeter indicator went all the way over to the right past 18volts. The battery was very hot and I could smell acid fumes. I replaced the voltage regulator. I drove the truck and the voltmeter read normal, but it indicated little more voltage fluctuation than it had previously shown. I checked voltage with a hand-held voltmeter and it read 14.4 to 14.7-volts. The battery was again very hot and venting fumes. I had the alternator tested and it was within the specifications. I had the battery load-tested and it was okay. I replaced the voltage regulator again and the battery still gets hot like it’s being over charged. DanaLittle, WA
The injection pump on my ‘91 Turbo Diesel W250 is still running, but at 400,000 miles, it needs replacement. How difficult is it to remove and install the Bosch VE fuel injection pump? How many hours will it take? RWWinslow, Kemmerer, WY
Clean all your battery and alternator connections. Use dielectric grease on them to ensure you are getting a good connection. cerberusiam, Mountain Home, ID Since the voltage stays within specification, I think the battery is going bad. Try re-filling the electrolyte level on the battery and see if that helps. Replacing the battery is the cheapest thing you can do next. 1stgen4evr, GA The battery ended up to be culprit. I left it sitting out of the truck overnight after having it load tested and it checked okay at two parts stores. It read 4.87-volts this morning. I replaced the battery and the charging system is working properly. Thanks for the help. DanaLittle, WA
If it is your first time, it will take you eight to ten hours. After you have done one, it should take about six hours and even less as you get more experience. Here is one tip that helped me. Remove the fuel injection line nuts from all the injectors. Loosen and remove the line nuts from injection pump at delivery valve for cylinders number 4 and 2, but do not try to fish out the injection lines at this time. Remove injection lines number 1, 2, 6, 3, 5, and 4 in that order. I tag each line as I remove it so I know at a glance which line goes where. My typical tag would read, “Line number 6, towards rear of engine, top line” or “line number 2, towards front of engine, middle line”, etc. I install in reverse order of removal. The injection lines are stacked three high across the head. When re-installing the lines, don’t fasten down the top line first. There are some who can look at a pile of six injection lines, pick out injection line number 3, and know that it connects to the far back delivery valve, but it takes lots of experience and confidence. Greenleaf, North Central Ohio
SIMPLE SPEEDOMETER REPAIR
FAN HUB BEARING
The speedometer in my ‘91 Turbo Diesel W250 is erratic. The speedometer gear in the transfer case and the sending components were replaced, but the speedometer still did not work. I checked the wiring and could not get any continuity readings from the firewall connector plug back to the speedometer sensor. I checked the two- wire plug that goes into the speedometer sensor. Even though the wiring and pins appeared in good condition, there was no continuity. From the factory, the wire harness is wrapped in tape and left to dangle, which eventually fatigues the wire at the plug and therefore no signal goes to the speedometer on the dash. I repaired the broken wire at the two-wire plug and then reinforced the connection with heat-shrink tubing, electrical tape, and plastic split loom. I secured the harness so it will not move. RWWinslow, Kemmerer, WY
I need a new bearing to go on the fan hub. The data tag on my engine is long gone, and none of the parts stores here have the bearing. I seem to remember seeing in a magazine article a while back that this isn’t an uncommon problem. Does anyone know the part number? Thanks for your help. dpuckett, Jackson, MO
Editor’s Note: For more solutions for repairing an inoperable speedometer, see TDR Issue 45, pages 34 and 35.
One note of caution: regarding the fan clutch, Cummins was unable to supply a fan clutch part number for my engine number. During the late ‘90/early ‘91 time frame the fan and fan clutch were supplied by Chrysler. Your local Dodge dealer will still have the fan clutch. The actual bearing that the fan pulley hub runs on may be a Cummins part. If you can reach in and wiggle the fan, then the fan clutch is probably the problem. Note that the fan clutch is a left hand thread and the nut will require a very large wrench. RWWinslow, Kemmerer, WY
I think the battery is going bad.
The Cummins number is 3910736 for the pre-intercooler pickups (’89 to ’91) and 3910739 for the intercooled pickups (’91.5 to ’93). The numbers are for the bearing alone. If you can get the number off the bearing (may need to remove the bearing from the housing) a good bearing supply should be able to cross it to a new one. Also the bearing is available from Dodge. paychk, Bossier City, LA
FIRST GENERATION . . . . Continued HOW HARD IS IT TO REMOVE COMPLETE DASH?
LIFT PUMP PRESSURE
Has anyone removed the complete dash assembly from a First Generation? I’m in the process of removing the dash from a ‘92 W250 and am looking for some tips. What keeps the top of the dash bolted to the cab? I don’t need to remove the windshield, do I? I’ve removed the gauges, glove box, and some of the hardware I could see on the sides of the dash, but it is still very snug. What do I need to remove from in the dash to release it? I’d like to take it out complete with the air box that has the heater core in it and everything as one piece. HSchroen
I had a shop do a valve adjustment on my truck. While I was there I had my lift pump pressure checked. They removed a plug above the lift pump, installed a gauge and found that pressure at idle was 5-6 psi. The pressure seemed to stay about the same as they revved it up a little. Does this sound about right? They seemed to think it was about normal, but I thought it should be a little higher. rdodd
It’s easy. The top of the dash towards the windshield is held in by eight, 5/16” (I think that is the size) head screws. Next you remove the brace that keeps it from collapsing; it’s on the passenger side by the glove box. You also have to drop the steering column. As for the heater system, it stays because it unbolts by itself. The easiest way is to work from one side to the other pulling it loose as you go. Simplysmn, CA I echo those comments. I recently dismantled my donor ‘90 Turbo Diesel and it is best to remove everything. The windshield and rubber gasket covered the last screws holding the entire dash to the cab. bgilbert, Terre Haute, IN Did you use any special tools to remove the windshield? I’ve got one of those windshield remover tools that is basically just a knife, but it is for windshields that are just glued in. Our trucks have windshield gaskets, right? Do I need to cut the gasket or can I save it? HSchroen I haven’t done a Turbo Diesel windshield, but thought I would let you know that most auto glass companies have a mobile service that goes around to the auto body shops to remove and reinstall glass. You could probably get them to come by your place and remove the windshield and, when you’re ready, come back and reinstall the good one. I’m sure they don’t do it for free, but it’s probably cheaper than a new windshield if you broke it taking it out. They also warranty their work, which is good in case it leaks after they reinstall it. boatpuller, Silverdale, WA A caution about the heater core: I strongly suggest that while you have the heater box out, go to NAPA and get a new core. It’s thicker than the OEM, heats better, and since the heater core job is a pain, you might as well pay $40 for a new/better one while it’s out. I’d hate to see you go down the road after it is put together, and have the heater core go bad. bgilbert,
Did you use any special tools to remove the windshield? Do I need to cut the gasket or can I save it?
Your transfer pump is showing good pressure at idle and high idle (no load). The transfer pump on First Generation trucks is a diaphragm-type and does not make as much pressure as the ’94 and newer pumps. The real test and proper method is to load the engine down and make a check of the fuel pressure. However this is seldom done, as it’s a rule of thumb to simply perform the test as you mentioned. You don’t want to see below 3 psi at WOT under a load. A performance engine can benefit from much higher pressures. Greenleaf, north central Ohio A/C QUITS AFTER 30 MINUTES My air conditioning blows great for about 30-40 minutes then it goes from cold to cool. If I turn the A/C off for 20 minutes or so, it will start blowing cold again. This only happens when I am driving. I tried to reproduce the problem by letting my truck idle for 40 minutes with the air on, I had a shop evacuate and recover all the freon to get rid of moisture, etc. I also had them run some dye in the system to check for leaks. I have had it to the shop three times and they can’t find the problem. Of course all they do is let it idle for 40 minutes or drive it around for 10 minutes. JGorombey Sounds like the evaporator is freezing up. Look through the interior air intake in the passenger side of the air box and see if the coil is covered with leaves and other debris. JRhine, north central Kansas My evaporator was plugged with dog hair and leaves. The evaporator was indeed icing and exhibiting the conditions mentioned. I cut a four-inch hole with a hole saw in the front face of the duct work directly in front of the evaporator and cleaned it out (with vacuum, brush, and pressure air). I have good A/C now. You can see the evaporator area through the inside intake. It is quite dark in there so you will need a flashlight. Peer into the air duct and carefully plan where you cut the hole. I have done this on three of my trucks and I was a bit off to the right on the first one. There is some clearance behind the outer panel, but you don’t want to go gouging in too deep. I set the pilot drill on the hole saw as close as possible so it wouldn’t pierce the evaporator. As with all hole drilling, check to see what you are drilling into. 1stGen4evr, Georgia When I cut my opening, rather than drilling and hoping for the best, I used a Dremmel tool and barely broke through the surface of the plastic. I really was afraid of cutting anything valuable! Digger-Bear, Richmond, KY
Coverage of the ‘94 to ‘98 Model Trucks (12-valve engines). Web Site Correspondence Edited by Bill Stockard IDLE PROBLEMS My ‘96 Turbo Diesel 2500 idles too slowly after the engine warms up. At startup when the engine is cold the idle speed is 700 RPM. After driving at highway speeds, the engine idles as low as 600 RPM. I have checked for leaks in the fuel system and don’t find any. Is there some way to adjust the idle speed? tURBOdIEZEl, San Marcos, TX You can adjust the idle with a 10 mm box end wrench. The idle screw is on the back of the pump (toward the firewall). It’s vertical with the head resting against the pump lever. You can’t see it and work on it at the same time. Find it with a mirror or by touch. Loosen the lock nut with the wrench. Use your left hand to pull the throttle linkage to relieve pressure on the adjustment screw. Turn the screw until the idle speed is where you want it. Tighten the lock nut. It’s not hard to do once you have done it. Finding the screw can be a challenge. Joe G. Eureka, CA Does the idle speed get out of adjustment often? tURBOdIEZEl, San Marcos, TX The head of the screw wears a little so the idle slows down. The adjustment is no big deal once you have adjusted it once. Joe G. Eureka, CA I’ve seen the lock nut work loose and it allowed the adjusting bolt to turn. A 1/4 turn makes a big difference. As Joe G said, the head wears down slowly. bmoeller I adjusted my idle speed up to 1000 rpm, which I think may be a little high. The job took about four minutes once I found the adjusting bolt. While adjusting the idle speed bolt, I found the throttle linkage very loose and a small leak at the bottom of the fuel filter. tURBOdIEZEl, San Marcos, TX There are a couple of little screws that fasten the throttle linkage lever to the fuel pump lever. They can be loose and cause a sloppy linkage. You need an 8mm, box-end wrench to tighten them. If that is not the problem, then the end of the throttle rod may be worn. If the throttle linkage has the original little wire clips to fasten the rod at each end, there is a safety recall to replace the throttle linkage. It’s free. The leak at the bottom of the fuel filter is a common problem. It may be the O-ring for the valve or the valve could be defective. It also may be coming from higher up. Watch what is happening with the engine running. Look at the double banjo fitting at the input to
the fuel filter which can leak and the drip will be from the bottom of the fuel filter. Joe G. Eureka, CA I have just adjusted my throttle after reading this post. I set it to about 850 rpm, and with the air conditioner compressor engaged, the engine speed drops to about 750 rpm. Thanks. sfelts, CA Editor’s Note: Refer to TDR Issue 46, page 26 for a diagram of the location of the low idle adjusting screw and lock nut. HARD TO START In the past couple of months my 1996 Turbo Diesel has become hard to start. If the truck sits for more than four or five hours, it takes quite a bit of cranking for it start. Once it does start, it idles rough for a few seconds. Some mornings are worse than others. I replaced the fuel filter about 8000 miles ago. coyote75 The list of fuel system problems that can cause a leak and/or low fuel pressure are as follow: Fuel supply and return hoses Overflow valve spring less than 1/2” long Fuel heater Fitting on top of fuel heater Pre-filter and fuel heater gaskets Fitting on input to fuel filter Curved hose between pre-filter and lift pump Sticking fuel solenoid Lift pump o-rings Lift pump I’m betting that your problem is the infamous fuel return hose that has been discussed so many times in the TDR. Joe G., Eureka, CA I had the same problems you are having. I fixed my hard start problem by replacing the curved hose between the pre-filter and the lift pump, which had cracks that would suck air but did not leak fuel. Also I replaced the fuel supply and return hoses, the pre-filter and fuel heater gaskets, and the lift pump O-rings. wcjp, Tacoma, WA Editor’s Note: Issue 49, pages 148-152 for a lengthy discussion on the low pressure fuel system.
12-VALVE ENGINES . . . . Continued CRUISE CONTROL My ‘95 Turbo Diesel 3500’s cruise control has quit working. I have checked all the usual problem areas: presence of vacuum, the control actuator, control cable and brake switch. I have gone though the diagnostic steps listed in the factory Service Manual three times. Everything checks out good, but still no cruise control and it has me stumped. Did you try spraying the throttle position sensor (TPS) with electrical contact cleaner? When my cruise control quit working, I sprayed it generously while working the throttle back and forth. The cruise control has worked fine ever since. SBozeman, Renton, WA Check the ground wire and the connection to the frame. Some owners have had corrosion problems. When I bought my truck, the cruise control worked intermittently. I found the ground wire was loose. biggy238, Whitley City, KY Where is the ground wire located? I checked the fuse, vacuum lines, and electrical connector. I fixed a different wiring problem, but, like ABorchard, my cruise control still doesn’t work. JAmos, Greeley/Pierce, CO Check the harness that runs down in front of the inner fender. The ground is with another electrical connection as well as the horns about 12 to 16 inches from the front of the frame rail. biggy238, Whitley City, KY I had similar problems with my cruise control. After checking the common failure areas, I found a defective switch on the steering wheel. The detent would not hold the switch closed. I have replaced it twice. DJAustin I had a similar problem and tested the switches for continuity and found them to be okay. But replacing the switch solved the problem. The new switch was about $36 at the dealer. Evidently, the switch was an intermittent problem. Andy Redmond, Plano, TX I am having problems with my cruise control also. It will hold for a few seconds and then disconnect. It is not the brake sensor because the road can be smooth and it still does it. I tried placing my foot behind the brake pedal and holding it up and the cruise control still will only hold for a few seconds. JKouzez, Waco/Brenham/McAllen, TX I have sprayed the TPS and traded all the components including PCM with another truck that has a properly working cruise control, but it still won’t work. I found a shop with the DRB scanner tool and paid to have the system scanned. I have now performed every test that is published in the factory Service Manual as well as some that aren’t covered in the book. The only test that I did not perform was for the engine speed sensor/crankshaft position sensor. I don’t think the tachometer would function if this sensor was defective. Is that a correct assumption? ABorchard
A common failure in the First and Second Generation trucks is the micro switches in the steering wheel. I have bought quite a few of these switches. Another problem in the system is a part called the clock spring which is located directly under the steering wheel. It connects the switches in the steering wheel to the main harness. Inside the black can is a spool of ribbon wire. To test it, use an ohm meter to check continuity at the terminals going in and the terminals going out. Usually, the ribbon cable breaks near the ends inside the spool. I have repaired a few of them, but it is very difficult. Replacements are available from your Dodge dealer for about $140. mysteryman, Washington, DC
I finally solved my cruise control problem. The problem was that the brake light switch harness was shorted out. I finally solved my cruise control problem. The problem was that the brake light switch harness was shorted out. A secondary problem was self-inflicted, the connector that plugs into the PCM. While checking for the cruise control problems, I inadvertently spread the prongs in the connector so it didn’t make contact. I didn’t realize what had happened until I took the connector apart and found what I had done. Now the cruise control works perfectly. ABorchard FUEL PRESSURE The fuel filter on my ‘95 Turbo Diesel 3500 developed a crack and began leaking fuel. The filter was fairly new so I figured it was a flaw in the filter and replaced the filter. I noticed when the engine is running, the filter flexes with every pulse of the fuel lift pump. Do I have a fuel pressure problem? andrewleach You need a fuel pressure gauge. If you have a restriction in the fuel system such as a defective overflow valve or a plugged fuel return line, the lift pump will generate excess pressure. Checking the fuel pressure with a pressure gauge is the only way to find out. Joe G., Eureka, CA When I check the fuel pressure, what is normal? Will I damage anything if I continue to run the truck? andrewleach Your fuel pressure should range between 18 to 24 psi at idle and 28 to 36 psi at 2000 rpm with no load. If the fuel pressure is too high, you should find and repair it promptly. If the gasket is pushed out, or the housing cracks, the engine may die. bmoeller I found the overflow valve, removed it, and even though it didn’t look dirty, I cleaned it and re-installed it. This appears to have fixed the problem. The fuel filter isn’t flexing. andrewleach
12-VALVE ENGINES . . . . Continued OIL PRESSURE SENSOR
How do I remove the electrical connector from the engine oil pressure sensor on my ‘98 Turbo Diesel 2500? Is there a clip on the connector top or bottom? I can’t feel one and I don’t see one. I cannot get it loose to replace the sensor. JLusher, Chico, CA
I was in a hurry while trying to time the fuel injection pump on my Turbo Diesel and sheared the timing pin off. What is the best way to find TDC without the timing pin? Should I be concerned about the tip of the pin that sheared off being left inside the gear case? Will the new replacement timing pin push the rest of the sheared pin though the gear or will I have to fish it out of the cam gear so the new pin will insert correctly? BIG C
There is a clip on it. Place a small screw driver under it and lift it over the ear on the sender. ata, Sandlake, OR You may need a Chrysler sensor socket, available at your auto parts store. Look at the Lisle tool line and it should be less than $20. The socket prevents damaging the sensor. You were properly advised by “ata” about lifting the tab and pulling back on the connector. Notice the tab on your new sensor? The connector tab locks on this “lock or nub,” thus the reason for lifting up so it can be removed without damaging the connector. I use a small smear of black silicone gasket maker on the threads. Be sure any sealer or Teflon tape stays back on the threads towards the sensor. You don’t want any foreign objects entering the engine block oil galley and potentially clogging a piston cooling nozzle. Andy Redmond, Plano, TX I finally removed the connector. I found an orange tab on the top that actually slid in from the side of the connector. I had to push a little tab on the left side down and slide it out to the right side of the connector. This tab was in addition to the tab on top that you simply lift up to clear the post. The orange piece actually locks the connector into place. JLusher, Chico,Ca
The dropped valve method or a dial indicator in an injector hole is more accurate than the timing pin method. I wouldn’t worry about the end of the timing pin. It is plastic and the hard steel gears should not be affected if it does manage to get into them. Joe G., Eureka, CA When you install the new pin, don’t re-install the retainer clip. The timing pin will hold in without it. I left the retainer clip off and it makes finding TDC easier. The pin will move more freely or you can use your finger in the hole. The barring tool moves the engine slowly enough. DDarmos, Amherst, OH I timed the injection pump using the drop valve method which took some extra time, but for future reference, it was well worth it. I also was able to remove the tip of the timing pin from the cam gear by heating up a small screwdriver, burning it into the broken off plastic tip, and pulling it out. I re-installed the broken off timing pin since I won’t need to use it again. Thanks. BIG C
You may be an engineer if . . . • Your IQ is bigger than your weight. • When the microphone or visual aids at a meeting don’t work, you rush up to the front to fix them. • You window shop at Radio Shack. • You have memorized the program schedule for the Discovery Channel and have seen most of the shows already. • You have ever owned a calculator with no equal key and know what RPN stands for. • Your father sat two inches in front of your family’s first color TV with a magnifying glass to see how they made the colors, and you grew up thinking that was normal. • You know how to take the cover off of your computer and what size screwdriver to use. • You can type 70 words per minute but can’t read your own handwriting. • People groan at the party when you pick out the music. • You did the sound system for your senior prom. Submitted by Loren Bengtson, Rising Sun, IL
Coverage of the ‘98.5 to 2002 Model Trucks (24-valve engines). Web Site Correspondence Edited by Bill Stockard 24-VALVE TRANSFER PUMP RELOCATION KIT In early August TDR writer Andy Redmond wrote in to tell about a Mopar retrofit kit for the fuel transfer pump used on ’98.5 to ’02 Turbo Diesel pickup trucks. The following are the highlights from Andy’s e-mail. At the conclusion of his discussion I’ll offer my opinion of the kit. Robert, here are the highlights of the Mopar fuel transfer pump retrofit kit (05175538AA) with instruction sheet K6855481. • The kit retrofits all ’98.5-’02 Turbo Diesels. These trucks were equipped with a Carter electric transfer lift pump. The kit includes all parts necessary to convert to a tank module mounted pump, very similar to the design on ’05-up Turbo Diesels. Major items include a new fuel tank module, electrical harness, fasteners and fuel connection hardware and supplies. A similar kit is also available for the ’03-’04.5 Turbo Diesels that currently use a lift pump mounted on the rear of the fuel filter housing. • It’s best to order by VIN because slightly different modules fit different size fuel tanks (which can vary about 1-2 gallons on some models). • Reason for retrofit: As the readers are aware, the infamous electric transfer lift pump design has been problematic and unreliable at best. The controversy concerns a transfer lift pump that must lift fuel (Dodge-only application) much farther than on other ISB applications. The Dodge application requires that fuel be pulled in excess of five feet. Contrast this to a ISB-equipped Freightliner FL50 truck with a saddle tank less than three feet from the pump inlet. Additionally, many VP44 injection pumps would likely have not suffered catastrophic failure had the transfer lift pump not failed or partially failed, which starved the injection pump of fuel and fuel cooling (lubrication). The design specifications on the Carter lift pump are very close to, if not exceeding manufacturer specifications. I guess now we know what happens when a part is pushed to its design limits!
• A possible negative would be if a failure of the new transfer pump (now located in the tank) is experienced, the additional labor required to drain/drop the fuel tank and service the module/pump assembly could be more expensive. I have personal experience with one retrofit so far. My friend that works in Mopar wholesale parts has a ’00 model, which we diagnosed with an inoperable lift pump. One of his friends at the dealership, a technician, did the retrofit in a couple of hours. Another feature is greatly reduced pump operation noise before the engine is started. Unfortunately, I was unable to take photos while it was on the hoist at the dealership to show harness wiring, routing, etc. Although I’m a proponent of the popular FASS fuel system, this would be a runner up. As long as it proves reliable, I tip my hat to Mopar! Andy Redmond TDR Writer Now, my opinion: NO! Do not retrofit your truck. In Issue 47 we published 5.5 pages on fuel transfer pumps and the replacement of this troublesome part. My answer to the question, “Do you have any suggestion’s about transfer pump replacement for the ’98.5 to ’02 owners?” has not changed with the announcement of the Mopar retrofit kit (05175538AA). First let’s review the correspondence from Issue 48. “Okay, this is another of my favorite topics. Many TDR members have added aftermarket fuel pumps to work in tandem with or in lieu of the existing factory pump. The drawback to any aftermarket accessory is that the owner is now responsible for installation of the product, special parts and tools to support the installation, and parts necessary should the new-andimproved accessory fail.
• The kit lists for approximately $400. It likely requires about 4-5 hours of shop rate labor to install the kit. DIY’s should likely add more time.
“Admittedly, the original fuel transfer pump has been problematic. However, before I would recommend going the aftermarket route, I would suggest the keep-it-simple-stupid solution. Purchase a spare Cummins transfer pump. Yes, the part number has been superseded numerous times (the final kit number: 3990082; a 3990105 pump and 4025182 harness). The current price at a Cummins distributor is $160. Next, read (and copy?) and understand the previous article showing how to replace the fuel transfer pump. By using the factory parts you’ll not have to worry about special aftermarket parts to complete the repair that may not be available when the truck breaks down.
• Reliability is unknown, but Dodge must believe the design on the ’05-up Turbo Diesels to be superior to the previous design.
“Additionally, my suggestion for all 24-valve owners is the purchae and installation of a fuel pressure gauge.
24-VALVE ENGINES . . . . Continued “The 24-valve engine’s VP-44 fuel injection pump relies on fuel from the transfer pump to keep the VP-44’s internal parts lubricated and cool. A bad fuel transfer pump (and the transfer pump is known to be problematic) means a loss of fuel pressure to the VP-44 and often leads to the demise of the very expensive VP-44 injection pump. A fuel pressure gauge for a 24-valve engine is strongly recommended.” Andy mentions that, “a possible negative would be if a failure of the new transfer pump, now located in the tank, is experienced the additional labor required to drain/drop the fuel tank and service the module/pump assembly could be more expensive.” Change the words “could be more expensive” to “would most definitely be more expensive.” Add to the cost factor the realization that an on-the-road failure (These failures do not happen as you’re pulling into a Dodge dealership, do they?) is now an expensive towing bill or a major time-waster even if you have the tools to swap fuel transfer pump on the side of the road. (Yeah, right, change it on the side of the road.) My keep-it-simple solution of having a spare lift pump will be complicated by misinformation in the field. Already owners are being told that they can no longer purchase the lift pump at their Dodge dealership, but that they’ll have to purchase the retrofit kit. I’ll not debate the validity of this statement as the answer from our local dealership was that the Mopar lift pump was still available. But, at any time parts availability could change in the Mopar parts system. Regardless of the story from Mopar, there is good news from the rest of the parts aftermarket. The staff at Geno’s was solicited to purchase the “Carter (division of Federal Mogul) F74213” or “FP Diesel part number 3990105 fuel transfer pump assembly with wiring harness” from a diesel injection shop. (Interesting how the 3990105 number matches the number sold by Cummins.) Furthermore, Delphi is offering a fuel transfer pump, part number FP923 at other diesel injection shops. The Delphi, FP923 box was opened and there was not a wiring harness included in their kit. If my memory is correct, the wiring harness is needed on ’98.5 to ’99 trucks, as the early pumps had the harness pigtail protruding from the pump. Without the harness extension, the wires would be too short and not reach the replacement part. So, it looks like availability will not be a problem. One last item to consider: the devil you know is preferable to the devil you don’t know. None of the TDR audience knows how good or bad the ’05 fuel transfer pump will be. There is not yet enough time on the clock. Nor do we know the symptoms of impending failure. Nor do we know the high, low, and mid-point performance (in psi) of the ’05 pump. Enough said? As a side note, Geno’s Garage has chosen not to sell the fuel transfer pumps. Although it would be no fault of the retail outlet that you may purchase the pump from, the possibility of an unhappy customer was too ominous. Robert Patton TDR Staff
NV5600 OIL CHANGE PROCEDURE I am planning to change the transmission oil in my ‘01 Turbo Diesel with the NV5600 six-speed gearbox. How much oil will I need and is there a procedure to follow when changing the oil? Baron, Feather River Country, CA You will need four quarts of oil that meets the Dodge NV5600 specifications. Use a 17 mm hex key to remove the fill plug which is located behind the driver’s side power take-off (PTO) cover about half way up the side of the transmission case. Remove the six bolts on the driver’s side PTO cover. The oil will begin to drain when you remove the bottom bolts. After sufficient time for drainage, remove the cover completely. After removing cover, reach inside and you should feel a magnet. Remove the magnet, clean it, and reinstall it. Clean the gasket surface of both the PTO cover and where it mounts to the case with a degreaser. Apply a good quality RTV gasket sealer such as Ultra Gray and wait about ten minutes for the sealer to form a thin skin. Reinstall the PTO cover to the transmission case and tighten the bolts. Refill the transmission with four quarts of oil. If you get a small funnel and attach a 6” piece of 5/8-inch heater hose to the bottom, it will be easier to add the oil. Fill transmission until the oil is draining back out of the fill plug hole. Reinstall fill plug and you are finished. It should take around 45 minutes to an hour to complete the job. rkressg, Pittsburgh, PA Thank you for the instructions. Your procedure directions are just what I was looking for. Baron, Feather River Country, CA POWER STEERING PUMP LEAK The power steering pump on my ‘98 Turbo Diesel 2500 is leaking and I cannot see the source. It appears the leak is on the back. Should I remove the pump from the vacuum pump to determine the source of the leak? Nate, Anchorage, AK The high pressure line is the threaded line exiting the pump. It threads into the main fitting that retains the flow piston. Around the main fitting is an o-ring. It is easy to replace from underneath the truck. Remove the high pressure line using a 17 mm wrench. Remove main fitting using a one-inch socket and replace o-ring. While you are there, remove the flow piston and clean the flow piston screen for renewed power steering performance. nps, Las Vegas, NV
One last item to consider: the devil you know is preferable to the devil you don’t know.
24-VALVE ENGINES . . . . Continued HIGH COOLANT TEMPERATURE While driving my ‘00 Turbo Diesel in slow traffic, I noticed my engine coolant temperature increased to 215°. I was not towing and the truck was empty so I don’t think the engine should have been that hot. Other Turbo Diesel owners report that when the engine cooling fan cycles on, it creates a loud fan noise. I never heard the loud fan noise. What controls the fan clutch or do I need to replace it? Assuming I need a new fan clutch, is there something better than the factory clutch? TJany, NJ How clean is your radiator? I removed my radiator and could not believe how the cooling fins were plugged up. Considering that my crankcase vent has been relocated since the truck was new, and that I occasionally flush the fins with water, I was really surprised. Apparently, just hosing the radiator from the outside isn’t sufficient to clean it.
This is a photo of what happened on the fan side of my ‘01 Turbo Diesel 3500 after I removed the crankcase vent drip catch bottle.
I removed my radiator and could not believe how the cooling fins were plugged up.
My radiator was getting dirty with the catch bottle only one-quarter full. I extended the hose about a year ago, but I am getting tired of the oily drips on my shop floor. I’ve been thinking of installing the Fleetguard Enviroguard open crankcase ventilation system. GFrance, Myrtle Creek, OR
Now as part of the maintenance on my truck, I remove the radiator when I change my coolant (every 24 months) and carefully clean the fins with a pressure washer. It is a good time to replace the belt too, since there’s plenty of room to work with the radiator out.
The outward appearance of my radiator didn’t look too bad. However, I removed it after overheating problems. The fins were at least 30 to 40 percent blocked with oily dirt. I used a degreaser and a garden hose. It is now clean and the job took me about 3 hours to complete. I relocated the drip catch bottle a long time ago, but apparently the oily residue was already on the fins. hammersley, Camas, WA I zip tied an old cotton sock around the crankcase breather hose extension to catch the drips. The oil will drip into the sock from the hose extension and then wick up the cotton fibers of the sock. I replace the sock once or twice a year, and with a few zip ties, an easy fix for the oily drips. rweis, Winter Haven, FL The sock idea is an easy fix with no drips or oily film on anything but the outer sock. I replace the sock while I am under the truck changing oil. I call it “the old sock recycling system.” I extended the tube and drip catch bottle down to the anti-sway bar and secured it with a couple of wire ties.
PC12Driver, Kouts, IN I think I found the overheating problem. I removed the radiator and the cooling fins were at least 40 percent blocked. It was mostly dirt. It is hard to believe the crankcase vent caused the problem. In theory, any vapors would be blown away from the radiator by the fan. The other side of the radiator was fairly clean. TJany, NJ
Gary-K7GLD, Canyon City, OR
24-VALVE ENGINES . . . . Continued CLUTCH REPLACEMENT TIPS I took some photographs while replacing the clutch in my Turbo Diesel 4x4 with the NV5600, six-speed transmission. I have put together the following information and photos as a guide to help anyone who might perform a clutch replacement job.
Pop up transfer case shift lever boot and remove bolts. Remove the rubber inserts in cup holders, remove the bolts, and lift off the plastic shroud.
From inside the truck, use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws holding the transmission gear shift boot and slide it up.
Remove the bolts in the gear shift lever boot and remove it.
Remove the gear shift lever using a 他-inch or 19-mm wrench.
Carefully remove the bolts in the shift tower and tape a clean rag in hole. If you drop anything into the transmission, such as one of the bolts or a socket, you will be in for a lot of extra work retrieving them from inside the transmission.
24-VALVE ENGINES . . . . Continued
From under the truck, remove the driveshaft and carrier bearing. Tape the caps of the U-joint together. Do not allow the slip joint by the carrier bearing to come apart. Remove the entire driveshaft as one piece.
Remove front driveshaft, vacuum plug, and vent hose from the transfer case.
Pop out the transfer case shift rod from transfer case at the shift arm.
Remove the clutch slave cylinder.
At the top of the transmission on the driverâ€™s side is a wire loom that crosses over and is held down with a little plastic retainer with an arrowhead-type clip stuck through a hole. Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to pinch the arrowhead together, then pull the loom out.
There is another retainer on the passenger side. Remove it in the same manner.
24-VALVE ENGINES . . . . Continued Alternately loosen the bolts a little at a time on the pressure plate until the clutch pressure is released. Once the pressure is released remove all the bolts leaving the top ones until last. When removing the final bolts, be prepared to catch and hold the pressure plate. It is a very heavy part. The clutch disk will fall out once the pressure plate is removed, so be prepared for it, too. Before removing the flywheel, I suggest using gloves and placing a sheet of plywood on the floor to protect it when it suddenly pops off. It is very heavy and can mash your fingers, toes, or anything else in the way. Use Locktite on the bolts when re-installing the flywheel and replace the pilot bearing. After the flywheel is installed, thoroughly clean any residual grease and oil, including your greasy fingerprints, from the clutch surface with a clean drying solvent.
Disconnect the electrical connector on the passenger side of the transmission.
Remove the old throwout bearing. Clean the transmission input shaft and lightly re-grease it. Install a new throwout bearing. Remove the bolts in the bracket holding the vacuum line from cross member and move it out of way. Remove the bolts holding the fuel lines from frame on driverâ€™s side near the frame cross member. Support transmission with a sturdy transmission jack capable of holding 300 to 400 pounds. Remove the bolts holding the cross member and using a big deadblow hammer, move the cross member up while being careful not to pinch the fuel lines. If you move the cross member back to the big holes in the frame, it should come out from between the frame rails. Use a hydraulic jack to spread the frame rails slightly and it will be easier to move the cross member. Use another jack or some blocks to support the front of the engine. Once the weight of the transmission is removed the engine will fall forward which will make re-installation of the transmission more difficult. With the transmission securely attached to the transmission jack, remove the transmission mounting bolts and move the transmission straight back away from the engine. After the transmission input shaft clears the splines in the clutch, lower the transmission with the jack.
Install the clutch disk using the alignment tool. Keep your greasy fingerprints off the friction material.
24-VALVE ENGINES . . . . Continued Editor’s Note: TDR technical writer Joe Donnelly covered the removal and installation of a clutch in our previous Issue 49 magazine (pages 10-14). Using Joe’s and Scott Reece’s (OO) experiences along with Sam Memmolo’s article (Issue 36, page 75) and your factory Service Manual (hey, it’s a great resource to check torque values) you should be ready to tackle the job. Now, if I only had a hydraulic lift in my garage . . .) STEERING WANDER
Install the pressure plate. Do not touch the side of the plate facing the clutch disk. Using Locktite on the clutch bolts, alternately tighten the bolts a little at a time. When the bolts are tight, remove the alignment tool. Raise the transmission on the jack and move it forward. Align the transmission input shaft splines with the splines in center of the pressure plate and slide the transmission forward. Adjust the transmission jack so the gap between the engine and bell housing is the same at the top, bottom, left and right side. Wiggle the transmission in by hand. Do not try to “draw it in” with the bolts. It may take an hour or it might slide right in on the first try. Also never lower the transmission jack and hang the weight of the transmission on the input shaft, which could destroy the clutch disk. Re-install the cross member, and using the deadblow hammer, pound it back into place. Again, spreading the frame rails slightly with a hydraulic jack will make the job easier. Perform the previous steps in the reverse order to complete the clutch replacement. Hopefully, reading this summary and looking at the photos will make it easier for a member who is planning to replace the clutch himself or may encourage a member who is thinking about it. OO, Mammoth Lakes, CA I’ve been thinking of replacing the clutch in my Turbo Diesel myself, as I have replaced clutches in other vehicles I’ve owned. Did you remove the flywheel and have it resurfaced? How long did it take to replace the clutch? Wiredawg, Del Rio/San Antonio, TX Southbend, my clutch supplier, requires resurfacing the flywheel for a warranty on the clutch. My truck had 6,000 miles on the odometer, but I had the flywheel resurfaced to make sure the clutch would seat properly and would not slip. The installation took seven hours total with three and a half hours of that being actual wrenching. It took about three hours to have the flywheel resurfaced. The rest of the time was used taking photographs. If you’ve replaced clutches before, it should take you between three and four hours the first time. OO, Mammoth Lakes, CA
Editor’s note: the following correspondence talks about a correction for steering wander on Second Generation, fourwheel drive pickups. Looking for “steering stabilizer,” my handy index from Issue 49 pointed me back to Issue 47 and two articles (pages 110, 152) that also discussed the DSS steering stabilizer product. Both writers, John Holmes and Andy Redmond, gave the DSS steering stabilizer a resounding “thumbs up.” I recently installed the DSS Steering Stabilizer made by Solid Steel Industries on my ’99 Ram 2500, extended cab, short bed, four-wheel drive pickup. Two weeks later I installed the track bar bracket and adjustable track bar also made by Solid Steel Industries. My truck sits 1 ½” higher in front than stock height. I was pleased to learn that the track bar is adjustable for those with a lifted vehicle. For test purposes I kept all things equal. The tires, tire pressure and alignment all stayed the same. The result: the truck is a different handling truck. No further vehicle wandering and following freeway cracks. When I change lanes in freeway driving I don’t have to correct my steering. The vehicle really handles well. Recently while stopping for a stranded motorist, I had to swing quickly off to the side of the road and onto a soft shoulder. Mud went flying, the right side of the truck dropped down, I slowed the truck down, but never during all of this did I lose steering control, steering correction or stability. The truck, with two wheels on asphalt and two on mud/dirt, never became squirrelly or out of control. Solid Steel has built virtually bulletproof parts. You will no longer have to purchase a new track bar from Chrysler or Moog at $300 each. When the end bushings do wear out, you may purchase just the bushings from Solid Steel Industries for about $50 a set. Their instructions are clear and their website shows further pictures and more instructions. Additionally, you can always call Russell or Darrin at Solid Steel Industries or any of their distributors for further installation assistance. David Fettig Moorhead, MN
2003 and Newer Product Update Articles Edited by Bill Stockard and Robert Patton FUEL FILTER DRAIN VALVE When I open the yellow drain lever on the fuel filter housing on my ‘05 Turbo Diesel 3500, nothing comes out. I have less than 3,000 miles on the truck. Could there be debris caught in the valve? I don’t want to wait until it is time to replace the filter before I am able to drain any accumulated water. Dieselnerd, Eagan, MN/Tucson, AZ A technical service bulletin (TSB) for your problem was issued in early ‘03. There was an assembly lubricant left in the drain valve, sometimes preventing it from draining when it was opened. According to the TSB, open the valve, bump the starter with the ignition key, but don’t start the engine. The lift pump will operate and build enough pressure to flush out the lubricant allowing the drain to flow freely. Close the drain valve when fuel starts flowing. rbattelle, Dayton, OH
The transmission filters are available from Geno’s Garage. Since the NV5600 generate quite a bit of brass from synchronizer wear, the filter is probably a good idea. banshee, New Bern, NC I replaced the transmission oil once before and used RTV on the PTO covers which worked fine without leaks. Thanks for the tip regarding the filters being available from Geno’s Garage. Buffalo, Phoenix, AZ This is a photo of my transmission oil filter after 51,460 miles. The oil was very clean with only slight yellowing. It did show positive water at .2%. It looks like the filter was doing some good in catching wear metals.
I tried it and it worked. Thanks. Dieselnerd, Eagan, MN/Tucson, AZ TSB 14-005-02 was issued on 11/8/02 and addressed the procedure for draining fluid from the filter canister on engines built before 10/11/02. The engine with the problem was built as a ‘05 model. Therefore the TSB should not apply. To drain fuel, try the trick as suggested by “rbattelle.” NV5600, PTO COVER GASKETS, FILTER I am planning to replace the oil in the NV5600 six-speed transmission on my ‘03 Turbo Diesel 3500. I read that reusable power take-off (PTO) cover gaskets were available through Chevrolet dealers. If true, and since PTO covers are a standard size, are these reusable gaskets available at an automotive parts supply store such as NAPA? Also, I understand that there is a filter that mounts inside the right side PTO cover. The gears inside the transmission sling gear oil into the filter, and it drains to the bottom of the transmission. Are these filters effective and where do I purchase them? Buffalo, Phoenix, AZ The NV5600 six-speed in my truck doesn’t have gaskets on the PTO covers, but was sealed from the factory with RTV silicone. I used the same material to re-seal my PTO covers when I replaced the transmission oil and don’t have any leaks.
jrobinson2, south of Las Vegas, NV SQUEAKING TRANSFER CASE SHIFT LEVER There is a squeak in my ‘05 Turbo Diesel 3500’s transfer case shift lever. If I hold pressure on the lever, it will disappear. Also if I shift into 4-H and then back to 2-H, the squeak disappears for a little while. KennethWilson Pop the shift lever boot off and spray a little silicon spray lube under it. nickleinonen, Markham, ON Crawl under your truck and spray the linkage with some white lithium grease. rbattelle, Dayton, OH
THIRD GENERATION . . . . Continued COOLANT PLUG LEAK
GREASING THE FRONT DRIVESHAFT
I was working under the hood of my Turbo Diesel and noticed a pipe plug in the cylinder head oozing pink stuff. I assume the plug is closing off a coolant passage. Should I remove the plug, clean it, wrap it in Teflon tape, and reinstall it?
On the radiator support of my ‘05 Turbo Diesel 3500 there is a decal that says to grease the front driveline every time the engine oil is changed. The picture looks like it is pointing to the front driveshaft where the double universals connect to the transfer case. I looked, but I do not see any grease fittings to be greased. Am I looking at the wrong area? LJFiler, Austin, TX Yes, there is a fitting in the U-joint. You will need a grease needle adapter for your grease gun to grease the U-joint which has to be in just the right position for you to get the grease needle on the fitting. It is easier to get to the fitting if you place a jack under one side of the front axle and raise the front wheel so you can turn the front driveshaft.
cummins_crewcab, Bakersfield, CA Tightening the plug with a 3/8-inch drive extension should stop the leak. I have tightened the plugs in four different trucks. It takes about three or four minutes. DPKetchum, Ila, GA Try tightening the plugs first, but if it still leaks, remove and reseal with Teflon tape. However, I suggest using an anaerobic pipe thread sealant instead. There is less chance of a leak and it is the type of sealant Cummins recommends. The Cummins torque specification is 25 ft-lb for a 3/8-inch plug and 20 ft-lb for a ¼-inch plug. rbattelle, Dayton, OH
Grease needle attached to a hand operated grease gun. formula, Mattapoisett, MA Thanks for the reply. LJFiler, Austin, TX
You Might Be a Turbo Diesel Owner If...
You Might Be a Turbo Diesel Owner If...
The oil stain in your driveway is bigger than your truck.
A screwdriver is required to open the doors of your truck.
You carry more than two extra tires in the back of your truck.
You’ve ever framed a Truck Trader cover.
Acknowledgements to Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be A Redneck If” books and calendars. Find them at your local bookstore--great gifts!
Acknowledgements to Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be A Redneck If” books and calendars. Find them at your local bookstore--great gifts!
“TDResource” is a listing of resource materials for Turbo Diesel owners by Robert Patton To an outsider it would appear that each issue of the TDR has a different problem du jour. We could go back and chronicle the various problems, but that’s the reason for the phenomenal index that was supplied by Bob Vallier and published in the previous Issue 49 and 45 magazines. Prior to Bob’s summaries, indexes in Issues 41, 37, 33, 29, 25, 21, and 17 were compiled by Clay Maxam. We are indebted to Bob and Clay for their many hours of research. Although some will dwell on the problems, the majority of TDR members take the initiative to solve/correct anticipate/prepare for a future situation. That’s what the TDR is all about! Surprisingly, there have been comments by those unfamiliar with the truck (prospective new/used buyers, Internet, truck shows) that “the Turbo Diesel certainly has its share of problems.” To them, no doubt, the grass looks greener on the other side. However, thanks to the TDR membership group and the support from DaimlerChrysler and Cummins, we are equipped with answers and solutions, rather than the dismay and isolation that would exist without a support group. ‘03/‘04 TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETINS With that brief introduction out of the way, this issue presents our yearly review of Dodge Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) issued in the previous calendar year (2004). Previously, Dodge vehicle TSBs were published in CD format and were available for purchase in July/August. As a service, we would purchase the TSB directory and then search through the CD to isolate only those bulletins relating to the Turbo Diesel truck. The TSB directory is no longer available. However, the service that replaces it is an improvement. Armed with your truck’s vehicle identification number (VIN) and a credit card you can log-on to www.techauthority.com and, for $20.00, you can view/print all of the TSBs that apply to your vehicle. Using several VINs we down-loaded the TSBs for 2004 and 2005*and have summarized the subject, the description of the problem, and the corrective action. Should you need the entire text you should consult your dealer or use the www.techauthority.com web site to purchase the bulletin(s) pertaining to your truck. See page 51 for further information on TechAuthority.
THE MAYTAG REPAIR MAN In my research I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of bulletins issued in this past year. I thought of the successful commercial of yesteryear about the lonely Maytag repairman and how his product did not break. If the lack of TSBs is an indicator of Turbo Diesel reliability, then we’ve got a winner with the Third Generation truck. For research I used later model ’04, ’04.5 and ’05 truck VIN numbers. There were only a handful (nine) new bulletins. As editor I was faced with a dilemma. Publish only the nine new bulletins or add these bulletins to the existing Third Generation bulletins that were published in Issue 46, thus giving the Third Generation audience a complete library of TSBs? As you can see we’ve added the nine newer bulletins to the existing list and noted these newer bulletins with bold type face of the TSB number. In my zeal to share this great news with someone, I called TDR writer and Carson Dodge employee John Holmes. John put his Darth Vader mask on and reminded me that we still don’t have an answer to the vibration problems that have plagued many four-wheel drive, automatic, Quad Cab, long wheelbase trucks as the trucks travel at about 70 mph (Issue 45, page 48 and 105). Additionally John cautioned that his dealership is seeing injection problems (fuel injectors) that are all-to-often tied to contaminated fuel. I countered with my news-of-nine perspective. John made a comment about pulling my head a bit farther from out of the sand. I again countered with the fact that he was too close to the subject matter. The point/counter-point continued until laughter broke out on both sides of the telephone. We agreed that nine TSBs (with three as “information only” and one about how to program an engine control module) indicated that there was less than normal activity in the Turbo Diesel service arena. A final note: John and I also agreed that were the installation of accessories by these two fabled writers so trouble-free we would be like the Maytag man. It is amazing how many problems that I have with my truck are self inflicted. I do marvel at the complexity of the modern vehicle and the lack of problems that do occur.
As a final note of reference: In TDR Issue 14 you’ll find the TSB summary for years ’89 – ’95. Issue 18 covered TSBs published in 1996; Issue 22 covered 1997; Issue 26 covered 1998; Issue 30 covered 1999; Issue 34 covered 2000; Issue 38 covered 2001; Issue 42 covered 2002; Issue 46 covered 2003. The 2004 summary complements and updates our previous TSB research.
TDResource . . . . Continued In an effort to consolidate the TSBs for the magazine, we’re going to use the same index system categories as DaimlerChrysler. Below are the index categories. 2 Front Suspension 14 Fuel 3 Axle/Driveline 16 Propeller Shafts and U-Joints 5 Brakes 18 Vehicle Performance 6 Clutch 19 Steering 7 Cooling 21 Transmission 8 Electrical 22 Wheels & Tires 9 Engine 23 Body 11 Exhaust 24 Air Conditioning 13 Frame & Bumpers 26 Miscellaneous
A note concerning the TSBs and their use: The bulletins are intended to provide dealers with the latest repair information. Often the TSB is specific to the VIN. VIN data on the Chrysler service network helps the dealer in his service efforts. A TSB is not an implied warranty. 2005 TSBs With the new service at www.techauthority.com we’ve gathered information on Dodge Technical Service Bulletins that have been released thus far in 2005. These early issue 2005 TSBs are incorporated into our ’04 summary listing.
03-001-04 Rev. A 5/11/04
Axle-fluid level. The axle fill holes on some 2004 Dodge Truck axles may be located considerably higher than the actual fluid level. Filling the axle until the fluid comes out of the fill hole will overfill the axle, which could cause fluid foaming. When checking fluid level or filling a rear axle with fluid, you must measure distance from the bottom of the fill hole to the actual fluid level. This can easily be accomplished using a pipe cleaner or piece of wire. Make a 90 degree bend in the wire two inches from the end. The wire can then be inserted into the axle fill hole and used as a dipstick. Measure the distance from the bend to the oil level. The fluid levels for the axles are shown in the table below. Ram Truck 2500/3500
Axle 10.5 Rear Axle 11.5 Rear Axle 9 ¼ Front Axle
Fluid Level (measured from the bottom of the fill hole) 1 inch ± ¼ inch ¼ inch ± ¼ inch ¼ inch ± ¼ inch
Fluid Capacity 85 oz. SAE 75W-90 Synthetic 122 oz. SAE 75W-90 Synthetic 76 oz. SAE 75W-90 Synthetic
Note: The limited slip feature on 2500/3500 series Ram Trucks utilizes the Trac Rite locking feature which does not require Trac-Lok additives or friction modifiers. 03-003-04 6/15/04
‘03 - ‘04 (DR)
Launch shudder. This bulletin involves adjusting the propeller shaft working angles and applies to vehicles equipped with a two-piece rear driveshaft. The problem is described as a drive line shudder or vibration while accelerating from a stop. The condition is most noticeable under heavy throttle acceleration and is usually only present at low speeds (below 25 mph). Vehicles equipped with a two-piece driveshaft are designed to minimize reaction forces that result from the universal joint transmitting torque at an angle. These forces cannot be eliminated entirely because of the necessity to compromise joint angle selection between curb and design loading conditions. U-joint angles change depending upon the amount of weight applied to the vehicle bed. Therefore U-joint angle readings may need to be taken with different vehicle loads in order to obtain a satisfactory compromise. The vehicle should be evaluated under the loaded condition that produces the objectionable disturbance. The repair procedure involves measurements at the transmission yoke, front propeller shaft, rear propeller shaft and rear axle. The working angles should be adjusted to provide the lowest angle possible for the output shaft to front propeller shaft, front propeller shaft to rear propeller shaft, and rear propeller shaft to axle pinion. The measurements will determine which direction to move the center bearing to optimize the angles. Install the appropriate bracket to obtain the minimum working angle, but still maintain at least ½ degree to ensure that there will be some movement in the U-joint bearings.
TDResource . . . . Continued
AXLE/DRIVELINE . . . Continued
Axle whine. This bulletin applies to 4x2, 2500 series, 140.5 inch wheel base vehicles equipped with diesel engine, sales code ETC/ETH, and an automatic transmission, sales code DG8. The problem is that some vehicles may exhibit rear axle whine at speeds between 35 and 70 mph. The repair procedure involves identification of the pinion flange and propeller shaft that the vehicle is equipped with. If a repair is necessary, the propeller shaft is replaced using the chart listing the appropriate part numbers.
‘03 - ‘04 (DR)
Rattle sound from transmission when idling. This bulletin applies to vehicles equipped with a 5.9L Cummins high output Turbo Diesel (sales code ETH) and NV5600 six-speed manual transmission (sales code DEE) built on or before May 11, 2003. The vehicle operator may describe a rattle sound when idling in neutral with the clutch pedal released. The bulletin involves replacing the clutch disc with a revised part.
‘02 - ‘03 (DR)
Electro mechanical instrument cluster (MIC) erroneous indicator lamps. Three conditions have been identified which may be caused by communication errors between the electro mechanical instrument cluster (MIC) and other electronic modules on the vehicle. 1. An intermittent false “Check Gauges” on diesel engine equipped vehicles. 2. An intermittent false chime and “Low Wash” indicator. 3. A “Trans Temp” indicator on a manual transmission equipped vehicle. This bulletin involves selectively erasing and reprogramming the MIC with new software.
Alternator mounting bracket cracked. This bulletin applies to vehicles equipped with a 5.9L 24-valve diesel engine (sales codes ETC, or ETH) and built on or before February 13, 2003, with engine serial numbers prior to 57013271. The problem is that the vehicle operator may experience an accessory drive belt squeal during normal driving conditions. This bulletin describes how to replace the alternator support bracket with a revised bracket.
Lamp-out indicator with aftermarket pickup box installation. This information-only bulletin discusses situations where an aftermarket utility box is installed after the removal of the original equipment pickup box. Under the circumstances the lamp-out indicator may illuminate. This is due to the use of aftermarket rear stop and turn signal lamps which use a dual filament bulb instead of separate circuits for the stop and turn indicator. The bulletin then describes the reprogramming procedure to reset the lamp-out indicator.
PCM connector corroded—sets MIL light. This bulletin applies to vehicles equipped with a 5.9 liter diesel engine and an automatic transmission. Water may enter the PCM connector causing corrosion of electrical terminals on the PCM. This condition can set diagnostic trouble codes and illuminate the MIL light. If diagnostic trouble codes are present or other diagnostics lead to PCM connector problems, inspect the PCM and the PCM wire harness connector. The repair procedure involves replacement of the wiring harness.
TDResource . . . . Continued
ELECTRICAL . . . Continued
Poor radio sound quality with Infinity speakers. This bulletin applies to vehicles equipped with Infinity speakers, sales code RCK. Radios equipped with “Infinity Speakers” may exhibit a variety of symptoms due to reversed right front speaker wiring (polarity). Symptoms include: front door or speaker buzz, poor sound quality, lack of bass. This bulletin involves correcting speaker wiring polarity in the radio connector.
Radio intermittent audio. This bulletin applies to vehicles equipped with an AM/FM/cassette radio built prior to January 30, 2004 or AM/FM/CD radio built prior to January 30, 2004. Radios built after 1/30/04 will no longer have vent holes in the area the repair procedure covers. If the audio drops out when the vehicle is moved from a cold to a warm or humid environment, the reason is that condensation builds up across the audio amplifier circuitry, causing the amplifier to shut down. Typically, cycling the ignition switch off and on will restore the audio output. If the problem persists, the correct repair procedure is to apply tape over the row of slots on the left hand side of the radio’s top cover.
‘04 - ‘05 (DR)
Mopar accessory remote starter inoperative due to hood switch. This bulletin applies to vehicles equipped with a Mopar remote starter kit. The problem frequently occurs as one or more of the following: • When the transmitter is pressed twice for start, the vehicle horn will chirp once but the vehicle engine will not start. • When the transmitter is pressed twice for start, the vehicle horn will chirp twice, indicating a problem with the remote start system and the vehicle engine will not start. • When the transmitter is pressed twice for start the vehicle will chirp once, the engine will start and then turn off. The technician may not be able to verify the symptom(s) because it may be an intermittent condition. The corrective action involves replacing the hood switch for the remote starting system.
Frame alterations. This bulletin is to support the 2003 Body Builder’s Guide and presents guidelines that must be followed during modifications or alterations to any 2003 Dodge Ram pickup frame. The following general industry standard procedures are recommended for proper installation of special bodies and/or equipment on the Ram pickup frame, such as fifth-wheel hitches, snow plows, etc. Failure to follow these recommendations could result in damage to the basic vehicle and possible injury to occupants. The information-only bulletin gives the guidelines for welding and drilling of holes into the frame.
‘03 - ‘05 (DR)
Cummins diesel diagnostics. Revised diagnostic procedures are available for the following conditions: • Engine cranks for a long time or will not start • White smoke and/or misfire after starting when the engine temperature is below 150° F • Engine surges at idle • Engine sounds The eight-page bulletin gives the service technician a set of revised diagnostic procedures for the fuel system. Each condition is discussed and possible causes are established. Step-by-step instructions help the technician identify and repair the problem.
TDResource . . . . Continued
FUEL . . . Continued
Electronic fuel control (EFC) actuator available for service This bulletin deals specifically with an engine surge at idle condition. The diagnostic procedures are the same as those listed in TSB 14-003-05. The bulletin describes the repair procedure for replacement of the electronic fuel control actuator.
‘‘03 - ‘05 (DR)
Powertrain control module (PCM) shift quality improvements. The bulletin applies to vehicles equipped with a 5.9L standard output Cummins diesel engine(sales code ETC) and a 47RE transmission(sales code DGP) built before December 31, 2002. The vehicle operator may find that the vehicle will not shift out of third gear at throttle between 50% and 90% until 70 mph. The repair involves selectively erasing and reprogramming the powertrain control module (PCM) with new software.
No throttle response, lack of power while towing and diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) P2638/ P0700. The bulletin applies to vehicles equipped with a Cummins diesel engine (sales code ETC or ETH) built on or before July 25, 2003. The vehicle may exhibit: • No throttle response if the engine is started with the Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor (APPS) in an off-idle position (pedal depressed) and the transmission is shifted into drive or reverse while the APPS remains in an off-idle position (pedal depressed), causing the engine to remain at idle. • Lack of power while towing or hauling a heavy load with the transmission in overdrive—vehicles equipped with 47RE transmission. The repair involves selectively erasing and reprogramming the Cummins CM845 engine control module (ECM) with new software.
‘98.5 - ‘02 (BE/BR) ‘03 - ‘04 (DR)
Generic Cummins engine control module (ECM) procedure. This bulletin applies to Ram trucks equipped with the 5.9L Cummins 24-valve diesel engine (sales code ETC or ETH). Mopar is phasing out pre-programmed Cummins Diesel engine control modules (ECM). New modules will no longer be pre-programmed when received from Mopar. Replacement of future ECM’s will require programming utilizing the DRBIII and TechCONNECT.
‘03 - ‘04 (DR)
Poor A/C performance, slow fuel gauge response, and diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) PO341 and P1757. This bulletin applies to vehicles equipped with a Cummins Turbo Diesel engine (sales code ETC or ETH) with an engine serial number 57130284 or earlier and the engine date of manufacture on or before December 10, 2003. The owner of the vehicle may describe slow fuel gauge response after adding fuel. On California emission equipped vehicles, the problem is rapid A/C clutch cycling and poor A/C performance until coolant temperature reaches 170°. The repair involves erasing and reprogramming the Cummins ECM with new software.
Poor cab heat and/or slow engine warm-up in cold ambient temperatures. This bulletin applies to DR vehicles equipped with a Cummins Turbo Diesel engine (sales code ETC or ETH) and an automatic transmission, with an engine serial number 57130284 or earlier and the engine date of manufacture on or before December 10, 2003. The vehicle operator may describe poor cab heat and/or slow engine warm-up in cold ambient temperatures. A new feature has been added that allows the vehicle operator to use the speed control switches to increase the engine speed up to 1500 rpm, to improve cab heat. The feature must be enabled using the DRBIII. If the vehicle operator would like to have the feature enabled, perform the repair procedure which involves erasing and reprogramming the Cummins ECM with new software.
TDResource . . . . Continued
White smoke, engine stumble/misfire, or flat spot in engine performance. This bulletin applies to vehicles equipped with a Cummins Turbo Diesel engine (sales code ETH) with an engine serial number 57130285 through and including 57149668 and the engine date of manufacture 12/10/2003 through and including 2/2/2004. The vehicle operator may describe: • White smoke during no-load engine acceleration between 2800 and 3000 rpm. • Engine stumble/misfire or flat spot during moderate accelerations between 1500 and 2500 rpm. May be accompanied by white smoke. • During cold ambient temperatures (30° or below) white smoke and/or engine stumble when engine is started after an extended cold soak. • During cold ambient temperatures (30° or below) white smoke when restarting engine that has not yet reached normal operating temperature. If the vehicle operator describes or the technician experiences the problem, perform the repair procedure which involves erasing and reprogramming the Cummins ECM with new software.
‘98.5 - ‘02 (BR) ‘03 - ‘05 (DR)
Cummins engine control module (ECM) procedure. Mopar is phasing out pre-programmed Cummins diesel engine control modules (ECM). New modules will no longer be pre-programmed when received from Mopar. Replacement of future ECM’s will require programming at the dealership. This bulletin describes the programming procedure.
‘94 - ‘02 (BR/BE) ‘02 - ‘04 (DR)
Power steering fluid usage. The factory fill power steering fluid for most 2004 model year Chrysler Group vehicles is ATF+4 (part number 05013457AA/S9602) and it provides superior performance at both low and high temperatures. Refer to the table to identify factory fill and the approved service power steering fluid by year and model. From the table it is noted that the ’94 to ’02 truck uses part number 04883077/MS5931. MS9602 should not be mixed or used as a “topping off” fluid on systems requiring MS5931.
Vibration in steering column. A vibration may be felt in the steering wheel and/or the accelerator pedal on diesel engine vehicles with the engine operating between 2000 and 2200 rpm. The vibration may be more pronounced with the A/C compressor on. Operate the engine between 2000 and 2200 rpm. If the vibration is present, perform the repair procedure which involves installing a power steering hose containing a vibration damper.
‘04 - ‘05 (DR)
Power steering fluid contamination. This information only bulletin discusses the use of supplements to the power steering fluid. Do not use fluids or supplements that contain Teflon as they will cause a restriction at the filter in the power steering system. The power steering fluid used in Chrysler Group vehicles is an engineered product. The addition of any unapproved fluids or supplements can interfere with the proper function of the fluid and cause damage to the steering system. To ensure the performance and durability of Chrysler Group steering systems, use only Mopar Power Steering Fluid +4, ATF+4 automatic transmission fluid, or equivalent (MS-9602), in the power steering system.
‘03 - ‘05 (DR)
In and out movement in steering column. This bulletin applies to vehicles built after December 1, 2003. Should there be a small amount of movement in the steering column when pulling the steering wheel toward you while seated in the driver’s seat, the TSB outlines the proper repair procedure which involves the installation of a steering retainer kit to the steering column.
TDResource . . . . Continued
‘95 - ‘02 (BR/BE) ‘02 - ‘04 (DR)
Automatic transmission diagnostic teardown procedure. This bulletin provides a procedure to determine repair versus replacement of an automatic transmission assembly.
‘94 - ‘03 (BR/BE) ‘02 - ‘04 (DR)
Automatic transmission fluid usage [ATF+4 (Type 9602)]. A new transmission fluid (ATF+4 – Type 9602) has been developed and is being used as factory fill for all vehicles with Chrysler automatic transmissions. ATF+4 must always be used in vehicles that were originally filled with ATF+4. Service intervals do not change. The service interval currently in effect for a given vehicle should continue to be followed. ATF+4 is compatible with ATF+3 and ATF+2. ATF+4 can be used to top off vehicles that currently have ATF+2 or ATF+3. Do not use ATF+2 or ATF+3 to top off vehicles that have ATF+4 fluid. The benefits of ATF+4 include: • Better anti-wear properties • Improved rust/corrosion prevention • Control of oxidation. • Elimination of deposits • Control of friction • Retaining anti-foaming properties • Superior properties for low temperature operation
WHEELS AND TIRES
‘00 - ‘01 (BR/BE) ‘02 - ‘04 (DR)
Chrome wheel care. This information-only bulletin discusses chrome wheel care. Chrome wheels should be cleaned regularly with mild soap and water to maintain their luster and prevent corrosion. Wash them with the same soap solution as the body of the vehicle. Care must be taken in the selection of tire and wheel cleaning chemicals and equipment to prevent damage to wheels. Any of the “Do Not Use” items listed below can damage or stain wheels and wheel trim. • Wheel cleaners that contain hydrofluoric acid, biflouride compounds, sulfuric acid, or phosphoric acid. • Any abrasive type cleaner. • Any abrasive cleaning pad (such as steel wool) or abrasive brush. • Any oven cleaner. • A car wash that has carbide tipped wheel-cleaning brushes.
Instrument panel whistle. A whistling sound may be present coming from the front of the instrument panel near the bottom of the windshield when the heater A/C blower is on. This may be caused by air escaping through the holes in the center of the rivets that attach the VIN plate to the instrument panel. This can be mis-diagnosed as a windshield air leak. If necessary, remove the instrument panel top cover and apply a small drop of clear glass sealer to the center of each of the rivets to seal the rivet holes.
TDResource . . . . Continued
BODY . . . Continued
Buzzing or vibrating sound coming from the front of the vehicle. The description of the problem is a buzzing or vibrating sound coming from the front of the vehicle at highway speeds. Open the hood and inspect the ID plate located on the radiator support. The ID plate should be attached with four rivets. If there are only two rivets securing the ID plate, the ID plate may be vibrating against the radiator support. The repair involves securing the ID plate with additional rivets.
Scratched aftermarket window tint film. Customers who have installed aftermarket window tint film may experience the film on the windows becoming scratched from contact with the door inner belt weather strip. Some vehicles may have been built with the weather strip not having a coating of soft protective flocking on the surface that contacts the window. The repair involves installing a revised door inner belt weather strip.
Bug deflector wind whistle. Some vehicles equipped with a factory installed hood mounted bug deflector may exhibit a whistling sound coming from the front of the vehicle. The repair procedure involves installing foam tape to the bug deflector.
‘02 - ‘04 (DR)
Water leak at grab handle. Water may enter the vehicle through the secondary door seal retainer or the roof seam, onto the headliner and run down the “A” pillar, coming out at the grab handle. The repair involves sealing holes in the roof panel.
Cup holder binds or sticks. If the cup holder binds, will not open, or only opens partially, the instrument panel trim should be adjusted to provide clearance for the cup holder.
Drip rail door seal torn. The drip rail or secondary door seal may become torn from contact with the lower “A” pillar of the front door. The repair involves replacing the secondary door seal with an improved seal.
‘03 - ‘04 (DR)
Bug deflector loose/rattling. This bulletin applies to vehicles equipped with a factory installed bug deflector, sales code MXB. The bug deflector or air dam located on the front of the hood may become loose and rattle. The deflector could become dislodged in an automatic car wash. The repair involves replacing the bug deflector fasteners.
Binding front power window. This bulletin applies to vehicles equipped with trailer tow mirrors, sales code GPD or GPG. Vehicle owners may experience the power window on the front door binding or slow to operate. The corrective action involves lubricating the window channel and installing a spacer under the outside mirror.
‘03 - ‘04 (DR)
Improved secondary door seal. Mud or dirt may accumulate on the rocker panel causing customers to complain that their clothing gets dirty when they enter or exit the vehicle. This bulletin involves installing a new lower secondary door seal.
TDResource . . . . Continued
BODY . . . Continued
‘04 - ‘06 (DR)
Transit film removal. This information only bulletin provides a transit film removal procedure.
‘05 - ‘06 (DR)
Low gloss interior trim. This information only bulletin discusses that all Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles are designed with a low gloss interior trim. This low gloss finish maintains pleasing aesthetics, and minimizes glare of the instrument panel into the windshield. This low gloss finish should not be altered with a medium or high gloss interior treatment solution such as MOPAR Protector’s or other Armor All-like products. Instead, MOPAR Satin Select (part number 05174395AA) which has been specifically developed to remove minor surface contamination and maintain the low gloss appearance should be used for interior trim treatment.
HEATING & A/C
‘90 - ‘04 All Chrysler group products
A/C system additives. The use of A/C system sealers may result in damage to A/C refrigerant recovery/evacuation/ recharging equipment and/or A/C system components. Many federal, state/provincial and local regulations prohibit the recharge of A/C systems with known leaks. DaimlerChrysler recommends the detection of A/C system leaks through the use of approved leak detectors available through Pentastar Service Equipment (PSE) and fluorescent leak detection dyes available through Mopar Parts. Vehicles found with A/C system sealers should be treated as contaminated, and replacement of the entire A/C refrigerant system is recommended.
Defrost/door inoperative. The defrost door may break at the pivot shaft, causing inadequate travel. The system may not completely close, causing a lack of air discharge out of the floor vents and full discharge from the defrost outlet. This may be caused by a broken actuator stop on the heater A/C (HVAC) housing. The bulletin describes the repair procedure for replacing the defrost door and the lower half of the heater/AC housing.
TDResource . . . . Continued RECALLS The following are summaries of two recall notices that apply to some 2003 and 2004 model year trucks. As is the practice with a recall, owners of record should have been notified directly by Daimler Chrysler. However, things do slip-through-the-cracks, so we are printing reminders for you. Customer Satisfaction Notification No. C44 Transmission Cooler Line Date: February 2004 Models: ’03-’04 (DR) This notification applies only to trucks equipped with a 5.9 liter Cummins diesel engine (sales code ETC or ETH) and an automatic transmission (sales code DG8 or DGP) built through November 24, 2003. The transmission cooler line on about 97,000 of the above vehicles can transmit high pressure pulses when the vehicle is operated at heavy loads. These pulses may cause the enginemounted transmission cooler to crack and leak fluid which could result in significant transmission damage. Repair: The transmission cooler line must be replaced on all involved vehicles. In addition, the engine-mounted transmission cooler must be inspected and replaced if necessary. Customer Satisfaction Notification No. C42 Powertrain Control Module Connectors Date: February 2004 Models: ’03 (DR) This notification applies only to trucks equipped with a 5.9 liter Cummins diesel engine (sales code ETC or ETH) and an automatic transmission (sales code DGP or DG8) built through July 9, 2003. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) electrical connectors on about 70,000 of the above trucks may allow water to enter into the connectors. Water and the resulting corrosion in a PCM connector can cause the speed control and/or transmission overdrive function to become inoperative.
www.techauthority.com—A HIGHLY RECOMMENDED RESOURCE Last year when I learned that the TSB directory was no longer available, I was concerned. Our annual TSB summary has helped TDR subscribers solve truck problems by allowing them to have the repair information prior to their visit to the dealership. Together the owner and dealer could refer to the TSB in its entirety and correct the problem. The TSB summaries we provided were a valuable tool. As I have said before, the replacement service provided at www. techauthority.com is an improvement over the purchase of an annual directory. How so? First: the TSBs for your truck’s vehicle identification number (VIN) are current to date. I used the service on 8/15/05 and a TSB dated 7/08/05 was included in my search results. Second: because it is keyed to your VIN, the TSBs that are referenced in the VIN search are specific to your vehicle. This is a great service for the customer of www.techauthority.com customer. However, it made doing our yearly summary more of a challenge. We had to use several VIN numbers (catch-alls) to cover automatic and manual transmissions: two-wheel and four-wheel drive; 2500 and 3500 series trucks. So, what is the answer? The value of the information available for your trucks VIN at www.techauthority.com far exceeds the TechAuthority subscription price of $20. Using your VIN (I even tried a ’97 truck’s VIN and got the information) you’ll be able to pull up and print all the TSBs and recall notices specific to your truck. To try the service, log on to www.techauthority.com. From the left hand menu screen, click on “TechAuthority On-line,” fill out the information for “New Customer,” and follow the prompts. A world of information awaits you. Robert Patton TDR Staff
Repair: The three electrical connectors on the PCM must be removed and inspected for corrosion. If no corrosion is found, the connectors must be sealed by installing rubber O-rings onto the harness connectors. If corrosion is found in the connector, the transmission wiring harness and PCM must be replaced.
MEGA CAB: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY By Robert Patton and G.R. Whale
How does it compare? Both
Regular readers know that the TDR editorial team frequently share a different point of view, so instead of having one individual write a story on the 2006 Ram Mega Cab, we’ve opted for the counterpoint approach in this story. Both writers drove the same trucks in the same places under similar conditions. But, surprisingly little about a new truck launch seems to have much to do with actually driving the product. In this TDR version of “Good Cop, Bad Cop” you’ll find 8 questions and 16 answers (that’s “20 Questions” in editorial math). We split the good and bad answers equally—without saying who did what—and addressed the first and last jointly. Expect the unexpected, as the writer accused of being ignorant isn’t the one with SL(u)T on the door pillar badge right next to his head.
If you’re a regular reader you are no doubt familiar with the Mega Cab Ram concept displayed at the Chicago Auto Show in February. TDR writers St. Laurent and Mikonis covered the introduction in our Issue 48 magazine, pages 44-49. The take-away from the article is this quote from St. Laurent, “Placing the front seat where it was comfortable for me, I measured the distance between the back of the front seat to the front of the back seat. The GM measured 28 ½ inches and the Ford measured 29 ½ inches. Once seated in the trucks, both had a comparable amount of room inside. The Mega Cab checks-in at a limousine-like 32 ¾ inches between the seats. A person could get lost back there.” However, if interior space is not the key criterion you use in your purchase decision you’ll want to note the GCWR and GWR numbers from the chart below.
Model Transmission Axle
Base Curb Weight Payload GWR
Maximum Trailer Weight
2500 2WD SLT
M6/G56 A4/48RE A4/48RE
3.73 3.73 4.10
6918 6840 6840
2080 2160 2160
9000 9000 9000
12,950 13,000 13,000
20,000 20,000 20,000
2500 2WD Laramie
M6/G56 A4/48RE A4/48RE
3.73 3.73 4.10
7430 7352 7352
1570 1650 1650
9000 9000 9000
12,400 12,500 12,500
20,000 20,000 20,000
2500 4WD SLT
M6/G56 A4/48RE A4/48RE
3.73 3.73 4.10
7520 7443 7443
1480 1560 1560
9000 9000 9000
12,350 12,400 12,400
20,000 20,000 20,000
2500 4WD Laramie
M6/G56 A4/48RE A4/48RE
3.73 3.73 4.10
7520 7443 7443
1480 1560 1560
9000 9000 9000
12,350 12,400 12,400
20,000 20,000 20,000
3500 2WD SLT
M6/G56 A4/48RE A4/48RE
3.73 3.73 4.10
7052 6974 6974
2850 2930 2930
9900 9900 9900
15,800 13,900 15,900
23,000 21,000 23,000
3500 2WD Laramie
M6/G56 A4/48RE A4/48RE
3.73 3.73 4.10
7013 6935 6935
2890 2970 2970
9900 9900 9900
15,850 13,900 15,900
23,000 21,000 23,000
3500 4WD SLT
M6/G56 A4/48RE A4/48RE
3.73 3.73 4.10
7471 7393 7393
2430 2510 2510
9900 9900 9900
15,400 13,450 15,450
23,000 21,000 23,000
3500 4WD Laramie
M6/G56 A4/48RE A4/48RE
3.73 3.73 4.10
7468 7390 7390
2430 2510 2510
9900 9900 9900
15,400 13,450 15,450
23,000 21,000 23,000
Payload = GWR – base curb weight and is rounded to the nearest 10 pounds. Maximum trailer weight = GCWR – base curb weight – 150 pounds (allowance for driver). Maximum trailer weights are rounded to the nearest 50 pounds.
TDReview . . . . Continued A litany of “largest” this or that still applies using Dodge’s definition of best-in-class, which it calls “crew cab pickups.” Although it has four doors, the current Quad Cab has always been seen by Dodge as an extended cab model. As its entry into the crew cab marketplace, the Dodge Mega Cab boastfully features the following largest/best-in-class attributes: • Largest, longest cab – 143.2 cubic feet, 111.1 inches long • Largest interior cargo volume – 72.2 cubic feet • Largest cargo volume behind rear seat – 7.7 cubic feet • Largest flat floor load area – 16.8 square feet • Largest second-row leg room – 44.2 inches • Largest rear-door opening – 34.5 inches wide, 35.5 inches tall • Largest rear-door open angle – 85 degrees • First-ever reclining rear seats – 22- to 37-degree seat-back angle
Except for some minor changes spread across the range, the Mega Cab doesn’t change the driving aspect appreciably compared to the long-bed Quad Cab model because it’s essentially the same truck with some extra weight and insulation. It’s a bit quieter because of the added upholstery, carpet and headliner between you and the back of the cab, sound-deadening material along the firewall, and the laminated glass side windows that cut down on mirror and wind noise; the front windows are shared with all 2006 Rams. A few hundred pounds tends to make things ride better, especially on one-tons where the rear spring pack has been upped to a 3-stage unit. Otherwise it’s a 160-inch wheelbase Ram, 2 or 4 wheel drive, but no training wheels yet. The huge cab is obviously bigger than anyone else’s, and with the possible exception of tall riders in the outboard rear seats, the most comfortable. (The door/roof curvature may find you tall types knocking your head on interior trim.) Towing capacity will be less than the Quad Cab; max GVW is 9,900, max GCWR is 23,000, and the truck weighs more. That weight’s gotta come off somewhere. The game must be played carefully, because according to Dodge literature a 2500 4WD Laramie weighs 52 pounds more than a 3500 4WD Laramie, but the 2500’s GCWR is 1,000-3,000 pounds less. Furthermore, a fifth-wheel of any considerable size—say near 10,000 pounds—will push the envelope as the highest payload rating is 2,930 pounds. Finally, that short bed would require a slider hitch if you’ve any prayer of making a corner, and with the rear window so far from the driver’s head it is highly unlikely you’ll be able to crane your neck enough to see the hitch. Vehicle Impressions: Both
This picture of the rear seat area does not convey the comfort the rear seats give to the occupants.
Let’s start with the TDR editor’s driving impressions. Admittedly they do not let me out of the office too often. I’ll also concede that my impressions of vehicle performance are biased in favor of the Turbo Diesel being the best. After all, this is the Dodge/Cummins Turbo Diesel Register. At the press introduction DaimlerChrysler had several ’06 Mega Cab 2500s and 3500s as well as competitive crew cabs from Ford, GMC, and Chevy. In order to make an apples-to-apples comparison I chose to drive three-quarter ton trucks with an automatic transmission. However, realize that the competitive trucks were 2005 models as I understand from Greg Whale that the ’06 GM Duramax engine is outfited with their latest generation of engine electronic controls and that the engine is quieter. In the time period allotted I was able to drive all three trucks in grocery-getting trim. Yep, they were unloaded, but valid comparisons can be made as my truck is driven unloaded about 80% of the time.
Cargo space--you bet.
As you read my evaluation, please remember the bias that I spoke of in the opening paragraph. Okay, here goes . . . All three were driven on the same 15 mile test loop that consisted of country back roads with rolling hills and some tight turns. Acceleration: with each engine boasting 300+ horsepower on tap, all three were spirited in their 0-60 mph gallop. No clear-cut winner here. A stopwatch and a safe place to accelerate would determine a winner.
TDReview . . . . Continued While some like an automatic transmission to shift firmly, I prefer a seamless transition between shifts. The Duramax/Allison provided the biggest bump per shift, followed by the Ford then the Dodge. Is a firm shift an attribute?
’06 Mega Cab. The overall look is uncluttered and well thought out with easy access to all fluid fill and fluid check locations.
Likewise, the noise from the engine during acceleration is a subjective evaluation. The Ford makes the most racket, followed closely by the Duramax. The Cummins makes an authoritive engine and exhaust noise. (Bias alert, bias alert .) The word racket was used to describe the Ford and Duramax engine noise during acceleration. However RACKET can be used to describe the sounds coming from under the hood when one does a quick lift of the throttle foot. With the various frequency pitches of cackle and racket that the Ford or Duramax owner has to endure I am surprised by the numbers of trucks that Ford and GM sell. When I hear these engines, the word disconcerted comes to mind. Oops, did I mention my Dodge/ Cummins bias? Handling: Like a 0-60 mph test can be quantified with a stop watch, handling can be quantified with a slalom or skid pad test. However, yet again, you’re stuck with my subjective evaluation. So, how’s this: the GM product was mush, the Ford and Dodge trucks were comparable. The steering on the Ford felt tight and was my favorite. However, to show how subjective opinions can be, I overheard two other journalists praising the Dodge and belittling the Ford steering as being vague. Braking: Yet another category that could be quantified, but you’ll have to trust my evaluation. Did I mention beforehand that I was biased? My non-scientific test consisted of checking my rearview mirror, informing my DaimlerChrysler co-pilot of my intentions and attempting to threshold brake from 45 mph while setting up for a sharp right hand turn. First up, the GM truck. The result: lots of nosedive and activation of the ABS almost immediately. Yikes, my intention was to ease into the brakes while driving in a straight line, then watch for the ABS to work as I turned to the right for the corner. Did I stand on the brakes too hard or were they a bit oversensitive? Next the Dodge: to set up for the corner I braked hard in a straight line. Predictably the ABS engaged the inside front wheel as I started my turn-in. Minimal nose dive. Nice. The Ford was the final truck in the brake test. A bit more nose dive than the Dodge and a bit more pedal feedback from the ABS controller. Not as nice as the Dodge, but still leagues better than the GM. Under-Hood In Issue 43 TDR writer Joe Donnelly covered several minor underhood changes that were a part of the ’04.5 introduction: fan shroud was/is engine-mounted; air box was/is shrouded; reduced fan roar thanks to a fan clutch recalibration; new air baffle in intake system; hard insulation was added; full four-inch exhaust system; and new intercooler. Aside from a change to a one-piece plastic valve cover with an integrated breather assembly, as best I could tell there have not been any other changes made in the under-hood area for the
The Ford and GM under-hood evaluation: yuck! To say that it is busy underneath each truck’s hood is an understatement. As you can expect from the V8 layout, room to access and remove components is non-existent. Hand tools that are dropped under-hood are lost forever. Yes, the under-hood fluid fill and fluid check locations are reasonably easy to access, but I pity the mechanic or owner that has to perform any maintenance more serious than a filter change. With the Cummins engine, give me 20 minutes and I can change out a water pump. In 45 minutes a turbocharger can be removed and installed. The same cannot be said for the competitors’ engines. I don’t know why this clear Dodge/Cummins advantage is not strongly touted. Ditto the fact that the Cummins engine does not have exhaust gas recirculation (big YUCK) that is used on both the Ford and GM engines introduced after 1/1/04. Interior With the introduction of the ’06 Mega Cab the Dodge group has redesigned the dashboard and freshened the interior with revised door panels and seating arrangements. As Dodge is the newest and freshest, it captures the award for best interior and I’ve not yet started talking about the largest-type virtues that the Mega Cab brings to market.
TDReview . . . . Continued Again, it can be argued that styling is subjective and noted that the writer is biased. But I’ll bring up two things that cannot be argued where Dodge is the undisputed winner. First, the obvious: reread the bullet points about the Mega Cab that emphasize where Dodge lays claim to the largest-in-class. Second, realize that the details make the difference. In my evaluation of the interior it was unmistakable that Dodge had made an effort to sweat-out the details. Example: the metal U-shaped tethers for a child seat were left exposed (Ford); partially covered by a plastic piece that, once removed, would be lost (GM); covered by a plastic cap that was anchored to the surrounding plastic trim (Dodge). I could go on and on, however, one trip to comparison shop these three vehicles and you’ll see what I mean. What is a Mega Cab? Good/Bad Mega Cab is the biggest pickup truck cab offered by any factory on a Class III truck; even Dodge knows better than to argue the point with Freightliner or Peterbilt. If your fishin’ buddies or in-laws complain about the back of your Quad Cab, give them the old get in, sit down, shut up routine and show them the three-foot door. It has oodles of space and a decent palette of features that rivals many sport-utility vehicles. What is there bad about the Mega Cab? In today’s politically correct climate of bigger-is-not-better the Mega Cab is a poster child candidate for excess. Will it replace the reigning excess champion, the Hummer H3? Will the Mega Cab become another Ford Excursion? My instinct says no as the Mega Cab is a truck and the PC world has yet to chastise crew cab pickup owners. What makes a Mega Cab special or different? Good/Bad Room, bragging rights, and style. The roofline resembles an old formal limo, with the rear door up against the front and a mass of sheetmetal to the rear suggesting privacy, luxury and comfort. It has rear seats that recline, a pair of headrests that will keep anyone’s head off the back window and as much legroom in back as a $100,000 German long-wheelbase sedan. Dodge claims the Mega Cab is the only crew that offers a DVD entertainment system and sunroof in the same truck.
So, to answer how powerful, the Cummins 325/610 is currently (September time-frame) the most power diesel option. Have GM or Ford trumped the Cummins in the power/numbers race? How much? Good/Bad TDR writer Andy Mikonis has done a summary of the suggested retail prices for the 2500 and 3500 Mega Cab trucks. Please see page 56 for his review. As I think back to the Turbo Diesels that I’ve purchased (a ’96 2WD 3500, a ’99 2WD 2500, a ’03 2WD 2500; all extended or Quad Cab trucks) and that the top-of-the-line truck in a 4WD configuration will be over $50,000 I was surprised. But, I can’t recall what a deluxe 4WD version of my typical truck would have cost back in its day. As I analyze the 2WD version of the Mega Cab with less than deluxe appointments, the price point is more so reasonable and in line with inflation and my previous purchases. I’ve no doubt that the Dodge price-points are comparable to the GM and Ford price-points for similar vehicles. Any other changes for 2006? Good/Bad Good: The Mega Cab is offered in all three Ram series, so it’s not exclusive to us diesel fanatics. But beyond the Mega Cab there are other changes for 2006. A new grille, bumper and headlight assembly is designed to give the truck a more masculine appearance and to more closely match other family products like the Dakota and Charger. Those lights are said to provide up to 22% more light intensity, and since they go almost to the wheelwells, the Cummins “C” now rides behind the front wheels.
Bad: Dodge may claim that, but I drove a Tundra Double Cab that had that a few months ago. Plus the Tundra sunroof felt bigger and the entire rear window rolls all the way down electrically. How powerful is it? Good/Bad How powerful? The specifications show the standard engine for the 1500 and 2500 Mega Cab as the 5.7 liter Hemi V8. This 343 cubic inch engine is rated at 345 horsepower @ 5400 rpm 375 ftlbs torque @ 4200 rpm. Optional on the 2500 and standard on the 3500 Mega Cab is the Cummins 5.9 liter, 325/610 engine. As has been the case since the ’04.5 introduction of this engine, the engine is offered at 325/610 for both the automatic transmission and manual transmission equipped trucks. The engine is also offered in all 50 states at 325/610.
The Hemi is the standard Mega Cab engine, and some 2006 versions of it have MDS cylinder deactivation to improve highway fuel economy. Half-ton 2WD models get a revised front suspension and tailgate spoiler, and all 2006 Rams come with monotube shocks. Inside, all Rams have new front seating, a new dash layout with lots of storage areas and a much improved optional navigation system. The center console has also been redesigned, as have the finishes and materials.
TDReview . . . . Continued Mega Cab SLT standard features include air conditioning, fourspeaker AM/FM stereo with CD player, power windows and locks, speed control, keyless entry, auto dimming rearview mirror, and an overhead console with trip computer and compass. Drivetrain features include four-wheel discs with four-wheel ABS, and a NV273 part-time four-wheel drive electric-shift transfer case on four-wheel drive models. Laramie prices are as follows and include $900 destination charge: Mega Cab 2500 Laramie 4x2 $40,160 ($45,715 with Turbo Diesel) Mega Cab 2500 Laramie 4x4 $43,275 ($48,830 with Turbo Diesel) Mega Cab 3500 Laramie 4x2 $45,505 Mega Cab 3500 Laramie 4x4 $48,595 Bad is easy . . . it looks like an overgrown Dakota. The MDS doesn’t help much on a truck like it does on smaller passenger cars like the 300C. What will it be used for? Good: Do you want the ability to comfortably carry six passengers and tow large loads? This is a rhetorical question where the answer is as unique as each individuals want, need or desire to own a Mega Cab. Conclusion As a “concrete cowboy” that travels with passengers, gear and a small 20’ pull-behind trailer the Mega Cab fits the bill for me (editor talking here). As the Cummins engine will change for 2007 (emissions-driven changes), I’ll be ordering a Meg Cab post the 1/1/07 engine change. Does the Mega Cab meet your requirements? Check it out at your local Dodge dealer. G.R. Whale TDR Writer
Robert Patton TDR Staff
DODGE MEGA CAB PRICING AND UPDATES The 2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab is rolling off the assembly line at press time, and will have been on sale for two months by the time this magazine hits your mailbox. TDR Issue 48 covered the introduction starting on page 44. The following is an overview of features and options that was accurate at press time. A Mega Cab 1500 starts at $32,670, but, like the current selections, you have to move up to the 2500 for the Cummins option, so we’ll just skip to that. On the Mega Cab 3500 you get Turbo Diesel power as the standard. Two trim levels are offered: SLT and Laramie. Pricing for SLT models is as follows, and includes a $900 destination charge. Keep in mind that you have to add $5,555 to the Mega Cab 2500 for the Cummins Turbo Diesel engine. The G56 six-speed manual is standard, while 48RE four-speed auto runs $1085. Mega Cab 2500 SLT 4x2 Mega Cab 2500 SLT 4x4 Mega Cab 3500 SLT 4x2 Mega Cab 3500 SLT 4x4
$35,065 ($40,620 with Turbo Diesel) $38,180 ($43,735 with Turbo Diesel) $40,410 $43,500
Laramie models include the features found on SLT, plus the following, which are optional on SLT: stereo with six-disc CD changer and Infinity speaker system, Sirius satellite radio, power-sliding rear window, six-way power driver’s seat, power adjustable pedals, security alarm, Sentry Key engine immobilizer, and steering wheel audio controls. Exclusive Laramie standard features include dualzone climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and 17-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels. Other options for both SLT and Laramie include bedliner, trailer tow mirrors, clearance lamps, power sun roof, full-screen navigation radio, DVD player, UConnect hands-free communication system, bucket seats, supplemental side curtain air bags, and 17-inch forged aluminum wheels. Some of the option packages include trailer tow group, heavy-duty snow plow prep group (2500 4WD only), protection group (4WD), and security group (SLT). Curb weights and towing and hauling capacities have changed a bit since the early introduction. While the automatic was cited as heavier before, now the manual transmission models are approximately either 65 or 78 pounds heavier depending on the model and trim. This skews earlier reports a bit. GCVWR is still 20,000 pounds for a Turbo Diesel Mega Cab 2500. Going from lightest to heaviest in the 2500 class, a two-wheel drive Turbo Diesel SLT with automatic weighs in at 6840 pounds, leaving 2160 for payload and 13,000 max trailer weight; a four-wheel drive manual tips the scales at 7520, leaving 1480 for payload and 12,350 for trailer weight. Moving on to the Mega Cab 3500, the six-speed manuals get a GCVWR of 23,000 with a 3.73 axle ratio. The automatics get the same 23,000 pounds with a 4.10, but 21,000 with a 3.73. On the 2500 automatics, the two axles are available but rated the same. The rest of the numbers don’t shake out quite the way one might expect. A Mega Cab 3500 Laramie with automatic is the lightest 3500 at 6935, and a 2970 payload; maximum trailer weight with the 4.10 axle is 15,900 pounds. The 3500 four-wheel drives are actually quoted as lighter than the 2500’s: 7471 for a SLT manual leaves 2430 payload and 15,400 for maximum trailer weight. Remember all Mega Cabs are single rear wheel. Looks like a Mega Cab 3500 is a better deal if you are going to go with a Turbo Diesel. I’m not sure why anyone would pop for a Turbo Diesel option on a Mega Cab 2500, unless they were trying to skirt some licensing issue with a lower-rated truck. Andy Mikonis TDR Writer
It has been duly noted that the TDR has reprinted material from previous magazines. Deciding when this practice is appropriate and timely is a difficult task—darned if you do, darned if you don’t. I used TDR Issues 47 and 48 as my pulpit to admonish folks too busy and forgetting their beginnings. In those magazines we covered the history of Cummins Inc. with an interview of Mr. Cummins’ son, Lyle Cummins. Then in Issue 48, we covered the history of the Turbo Diesel pickup with Dodge’s Troy Simonsen and Cummins’ John Keele. More history lessons? As I mused before, “Perhaps it is a coming-of-age thing that leads one to become intrigued by the past.” Thus, I noted that 2005 marked the 100 year anniversary of the patent for the first turbocharger. In 1905 Dr. Alfred Buechi, chief engineer at Sulzer Brothers Research and Development, submitted his design. Buechi’s idea was a power unit comprising of an axial compressor, a radial piston engine and an axial turbine on a common shaft. This compound motor was the starting point for exhaust gas turbocharging. I stopped one digit short of dialing up TDR writer Kevin Cameron’s phone number. I was going to ask Kevin to do an article about the history of the turbocharger. I recalled that Kevin had covered turbocharger development and metallurgy in a previous magazine (Issue 42). I had forgotten that he had done an exemplary job of weaving history into his article. To honor Dr. Buechi and the others that worked to develop the turbo (for Buechi’s original patent was not the free-wheeling turbocharger that we use today), let’s do a reprint of Kevin Cameron’s Issue 42 article on turbocharger development. INVISIBLE TECHNOLOGY The idea of a turbine—a device for turning fluid flow into rotary motion—is as old as the human eye, watching a winged seed spin down from a maple tree. A variety of water turbine designs improved upon the efficiency of simple water wheels, and the steam turbine took over the generation of electric power after 1900. Working at the German diesel engine builder Sulzer in 1911, Alfred Buechi used an exhaust-driven turbine to supercharge a diesel engine. The French turbine engineer Auguste Rateau, was asked by the Lorraine-Dietrich firm to develop a gear-driven supercharger for an aircraft engine in 1915. He rejected the idea, reasonably pointing out that to deal with the fall of air pressure with increasing altitude, such a device would require a variable drive ratio. In 1916 he considered the alternative idea of a turbocharger, whose rpm and output would not be tied to engine rpm. The following year he tested an experimental turbocharger.
Meanwhile attempts were made to build a self-driving turbine engine—in effect a turbocharger whose compressor supplies air, not to a piston engine, but to a burner whose hot, expanding output of gas is fed back to drive the turbine. If mechanical power is taken from the turbine, the result is a shaft turbine. If the engine is instead designed to produce jet thrust, the result is a turbojet. A shaft gas turbine, built in France just after the turn of the century, produced little power at an efficiency of about 3%. In the US, a graduate student at Cornell, Sanford Moss, began work with the turbine concept in 1901, arousing interest at GE (bear in mind that the steam turbine revolution was at this time in its first great rush of success). By 1907 Moss had a turbine running for GE, but it revealed the following discouraging truths: (1) The low strength of available materials at turbine temperatures limited cycle efficiency. (2) The efficiency of compressors was low. (3) Turbine efficiency was also very low. This caused GE to give up gas turbines in 1907. The French effort closed two years later. The Brown-Boveri firm now made a turbo-blower system to increase the output of boilers, selling the first examples around 1910. This was a simple kind of gas turbine cycle whose product was hot gas rather than mechanical power. Knowing of Rateau’s aircraft turbocharger work, Cornell Professor W.F. Durand asked Sanford Moss to consider its problems. Moss, who is said to have disliked airplanes, ran the first GE turbocharger in 1918. To evaluate its performance at high altitude, a dynamometer was built onto the bed of a truck, which was driven to the summit of Pike’s Peak. A Liberty V-12 aircraft engine, normally giving 400-hp at sea level, gave only 221-hp in the thinner air atop the mountain. When the turbo was fitted, the increase in intake manifold pressure pushed power back up to 356-hp. The idea was proven. The critical problem motivating this work was the loss of power by aircraft engines as they climbed to higher altitudes. In the then just-ended First World War, the altitude performance of aircraft had become a matter of strategic importance. The British, too, had made tests with simple turbochargers but had decided the fire risk from potential failures of hot plumbing was too high. (Many such failures would later plague the US B-29, each of whose engines was served by two B-11 GE turbos.) They instead adopted the gear-driven centrifugal supercharger previously rejected by Rateau, and would develop it to high efficiency by 1940.
THE WAY WE WERE . . . . Continued During the 1930s much work was done in Europe to achieve cooling of turbine blades by means of air or water. Little of practical use resulted. Once made aware of the value of the GE turbocharger, the US Army paid all the development costs of turbocharger work at GE from 1919 through WW II. The GE turbo employed a turbine that looked just like one stage of a modern jet engine turbine. The rim of a disk several inches in diameter was fitted with many short, wing-like vanes, and engine exhaust was directed against these by a circular nozzle-box. The spinning of the turbine placed great centrifugal stress on the very hot blades, which through a process known as “creep” gradually grew longer until they stretched apart and flew off. From 19181922, the blades were made of an ordinary spring steel and failed quickly. The vanes in the nozzle box suffered “scaling”—a kind of accelerated rusting in which an iron-based alloy combines with oxygen to form layers of scale which are sloughed off until the part is too thin to survive. In 1922 a new material, Silchrome I, was adopted. This added nearly 10% chromium and a small amount of silicon, thereby achieving useful effects: (1) Chromium combines with oxygen to form a tough protective layer of chromic oxide, keeping oxygen from reaching iron atoms to generate scale. (2) Chromium also forms hard carbides with the carbon in steel. These tiny carbide particles act like “pins,” to prevent the sliding of layers of atoms across each other. The result is increased resistance to creep at high temperature. (3) Silicon combines with iron and oxygen to form a silicate glass that acts as a further barrier against oxidation. In the early 1920s the US Army became aware of a new stainless alloy, KE965, then being used to make high-performance exhaust valves in Britain. Its use in GE turbos allowed safe blade temperature to rise from around 1100-deg F to almost 1400. In this material both chromium and nickel, with a little tungsten, are combined with iron and carbon to form an austenitic crystal structure. Tungsten’s value at high temperature had already been proven in so-called “high-speed steels” for use in metal cutting. Tungsten combines with carbon to form extremely hard carbides to pin atomic layers, preventing gliding movement. The nickel and chromium, because they dissolve in iron but have different atomic sizes, further impede deformation by acting as local regions of stress. KE965 was the Army’s turbo blade material from 1928-33, when an improved but similar material, 17W, was adopted. Meanwhile another set of conditions made ready to drive a new program of materials improvement. British Royal Air Force officer Frank Whittle had been told by “experts” that his gas turbine (jet) engine would be too heavy to fly (by ignorant analogy with massive marine steam turbines) and would run too hot to survive more than a few minutes. He stuck by his own calculations and in 1936 found private development money. Shortly he had a machine running well enough to impress those who saw it. By 1939 the British Air Ministry
reversed itself, taking the project from Whittle and assigning it to private industry. World War II began in September 1939, greatly increasing the urgency of development. The original turbine blade material “Stayblade” (a steam turbine alloy) was so vulnerable to creep that after short running time blade length had increased significantly. When the engine was shut down, the loose blading could be heard to make a clinking noise while the turbine wheel coasted to a stop. A better material—Rex-78—was substituted for the moment, and the Wiggin Laboratory of the Mond Nickel Co. was given the task of quickly developing improved turbine blade and nozzle materials. By July of 1942 they had produced the first blades in the Nickelbased alloy Nimonic 80 which enabled, for the first time, reliable jet engine turbine disk operation for 25 hours. Earlier, the US Haynes Stellite Corp. had produced some corrosionresistant alloys that later turned out to have outstanding properties at high temperatures. These were the first three “Hastelloy” materials, A, B, and C. When tested by GE in the summer of 1941, Hastelloy B was the most promising. At its plants in Lynn, Massachusetts, GE tested aircraft turbochargers by operating them as low-grade gas turbines—connecting compressor output to a simple burner can, injecting fuel, and routing the resulting hot gas back to drive the turbine wheel. In 1937, a Swiss engineer, Rudolph Birmann, had organized Turbo Engineering Corp. here in the United States. His 1922 university thesis had described a gas turbine. Now he offered the US Navy a new, more compact kind of turbocharger, driven by a radial inflow turbine, just like the type used in today’s automotive turbos. As in the case of the 19th-century Francis water turbine, this device led the flow into a snail-shaped housing surrounding the turbine wheel. This set the flow into whirling motion so that as it flowed radially inward, it gave up its rotational energy to the wheel, emerging along its axis at the center. Turbo Engineering equipped the R-2600 radial engine of a TBF aircraft with such a turbo blower in late 1941. This system was able to maintain sea level power all the way to 40,000 feet. Birmann’s turbine wheels were forged of a heat resistant steel containing nickel, chromium, and tungsten. Its blades were internally air cooled. He argued that his design could operate at a higher speed for a given flow than could the large wheel turbines of aircraft turbos. It also exposed less blade surface to hot gas. Being made in one piece, Birmann’s radial-inflow turbine solved the old problem of how to attach the turbine blades. The advantages of present-day turbos were all listed by Birmann more than 60 years ago. Unfortunately when one of Birmann’s novel turbos was fitted to a Navy Hellcat XF6-F2, it proved unreliable. Since the war, the diesel engine has become the workhorse of the transport industry. The turbocharger, once it was made reliable, transformed the diesel from an economical but heavy monster into a system capable of producing essentially as much power as anyone could wish. There are turbocharged diesels today capable of producing almost one horsepower per pound of weight—the equivalent of the much-admired and very powerful piston aircraft
THE WAY WE WERE . . . . Continued engines used in WW II and through the 1950s. As always, the diesel’s high compression ratio and lean combustion make it the most efficient of internal combustion engines—diesels give maximum “bang for the buck.” At present the industry standard turbocharger turbine wheel material is Inconel 713C, or 713LC. This material offers high creep resistance at high temperature and is easily cast. Creep resistance allows the hot turbine wheel to withstand the strain of spinning at 100,000 rpm or more for hundreds of hours. The ability to be cast is important, for it would be prohibitively expensive and difficult to machine these parts from solid—both because the material is extremely hard and because the desired shape is complex. Inconel 713 is nickel-based (73%) and contains chromium for both oxidation resistance and for solid-solution strengthening along with molybdenum. This is hardening brought about by the local strain— think of this as “bumps”—within the crystal, caused by the presence of the different-sized atoms of chromium and molybdenum. Some aluminum and titanium are present (6%) to bring about precipitation hardening. As the material cools from melt temperature, the aluminum and titanium can no longer remain dissolved. The excess precipitates out of solution to form regions of hard intermetallic compounds such as nickel aluminide. For a model, think of how rock candy forms as a hot, saturated solution of sugar in water coolers. The precipitated intermetallic forms tiny particles which remain present even at high service temperatures. They act as super-strong pins to prevent slipping of layers of metal atoms past each other (creep).
You can feel the effects of electrons in materials directly every time you drink hot coffee or tea. The cup, being ceramic, conducts heat slowly because its bound electrons cannot move around to transmit heat rapidly. The spoon—especially if it is solid silver—conducts heat much more rapidly because the electrons in it are free, almost like a gas. Their mobility allows them to transmit heat rapidly. It may be possible to make improved ceramics by either reducing defect size or by compressing the parts when hot by “HIPping” (comparable to forging of metals). Another possibility now receiving attention is that of making hot parts out of solid intermetallics like nickel aluminide, which is also lighter than conventional heat-resistant metals. Intermetallic engine valves and turbo rotors have been made and are possible commercial materials for the future. Turbochargers are small machines that look as simple as the basic idea behind them. The high technology—of turbine and compressor aerodynamics, and of high-temperature metallurgy—is invisible. Kevin Cameron TDR Writer Postscript: In my introductory comments I stated, “I stopped one digit short of dialing up TDR writer Kevin Cameron’s phone number.” That is a truthful statement. However, later in the day I completed the call to Kevin to further discuss history and turbochargers. For more historical perspective see his “Exhaust Note” column on page 172.
Notice that there is a small amount of carbon in 713C (0.2%). This can be useful in forming very hard chromium carbides. Because such carbides form preferentially in the “interstitial zones” between crystals, the process somewhat depletes nearby crystals of their chromium, leaving them open to oxidation attack. To prevent this, small amounts of niobium and tantalum are added. These metals glom onto the carbon first, allowing chromium to stay put and do its anti-oxidation job. This is probably important in turbos used on diesels, which have significant amounts of free oxygen in their exhaust. In the 713LC, the letters ‘LC’ stand for ‘Low Carbon,’ in this case less than 0.05% Everyone has heard of “turbo lag,” which is the time taken for the turbine wheel to accelerate to a speed high enough to deliver rated boost when the throttle is opened. Metal turbine wheels are heavy—their density makes them about eight times heavier than the same volume of water—so lighter turbines would cut turbo lag. One approach is to make the wheel out of a heat-tolerant ceramic such as silicon nitride or silicon carbide. Such wheels have been made, but brittleness remains a problem because ceramics are extremely defect-sensitive. The free electrons present in metals act as a kind of molecular glue that allows metals to tolerate the existence of small cracks. In ceramics, all the electrons are tightly bound, making the materials less fault-tolerant. Turbo Tech 2006 72 Pages Ahead (page 132)
Each quarter our “Your Story” column features an article by a member about his or her truck, car, or other automotive interest. Our Dodge-colored History by Jeannette Vallier Jeannette Vallier and her husband Bob are adjunct editors of the TDR, responsible for line editing, a fancy word for proofreading. They also produce the annual TDR Index. Jeannette’s story and photos recounting an expedition to Quartzsite appeared in TDR Issue 26, pages 24-27. Many of you have seen the classic movie, “My Favorite Year.” At the beginning, the narrator says, “1954 . . . a year when a Buick looked like a Buick, not like nowadays when a Buick looks like a Chevy that looks like a Pontiac that looks like an Olds.” Those were days when brand identity was the most obvious thing about a vehicle, as distinctive as the flag of one nation is different from another, and when loyalty to a car brand was a lot like loyalty to the flag. Particularly for our generation, perhaps because of the war, affection for a car brand was associated in a curious way with affection for our country’s flag and all it stood for. I was aware early that cars did not look alike. Every three years my parents would embark on a road trip across the US to visit relatives. The first trip I remember was when I was nine, and it was then that brand names entered into my consciousness. It had to be cars. My brother and I would pass the time competing in the game of Identify That Car, and I was almost as good at it as he was. My father drove a Packard, the first of several, on that trip. Dad had a particular loyalty to the Packard brand, mostly, I think, because his father-in-law drove Cadillacs. The Packard became our ticket to adventure. And why did we need a ticket to adventure? Well, I guess I should explain. My father was a mining engineer, and I was born and raised in Potrerillos, Chile, a remote mining camp more than 100 miles from the coast, 10,000 feet above sea level in the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world. There was only one unpaved road out of the camp and just the mine’s single railroad track climbing from the sea up to our rocky eagle’s nest. Here the brand names that really mattered belonged to heavyduty machinery used in mining and smelting, not to mention exotic makes of vintage haulage trucks, There were not very many cars in the camp, seeing as how they had to be brought from the United States by boat; seeing as how there were precious few roads and those unpaved; seeing as how the cars cost $10,000 apiece—yes
that’s right, $10,000 in the ‘40s because of the importation duties charged by the Chilean government. That meant that nobody could afford a car of his own. They were all company cars, owned by the Anaconda Mining Company. Most of the cars were stripped-down Chevrolets; they had high clearance, necessary for the rutted roads. A Packard never would have made it there. From time to time there was a Dodge in the pool, and because it was a toss-up whether we’d be assigned one, we felt lucky when we got a Dodge. I’m sure that was when I developed my loyalty to the Dodge brand. Bob’s family’s first car—the first he can remember—was a Dodge, which his father drove until they bought a Chrysler Airflow in 1937. The Airflow was the first really streamlined production car, if I’m not mistaken. Bob says it was very well made, and they drove it for years. Their friends could recognize them coming a block down the street. In a time when cars still had individual character, it had outstanding character. Nobody could mistake it in a game of “Name That Car.” At the University of Arizona, when Bob and I met and married, we joked that what first attracted us to each other was our loyalty to Dodge vehicles. We laughed, but little things like that can establish a bond. When Bob and I got our graduate degrees and went to teach at the University of Tennessee, we bought the least expensive car we could find on the lots in Tucson. It turned out to be a 1970-and-a-half Ford Falcon. Its paint color was called “Freudian Gilt.” There was something to that. We always felt a bit guilty not having started our teaching careers with a Dodge. But it served us well, guilty or not, for ten years, until we got serious about wheels. We were deeply involved in recording and cataloging petroglyph sites in the Four Corners (the vast area of Anasazi ruins where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico meet), and we needed a four-wheel rig to take us into some very remote country during summers of fieldwork. We knew what we had to have: a Dodge on a pickup chassis. This was before Dodge teamed up with Cummins to build the ultimate four-wheel drive pickup. At Burgin Dodge in Knoxville, we fell in love with a burgundy Ramcharger with gold racing stripes, sporting the reliable, tried-and-true 318 engine. It served us faithfully for many years of the most challenging off-road driving any school teachers ever did. And it cemented forever our loyalty to the Dodge brand. We still have that truck and we still use it when we need to depend on unflinching faithfulness in the most demanding rocky country.
YOUR STORY . . . . Continued We understand from what we read in the TDR that the newer trucks are marvels of design and performance, but in our experience it is hard to imagine a more intrepid truck than ours, and we intend to run it for a half-million miles anyway. That truck is for keeps.
The faithful old Ramcharger climbs from the Colorado River bottoms on the Lockhart Basin Trail in Canyonlands.
The most recent chapter in our brand-loyalty saga has been written by our Second Generation Dodge/Cummins Turbo Diesel 4x4, which we bought at Courtesy Dodge in Dalton, Georgia, in late December 1993, just about the last production run with no catalytic converter. With 120,000 miles on the odometer, it continues to perform faultlessly. (Its only fault is that the paint sheds shamelessly. Bob says he suspects the undercoat was petroleum jelly.) We understand from what we read in the TDR that the newer trucks are marvels of design and performance, but in our experience it is hard to imagine a more intrepid truck than ours, and we intend to run it for a halfmillion miles anyway. That truck is for keeps. We’ve driven it on the White Rim Trail in Utah, which we reckon is a pretty good test of an off-road vehicle, not to mention some expeditions into the remote Book Cliffs area, where the roads are imaginary ones on an old map. If anybody can testify to the off-road prowess of the Turbo Diesel truck, we’re your guys. And yet, in our secret hearts, our ultimate off-road dream vehicle is still our loyal old buddy the Ramcharger, but not through any fault of the Turbo Diesel: more than anything else, it has to do with wheelbase, the weight of that engine—really, the weight of the vehicle, period. But then, the absolute ultimate off-road mount is a mule. And mules can be stubborn in a pinch.
Bob and Jeannette on the famous Burr Trail through the Waterpocket Fold in Utah.
Jeannette eases her ‘94 Turbo Diesel home to the desert from the foothills of the Catalina Mountains.
For everything else but mule work, we use our Second Generation Turbo Diesel truck. And, hey, it has air-conditioning, which our older Dodge doesn’t have; that one’s bare bones without any of that girlie stuff. Jeannette takes a break after descending S.O.B. Hill, in the world-class obstacle challenge through Elephant Canyon, in Canyonlands, Utah.
Jeannette Vallier TDR Staff
THE BAJA DREAM—PART THREE Kent Kroeker This is part three of the series that chronicles the Team KORE Baja 1000 race effort.
“It’s like being in a 24-hour plane crash.” —Parnelli Jones on the Baja 1000 Cummins Turbo Diesel Takes the Lead
Dawn. Day two. We had just passed race mile marker 725. Almost three-quarters of the 2004 Baja 1000 was safely behind us. For the last 200 miles we had been in the lead, the first Dodge to dominate since the golden years of Baja racing, the time of Walker Evans and Parnelli Jones. Just rolling across the finish line of the Baja 1000 would be a monumental achievement. And now a class victory seemed within our grasp. With Rod Hamby, former Navy SEAL and veteran Baja 1000 champion in the right seat; Robin Stover, Feature Editor of Four Wheeler Magazine in the center seat; and the mighty Cummins running smoothly, I felt we were poised for victory. We were 22 hours into the race and almost 40 hours without rest. Rod and I reminisced about our prior military careers, when we ran extended combat missions in foreign lands. All-out racing in Baja gave us that same feeling. Once again, it was us against them. “Them” meant Baja, other racers and our own personal physical and mental limitations. Ten years ago military pilots and certain high-level ground operators such as Navy SEAL’s were issued special medications to help them stay focused during extended combat operations when mission accomplishment was critical and failure was not an option. At our last pit, I had downed a single Red Bull hoping for some kind of caffeine effect to help clarify my thoughts. No joy. It wasn’t that I felt tired; long-term, slow-drip adrenaline counteracts fatigue. It’s the mental weirdness that’s hard to deal with. Seeing things that aren’t really there, hearing things that nobody said, and a convoluted decision-making matrix are some effects of sleep deprivation. You’re not sleepy, but your brain gradually starts dreaming on its own. The key is that you have to recognize the symptoms and separate the nonsense the brain creates from the real-world tasks at hand. The following example is reality: Mexican kids along the course throw rocks at race vehicles. They want to break your windshield and potentially kill you because it’s fun (for them) and there’s not much else to do in their small village except watch the cactus grow. Standard procedure is all dependent upon timing. As they wind up for the throw, you veer right at them. They drop their rocks and run for their lives. You prevent a 100 mph rock from going through the
windshield and snapping your sternum in half. They live to tell the tale of how they were almost killed by a big, black Dodge Ram to their grandchildren. It’s sort of a win/win game for everyone unless, of course, someone’s timing is off… In the advanced stages of sleep deprivation the whole scenario changes. Ahead, in the distance, I would see a group of kids lined up on both sides of the course. But they don’t have rocks in their hands. They’re wielding cross-bows, AK-47’s, and machetes. My brain says, “Ambush!” The cross bows are for shooting out our tires, the machine guns are for shooting armor piercing rounds through our engine block and the machetes are for hacking me and my crew to pieces after the truck comes to a halt. This is the illusion. My initial response is to go full-combat on them, thumb the chaff and flare buttons, duck behind the dash, firewall the throttles, take our chances, and run them all down in a four-wheel, 80 mph broadside , leaving nothing but empty sandals, smoldering carne asada, and sobbing mothers in a wake of black diesel smoke. This is the faulty decision-making matrix. The kids are real, the weapons are not, and we don’t run people over during off-road races. This is obviously all just an illusion. The old brain just needs a little break from the non-stop, day into night into day into night, one thousand mile plane crash. It’s the subtle things that are more difficult—like when a co-driver shouts, “You’re too close to the cliff!” And there’s not a cliff or even a hole for miles around. After we all finish laughing about it and the co-driver sheepishly apologizes for his temporary insanity, we get back to the business of hauling butt—but hauling it a little more cautiously. As I lifted off the throttle a bit, Robin, whose job it was to keep an eye out behind us, started picking out an intermittent dust trail. As Chad Hall’s factory-sponsored H-1 Hummer gained on us, I saw our chances for a class win get smaller and smaller. Our goal was to bring the first Cummins-powered Dodge Ram across the finish line of the Baja 1000, not to swap paint with a million-dollar competitor and go from hero to zero in an instant because my brain was no longer running on all cylinders. As I moved over to let Hall pass, the course went from bad to worse. All Baja roads are composed of whoops. The small, continuous whoops are called “washboard.” With the proper suspension set-up you can drive over washboard at very high speeds and not even know it. The large continuous whoops are called, “rollers” because they’re so deep you have to roll over each one individually or you’ll destroy your truck and your body. Because Trophy Trucks have up to 36 inches of wheel travel, they race over four-foot-deep “rollers”
KORE Adventures . . . . Continued like a Stock Full race truck races over washboard. A Trophy Truck chassis is hand-built from tubular chrome moly steel. The frame is literally designed around its unlimited suspension. In preparation for the Baja 1000, we had adapted a high performance suspension system to fit within very narrow, highly-limited DaimlerChrysler design parameters.
Remove the fiberglass looks-like-a-truck panels to see this trophy truckâ€™s tube frame chasses.
Now we were in the rollers. We were doing the best we could, but The Beast and its three passengers were all wishing it was a Trophy Truck. Will this 1,000 mile journey ever end . . . Kent Kroeker TDR Writer
Team KORE in the whoops.
Kent Kroeker is a Marine Corps pilot, professional Baja racer and owner of Kroeker Off Road Engineering LLC, a company that specializes in Heavy Duty Dodge Ram 4x4 suspension. www.koreperformance.com
Trucking Adventures with Automotive Journalist G.R. Whale GREG’S ACCESSORIES With $205 required to fill my truck these days (from which I can drive typically 1,200-1,300 miles), and a pair of cars in the garage that do significantly better on fuel economy at the same price-per-gallon, I don’t drive my truck very much. And if I had the surplus cash to be accessorizing it, I wouldn’t be grumbling about the cost of fuel. Besides, I’d added enough weight to the truck already, and anything that adds more has to be thoroughly justified, not only by me, but by the accountant, lawyer, family, PR agency, a couple of engineers and at least one clerk each from the DMV, FCC, and IRS. However, that hasn’t stopped me from procuring a couple of new items over the last few years. My largest new accessory is a new truck cover. Just like my previous, six-year-old cover, this one is from Covercraft, though the material comes from their recreational vehicle line—since my Ram spends most of its time parked outdoors and is a big white box, it seemed appropriate. It’s quite light and slippery which means it glides on and off the truck easily. That also means it gets away from me or goes sailing easily as well, but the tradeoff is worth it. It can be compacted into a space the size of an oil change carton or five-gallon water jug, so it’s much easier to take with me and I don’t look like the Michelin Man trying to cart around the Empire State Building when I remove it. But far and away the best thing about this cover is that I can wash it on the truck. The dust and droppings just seem to blow off with a hosing. Understand that I use a cover because washing this 7-foot high appliance is a nuisance at best (last done in 2004) and you’ll know why I’m so excited about washability. Even if it does make me sound boring. My next upgrade finally brought me to the latter half of the 20th Century. Remember, mine is a First Generation truck. I got a new trailer brake controller and some new wiring to replace the typically herky-jerky antique that rode underdash. I had the opportunity to try the Tekonsha Prodigy (and a few others) in tow vehicles from compact SUVs to medium-duty Freightliners, with trailers from brakes-are-optional to multi-axle ten-ton behemoths; and the Prodigy was the smoothest acting, simplest to install, most idiot-proof of the bunch. After an initial set I rarely touched them again, yet you could maneuver through parking lots or cruise crowded interstates confidently. For more than one magazine and engineering department it is the baseline controller of choice. True,
it may not be quite as integrated as Ford’s Tow Command (also developed with Tekonsha), but my truck has no ABS and I’d need a few more reasons to go trade my old Dodge on a Ford. Naturally that meant more towing of buddy’s boats and race cars, so I splurged on a new tow ball. And I had to change the front side marker light bulb, the first to burn out on my ‘92. Were I given a carte blanche Christmas wish list, I would have to add a new factory map light (mine disintegrated but the bulb still works) because it makes a far better interior light than the dome light on the ceiling. A new taillight and housing for the collision damage would be nice, as would a new fog light lens for that which cracked en route to May Madness. But, since they’re both still operational, one runs into what defines “broke” in the statement, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While I’m dreaming here, a boat of my own to tow would be nice, and since things are going this well, why not make said boat a tender for my sailing yacht; $200 in diesel fuel and a fresh breeze could take me to the Mediterranean Sea. I’d like to see more magazines return to the days when they didn’t need a banner or disclaimer at the top of the page that said “advertisement” or “road test” because it was obvious what was an ad and what was a test. I’d like to be able to buy many cars you can’t get in the United States, even those that aren’t diesel . . . sort of that freedom-ofchoice thing the pundits are always going on about. A few days ago I was driving around in an Opel Astra coupe with a 1.3-liter turbo diesel engine, a car about the size of the Volkswagen Golf and one of its primary competitors overseas. The Astra was tight, quiet, and carried an average fuel economy rating in the high 40-mpg range . . . no hybrid or plug-in required. Sure, that 400-hp TrailBlazer or 650 lb-ft Duramax would get away from it at a light but not out of sight; and neither would handle, corner or stop like the Astra, nor get half the mileage. I’d like good health and a Happy New Year for all my TDR pals from Maple Valley, Washington, to Mims, Florida; I don’t turn into Scrooge until much closer to the holidays. And just for giggles, I’d like a sticker for the back of my smokin’ diesel, you know the one: “Yeah, it’s got a Hemi.” G.R. Whale TDR Writer
Reflections on the human side of the man/machine relationship by clinical psychologist and motojournalist, Mark Barnes, Ph.D. GETTING IN TOUCH WITH YOUR INNER CARTOGRAPHER (OR NOT) Mark Barnes, Ph.D. Maps. Anyone who has traveled, or thought about traveling, has used them. With extraordinary efficiency they provide a wealth of information that we cannot possibly know before we need it. Think about it—how many shelves full of books would it take to store, in verbal form, the data available in a single atlas? And how long would it take you to find and read the answer to even a simple question? If a picture paints a thousand words, a map must contain millions, maybe more. With their vast superiority over linguistic alternatives, maps have been used by human beings to hold and communicate navigational, geographic and utilitarian data far longer than words. How many times have you started to describe a route or a landmass to someone, only to become frustrated mid-paragraph and reach for something on which to draw, instead of speak? It’s just a whole lot easier for most people to transmit and receive such information via visual-spatial symbolism—it is, after all, visual-spatial information to begin with. It’s actually easier to produce the more sophisticated product (the map, rather than the words), and a few squiggles on a napkin can summarize what would have required pages of written notes. Our minds have to store an unfathomable amount of data, including where things are in space and how to get from one place to another. This is true whether we’re talking about going to work and back through a maze of city streets, hiking in and out of the wilderness in a state park, or moving through a house to answer a knock at the front door. Obviously, we don’t go through a sequence of verbal instructions in our heads to accomplish these tasks, unless it’s our first time doing them and someone else’s words are all we have for guidance. Once the experience is our own, we’ve logged countless cues and landmarks that will, with practice, allow for seamlessly automatic navigation. Surely we’ve all traveled a familiar route and realized upon reaching our destination that we never gave the first conscious consideration to the trip; our thoughts have been so focused on other things that we’re surprised to have arrived safely—or at all! Even if all we have is an imaginary representation of a place we’ve never been, we have a diagram in our mind that contains much the same kind of information as when we’ve memorized features we’ve actually seen and moved through. What we’re talking about is a mental map, and we have so many of them that they’d be impossible
to index. Everything from the contents of our toolbox drawers, to the best way to grandma’s house when the interstate is clogged, to how the planets in our solar system are arranged. And remember, every single one of those maps succinctly summarizes incredibly vast quantities of verbal information. We’d need brains the size of blimps if we had to hold all that stuff in words. Okay, we carry an astonishing amount of data in (only part of) an organ the size of two fists. Quantitatively, there’s no argument it’s an impressive system. But what about qualitatively? It may not be such a fabulous thing to have all that information if its accuracy is poor. Research into mental maps can be interesting, but it can also be hilarious. Have your child or grandchild draw a map of his or her neighborhood—or school or playground or anywhere else that has personal relevance. What you’ll find, mixed in with age-appropriate ignorance and artistic limitation, is a tremendous amount of emotional influence. Maybe the school cafeteria will be half the size of the campus because that’s the most socially stimulating area. Maybe the street from their house to their best friend’s house will appear six times its actual length, because it always feels like it takes too long to get there in a state of impatient excitement. You get the idea. And remember that ignorance part? While that may reduce the objective accuracy of their maps, it won’t stop them from filling in the blanks from their own imaginations. More than just amusing errors, such postulations reveal how a child puts together and makes sense of what pieces of the puzzle they actually do already possess. If you really want to have some fun, have a child draw a “map” of your truck and show you how the controls and drivetrain work. Don’t make any corrections until you’ve appreciated how his or her little mind has taken a few tiny bits of real observation and overheard comments, and spun an elaborate web of speculation and theorizing to connect the dots. Just like nature, the human mind abhors a vacuum—kids fill in their gaps of knowledge so automatically that it can be difficult for them to know where they’ve patched and where they haven’t. Adults are vulnerable to distortions in their mental maps, too, and for exactly the same reasons. Emotional factors make some features stand out, some disappear, and some take shape in ways that would be unrecognizable to those who apply a different set of personal meanings. And we also smooth over areas of rusty or spotty knowledge with the body putty of imagination, often without realizing it. Even a pretty accurate mental map can get crumpled by the disruptive influence of anxiety—ever find yourself in a tightening knot of wrong turns when you were in a hurry, going somewhere you’d previously been able to find easily when you weren’t rushed?
MOTOR MINDED . . . . Continued I happen to be someone with extraordinarily faulty mental maps. It’s not that I have a bad sense of direction, because then you’d expect me to get things wrong about as often as I get them right, right? I’d just as soon turn left as turn right if it were random. But that’s not what happens. When I try to navigate from memory on routes I don’t travel regularly I turn in the wrong direction MUCH MORE OFTEN than not. It’s kind of like a directional version of dyslexia, where I reverse my right and left. As you can no doubt imagine, this has been one of the most common (and tedious) frustrations of my life. It’s also a matter of attention, in that all sorts of things catch my eye that have no value in future navigation, while the landmarks that really would be helpful simply don’t make much of an impression on me—my mind doesn’t prioritize the incoming data like a cartographer would; I think more like an artist or a photographer, noticing interesting architectural details, color contrasts in the vegetation, faces of passersby, etc., none of which does me any good when I have to find my way through the same section next time. When I lived in Boston it took me an entire month before I could make the round trip from apartment to work and back without an unintentional detour! And it wasn’t from lack of effort or motivation—I absolutely hate this kind of thing, which, ironically, can greatly intensify the problem. (Hey Mark, I wonder what it is like in the spouse’s passenger seat?) Anyway, the editor wanted us contributors to tell you about our favorite truck accessories in this issue, and I’m sure by now you can guess mine: a global positioning system (GPS) unit. There are lots of different models out there, many of which have super-cool features, including ease of use, good updating services and real-time audio instructions accompanying the video screen so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road when traffic is hairy. GPS is the perfect prosthetic for my own driving impairment, and it is no overstatement to say it has changed my life. I’m not going to recommend any particular brand or unit here, since which one you’d like best will
depend on your own strengths, weaknesses, preferences, technical interests and finances. But I certainly will strongly suggest that you check out this category of gadget, and see if it isn’t worth the expense to you in at least one form or another. Oddly enough, my father had an uncannily good inner cartographer. He was one of those people who could drive back through an area he’d been only once decades ago and navigate like he’d lived there all his life. If you’re such a person, GPS won’t mean as much to you as it does to me. But even if you do possess great talent in this regard, you still have to find your way to some places for the very first time. In those situations, GPS would still offer you a quantum leap forward in navigational ease and certainty. If you’ve never watched yourself on a GPS screen, moving around on a “live” map, I can’t recommend it highly enough; go to a nearby electronics store and get a demonstration. You’ll never again have to figure out where you are by trying to read intersection road names while being swept by too quickly in the flow of traffic. No more stopping to ask directions from people who may be using wildly inaccurate mental maps themselves, or who may have good knowledge, but poor communication skills. No more guessing how much farther it is to the next gas station, the correct exit or your ultimate destination. It may well be the most revolutionary change we get to enjoy in the driving experience during the balance of our lifetimes. Don’t take a wrong turn on this one. Mark Barnes, Ph.D. TDR Writer Mark did a complete write-up on the Garmon Street Pilot 2610 GPS device in Issue 46 on page 92. You’ll note that a Garmon Street Pilot 2620 is one of TDR writer Bill Stockard’s favorite accessories too (page 153).
In case you haven’t guessed by now, the theme of Issue 50 is, “My Favorite Truck Accessory.” This is supposed to give your humble writing staff a chance to share our wisdom, insight, and lessons learned from our own trucks with you, the TDR audience. I know this is going be a shocker to some of you, but I plan to cover brakes (insert applause here). Since we have already covered brake system basics in Issue 40, brake pad selection in Issue 41, brake fluid in Issue 43, brake balance in issue 44, and proportioning valves in Issue 45, I have chosen a topic near and dear to practically anyone who has ever driven a truck that shook their fillings out when the brakes were applied—brake vibration.
The Brakes Don’t Stop the Truck! What does the brake system do? The brake system’s primary responsibility is to convert the kinetic energy of the truck in motion into thermal energy, or heat. If there is available tire traction (tireto-road friction) the truck certainly may decelerate, but the brakes do not stop the truck. That’s the job of your tires. No tire traction, no tire force, no deceleration. Hello, tree. Thud!
Now, you may be asking yourself, “How does that relate to this issue’s theme?” Well, I’m not really sure that it does, but if you do a poor job in selecting your brake pads, break them in incorrectly, or damage them during use then they certainly would not be your favorite accessory, now would they? Brake Utopia Quite simply brake vibrations are never a good thing. In fact, a common saying in the brake industry is, “The best brake system is an invisible brake system.” Let’s try to understand why this can sometimes be difficult to achieve. You press the brake pedal and your truck slows down. There’s no squealing, no shaking, and no vibration. You have arrived at brake utopia. Unfortunately, brake utopia can sometimes be in another area code. Pick your favorite brake system malady: brake roughness, pulsation, shudder, hot judder, shake, vibration, or the all-time favorite, rotor warping. To the brake engineer these all have slightly different meanings, but to the average consumer they are all simply a problem that has to be addressed. Few vehicle problems are as annoying as a problematic brake system. While usually not a detriment to brake system effectiveness at first, none of these conditions can be considered desirable; and, if ignored long enough they can have legitimate performance impacts. So what causes these conditions, and what can be done to prevent them in the first place? We’ll get there, but first we should briefly review what we learned about brakes back in Issue 40.
Regardless of how large, colorful, or sexy your braking system components, it’s still the tires that stop the truck!
If we look in more detail at the brake pad and rotor interface, we discover that this is where most of the energy conversion takes place. It is the friction between the brake pad and the spinning rotor that creates heat while simultaneously building torque in the rotating brake parts. Over the next few paragraphs we will be dissecting this dynamic interface. As the saying goes, you paid for the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge! The Two Types of Friction Who takes the time to worry about how the stationary brake pad and the spinning rotor generate friction? Odds are this question has never passed through your mind, but it is paramount to understanding brake vibrations.
FIRST RIDE . . . . Continued Brake pads engage in two distinctly different types of dynamic friction: abrasive friction and adherent friction. The details should be left to the PhD community, but in general the two modes operate as follows: In the abrasive mode, friction is generated as a result of interference between the microscopic high and low spots on the brake pad face and the spinning rotor. In very simple terms, this is similar to holding a block of wood on a belt sander. As the high and low spots are slowly machined away (much slower than the wood on the belt sander, of course), this breaking of molecular bonds creates a force which resists the rotation of the rotor. It also heats up the materials involved. Breaking molecular bonds has a tendency to do that. Presto! We have converted kinetic energy into thermal energy by breaking a bunch of molecular bonds. Not too surprisingly, this is the mode that most people naturally envision when asked to explain how brake pad friction operates. Adherent friction is quite different in nature. In the adherent mode, pressure and temperature collaborate to deposit a thin layer of brake pad material, or a transfer layer, on the rotor face. Subsequently, as the caliper squeezes the brake pads against the rotor, the pads contact the transfer layer, not the rotor itself. As the pressure increases, molecular bonds are then very quickly formed between the similar materials of the brake pad and the transfer layer. Just as quickly, however, those very same bonds are broken as the rotor continues to move relative to the brake pad. As a result, heat is generated and the brake pad material wears away. In summary, abrasive friction can be found between the brake pad and the rotor itself, slowly wearing away both materials, breaking bonds, and generating heat and torque in the process. With adherent friction, however, the rotor never actually wears. Because all of the bonding-breaking action is occurring between molecules of the brake pad material, only the pad itself wears away over time.
at the end of the season. Why? Because of the added thickness of the transfer layer material. The rotors may still need replacing due to cracking or other thermally-induced maladies, but rarely are race rotors replaced because they have worn too thin. They simply heat-cycle themselves to death. Brake v-v-i-i-b-b-r-r-a-a-t-t-i-i-o-o-n-n So, now we can talk about brake vibration. As you read, you will find the underlying theme will revolve around preventing brake vibration, not curing it. But first, let’s purge the phrase “warped rotors” from your vocabulary. Rotors Do Not Warp! In nearly every single case, warped rotors are not physically warped at all. The common misconception is that the rotors get hot enough to distort and then, upon cooling, end up looking like a pretzel. Contrary to popular belief, rotors simply do not warp in this fashion. The vibration that is felt in the steering wheel and floorboard is almost always caused by rotor thickness variation (TV), and the physical pulsing in the brake pedal is nearly always a direct result of the caliper piston extending and retracting as it tries to follow a rotor of varying surface thickness. Take a second and re-read those last two paragraphs. They are that important! TV is generally created in one of three ways. The least glamorous, yet most common form of TV is initiated when a truck is parked in the same place for an extended period of time. While it is sitting, a thin layer of corrosion (ferrous oxide, or rust) can form between the brake pad surface and the rotor. As you can probably imagine, sitting in humid or damp environments can greatly accelerate the corrosion.
But Wait, There’s More! Although we have talked about abrasive friction and adherent friction as if they were mutually exclusive from one another, all brake pads operate in both modes, and sometimes simultaneously. Typically most pads will operate in a primarily abrasive mode when they are cold and will then transition to an adherent mode as the brake temperature increases. This is why some brake pads (for example, many racing brake pads) require warming up before they will be operating properly—they need to “go adherent” before they exhibit their desired performance. For the weekend racers in the audience, if you have ever used the Hawk Blue 9012 pads, then you know exactly what we’re saying here. This material operates like a brake lathe (mega-abrasive mode) until it gets hot enough to stop on a dime (ultra-adherent mode). It’s also why you shouldn’t run Hawk Blue brake pads on the street—the brake temperatures will never get hot enough to get out of the abrasive mode and the rotors will pay the ultimate price.
Pad printing is due to corrosion while parked. This is classic TV in the making, and pulsation is only a few miles away.
A final interesting note on adherent friction: when race teams select adherent pads for their race cars, chances are that their rotors will actually be thicker than new when the time comes to replace them
When the truck is ultimately moved, there will be a localized high spot (an unintended transfer layer of corrosion) on the rotor which will wear at a different rate than the surrounding material. At first
FIRST RIDE . . . . Continued the condition is undetectable, but it will get worse over time as the rotor wears unevenly, creating high spots (thicker areas) and low spots (thinner areas). For trucks which experience extreme brake use (Towing without a trailer brake comes to mind, not that you would ever do that, would you?) another common mode of TV is initiated by an uneven transfer layer of brake pad material on the rotor face. Without going into a doctoral dissertation on the subject, overheating the brake pad can generate an uneven transfer layer as the pad material breaks down and “splotches” (a highly technical term which one should not use without proper training and certification) on the rotor. These uneven transfer layer deposits will wear at a different rate than the surrounding rotor material. On and on it goes until the high spots and low spots on the rotor face are severe enough to feel in the pedal. How much can be felt? In most cases, even less than 0.001” can be downright annoying. The third most common source of TV begins with the overheating of the rotor itself. If a rotor gets really, really hot, it can develop evenly spaced, localized areas along its face which are much hotter than the surrounding rotor material. These hot spots will wear quicker than the cooler surrounding material, creating a thick and thin wear pattern on the rotor face. As the rotor cools, these thick and thin spots remain and will propagate with use until the TV is finally felt by the driver. How to Keep the Evil TV Monster at Bay So now that we know what causes TV and the ensuing brake vibration, what can be done to prevent it in the first place? Don’t worry if you don’t have the answer already—we’re professionals and can help you through this.
Second, during extreme use, keep your brakes as cool as possible to reduce the opportunity for hot spots. A set of brake cooling ducts or an aftermarket exhaust brake goes a long way in this regard. Remember, cool brakes are happy brakes. Third, if your truck is typically left outside for extended periods of time, it might be best to select a non-metallic brake pad. Nonmetallic brake pads (also known as organic or ceramic brake pads) reduce the tendency to generate corrosion between the pad and the rotor. While they are not usually recommended for extreme-use applications, they don’t rust as fast, and over time this may reduce the generation of TV. Fourth, when installing your wheels and tires, be sure to tighten your wheel nuts in the manufacturer’s recommended pattern and take several passes to reach maximum torque. In some cases, uneven tightening of the wheel nuts can physically distort the rotor enough that during normal driving thick and thin spots may develop on their own. Finally, be sure to follow your manufacturer’s recommended procedure for bed-in when installing new brake pads and/or rotors. These processes have been developed to reduce the opportunity for uneven brake pad material deposition on the rotor face when the pads and/or rotors are new. Bed-in Procedure? I’m Not Even Tired! Whenever new brake pads and rotors are installed on your truck, you will need to properly develop a transfer layer. I bet nobody has ever told you that, have they?
First, make absolutely sure to cool your brakes after extreme use (and NEVER stop while they are hot with your foot still on the brake pedal)! Anytime hot brakes are allowed to sit motionless, molecular bonds may continue to form between the brake pad and the existing transfer layer material (adherent friction in action). The result is nearly instantaneous TV generation.
The process of developing a transfer layer is typically referred to as brake pad bed-in (or more commonly known as break-in). In general, bed-in consists of heating a brake system to its adherent temperature to allow the formation of a transfer layer. The brake system is then allowed to cool without coming to rest, resulting in an even transfer layer deposition around the rotor circumference. This procedure is typically repeated two or three times in order to ensure that the entire rotor face is evenly covered with brake pad material.
A rotor which has been exposed to an overheated brake pad. Note the friction material deposits on the face.
A typical rotor before bed-in. Note the clearly defined machining marks on the rotor face.
FIRST RIDE . . . . Continued Please note that the procedure that follows is completely generic and is only intended to introduce you to the theory of pad bed-in. Because this procedure is non-manufacturer specific, be sure to check with your brake pad supplier or vendor for any special considerations related to the bedding-in of your particular rotors and pads. James’ Generic Bed-in Procedure For a typical stock brake system, a series of 6 to 8 braking events from about 60mph down to about 10mph will typically get the brake components warm enough to be considered one bed-in cycle. Each of the 6 to 8 braking events should be made at moderate to high deceleration (about 75% of the deceleration required to lock up the brakes and/or engage ABS) and should be made one after the other without allowing the brakes to cool in between. These are not extreme panic stops. Don’t go overboard here. Once the brakes have faded a bit and/or you smell friction material in the passenger compartment, the cycle is complete and you should allow the system to cool by driving at steady speeds without bringing the truck to a complete stop. After cooling, repeat the braking event procedure listed above one more time, cool down again, and you’re typically good to go. In some situations a third cycle is beneficial, but two are usually sufficient.
This is a hit-and-miss strategy, and if uneven rotor wear has already started, then it’s too late anyway. Remember, abrasive brake pads cannot make a rotor flat again—they can only smooth off uneven pad deposits. Turning rotors can also alleviate the vibration situation, but may not be a viable long-term solution. If the rotor has been heated to the point that the chemistry of the rotor has changed (specifically, if localized areas of cementite have formed due to heat, yet another topic for the PhD’s), then the vibration will come right back as the softer areas of the rotor face wear away more quickly. (Note that in some cases turning the rotors may not cure the vibration even for a short time, as these hard spots can deflect the brake lathe cutting tool making for an uneven cut on the rotor face.) Unfortunately, the only known long-term solution to purging vibration is to replace the rotors themselves and properly bed-in the new parts, assuring an even transfer layer. It may sound like a bruteforce approach, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Just be sure to learn from your mistakes to keep the evil TV monster from rearing its ugly head again. What it all boils down to is that, in the war against brake vibrations, the best offense is a good defense. Until next time, I hope you are vibration free! James Walker, Jr. TDR Writer
A typical rotor after bed-in. The soft gray haze on the rotor face is the transfer layer material.
And now a word from the lawyers: Note that these speeds and maneuvers are neither recommended nor acceptable on all public roads. While you need to get heat into the system to achieve a proper bed-in, you also need to exercise common sense and take responsibility for your actions. Drive smart, please. But I Already Have a Brake Vibration . . . And what if brake vibration is already present in your truck? Well, that’s a different story. In select cases where brake vibration has just begun, it may be possible to remove any uneven transfer layer deposits from the rotor face by using a super-abrasive brake pad for a short while.
Turbo Tech 2006 57 Pages Ahead (page 132)
BACK IN THE SADDLE By Scott Dalgleish Several years have passed since my last column in the TDR, “The Second Time Around.” During that time many things have changed. Among them (aside from getting older) my wife and I are moving closer to our retirement from the big city, super stress, and the pace of living that comes with being a lifelong resident of Los Angeles. Having been caught up in that pace for nearly a half a century, it was only in this past year that we realized what we liked most about LA—how it used to be. So we bought a little piece of land on the northernmost tip of the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington and have begun the process of building what will become our retirement home. Building the new home means hauling materials, moving and towing. It looks like we are going to need a pickup. I took a ’05 Turbo Diesel 325/600 for a ride. Unbelievable! It drives, handles, and stops better than trucks I spent thousands of dollars and hours upgrading in the past. The reduced noise was no surprise, but the power . . . now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. It is apparent that Dodge has been paying close attention to the input of its customers over the years. Most all of the modifications we performed through the early 90’s are now a standard feature on the ’05 trucks. So we placed an order with our good friends at Auge’s in Belen, New Mexico and in late May began to break in our Turbo Diesel, Quad Cab, short bed, 4x4, with a drive from the dealer back to California. The new G56 (a Mercedes truck transmission, not Getrag) proved to be a very quiet as well as smooth shifting. The shift pattern lends itself to easy changes between reverse and second (the gear used to start when unloaded). The spring-loaded gate guides the hand to the next gear almost effortlessly. (More on the G56 and the dual mass flywheel in a feature article for next issue). The cab’s creature features are as abundant as your pocket book is deep and one of our favorites is the adjustable pedals. With myself at six-foot two-inches and my co-pilot standing tall at five-foot even, this option makes for a comfortable cockpit regardless of who has the steering wheel. We didn’t opt for the works . . . just what made sense for our use, leaving room for our favorite aftermarket upgrades down the road. However, one item left a bigger impression than any other: fuel economy. We only averaged 16 to 17 mpg on our first run, truck unloaded, cruising at 70 to 72 mph. Even the modified Generation Two trucks were able to consistently provide fuel economy in the low twenties. Given that products and dialog surrounding engine performance enhancements are well documented these days, we will concentrate our efforts on fuel economy. We want to explore cost effective ways to enhance the fuel economy from the Third Generation HPCR trucks without compromising warranty and federal emissions requirements. To that end we have invited and enlisted
the services of some of the industry’s best engineering resources (both OEM and aftermarket) to look at all aspects of the equation from wind resistance, parasitic drag coefficients, and lubrication to tire pressure and gearing models. We’ll upgrade some items to enhance the utility and comfort of our ride along the way as well, but most of all, it promises to be fun. FAVORITE ACCESSORIES Once again we were asked to pick our favorite products. I don’t remember what I wrote in Issue 36. Since most everything we own is in storage (including TDR back issues), I gave the theme my full attention. I love engine performance products. Truth is I’m addicted to them. Every time we get a new vehicle I vow to keep it stock. Friends who know me laugh . . . they know it’s just a matter of time. I’ve always had a fondness for Mag-Hytec covers and pans. Ever since I made the first mold (Dana 70, I think) for Roy Rothlisberger, I’ve liked the features of the product. Roy and I used to spend hours night after night discussing what features to include and which to leave out. Recently I paid a visit to Mag-Hytec and reminisced with Roy’s son, Jerry, who runs the operation now. Wow, how things have changed. They have covers and pans for most any application you can think of. Just add Amsoil Severe Gear (I love Amsoil Synthetics in everything) to a Mag-Hytec differential cover and you have a bulletproof combination. But what is my favorite? Gauges are cool. If you are serious about your truck, gauges should be a must on every Turbo Diesel owner’s list. Especially the Westach combo gauge. I always liked to see if I could get the two needles to rise parallel to each other like wings on an airplane. Amazing the things you do to pass the time on a long trip. The seat heaters I purchased from Geno’s Garage are a real nice addition to the comfort of the truck. Nothing like a little heat on the small of this tired old back on a long ride. The Amp Power Steps make it real easy for gettin’ in and out of the cab. My co-pilot would probably vote for that. I’ve had a Gear Vendors on each of the previous two Turbo Diesels I have owned. It would be hard to imagine driving a truck without one. Splitting gears to launch heavy loads, not to mention the fuel savings while cruising unloaded in double overdrive, make it one of my favorites. Maybe it’s the Balance Master wheel balancers or the new Jake Brake . . . you know I don’t think I have just one favorite. I think I like all of them. So what is my favorite? It would have to be the truck itself. Yep, a new Turbo Diesel truck. Makes sense don’t you think? See, if I didn’t have a new truck, I wouldn’t have the excuse to get all of the new products and accessories that are available. And what fun would that be?
BACK IN THE SADDLE . . . . Continued Rollin’ down the Highway Balance Masters Happily rolling down the highway is part of what ownership of your Ram is all about. The hours spent behind the wheel of your truck should be relaxing, with few or no distractions. Something as small as an unbalanced tire can not only distract your attention from the experience but also rapidly wear both you and the tire down. And while you will recover with a hot meal and a good night’s sleep, the tires will not. Imbalance rates right up there with improper inflation and wheel alignment as one of the chief causes of premature tire wear. The static balancing performed by most professional tire installers addresses the total weight of all the moving parts and provides a smooth or sweet-spot at a given speed. But we don’t drive at only one speed. Since the rotating mass is almost constantly changing speed, how can we maintain a smooth running pickup? According to Chris Gamble, founder of Balance Masters, the solution is as simple as a basic high school physics lesson. Newton’s Law states something like . . . “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” . . . and that’s what Balance Masters has been focusing on for over 25 years. Balance Masters provides a continually reacting balancing method which smoothes out unwanted tire imbalance regardless of speed. Quick reacting mercury, which is three times heavier than steel, is enclosed in a liquid-tight steel ring. The ring is attached between the Ram’s brake hub and wheel. As the rotating wheel and tire change speed, the fluid in the Balance Masters’ wheel balancer continuously changes position inside the ring, providing the ”opposite reaction” of Newton’s law. The result is a wheel and tire assembly which remains in balance regardless of speed, according to the manufacturer.
The Balance Masters wheel balancer fits on the existing front or rear (pictured) hub.
I recently tried a set of Balance Masters wheel balancers on our ‘05 Turbo Diesel. Balance Masters makes balancers for most wheel sizes and bolt patterns. Using Balance Masters part number MHD 206 R, fitting our 17”, eight-lug wheels posed no problem. I enlisted the services of Cogg’s Tire Service, Inc. in Oxnard, California. but any competent wheel and tire shop can provide the service if you do not have the time or tools. There are two sets of holes in each balancer; be sure to use the holes that fit your wheel’s studs most snugly. The front and rear tires were previously static balanced so the wheel weights were removed. With the balancers installed, my wife and I took off on a 900-mile trip across the Southwest on highways and roads we have traveled many times before. The results were immediately noticeable. Our truck rolled down the highway smoother than we had previously experienced, regardless of speed. Gone was the sweet-spot associated with static balancing. In the list of “gottahavits,” this product would be one of our all-time favorites. So we like the improved ride, but how about the tire wear? We’ll keep you posted.
Installed behind our Turbo Diesel’s wheel we found it helped as a dust shield, as well as balance the tire and wheel assembly.
Suppliers: Balance Masters P.O. Box 9154 Canoga Park, CA 91309 800-786-8324 www.balancemasters.com
Cogg’s Tire Service, Inc. 2670 Cortez St. Oxnard, CA 93036 805-485-2211 Fernando Lopez
BACK IN THE SADDLE . . . . Continued Cool Diff, via Mag-Hytec Mag-Hytec’s cover for the American Axle 11.5” differential has incorporated all of the well known features for which Mag-Hytec is famous. The design of the cover for this application eliminates the top and bottom bolt (hey, less bolts to tighten). In addition each cover features an O-ring seal between the differential housing and the cover, a magnetic drain plug, magnetic dip stick, reference fill hole and a place to install a temperature sending unit if so desired. The oil capacity is increased to eight quarts, providing plenty of fluid to lubricate and cool the gear sets under the most demanding conditions, according to Mag-Hytec. The cover is finned for extra cooling, has a beautiful powder coated finish and comes complete with stainless steel hardware and Allen wrenches for installation and maintenance.
Mag-Hytec will soon release the front cover for the new American Axle (I inspected the prototype at their shop) and I will be sure to provide all the details when it becomes available.
I paid a visit to my friend Jim Leonard to have an excuse to install the new cover. The American Axle has a gasket between the stock cover and housing, so no scraping of silicon (RTV) or filing was necessary to install the new Mag-Hytec cover. Jim and I removed the old cover, wiped the housing clean of the old lubricant and installed the new Mag-Hytec cover. The entire operation took less than 30 minutes. We filled the differential with the recommend synthetic weight oil, which is 75W-90 (for all applications using this differential). The differential has the limited slip option and NO ADDITIVES are recommended. This information is taken directly from the ‘05 Owner’s Manual and is verified with the powertrain engineers with DaimlerChrysler’s Dodge truck division. Amsoil Severe Gear 75W-90 meets and exceeds this specification. We installed eight quarts and checked the fluid level on the Mag-Hytec dipstick to verify that the lubricant was in fact between the minimum and maximum levels. I have put thousands of trouble free miles on my truck, towing and solo, with this winning combination. Mag-Hytec will soon release the front cover for the new American Axle (I inspected the prototype at their shop) and I will be sure to provide all the details when it becomes available.
We removed the OEM cover from our differential and cleaned the excess oil from the housing.
Jim Leonard holds a quart of Amsoil Severe Gear 75W-90 which meets and exceeds the specifications required by Dodge. This product is all you will need in a 2005 American Axle, according to Dodge. No additives are required, even with the limited slip option.
Source: Mag-Hytec 14718 Armenta St. Van Nuys, CA 91402 818-786-8325 www.mag-hytec.com
Jim Leonard 530-938-3427 email@example.com
BACK IN THE SADDLE . . . . Continued Stepping Up You did your homework, reviewed the write-ups. After countless hours of paring over the factory options, you placed an order for a new tow-rig, maybe you even thought, ”This will be the last.” Your new Turbo Diesel arrives and as the excitement of the newness of the truck begins to wane, small utility items are revealed that could be improved to better suit your use. One of the most common add-ons to enhance utility is some form of step to assist with entry and exit, particularly on four-wheel drive vehicles. The selections are varied and so is the cost. But if you are to safely get in and out without a struggle, something will be required.
All of the pieces to complete the installation on our ‘05 Turbo Diesel Quad Cab have been designed to make the installation process quick and unobtrusive. No cutting is required and, with the exception of eight small holes drilled into the lower pinch weld section of the cab (centered below each door) for the pop-rivets, all that is required are simple hand tools and three soldered connections to the OEM wiring harness. We recommend soldered connections rather than using crimp-type connectors. Vibration will work on the crimp connections and over time they can cause electrical failures. Our installation was completed in less than two hours.
The installation requires tapping into the door switches. Once again soldered connections are a must.
Without the AMP Power Step, climbing up in the cab of our Turbo Diesel is difficult.
Recently, AMP Research introduced the Power Step. Power Step is a fully retractable running board that activates with opening the cab door(s). When the door(s) is closed, the Power Step automatically disappears as it tucks in under the truck, leaving a clean hidden appearance. One of the advantages of this design over a stationary mounted step, is that while in the retracted position, the step is not exposed to road debris. Further more it allows the original ground clearance. According to the manufacturer, the step is rated to hold up to 600 pounds and its lightweight aluminum parts are coated in a high quality powder coat, which resists corrosion. OEM quality, weather resistant, electrical connections and motors are used to provide reliable functions in a variety of climate conditions.
Each side has a powerful and quick reacting motor, which moves the step in and out of position.
Using our new steps is one of the biggest hits of any of the upgrades I have installed. In the down position, the step provides an intermediate step at approximately twelve-inches, which is about half the distance to the floor of our ‘05 Turbo Diesel, Quad Cab, 4x4. I found the step to be quick and silent in operation. Since the Power Step is triggered by the door’s OEM switch, the step is deployed the moment the door has begun to open, and reaches its locked position by the time the door is fully opened. Getting in and out of the truck has never been easier. The Power Step’s solid feel (even with 220 pounds) inspires confidence to safely enter and exit the
vehicle without fear of slipping. I found another benefit in that the step can be locked in the down position, providing a platform to clean the top of the cab. By standing on the step and closing the door, the step will remain in the down position. Opening and closing the door will return the step to its normal operation.
With the Power Step installed, the step up into the cab is reduced by about half.
When in the up position the Power Step cannot be seen from the side of the truck.
Dodge Ram Power Step is available from Dodge dealers as a 2005 Mopar Accessory. MSRP: $1,395 plus installation Source: AMP Research 2552 Mc Gaw Ave. Irvine, CA 92614 (949) 221-0023 www.amp-research.com
BACK IN THE SADDLE . . . . Continued Rostra Seat Heaters Since I do not want leather, I was forced to pass on the seat heaters (I dislike so-called “value packages,” seems like they prevent you from buying what you really want unless you buy a bunch of other junk with it.) However, seat heat is an option I have had in other vehicles and have come to enjoy. Not only do the seat heaters provide a level of comfort in cold climates, but they are really nice on the lower back—especially on the longer rides.
If you are like me, I was a little intimated when it came to removing the upholstery from my new Turbo Diesel’s seats. The plastic “J” hooks used on the Dodge upholstery are simple to remove and reinstall.
For just under $250 you can buy a pair of Rostra seat heaters and a Painless Cirkit Boss (if you don’t already have one) both from Geno’s Garage. In a little less that an afternoon you will have the project completed. If you are like me, you may be a little intimidated by the prospect of removing the upholstery from a new seats. No worries. The system of fasteners used on the new Ram’s seats is very easy to unhook and reattach. The seat cushion is held to the contour of the seat foam using “hook and loop” strips attached from the inside (see photos), making the job even easier. It is not necessary to completely remove the seat’s back or seat cover to install the heater elements. It is possible to roll the upholstery out of the way, place the heating element on the foam and roll the cover back into position. Simply follow the supplemental instructions supplied by Geno’s Garage along with the instructions provided by Rostra. In truth, the most difficult part of the project is routing the wires (switched hot and ground) to the harness provided by Rostra. If you already have the Painless Cirkit Boss installed, as I did, it was just a matter of routing a 20 amp circuit to the Rostra harness.
It is not necessary to completely remove the seat back and cover to install the heat elements. Simply roll the cover out of the way, install the heaters and roll them back into position. Note the “hook and loop” in the seat makes fitting the cover even easier.
Each set of heaters has a complete wiring harness. Note the outside loop is left uncut for the “back only option”
BACK IN THE SADDLE . . . . Continued
Routing the wires is the most difficult part of the installation. Small hands help in cases like this.
I elected to mount the seat heater’s control switch in the center console of our Turbo Diesel’s manual transmission. Using a three-quarter inch hole-saw, I cut the holes necessary to install the controls. This location is easy to reach and to monitor the switch position. With care and preplanning in routing the wiring harness, it is not necessary to lighten the wire for the switch to this location.
Our control switches mounted nicely in the manual transmission console.
How do they work? No truck should be without them. I elected not to cut an external wire that controls how the heater units operate. I stayed with the factory setting, which provides a back-only and a high-both position. This provides the best of both worlds. Heat all around for those nippy mornings and days, as well as a therapeutic heat treatment for the lower back on the longer rides. What could be more comfortable? Sources: Geno’s Garage 1150 Samples Industrial Drive Cumming, GA 30041 800-755-1715 www.genosgarage.com
You may be an engineer if . . . • Your wristwatch has more buttons than a telephone. • You have more friends on the Internet than in real life. • You thought the real heroes of Apollo 13 were the mission controllers. • You spend more on your home computer than on your car. • You know the direction the water swirls when you flush. • You have ever taken the back off your TV just to see what’s inside. • A team of you and your co-workers has set out to modify the antenna on the radio in your work area for better reception. • You ever burned down the gymnasium with your science fair project. • All your dress shirts are short-sleeved. • You have never backed up your hard drive. Submitted by Loren Bengtson, Rising Sun, IL
BACK IN THE SADDLE . . . . Continued Fresh Air I’ve noticed a light to medium haze coming from the tailpipe on a hard acceleration. Since my Turbo Diesel has not been enhanced I suspected a dirty air filter. Checking the filter-minder I found it to be pulled all the way into the red zone. The filter is new so how could this be? Just for grins we replaced the filter with a new one . . . same result. We changed the filter-minder . . . no change, still in the red. Okay, so it looks like this engine wants more air than can flow through the OEM air inlet. Back in the early nineties we used to drill more holes in the air box. That helped, but it lets in very hot engine compartment air and increases the turbo noise in the cab (kinda cool to listen to, but trust me, it wears on you on a long trip). I would prefer cooler, denser air, from outside the engine compartment. There are a number of aftermarket air intake and filter kits available these days, so we went shopping. The last system I built for my Second generation truck (Issue 34, page 68) was made from stainless steel and fairly elaborate. There must be a simple way to get the air from the front to the stock box without the fabrication and cost of the previous system. Here’s what I came up with. For just about $25 you can buy all the parts necessary at your local Home Depot . . . and it works great! Here is the parts list: Two-feet of 4” ABS pipe One 90-degree elbow 4” fitting One 4” ABS toilet flange Cement Screws
We pulled our filter minder to the “RED” with a clean filter on most every acceleration.
$ 3.89 $ 5.44 $10.37 $ 1.99 $ 1.53
Start by placing a little grease on the end of the 4” ABS pipe. From under the truck, slide the pipe up to the bottom of the airbox to mark the location of a 4” hole that you will cut in the bottom of the box. Next remove the filter and the air box from the truck. Take a 4” hole saw and cut a 4” hole in the bottom of the airbox. Attach the 4” flange to the bottom of the box using ¾” machine screws for easy removal. Install the airbox with the flange attached, slide the 4” ABS pipe up into the flange and mark where to cut the excess pipe. Be sure to take into account the fit of the 90-degree elbow so that it is above the lower part of the bumper. Cut the 4” ABS pipe to length and glue on the 90-degree elbow. Then glue the 4” ABS pipe and elbow to the flange attached to the box. Allow plenty of time for the glue to cure (overnight). Then attach a small ½” wide aluminum strap from one side of the elbow to the Turbo Diesel’s frame to provide support. Done.
We fitted a 4” ABS 90-degree fitting for the air pick up.
There must be a simple way to get the air from the front to the stock box without the fabrication and cost of the previous system. We used a 4” hole saw to do the job.
BACK IN THE SADDLE . . . . Continued
Looking from under the truck, the 4” ABS is glued into a four-inch flange.
Sound attenuation keeps the interior noise low, but will it hinder your turbo’s performance?
The bolted connection between the flange/air duct assembly and the air box will permit removal of the air box for future maintenance/ project. No worries regarding picking up water. The new inlet is behind the bumper AND I am still picking up air from the OEM location, which prevents “sucking through a straw.” I know this works and fits on ‘05 trucks; will it work on other years? Probably, if you are willing to take the time and use that famous Turbo Diesel resourcefulness to find out.
Looking inside the air box, we used wing nuts to attach the flange and new air pick up tube so that the box can be removed for maintenance.
With this modification completed the largest restriction in the air/ turbo inlet is the air filter. There is a proliferation of filters available. Some clean better than others, some flow more air than others. Which works best? I know the OEM paper and aFe ProGuard 7 stock replacement filter removes the dirt and contaminants to meet the factory specifications. I also know with these filters installed, you can easily pull the filter minder down (showing restriction). So the question is: Do you want more air or do you want better filtration? You decide. Finally, on a related subject, the air tube between the air box and the turbo inlet has a bunch of stuff in the pipe that folks are tempted to remove thinking it will improve the air flow to the turbo. Those items are there to quiet the air inlet noise to the turbo and to direct the air-flow (sound attenuation and turning veins). Will removing them make your truck run better? If you think so, try it and see. Maybe because you hear more noise, it may seem like it runs better.
Tuning veins in the OEM connection tube between the air box and turbo inlet…do they hurt performance?
BACK IN THE SADDLE . . . . Continued Trailer Brake, Any Turbo Diesel Owner Can Do It Every Turbo Diesel needs a trailer brake controller, and if you happened to order the “Tow Package” on your ’05 it came with a plug-in harness that really makes life simple. On my truck I used an Odyssey trailer brake controller. There are numerous brands available. Do your homework and select the unit that best suits your towing application. The instructions specifically address how to connect and install the brake control unit to the various factory harnesses addressing wire color variations as they may be. My installation was straightforward. Find a convenient location for the controller, and solder the wires from the controller to the Dodge harness. What could be simpler? Use butt connectors, you say. Okay, if you want. But I have had enough experience to know that even the best of the crimp-on type connectors can work loose or develop corrosion over time. Taking a little extra time to solder and heat shrink the electrical connections will provide peace of mind when the time comes when you need your trailer brake (or any other electrical component) to perform. (See photos)
Once the wiring harness is connected (soldered) to the factory supplied harness, it is as simple as plugging in a plug.
We located our trailer brake controller on the knee panel to the right of the steering wheel. Attach two supplied screws to mount the bracket.
Solder and heat shrink is one of the best ways to make a solid troublefree electrical connection. The directions supplied by our Odyssey controller provided a color cross-reference to connect the controller’s wires to the OEM harness.
BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN . . . . Continued Let There Be Light, A Light Bar Fram Randy Ellis Design The older you get the worse your vision, especially night vision. Having enough light is always helpful whether itâ€™s for driving or just performing tasks in low-light conditions. Besides, extra lights just look cool. Randy Ellis Designs make a slick accessory light bar for the Third Generation Turbo Diesels. The design is neat and tidy. It provides mounts for four additional accessory lights with care to position them not too far in front of the truck and permitting access to the hood and engine compartment as well. Remove the existing tow hooks (if equipped) and install the light bar between the tow hooks and the frame. Fit and finish are tops. The bar is available in a silver powder coat or chrome finish. Some lights are too deep to allow the hood to open (but it is mostly limited to some of the HID style lamps, check with Randy). I elected to install a set of Hella Black Magic lamps. These durable 55W H2 lamps provide plenty of light for my use. I removed the tow hooks and installed the Randy Ellis light bar behind our Demco base plates, which allows me to tow the Ram behind our motorhome (providing an extra push for our pusher).
The price for the powder coated light bar is $179.00. You wonâ€™t be disappointed. Source: Randy Ellis Design, Inc. 2855 W. Fairmount Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85017 602-803-1122 www.randyellisdesign.com
The light bar from Randy Ellis Design fits nicely behind the factory tow hooks and offers a position for four additional lights.
There is plenty of clearance to permit the hood to open and close, the exception being some HID style lamps. Check with Randy.
BACK IN THE SADDLE . . . . Continued Fuel Economy Update: Instrumentation Having developed the test plan for a fuel economy study, we have just completed the instrumentation of our 2005 Turbo Diesel. We will be monitoring distance, as well as fuel and engine conditions both on the dynamometer and on the road. The sensors (air/fuel ratio, egt, boost, rpm, tps, ambient air, fuel meter, speed, etc.) read small voltages to a data logger which then converts the information and stores it in a laptop computer. We have just begun our baseline data acquisitions. More on our findings in future issues.
Ambient air temperature is measured outside of the truckâ€™s body.
We routed all of the data inputs to the storage box under the middle seat; from there itâ€™s collected and stored on a laptop.
The exhaust manifold was drilled and tapped to record egt.
Scott Dalgleish TDR Writer
Television Host Sam Memmolo Talks About Industry Trends and Truck Accessories MY FAVORITE THINGS Who could resist an assignment when the editor directs his writers to submit comments and opinions on their favorite truck accessories? The editor has probably road-tested more gadgets and products than the average test person at Consumer Reports. He’s my Gadget Hero!
adjustment. All that was needed was to run an additional wire to each mirror from the extender switch, and pick up some power at the fuse panel. Don’t tow without some sort of good mirrors. Who would dare step up performance without having some sort of gauge setup to monitor the forces we generate at higher-than-stock boost pressures combined with enough fuel to run a small container ship? Boost, EGT, trans temp, and other assorted instruments could possibly save you big bucks if closely monitored.
One of the simplest and most useful accessories that I have enjoyed (low buck too) was the plastic cup holder that attached to the center armrest. Being a true coffee drinker, day and night, I know I could not live without that little convenience. I could easily live without a Wal-Mart steering wheel cover, but like they say in New Hampshire, “Take my cup holder and you are sure to die free.” It’s right there on their license plates! My last three pickups have also been endowed with tonneau covers. If you don’t have a bed cap, you definitely need a cover. My current truck has the Agri-Cover rollup tonneau. We actually did a TV show where we put some accessories on a truck. The advertiser was Agri-Cover and I fell in love with this unit. They even make a custom-fit cover with a small header plate if your truck is already equipped with an over-the-rail style toolbox. When it comes to reducing labor in maintaining my pride and joy, I really like the EZ Change oil drain plug setup. I have one of these nifty units in both my Cummins and my Caterpillar engines. I can change the oil without covering the driveway or garage floor with oil. That is saying something for somebody that’s as coordinated as I am. Remember the big, stick-out mirrors I mentioned on my ’97 dually? I walked into them on more than one occasion. If you would like the interior of your truck, or of any vehicle for that matter, to be quieter and more thermally insulated, I have a fix! I have used a product called “Lizard Skin” on my Street Rods, on a few Muscle cars, and soon to be on my Kenworth. Lizard Skin is an incredible product that can be applied with a spray gun, or brushed on. It is lightweight, works just like paint, and has tremendous insulation and noise reduction qualities. My ‘97 3500 had huge camper-type mirrors, so visibility was terrific even with an enclosed car hauler. However, they were less than aerodynamic, and certainly ugly! I added Powervision’s electrically extendable mirrors to my current truck. These are much more aesthetically pleasing, while providing a good field of vision. They installed easily, and utilized the factory harness for heat and
It can be sprayed on floor pans, inside firewalls and doors, and on the underside of the roof. If you have an interior out for any reason, that’s the time to spray on a thin coat of Lizard Skin. Racers use it to survive in the hot environment of a race car, and applied to the roof of a horse trailer, it can reduce the inside temperatures dramatically. Most horses ask for it by name! Lizard Skin comes in white or black, and is environmentally cool.
CELEBRITY CORNER . . . . Continued Shiny wheels, gargantuan exhaust systems, and polished stainless wheel opening trim are all fun and neat, but don’t do as much for our trucks as they do for our egos. But, yes, I have all of the above! Finally, I’m a fool for decals and badges. At the last TDR rally we attended in Columbus, I purchased several Cummins plastic emblems and even a Cummins flashlight. I later stuck the “Cummins Power” emblems on my neighbor’s Powerstroke. They actually went well with the faded blue oval. I now have a Cummins Turbo Diesel windshield decal across the top of our KW’s windshield. When a Detroit or Cat guy asks me what that means, I respond, “That’s Italian for No Leaks.”
You can stop by any truck accessory shop, peruse catalogs, and go to truck events and you will find no shortage of dress-up and performance goodies just begging for your hard earned dollars. Be sure to ask the folks that have used these things for their candid opinion. That’s what Robert did! Happy motoring, Sam Memmolo TDR Writer
Have Ram Will Travel By Joe Donnelly My travels for this issue included visits to Transfer Flow (the fuel tank people) and to Reunel (manufacturers of heavy duty aftermarket bumpers). The only negative comments I have ever heard about either brand is that someone else may be cheaper. To me, that is a very positive thing, because the best value is seldom the cheapest alternative. Value is often recognized only after you spend money chasing quality, fit, leaks, etc. on a less expensive alternative. For my Turbo Diesel, value is more important, both to match the quality of the truck and to protect my life where fuel system failure, weak stock bumpers, or lack of a winch cannot be compensated for when the right stuff is needed. Either you have it beforehand, like an insurance policy, or you suffer the consequences in time of need. One such example occurred later during the trip, so read on . . .
confirm that there are no leaks. Steel tanks are powder coated. All the welders are ASME-certified and use MIG (metal-inert gas), TIG (tungsten-inert gas), and silver soldering processes for constructing the tanks and their components. The Transfer Flow fuel tank systems come with a three year, 36,000 mile warranty.
TRANSFER FLOW (fuel tanks) My first visit was to the Transfer Flow facility in Chico, California. This small city is north of Sacramento in California farm country. Transfer Flow is located near the airport and is a very large, clean, and modern facility. Transfer Flow (800-442-0056; www.transferflow. com) has a wide range of auxiliary and replacement fuel tanks for our trucks. Their individual Dodge products have been discussed in previous issues: Issue 28, page 34: Cross-the-Bed Toolbox with 30-gallon tank; Issue 32, page 142 and in Issue 33, pages 18, 63: 54-gallon replacement tank for Second Generation Rams; Issue 34, page 148: 45-gallon replacement tank; Issue 35, page 126: 98-gallon cross-the-bed tank; Issue 44, page 147: 74-gallon “wedge” shaped cross-the-bed tank; Issue 48, page 166: 56-gallon replacement tank for Third Generation Rams. For those who are not familiar with Transfer Flow, they have been in business for more than 20 years. Their fuel systems meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and they meet and exceed original equipment manufacturer’s standards. They meet and exceed Department of Transportation regulations, and comply with EPA, Clean Air Act, and California Air Resource Board requirements. Each Transfer Flow tank comes with a sticker for the door jamb that says it meets such requirements, and gives the CARB executive order number. Their tanks are baffled, drop-tested, pressure tested to ensure no leakage, and constructed of heavier-than-stock 12- and 14-gauge aluminized steel, or of 1/8” thick aluminum diamond-plate. The tanks are carefully cleaned at least twice during construction. They are tested under pressure and checked by two different inspectors to
Helium pressure test booth to ensure that the tank has no leaks.
The tour of their facility was eye-opening. They have two huge buildings and produce a vast number of tanks for a variety of automotive applications. Processes are automated wherever possible to ensure uniformity and accuracy. Extensive use is made of blueprint-type drawings so that whatever tank is being manufactured will be exactly the same every time. They have cleaning and pressure-testing processes, and an installation facility for customers’ trucks. The accompanying photographs tell the story of this world-class operation. Their facility can and does produce a huge number of fuel tanks while maintaining extreme quality, fit, finish, welding, and dimensional accuracy. Every one of their kits that I have used has been complete and correct. Every tank has fit perfectly, and the directions have been comprehensive and accurate. Bill Gaines, the head engineer at Transfer Flow, told me that the new bio-diesel fuels are causing some problems with fuel hoses, and the fix is to use hoses lined with much more expensive fluoroelastomers instead of with the traditional “nitrile” polymers made of acrylonitrile-butadiene. It wouldn’t surprise me to see some problems with injection pump and lift pump seals, unless they already are made of Viton or some other special elastomer that is resistant to bio-diesel fuels.
HAVE RAM WILL TRAVEL . . . . Continued
Robotic welding station.
A production area with sheet metal cutting in the foreground.
Sheet metal shear.
Powder coating booth
Assembled tanks awaiting final welding. The master blueprint drawing is prominent in each station.
Turbo Tech 2006 Only 37 Pages Ahead (page 132)
HAVE RAM WILL TRAVEL . . . . Continued REUNEL MANUFACTURING (bumpers) There are many brands of aftermarket bumpers available for your Turbo Diesel. Upon investigating my options, I found that a few of the other brands copy Reunel and may or may not offer high quality steel and welding. Some literally use or formerly used pipe from the oilfields that was lying in ditches. Most aftermarket bumpers are much stronger than our stock bumpers, but some are tremendously heavy, to the point of being ridiculous in comparison to the frame strength of the truck and its attachment points. Many are set-up for some winch or other, with varying levels of forethought and engineering built into the bumper structure. I was seeking a high strength-to-weight ratio so with a heavy Warn winch I would not end up with weight on the front axle that would be far over the factory rating of 5200 pounds. If the bare bumper weighs 300 to 400 pounds, you could be in trouble! By the time your amateur engineering team welds up a lot of heavy wall tubing and plate, maybe even channel, well…beware. I also wanted a bumper with some style that did not look like it came off a farm tractor or irrigation truck. That stuff might have been okay on my ‘97 Turbo Diesel (Sickly), but my ‘04 (Sickly Junior) wants accessories with more class. The Reunel is carefully engineered so it is strong but not excessively heavy. It sticks out farther than stock to make room for a winch, but its design is not needlessly bulky. Reunel keeps the approach angle as high as possible, so their front bumper is not quite as low as stock. The part of the bumper that is in front of the wheels is higher for better clearance in extreme four wheeling. The brush guard is integral to the bumper, and adds a lot of strength to the assembly. In the case of stainless, the tubes are 1/8” wall tubing, the verticals are ¼” thick, and the bars protecting the headlamps are solid steel rods. In automotive applications, monocoque designs integrate the body and chassis into one structure. Reunel uses this type of approach so the bumper shell is shaped for strength by itself, and the brush guard is not merely an add-on part, but a strength-imparting portion
of the overall shell. It is therefore like a unit body or monocoque automobile. Hence, they achieve maximum strength and rigidity and resistance to deformation by impact, with minimum weight and bulk. Some parts, such as the frame brackets and the center of the rear bumper, are mild steel even with the stainless bumpers. Welding stainless to mild steel is not a problem so long as the proper stainless rod or wire is used, and Reunel does so. Reunel Manufacturing is headed by Dianne Reusser-Nelson. Impressive for her knowledge and abilities, she is also very cordial and helpful. Her background is engineering and artistic designs. Her husband, Tom Nelson, has a background in engineering and fabrication. Both were involved in agricultural systems, and their first automotive product was their original rear bumper. This bumper was designed with parallel horizontal 0.5” thick plates so an agricultural implement with the ring for towing could be retained using a vertical pin through holes in the plates. Hence, their intention, and the now well-known result, is a bumper that can tow as much as the pickup truck allows. I saw a lot of their bumpers in their geographical area, including on fire and police department vehicles. These examples impressed me because such public service organizations do not spend any money unless it is necessary. One other example just happened by their facility while I was there. A local veterinarian hit a large battery that had been dumped on a dirt road and his pickup ended up in a ditch/swamp. The truck was destroyed, but the bumpers were intact. A wrecker reportedly used 51,000 pounds of pull on the center of the brush guard to drag the pickup out of the mire. If you looked at it closely, the tube was only slightly tweaked. The owner came to Reunel the same day I was there to order bumpers for his new truck.
Reunel front bumper, on a wrecked pickup, is virtually unharmed.
Reunel designs a bumper for a new application by sketching the truck without the stock bumper. Then, a bumper is designed to complement the truck’s styling with the characteristic Reunel general appearance. Their bumpers provide heavy-duty capabilities (including winch compatibility) with excellent ground clearance for extreme four-wheeling.
Finished bumpers are kept in a separate room. The bumper on the left and the front bumper at the right are polished stainless steel. The second bumper back on the right is a buffed-finish stainless, and the rear bumpers are painted mild steel.
Their facility is located about a mile east of Interstate 5, an hour north of Sacramento, California, in farm country. The shop is spacious so that different operations can proceed easily without competing for space. The equipment is top-notch and allows them to be self sufficient throughout the production process. Personnel are cross-
HAVE RAM WILL TRAVEL . . . . Continued trained so an absence does not halt production, but each employee has specialties. One person, for example, is the master polisher of stainless bumpers. The mirror-like finish on my bumpers attests to his capabilities. The accompanying photographs show just how rough the raw bumper is, so you can appreciate the forty hours of effort expensed in achieving the mirror polish. The results are top quality in fit as well. My bumpers installed without problems and Reunel uses grade 8 bolts of very adequate sizes. Bracket to frame bolts are 5/8”, torqued to 180 ft-lb, and eight ½” fine-thread bolts torqued to 120 ft-lb secure the front bumper to its saddle-style mounting brackets on the frame. The front bumper brackets saddle the frame horns with ½” thick steel plates to maximize the strength of the assembly. The front bumper actually serves as the strongest cross-member in the frame structure. Reunel’s careful attention to design and construction parameters shows their level of knowledge and commitment to quality. The result is a very high-value bumper system that would be a worthy option on your Turbo Diesel. In fact, I chose these bumpers instead of leather seats and other Laramie and high-end options to fit my personal needs and preferences.
The Reunel stainless steel bumper with Warn 16.5ti winch on my Turbo Diesel.
After my visit to Reunel I traveled to Las Vegas. The point about the quality of welds between stainless and mild steel was made clear. Another truck hit the left side portion of my Reunel rear bumper. The driver was traveling too fast in heavy traffic and could not slow down soon enough. I had nowhere to go in the heavy traffic so I could not avoid the collision. The bumper suffered only very minor damage with no damage to any of the welds. The collision destroyed the front of his truck. My Ram suffered slight sheet metal damage to the rear corner of the bed and the tailgate where his vehicle extruded itself through the bumper. Without the Reunel rear bumper, my Ram would have been history with severe damage to the bed, and probably cab damage from the bed impacting the cab. Without the Reunel to serve as a super-strong rear cross-member to keep the frame square the frame would also most likely have been bent. The other driver destroyed his vehicle’s front end, radiator, hood, and frame. This picture shows an unfinished stainless steel 2003-2005 Dodge front bumper before any polishing. It is easy to see why it takes a week of work to polish the steel to a mirror finish.
Reunel uses oil-treated cold-rolled or drawn mild steels which are a better grade and have a better finish than ordinary hot-rolled steel. The latter is scaly and rough surfaced in comparison, so it does not finish up as nicely. Reunel uses only domestically-sourced type 304 stainless steel for their stainless bumpers. Type 304 has good corrosion resistance, and is amenable to forming, welding, and machining. The stamping and shearing presses do complain, however, as this steel is very strong, about three times as strong as mild steel. This stainless steel has about 18% chromium and 8% nickel alloyed. Steels having over 10% chromium do not tend to rust in the weather. Type 304 is a very popular and versatile grade of stainless steel.
The Reunel rear bumper on my truck survived whereas the other truck did not.
HAVE RAM WILL TRAVEL . . . . Continued FAVORITE ACCESSORIES, UPDATED The last time I listed my favorite accessories was back in Issue 37 on pages 14 to 17. In that article I outlined a 19 step program that resulted in a poor old ‘97 Ram named Sickly. My addition to power began with the TST Power Kit. That introduction to accessorizing my Turbo Diesel has probably cost me $80,000 over the years, what with all the other stuff I’ve purchased including my new ‘04 Turbo Diesel. Along the way of those 19 steps, several TST torque plates, standard and custom built Diesel Dynamics injectors, multiple turbos (one at a time—but in total two HX35s; three HX40s; three HX55s; and an H2E) were installed in the process. Something like nine clutches were also involved in the unending process of seeking just another 50 or maybe 75 horsepower (at a time). After outlining my addiction/woes in seeking power, I mentioned other favorites, like the ATS exhaust manifold, Autometer gauges, Transfer Flow fuel tanks, Rhino bedliner, and Mag-Hytec differential covers. On the ‘97 Ram, I favored 255-85-16 tires (later on Alcoa wheels), and added a factory CD player. Optima batteries (800 cca version) continue to be favorites for their reliability and to avoid acid leaks on the fenders, etc. Since I have power-hungry winches on my truck, I might look into Mr. Bob’s (877-543-7563) Odyssey 1090 cca batteries, for which custom battery trays would have to be fabricated. They cost a lot more than the Optimas, but their considerable extra capacity could be valuable for tough situations. What about today’s truck? Now that I am older and wiser (at least I hope that is the case, without too much emphasis on the latter) I gave up on competing in the ultimate horsepower race before it got outrageously expensive and bought a ‘04 Turbo Diesel. As a truck, I find the new one to be quite a bit better than the ‘97 was. The new truck, Sickly Junior, has four real doors, far better brakes, better suspension, more creature comforts, and that fabulous Cummins engine with the NV5600 six-speed transmission. I got the SLT package, but it still didn’t save any money because the rest of the options I wanted were aftermarket, and made the Laramie option seem cheap by comparison. Junior is almost stock in power. Well, just a couple of things happened, similar to those taken from my old 19 step recovery process. Diesel Dynamics goodies like injectors, pusher pump, turbocharger, and gauges (made for them by Autometer), and in deference to the new generation electronics, just a couple little black boxes. The aFe air filter continues to take care of intake air for the engine. Better and more flexible turbochargers are now available, compared to several years ago. For example, Lawrence Bolton at Diesel Dynamics (800-628-8111) has done some extensive and severe testing of turbos to arrive at several good alternatives. A clear favorite, both yesterday and today, is the Mag-Hytec differential cover which, in addition to its capacity, good looks, and strength, makes changing the lubricants so easy. This time I selected a Line-X bed liner although it has not really turned out to be either a clearly better or worse choice than the Rhino. Once again, I got the black color for reasons of availability and cost. On one hand, gray would possibly have faded somewhat less. I have, however, seen gray that faded in the sun to a sickly greenish color, so black is not the wrong choice in the Southwest. The South Bend Con-Fe clutch is a favorite now. It gives almost the ease and drivability of a stock clutch while holding far more horsepower, lasting a very long time, and being very light on wear to itself and the flywheel. The
ATS exhaust manifold continues to be an important addition, giving even flow from all cylinders and great durability. I am also using an upgraded exhaust system from Diesel Dynamics. Another new accessory that I really like is the Brite Box system with the Fogzilla kit so I can control when the fog lights are on, the low beams stay on with the high beam lamps, and I can install high beam bulbs into the fog lamp housings (Issue 48, page 169). Transfer Flow fuel tanks are still very worthwhile additions and should not be forgotten when selecting the package of options and accessories to go into the budget for a new truck (Issue 48, page 166). With today’s fuel prices, being able to buy where fuel is more reasonably priced can help the budget a lot. As I am writing this, fuel costs 44 cents more in Las Vegas, Nevada, than it does in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I can fill up in Albuquerque, drive to Las Vegas, drive around for a couple weeks, and return to Albuquerque in time for my next fill up. Among factory options, I decided on the SLT package, which primarily got me power windows and locks in addition to the cruise control that I had added to the base ST package on the ‘97 Turbo Diesel. The SLT came with the AM/FM/CD radio package but not the cassette deck that I had on the ‘97. I found a set of take-off Michelin 265-75-17 tires on the ‘05 forged aluminum wheels, and for this truck I believe I will prefer this setup to the Cooper 255-85-16 tires on Alcoa wheels that I used on the ‘97. A major change with the new truck is the stainless steel Reunel bumpers with Warn winches that I previously discussed. I like to think that my greatly increased wisdom over the time span was involved in adding these new favorite accessories to “Junior.” The Reunel rear bumper more than replaces the Draw-Tite trailer hitch that I added to my ‘97 Ram. It has greater capacity and its height above the ground is just right to give a good departure angle while not requiring steeply dropped ball mounts so that the trailer will be level.
Turbo Tech 2006 Only 34 Pages Ahead (page 132)
HAVE RAM WILL TRAVEL . . . . Continued OTHER TRAVELS AND COMMENTS On the way from Northern California to Las Vegas, a stop in Reno, Nevada provided some interesting moments. Bob and Nancy Simerly, long-time helpers extraordinaire at May Madness, had just taken delivery of their new truck, a ’05, molten red, Quad Cab. This truck replaced their old faithful ‘92 Turbo Diesel and they report that they are very happy with it. They really appreciate the obvious ride improvement in the new four-wheel drive suspension over that of the First Generation Turbo Diesel.
My white Ram with Reunel stainless steel front winch bumper and SRT-10 Viper hood is to the left in the photo, and the Simerly’s brand-new molten red metallic dually Turbo Diesel is on the right. In my report for May Madness 2005 in Issue 49, I mentioned that they were buying a new Turbo Diesel to replace their First Generation 4x4 Turbo Diesel, and here it is!
Two items of possible interest are a custom built front trailer receiver hitch that I use to park my trailer in a tight spot at home, and some copper funnels that I made from simple elbows and adapters found at the local Home Depot. The funnel with the 45 degree elbow makes filling the NV5600 transmission easy. Otherwise it would be difficult to accomplish this task without spilling a lot of lubricant.
Three lubricant filling funnels made from copper plumbing tubing pieces found at Home Depot. The funnel on the left has a 45-degree bend and a retaining wire that holds it to a factory boss on the NV5600. The center funnel fits the Mag-Hytec covers. The funnel to the right fits factory differential covers.
Joe Donnelly TDR Writer
A Review of Previously Discussed/ Frequently Asked Questions by Jim Anderson I have been appointed (elected, selected, condemned?) to write a column dedicated to member questions. Member questions range from old users with new problems to new members who are unfamiliar with the care of their pride and joy. The column reviews frequently asked questions and member feedback to deliver the best solutions. We decided to call the column “Idle Clatter.” If you don’t get my meaning, go stand next to your truck when it’s running. I am also available to answer your questions. Call me at (865) 3972500, 9AM to 8PM eastern time. If I’m out, leave a message and be sure to say what state you are calling from so I won’t wake you up in the middle of the night. If the phone simply rings, I’m on an extended trip. Call the TDR offices and they will relay the message. I can best be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and will promptly respond.
THE ASSIGNMENT Editor Patton told us to write about our favorite truck accessories, since we haven’t spoken in detail about that subject since Issue 36. While my last article on this subject segmented accessories into three categories (essential, it depends, and not worth the money), I will speak mainly of essentials here. I’m sure the other TDR writers will agree that your first accessory purchase should be boost and pyrometer gauges either mounted separately or, in the case of the Westach gauges sold by Geno’s Garage, both gauge needles in one gauge pod. I’ve installed the Westach combination gauge on my last three trucks, and they’ve proven to be accurate, reliable and dependable.
CONGRATS My hat is off to the staff of the Turbo Diesel Register for what I consider quite an accomplishment—the publication of 50 consecutive issues of the TDR quarterly magazine! The TDR magazine in its early issues averaged 30-40 pages. We now routinely enjoy 160 pages packed with information we need to know about our trucks. Check out the Ford and Chevy websites and the brand F magazine, and you’ll see that there is simply no comparison to the amount and quality of information related in the Turbo Diesel Register in both its printed and electronic forms. Now, we can look forward to the next 50 issues! As the club continues to grow, we writers and the editor need to keep in mind the growing diversity of readers for whom we work. Some members comment to me that many of the articles are too technical, while others thirst for more technical information and how-to articles. It’s impossible to satisfy everybody all of the time, but trying constitutes a worthwhile endeavor. Attending the various rallies and local meetings, I am frequently reminded that the crowd is appearing to be younger and younger. That’s probably my old eyes deceiving me. The long-term future of this club and its contributors lies in the likes of TDR member Roy Stroud of Tennessee, a tall guy who favors wide-brimmed straw hats and First Generation trucks, and who has the young man’s energy to tackle big repair jobs and learn from them. Roy may one day tackle writing about his experiences. My hat is off to him and the rest of you younger guys and gals we meet along the road who are the bright future of this outfit. All of us will surely continue to benefit.
Boost and EGT gauges help keep you running right. Robert figured out this dash mount in 1995 before pillar pods were available.
Any change in the normal readings of these two gauges will not only identify impending engine trouble, but will help diagnose the source of the problem. A lower than normal boost reading usually indicates a rubber boot has slipped under the clamp somewhere in the turbocharger and intercooler system. Lower or higher than normal exhaust gas temperature (pyrometer) readings can indicate a variety of problems ranging from a fuel filter that is clogging up to the need to shift to a lower gear when pulling in high gear at full throttle. The pyrometer is also used to ensure a long-enough idling period prior to shutting the engine down to avoid turbocharger bearing damage. The consequences of ignoring out-of-normal readings because you don’t have gauges can lead to repair bills that are many times the cost of the gauges, so they’re a good investment. The next item on the essential list is an engine exhaust brake if you drive in mountain areas or tow heavy loads. An exhaust brake will help you control your downhill speed while saving your regular
IDLE CLATTER . . . . Continued brakes for when they’re really needed. Exhaust brakes are also said to extend service brake life, and I agree, since the front brake pads on my truck currently have about 140,000 miles on them while the rear brake shoes have about 194,000 on them. I guess you could say the exhaust brake on my truck has paid for itself in brake life alone! The fourth accessory I mention will be conditional. If your truck is equipped with an automatic transmission and you haul or tow heavy loads, I would install a transmission temperature gauge. The reasons you need this gauge are covered later in this column. A new accessory offered in the Geno’s Garage catalog inserted with this issue of the Turbo Diesel Register magazine has to be classified as “the perfect Christmas gift.” It’s called a backup camera, and uses a small dash-mounted color video screen that is very clear. The weatherproof camera is very small and can be mounted almost anywhere. It works well in low-light situations, too. I’m impressed! I’m also impressed with the price, which is about one-half of what I expected to pay. Hint to Diana Memmolo: Sam needs one of these on the new motorhome and an additional camera for the trailer.
JOHN SURFACES AGAIN! Some years ago, I attended a Great Lakes TDR rally at John Colone’s very successful Dodge dealership in Pinkney, Michigan, where about 175 trucks and lots of TDR folks, including your writer, had a great time. I did not learn until later how great the experience would become. There were seminars, a visit to Hell, Michigan, where John was starting to promote the little town as a fun and slightly scary place to visit. The rally also included a very informative trip to Daimler and Chrysler’s automotive proving ground at Chelsea, Michigan. Shortly after the rally, John sold his dealership and sorta dropped from the Dodge related automotive scene; but recently, our local Tennessee newspaper carried an article with John’s picture promoting the town of Hell and a comic book depiction of a trip to the scary little town. It was a pleasure for this writer to see that John is still doing well. He greatly impressed me when we talked during the rally about his philosophy of running a business with utmost integrity and selflessness. He was always much more concerned about his employees than himself. I found this to be typical of John. I learned a great deal from him, not realizing the full impact of our conversations at the time. Whenever you’re in the area, visit Hell, and hopefully you’ll also get to meet this good man. His near-death Vietnam experience has made every day since that time a gift. He’s a walking inspiration. THE E-MAIL MILL Okay, we gotta do some internal housekeeping here. As you know, everybody’s e-mail inbox gets more and more crowded with junk e-mail called spam. I have put anti-spam software in place to block out much of that unwanted stuff that takes so long to download and then delete. To be sure I get your e-mail, please put the words Dodge or Cummins or TDR or other similar words in the subject line to ensure your e-mail gets through to me, and I’ll be very happy to answer your questions in a timely manner.
Backup camera and color display screen. Jim’s pick for Santa to deliver to him.
Not only would this great accessory be useful in any backing situation involving an empty truck by giving you a good view of that huge blind area directly behind and below your tailgate, but using a camera to hitch up to your trailer would take all of the guesswork out of that ornery job. Adding a second camera to the rear of the trailer also could make backing your rig into a tight place a breeze. Check it out. On each of my last three trucks, I’ve spent an average of $5,000 on accessories to make them suitable for my long distance towing needs and to satisfy my desires for beauty. I hope you can get your truck exactly the way you want it for less. Be sure to reserve some money in order to take your best buddy out for a nice evening in your great looking truck. He/she will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Your e-mail should not include any jokes, forwards, pictures, or attachments or they will be deleted without opening, since these all take much longer to download. If you have my e-mail address in your computer, please delete it from your blanket mail list that you use for jokes, pictures and forwards to your buddies. You’d be amazed at how many e-mails I get from members that are a blanket mailing to family or friends, forwarding a joke or notifying me of a family picnic! I bet you really don’t want me to show up at your picnic in my smoky Goat, even if I bring a dish. And, of course, if your computer becomes infected with a virus, most capture your address list and broadcast the virus to everyone’s computer on that list—including mine. I’ve had to put these restrictions in place, since we travel a lot and usually are borrowing a campground’s business phone line to do a quick e-mail download/upload.In discussions with other writers for the TDR magazine, I have found they also would appreciate the same courtesies when you send them an e-mail. Like me, they’re glad to hear from you when you have a question about your truck and want to promptly answer your questions, but don’t have the time or don’t enjoy wading through unnecessary correspondence.
IDLE CLATTER . . . . Continued DIESEL FUEL ALTERNATIVES As fuel prices soar, and particularly since the difference in per-gallon price of gasoline versus diesel continues to widen (not in our favor), members are contacting me asking for ways to cut their fuel bills. My first suggestion is always the same—plan trips better and drive less! I’ve also had several inquiries from members asking about adding additives to diesel fuel to run in their trucks.
For the foreseeable future, Cummins recommends sticking with #2 or #1 (or a mix) diesel fuel only or an approved, commercially available, 95/5 biodiesel mix, and avoiding the use of any other fuel or fuel mixture in your Ram’s diesel engine. This recommendation would be particularly true for ’98.5 to current Cummins 24-valve engines, all of which have a much more sophisticated and complicated fuel injection system than the earlier model engines. THE VP QUIT Several members have recently contacted me about VP-44 fuel injection pump failure. This common problem has long plagued owners of ’98.5-’02, 24-valve trucks, but is rather easily prevented. The VP-44 fuel injection pump is lubricated by diesel fuel, which is fed under pressure by the fuel lift pump. A failing fuel lift pump inadequately supplies fuel in the proper quantity and pressure, thus starving and damaging the VP-44 injection pump. As I said here, and in past issues of the TDR magazine, adding a fuel pressure gauge and monitoring it for proper pressure will give you warning of the lift pump’s demise, thus saving the VP-44 from failure. Yep, we wish the lift pump was of a better design, and the replacement part from Cummins or Dodge has been superseded many times. 2007 EMISSIONS
‘Ole Jim adds veggie oil to his truck’s fuel tank. Exhaust smells like fries. Engine life is now suspect.
First, Cummins Engine Company’s official position was outlined in a bulletin back in December of 2001. For detailed information on Cummins position on fuel alternatives see Issue 34, page 106, and realize that their position has not changed since the December 2001 bulletin. The balance of the commentary is presented in order to illustrate the measures some are taking to save a dollar. Pennywise, pound foolish? Alternate fuels now being offered at some stations or backyard tanks, and others that are under research and possible development may include: Farm or off-road diesel fuel that does not include road taxes in its pump price. The fine for having this in your tank is $10,000 per day if you’re caught driving on the highway. No deal there! Propane injection has also been tried for use as a diesel fuel extender, but the price per gallon of propane is often close to that of diesel fuel for a net savings of zero. Vegetable based cooking oils, 100% veggie oil, either new or used, are available at the back door of lots of restaurants and at every grocery store. Price-wise new cooking oil is greater than $4/gallon. Used cooking oil? Yes, it can be filtered and cleaned, but it is not an approved fuel source. Biodiesel, a 20% blend of modified vegetable oils and 80% # 2 diesel fuel, available in some larger metropolitan markets.
To avoid any misunderstanding by Turbo Diesel Register members, you will not have to do anything to your truck to meet the upcoming 2007 emissions laws that we have written so much about. A few members have inquired if their 19xx or 20xx truck must be modified to meet 2007 emissions standards. The answer is NO. Your truck is only required to meet the emissions standard of the year of manufacture. TO TRADE—OR NOT TDR member Harvey Barlow of Lubbock, Texas, is among the several who have been following articles in this magazine about the upcoming change in 2007 emissions requirements. Many wrote to ask my opinion about trading their existing truck for a new 2006 model and also asked if it would be better to wait until 2007 to trade. All I can offer is my opinion, which is that if you need a new truck now, why wait? The 2006 truck’s engine will likely be about the same as the 2005 engine, while the 2007 engine will be penalized by added complexity to meet the new emissions standards, which translates into added cost for the hardware and greater operating cost. In Harvey’s case, he uses his truck for business, and his ‘01 truck has more than 225,000 miles on the odometer. He needs utmost dependability and at his current truck’s mileage several major components are reaching overhaul time. High mileage TDR member trucks are known to need an alternator, a clutch, and perhaps a transmission rebuild around the above mileage. In Harvey’s case, perhaps it is better to sink the money that would be spent on rebuilds into a new truck with fresh components instead of fixing his old truck. Harvey and I had previously met at a TDR National Rally at Columbus, Indiana, where we enjoyed a conversation about trucks; and it was nice to hear from him again.
IDLE CLATTER . . . . Continued AUTOMATIC REMINDER
Several Turbo Diesel Register members have lately inquired about checking their automatic transmission’s fluid level and about cooling a hot transmission. Both of these situations require the engine to be running with the transmission in Neutral, not in Park. The transmission oil pump runs when the transmission is in Neutral and in all drive positions, but it doesn’t run when the transmission is in Park position. When the transmission is in Park and the pump is stopped, the oil level reading won’t be accurate. (It will show higher than it actually is.) If the transmission is hot, or overheated, running the engine with the transmission in Neutral will circulate transmission fluid to the transmission cooler, thus quickly bringing down the fluid temperature.
TDR member Alfredo Camino, of Lima, Peru (yep, we’re truly an international membership organization) e-mailed me for information regarding a failed fifth-gear in his truc,k. We folks in the US have had lots of info on this common problem, but since Dodge Ram diesels are apparently pretty rare in Peru, Alfredo was at a loss for a solution and information. You can get more information about this problem in my Issue 49 Idle Clatter column.
Automatic transmission oil temperature should not be allowed to exceed 230° as measured in the oil pan. For every ten degrees above this temperature, transmission life can be cut by as much as 50 percent. Therefore, if you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer with an automatic transmission equipped truck, I always recommend you install and monitor a transmission temperature gauge. Gauges and temperature probes are available through Geno’s Garage and from many other TDR magazine advertisers, so obtaining the hardware is easy. Installation is easy, too, and the cost is low, especially when compared to the cost of a failure and associated downtime. Issue 42, page 106, has detailed information on transmission temperatures. MORE COOLING STORIES We enjoyed a nice lunch with members Hal and Dianne Neumann while in the Las Vegas area, and subsequent e-mails from Hal outlined a different way of driving his automatic transmission equipped truck when towing his heavy travel trailer to avoid transmission overheating. When you live in the western US, long, steep grades are a routine part of towing, and Hal mentioned that his transmission often ran too hot. He found that manually shifting the transmission into second, or even first gear rather than letting the transmission decide the downshift would help it run cooler. He also said the transmission cools off quicker when you encounter a flatter spot in a long grade when it is in second or first gear. When the torque converter clutch is unlocked, it is the largest heat producer in the transmission. It is normally locked in overdrive, and will also (on most models) lock up in 3rd gear (direct) when the OD button is punched off to lock-out overdrive. The converter will not lock up in second or first gear except in the newest 48RE version that can lock up in second. But . . . in second or first, the engine is also turning faster and thus the transmission’s oil pump is turning faster which, in turn, circulates the transmission fluid faster through the transmission oil cooler. With less load on the engine and transmission, and oil circulating faster through the cooler, maybe Hal has hit upon a better way to drive an automatic on steep mountain grades. Since each truck/trailer combo behaves differently, maybe Hal’s driving method will work for you; and it’s sure worth a try next time you encounter a long grade with a heavy load behind your truck. This is one transmission modification that could be called “free.”
He was concerned that he had major transmission problems, but I assured him that loss of fifth-gear in his NV4500HD transmission probably wasn’t going to require big bucks to fix. Since fifth-gear is located outside the main transmission case in the tailshaft housing, you don’t normally even have to take the transmission out of the truck to do a repair. Dodge dealers sell a revised nut and crush washer along with specific installation instructions. Most owners have had no further trouble with the fifth-gear coming loose after installing the revised nut and washer, while a few members have reported that the fix didn’t last and a new gear and/or transmission output shaft had to be installed before the fix became permanent. TDR advertisers Standard Transmission in Texas, and Blumenthal Heavy Duty of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, also make a fully splined transmission output shaft for an even stronger fix. See their ads in this TDR issue. STUMPED STARTER A member from Pennsylvania called to say that his truck wouldn’t start, but if he used jumper cables from another vehicle to initially start the vehicle, the truck would restart just fine the rest of the day until it had sat overnight. Then he had to repeat the jump-start routine. Since the starter obviously works and the engine is getting fuel okay, we must look at the primary side of the starting system. A solution, often overlooked by members during troubleshooting, is to clean all battery cable ends. Most check/clean the ends at the battery posts, but few remember to check the other ends deep in the innards of the engine bay. A loose or corroded battery ground cable connection on the side of the engine will not permit a complete electrical circuit, thus preventing an engine start. Likewise, a poor positive battery cable connection at the starter solenoid will prevent proper power from turning the starter. Remove each cable end, clean the cable end and the contact area around the bolt with a wire brush or other suitable tool. The cable ends must be shiny and free of burrs that prevent the entire surface of the cable end from making complete contact. Coat the cable end and bolt and nut with dielectric grease during reassembly to ensure a good electrical connection. Next, load test the batteries to make sure they are supplying the required power while under a load. A battery that has a bad cell or a poor internal connection will not supply the required 12-volts under load. The starter solenoid is next on the list for inspection. Corroded or burned contacts within the solenoid can cause all sorts of starting problems. Fortunately, the kit sold by Larry B (see his ad in this magazine) will quickly and inexpensively renew the electrical section of the solenoid. See the how-to article in Issue 49, page 152, for greater details.
IDLE CLATTER . . . . Continued The engine starter has proven to be a very durable piece of equipment and seldom gives trouble, but if you suspect a starter problem, remove it (not a fun job) and have your favorite starter/ generator shop inspect and rebuild it if necessary. The cost of this service is normally less than the cost of a rebuilt starter and lots cheaper than the cost of a new starter. OTHER ELECTRICAL QUESTIONS A member inquired about wiring problems on his ’99 truck. The fog lights quit working, but when he ran a new ground wire from the headlight switch, the fog lights came on all the time, regardless of switch position. He wanted to know why that happened. I advised him to replace the switch. When checking electrical circuits, it’s important to understand how the circuit is wired. There are two basic ways a circuit can be wired from the OEM. On some vehicles, battery voltage runs through a fuse or circuit breaker for protection. Then the fused current runs through the wires to the switch. When the switch is moved to the “on” position, the current flows through the lamp or accessory that is being activated to ground. There has to be a complete circuit from the battery positive (B+) through the entire circuit and back to the ground or negative terminal of the battery. Another scenario, which is found in later vehicles, is that the current runs from the battery (B+), through a fuse or circuit breaker, and then on to the lamp or accessory and through it to the switch. When the switch is moved to the “on” position, the switch actually completes the circuit to ground.
Both of these examples underscore the need for good solid electrical connections, with the ground side being more crucial than ever. On most circuits, the electrical load or current flow is heavy enough that a relay is used in the circuit. This allows for the heavy current to run from B+ through the fuse to the relay. When the relay closes, it connects B+ to the load. In a relay setup, the switch is used solely to activate or operate the relay. Common relay circuits include things like driving or fog lights, electric cooling fans, etc. The use of a relay allows smaller gauge wires to be used to and from the switch, and a shorter, better current path with less resistance to the lights or accessory. The net gain is brighter illumination, and better electrical accessory operation. Get a book on basic electrical troubleshooting, and be sure you understand “Ohm’s Law.” It will make your life a lot easier, and you can impress your friends with your electrical prowess. JUERGEN FALLS Juergen Schrempp, the head honcho at Mercedes who disguised the takeover of Chrysler as a “merger of equals,” was recently told to resign as head of the automotive conglomerate by his board of directors. I’m told many in the company who never had liked his “loose cannon” style were not sorry about his departure. Shrempp is succeeded at the DCX helm by Dieter Zetsche, who recently ran the Chrysler division. Thomas La Sorda has been appointed as Chrysler’s new boss.
IDLE CLATTER . . . . Continued JIM’S TRAVELS We ended Issue 49’s narrative while in Las Vegas in May. After a great stay in this gaudy city, we hooked up our home on wheels and headed north on I-15 to Utah to experience that state’s awesome scenery. Utah surely contains more state and national parks than any other state, so we had to do some picking and choosing to narrow the selection to suit our travel schedule and fuel budget. First on our list were Zion Canyon National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. These two jewels in southern Utah are near each other, and both offer spectacular views of crags and peaks formed from sandstone of colors varying from white through pink to red. Each park offers its unique viewing perspective. Zion is viewed from the bottom of the canyon with sheer rock faces soaring upward on both sides. If you look carefully, some rock faces are decorated by climbers on long ropes going for the top. On the other hand, Bryce Canyon National Park is viewed from the top, looking down on crags and peaks from the rim. Therefore, each park is unique in its own way. Since sandstone is soft rock, it has eroded over time into spectacular shapes, sometimes looking like a column of rounded rocks that appear ready to topple at any time. These are called “Hoodoos.” Both parks are served by propane-powered free shuttle buses that make frequent stops along their routes so you can get off, hike awhile, and get back on to go to another location. A Zion National Park bus driver told me the shuttle system was created to cut pollution and vehicle crowding since 7,000 vehicles frequently compete for only 250 parking spaces along the single two-lane canyon road. The bus systems in both parks have completely eliminated the vexing vehicle problem while providing clean, quick transportation to wherever you want to go, and we really enjoyed being able to ride and sightsee rather than watching the road and vehicles in front.
Members Bill Carlyle and ‘ole Jim with Zion N.P. propane bus.
Touring in these or any other parks requires that you be prepared with proper clothing for the high altitude locations (6,000-10,000 feet above sea level), and that you bring along plenty of liquids, since the humidity averages about 10-15%. You can quickly become dehydrated. Of course, your trip won’t be complete unless you bring back plenty of pictures to pass around among family and friends,
so equip yourself with a good camera, preferably with a long lens, and with plenty of film or digital capacity! Because much of the rock is reddish in color, the most spectacular pictures are taken near sunset when the red sun is low in the sky to make the red hills and shadows stand out even more. Of course, Mr. Murphy of “Murphy’s Law” was riding on our shoulder during the sightseeing and laid his awful hand on our nice digital camera which quit working. Therefore we have few pictures of our trip and lost several photos we had planned to use in this and other articles. It cost $200 to get it fixed after we returned home and the lost photos are gone forever. Bummer! Both parks enjoy the services of internal restaurants, a lodge, campgrounds, and other tourist amenities, And each park entrance has a nearby town with more of these services plus nice campgrounds, motels and hotels. Prices for tourist services, though higher than in non-tourist areas, were about on par with other parks we’ve toured. Diesel fuel was priced at $2.49 a gallon during our visits, but we had filled up on the interstate earlier for $2.22 a gallon. Everywhere we traveled, diesel fuel was priced way above the cost of regular unleaded gasoline. What’s doin’? That difference has to be a marketing decision, since I’m told the cost of refining diesel is lower than for gasoline. Though wildlife is said to be plentiful in these parks, we didn’t see any animals other than a few rabbits and turkeys, and a few bugswhich weren’t the biting kind, but made big splats on our truck’s windshield. While in the area we also toured a state park that features petrified wood, before heading southeast to the north rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and we chose to view its vastness from the North Rim, a location that is less “touristy” than the South Rim viewpoint. We drove Highway 89 and then made a long uphill climb on 89A to Jacobs Lake, where we stashed the camper in a park. We then drove another 40 miles at altitudes up to 9,000 feet to the National Park’s Lodge. There were still snowdrifts lining the road’s edge. From the lodge you can look down into parts of this magnificent canyon while enjoying a meal or your favorite beverage on the expansive porch. The lodge was first built in 1928 and then rebuilt in 1938 after a fire. Today it and the surrounding log cabins maintain the original appearance. You can also take several walks and hikes from the lodge area and one trail even goes to the bottom of the canyon and up the other side more than ten miles away. We were not up for such a strenuous two-day hike and opted for easier trails. We also chose to take some side trips by truck off of the main road to view the canyon from several perspectives, though I don’t recommend driving the side roads in anything wider or longer than a pickup truck with retracted tow mirrors. Rangers at the lodge gave interesting talks on the canyon’s geology and about the re-introduction of the California Condor, a magnificent bird with a nine-foot wingspan that was all but extinct a few years ago. It has now survived due to an aggressive breeding program. We returned to civilization after a few days with a stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a visit with a favorite technical and mechanical guru, Joe Donnelly, who showed me his greatly expanded shop behind his house. Since he moved to Albuquerque
IDLE CLATTER . . . . Continued from the Las Vegas area, the wrench twistin’ business has been off, but that’ll soon change when customers hungry for more power begin to find him again. The Donnellys and the Andersons shared a great dinner and conversation atop 10,000 foot Sandia Mountain after a thrilling 20 minute tramway ride up the side of the mountain. The mountaintop restaurant’s food was excellent, though pricey, and the views of several surrounding towns and mountains were spectacular, especially after the sun went down. Since the town of Santa Fe was just up the road and on our route east (more or less), we spent a couple of days touring there. My wife, Peg, especially wanted to tour the artist Georgia O’Keefe’s museum. I’ve never understood the surrealist style of painting, since it can’t readily be applied to trucks. Am I a gearhead, or what? The rest of Santa Fe is pretty neat and summer is the time to be there to enjoy the cool days that come with life at 7,000 foot altitude. Almost all downtown buildings are in the pueblo style, making for an unusual skyline. It was finally time to head toward our Tennessee home base, since the truck, trailer, and small motorcycle that we carry on the truck were all needing some maintenance, and we were running low on money for fuel. So we said goodbye to New Mexico and hit I-40 eastward through the Panhandle of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee, all hotter, more humid, and much less scenic than what we’d just experienced. You know that you’ve left the desert when you spy the first clump of green trees and grasses!
gone up, reflecting an increasing cost of doing business, mostly due to rising fuel prices. Has our income increased? Nope. Will cost stop us from traveling? Nope. Since we live in an RV, why own one if you don’t travel? We’ll cut someplace else, since, like you, we live on a budget too. We arrived safely at our home base (a barn-like structure) to find everything just as we’d left it, and our trusty ’94 Dodge that had been sitting unused for several weeks started right up. Does life get any better? We are spending the rest of the summer in limited travel nearby (gotta save on diesel fuel), someplace with cool daytime temps. We enjoyed meeting many members on our previous trips and hope to meet you one day in our travels. Don’t think it’ll happen? I got a phone call recently from Charles Morton, a guy I met at a Golden Valley, Arizona, campground in May. I had given him a TDR brochure and he signed up and got his first issue of the Turbo Diesel Register, which contains my home phone number. He had questions about his truck, which I was glad to answer. That’s how this organization works! Gain knowledge, then pass it on. It’s fun! Speaking of fun, we hope you and your family have a fun and safe holiday season! Jim Anderson TDR Writer
As we traveled we noted that I-40 in New Mexico is well maintained and the route through Texas is pretty smooth too. Continuing east in Oklahoma the road is okay west of Oklahoma City, but gets downright pitiful east of the city for a couple of hundred miles. Arkansas’ portion of this superslab gets this TDR writer’s “thumbs up” for being most-improved, though there are sections still badly in need of rebuilding, particularly at and near West Memphis, Arkansas, where the bumps got our whole 34,000 pound rig airborne. Fortunately, we landed straight and in our lane. A nearby trucker commented on the CB radio that he’d never seen a flying RV before! Then we crossed the mighty Mississippi River into Memphis and more confusing road construction. In Tennessee, we were held up at three different wreck scenes. This portion of the route is well maintained, so why so many wrecks? Once in a while we run across a gem of a campground that we’ll pass on to you. This one is on I-40 at exit 255 at Checotah, Oklahoma. It is the Checotah/Lake Eufaula West KOA. Everywhere you look in this facility there are little touches that make it special, such as handmade cedar two-seat porch swings on every site in the back row. Here you can sit and contemplate a small pond the owner has built while you unwind after a day’s drive. If you’re not into the RV lifestyle, this KOA has basic cabins, too. The owner, Wade Phillips, is a TDR member who owns a nice ’97 2500 that has received the full Banks system treatment. I think it is great to be able to give my business to TDR members who own businesses where we travel, and I hope you’ll stop there too! Ask for a TDR discount. They serve a tasty breakfast and dinner for a reasonable price, too. We are frequently asked, “Is travel more expensive today?” Yep, we almost spent more for diesel fuel on this one trip than we spent all last year, so our next travels this year will be more limited. And everything from camping fees to restaurant and grocery bills has
Esoteric Dissertations on Manure Shoveling by John Holmes THEME—FAVORITE ACCESSORIES Editor in chief, Mr. Patton, tells me that I’m supposed to revisit a previous subject of “my favorite accessories.” Heck, that’s easy. I’ve never seen an accessory that I didn’t like. Seriously, I guess the most important one for us here in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is the exhaust brake. Unless you own a lot of stock in a manufacturer of brake pads/shoes, it’s a necessity if you’re towing a lot. Take your pick . . . Banks, BD, Pacbrake, Mopar/ Cummins/Jacobs, they all do a good job of providing retardation going downhill. They’re just a slightly more sophisticated version of your prank, as a kid, when you snuck next door and stuffed a potato up the tailpipe of your neighbor’s car, then watched to see what would happen. Beyond that, we also like the Cab Fresh Filter Kits that keep the dust and pollen out of the cab. That’s important when you live on dirt roads. Another thing from Geno’s that’s worked well is Wigidigit Block Heater Bumper Plug. We pull our block heater plug out in the fall and stuff it back behind the bumper in the spring. With this gadget you don’t have the cord swinging in the breeze for nearly half the year. (I must admit I miss the questions about “What is it?” I always told them that it was a totally electric truck and all you do is plug it in every night!) You just have this nice little hidden plug to connect to your extension cord. I wish they had something similar for the Second Generation rigs.
I was pleasantly surprised at how fast they also got a kit together for the ‘98-‘02 models. They all use the ‘05 in-tank fuel module, but, depending on the engine model you have, slightly different kits for the wiring harness and a plate to replace the fuel connections where the old pump was located. It takes around 3-4 hours to drop the tank, pull the old pump and install the new stuff. The kit retails for $445. Oh yes, I hear that when the supply of the old pumps runs out, you won’t be able to order them anymore . . . not that you would want to. EXHAUST BRAKES ON ’06 AUTOMATICS Remember, I write this column about four months before you read it so some of my stuff may be old hat, but anyway . . . Now you can order an exhaust brake with your new ‘06 Ram, be it stick or automatic. The funny thing is, at least at this time, they don’t assemble it at the factory. It still has to be installed by the dealer. It’s just a coordinated delivery; the truck and the brake arrive at the same time. If you’re ordering from a dealer that doesn’t handle a lot of diesel Rams you might want to be sure they have someone trained on the installation. Some dealers have never installed one. I’m still waiting for what we were told was going to be a TSB describing a “flash” (new software) for ‘05s that will upgrade them to ‘06 status so they are approved for exhaust brakes on automatics. The latest word is that it won’t be ready until next May. Stand by for further information. FEEDBACK
Considering street lights are non-existent in our neck of the woods, the White Night backup light package is the best thing since the invention of the sealed beam headlight. Naturally, all of our rigs sport Airtabs and the Muffler Elimination Kits. You can’t beat better stability, a cleaner back end and more noise . . . noise is good!
Speaking of pesky lift/transfer pumps, I finally got the FASS pump installed on our ‘02. I was on the third stock unit and it was failing, so that built a fire under me. The hang-up was that with the Mopar running board there was interference between its mounting bracket and the fuel pump since they are both supposed to be mounted in the same spot.
On the longevity side, we have lots of gauges to monitor everything so we can tell if any operating parameter gets out of line. In that vein, our rigs are equipped with the MagHytec transmission and differential covers to help with jerking five tons of hay out of the field without damaging expensive internal components. These things are essential if you’ve enhanced performance. TST, Banks and BD all make super performance options.
I wanted to develop a way to mount both in the same place with something you could buy at a local store. You see, at Carson Dodge we had too many customers wanting the FASS pump installation who also had running boards, and we couldn’t take the time to custom make brackets for each unit. I started prowling the aisles of hardware stores looking for just the thing to allow two items to occupy the same space.
I spotted something at Home Depot that they use in the construction industry. They are galvanized straps about 24” long used to fasten two pieces of lumber together (like when stacking one 4”x4” on top of another 4”x4”). Simpson makes one that’s perfect. It’s called a “strong tie connector” and even has holes that fit the bolts on the Mopar running board bracket.
In the last issue I talked about how Dodge was going to install the ‘05 in-tank lift/transfer pump in the ‘03s and ‘04s when there was a problem. They implemented that immediately. You can’t get the old setup now if you wanted it.
RANCH DRESSING . . . . Continued You simply remove the stock solid steel plate used as a forward mounting bracket for the rear running board. Measure the length from the bed mounting hole to the board mounting hole. Then you can cut off a couple of inches from the two straps that you will use to replace the original solid steel bracket.
From the front looking up at the FASS system.
From the back looking up at the FASS system.
After mounting the FASS pump, you can use its two 1/4” x 3” bolts, which go through the bed brace, to fasten the two straps by using the same nuts. Before drilling, carefully mark the two holes to match those two bolts while the other ends of the straps are bolted to the running board. Now you’ll have a clear path for the fuel lines in and out of the pump (which would have been blocked by the stock solid steel bracket). Everything else is in accordance with the FASS installation instructions. Now you have a choice of how you want to solve the problem of the poorly designed stock lift/transfer pump. By the way, this thing is incredible. It idles at 14-15 psi and at wide open throttle it’s still 14-15 psi! Compare that to the stock operation described below. I just wish I’d had the FASS from day one so I wouldn’t have had to change out three stock ones.
Observations: I’ve been watching the fuel pressure gauge on our ‘02 since it was new. After thousands of miles and three pumps, I now know why we replace so many injection pumps (along with a ton of lift pumps). The lift pump’s operation is intermittent and it gives the driver no indication of a problem. Some mornings I had zero pressure for a short while. At other times it came right up and idled at around 13 psi where it should be. Some times at a steady throttle during highway cruising I’d only see around 4-5 psi, but the next day it would be at the normal 9-10 psi. On the days when it was running low, if you try to pass traffic, the pressure dropped to zero from the demand of wide open throttle. Over time, this slowly destroys the VP-44 injection pump due to a lack of cooling and lubrication. As you may know, tolerances in those pumps are stated in microns, not fractions of an inch. It doesn’t take much to screw them up. It wouldn’t be so bad if the engine gave you some indication that you’re getting an inadequate flow from the pump, but the dang thing runs just fine. CAUTION! EVERYONE WITH A ‘98-‘02 24-VALVE RAM/CUMMINS SHOULD INSTALL A FUEL PRESSURE GAUGE OR THE PRESSURE SENSITIVE L.E.D. ON THE DASH SO YOU’RE AWARE OF WHAT’S GOING ON. Both are available at the many diesel specialty shops that advertise in the TDR as well as Geno’s Garage.
RANCH DRESSING . . . . Continued BIODIESEL I get the questions in every class about biodiesel. As you know, so far only 5% biodiesel is approved by Dodge/Cummins. Although Willie Nelson is singing the praises of 20% biodiesel at the truck stops, it can cause warranty problems if you use it in your Ram. Will diesels run on it? You bet! Diesels will run on about anything that’s liquid and can burn when ignited. However, there’s running and then there’s running right. Next come warranty issues and then there are EPA approvals. The old mechanically-controlled diesels were one thing; but today’s high tech, computer controlled, electronically fuel injected diesel engines are a totally different bag of tricks. Things are never simple. I can’t think of anything better than pulling into the drive-in and ordering a Big Mac with 30 gallons of french-fry grease to go. There was a great article on biodiesel in Forbes magazine (June 6, 2005) as well as a couple of stories in trucking magazines and other such publications. When you dig into the facts it seems that people think that electric cars don’t pollute. I get a chuckle out of that . . . like as if the power plant that makes the electricity is not burning coal or oil and doesn’t pollute . . . yeah, right! Biodiesel is more expensive than regular diesel, and it’d be totally ridiculous if it weren’t for the government subsidy of up to $1.00/ gallon. The farmers love it ‘cause they’re selling the soy beans to make it. The only problem is that it takes a lot of energy to convert those beans to liquid. You wind up with about a 27% loss when comparing energy consumed and energy produced. It’s no different with ethanol in gasoline. The energy ratio comes out at about a minus 29%! Too bad Congress never looks at these facts, just how big the check is to their campaign fund from the specialinterest lobbyist. SAFETY Teaching our granddaughter to drive reminds me that a lot of TDR readers, like myself, learned to drive a long time ago. Some of the things we were taught in those early days no longer apply. For example: • With four-wheel antilock brakes (ABS) don’t pump the brakes. The new way is to stand on them and steer. Let the computer pump the brakes as necessary. Yes, the pedal will probably sink and there’ll be a weird noise. Try it on a gravel road . . . get used to it before there’s an emergency. • Radial tires always have a “bulge” so it’s hard to tell if they’re low on air. Check your air at least once per quarter. Remember, you lose about 1 psi per month. • Air bags dictate different steering wheel hand positions. Today you should have them at about 9 and 3 o’clock so they are out of the way if that sucker goes off. It’s no fun if your hands are slammed into your face. You’ll be picking your wrist watch out of your teeth. Also, position the steering wheel (tilt) so that it points at your chest, not your face. • Steer into the skid, right? Yeah, if you’re driving a rear wheel drive. Not so with a front wheel drive. Also, keep in mind that today’s variable ratio power steering responds very quickly.
Have you noticed how many accidents are listed as running off the road, then over-correcting, followed by a rollover? This winter practice a little in a vacant, ice-covered parking lot. THE FUTURE There was an interesting article in Automotive News recently stating that Chrysler may be adding more diesels to their line, with the Jeep Grand Cherokee being the prime candidate. It seems the Jeep Liberty diesel has been a screaming success compared to original estimates. Tom LaSorda, Chrysler’s COO, said, “We can’t keep them on the lots.” The article goes on to explain that the Liberty sells within 18 days on the dealer’s lot compared to the industry norm of 40-50 days. This was never planned as a high volume vehicle, with only 5000 projected to be built. However, they had sold 6000 by July, which gives a pretty good indication of the market potential. The reputation of diesel engines as having greater longevity, better fuel economy (about 27%) plus producing about 20% less carbon dioxide than comparable gasoline engines gives them an edge, in spite of a higher initial purchase price. However, if the bureaucrats keep adding more taxes onto the price of diesel fuel (supposedly because 18 wheelers tear up the roads) that advantage may disappear. Another great article by John Stewart in MotorHome magazine discusses the question of whether diesels will be legislated out of existence. The article is based on an excellent interview with Gale Banks, one of the foremost experts on diesel technology. There’s a discussion on how we got this far with extremely high pressure injection, new injector design incorporating piezoelectric ceramics that allows them to change shape when an electric charge is applied plus multiple injections with up to ten holes in the injector nozzle. On the air side, we now have variable-geometry turbos which can give you the best of both worlds (quick spool up without over-boost) that you would get from a small and a large turbo in tandem. Then, of course, the use of an intercooler is necessary to get that air as cool and dense as possible. Couple all of this with new combustion chamber design and fuel carefully controlled by the latest in microprocessor technology, to burn every last drop of fuel, so that you can use a ceramic filter to trap any leftover pollution. Back this up with cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), which reduces the formation of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, and you’ve got a pretty clean power-plant. Of course all this requires extremely low-sulfur fuel that is quickly coming on line (some stations like ARCO are already dispensing the stuff). By the way, the new fuel won’t hurt the old engines, and you will not be able to, nor should you, use the old kind in the new high tech engines coming out in 2007. Think back to the early 70s with leaded versus unleaded gasoline and you’ll get the picture. Even with these low sulfur fuels and all sorts of electronic do-dads it’s going to be very difficult to meet the 2010 emission standards. Stay tuned, we’ll see what the engineers come up with.
RANCH DRESSING . . . . Continued INJECTORS
Speaking of injectors, we’ve been seeing some problems with the 2005s. We may have a design problem with the injector itself, incorrect positioning in the head, incorrect depth into the head or a problem with the software driving the multiple injections. More than likely it’s an incompatibility issue between the fuel we’re getting now and the injector’s design or perhaps the combustion temperature is dropping too low. Whatever it is, it’s causing excessive cold start smoke and a rough idle. Thus far the TSB “flash” for that problem doesn’t fix it.
Be careful of the wording/headings of Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs). I kept searching for a particular TSB regarding a driveability issue with our ‘05 Jeep Liberty diesel. There was one out for the exact problem, except that it stated it was for the European version only. Detroit said DO NOT “flash” your PCM with that program.
The bigger problem is when we call STAR for replacement parts and they ask “What’s the closed throttle percentage?” That figure can come in anywhere from 30%-50%. STAR then says the customer is idling the vehicle too much, so just put some injector cleaner in it . . . request for replacement injectors denied. When one of our demos plus another truck owned by a technician at Cummins Rocky Mountain in Reno got diagnosed as “idling too long” I said, “Wait a minute, I know how those two trucks have been driven.” An infrared temperature gun verified not one, but a couple, of bad injectors.
I was told the US version would soon be out after EPA approval. I waited and waited. There was only one TSB for our vehicle and it was for improper glow plug operation. I didn’t have a problem with my glow plugs. The engine started instantly. An inquiry to my old friend at Chrysler got me on the right track. The “glow plug” TSB had six drive ability issues incorporated in it. No mention of that in the title or in the write up. It was an extensive download, but it got the job done. The vehicle had a funny hesitation at each shift point, only when it was cold . . . weird. My point is that you have to sometimes dig past the obvious title to find out what is really going on with all of these computer reprogramming functions (flashes). You’ve been warned. PLAYTIME
This is a misuse of the stored computer data to avoid addressing the root cause of the problem. Closed throttle doesn’t equal idle time. There’s a very high percentage of driving time when the throttle is closed. Heck, when I come over Donner Summit on I-80, from California into Reno, my throttle is closed all the way down for 30-40 minutes . . . at 2000 rpm, not idle. This reminds me of the vibration problem that they just kissed off. Hopefully, by the time the next issue of TDR comes out I’ll have a better answer. In the meantime, you better add injector cleaner frequently in your 2005. TRANSMISSIONS Any of you that have driven the new G56 six-speed transmission probably noticed that the tach was showing higher revs for any given road speed than what you were used to on your old truck. Yep, there’s quite a difference. Top gear or overdrive in the new transmission is 21% (reduction), or another way to look at it is that you’re turning about 79% of what you would in direct drive or fifth gear. Going back to the NV 5600, it was 28% and going back even further to the NV4500, five-speed, it was 27%. Automatics are still at 31% which means going down the freeway you’re seeing 10% less in rpm than the guy running along side of you with a new stick shift. And people thought I was nuts when I said you can get better mileage on a long trip out of an automatic. HA!
Well, I survived a whole week of pretending I was a teenager again. Yeah, I was at my favorite automotive event, Hot August Nights. Since it was the 50th anniversary of the famous ‘55 Chevy, I drove our very rare ‘55 Chevy Cameo Carrier Pickup. I got lots of compliments on its restoration to bone-stock original, but the best reason for taking it along was that the event lived up to its name . . . HOT! That old rig never heats up, it’s easy on gas and the old HydraMatic saves a lot of wear and tear on the left leg when cruising in the stop-and-go traffic. John Holmes TDR Writer
A Feminine Perspective by Polly Holmes ACCESSORY FAVORITES Usually when we sell a truck, everything goes with it . . . all the goodies John has added. However, the one accessory I asked John to save and put on my new ‘03 was the Tail Grabber. It prevents the tailgate from falling down quickly and helps to bring it back up. Guys who load the ‘03 remark how nice it is NOT to have that heavy tailgate flop down on them. Ole Blue (‘94) doesn’t have anything like the Tail Grabber and when I let that tailgate down, or put it back up, it’s heavy. That’s when I realize just how much I like my Tail Grabber. For a while they weren’t available, but now I understand you can order a similar type of product from Geno’s. It is called a Gateglide and is their catalog. It is $99 and well worth it. I sure love mine. The cold air intake (advertisement, page __) that was added to my truck at May Madness has helped to keep the exhaust gas temperatures down. I was able to watch the gauge on the TST panel and it made a significant difference in the exhaust gas temperatures. The other item that helped with the response on the turbo was the Turbo Air Guide. Neither the TAG nor the cold air box modification is very expensive and both help with performance and mileage. The TST chip has given the ‘03 a little more pep and you can make adjustments so that it doesn’t allow the exhaust gas temperature to get too high. It has a nice gauge that sticks on the dash (hook and loop) and gives you exact readings on your exhaust gas temperature and boost. I can glance at this and keep track better than trying to read a gauge when I am driving.
had blossomed. The visitor’s center had a film that we watched showing thousands of blooms over the desert floor. Pahrump has some great RV parks. We took the time to tour around. I understand that May Madness will be at Pahrump next year. It should be a great place to host that event. More like May Madness was up North . . . quiet, laid back and friendly. Be sure, if you plan to come, to set aside some time to visit the Pahrump Winery. Also, be sure to take a side trip to Death Valley. LOVE IT . . . LOVE IT Since my ‘03 likes to bring up the “check engine” light once in a while the “Pluggers” in this issue is just perfect. The light goes away after about five starts. However, a bunch of things can bring up the check engine light, Hubby tells me. So, while it’s never a good idea to ignore a warning light, I‘ve learned not to panic when that one comes on. I just get him to clear the code with the computer at work.
The muffler elimination kit for the ‘03 gives it a nice sound (you can get that at Geno’s too) and all the guys go gaga over my huge exhaust. My shearer is a truck fan and always checks out the latest goodies when he comes to shear . . . he noticed the large exhaust first! PAHRUMP RAMBLINGS In early June we headed the big Cummins in the motor coach south to Pahrump, Nevada (that’s just west of Las Vegas). We stayed at the Pahrump Winery RV Park. The Winery has a great tasting room and a restaurant with delicious food. The grounds of the winery are cool with wonderful trees. They had a wedding on Sunday and it was a beautiful setting. The RV Park was well laid out and full hook-ups were provided. We really enjoyed touring the Pahrump Museum with its special room of Lincoln memorabilia. A trip into Death Valley, with lunch at the Furnace Creek Inn, made an interesting day. Death Valley had received extra rain this spring, so many of the desert flowers
I understand that May Madness will be at Pahrump next year. It should be a great place to host that event. More like May Madness was up North . . . quiet, laid back and friendly.
POLLY’S PICKUP . . . . Continued BLACK SHEEP GATHERING Later in June we headed up to Eugene, Oregon, for the Black Sheep Gathering, one of the top fiber shows in the country. John went with me this year and we towed the toy-hauler, which accommodates all of my stuff plus provides us with living quarters. The ‘03 did a great job of getting both of us and the goats up to Oregon. It was a busy weekend for me with the commercial booth and the goat show. Hubby caught up on his reading.
We saw a really nice First Generation truck owned by Bill Albright. In fact, there were lots of Dodges all over the place at the fairgrounds.
Defensive driving techniques were taught as well as awareness of how things can change rapidly when you are driving . . . you can have a stalled vehicle in the road . . . or, as I had happen one day last week, a vehicle passing didn’t have enough time to get back into its lane, so I had to pull way over to the right on the shoulder. Better to hit the dirt than have a head-on collision. The interesting part was that a Highway Patrol Officer was just coming up behind me and saw what had happened. The next thing I know he pulled a U-turn and the overheads light bar was illuminated. When I came back that way he had the driver who had run me off the road pulled over. Amanda and I went over to Fallon, Nevada, and toured the Churchill County Museum. I tried to tie this into the historical information that she saw at the Fort Churchill State Park located near our ranch in Silver Springs. We had driven over there and visited it one evening so she could say she’d been on part of the famous Pony Express Trail.
AMANDA VISITS Our granddaughter, Amanda, came to stay for a week and experience life in the country. One of John’s jobs when her mom was growing up was teaching her to drive, so now it was time for Amanda to learn. After a short introduction to the Jeep, the very next day it was off to Teen Driving School which is run by my racing driving instructor , E.T., at Reno-Fernley Raceway. It was a good program, not the DMV stuff, but awareness of your vehicle such as where the tires are in relation to the rest of the vehicle, going around an “S” cone course and some driving on the track. Poor Amanda had a little problem with the S’s and now our new Jeep is in the body shop . . . poor “Jeepnee.”
Fort Churchill was built for Indian protection in the 1800’s when the settlers were coming across in wagon trains. They used adobe bricks to build the Fort and many of the original structures are still partially in place. It was interesting to read about the kinds of illnesses that were treated in the hospital. The prison cell sure wouldn’t meet today’s “civil rights” standards!
POLLY’S PICKUP . . . . Continued The Churchill County Museum had information about Lake Lahontan and the building of its dam. It was one of the first projects done by the Corps of Engineers. My dad worked for the Corps of Engineers for many years. They had many interactive displays and some examples of early wedding dresses and other clothes. After the tour of the museum, we drove to Lattin Farms and had lunch in the country. Lattin Farms does a lot of baking of specialty breads. They also had a place where you could buy fresh vegetables and melons. I got several melons and some “Hearts of Gold” cantaloupes, which are raised exclusively in the Fallon area. They are very sweet and tasty. Amanda and I did some yarn dying while she was here. She picked out the colors and we dyed some yarn for her knitting. The yarn was a wool/mohair blend that had been spun from the sheep and mohair goats here on the ranch. Amanda said when she got home she would make a scarf to wear in the winter. We also over-dyed some natural colored mohair. She found that so much more interesting than shoveling manure! I thought a trip to the Nevada State Museum was in order. They have a really great display of an old ghost town, complete with a howling wind sound. As you exit that part of the museum, you go through a mine shaft that shows how gold was mined and the tools that were used before Nevada even became a state. A coin press that minted the famous Carson City silver dollars during the Civil War is on display and still mints coins for special occasions. The main gallery featured a display of photographs from the desert and mountain areas of Nevada and Utah. It had many striking examples of the beauty of these areas. (I know, some of you folks back east think deserts are dead—not so.) Nearby was an interesting exhibit of Nevada’s rich Indian history. Oops, I almost forgot, Grand-papa John took Amanda out in the Viper for a spin. Naturally we had to take some pictures of that event. I’m sure that will make her a hit with all the young guys back in the San Francisco Bay Area where she lives. Go girl, go! STOW AND GOAT Every year in Texas they have several large Angora goat auctions. If you buy something, the trick is to get the goats home. I have been advised that it’s not possible to rent a cargo van for a one way trip in the area where the auctions are held. So you either bring a trailer or, you do as some friends did, you rent a Stow-and-Go Chrysler or Dodge mini-van. These friends folded down the seats, laid down a large tarp, added some kitty litter to absorb urine and loaded in the goats. Off they went driving straight home to Carson City. At home, they unloaded the goats, took out the tarp and the kitty litter. Made sure the van was tidy and turned it back none the worse for wear. They liked that van so well that they are now considering buying one to replace a brand “C” product. You gotta do what you gotta do. So we now call the mini vans Stow and Goat instead of Stow and Go.
RECIPE This time I’m including two great cake recipes from our ranch helper. Virginia Shanks does everything. She helps with the critters, with the garden and with cleaning out our rentals. She’s also a good cook. West Coast Earthquake Cake 1 cup pecan pieces chopped 1 stick margarine 1 cup flaked coconut 1 8oz. cream cheese 1 cup chocolate chips 1 pound powdered sugar 1 German Chocolate Cake Mix Butter a 9” X 13” pan and layer pecans, coconut and chips. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake mix according to package directions and pour over layered ingredients. Melt margarine and cream cheese over low heat and stir in powdered sugar. Mix well and spoon over cake. DO NOT SPREAD. Bake 50 minutes. The Cake That Won’t Last 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained 3 large bananas 1 cup chopped pecans 1-1/4 cup oil 3 cups sugar 3 cups flour
Mix ingredients together well by hand. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan. Add batter and bake at 350 for 40 to 60 minutes until cake tests done. Frosting: 1 box sifted powdered sugar 1 8oz. package cream cheese ½ cup margarine 1/8 tsp. vanilla Cream together until fluffy; frost cake. Or use ready-made cream cheese frosting. Keep cake in refrigerator. MAKIN’ A LIST The holiday season will be upon us as you read this TDR Issue so I figure it’s time to put my wish list together. I love the commercials for all the jewelry stores that air at that time of year. In one commercial, the lady rejects a 500 hp sports car in favor of the diamonds they are selling. I felt like calling in and saying, “Forget the diamonds, give me that 500 hp sports car!” This reminds me of the first item on my wish list . . . another day at the track with my instructor, E.T., and my Viper GTS. (Perhaps, I can even entice Editor Patton to come out for a run. I know, I know, Nevada is a long way from Georgia, but we can use “the snake”.) Polly Holmes TDR Writer
2 eggs 1 tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp. vanilla 1 tsp. soda Pinch of salt
Fusion: the merging of different elements into a union. Each quarter TDR writer and magazine editor for Machine Design, Ron Khol, shares his thoughts on the Turbo Diesel ownership experience. His adventures are likely to encompass the merging of many different elements into a union to make up his diverse column. Enjoy Ron’s writing in Khol Fusion. MY FAVORITE ACCESSORIES When the editor suggested that columnists for Issue 50 begin with a discussion of our favorites truck accessories, the first thing I did was make a list of accessories ordered as factory options when I bought my ‘02 Turbo Diesel, Quad Cab, short bed. Then I listed the ones bought as aftermarket items. Finally, there are a few accessories I built myself, either because they weren’t available locally or I could tailor them more precisely to what I wanted. In all, I counted 22 items options and accessories above and beyond the basic truck. Factory options accounted for 15 of them, three were aftermarket items, and I made four items myself. Also, there are certain “accessories” that may or may not be part of base packages but which I consider to be “givens” when buying a pickup truck today. These accessories are four-wheel drive, air conditioning, and a basic radio and tape player. I don’t know how to categorize back-up lights. They are definitely a given, but on some vehicles they may be part of a safety package. Finally, there are the chimes that sound if you leave your vehicle with the lights on or with the key in the ignition. I also categorize this accessory as a necessity. At any rate, I took each of the three categories and listed accessories in each according to my priorities. FACTORY OPTIONS Block Heater: For any diesel truck driven in cold-weather climates, I rate a block heater as the Number One accessory. You may not really need it for the life of the truck, but there is no way telling just how much drain it saves on your batteries. If I expect overnight temperatures to dip near 30 degrees, I routinely plug in my heater. In this connection I refer you to the Geno’s Garage catalog and the block heater bumper plug. I don’t use that particular accessory, but I have strung a heavy-weight outdoor extension chord from the heater and along the frame to the back bumper. I had a “Three Stooges” episode with my heater extension chord described in Issue 48 on page 134. Floor Mats: For owners trying to keep their OEM carpeting in pristine condition, the question isn’t whether or not they will have floor mats. It is how many layers deep their mats will go. In my truck, my first layer is the factory-option mats made of carpeting, and the second
layer is a set of dealer-installed rubber mats. All of this, in turn, is protected by a set of homemade mats cut from a coil of industrial rubber I picked up at a house sale. So I have three owner-installed layers on top of the factory installed carpeting. I have seen so many owners protecting their protective mats with additional protective layers that I have begun to wonder whether or not the factory concept of floor protection needs rethinking. Most pickups today are delivered with plush carpeting as the base layer of the floor, and almost no one leaves this carpeting exposed. Perhaps the lowest level shouldn’t be plush carpeting but a return to the rubber floor that used to be typical. Then the owner could decide whether to add protective layers as durable rubber coverings or as plush carpeting. Of course, we could really think out of the box and have the floor be removable metal panels instead of a solid pan. This would provide convenient through-the-pan access to avoid chopping or hacking if major work has to be done on the vehicle. Old-timers will remember that the floor structure was originally referred to as “floor boards.” Could I be so audacious as to suggest that wood again might play a role in the floor structure as it did in the past? Running Boards and Splash Shields: I’ve lumped these two accessories together because in my eye they belong as a pair. Running boards serve the obvious purpose of protecting the tuckunder sheet metal at the bottom of the body, while also providing a foothold for climbing into trucks with a tall stature. Splash shields continue the splash continuity protection up the wheel well. My running boards and splash shield are matching aluminum diamond plate, so I also think of them as an appearance item. Finally, the running boards help protect the lower body from people who are careless about letting their doors swing open against your vehicle.
KHOL FUSION . . . . Continued Bed Liner: This one is a no-brainer. I ordered the factory option here. Remote Adjustable Mirrors: I rate remote adjustable rear-view mirrors as close to a zero priority accessory if you are the sole driver of your vehicle. I didn’t have them on my ‘89 Ford Ranger. But what my wife and I discovered is that if we are routinely changing drivers, as on long trips, not having remote adjustable mirrors is a real pain. Often on long trips, I would stay behind the wheel until I was overfatigued simply because I wanted to avoid the hassle of repeated mirror adjustments. A downside of remote adjustable mirrors is that they are expensive to replace if you ding them. Remote Keyless Entry and Theft Deterrent: There is some question in my mind about whether this option should be Number One overall, and it probably should be if the theft deterrent is effective. The keyless entry, however, also provides a major convenience. Map Lights: This is a small point, but I find that having an interior light you can snap on quickly somehow seems to be more convenient than turning on the cab interior light. Also, map lights are less bright and less intrusive on night vision if you want a quick look at something while driving at night. Grill Guard: Over the course of decades, I have had considerable damage done to my vehicles while they were legally parked. Hit-andrun in a parking lot is one of the most prevalent of automotive crimes. Thus, beginning with the Ranger I bought in ‘89, I was determined to equip it with as much exterior armor as possible. Also not to be ignored is the fact that a rhino catcher on the front of a truck is one of the best-looking appearance items you can buy. Fog Lights: This item is a rarely used accessory; however, I sometimes do overnight driving through fog-prone hilly areas, and when fog hits the mountains, fog lights come in handy. Probably, in the last analysis, I bought fog lights to round out the appearance features of the grille and headlights. Trailer Hitch: I don’t tow a trailer and never intend to tow one, yet a trailer-hitch was one of the factory-options I ordered. The reason is that there was no back-bumper armor in the factory-option catalog. Yet a common occurrence for me is to sustain incidental damage of my back bumper from careless people in parking lots. So if anyone is going to nick or dent my bumper, they will first have to have their own vehicle deal with the frame-mounted trailer hitch on my vehicle.
Camper Special Group: As with my comments regarding a trailer, I do not own a camper nor expect ever to carry one. But I think of the Camper Group as a “Lift and Load Carrying Package.” In short, what I was trying to do here is max out the toughness of the truck suspension. Also, the several additional inches of lift that comes with the Camper Group adds to what I term the “aesthetic meanness” of the truck appearance. And one final thing is the additional parking lot protection that the lift provides. If through carelessness you tap my Ram in a parking lot, you have to deal with a trailer hitch that is 23 inches off the pavement, a running board that is 18 inches off the pavement, and a grille-guard cross member that is 33 inches off the pavement. Seat Heater: Well, let’s put it this way with the seat heater. My wife wanted it. To satisfy my own proclivities, however, I wouldn’t order one. AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES What I am terming aftermarket accessories is equipment I chose outside the Mopar catalog. CB Radio: With more truckers as well as civilians occupied with cell phones, mobile laptop computers, and CD players, CB Radios are no longer as important as they once were. But I still rate CBs as a necessity if you drive long stretches on the Interstates, especially for true interstate travel. And, it isn’t “Smokey alerts” or idle chatter that I am looking for. CBs are still pretty good for information on road closures and dealing with major traffic snafus when you are on highways you don’t usually travel. Global Positioning System: With regard to GPS, I am not talking about the $500 and up packages marketed for use in vehicles. I am talking much simpler units. My Garmin with remote antenna, for example, cost me under $300, and I don’t have software downloads. When it comes to the GPS, locating my position is not primarily the feature I want, although I do use it from time to time. What I use primarily is the digital speedometer readout, which I find useful in areas with radar and laser speed enforcement. Another useful feature is route planning, where the readout for distance to next checkpoint is something I use frequently. Finally, a GPS makes it easy to backtrack out of a confusing maze of streets such as might be found in a planned community.
Leather Seats: No, I didn’t order leather for luxury or a prestige appearance. Vinyl would have sufficed but wasn’t offered in the options catalog. The intent with leather was to get an impervious surface that wouldn’t absorb spilled milk or other liquids that might give off unpleasant odors as the stain ages and is baked by the sun. Overhead Console: The overhead LED console combines map lights with readouts of various data such as outside temperature, trip odometer, instant miles per gallon, trip mpg, and compass bearing. Aside from the utility of the map lights, I consider the overhead console to be mainly a toy appealing to the boy within the man. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, I consider the overhead console to be a desirable factory option.
KHOL FUSION . . . . Continued Radar Detector: The radar detector in my truck is rarely turned on. And one thing it definitely is not used for is to cruise at 80 mph on an Interstate with, say, a 65 mph limit. The only occasions on which I even consider using a radar detector is when I might be subject to an “ambush” speed trap in locations where I least expect to find one. I consider an ambush to be, for example, a trap in the middle of the night on a sparsely traveled rural highway. Even in such locations, however, I have fallen back to the habit of merely setting cruise control at perhaps 4 mph or so above the posted limit. Another common ambush encountered is that set up by small rural towns which have pronounced step downs in posted limits between incorporated and unincorporated areas. HOME-MADE ACCESSORIES Bed Side Rails: If there is one area of a pickup truck body that needs protection, it is the side rails. I like the retro look of wood used for the floorboards and side rails for the beds of classic pickup trucks of the 1950s and earlier. So for my ‘89 Ranger, I built an entire bed liner and side rails of wood. I stained it in a red mahogany and, if I do say so myself, it looked pretty spiffy. For my ‘02 Ram, I didn’t have the ambition to build an entire bed of wood and, besides, I felt the plastic liner would provide better overall protection. However, I also felt there would be certain advantages to having wooden side rails, mainly from the standpoint of mounting attachment fixtures. Also, I got a lot of the retro look I prefer. Another benefit of wood is its ability to sustain a lot of dings and nicks without looking beat-up. Air Conditioner Condenser Protector: To this point I’ve made frequent reference to exterior portions of a truck that obviously need protection. Once you open the hood, the air-conditioner condenser pops out at you as something that needs protection from rocks and other highway debris hurled into your path by other vehicles. A sheet of perforated sheetmetal, purchased at your local hardware store and properly folded, pretty much does the job. I jerry-rigged the mounting and attachment points and I am sure purists would be offended by the apparent absence of craftsmanship.
Bug Deflector: Every time I see a bug deflector mounted on a pickup truck, I try to eyeball the windshield inconspicuously to see which, if any, types of deflectors are effective. So far, I have yet to see any type of deflector that actually does the job. Since I have a large brush guard allowing me great latitude with regard to experimenting with attachment points, I have tried several home-made deflector variations. None of them worked really well, and my scientific eyeball tells me I am reaching the upper limits of deflector surface area before I begin creating serious problems with aerodynamic drag. Tool Box: When I built the aforementioned wooden bed liner for my ‘89 Ranger, I also built wooden matching chests to use as tool boxes. I saved one of them to use as a tool box in the bed of the ‘02 Ram. Again, this improvisation has been only marginally satisfactory, and the next time around, I believe I would go for something in the way of a factory option or aftermarket item. WISH LIST ACCESSORIES Back Bumper Protection: Despite the fact that back bumpers on Rams appear to be sturdy, I have had a lot of experience with back bumpers on my vehicles being damaged. Nearly all of this damage is of the hit-and-run variety or from aggravating stop-light collisions. Items offered by suppliers seem mostly to be overkill. So, as explained above, I elected to go with a frame mounted trailer hitch for back-bumper protection. Tailgate Protector: While it is quite easy to buy bed side-rail protection, the tailgate is another case. The top edge is vulnerable to the same type of damage typically inflicted on the bed. I’ve never found anything in a catalog to address the problem. Auxiliary Fuel Tank: Yes, I know that auxiliary fuel tanks are available in the aftermarket. But they appear to be difficult to install and in general represent overkill. In my mind, the best approach would be to have a modest-sized auxiliary tank available as a factory option. Ron Khol TDR Writer
You Might Be a Turbo Diesel Owner If...
You Might Be a Turbo Diesel Owner If...
There is a four-wheel truck parked in your bedroom.
You’re using your kid’s swing set as an engine hoist.
The air freshener in your truck smells better than your spouse.
Your truck and its motor are more than ten feet apart.
Acknowledgements to Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be A Redneck If” books and calendars. Find them at your local bookstore--great gifts!
A Cruise of a Lifetime, Hotrod Magazine’s Power Tour The phone rang several times before I could answer. “Hi Jerry,” sounding like my best friend, “Interest rates have never been so low, I can help you...” CLICK, I hung up. It was the third call this morning and I was about to turn the dang phone off. Ring…Ring…Ring…Ring, this time I’m going to give the (expletive) a piece of my mind. “WHAT,” I barked into the phone. “Hi Jerry, this is Peter Trydte from Gale Banks Engineering, are you all right?” “Sorry Peter, I wasn’t expecting your call, how are you?” Peter responded with a resounding, “I’m great, how about yourself; sounds like you’re a little stressed-out.” “I am sorry about that; I think I need an attitude adjustment.” Peter said,” I think I may have a solution for your stress. Gale Banks would like to invite you to join the Banks Gang on Hot Rod Magazine’s annual Power Tour.” “Wait a minute, I must be hearing things. Did you say you want me to join you for a week of fun, fun and more fun?” “Yes,” Peter said, “You will have the opportunity to drive any or all of the five trucks we are taking, including the famous Sidewinder, the World’s fastest diesel pickup truck.” “GET OUT,” I yelled. I looked up at my calendar and it was, uh huh, you guessed it, April fools day. “Peter, is this some kind of sick joke, I’m in no mood for…” “No, really, this is no joke; we really want YOU to join us.” I took a deep breath, pinched myself to make sure I was alive and politely accepted the invitation, still wary, due to it being the first of April. Fast-forward two months: I board a plane in Orange County, California, several hours later I’m in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Peter is there to pick me up. On our way to the hotel Peter tells me the next day is a car show for the general public and also for everyone starting the Power Tour. The Banks Gang, of which I am now an
honorary member, would be working the Banks display and greeting visitors. We met in the hotel lobby the next morning and caravaned to the venue. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but whatever it was, it wasn’t a sea of hotrods as far as the eye could see. The entire parking lot of Brewer stadium was filled with hotrods of every shape and form. I had never seen so many cool rides. I was like a kid in a candy store. I finished the day with over three hundred photos.
Peter, is this some kind of sick joke? The next morning we met back at Brewer Stadium for the official start of the Power Tour. This first day I chose to drive the Dodge Off-Road Sidewinder. (What an awesome machine. I’ll go into more detail in a later article.) We were headed for Springfield, Illinois. Each driver was given a two-way radio and we merely assumed a follow the leader pose, or so we thought. This first day on the road was uneventful with the exception of an unscheduled, “too much Starbucks bladder stop” by one of our gang members. (I won’t mention any names, Tim.) All we saw was Tim running down the side of the expressway waving his arms. The next thing I knew both vehicles in front of me swerved to the right-hand shoulder. I had to react fast to avoid rear-ending the Dakota Sidewinder. At this point I was starting to think it was going to be a long drive down to Florida. We arrived at our destination by mid afternoon, went to our hotel, had a late dinner and turned in by eleven. The next day started with breakfast, and a briefing, then on the road. Today I was driving the “Rat Rod,” or, as some have called it, “The Shop Truck.” This truck turned out to be the coolest of all our rides; in fact, the Rat Rod may well have been the neatest ride on
LIFE’S A BEACH . . . . Continued the entire Power Tour, hands down. This truck started life as a 1990 Chevrolet, standard cab, short bed, 454 SS. The optimum word is “started.” After Gale Banks Engineering completed their magic, this truck was completely redefined. Out with the big block, in with a small block 383, twin turbos, high-pressure fuel injection, slammed rear suspension, dropped front spindles, six-speed standard transmission, black primer paint, red rims with baby moons. The end result was an 1100 horsepower. Yes, you read that correctly, 1100 horsepower, fire breathin’ hotrod that stole the show. Put the pedal to the metal at highway speeds and the rear-end wants to swap places with the front end. Your spine is pinned to the seat. You find it hard to breathe. Yep, I was forced to endure all that and more. I was to spend the next two days cruising the highways, byways and back roads of Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky in the “Rat Rod,” an experience of a lifetime and one I’ll never forget.
most coveted of awards for the Best Burnout on the Power Tour. All Peter had to do to collect his award was to show up in court, pay a huge fine and apologize to the fine citizens of Nashville. This set the mood for the rest of the tour. Wherever the Banks Gang went, we were being goaded into struttin’ our stuff. Every day at the venue Peter would end up on stage giving away various Banks products. The problem was, whenever Peter would get on stage, the crowd, which consisted of several thousand people, would start chanting, “BURNOUT, BURNOUT, BURNOUT.” As things turned out, Peter’s name changed that afternoon. He will forever be known as Burnout. How cool is that? Occasionally, when a few of the Banks trucks were together in a parking lot at one of the venues, the boys would put on a show. “Light ‘em up” became a specialty of the Banks Gang, all to the dismay and frustration of whatever security company was on duty. (Burnout, you are The Man.)
On the third day we started as usual with breakfast and a pep talk by our leader, Peter. We mounted up and headed toward Nashville, Tennessee. This was to be a short day as days go; however, that was not to be. At the end of each day a few members of the Banks Gang would get together to fuel up the trucks. On this day the fueling hole happened to be across the street from Opryland. After fueling, our leader Peter chose to show several hundred people how much power a Banks diesel truck puts out. He decided to do a burnout to end all burnouts. This burnout was so awesome Peter received the
Day four: breakfast, pep talk and distribution of keys. Now, mind you, each day at this time I was given my choice of rides for the day. How could I eclipse my last two days? I got carried away with myself; I chose the Dakota Sidewinder, the world’s fastest diesel pickup truck (Issue 39, page 88). I drove this truck for the next two days and they were really long days. Well, consider that this truck does not like going slow, and it lets you know it all the time. This beast was made to do one thing and one thing only, go faaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssst.
LIFE’S A BEACH . . . . Continued
Midway through day four it started to rain. We were somewhere in Tennessee when the drizzle started. This light rain soon turned into a monsoon, which lasted for the next day and a half. Now, remember what I said about the world’s fastest diesel truck being built for one thing and one thing only, going fast? Well, why would you install windshield wipers on such a vehicle? You guessed it, you wouldn’t. Yep, no wipers, no defroster, no air and it was 100 degrees with 100% humidity. We smeared Rain-X on the windshield, inside and out, to no avail. I had two choices, stop (no way was I going to do that) or go really fast so the torrential rains would slip off the windshield. So, tell me if this makes sense (cuz it does to me), if going fast keeps some of the rain off the windshield, then going faster should keep more rain off the windshield. This seemed to work, but I was having a real hard time defogging the inside of the windshield. I finally chose to roll down the side windows, lots of water came in, but this seemed to help with the fog. I also had lots of towels on hand. Wow, all I can say is that the day and a half I spent in the Sidewinder was like being on Mr. Toads Wild Ride at Disneyland when I was a little kid. Finally, I radioed Peter (Burnout), and told him I couldn’t see squat. He suggested I follow him as closely as possible and he would turn on his emergency flashers. Bingo, that was the ticket. I stayed on his bumper for the next couple of hours, and the only thing I could see were his flashing taillights. Thanks Burnout, you saved the day and my hide (literally). The next few days were fairly mundane. The Banks Gang struttin’ their stuff doing burnouts, eating the best southern Bar-B-Q I had ever tasted, checking out hundreds of the coolest rides I had ever seen, more Bar-B-Q, driving extremely fast trucks, eating great Southern breakfasts, doing more burnouts, staying at really nice hotels, and laughing so hard at the Banks Gang that my sides hurt. We met up with Editor Patton down in Alabama. He joined us for dinner and some good story tellin’. I do believe spinnin’ a good yarn and pokin’ fun at us California boys goes with being in the South. All in all, this was a week I will never forget nor would I want to. I’m not sure what good deed I did to deserve this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I want to thank Gale Banks, the Banks Gang, Hot Rod Magazine and a multitude of great people too numerous to recount who crossed my path during the tour. You are all in my journal of life and as Bob Hope said, “Thanks for the memories.” Hey, Gale, if you need an extra body for next year, I’d like to throw my name in the hat for your consideration.
My Favorite Truck Accessories This issue our editor has asked us to share with you our choices of favorite truck accessories. An easy assignment for me, as I am asked on a weekly basis, “What would you add to your truck if you only had a budget of X dollars?” First and foremost, I would not own a diesel truck without an exhaust brake. I don’t care what make, although I do have my favorites. Second would be gauges. I personally want to know what is happening with my truck and its engine. I would start with a pyrometer to monitor the exhaust gas temperature with the probe mounted pre-turbo. I would also add a boost gauge, which tells about the pressure being forced into the cylinders. An automatic transmission needs a temperature gauge if one is going to pull anything this side of a Radio Flyer wagon. Last but not least, for those with the VP-44 fuel pump, would be a fuel pressure gauge. You need to know what the fuel system is doing to prevent damage to the VP-44 injector pump. Next, I would add a Power Step by AMP Research. These steps are a design that works with the ’03-’06 Quad Cab trucks. The steps extend and retract when any one of the four doors open or close on a Quad Cab truck. This item is not a necessity but a very nice addition, especially if one owns a four-wheel drive Quad Cab. I will end this list of gottahavits with a plug for a Painless Wiring system. Scott Dalgleish recently introduced me to this little gem. I have driven myself crazy for years wiring this and wiring that, always ending up frustrated. Scott, one of our esteemed journalists, told me that “I was living in the dark ages” and strongly suggested I give a Painless Wiring system a try. When I asked him, “How it would make my life better?” he showed me his Painless Wiring panel and installation craftsmanship that we all dream about. I immediately became a convert. I can honestly say, “I will never be without one of these little sub panels again.” Jerry Nielsen TDR Writer
In this issue the “Outstanding” column will highlight upcoming Turbo Diesel events and gatherings of special interest. My thanks to those TDR members, friends and companies that spend countless hours preparing to host the TDR membership at the various events. EVENTS 2005 AND 2006 Realizing that many TDR members like to attend motorsports/ open house/seminar/rally events with a common theme of Turbo Diesel ownership and camaraderie, we have put together a listing of upcomming events. The calendar includes events tailored specifically for Dodge/Cummins Turbo Diesel owners (TURBO DIESEL EVENTS). Such events are sponsored by a variety of business and club entities. The events may or may not have a charge for admission. Please check the headings closely for details. As the number of Turbo Diesel related events increases, it is necessary to add several points of clarification. First, the TDR staff is thankful for the contributions and volunteer efforts of local chapters in hosting, organizing and facilitating these local and regional gatherings. Appreciation and thanks should also be extended to the local event sponsor—typically a Dodge dealership, Cummins distributorship, or local performance shop. If you plan to attend, note that you will be required to send a check made out to the sponsor of the local event. The events require an enormous amount of time and resources. The TDR staff’s role in the planning, organizing, and logistics is limited and minimal. Credit for these events should be given to the event sponsor and local organizing personnel. A sincere “thank you” and a follow-up card from attendees can make a big difference in the scheduling of subsequent gatherings. Secondly, in the past the TDR and its paid staff have been involved in several national-type events. At those gatherings, your payment (albeit discounted, thanks to the financial support of DaimlerChrysler and Cummins) is made to the TDR. These national events carry with them an expectation for factory participation, organization, promptness, recognition, awards, vendor displays, entertainment, a chance to drive test vehicles, and—best of all—a chance to meet and renew friendships. As you make plans for travel to various events, you should calibrate your expectations accordingly. To complete the calendar, there are other events of interest to drivers of all makes and models of diesel pickups. These events (listed as OTHER DIESEL EVENTS) cater to a wider audience. Because we are writing this article in mid-September, the information presented is subject to change. Please realize that many people and groups—including Dodge, Cummins, TDR chapters, Dodge dealerships, Cummins distributors, independent shops—will be
your hosts and are working to make it happen, and in some cases complete event details are not available at this time. REGIONAL/LOCAL TURBO DIESEL EVENTS NOVEMBER 2005 What: Fifth Annual Sandia Showdown – Dealership open house at Auge’s Dodge. When: Saturday, November 12, 2005 Host/Where: TDR members Scott Dalgleish, Joe Donnelly, and the crew at Auge’s Dodge, Belen, NM (30 minutes south of Albuquerque), will host a day of Turbo Diesel seminars and best-dressed activities. More Information: The Auge’s dealership is also hosting a Friday night barbeque dinner for those TDR guests that are coming in from out of town. Contact the dealership at (800) 750-4482 for the details. Further details are on page 126 and an event sign-up sheet is on page 128. MAY 2006 What: Twelfth Annual May Madness 2006 – Pahrump, Nevada When: Monday, May 1 – Saturday, May 6, 2006 Host/Where: TDR member Joe Donnelly and his crew invite you to join them in Pahrump, Nevada at the Pahrump Nugget for a fun-filled week of seminars and activities. More Information: Page 130 has more information about the May 2006 event. An event registration form is on page 131. Mark your calendar and if you can make it to May Madness 2006 we suggest that you make your room or RV park reservations now. JUNE 2006 What: Turbo Diesel Tech 2006 – Columbus, Indiana When: Wednesday, June 21 – Friday, June 23, 2006 Host/Where: The TDR staff invites you to join us in Columbus, Indiana, at the CERAland RV park for a week of seminars and activities that lead up to a weekend of DHRA race activities in nearby Indianapolis, Indiana. More Information: Page 132 has more information about the Turbo Diesel Tech 2006 event. An event registration form is on page 133. Mark your calendars for Turbo Diesel Tech 2006. We suggest you make your room or RV park reservations now.
Out Standing In The Field . . . . Continued AUGE’S NOVEMBER MEET—FIFTH ANNUAL “SANDIA SHOWDOWN” Auge’s Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep Sales and Service will host the fifth annual Sandia Showdown, November 12, 2005. Located in the picturesque sleepy setting of Belen, New Mexico, the dealership is about a 45-minute drive south from Albuquerque, with sweeping vistas of the Sandia Mountains.
Join us for Diesel debates and Southwestern hospitality. Please complete the preregistration form on page 128 and mail it to: Auge’s Sales and Service, P.O. Box 497, Belen, NM 87002, 800-750-4482, www.augeboys.com Attn.: Sandia Showdown. Vendor inquiries contact: Scott Dalgleish at email@example.com.
This will be a great opportunity to come see and drive the allnew Dodge Mega Cab. Be the first one in your town to bring one home. The event will feature all of your favorite attractions, displays, seminars, and more. The Auge’s facility is large enough to accommodate a small Wrangle Your Ram driving course . . . any takers? The Best Dressed contest will be divided into more categories than before including pre/post 1994, two and four-wheel drive. How about the best hay hauler? Kick off the mud, sweep out the manure, and put on your best polish and join the fun. All of your favorite vendors will be in the Great Hall of Gottahavits, some for the very first time in this region. If you’ve been waiting for that “show special” this will be that time. At press time, the final details are in the works. Dodge Truck, Auge’s and the local TDR chapter are hosting the event. Registration is $15 per person and the price includes lunch and an event t-shirt. If you haven’t spent much time in this neck of the woods, you just haven’t lived until you’ve tried a hamburger with green chili on top!
Sandia Showdown 2005: Attendance at a dealer sponsored events are great learning opportunities.
Out Standing In The Field . . . . Continued
SIXTH ANNUAL “SANDIA SHOWDOWN” Sponsored by: Auge’s Dodge
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2005 at 10:00 AM
Held at Auge’s dealership, 650 E. River Road, Belen, New Mexico There will be food, beverages, door prizes, informative seminars, and fun for all. Complete schedule will be provided at the event. Registration/start time: 10AM REGISTRATION FORM Please print clearly
Registration # ______________________
(assigned by staff)
Name:____________________________________________________________Guest(s) Name:___________________________ Address: _________________________________________________________________________________________________ City:______________________________________________________________State:__________Zip:_ ____________________ Phone:______________________________________Model: ___________________________ Year: _______________________ Registration is $15.00 per person and includes an event t-shirt and lunch. Please indicate size ____S ____M ____L ____XL ____XXL ____XXXL @ $15.00 each................................_______ ____ I would like to enter my truck in the “Best Dressed Truck” Contest 2WD____ 4WD____ ____ I wish to attend the event, but not enter my truck in the contest. Total amount enclosed: $ _______ Additional shirts may be purchased at the event for $10.00 each. Please send completed form and check made payable to Auge’s Dodge for the total amount to: Auge’s Sales and Service, PO Box 497, 650 E. River Road, Belen, NM 87002. Questions, contact: Auge’s Dodge (800) 750-4482. Vendors contact: Scott Dalgleish at scottdal@ earthlink.net.
JOIN TURBO DIESEL OWNERS FOR THE SIXTH ANNUAL “SANDIA SHOWDOWN” MAIL OR FAX YOUR REGISTRATION TODAY! Auge’s Sales and Service
650 E. River Road, PO Box 497, Belen, NM 87002 RE: Sandia Showdown Fax: (505) 864-0640 LIABILITY RELEASE
The Undersigned releases Auge’s Dodge, the Turbo Diesel Register, its officers and staff, any sponsors or vendors and others connected with this event, from all known liability, property damages, injuries, or losses, judgments and/or claims resulting from entrant’s participation in this event. Entrant also relinquishes any rights to any photos or videos taken in connection with this event.
SIGNATURE:_______________________________________________________________ DATE:_________________________ Questions: Auge’s Dodge (800) 750-4482 Vendors contact: Scott Dalgleish at firstname.lastname@example.org
Out Standing In The Field . . . . Continued THE TWELFTH ANNUAL TURBO DIESEL REGISTER (TDR) WESTERN REGIONAL RALLY, “MAY MADNESS” [MM ’06] The Twelfth Annual May Madness will be held on May 1-6, 2006, in Pahrump, Nevada. Other brands of diesel trucks will be welcome in addition to Cummins-powered Dodges. We plan to hold most events at Saitta-Trudeau Dodge, at the nearby Pahrump Nugget (the host hotel), and at Preferred RV (the host RV Park). You Rammers better step up this year. You got spanked on the dyno by a Chevy Duramax <gasp> at MM’05. We are also holding a sled pull, so the sled pullers have every reason that they need to attend! This year we will have high quality polo shirts with the logos sewn on the breast area. These shirts are suitable for more formal activities than are T-shirts, and we got a great deal on them. You will like them! Monday will be registration and introductory seminars. Tuesday evening there will be a hospitality get-together at Saitta Trudeau Chrysler Dodge Jeep. Wednesday night we will have a build-yourown dinner spread, courtesy of our vendors. We anticipate having talks by Cummins and others on Thursday and on Friday morning. The vendors’ Hall of Gottahavits will be open, at the Pahrump Nugget, on Friday and Saturday. We have set up the Dyno Day on Thursday, May 4, at Silver State Motorsports. Vendors are invited to attend the Dyno Day. Here is your chance to test that new [fill-in-the-blank] and see just how much horsepower it really gives your Ram at the wheels! Last year, the Rammers were mortified that a Chevy Duramax took top horsepower honors with 734. This year, we won’t rest and hope someone else will bring that honor back to Dodge and Cummins. No other TDR meet has so many high horsepower trucks as May Madness. For example, most regional rallies seldom see numbers over 500 horsepower. At May Madness 2005, over 60% of the dyno results were over 400 horsepower, and 28% were over 500. You will want to participate in the Dyno Day, whether it is to (a) get a baseline horsepower for a stock Turbo Diesel; (b) compare the improvement from a set of standard changes—like injectors, or a power box—to the truck’s previous number or to others’ results from the same kind of modifications; (c) “beat” others with similar configurations, or (d) participate in an all-out competition. Each year we struggle with how to give out awards. How can someone with 399 hp be a “winner” and someone with 401 be a loser (assuming the break point between groups was 400 hp)? So, for MM’06 we plan to have categories for top power numbers, as well as possibly a “bracket” contest where you predict your rig’s dyno horsepower and then see how close the result is to your prediction. This competition is similar to bracket drag racing. Lake Mead Cruises will give us a group rate of $40 for their two hour (6:30 to 8:30 PM) dinner cruise on Lake Mead, Thursday, May 4. To get this rate, you have to send the funds with your registration. They won’t accept individual payments at the group rate. Dirt track drag racing and sled pulling are scheduled for Friday afternoon and evening at the nearby Pahrump Speedway. On Saturday, May 6, we will hold a Best Dressed/Show-n-Shine Truck contest, have vendors in a Hall-of-Gottahavits, and hold technical seminars on popular issues such as power, maintenance, drivetrain upgrades, etc. in the meeting room at the Pahrump Nugget. Several
vendors have also volunteered for these 20-minute seminars. The seminars will be technical; significant product features and advances will be presented. At the Awards Banquet on Saturday evening, we give away about $5000 in prizes on a random-drawing basis, so that each attendee has a chance to win something of value. The Pahrump Nugget (866-751-6500; www.pahrumpnugget.com) is the host hotel, and is conveniently located in the center of Pahrump and close to Saitta-Trudeau Dodge. Register with them early to be sure you get a room. They will hold 70 rooms for us, up to early April. If you want a room, you have to tell them you are with MAY MADNESS, or you will be told they are booked up. Additionally, we will probably need more than 70 rooms, so those who tarry will stay elsewhere. The banquet, Vendors’ Hall of Gottahavits, and Vendors’ Saturday Seminar series will be held at the Nugget. Hotel rates are $46.12 weekdays and $58.21 weekends with the MAY MADNESS group rate. The host RV Park is Preferred RV Resort (800-445-7840; www. preferredrv.com). This RV Park is across the street from the Pahrump Nugget. They are giving us the special rate of $13.40 including tax. Be sure to tell them you are with MAY MADNESS. They have both back-in and pull-through spaces, graveled. They have a swimming pool, jacuzzi, pool tables, sauna, shuffleboard court, horseshoes, playfield, playground, clubhouse and workshop. The RV park has a clubhouse, bath house, game room, restrooms, picnic area, three laundry facilities, TV lounge, 24-security, and full hookups with 30/50 amps. The park allows members of Coast to Coast, RPI, Resorts of Distinction, and Passport America to stay on a space available basis, after making reservations. The Lakeside RV Park in Pahrump was rated #2 in North America in 2004. They have 160 sites, a lake, fishing, and swimming (888558-5253; www.terribleherbst.com). It is about 7 miles away from the downtown area where most of the events take place. If you wish to stay there, you MUST register early in December as their spaces fill up well in advance. December 1 is the soonest you can call (8 AM Pacific time) and the park will probably be booked within a week or two after that. Their regular rates for that time should be close to $22 Sunday through Thursday, and $26 Friday and Saturday, with a 10% discount offered for a membership such as AAA, AARP, Good Sam, Camping World, etc. We will also have about 40 RV spaces set aside until April 1, 2006, at the Saddle West RV Park (800-433-3987; www. saddlewest.com), which is close to the dealership and to the Nugget. This RV park is fully paved and therefore convenient to people who spread out tools, etc. To get the group RV space low rate of $20.93 including tax, specify MAY MADNESS when you call. At this time, the Saddle West Hotel is booked for the weekend of May 5-6 but they have some rooms for the first half of the week at $45.78 including tax. Another option is the Best Western Hotel and RV Park (775-7275100) in Pahrump. It is VERY IMPORTANT to register for May Madness–2006 early so that both we and you can plan for a better rally. Last year, the host hotel and RV park were filled early-on. Note that the registration cost is lower if you are an “early-bird.” If you need a one-day pass, vendor space, or special accommodations, contact Joe Donnelly for arrangements: 505-858-1966 or Donnellyj@msn.com.
Out Standing In The Field . . . . Continued
TWELFTH ANNUAL WESTERN REGIONAL “MAY MADNESS” RALLY MAY 1-6, 2006 REGISTRATION FORM
[PLEASE stick on an address label if you have one—it is easier to read!}
Registration # ____________________ (assigned by staff)
Name: ________________________________________________ Address: ______________________________________________ City: _ ________________________________________________ affix address label here State, Zip: _____________________________________________ Phone: _______________________________________________ E-mail: _ ______________________________________________ Early event registration through December 16, 2005, will be $72 for driver, passenger(s), and truck. This fee includes registration for all members of the party, one polo shirt, one goody bag, one banquet ticket, and all activities without a price tag. Note that some activities have entrance fees that you must pay, such as the Speedway, your individual dyno runs, and access to state/national parks. From December 16 to February 17, registration cost is $78. From February 18 to April 21, registration is $84. Registration at the door is $90. Year of truck ___________ (Dodge Ram _____; other _________________) Basic registration which includes one banquet ticket (see above for cost vs. date) Polo Shirt Size (circle): M L XL XXL XXXL (one is included with registration)
Additional polo shirts (fill in numbers): _____M; _____L; Additional banquet tickets for 5/06/06 @$28 each
$_______ $_______ $_______
_____XL @ $14.00 each _____XXL @ $15.00 each _____XXXL @ $16.00 each
Dinner cruise of Lake Mead (evening) 5/4/06 @ $40 each, include funds NOW Total Enclosed for Registration (make check or money order out to May Madness): Please send completed registration and check or money order to:
Joe Donnelly 670 Lomprey Ave. Henderson, NV 89015
Please note that some events and schedules are dependent upon availability and the number of early registrations received. Please register as soon as possible. Cancellations will be accepted until 4/14/06 with a $10 handling fee. No refunds will normally be made after 4/14/06. LIABILITY RELEASE
The Undersigned releases the Turbo Diesel Register, its officers and staff, Arizona Charlie’s, Silver State Motorsports, Clark County, the State of Nevada, any sponsors or vendors and all others connected with this event from all known liability, property damages, injuries or losses, judgments and/or claims resulting from entrant’s participation in this event. Entrant also relinquishes any rights to any photos or videos taken in connection with this event.
SIGNATURE:_____________________________________________________ DATE:____________________ Questions: Joseph Donnelly Donnellyj@msn.com
Out Standing In The Field . . . . Continued TURBO DIESEL TECH—JUNE 2006 (Young Bucks in Fast Trucks Meet Gray-Haired Trailer Trash) In last Issue’s magazine we published a briefing on a regional-type event for east coast TDR members—Turbo Diesel Tech 2006. The gathering location (Columbus, Indiana) and the dates (Wednesday, June 21 through Friday, June 23) coincide with an event in nearby Indianapolis, Indiana, on the 23 and 24 of June, the annual Diesel Hot Rod association’s National meet. We billed the event as “Young Bucks in Fast Trucks Meet Gray-Haired Trailer Trash” and hoped that veteran trailer/RV haulers would share our sense of humor. As noted the gathering of young bucks and gray-haired will be at two different locations. Does this mean exclusive events? Inclusive events? Something for everyone? Explain the concept please . . . For the gray-haired trailer trash, Turbo Diesel Tech 2006 will be held in Columbus, Indiana, on Wednesday, June 21, through Friday, June 23. Cummins Employee Recreational Association’s RV park (CERAland) and the Columbus Holiday Inn will be the two key gathering locations for Turbo Diesel Tech 2006. For the young bucks in fast trucks, the Diesel Hot Rod Association (DHRA) will be holding their annual DHRA Nationals at the Indianapolis Raceway Park facility on Saturday, June 24, and Sunday, June 25. Two different events; two different, but close-by cities; two different and distinct crowds; one common theme: Enjoy the fellowship of other Turbo Diesel owners. The TDR’s contribution to the Young Bucks in Fast Trucks meets Gray-haired Trailer Trash will be as the organizer and host for Turbo Diesel Tech 2006. We have reserved 180 spaces at CERAland (a mix of full and water/electric hook-ups) for your RV/fifth-wheel. For those with a truck-only we have reserved 70 rooms at the Columbus Holiday Inn. The agenda for Turbo Diesel Tech 2006 will be to provide informative seminars and vendor displays for diesel owners to attend. Wednesday, June 21, will be for registration and an afternoon poker run. Thursday and Friday are the days set aside for Turbo Diesel Tech Seminars and activities. Continue your stay, and on Saturday and Sunday the entertainment will be provided by young bucks in fast trucks at the Indianapolis DHRA event. On Thursday and Friday evenings we will gather at the CERAland pavilion for pay-as-you-go dinners. The scheduling of Turbo Diesel Tech 2006 close to the DHRA event in Indianapolis serves three purposes: it ensures good vendor participation at our event, as they can do two shows in one trip; it gives our attendees a chance to make it a long, entertaining weekend by attending the DHRA races, sled pulls, show-n-shine and other competitive events; and it gives TDR members a reason to come early to Columbus for seminars and fellowship.
The Gateway Tech is not the same as the club’s annual national convention. Likewise our gathering for Turbo Diesel Tech 2006 is not to be confused or mistaken for a TDR Nationals event. We do not have the financial backing for a TDR Nationals. Hence, everything we do at Turbo Diesel Tech will be pay as you go. We’ll even have a pay-as-you-go t-shirt. We do not have access to a plant tour at Cummins MidRange Engine Plant (CMEP) as they will be in the middle of a model change-over. We do not have a two-day list of ride and drive or competition activities that will keep you busy from sun-up to sun-down. We do have a great opportunity to convene for an informational and social event in Cummins’ home town of Columbus, Indiana. As an organizer and participant in hundreds of auto and truck club events one quickly realizes that the activities are the icing on the cake. The reason for attendance is fellowship among friends, old and new alike. For attendees with a competitive predisposition, the weekend activities at the DHRA Indy Nationals will provide an outlet for those with a heavy right foot. For others, the DHRA weekend event gives the TDR audience a reason to travel (we’ll have a caravan) to the race, sled-pull, show-n-shine, and vendor fair at Indianapolis Raceway Park and to cheer for the Dodge marquee. At this early date you do need to make your reservations for RV space at CERAland or hotel rooms at the Columbus Holiday Inn. The full hook-ups are $18, electric/water only are $16. If there are over 180 RVs, the dry camping is $14. Reservations at CERAland call (812) 377-6402 during the weekday business hours. Rooms at the Columbus Holiday Inn are $71.99 per night. The code for our special room rate is TDR. Make your reservations early as rooms for the weekend dates of June 24/25, 2006 are limited due to an annual soccer event that blocks many of their rooms. The phone number: (812) 372-1541. The SleepInn & Suites is a viable alternative to the Holiday Inn. Their phone number is (812) 372-7200. 2006 TURBODIESEL TECH LOGISTICS Monday/Tuesday – Early Arrivals, See Columbus (on your own) Wednesday, June 21 – Registration, Afternoon Poker Run and Ice Cream Social Thursday, June 22 – Seminars, Vendor Fair, Dyno Challenge, Dinner Gathering Friday, June 23 – Seminars, Vendor Fair, Dyno Challenge, Shown-Shine, Dinner Gathering Saturday, June 24 – Caravan to DHRA event in Indianapolis, Indiana, or depart Sunday, June 25 – Caravan to DHRA event in Indianapolis, Indiana, or depart
Expectations for Turbo Diesel Tech 2006
It is too early in the planning process to make too many commitments. However, we are working to do a competitive driving event and/or a fun driving event. The scheduling depends on volunteers from the membership.
Turbo Diesel Tech 2006 is patterned after an annual BMW car club event called Gateway Tech. Gateway Tech gives manufacturers, vendors and club members a chance to learn and socialize.
Okay, with your room or travelspace reserved for next June, note the sign-up form with fees for the pay-as-you-go dinners and t-shirts on page 133. See you in Columbus, Indiana, at Turbo Diesel Tech 2006.
Out Standing In The Field . . . . Continued
TURBO TECH 2006 Columbus, Indiana June 21-23 Please print clearly Registration # ______________________ (assigned by staff)
Name:_ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ Guest(s) Name:_____________________________________________________ Phone:_ ________________________________ Address: _________________________________________________________________________________________________ City:______________________________________________________________State:__________Zip:_ ____________________ Model: ___________________________ Year: ____________________
Event T-shirt and quanity ____M ____L ____XL ____XXL Wednesday 6/21 Ice Cream Social
@ $10 each............................................................._______ No Charge.................................................................___0.00
Dinner at CERAland Pavillion
_____ @ $15 each............................................................._______
Dinner at CERAland Pavillaion
_____ @ $15 each............................................................._______
Total amount enclosed: $________
Please send or fax completed registration form and check (made payable to the TURBO DIESEL REGISTER) to: TURBO DIESEL REGISTER FAX: (770) 886-8811 1150 Samples Industrial Drive Cumming, GA 30005
If you wish to pay by Mastercard/Visa, please provide your account number and expiration date: Account #: ________________________________________________________ Exp. Date: _ ____________________________
This is to inform you that I (we) plan to attend the TURBO DIESEL TECH 2006 in Columbus, IN. I (we) agree that the Turbo Diesel Register, its officers, and event sponsors shall not be held responsible for anything that might occur to myself, my family, my guests, and my truck(s) while attending the convention. SIGNATURE:_______________________________________________________________ DATE:_________________________
Thank you for your help in increasing the TDR membership. Your efforts via discussions, copies, and brochures handed out to other Turbo Diesel owners are noted each time a new owner joins us.
How do you participate? It’s easy. On the TDR brochures that you pass out in a “grass roots photo-copy membership drive,” or on an original TDR brochure, be sure to include your name and subscription number. As new subscribers join us, we’ll check the application for a referral name/number. Then, we will recognize TDR members for their participation in the “TDReferral/Recognition/ Reward” column each quarter.
This referral program is ever more important. In the early years, the TDR has had support from DaimlerChrysler in the form of new truck owner information. With internal changes at DaimlerChrysler, this information is no longer available. Thus, the TDR membership has to be self-reliant in its marketing initiatives. Many members have asked for additional brochures and have commented about their work distributing the material. For the efforts put forth, you would expect a higher number of responses. Don’t be discouraged!! Your positive discussions may not immediately net a new TDR member. Many people have the intention, yet find it hard to part with dollars. Referral The subscription number listed on the top of your address label is a valuable tool that the TDR uses to keep track of subscriptions and to recognize/reward those TDR members who are active in new subscription referrals.
Reward Recognition is great, but how about a WIIFM (what’s in it for me)? How does this sound? For your help in expanding the membership of the TDR, we will send you a Cummins Diesel Power cab plate. I love incentives, don’t you? Let’s give away some money. It’s fun to get a surprise cab plate in the mail. But we would like to add a bit of excitement to the TDR/R/R program. Here is the “deal.” For each referral, we will put your name into a hat for a quarterly prize of $100. Obviously, numerous referrals per quarter increase your chances of winning. Our winner this quarter is Richard Brown.
R. A. Perry
Richard H. Conn
Clair B. Haverland
C E Hoefler
Stewart L. Sterling III
Carroll D. Wetzel
Mr. Stewart D. Maurice
Kent B. Morrison
Gary F. Neiduski TDR 134
TDR/R/R . . . . Continued TcDR
Anyone who has been stranded in a not-so-familiar part of the country can attest to the value of having a copy of the Travel Companion book in their glove box. We have received phone calls, e-mails, and letters that have confirmed the effectiveness of the Travel Companion book. Thanks to all 681 members who volunteered for the 2006 edition. The Travel Companion is distributed with this issue of the magazine.
Thanks Tom Golden
Recognition of those individuals who have gone out of their way to help a fellow TDR truck owner is important. Therefore, we have developed a grill badge that we will send to those in the Travel Companion book when we learn of their assistance to a machinedown traveler. The award is called the TcDR: Travel Companion Distinguished Recognition. The TcDR badge will look great on that big Dodge Ram grill. While I would like to give the TcDR badge out to all 678 Travel Companion participants, that type of distribution would indicate too much misfortune. Seriously, the generally accepted rules for TcDR badge distribution simply require an e-mail or letter (something for documentation purposes) from the traveler who was offered and received assistance. The correspondence should include the traveler’s name, address and phone number; the nature of the problem and how the Travel Companion listing was able to help. Most important, please give the phone number of the member who was called and provided the assistance so that we can research and find where the TcDR grill badge should be sent. We will also recognize TcDR helpful heroes in the magazine. Please send in your referrals. For this issue we would like to recognize Tom Golden of Placerville, California, and Dave Fetting of Moorehead, Minnesota.
I recently had vehicle troubles in Redding, California. I just wanted to let you know how the TDR Travel Companion helped me out. I broke down with a clutch problem on Sunday morning at a truck stop a few miles south of Redding. I pulled out the TDR Travel Companion and started making some calls. I finally left a message with one of the members. An hour or so later, Tom Golden, who lives in Placerville, called me back. He had just arrived at the Sacramento airport and was on his way home. I explained my problem and he promised to call me back within an hour with the name of the shop that he thought could help. He called back when he got home, gave me the shop name and number and offered to put a “911” on the TDR web site. I gave him permission to put my name and cell phone number on the site. Within a couple of hours, I had a call from another member who offered to pick up my horses. (Tom had stated that I was pulling a horse trailer, but I had no horses in tow.) This member also recommended the same shop that Tom had. Later in the evening I received a call from Peter Pyfer, the owner of South Bend Clutch (800-988-4345). He asked me some questions and offered some advice and said he could overnight me any parts I needed. I happen to have a South Bend clutch in my truck and was pleasantly surprised to hear from the owner of the company. And, for the third time that day, he suggested I go to the same shop as the previous two TDR members. The next morning, (Monday) I contacted J&H Performance Diesel and had the truck towed to their shop. Despite the fact that half of their staff was flying home from the DHRA Diesel Nationals in Indiana, they immediately put my truck on their hoist. They were able to get me on the road the next day after finding a bad pilot bearing and transmission input shaft. They also found a leaking axle seal, which they replaced. I really appreciate everyone’s response and quick service. It was very heartening to have the members respond like they did. What a valuable asset the TDR membership group proved to be. George (Skip) Blaksley Olympia, WA Thanks Dave Fetting We were on our way home from a four-week vacation when the trip turned sour due to a breakdown. In retrospect it could have been worse than it was. We were cruising along Interstate 94 at 75mph on the outskirts of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, when the truck died. It was a bit scary due to the fact that my girlfriend was driving and she is intimidated by the size of the truck. We were able to coast off the highway and come to a stop at the bottom of the off ramp. I got out and tried to diagnose the problem. After about ten minutes somebody stopped
TDR/R/R . . . . Continued and towed us to the truck stop across the street. This happened on a Sunday when there is nothing open. We were at the truck stop and I had a bad feeling that our problem was the VP44 fuel injection pump. I forgot the Travel Companion on this trip (it was sitting on my desk at home instead of in the truck), so I gave a call home and got my sister on the phone. She gave me all the contacts for the Minnesota area. The first person I tried was Dave Fetting in Moorehead, Minnesota. Luckily he answered and said he would be able to come out and at least tow me to a dealer if we could not figure it out.
TDR NAMEPLATE Numerous requests have been received for some type of TDR identification placard. I, as editor, and you, as members, should be flattered by the request. No doubt, an identifying emblem will result in an instant conversation between TDR truck owners. At the fuel island, campsite or overthe-road, I’m hopeful you will take time to meet and greet your fellow TDR driver/owner. Below are several ways to identify an affiliation.
Dave was about 55 miles away. Once he got there he towed us to the dealer about five miles down the highway. He came to the same conclusion I did regarding the VP44. We left the truck at the dealer and Dave drove us to my uncle in Fargo. Dave gave us a bunch of contact names in case we needed to find parts for the truck. The most important was Midland Diesel who rebuilds injection pumps. Late on Monday the dealership confirmed that it was the injection pump. We were able to get a rebuilt one from Midland Diesel. The dealer finished the truck on Tuesday afternoon and we continued our journey home. If it wasn’t for Dave and his knowledge of the area I would have spent a lot on towing and a new injection pump. Dave was definitely a lifesaver and it was comforting to know that somebody else was with us. Philip Brand Ringwood, NJ
If you would like one of the TDR nameplates, please send $1.00 . For a license tag send $3.95 (stamps, cash, or check), stating the quantity desired, to the TDR office. The $1.00/$3.95 will help offset the cost of postage and the mailer used to send the nameplate or tag to you. Thanks for your support!
TDR EMBLEMS Another way to identify your TDR affiliation (and initiate a conversation) is to display a TDR emblem on a grill badge or a receiver cover. We found a cost-effective vendor that makes these emblems in a pewter/colored finish. The emblems are sold at cost: the grill badge is $10.00; the receiver cover is $15.00. To order these items please see the Geno’s Garage catalog insert.
TDR embossed nameplate and license tag.
TDR Decals There have been numerous requests for TDR decals. They have been printed and are ready for distribution. To receive your decal(s), please forward a self-addressed, stamped envelope (55¢) and specify the type of decal(s) you want (turbodieselregister.com, TDR 5”, TDR 4”, TDR website) to: TDR Decal, 1150 Samples Industrial Drive, Cumming, GA 30041.
TDR/R/R . . . . Continued REWARD/HIGH MILEAGE In Issue 22 (Fall ‘98) we started a program to recognize/reward high mileage Turbo Diesel trucks. We developed a TDR milestone tag to commemorate mileage achievements. The tags are sent at no charge to members. Proof of mileage via a photo of the outside of the truck and a picture of the odometer is appreciated. (If you can’t get a good focus on the odometer, we’ll trust you.) If you would like a high mileage tag, please send in your photos. Include $3.95 in postage or cash to cover shipment of your nocharge tag. Tags are given out at 100,000 mile increments, i.e., 100, 200, and 300K miles. Over 300K miles? Sorry, we’ve not yet developed a tag, but we’ll send additional 100K tags to collect and display.
Orlin Brudos – Elliottsburg, PA (166K)
While we would like to use every owner’s picture sent to us, please realize that a photo of your truck may or may not be in the magazine because of page layout and spacing constraints. This quarter we sent 100K tags to: Robert Ballard (105K) Michael San Felice Whitehall, PA Norristown, PA
Harold Blacksmith (100K) Sid Simon East Pasadena, TX Wenatchee, WA
Orlin Brudos (166K) Lee Thompson Elliottsburg, PA Parma, ID
Thomas P. Corda (113K) Jeff Jackson Bruce Crossing, MI Bremerton, WA
R.G. Hoffman (100K) Joe Anderson Plano, TX Longview, WA
John P. Rafter (100K) Roger Glampe West Palm Beach, FL Bryce, UT
Donald Richter (109K) Jon Johnson Claremont, CA Bagley, WI
This quarter we sent 200K tags to: Larry G. Herber (200K) Brian Sandifer Dorrance, KS Groves, TX
John R West (250K) Seth Teichert Corydon, IN Mackay, ID
Patrick Tavarez (200K) William Schoolman San Bernardino, CA Sheldon, IL
Patrick Tavarez – San Bernardino, CA (200K)
Jon Johnson – Bagley, WI (189K)
This quarter we sent 400K tags to: Phil Decker (645K) Pomona, CA
Robert Ballard – Whitehall, PA (105K)
TDR/R/R . . . . Continued
Seth Teichert – Machkay, ID (200K)
Phil Decker – Pomona, CA (645K)
Roger Glampe – Bryce, UT (156K)
Harold Blacksmith – Pasadena, TX (100K)
Brian Sandifer – Groves, TX (200K)
Michael San Felice – Norristown, PA (126K)
r.G. Hoffman – Plano, TX (100K)
Joe Anderson – Longview, WA (123K)
TDR/R/R . . . . Continued
John West – Corydon, IN (250K)
Bill Schoolman – Sheldon, IL (236K)
Statement of Ownership, management, and Circulation Form 3526, October 1999, United States Postal Service. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7)
Jeff Jackson – Bremerton, WA (100K)
Publication Title – Turbo Diesel Register Publication No. – 1088-8241 Filing Date – 10/15/04 Issue Frequency – Quarterly No. of Issues Published Annually – 4 Annual Subscription Price - $35.00 Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication (Not Printer) – 1275 Elk Ridge Cove, Alpharetta, GA 30005 8) Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher (Not Printer) – 1150 Samples Industrial Drive Cumming, GA, 30041 9) Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor, and Managing Editor – Publisher, Robert Patton, 1275 Elk Ridge Cove, Alpharetta, GA 30005 – Editor, Robert Patton, 1275 Elk Ridge Cove, Alpharetta, GA 30005 – Managing Editor, Robert Patton, 1275 Elk Ridge Cove, Alpharetta, GA 30005 10) Owner – Robert Patton, 1275 Elk Ridge Cove, Alpharetta, GA 30005, Robin Patton, 1275 Elk Ridge Cove, Alpharetta, GA 30005, Gene Warren, 101 Commons Drive, Easley, SC 29642, Martha Warren, 101 Commons Drive, Easley, SC 29642 11) Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages, or Other Securities – None 12) N/A 13) Publication Name – Turbo Diesel Register 14) Issue Date for Circulation Data Below – November 2005 15) Extent and Nature of Circulation
Tom Corda – Bruce Crossing, MI (113K)
Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months
Actual No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filling Dates
a. Total No. Copies
b. Paid and/or Requested Circulation (1) Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, and Counter Sales (2) Paid or Requested Mail Subscriptions
c. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation
d. Free Distribution by Mail
e. Free Distribution Outside the Mail
g. Total Distribution
h. Copies Not Distributed (1) Office Use, Leftovers, Spoiled (2) Return from News Agents
i. Total (15g, 15h1, 15h2)
Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation
16) This Statement of Ownership will be printed in the Winter issue of this publication 17) Signature and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager, or Owner
Don Richter – Claremont, CA (109K)
Back in 1999 when I ordered my Turbo Diesel truck, my wife was delighted. She had the mistaken belief that the truck would be just the way I wanted it with no changes necessary to put it on the road. Little did she know that the truck’s delivery would signal the start of many modifications. You can easily see what I mean from the list of accessories that were added in two short years after delivery.
my nephew Tony Myers, we started by removing the bed from the truck and delivering the chassis to M&M Fabrications in Elkhart, Indiana, to lengthen the frame. I had purchased a sleeper unit from a ’91 Peterbilt truck. The sleeper is 63” in length, so we had M&M lengthen the frame by 64”. We completely gutted the sleeper and shortened the height by 11” and width by 14”.
• Full length diamond tread running boards with 19 lights on each side • Mudflaps with diamond tread panels • Diamond tread bedrails and tailgate protector • Heavy-duty bed mat • Large diamond tread toolbox • Putman fifth-wheel hitch • Banks Stinger Plus system • Banks Hi-Ram intake horn • Proloc torque converter, Transgo shift kit • Mag-Hytec deep dish transmission pan • Mag-Hytec differential cover • BD Torque Loc • BD Pressure Loc • BD exhaust brake • EGT, boast and transmission temperature gauges • Turbo Diesel Lifesaver • Painless wiring kit • Amsoil bypass oil filter • Amsoil air filter • Amsoil fluids • Flip-out tow mirrors • Air horns with compressor and tank • Custom-built CB radio console • Special color paint • Larger injectors and fuel lift pump
We cut out the back of the truck cab and the front of the sleeper for a matched fit. The joining framework and boot were built by Double Eagle Sleeper Company (Shipshewana, Indiana). After all the metal and fiberglass work was done, the sleeper was taken to Arrow Body Shop (Ft. Wayne, Indiana) to be painted. While we were working on the sleeper, we removed the seats and door panels and had them reupholstered in leather by my sister Vona. She would later upholster the entire sleeper with matching gray vinyl. We also had plans to add a fold-out couch, carpet and a seat behind the console.
In January of this year I really picked up the pace and began what I and others call an “extreme makeover.” Shortly after midnight on New Years Eve I headed for Kendallville, Indiana (I live in Theodosia, Missouri), to begin the extreme makeover. With the expert help of
When the sleeper returned from the paint shop, we were ready to install it on the truck with the help of my brother Gary. Then we built the floor and finished the interior. We installed the seats and door panels. On the exterior we added five-inch chrome exhaust stacks, new diamond tread running boards, diamond tread trim on the bottom of the sleeper and changed all the lights to LED. The truck now has a total of 90 lights! Some say it looks like a Christmas tree. This phase of the project took 20 long days. Back home, I continued the project by adding custom built cupboards (Plain & Fancy Cabinets), 1500 Power inverter, LCD TV, DVD, battery with isolator, lighting, and fan. I just recently added 110volt plugs and air-conditioning. I also installed Turbo Air Guide and changed the Banks fuel computer to an Edge Comp fuel box. As you can see, I am even making changes to the changes! My wife asks, “Now is the truck just the way you want it?” Probably not, but don’t tell her. At least I’m getting closer. Larry Buckland Theodosia, MO
A forum for posting TDR Chapter activities. CUMMINS ROCKY MOUNTAIN AND ATS DIESEL PERFORMANCE “DIESEL FEST” This event was held at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado (the Denver area), on July 23 and 24, 2005. On Saturday, ATS Diesel Performance sponsored a showdown of diesel pickup trucks, both heads-up eliminations and bracket racing. It was gratifying to see the interest their event generated. There were fifty trucks lined up for time trials. In addition to the diesel event, there were a lot of gasoline-powered racers as well, making for a full day of racing. Scott Bentz of Cummins Rocky Mountain (an event sponsor) brought his dragster. Dodge Turbo Diesels were present in considerable numbers, from almost stock to heavily prepared for drag racing. The enthusiast could find trucks with drag slicks, stacks, twin turbochargers, and a variety of other power-related modifications.
48, page 158). A number of other performance and diesel related businesses also participated in the Vendors Midway area, including a company dedicated to transplanting Cummins engines into Ford pickups (fordcummins.com), and Diversified Body and Paint, a standard and custom shop displayed several beautifully modified big rigs in the Show-n-Shine area. Diversified brought a unique broiler made from a big-rig cab and provided lunch for the attendees who stopped by their area.
A Second Generation Ram with stacks and a First Generation Ram take off.
Scott Bentz’s dragster at the Cummins Rocky Mountain booth.
The ATS people showed their torque converters, turbochargers, and other products at their booth, and demonstrated them with a number of trucks at the drag races. Some were their own, some belonged to dealers, and others were customers’ trucks. In conjunction with the ATS booth, a F.A.S.S. system was on display, showing how its filtration and air separation systems work. Tractech displayed their Detroit Lockers and other differential traction-enhancing carriers. They told me that they will have lockers for the Dana 80 (3.54 ratio) and the American Axle 11.5-inch differential late this year. Snow Performance showed their water injection system (see TDR Issue
Chapter News . . . . Continued On Sunday, Thunder on the Mountain continued with diesel powered trucks of all sizes. So you thought big rigs didn’t race? Well, over fifty of them lined up for the big rig portion of the event. Semi tractors, crane trucks, concrete trucks, dump trucks, and even a couple of specialized drag trucks participated. One of the latter was powered by an 855 “big cam” Cummins and could run elevensecond quarter-mile times with nitrous oxide enhancement. That truck started life as a 1960 Kenworth and is owned by Pat Kyle of Skagit Valley, Washington.
MID-TENNESSEE GATHERING The Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Turbo Diesel Register gathered on Saturday, July 16, at the home of member Mark Harris in Bethpage, Tennessee. We managed to round up 11 trucks for this late afternoon cookout. The first order of business was new member initiation. The indoctrination requires a ride in a 500 horsepower truck. By the end of the day Harris was already asking questions about gauges and injector upgrades! Upcoming activities that were discussed included local sled pulls and a possible indoor pull in Murfreesboro in January. Local pulling rules were reviewed with several members interested in pulling at upcoming events. We had technical instruction for a complete air horn installation on Mark Harris’ truck. Discussions were conducted on reliability, replacement, and upgradeability of fuel injection pump use in various year model trucks (the P7100, VP44, and CP3). We had an in-depth discussion on the implementation of the mechanical P7100 pump in place of the newer VP44 fuel pump. We also talked about why a fuel pressure gauge isn’t necessary in the Third Generation application, and we debated the new lift pump locations for the 2005 truck.
Heavy towing versus concrete pumping.
We discussed the killer dowel pin fix and the importance of performing this critical modification. Steering upgrades and retrofits on the Second Generation 4WD trucks were discussed and trucks were made available to test drive. The usual topics were also discussed including exhausts, exhaust brakes, fueling boxes, injectors, and aftermarket turbochargers.
Bob Godfrey brought his immaculate, completely restored ‘94 Turbo Diesel to the event. He has participated in the past and had won a trophy at May Madness 2004 show-n-shine event. At May Madness 2005 Dyno Days, his Turbo Diesel made 414 horsepower. This time, he showed that the truck is not only good looking and has horsepower on the dyno, but runs well on the drag strip to boot (low 14 second range).
The next official tech meeting was scheduled for September 10 at Cedar City Diesel in Lebanon, Tennessee, which is owned by member Meacham Evins.
Bob Godfrey’s 1994 Turbo Diesel.
Joe Donnelly TDR Writer
The Mid-Tenn TDR Chapter has regular lunch meetings and continues to post under the “Mid-Tenn Chapter Roundtable” thread under the Southeast section of “Local and Regional Chapters and Events.” Keep an eye out for upcoming meetings and events! Hans Schwendimann
Chapter News . . . . Continued DHRA NATIONALS REPORT The average motorsports event promotion usually includes the infamous catch phrases: “We’ll sell you the whole seat…but you’ll only need the edge!” or everyone’s favorite—“Sunday! Sunday! Sundaaaay!” Both of these phrases were appropriate but hardly describe the awesome experience at the 2005 Diesel Hot Rod Association (DHRA) Diesel Nationals event. You can’t say we didn’t warn you that this was going to be huge; if you missed out this time, don’t let it happen again—seeing is believing! The largest number of attendees of any DHRA sanctioned event to date invaded Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) in late Jane. Fans of all ages came out in droves and endured the 90° Indiana heat for what turned out to be a very successful inaugural event at IRP. In addition to the diesel motorsports spectacle (sled pulls, drag races and dyno challenge) fans were able to vote for the Show-n-Shine competition, Burnout Competition and the Miss Diesel Nationals contest. Sled Pull Competition Using the return road of IRP’s drag strip as a sled pulling track proved to be very successful. DHRA officials and several volunteers worked tirelessly o the track in the days leading up to the event by laying dirt onto the asphalt substrate. Their efforts paid off handsomely when the pullers hooked to the sled on the groomed dirt surface. Hard track surface conditions provided competitors who chose less aggressive tires the chance to get their wheel speed up and the weight transfer sled in tow towards the 300’ line. In fact, the track grabbed so well that quite a few competitors were able to pull far enough off the end of the track that they were onto the bare asphalt! Once all of the Street Diesel class pullers made their final hooks, it was evident that the sled should be set heavier so that a pull-off involving the top three trucks could determine the winner. Out of 75 entrants in the Street Diesel class, the final pull-off saw Jeff Strothkamp take first place with a 301.05’ hook. Ryan Uptegraft’s reached 290.10’ for second place and Michael Tomac came in third place after a 262.09’ hook. For the first time in quite a while there were no 12-valve Cummins powered trucks in the top three of the Street Diesel class! Strothkamp’s Dodge is a Cummins 24-valve while Uptegraft and Tomac ran some really hot running Duramaxpowered GMs. Keep your eyes on the V8 diesels, they really starting to turn heads these days.
With only three feet separating the first and third place positions, pullers in the Super Street class were very closely matched and put on a great show for the fans. Jeremy Straley snagged third place by pulling 276.02’; Shawn Hodges found his second place niche with a 278.10’ hook and Todd Cox took home top honors by placing first in the class with a 279.08’ pass. All three drivers were in Cummins-powered Dodges. DHRA Modified pulling action got off to a rough start after some pullers had mechanical issues. Kent Crowder overcame a disappointing first round caused by a broken axle shaft and was able to continue pulling after repairs to take first place with a 347’ hook, which was nearly 100’ further than his first pull. Van Haisley added 30’ to his first hook and ended up pulling 321.05’ for second place. Staying consistent between his first and second hooks allowed Terry Martin to fill out the top three finalists with a 305.04’ run across the dirt. Again, all three drivers were in Cummins-powered Ddoge trucks. Drag Racing Competition While the sled pullers had plenty of traction, the drag racers had difficulty putting the power to the ground starting around the 330’ mark. Track surface temperatures reached upwards of 140° making it difficult even for slick-tired vehicles to make a pass. None of the exhibition racers were able to complete a full pass; most had to let off to maintain control or had mechanical issues. When you take into consideration that this event was the first time some of the vehicles have made anything but a shakedown pass, it is very impressive that the racers were still able to put on a great show by posting numerous 9 and 10-second passes down the track. Consistency is the key to success in the DHRA Diesel Power Drag Racing Series. Since this is bracket racing, those who repeatedly run closest to but not quicker than their dial-in elapsed time (ET) will be declared the winner. Sharp reflexes, keen eyesight and calm nerves are necessary for this type of racing. Diesel motorsports fans at IRP were able to see all of this firsthand. During the final run of the class, Derek Stump took the win by running a 14.790 @ 88.20 mph on a 14.78 dial-in while Scott Spies broke out by running a 16.717 @82.91 mph on a new 16.73 dial-in. If Spies had stuck with his 16.71 dial-in from the previous round he would have taken the win. That is only one example of how bracket racing is exciting for those in the stands and a challenge for competitors. Both Stump and Spies were driving; you guessed, it, Cummins-powered Dodge. Starting with a field of eight competitors, the DHRA Pro-Street Shootout class wowed fans with 10 and 11-second passes from barely street legal vehicles. Just like the exhibition drag racing passes, the Pro-Street Shootout racers also had problems with traction and mechanical issues. Early in the race, Darren Morrison ran the quickest Pro-Street time of the event with a 10.851 @ 120.55 mph pass. After three rounds of competition, Morrison had mechanical issues and couldn’t continue allowing Ted Kobi to place third with a 12.3 @ 110.41 mph pass. Mark Svatek took second place. Kevin Meredith in the TS Performance Dodge/Cummins truck cut a very nice .099 light and took the first place finish in the class by running a 11.147 @ 121.98 mph.
DHRA Sled Pulls . . . you bet! This picture is representative of the action you’ll see at a sled pull.
Beyond the racetrack, each of the hotels where fans and racers hung their hats became hosts for all of the after hours festivities.
Chapter News . . . . Continued Impromptu groups of people could be seen clustered around trucks in the parking lot from late afternoon well into the early morning hours. Some trucks were under repair, others received various upgraded components and the remainder served as the perfect venue for tailgate parties. This is the essence of attending a diesel enthusiast event; it’s where like minded individuals engage in technical discussions or just chew the rag for hours on end. Choice Hotels International is the preferred hotel of the DHAR. This alliance provides easy reservations and a minimum 15% discount for DHRA fans, racers, and officials through 2007. For more information, visit the DHRA website.
DIESEL EDGE-UCATION Ever try drag racing your diesel pickup? After all, aren’t a slowrevving engine, 400-pound gearbox, and tires not rated for more than 75 mph exactly what you need for a drag race. Okay, maybe that’s not ideal. But it didn’t stop 200 or so diesel diehards from joining the festivities at the “Weekend on the Edge” Diesel Drags last September, an invitational event with a moderate prize sum and those all important bench-racing rights. Being able to “run what you brung” and tune it up exponentially simply by turning a knob in the cab is part of the force that’s, pardon the pun, fueling the growth in diesel motorsports. Come on, if you’ve got a pyrometer and know how to use it, how much engine damage can you do? We’ll not address that question directly as other members have plenty of receipts to show exactly what can be done. And while the participants came from as far as the Eastern Seaboard (if they win they’ll break even), many of the ultra-hot, ultra-fast pickups were not there.
Scheid Diesel is one of the many sponsors of DHRA events. Their diesel dragster is shown here.
In November Houston Raceway Park will be the host of the 2005 DHRA, Nowel Thomas Memorial Races. Since this race will mark the end of the 2005 season, every competitor will be turning up the wick and attempting to light it on both ends to compete for the coveted “Rudy”—a trophy that represents the father of diesel engines, Rudolf Diesel. Visit the DHRA website for continuous updates on the remainder of the 2005 season. Stop on by the DHRA booth (#20363) at the 2005 SEMA show held in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 1-4, 2005. Meet the people responsible for the day-to-ay operations of the DHRA and be sure to check out the other diesel performance vendors and OEM manufacturers at the show. While at the SEMA tradeshow in Las Vegas, the DHRA will release its 2006 schedule and official class information. If you thought 2005 was action packed—just wait until the 2006 DHRA schedule is released. Along with an increased number of competitors, the DHRA has also created new classes that will surely please racers and fans alike. Just like this year’s season, for 2006 Gold Eagle and their Diesel Power! brand fuel additives will continue to be the title sponsor of the DHRA’s drag racing and sled pulling series. On November 10 at 2:30PM (ET), the 2005 DHRA Diesel Nationals event will be featured on the ESPN2 show “Inside the Driver’s Seat”—check your local listings; the show will also air on December 4 at 2:30AM (ET). For the most current news and information for the remainder of the 2005 season and beyond, visit the DHRA’s website at www.dhraonline.com. We’ll see you at the races! DHRA Staff
It started off with an early afternoon thunderstorm to make sure the track was clean before anyone got to it. After the jet dryers and sweepers did their thing, a pair of motorhomes took to the track for a magazine cover burnout photo. And for those of you wondering, yes, they do have lots of torque and horsepower, and yes, they do have many tons of weight over the dually drive wheels. And motorhomes also have leveling jacks that disappear into the tire smoke as well as chocks that disappear into shadows. Ain’t publishing wonderful. First up were some of the media driving Edge Products’ own R&D vehicles, including one running biodiesel. With a novice racer piloting, the biodiesel truck spun its rear tire all the way down the track, in the process searing the rubber onto the hot tailpipe behind it. That muffler clamp isn’t going to last very long with the extra weight on it. The media learned that when you power-brake a Power Stroke, the loose torque converter allows near 20 psi boost pressures without the truck moving, and sidestepping the brake pedal and launching in 4WD will give your neck a good tug and a 60-foot time well under two seconds. As your correspondent has done this before and would soon be wedged in a window seat of a regional jet, he took a bye run and got out the camera. For some reason tire smoke always seems to rise after a burnout, but diesel exhaust sinks, maybe because there’s so much unburned fuel in it. I defer to scientists like our own Joe Donnelly to explain such occurrences. As such, when shooting photos at the start line, where most of the interesting stuff happens, one spends a lot time holding their breath and literally waiting for the smoke to clear. The evidence on clothes is one clue, and the camera bag had enough soot on it that had I been singled out for the “more intensive” search at airport security, I’d surely have made the no-fly list and been sent directly to the nearest interrogation room. Fans of course eat this stuff up. Literally. Like a shake of salt over a hot dog, the faithful sat down low and in the zone. I do the same thing at the local 1/8-mile dirt track as there is something odd, but fun, about being pelted with mud as you cheer on your favorite PR personnel indulging in free time.
Chapter News . . . . Continued Four brands were represented: Dodge, Ford, GM, and Volkswagen. Apparently none of the local Mercedes CDI drivers felt the need to spend a gallon and have fun for the day. The VW Golf made a few runs with a best pass at 90 mph, not too bad for a 108 cubic inch engine that routinely gets 40-50 mpg. Edge’s own drag truck, the Wolverine, was not there because it was undergoing an engine change. It was expected to be in Las Vegas a few weeks later, again faced with the challenge of putting down roughly 1200 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque at less than 4,000 rpm.
Did you say diesel smoke?
Some of these trucks looked very nice, and others, charitably speaking, only a mother could love. A few were short on usability, what with stacks poking through the beds…or the hood, including one with a snorkel like a drag-racing Civic…and in other cases, slicks. Banner and advertising space on windows and bodywork was evenly split between diesel performance companies and the driver’s business: landscaping, excavation, towing, etc.
A few trucks—including a nitrous-snorting Duramax Crew Cab with slicks that ran in the 12’s—had a headlight popped out for better breathing, and some had the fender liners removed. One particularly clean vintage ’92-’97 F-series with no liner had a clearly visible and quite large turbocharger in there, making one believe this was a Cummins powered truck. And so did the way it ran, showing 12.26 @ 110. A lot of guys just came to have fun, some direct from the job site, and you have to believe with 500 hp and 900+ lb-ft or torque, these guys show up to work on time. From the track we never heard a mechanical failure nor did we see pools of fluid left standing anywhere; when the tires are the fuse, engines and gearboxes rarely break. But those chirping blow-off valves do make you move out of line with the turbocharger’s compressor.
Although the fifth-wheel hitches just tend to bang around a bit, materials carried for some other businesses tend to be small, loose, and ideal for littering a racetrack with pebbles. This was exacerbated by many people who still haven’t gotten the hint that driving with a tailgate down or removed doesn’t help airflow over a stock truck. No tailgate, bed full of sand, hard launch—you make the deduction. Fortunately only a pair of trucks were seen on slicks, most of the other 2WDs running street tires and the 4WDs with mild-moderate all-terrain style treads. A few pebbles wouldn’t hurt these and the track held up quite well, but one has to wonder how fast you can spin a big truck tire with a speed rating of 75-85 mph before one lets go just as a three-ton truck clears the lights at triple-digit speed.
Race ‘em from the jobsite.
The best official time on the official results sheet listed a Duramax at 12.945 and 112.82 mph. Some clues to the competition level may be found in best time and speed comparisons of two Rams: one at 13.53 and 98.4, the other a second slower but five mph faster. At Edge’s dynos the following day, the top hp and torque numbers went to a Duramax (726/1374) and this truck had put a mid 12’s on the lights. Top Ford was a ’99 7.3 at 391/753, and the one with the Cummins didn’t go to dyno days. Top Ram was a 2002 with 601 hp and about 1,100 lb-ft of torque. Diesel drags included a VW Golf.
G.R. Whale TDR Writer
Chapter News . . . . Continued TDR LOCAL CHAPTERS—WHAT AND WHO ARE THEY? The following members have expressed an interest in kicking off a local Chapter, meeting at a local pizza or steak house on a regular basis, discussing or cussing experiences, organizing local events, and/or telling lies to one another. These members have volunteered to be contact persons in their respective geographic regions. If you have a question about your Turbo Diesel, you now have a local point of contact. Please note that I underscored “volunteered.” These are very good people who are offering to be friendly. Respect their sanity and their evening hours with family. Work with them to get your local chapter up and operational.
Oregon, Washington, Idaho Area Northwest Bombers Russell Leu (253-531-4257) email@example.com www.nwbombers.com Orange County and Los Angeles, CA Area So Cal Rattlin’ Rams Kevin Marlin 2703 N. Dunfield St. Orange, CA 92865 (714/283-3236} OCTDR@southcoastphotographic. com www.socialrattlinrams.org
Colorodo Area Rocky Mtn TDR Mike Lockner 6180 Everett St. Arvada, CO 80004 (303/423-8417) firstname.lastname@example.org www.RMTDR.com
Great Lakes, MI Area Great Lakes Turbo Diesel Registry Steve St. Laurent PO Box 214048 Auburn Hills, MI 48321 (517/566-3417)
Connecticut (New England) Area New England Turbo Diesel Power Tim Taylor 120 Fairfax Drive Stratford, CT 06614 (203/375-1453) ToolManTimTaylor@aol.com netdp.proboards14.com
Minnesota Area Minnesota Chapter (MNTDR) Josh Peters 6920 150th Avenue, NW Ramsey, MN 55303 (612/232-2061) BRNCNTRY78@aol.com www.MNTDR.org
Upper New York State Area Central New York Turbo Diesel Owner’s United Walt Koziarz 7311 Canterbury Hill Rome, NY 13440 (315/336-4247) email@example.com
Cincinnati, OH Area Cincinnati Area TDR Paul Odegard 150 Farragut Road Cincinnati, OH 45218 (513/825-8338) firstname.lastname@example.org
Metro New York/Long Island Area Long Island Cummins Ram Owners Club Artie Johnsen PO Box 324 Remsenburg, NY 11960 (631/325-3516) email@example.com www.licroc.org
Houston, TX Area Lone Star TDR Curtis Harris 11667 Sagewind Drive Houston, TX 77089 (281/380-6512) firstname.lastname@example.org www.lstdr.org
Nebraska Area Mid West TDR (MWTDR) Rob Gilreath 2110 Randall Drive Bellevue, NE 68005 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com www.MWTDR.com
San Jose, CA Area TDR Ramrunners Mike Stanley 1649 Ida St. Dos Palos, CA 93620 (209/392-9204) www.ramrunners.org
Dallas, TX Area Big D Dodge Diesel Club Lance A. Poole 2300 High Country Way Plano, TX 75025 (214/509-9262) firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Louis, MO Area Gateway Chapter Keith Livingstone 18375 County Road 1000 Saint James, MO 65559 (573/265-5595)
Roanoke, VA Area Blue Ridge TDR Chapter Phil Toth 1209 Franklin Pike SE Floyd, VA 24091 (540/745-5525) email@example.com
Antelope Valley, CA Area Leon R. Mendenhall 2807 West Avenue M12 Palmdale, CA 93551 (661/265-6310)
Austin, TX Area Central Texas Dodge Cummins Turbo Diesel Club David Serafine 136 Eaton In Austin, TX 78737 (512/394-1439) firstname.lastname@example.org www.ctdctd.com
East TN/South KY Area TDR “Dodgers” David Wheeler 10965 Twin Harbour Dr. Knoxville, TN 37922 email@example.com
Southeast Area Southeastern Turbo Diesel Registry Josiah Loverin 134 Alston Road Beaufort, SC 29902 (843/524-1504) firstname.lastname@example.org www.setdr.org
Mid-Tennessee Area Mid-Tenn TDR Wade Patton 591 Petty Gap Road Woodbury, TN 37190 (615/765-5522) email@example.com
Central Florida Area Central Florida Turbo Diesel Rams Dick Floyd 1003 Tulane Terrace Inverness, FL 34450 (352/726-5031) firstname.lastname@example.org
New Mexico Area New Mexico TDR Jeff Argo 05 El Cielo Los Lunas, NM 87031 (505/249-7918 email@example.com www.nmtdr.com
WV, VA, MD Area Mason Dixon TDR John Styer 98 Sprinkle Mill Rd Martinsburg, WV 25401 (304/263-7855) firstname.lastname@example.org
“Backfire” is a forum for corrections, clarifications, and further explanation. Yes, you’re reading between the lines correctly. “Backfire” is a column where the editor gets to eat crow. WRONG CAPTIONS You have probably heard from the real owners already, but you placed my name under the pictures of three high mileage vehicles that are not mine. I hope you can correct the error for us in the next issue.
These two different writing styles serve as an example of the cliché “There is more than one way to skin a cat.” Tom and Tim are correct. Tom’s money was promptly refunded, Tim’s subscription remains in effect. TDR writer Jim Anderson was flogged mercilessly for the error. However, I must be careful not to offend those that have felines as pets, but I don’t know how to amend the cliché and still get the point across. So let’s apologize in advance.
For grins you should know that where I live, Silver Peak, Nevada, is a town of 100 (+ or – a few) and there are 13 Dodge Turbo Diesels in town and about 10 Dodge gas rigs. It is usually Dodge night at the bar.
Also, in a world of political correctness and writer tirades you’ll note I was remiss in not catching Joe Donnelly’s political comment about wilderness lands (page 15) and Ron Khol’s opinions on police enforcement (page 116).
Ken Polman Silver Peak, Nevada
A letter to the editor on Ron’s opinion respectfully submitted the other side of the story and brought to light the difficulty of accident investigation and subsequent court litigation. With the officer’s correspondence in hand, I realized the complexity and seriousness of accident investigation and extend my apologies to those that “Protect and Serve.”
Ken, we’ve not heard from the three mystery truck owners, but boy did we hear from others about Issue 49’s mistakes. Read on. ISSUE 49: THE COMIC BOOK This is the second time I’ve felt compelled to write you in reference to the TDR Magazine. This time on page 93 about engine oil in. The article says “All Cummins engines installed in Dodge trucks through the 2005 model year hold 10 quarts of oil plus one quart for the filter for a total fill of 11 quarts”. My owners manual says 11 quarts plus one for the filter. This is no longer a reference book but a comic book. After my current subscription expires I’ll have no further need for comic relief. Tom Wise MORE COMIC RELIEF In Issue 49 on page 93 there is a quote saying the oil capacity for all Cummins engines thru 2005 is a total of 11 quarts (10 for engine, 1 for filter). In my Owner’s Manual it states a total of 12 quarts. To verify, when the oil level is checked in my truck with the full 12 quarts, it reads full. Just thought I would drop a note. Tim Lambard
While you have Issue 49 in hand, I’ll take a moment to point out more wrong stuff: page 13, picture upside down; page 14, picture upside down; page 116, text and balance of a bad joke were covered over by an advertisement. I’m certain there were other errors in Issue 49. However, whoever said the TDR served only as a reference resource has overlooked its value as an entertainment book. But, comic book? Jim Anderson was wrong in his page 95 article. James Walker was wrong on his page 84 article (although the dealer may have charged him for 13 quarts). You are correct by referring to your Owner’s Manual (12 quarts). Collectively we are eating crow in this magazine’s “Backfire” section.
MY FAVORITE ACCESSORIES by Robert Patton For this issue we’ve asked the writers to look at their vehicle and the accessories they have installed and field tested for several years and many miles. The assignment is to write about those that they have found to work the best. On the same theme, I’m often asked, “What would you do upon delivery of a new truck? What are the best accessories?” The first step in answering these questions is to realize that each truck is as unique as its owner and as the truck’s intended purpose. Do you need a fifth-wheel or a standard hitch? A slide-in camper or a camper top? Again, personal preference is the rule. The items are easy to shop for and to source. The following is my report on my favorite accessories.
The Favorites Reading the purpose of the assignment statement again (“write about those items that work the best”) the following is a list of items that are immediately installed on the truck(s) we own. Since the purchase of the ’03 Turbo Diesel, the family has had five vehicles to upfit. Let’s start with the building block that makes future accessorizing so much easier—the Painless Wiring auxiliary fuse block. This is the first item that we’ve added to our trucks, as everything follows the easy path of electricity that the fuse block provides. Previous write-ups in the TDR; Issue 26, page 84.
Maintenance Items For the maintenance of my truck I believe in following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedules with the best lubricants and filters I can purchase. I’ve often stated in seminars that if the audience would follow the information in their Owner’s Manual there would not be such a demand for the TDR. Upon delivery of my ’03 2500 Turbo Diesel I changed the oil filter from the standard Mopar 5016547AC to the better filtration offered by the Fleetguard LF16035 Stratapore filter. At the appropriate maintenance intervals I have changed the fluids (engine oil, gearbox or automatic transmission, differential) to a full synthetic or synthetic blend oil. A word of caution on the engine oil and a synthetic or synthetic blend: do not use these types of lubricants until the engine is fully broken-in. Give it about 10,000 miles before changing. My choice for lubricants: Cummins Premium Blue 2000, semisynthetic for the engine oil; Amsoil synthetic ATF +4 automatic transmission fluid; Mobil 1 synthetic 75W90 differential fluid. My choice for filters: Fleetguard LF16035 Stratapore for oil filtration; Fleetguard FS19579 for fuel filtration; Fleetguard AF26106 for air filtration. You can’t go wrong using the OEM brand of filters. (Fleetguard makes these engine filters for Mopar and Fleetguard is a Cummins subsidiary.) With the controversy surrounding other types of air filter media (gauze or foam type), it is an easy decision to make. Issue 34, page 105, has a detailed discussion on air filters as well as oil filters. Engine coolant: Fleetguard Complete ethylene-glycol antifreeze works well for me. No mixing, no worries.
Kodiak Sidewinder Step: Reference Issue 25, page 51. This accessory has been written about numerous times in the TDR and is a favorite of the writing staff. The step electrically lowers when the door is opened and retracts when the door is closed. It is one of those items that you’ll use to impress your friends. “Come on over here—You’ve got to see this thing operate.”
PRODUCT SHOWCASE . . . . Continued Agri-Cover Literider roll-up tonneau cover: Reference Issue 29, page 92. We told writer John Holmes about this item and he had to have one. We have installed the Agri-Cover on all four trucks in the family. The features: no aggravating snaps, no flimsy bows, weather resistant, full use of truck bed, easy to install, and quick and easy to use.
Rostra Seat Heater: With each day that passes, I find I’m not getting any younger. This is evidenced in those small aches that frequent my lower back. Therapeutic heat helps; however, I am frugal and did not order the factory-installed, heated seats in my 2003 Dodge. Therefore, those seats are cold in the winter. What to do? I found an answer in Rostra Controls’ seat heater kit. The heat elements warm up quickly, and the two-position switch allows for either a high (145°) or low (135°) operation; or a back-only or back/seat bottom combination. Position of the heater elements requires removal of the Dodge seat covers. These covers are held on with long u-channel plastic clips. I was able to slip the heat pad in place without completely removing the seat covers. The job is not difficult—inspect under your truck’s seat to assess the difficulty of seat cover removal. See Scott’s write up on page 84 and my write up in Issue 47, page 171.
Parking Partner backup sensor: Although this has not been written about in the TDR, it is an item that I cannot live without. Its beep and read-out of items in back of the truck have saved me from many a parking lot meeting. The unit is extremely accurate and makes the recommended list.
The above are my favorite accessories. They are the ones that elicit responses of “that’s cool, what’s that?, how’s that work?” from the first-time passenger. However, I would be remiss not to mention other products that are functional and have stood the test of time (remember—installed on five vehicles). However, these accessories don’t have the same “wow” effect as the aforementioned items. The functional list goes as follows: Pacbrake exhaust brake; Turbo Tool Tray; Westach gauges in a Gauge Works triple gauge dash pod; Cab Fresh filter kit; EZ change drain plug; Covercraft seat covers or sheepskin seat covers; Husky floor mats; USS Junkbox underseat storage; White Night back-up lights; Mopar splash guard; XM satellite radio.
Gate Glide: Another functional item that your truck should not be without is the Gate Glide. Imagine the spring/cable setup of your garage door and how effortlessly the door opens and closes. No longer does the tailgate free-fall when opened, no longer is it awkward to raise the tailgate; the spring tension of the Gate Glide makes opening/closing effortless. This is a favorite of Polly Holmes and was written up in Issue 48, page 172.
Granted, many of the accessories on the truck(s) were purchased from our sister company, Geno’s Garage. Although there is an affiliation with the TDR, I get no mercy when it comes to invoicing for their products. I am pleased that those Geno’s items have stood the test of time and, thus, they’ve been added to my list of accessories that work the best. Likely there are owners in the audience that have had experience upfitting numerous trucks. What is on your have-to-have list? I am interested in featuring those items that you have found to stand the test of time. Send ‘em in and we’ll add the list to a Your Story article. Robert Patton TDR Staff
PRODUCT SHOWCASE . . . . Continued MY FAVORITE ACCESSORIES by Bill Stockard With the theme in mind, I thought about the accessories on my ’03 Turbo Diesel 3500 and made a note of my favorites. I referred to my copy of Issue 36 from my TDR library (which begins with Issue 1) and reread my favorite accessories article in Issue 36, pages 18-20.
Other Favorite Accessories Other favorite accessories I have installed on both of our two most recently owned Turbo Diesels include:
My current favorites: the Rancho RS9000X replacement shock absorbers and the other suspension additions (Issue 48, pages 38 and 39, and Issue 49, page 147), such as the Hellwig anti-sway bar and the Energy Suspension overload spring bump stops that have improved the ride and stability when the truck is loaded or empty. My favorite accessories in Issue 36 were the Pacbrake exhaust brake and the Rancho RS9000 adjustable shock absorbers. When I wrote about my favorite accessories in Issue 36, I owned a ‘00 Turbo Diesel 3500 equipped with the NV5600 six-speed transmission and a Pacbrake exhaust brake. The truck hauled a Lance 11’ 6” slide-in truck camper. In addition, it occasionally towed our 31’ two slide-out, fifth-wheel trailer that loaded the truck to its maximum gross combined weight rating (GCWR). The truck wasn’t a “daily driver” and was used almost exclusively for towing or hauling our personal recreational vehicles.
Painless Wiring Kit installed in the passenger side dash behind the access cover which controls all my electrical power accessories with fuse-protected circuits, and easy to access wiring connections.
I now own a ‘03 Turbo Diesel 3500 equipped with the 48RE fourspeed automatic transmission. I no longer own the fifth-wheel trailer and don’t tow anymore. After hauling our camper over steep grades in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming and the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina, and with improvements made to the Chrysler 48RE automatic transmission in 2003, I have decided I don’t need the exhaust brake. The Rancho RS9000X adjustable shock absorbers have improved the ride and stability on the ‘03 truck just as much as they did for the ‘00 truck. The installation was simple with common hand tools. The newer Ranchos have nine settings with “1” the softest and “9” as the firmest. When hauling the Lance camper, I adjust the Ranchos to 9 at all four corners. When driving the truck without the camper, I adjust the Ranchos to 5 on the front and 2 on the rear which gives a better ride. I don’t have the optional remote in-cab controls on the Ranchos since the truck is used almost exclusively to haul the Lance camper and I never unload the camper after we leave home.
Turbo Tech 2006 Turn Back You’ve Missed It (page 132)
Mopar front mud flaps deflect the damage caused by road debris and small rocks thrown from the front tires. Also, they help limit dirt and mud build up on the cab step bars.
Dealer-installed, cab mounted step bars to ease my wife’s entry into the cab.
PRODUCT SHOWCASE . . . . Continued be more versatile if we could use it in either of our vehicles rather than an in-dash factory installed unit. Not being familiar with GPS receivers, we were unsure how complicated the receivers were to set up, operate, and program. For Christmas this year I purchased a Garmin StreetPilot 2620 and a Magellan Roadmate 700 GPS receiver. We planned to use both GPS receivers for a couple of days, decide which one we liked the best, keep it, and return the other one by taking advantage of Costco Wholesale Club’s liberal return policy. After trying out both GPS receivers, we kept the Garmin StreetPilot 2620 and returned the Magellan Roadmate 700.
Mopar slush floor mats on the front floor collect the water and debris off our shoes. The mats match the truck’s interior color exactly and provide for an anti-slip hook.
Mopar carpeted rear floor mat. This mat matches the truck’s carpet color, fits the floor contour, and includes the Dodge Ram logo in the center. Note: The rear seats are in the raised position for a better view of the floor. These are my favorite accessories that I have used on two different trucks performing similar tasks. Yes, I agree, it does seem like “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. New Accessory Becoming a Favorite I had wanted a ground positioning satellite (GPS) receiver for several years to use during our travels. Since my wife and I enjoy traveling scenic byways and the lesser traveled roads in our slide-in truck camper, I thought a GPS would assist us in finding our way around in unfamiliar places. We assumed a portable GPS would
The Garmin 2620 is easy to use and simple to program. The screen automatically adjusts for the daylight, and is easy to read by the driver, passenger, and passengers in the back seat. The unit features a voice command function which allows the driver to turn it on and off without having to look at the screen. The built-in antenna gets amazingly good reception. The hand held wireless remote control, both a convenience and a safety feature, allows a passenger to easily change the settings and/or routing while the truck is in motion without distracting the driver or moving the GPS receiver. With a large programmable selection of current on-screen readings such as altitude, speed, direction, miles traveled, and elapsed time, the receiver continuously plots the location on the on-screen map with the upcoming streets and roads. When traveling on Interstate highways the screen shows all the exits and indicates whether to exit left or right, which is helpful on multilane highways.
Garmin StreetPilot 2620 is sitting on the truck’s dash on its convenient adjustable bean bag mount. The GPS receiver gives me and my wife the confidence to travel many county roads in an unfamiliar area that normally we wouldn’t drive. Touring back country roads is more enjoyable since we aren’t constantly reading maps. Instead, we are looking at the interesting scenery. We also use the GPS near our home to find locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The GPS receiver is a fuel and time saver and is becoming another favorite accessory. Bill Stockard Argyle, TX Editor’s Note: for a review of the Garmin StreetPilot 2610 and a tutorial about GPS, please see Mark Barnes’ write-up in Issue 46, page 92. Bill used the information in that article to help decide on his purchase.
PRODUCT SHOWCASE . . . . Continued It is not an accessory; it is a necessity. By Brad Nelson Have you ever been around one of those jokers who show up at a job site just like the day they were born? You know, naked and crying. They did not want to be there in the first place (this is the crying part) and they did not bring with them a single thing to do the job at hand (this is the naked part). The first thing they will say, after it becomes obvious that they must stay and help, is “I need to borrow a pencil, paper, gloves, a tape measure, etc.”
A Non-Stock Shift Lever Knob This is just a personal thing. I tell the curious that this is a theft prevention device, since the shift pattern will not be on most custom knobs. I had to make my own adapter so the national coarse threads on the new shift knob would mate to the metric threads on the top of the shift lever.
Now go to either the new truck dealership or a used truck lot and you will find a truck that is naked and crying for some useful accessories. My list of necessary accessories will be different from yours, but then I may use my truck differently than you do yours. Things I must have, not in any particular order, are: Saddle Blanket Seat Covers These are about $30.00 a set. They take a beating in style and save the original upholstery. A set lasts one to two years and the choice of colors will give your truck a new look on the inside. Then when you trade in your truck, your original upholstery is still like new. CB Radio They all come with an “off” button. My personal preference is a Cobra 29 with none of the expensive bells and whistles. If you are into CB radio as a hobby you can spend $400 and up easily. The Cobra 29 is still available at truck stops for around $100 on sale. If you are traveling with a group, the CB is faster than a cell phone to stay in touch and chat. You have 40 channels to choose from, so you do not need to be annoyed by the busy trucker-occupied channel 19. The benefits of a CB radio are the caability to notice what is going on up the road, and to warn other drivers of hazards. Air-Suspended Driver’s Seat With this accessory (Issue 43, page 18) my truck rides as nicely as my Lincoln Town Car. In addition the three-year old grandson tells me “Grandpa’s chair goes up and down.” This will be a major production to add to your truck, but well worth it.
Non-stock shift lever knob.
REAL Back Up Lights I mounted a pair of inexpensive driving lights in place of the superdim units that came with the flatbed that was on my truck when I bought it ($7.95 for the pair, on sale at Harbor Freight Tools). Make sure you aim them at the ground and leave them hooked up to the back up light wiring that came on the vehicle. Otherwise, you could be accused of blinding traffic behind you. Tool Box(es) The best way to avoid being helpless is to have with you some means of fixing at least simple things that go wrong away from the home shop. I have been accused of having more tools with me than some who claim to be mechanics. My reply is that I have yet to have the wife or kids have car trouble in the driveway. The choices range from small enough to store under the seat to replacing the truck bed with a utility service box. I finally made my own side-slider system since I could not find anything on the market I liked. This is one gift idea that needs some specifics when the request is made of others wanting to know what you want for Christmas or for your birthday. If you just put “toolbox” on your list, the odds are very good that you will receive something you really did not want. I’ve got the toolbox I want . . . see my write up on page ___. Radar Detector The price range is from $50 to around $400. I find that the way I use one the $70 to $100 unit does just fine. If you need one that will allow you to slow down from 95 to 55 before you get busted, then you need to spend the maximum and realize that a good portion of the promises the radar detector manufacturers make are embellished.
PRODUCT SHOWCASE . . . . Continued Case in point—the statement that “If you get a speeding ticket while using our state-of-the-art whizbang, we will pay your ticket.” The fine print says, “Unless you were going more than 15 miles per hour more than the posted limit.” Where I live the local constable types give you nine miles over the limit without even a warning unless you were doing something else out of line too. Scanning Radio
The Most Fun in a Truck Accessory The most fun in a truck accessory would be a three-year-old grandson who knows where you put the oil in your Turbo Diesel engine. When everyone else wants to stay home, this kid is finding reasons why we need to go somewhere in the Turbo Diesel. Or in the MGB.
These are programmable to specific frequencies that allow you to hear the fire, ambulance, and most law-enforcement channels. They even have units out now that will follow a conversation on a “trunking” system. That means that the frequency is changed every four or five seconds to make law enforcement conversations hard to scan. They start at around $80 for a basic model. Jumper Cables This is almost a no-brainer. Get a set at least 20 feet long and the heavier the wire the better. Store them so that the corrosion that will inevitably end up on the clamp ends cannot harm anything else. 12-Volt Air Compressor This is from chapter one on “How to be a hero in the parking lot.” Get a high volume rather than a high pressure unit. My current air compressor is good for 125 psi, came from the Schucks auto parts store and cost about $24. It inflates things several times faster than the units that claim 250 or 300 psi. Extra Essential Fluids
My wife bought a single raffle ticket for this restored ’78 MGB from the Moses Lake, Washington, Business Association fund raiser. She did not tell me she bought a ticket. They called me on the 4th of July and told me I had won the car. I said, “What car? I never bought a ticket for a raffle on a car!” Notice that the grandson found where the oil goes into the engine.
Brad Nelson Royal City, WA
Anything you have with you as spare fluids (oil, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, water) will have cost a fraction of what you will pay at the convenience store with the cheap fuel. They have to make their money some way. Tow Chain or Strap Again, this goes back to not showing up naked and crying. A strap will be easier on both the towed and the towing vehicle. If the $5, on-sale tow strap looks too light, it probably is. Get one that looks like it is too heavy. At least it will not break the first time you need it. In addition, if you have to “jerk” a stuck vehicle to get it out, the strap will absorb this, while a chain may break, injuring anyone nearby with the resulting shrapnel. First Aid Kit The rule when deciding the size of your first aid kit is to make sure you have enough stuff. If any of you and yours have asthma or are allergic to bee stings, then you need some additional supplies in your first aid kit. Fire Extinguisher Take as big a fire extinguisher as you can store or, even better, multiple units rated A, B, C. These are good for oil and gas, electrical, or plain old wood and paper fires. Be sure to read the directions.
PRODUCT SHOWCASE . . . . Continued Accessory Theme for Issue 50 By Andy Redmond Accessories, gottahavits, toys: we all love to have items on our trucks which make them more personal and/or useful. I was reflecting recently on items that I’ve added to my truck, as well as looking closely at some of my customers’ vehicles: some of them heroes and some zeros. On my truck many of these items are approaching their eighth birthday, which proves that a quality part can go the distance. Paint Protection The hood shield and brow guards help prevent stone chips and keep bugs and debris off the windshield. It seems almost every accessory manufacturer makes them, but be sure that it does not impact the aerodynamic capabilities of the vehicle. I chose the Deflecta-Shield over the Lund, based on knowledge that it wouldn’t make my mirrors vibrate or reduce wiper performance. Like most plastic items, after a few years it takes some plastic polish for the lexan to maintain luster and shine.
Wiper Blades I’ve tried most brands of wiper blades and I love the Bosch units. Admittedly these are expensive, but worth the dime and they have lasted for about three years and seemingly still work as new. If you have poor blade performance, check out the tips in Issue 49, Website Contributions/Third Generation trucks. It was recommended that you make sure that the blade is at 90 degrees to the windshield; tips were given on how to “tweak” the wiper arm. Another tip was to use Bon Ami to cleanse the windshield surface. Trailer Tow Mirrors I added the manual trailer tow mirrors that became available on ’00 trucks. Although they are manual, they provide an excellent rear view and flip up to see around the sides of most trailers. Many have successfully retrofitted the ’03-up, powered-controlled tow mirror head to the older base. Tires and Wheels
I like the Mopar Splash guards to prevent stone chips on the rocker panels. They fit the panels perfectly and installation was a snap. An angle drill is slick to punch the pilot holes through the sheet metal and usually eliminates the need for tire removal. I also installed 3M Scotchcal paint protection film on the areas where the splash guards can rub against the wheel wells. This prevents paint damage from minor chafing. I also used the Scotchcal film on the rockers, then applied the plastic step shields to prevent rocker panel paint damage from busy feet during entrance and exit to the truck. Bed Protection Not long after I purchased the truck, I had Century Trailers in San Angelo, Texas, install an Arma Coating over-the-rail, spray-in-type, bed liner. I’ve had several different bed liners in past trucks including the hard plastic type (too slippery), rubber mat (too sticky), as well as the Rhino Liner (spray-in liner, which was too sticky, although very tough). I chose the Arma Coating after bugging my friend, Jackie Pails, at Century Trailers with many questions. I like the fact that heavy objects can be slid or restrained easily on its surface, but cargo doesn’t go everywhere as with the drop-in hard plastic style liner. Another feature touted by ArmaCoating is that theirs is a hot spray application technique versus a cold spray like the Rhino Lining. They can easily change surface texture or how thick of a coating the customer desires. A few sharp objects have gouged the surface on the tailgate area, but not back to the paint. I am very happy with Century’s installation and quality workmanship. Since my truck is a work truck, the ability to cover the bed is important. For years I’d used a tonneau cover. But, I had the opportunity to purchase a used ARE fiberglass lid from a TDR member. A friend at a body shop color-matched it to the black on the truck. Another added bonus, since it takes a couple of helpers to remove, no one has asked to borrow the truck for moving chores. Not a good accessory if you tow a gooseneck or fifth-wheel trailer, but perfect for my chores.
I picked up some ‘05 polished alloy take-offs (17”) when my ride needed new rubber (Thanks to Joe “my truck is sickly and needs more fuel” Donnelly and John “Kingfish” Holmes for a solving a perceived lug nut issue). These should fit all ‘94-‘02 2500 Turbo Diesels. Previously many of us experienced problems with using ‘01-‘02 polished alloy 16” wheels (an upgrade factory option) on the older trucks. Often it would be necessary to remove the brake drums on the rear of the truck and turn a small amount off of the outside diameter of the drum (drum to wheel inside diameter clearance issue). Since the ’03-up wheels are 17 inches, clearance issues are no longer a problem. The wheels are inset slightly more than the chromed steel wheels. I see no contact issues and they stay tucked just inside the fenders. The hub of the wheel is slightly thicker than the steel wheel, but my lug studs had sufficient length for safety (stud is flush with the outside of the lug nut). Re-use your lug nuts and the new generation hub caps snap right on. Should you desire to re-use the Second-Generation hub cap, it will need the chrome flange (that contacts the wheel) trimmed at least a 3/16 of an inch to allow for sufficient contact with the lug nuts. My truck had the 3.5mm shim on the right front to help with the brake pull
PRODUCT SHOWCASE . . . . Continued TSB, I decided to remove the shim as the lug studs would not have been long enough to safely secure the right front wheel. I’ve not noticed any brake pull, but I relube my brake caliper slider pins at every other oil change. I quickly grabbed a set of Kleenwheels before installing the front wheels. These are supercool and prevent brake dust deposits on your shiny wheels. For those not familiar with Kleenwheels, check out the illustrations in your Geno’s catalog. They are a tin “inner hub cap” that prevents brake dust from soiling your wheels. Two thumbs up! They are easily moved when tire rotation is performed.
Lighting Upgrades I’ve added the Brite-box (Baker Auto Accessories) which helps on dark roads. In Issue 48, Joe Donnelly praised these products and rightly so! I have the kit to install the factory-style fog lamps, but have yet to install them. Other customers report back with good comments after the addition. Auxiliary backup lamps are my second favorite accessory. It’s amazing what two 50-watt lamps will do!
Brakes Not much to report here. I replaced brake pads, rebuilt the calipers, replaced rotors and hub bearings, turned the rear drums, upgraded to larger wheel cylinders and changed the lining and hardware for the first time at 140,000 miles. Everything I replaced was sourced from Wagner (Federal Mogul), except front pads (Hawk Super-Duty’s) and dimpled slotted EBC rotors. Braking seemed greatly improved over the stock arrangement even in its early mileage days when the components were almost new. The Hawk pads are a little squeaky in parking lots when braking. Get them warm and everything is quiet. The EBC rotors may be the cause of this. I was speaking to a distributor represenative for Hawk recently, who recounted a similar squeak on his Ford diesel under the same braking conditions. Perhaps it’s the friction compound. The Wagner Thermo-Quiet pads and lining are hard to beat for quality replacement parts as well. Suspension System I’m a huge fan of the Solid Steel Products (track bar retrofit and the Darin’s steering stabilizer [DSS]). See Issues 46 and 47. These modifications have provided the greatest satisfaction of anything added to the truck. Ah, a truck that isn’t scary to drive and never wondering again if the death-wobble will strike at the next uneven road surface. These two items are my favorites. I’ve always been a proponent of the Rancho 9000 (adjustable) shocks. However, their service life on my truck seems to be about 50,000 miles. The most recent Ranchos were removed, as the front units would compress about half way then bottom out with no rebound whatsoever. The warranty folks have pledged to remedy the problem. I recently added Bilstein shocks to the truck (about 10,000 miles). The ride is very smooth and far superior to the factory shocks and less harsh than with the Ranchos. Seat covers Since I have the crimson red interior, options were limited for seat covers. Several years ago, I was shopping at Cabela’s and purchased a water-resistant seat cover for each seat. These are perfect when I’m dirty or when fly-fishing. I can hop in and know my seats won’t get ruined and the covers can be laundered, then air-dried, as needed.
I’ll include the bill of materials, wiring diagram and instructions in a future article. Remember to use heavy wiring and a relay for such accessory lights. Also, soldered connections, heat shrink and properly routed wiring will make the accessory last as long as the truck. Of course, now the wife will start bugging me to put some on the rear of her Durango! Instrumentation I’ve swapped gauges several times and finally installed the SPA DG211 (dual reading digital gauge, measures turbo boost and egt). The SPA gauge is arguably the most accurate and technical digital gauge available to the Turbo Diesel owner. The downside to SPA is poor quality control and a resistance to honor their warranty. For this reason, I no longer sell or install them. I could write a two-page epic on this, but I’ll refrain from further comment. In my opinion the BD X-Monitor is the best digital gauge on the market. It could be even more perfect if two more features were added: ability to dim the display at night with the headlamp dimmer switch; and a bit more profile could be added to the a-pillar mount to allow you to more easily read the gauge in bright sunlight. If you have the TST Powermax 3 (‘98-‘02 and ‘03-‘06 trucks), it should be a no-brainer to go with a TST remote with digital readings. This will also facilitate setting a max EGT setting so the fueling box will de-fuel should the preset be exceeded. Some of my non-Dodge customers love the Edge and companion Attitude Monitor and give it rave reviews. This combination should be available for the Ram applications by the time you read this.
PRODUCT SHOWCASE . . . . Continued Power Enhancements Since I have the respected Bosch P-7100 injection pump, a little more power than the rated 175 was in order. A TST fuel pump/ torque plate made the ole ram so energetic. But, power is addictive and next I needed some of Piers Harry’s governor springs so it doesn’t de-fuel until 3000 or so rpm. Then bigger injectors. More power . . . it really needs more turbo to control the raging exhaust gas temperatures. Let’s not forget a stout SBC clutch to put the power to the gearbox. Floormats McNeil Rubber makes some excellent channeled floor mats that don’t slide around and really protect the carpet. My heels have worn through the soft rubber at the accelerator and clutch pedals. Since it was normal wear and tear, I expected to purchase new ones. But, the customer service department at McNeil refused payment and sent new mats. This truck and the accessories I’ve chosen have far exceeded my expectations. Everyone keeps after me to get a new truck and start the process over. Well, maybe, but what would I do with this truck that has served me so well? Keep driving it, I guess. Andy Redmond TDR Writer
FAVORITE ACCESSORIES by Bruce Armstrong My favorite Dodge Ram accessory? For most TDR writers, this will be an easy editorial assignment. Why? Because most of our readers drive trucks dripping with aftermarket goodies and are all dreaming of the next round of UPS deliveries. I, however, drive a totally stock ’01 truck. Oh, sure, I installed the mandatory gauges, but that’s just for visual entertainment. You can’t drive a stock Cummins hard enough to hurt it—especially if you are only towing a 20’ wooden skiff up Interstate 5 each summer. I hardly think readers will be interested in the red Cummins valve cover I installed in place of the standard black Dodge piece, nor can I think of anything interesting to say about my Snugtop shell. So, if not something bolted to my Dodge, then what? Operating something as big as most summer homes does require accessories not commonly found in most auto accessory catalogs. Things like ladders and long-handled window cleaners—and specialized paint upkeep products. Waxing a Dodge Ram is akin to painting the aforementioned summer home and if, like me, you want your rolling stock to always appear showroom fresh, the traditional wax job soon becomes old. What to do? If oxidation is not an option at your house, I’ve found the answer. Griot’s Garage, self-proclaimed provider of goodies for the “Car Care Perfectionist,” has a paint-care kit that gets your Dodge back up to showroom spec in an hour! The core piece is an electrical or air-driven orbital polisher/waxer. Included with the orbital are paint cleaning clay, machine polish, show wax and different density velcro-attached foam bonnets to properly apply the polish and wax. The results are spectacular. I have to admit to using my Griot’s orbital to apply run-of-the-mill liquid cleaner/wax most of the time, saving the show wax for my black sports car. Swirls are a thing of the past and there’s no need to worry about burning the paint. My routine is simple. After each thorough washing, I wax a section of my truck. This morning I did the hood and front fenders: five minutes total! Next will be the doors and cab, maybe 10 minutes. Once a year or after a long, dirty trip, I’ll break out the polish and wax to bring the truck back to new condition. Maybe two hours? Try that by hand! Before the egt gauge, before the valve cover, the Griot’s orbital is top of my list of mandatory Ram accessories! Bruce Armstrong TDR Writer Editor’s Note: Yo, Bruce, it ain’t stock if you’ve added a set of gauges, a valve cover and a Snugtop to the truck. Now, go stand in the hallway and keep a watch out for the UPS driver.
Turbo Tech 2006 Turn Back You’ve Missed It, Page 132
PRODUCT SHOWCASE . . . . Continued LENO’S ACCESSORIES by Doug Leno Like most Turbo Diesel owners I like accessories that add personality and function, thus extending the truck’s value to me beyond its stock capability. My truck is an early ’04, 3500, Quad Cab, short bed, six-speed, 4WD, chosen for its wonderful flexibility: It can haul anything from furniture to a large trailer, and it performs well for both daily driving and exploring off road. Naturally, the accessories I like enhance all of these capabilities without limiting any of them. Wheels and Tires The first thing I added was a set of American Racing Python wheels and 285/70 R17 BF-Goodrich, AT-KO tires. Slightly taller than stock, the BFGs fill out the wheel wells just a bit better, and their signature tread pattern is a great combination of low noise and improved traction for winter and off-road conditions. I like this configuration because it does not stress the stock steering and suspension system with very large tires. In addition, no suspension lift is required and the effects on engine rpm and speedometer accuracy are very small ( at 70mph, the engine runs about 80 rpm lower, and the speedometer reads about 3 mph slow). Another reason I like this tire size is that it fits into the stock location for the spare. When putting larger tires on your Turbo Diesel, be sure to upgrade the spare tire as well! This will avoid a size and tread mismatch if you have to use it. The Python wheels have a wider “offset” than the stock wheels (they stick out further) producing a slightly wider stance (and more aggressive look) on the road. This, along with the width of the 285/70-R17 tires themselves, increases the risk of paint damage from road debris. To correct this, I installed a set of Bushwacker, extend-a-flare, wheel flares, which are wide enough to accommodate the wider wheels and tires without being too aggressive. I chose to leave mine unpainted to match the other black moldings on my truck.
Truck Bed Preparing the bed for both heavy hauling and light weight road trips resulted in three very useful additions. First, to protect the bed paint from scratches, I discovered the wonderful world of spray-in bed liners. I found that the Line-X material met my requirements: It is amazingly durable and it is hard enough so that you can slide heavy furniture and appliances into place without excessive catching or grabbing. I like the over the rail that covers not only the inside surface of the bed, but the top of the bed rails and a couple of inches down over the side, according to your preference. To insure an even spray and consistency of surface roughness the skill of the installer is just as critical as the choice of material itself. A good installer will also preserve the stock tie-downs and drain holes in the bed. One word of advice: If your truck is new, you might not want to watch the installer sand away at your shiny new paint while preparing the surface! Secondly, when I’m not hauling the tough stuff, I enjoy the soft durability of a BedRug. This instantly converts the toughened bed surface into something suitable for both travel suitcases and fine furniture. The BedRug coomes pre-formed specifically for the Dodge bed and is essentially an outdoor carpet with a foam backing. The foam backing fits perfectly into the ribs of the steel bed, making a flat, very comfortable interior. Good enough for a sleeping bag! When on family road trips, I like being able to load and unload things and crawl around the bed without tearing up my knees. The BedRug installs with Velcro, right over the top of the Line-X, and can be easily removed. I can haul a load of gravel, hose out the bed and then put the rug back in. The rug itself is very durable, and can be washed with a garden hose while installed.
BedRug installed on top of Line-X, using Velcro. Line-X is visible on both the inside surface and the upper edge of the tailgate.
Bushwacker “Extend-a-Flare” wheel flares nicely accommodate the wider stance produced by the wheel/tire combination. American Racing Python wheels, BFG 285/70-17 AT-KO tires, Bushwacker Extend-a-Flare wheel flares.
Third, I found that family road trips benefit from an enclosed cap, or shell. My kids say it makes the truck looks too much like a Suburban, but they all appreciate the protection of their belongings when it rains! I like the cab-height A.R.E., Z topper, both for its OEM-like style and because the back window has an electric lock that is wired into the truck’s security system. I can lock and unlock
PRODUCT SHOWCASE . . . . Continued the back end along with the other doors with the Dodge key fob. By the way, just in case you are wondering what A.R.E means, the letters are the initials of the original owner’s three children (Ann Marie, Ralph, and Elizabeth).
After everything is strapped down and hooked up, I sit in the driver’s seat with the wireless mouse in hand and operate both the dyno and the truck at the same time.
A.R.E. “Z” cap. The rear window seal touches the tailgate, which has been protected with Line-X “over the rail” spray-on bed liner.
On the dyno: Strapped down and wheels spinning.
My collection of gauges is another of my favorite accessories. Three dual SPA gauges provide digital measurements of pre-turbo exhaust gas temperature (EGT), post-turbo EGT, boost pressure, exhaust pressure (drive pressure), fuel pressure, and the output temperature of the turbocharger’s compressor. The SPA gauges enable me to capture peak readings for all these parameters and to study the relationships between them.
Inside view of the A.R.E. “Z” topper and installed BedRug. The two lights in the ceiling are independently switched and wired in as part of the topper.
However, as useful as these items are, my analytical nature and desire to experiment has led to a different genre of accessories. In order to write about power enhancements, I depend on a variety of measurement equipment. Not surprisingly, I would have to say that my favorite “accessory” is the dynamometer! This is a wonderful device that provides accurate horsepower and torque comparisons of before and after engine modifications. Through a countless number of measurement runs, I have learned to appreciate the strengths of both load-type and inertia-type dynos while evaluating various power modifications. I’ve been able to investigate not only peak horsepower and torque, but turbocharger spool-up, low-end torque, and even fuel economy under simulated loads!
Those who have followed the power enhancement article series know that am cautious about excessive rail as a method of power enhancement (See TDR Issue 48, Technical Topics). I couldn’t very well investigate or write about rail pressure without measuring it. So when I found no such gauge available I developed one myself. I like my analog rail pressure gauge because it’s so easy to watch how the rail behaves under various circumstances, both stock and with various fueling boxes installed. This prototype gauge helped explain why, for example, the TST box on level 8/8 (stock injectors) produced less power and higher EGTs than it did on level 7/7! I am working with Geno’s Garage to stock a production quality version of this gauge so that other Turbo Diesel owners can conveniently measure rail pressure as well. There is a wonderful variety of mounting solutions for two-inch round gauges. My choice reflects my most important requirement: the information that is important to monitor while driving (EGT and boost pressure) must be in plain view without taking your eyes off the road. I like the A-pillar mount for the SRT-10 Ram truck (available from Geno’s and your local Dodge dealer) for this purpose, because of the way it positions my SPA dual digital (boost/EGT) gauge for easy viewing while driving. It also matches the interior perfectly and preserves the stock grab handle.
PRODUCT SHOWCASE . . . . Continued Vendor Information and Purchase Options Except for the gauges themselves, I was able to obtain all of the accessories mentioned through my local Dodge dealer. Of course, they are available separately from other channels as well. For more information, visit the following web addresses: A.R.E. truck caps www.4are.com BedRug bed liner www.bedrug.com SPA Technique digital gauges spatechnique.com American Racing wheels www.americanracing.com Bushwacker flares http://bushwacker.com Doug Leno TDR Writer
Stock A-pillar gauge mount from the SRT-10 RAM truck, with an SPA dual EGT/boost digital gauge installed. The button just to the left of the gauge is for displaying resetting and peak values.
Having met my most important requirement, the remaining instruments in my collection provide additional diagnostic and experimental data and as such can be mounted out of plain view. For these gauges I turned to the in-console triple gauge mount, where I mounted two SPA dual gauges and my analog rail pressure gauge. The SPA gauges come with an aluminum bracket which is easily formed to meet the requirements of the triple gauge mount.
Triple in-console gauge cluster for fuel pressure (top left), turbocharger drive pressure (bottom left), compressor output temp (top center), postturbo EGT (bottom center) and rail pressure (right). This picture was taken under highway cruise conditions (empty) during a moderate climb.
READY-SET-GO “The person who has lived the most is not the one with the most years but the one with the richest experiences.” —Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emile, 1762 TRAVEL ADVENTURE? Some people hate driving. They’d rather take a plane and be there tonight. Okay, see you later. At the wheel, my mind clears and I begin to think of things, all kinds of things. I spread pistachios on the engine cover—the concentration of opening them keeps me alert. I do computations in my head, trying to remember the numbers and carry out all the steps. I’m immune to the phone and the mail. Traveling means something different to every traveler and there are infinite destinations. But the appeal of just going is seductive all by itself, a special kind of life. It’s simple, and simplicity is freedom. Kevin Cameron TDR Writer SUFFICIENTLY INSPIRED? ANNOUNCING THE TDR’S FIVE POINTS TOUR Looking for a reason to be? An excuse for travel? A new adventure? The Five Points Tour is the answer! Inspired by a reminiscent look at a desk drawer full of automotive, RV and motorcycle event pins, and a motorcycle adventure story called the Four Corners Tour, the TDR staff created the Five Points Tour. The Five Points Tour was designed to give the traveling individual/family a reason to travel and a permanent keepsake of the adventure. A desk drawer full of pins is nice, but the pins can’t capture the spirit of travel and adventure quite like photographs, receipts, and letters bound in a handsome coffee table book. Better yet, as the fraternity of tour participants grows (it will span many years), join these individuals/families each year at an informal Five Points Tour banquet held each April in Atlanta, Georgia. (Thinking back, I enjoyed my dinner at my first annual banquet.) Join us. The rules are simple, your events will be structured and chronicled, and the adventure will be yours to reflect on for a lifetime.
The rules presented on page 121 are easy to understand and there aren’t any surprises. To start your Five Points Tour adventure simply send a check for $35 ($60 for non-TDR members) to: Turbo Diesel Register C/O Five Points Tour 1150 Samples Industrial Drive Cumming, GA 30041 www.fivepointstour.com Upon receipt of your check we will forward an instruction kit for you to follow at each of the Five Points destinations. We’ll also send you the Five Points Tour scrapbook. Then, we will set aside a file folder, filling it as you mail in your destination entries. Upon completion of the tour we will forward the file’s contents to you. Also, we will send the Five Points Tour receiver hitch cover to you upon completion of the trip. Have a safe and memorable trip! *The Five Points Tour is an idea that has been adapted from a crosscountry 21 day time limit, motorcycle event. The event is sponsored by the Southern California Motorcycling Association and is called the USA Four Corners Motorcycle Tour. We’ve changed some of the locations, added a fifth destination and made the rules much more forgiving. Can you imagine traversing the corners of the USA in only 21 days? On a motorcycle? I think not! If you have a motorcycle and wish to try covering the four corners of the USA within 21 days, give the SCMA folks a call at (714) 7758246 or e-mail them at Joanne.email@example.com. TOUR PARTICIPANTS The following participants have signed-up for the Five Points Tour. We’ll track their progress as they travel the USA. Josep and Judith Gagnon, Colchester, Vermont Joe Goodman, Soldotna, Alaska
The Five Points Tour was designed to give the traveling individual/family a reason to travel and a permanent keepsake of the adventure.
FIVE POINTS TOUR . . . . Continued Five Points Tour Rules 1. This is a travel tour and the entire distance must be traversed by you (and spouse). 2. You are allowed an unlimited amount of time to complete this event. 3. The five (5) official checkpoints are: - San Ysidro, California - Blaine, Washington - Madawaska, Maine - Key West, Florida - South Padre Island, Texas There are no other checkpoints. Substitutes are not acceptable. 4. You may visit the five checkpoints in any sequence and by any route that you desire. You do not have to return to the first checkpoint to finish this event. 5. You start the event by visiting the first checkpoint of your choice and by mailing the required proof-of-visit information to the TDR office. 6. You must mail the following from each checkpoint to show proof of visit: a) A fuel receipt from a service station in the checkpoint city. If no stations are open, a receipt from the nearest open fuel station will be accepted. b) You must take a photo of yourself and/or spouse at each checkpoint. We suggest parking next to a post office, building, marker, or anything with the city name in the picture.
Successful finishers receive all of their pictures and correspondence from each of the Five Points landmarks to display in the leatherbound Five Points Tour scrapbook on the coffee table. At the conclusion of your journey the TDR will also send out a nice receiver hitch cover. Truly a class event.
The scrapbook/travel book is sent to you upon registration for the tour. The hitch cover and your proof-of-visit documents are sent to you upon the tour’s completion.
Note to participants: As the administrators of this travel adventure, we hold your Five Point Tour pictures and receipts until the completion of the tour. But you have an unlimited amount of time to complete the event. We do not specify that the event be traversed in a particular vehicle. Thus (although not the intended purpose), you are free to arrive at a Five Point destination in a rental car. Just send in the picture! Get the idea? We want you to see these (and other) locations! We want to send you the completed scrapbook contents as a memento of a completed task. We want you to enjoy the camaraderie of others as you travel. We want you to have fun! Side Trip—Bonus Locations
Here is a picture showing that the participant made the trip to Madawaska, Maine.
As you plan your Five Points Tour there are many interesting side trips along the travel route. The scrapbook that we send to you when you sign up for the tour will be large enough to accommodate additional keepsake items. Use our rule of a photo-beside-acheckpoint type marker and a fuel receipt to substantiate other interesting visits: San Antonio – Remember the Alamo New York City – The Big Apple Awaits Washington DC – Presidential Promise Boston – Historical Perspectives Death Valley – Bottom to Top Detroit – Motor City Tour Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado – Four Corners Landmark Chicago to LA – Route 66 Legacy ??? – You Add the Adventure Robert Patton TDR Staff
Proof of visit to Key West.
TDRelease is a quarterly column that features press releases from Turbo Diesel vendors. SIMPLE PROPANE POWER TS Performance makes it simple to add a high-quality propane injection system to your diesel engine. Injecting propane not only increases horsepower and torque, it also improves fuel economy and promotes cleaner and more efficient combustion. Diesel engines can run on a mixture of propane and diesel fuel, but knowing how much propane to mix into your diesel engine can be a difficult task, especially if you have increased boost pressures and fuel delivery performance from a programmer or module. TS Performance takes the guesswork out of propane injection systems with its universal design. This system automatically adjusts to the amount of propane needed by monitoring the engine’s vacuum levels. This not only ensures the right mixture of propane to your diesel fuel, it also keeps it within safe levels. The TS Performance system also includes a vaporizer that eliminates the possibility of liquid propane entering into the engine and in some applications, the TS Performance Propane System can deliver as much as 100 extra horsepower. The TS Performance Propane System fits all Ford, GM and Dodge applications and will work with a new or existing propane tank. TS Performance puts their diesel racing expertise and experience into all of their products to provide the best in performance and reliability. For more information, contact TS Performance, 5425 Nashville Rd., Bowling Green, KY 42102. 270-746-9999. Or visit them on the web at www.tsperformance.com.
FIFTH WHEEL STABILIZING SYSTEM We know that a large number of TDR members tow fifth-wheel RVs. Therefore, we are pleased to introduce a positive stabilizing system for your fifth-wheel. Our system consists of four telescoping tubes attached to your existing front jacks. These tubes are installed so that when the jacks are down they become triangles, forward to back and side to side. A triangle is known as the most stable configuration in geometry. After the RV is leveled you simply lock the tubes in place with the hand locks (no tools needed). When leaving, just loosen the hand locks then raise your jacks as usual. That’s it, you’re ready to go. Storage of king pin tripod support or other removable stabilizers is not necessary. This translates into less work and less weight to haul around. Our kit consists of four telescoping tubes with brackets, locking collars and all necessary hardware. Total weight is less than 15 pounds. The initial installation should take two to three hours using standard hand tools and a drill. Detailed instructions are included. Price: $199.95 + shipping. Credit cards accepted. For more pictures of this system (along with all of our products) go to our website at www.plugitright.com. If you have questions or need more information, feel free to call Dutch or Diana anytime at 941-416-0918 or e-mail us at plugitright@ escapees.com.
TDRelease . . . . Continued TANK AND TOOLBOX COMBOS
ONE MODULE ALL DIESEL APPLICATIONS
Transfer Flow, Inc., a manufacturer of aftermarket and OEM fuel tank systems, has introduced 30-gallon and 50-gallon tank and toolbox combos—great for manually filling your fuel tank as well as filling other vehicles or equipment. The 30-gallon unit will fit short and long bed pickups, while the 50-gallon unit will fit long bed pickups only.
The MP-8 is TS Performance’s newest innovation that is compatible with a wide variety of diesel engine applications, including the Ford Powerstroke, GM Duramax and Dodge/Cummins Turbo Diesels. The MP-8 holds up to 16 brand-specific programs that deliver improved horsepower, torque and fuel economy from one plugand-play module.
The refueling tank and toolbox combos come pre-assembled with a 12-volt pump located inside the locking storage compartment. The fuel nozzle is mounted on the outside of the toolbox, and comes with an 8-foot hose. The storage compartment of the 30-gallon unit has about 4 1/2 cubic feet of space, while the 50-gallon unit has a storage area of about 8 cubic feet. The tanks are made from 14gauge aluminized steel for superior rust resistance and strength, and are mounted inside the bright aluminum diamond plate shell of the toolbox. The tanks are baffled to reduce fuel sloshing.
When the MP-8 is installed, it communicates with your vehicle’s ECM to receive the engine’s operational data. This direct communication with your ECM allows the MP-8 to also increase fuel economy and towing capabilities under any type of driving condition.
Transfer Flow’s refueling tanks come with a Department of Transportation exemption number, allowing them to carry diesel, gasoline, ethanol and methanol fuels. In addition, an optional riser kit is available that allows you to store several sheets of plywood or sheetrock under the tank. Suggested retail price for the 30-gallon refueling tank and toolbox is $1600.02, while the 50-gallon unit is $1772.86. For more information, call Transfer Flow at (530) 893-5209 or visit their website at www.transferflow.com.
If it’s power you’re after, the MP-8 allows you to instantly dial-in over 100 horsepower and 200 ft-lbs of torque with a simple turn of a dash-mounted knob. The MP-8 is also compatible with any performance programmer or downloader already installed into your truck’s computer. Furthermore, the MP-8 can never be outdated, as it can be easily upgraded as new TS Performance programs that become available. The TS Performance MP-8 is currently available for ‘03 to present Ford Powerstroke, Dodge/Cummins, GM Duramax LLY and LB7 engines, Jeep Liberty CRD and International diesel engines. TS Performance puts their diesel racing expertise and experience into all of their products to provide the best in performance and reliability. For more information, contact TS Performance, 5425 Nashville Rd., Bowling Green, KY 42102. 270-746-9999. Or visit them on the web at www.tsperformance.com.
Transfer Flow, Inc., 1444 Fortress St., Chico, CA 95973; (530) 893-5209, 1-800-442-0056; FAX (530) 893-0204; www.transferflow.com
TDRelease . . . . Continued ON-BOARD AIR FROM KILBY ENTERPRISES
BD THREE-PIECE PULSE MANIFOLD
Dodge/Cummins owners can now experience what Jeep owners have enjoyed for years with Kilby Enterprises’ new On Board Air Kit made specifically for ’03-and newer Dodge/Cummins trucks. With an unlimited air source, you can fill tires anywhere you choose, run power tools from your truck, run your air bag suspension and even whip up a margarita with a pneumatic margarita blender should you desire. You’ll be the most popular guy in the neighborhood.
BD’s three-piece pulse manifolds for the ’89 to ’02 Dodge Turbo Diesel are cast like no other. BD uses a high-silicone, ductile iron which can withstand extremely high temperatures, large single or twin turbochargers and diesel engine vibrations. The two expansion joints allow the manifolds to grow and still maintain a perfect exhaust gas seal.
The easy to install kit has everything you need, including a York 210 compressor, clutch, brackets, belts, intercooler tube and bolts. The compressor is capable of 8+ cfm depending on engine speed. Combo pulleys are made on the latest CNC machines, top quality brackets are built with ¼” laser cut steel and all parts are zinc plated for corrosion resistance. Kilby Enterprises manufactures parts and accessories for off-road vehicles. Our commitment and dedication involves supplying you with top quality products at a reasonable price. For additional information or to order product, visit KilbyEnterprises.com or call (818) 565-5945. Outside California call 1-888-GO-KILBY.
These manifolds are “pulse” tuned to assist in combustion chamber evacuation and higher exhaust flow. This results in quicker turbocharger spoolup with a decreased amount of backpressure while increasing power and fuel economy. The kits also include stainless steel bolts and washers which helps resolve the issue of lost or loose manifold bolts. Optional gasket kits are available. For the ’03-’05 Turbo Diesel engine a two-piece offset pulse manifold is available. Whether towing or racing, help prevent cracks and leaks while at the same time increase performance and response with BD’s Pulse Manifolds. Contact information: BD Power, (800) 887-5030, www.bd-power. com AMP RESEARCH POWER STEP FOR ’03-’05 TRUCKS The AMP Research Power Step, designed for the ’03-’05 Dodge Ram Quad Cab, is a fully retractable running board that activates with the opening of the cab door, front or back. Close any door and the AMP Research Power Step will automatically disappear underneath the truck. This unique feature saves ground clearance and keeps the running boards clean from mud and debris, protecting the overall appearance of the truck.
BD SHORT SHIFT The Dodge Ram Turbo Diesel and Hemi as well as the Ford PowerStroke are powerful trucks offering great horsepower and torque. But, the stock gearshift lever movement leaves you feeling like you are driving an old pickup truck. Enhance the driving experience of your manual transmission with BD’s Short Shift kit. The BD Short Shift kit reduces the shift lever travel by 20% and results in a new driving experience. Obtain quick, accurate and smooth gear selection without damaging your passenger’s knees! Easily installed in an hour by removing the console to access the shifter shaft from inside the truck cab. Contact information: BD Power, (800) 887-5030, www.bd-power. com
Designed with corrosion resistant hardware and powder coated in black, the Power Step is both lightweight and ergonomically designed to extend to a natural step height. Almost one-third the weight of traditional boards, it handles weight up to 600 pounds. And, no matter what area of the country this product is used, the Power Step is designed to function without problems. The Power Step relies upon a heavy-duty, weather resistant motor with antipinch technology, and has been rated to perform within a range of -40°F to +200°F. For full list of applications and dealer information, call toll-free 1-888983-2206, or visit www.amp-research.com.
TDRelease . . . . Continued BULLY DOG ANNOUNCES A NEW ECU DOWNLOADER Fasten your seatbelts and start your engines! Bully Dog Technologies has done it again with an incredible new product that will pump adrenaline through any horsepower junkie’s veins. What are we talking about? Just the latest and greatest in “downloaders” since the word downloader became a regular household word for diesel enthusiasts: the Triple Dog Power Pup Downloader. The Triple Dog Power Pup Downloader is offered on a free trial basis. What that means to you is that you can try it before you buy it—no strings attached! You simply pull into your local Bully Dog dealer and tell them you want free horsepower on Bully Dog. You will receive a time-sensitive download into your diesel pickup (Ford, Dodge, or Chevy) and you drive away. When the time is up, the program resets your ECU to its previous condition. It’s that simple! What an incredible opportunity to sample the ferociousness of Bully Dog’s horsepower and decide for yourself if you want to run with the big dogs.
Not only is Bully Dog the only high performance company to offer on-the-fly adjustability, but they are also the only company to offer transferability and Internet upgrades. If you ever feel the need to upgrade your vehicle or change vehicle models . . . no problem! The Triple Dog is compatible with the latest Ford, Chevy, and Dodge diesel trucks. Bully Dog has also managed to make downloader upgrades hassle-free. Rather than having to send your downloader in for an upgrade, all you need is a USB cable and internet access. Simply connect your Triple Dog to the computer via the USB port and download upgrades directly from your home computer. Speaking of hassle-free, installing and uninstalling the Triple Dog is a breeze. To install, simply locate the OBDII port (under the dash on the driver’s side of the vehicle), plug the Triple Dog into the port, and follow the on-screen instructions. All modifications to your vehicle’s ECU by the Triple Dog are completely reversible. Before your ECU is flashed by the downloader, it uploads the stock settings on your ECU. This enables you to simply set your vehicle to Stock and uninstall your downloader.
The Triple Dog Power Pup Downloader offers the highest horsepower on the market by reflashing your vehicle’s engine control unit (ECU). After the ECU has been flashed, you are then able to use your Triple Dog to download four different program settings into your ECU. These four settings include Stock, Tow, Performance, and Extreme. Stock is the original setting on your ECU. The Tow setting will increase your power by 50-70 horses; Performance will increase your power by 75-90 horses; and Extreme will increase your power anywhere from 95-230 horses. Keep in mind these settings are proven, not claimed! In addition, the Triple Dog, while increasing horsepower, causes the engine to burn more efficiently, which will in turn improve your fuel economy.
As you can see, the Triple Dog Power Pup Downloader, with its technologically-advanced features and exclusive free-trial programs, on-the-fly adjustability, Internet upgradeability, and transferability is hands down the hottest new item on the market. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Go try some free Bully Dog horsepower today . . . we Triple Dog Dare You.
Just when you think it can’t get any better Bully Dog takes their huge horsepower settings a step further with unique, on-the-fly adjustability. Freedom! Whenever you feel the need for more horsepower you can simply push a button to whichever horsepower setting you prefer and within seconds experience increase anywhere from 50-230 horses. No longer do you have to pull off to the side of the road and spend time changing from one tune to another. Bully Dog has taken the best features from the chip world and downloader world and combined them into this incredible package.
The Cool Hose was designed and built exclusively by Diesel Power Products. This hose connects the air intake system to the turbocharger inlet for ’03-’05 Third Generation trucks. The Cool Hose features four layers of webbing for strength, a completely smooth interior and longer radius bends than the factory hose. The Cool Hose increases air flow and gives your Dodge a big-rig sound. The Cool Hose also insulates your cool intake air from heat transfer from under hood heat, keeping your intake air as cool as possible.
Contact information: Bully Dog, 2854 West 2200 South, Aberdeen, ID 83210, (208) 397-3200, www.bullydog.com. DIESEL POWER PRODUCTS COOL HOSE
Diesel Power Products 325 N. Oregon Ave. Pasco, WA 99301 (509) 547-7029 (866) 379-8685
TDRelease . . . . Continued PERFORMANCE SYSTEMS MANUFACTURING COLD AIR INTAKE Performance Systems Manufacturing (PSM) is pleased to introduce their Cool Power cold air intake systems for the ’03 and newer Dodge/Cummins Turbo Diesel pickups.
Testing also proved increases in acceleration, a reduction of EGT’s of 40 degrees or more during these steep grade climbing tests, and quicker EGT reduction before engine shut down.
In 1997, PSM was the first to develop and sell a cold air intake kit for the turbocharged Buick Grand National automobile. This modification increased performance by 60 horsepower. PSM is now the first to market a cold air intake system for the ’03 and newer Ram trucks that retains the stock air box and offers superior performance.
Another intake system benefit is that our kits contain no metal components that will rust or transfer heat into the intake duct. Our kits provide sufficient air flow for 450 horsepower. These air intake systems have been tested in the Colorado Mountains under heavy rain, ice and snow conditions with no adverse affect.
PSM used National Institute of Standards and Technology certified air flow and air pressure meters and air temperature sensors placed inside the air intake tube and under the hood to determine the best location to obtain additional cold air for the engine PSM’s design satisfied the engine’s maximum air flow requirement while preventing hot engine underhood heat from entering the air box. After a year of development, and real-world testing, PSM believes it has developed the best performing, lowest cost, cold air intake system for the Third Generation pickup. By retaining the stock air box and directing additional cold air from under the truck to the bottom of the air box, the incoming air is at maximum air density and has a direct path through the air filter to the turbocharger. The kit’s exclusive air baffle/inlet port design and smooth bore ducting, allows the turbocharger to spool-up faster. At the 2005 May Madness Dyno Tests, we proved there was a 15-20 horsepower and 35-60 ft-lb torque gain between 1800-2500 rpm over the stock air intake system. Testing proved that this horsepower increase is maintained during an extended 6-7% grade climb which is not true for aftermarket systems that use a shielded air box.
Depending on year and model, PSM offers three different air intake kits for the ’03 and newer Ram trucks. All kits come with: • Exclusive ABS plastic air inlet port/air baffle that is designed for improved air flow • 4”diameter heavy-duty smooth bore, steel-reinforced, fuel and heat resistant thermoplastic rubber duct for minimum air resistance • ABS plastic tapered flange adapter to attach to the air box for improved air flow • Screw clamps and fasteners • Detailed installation instructions with pictures. This is the first product of its kind on the market that retains the sealed stock air box for the stock-appearing look. It is also proven to increase performance over the shielded aftermarket air box system. The kits retail from $89 to $119, depending on year and model of truck. Contact Information: Performance Systems Mfg., Pete Tomka, 17464 W. 43rd Drive, Golden, CO 80403, (303) 279-7103, www. psmbuick.com
Turbo Tech 2006 Wait . . . Turn Back, Page 132
Truck Tools Hammer: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive parts not far from the object we are trying to hit. Mechanic’s knife: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing seats covers. Whitworth sockets: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2” socket you’ve been searching for the last 15 minutes. Drill press: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that freshly painted part you were drying. Wire Wheel: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say Ouch. Snap-on Gasket Scraper: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dogdoo off your boot.
Two-ton hydraulic engine hoist: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of ground straps and coolant hoses you have forgotten to disconnect. Craftsman ½” x 16-inch screwdriver: A large motor mount prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle. Trouble light: The mechanic’s own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin,” which is not otherwise found under pickups at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105-mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading. Air Compressor: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last tightened 15 years ago by someone in St. Louis, and rounds them off. Pry bar: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part. Submitted by Loren Bengtson
Thought Provoking Discussions with Automotive/Motorcycle Journalist Kevin Cameron TURBOCHARGER HISTORY The turbocharger’s long history partly conceals a very important fact —that rapid progress depended upon how much money was being spent on materials research. Early turbochargers, such as those of Sanford Moss, during and after WW I, had short lives. Early altitude records resulted from the most careful use of such fragile machines, as the primitive materials of which their blades were made quickly stretched and broke. Captain R.W. “Shorty” Schroeder, using such a GE turbocharger, flew to 33,000 feet on February 27, 1920. Those of you familiar with the Boeing B-17 bomber of WW II know that the turbine wheels of its turbochargers were visible from below, as they were essentially mounted flush with the nacelle surface, in full view. At night, their glow was clearly visible from below. This mode of mounting came about through a snap decision taken by engineers seeking any means of providing extra cooling for the hard-pressed turbine blades. Turbochargers had an easier time of it on Diesel engines because of their lower exhaust temperature, and this is why turbos became a commercial product in this application first. A brief look at the performance of exhaust valves in aircraft and other heavy duty engines reveals why the turbocharger problem was so difficult in the early years. Because aircraft engine development was the leading technology, high temperature materials were developed primarily for exhaust valves. An exhaust valve spends less than 40% of its time open, being intensely heated on both faces by sonic-speed hot exhaust gas. The rest of its time it spends on its seat, to which it rapidly transmits the heat it has collected from the previous exhaust event. It thus “rests” between exposures to heat. Yet from the beginning of internal combustion through the mid1930s, exhaust valve cupping, stretching, and cracking remained serious problems. If the best heat resisting materials performed this poorly on a 40% duty cycle, think how rapidly they deteriorated when subject to the continuous severe stretch resulting from the 100% heating duty cycle and centrifugal force acting on a turbocharger blade! The turbocharger had to make do with whatever the current best exhaust valve material happened to be. For example, for a period in the 1930s it was the exhaust valve stainless steel KE965 that was chosen for US turbocharger blade manufacture. Only when it was later discovered in a routine materials search that certain alloys, originally developed for corrosion resistance in chemical engineering, were also highly temperature tolerant did a new avenue of blade material development appear.
Very soon after this the development of gas turbines was taken up by the governments of Britain and Germany, and later by the US. Sanford Moss had been advised early to give up his gas turbine research in favor of the more practical turbocharger. In England, RAF officer Frank Whittle had been dismissed for years by supposed “authorities” in the engine field, on the grounds that no materials could survive the necessary stress and temperature to make a workable gas turbine. Although scientists and engineers claim to be open to innovation, new ideas are too often rejected by them when they conflict with long-held attitudes. Such attitudes then take on the appearance of natural law, when in fact they are just uninformed opinions. Such attitudes can hold back progress for years. A respected researcher writes the definitive text in a certain area, becoming its leading authority and becoming a full professor. When other researchers present conflicting views for publication by technical journals, peer review boards reject those views as too radical for publication. The leading authority, having made his contribution at an early age, spends the rest of his life stifling dissent as an obscurantist old fossil. Frank Whittle, who had most carefully made the calculations and knew the temperatures and stresses his gas turbine would produce, was thus unable to persuade others even to look at his reasoning. Therefore he had to find private money to finance construction of a prototype. When it operated successfully, it was obvious at once that this was the way to move past the “propeller barrier” (around 500-mph), and move on toward supersonic flight, Whittle was summarily pushed aside by the British government, which then focused powerful resources on jet engine development. Decades later, Parliament voted Whittle a $160,000 “tip,” and arranged for him to have a joyride on Concorde. He lived out his life in Florida. When USAAF General Arnold was made aware of British jet engine work, he ordered crash programs instituted at GE and Westinghouse. US materials research went into high gear as well. With the best minds at work on these problems, progress was steep. The new engines moved out of prototype stage, needing overhaul at 15-25 hours, into squadron military service near the end of WW II with predictable lifetimes of hundreds of hours. Materials research was the major basis of this success. Materials technology does not result from mad scientists having brainstorms. It requires millions of dollars to pay for the construction and around-the-clock operation of hundreds of “creep cabinets,” apparatus in which material samples are electrically heated and held at constant high temperature under steady stress, while their slow stretch is optically monitored to high accuracy. In the spring of 1944 the vast gamble that was the Boeing B-29 bomber development was teetering on the point of failure as a result of the delays and defects in its Wright R-3350 engines. Just at this time a revolutionary refrigerated high altitude wind tunnel
EXHAUST NOTE . . . . Continued was completed near Cleveland, cooled by 100,000 horsepower of Carrier air conditioning located in vast machinery spaces beneath the tunnel. Despite the top-priority needs of the B-29 program, it was not the ailing 3350 piston engine that was first to be tested in that new tunnel. It was the GE I-16 turbojet engine. General Arnold was making sure the US never got left behind in aircraft propulsion again. Only governments have the money and the do-it-today power to make things happen in months, rather than years or decades. One result of this work was the development of heat-resistant materials that would make turbocharging fully practical for commercial applications. Despite this, the cloud of ignorance that had almost defeated Frank Whittle was still affecting decision-making in the engine world. The new official belief was that jet engines, while powerful, were so fuel-hungry that they would be suitable only for defensive fighter aircraft for many years to come. Makers of traditional piston engines assumed their products would be carrying the freight in the meantime, so they laid plans to phase-in the new turbine technology as a part of what they were already making. This was almost a repeat of what had nearly stopped Whittle. No one could believe that materials and design would advance as rapidly as they did and therefore it would be necessary to advance by baby steps. The first step was to integrate the turbocharger into aircraft piston engines in new ways. In textbooks written at that time, the piston engine was pictured as becoming smaller and smaller as its turbocharger became larger and larger—until in the end, the turbine would be all that was left. Previously, the turbocharger had been an add-on unit, supplying compressed air to an engine’s normal mechanically driven supercharger as a first stage of compression. But now the plan was to use the turbine to recover power from the cylinder exhausts and send that power back to the crankshaft. This was a process known as turbo-compounding, and it was considered the appropriate first step because existing turbine materials could handle piston engine exhaust gas. Wright Aeronautical Corp. (WAC) developed a compact system using three turbines, each served by six of their radial engine’s eighteen 186 cubic inch cylinders. Each turbine extracted 120 horsepower from the exhaust flow for a total power recovery to the crankshaft of 360 horsepower. This TC-18 engine, at powers up to 3700 horsepower, set records for long range and, in the lovely Lockheed Constellation and Douglas DC-7, made trans-oceanic commercial flights routine in the mid to late 1950s.
production of the British Nene turbojet. P & W today remains one of the world’s major producers of turbine engines. In England, Napier designed a flat-12, two-stroke, Diesel turbocompound piston engine. It looked like a piston engine giving birth to a jet engine, and was named the Nomad. Why all this complexity? No one at the time believed that materials science would make possible fuel-efficient jet engines as rapidly as it did. Therefore the correct and prudent path to progress was to use a piston engine as a high-temperature gas generator and first stage of expansion, and to complete that expansion—or power recovery for range or speed—by use of a less temperature-tolerant turbine. Napier expected Nomad-powered propeller aircraft to cruise more slowly than the then-new, all-jet De Havilland Comet. But it would reach New York from London sooner than the Comet because its greater fuel efficiency let it fly non-stop. Meanwhile the turbojet Comet, devouring fuel like a military fighter, would need to refuel in Gander, Newfoundland, and probably in Ireland as well. Wright, makers of the radial turbo-compound engine, had a run of commercial and military sales successes with it and persuaded themselves they could go on selling such engines for years. But when 1957 came, all the airlines placed orders for the radical new Boeing 707 with its improved turbojet engines—and sales of piston and turbo-compound engines dropped dead. Suddenly aviation was jet-powered. The driving force had been the Cold War, which persuaded Congress to flood aviation development with money. Boeing had produced the all-jet B-47 swept-wing bomber, then the eight-engined B-52 and the air refueling KC-135. Having learned from all those successful designs, the logical next step for Boeing was the commercial 707. Just before Christmas in 1959, my college roommate, who had arrived by DC-7 with piston turbo-compound power, decided to fly home for the holidays by jet. But the revolution wasn’t over yet—new generations of castable high temperature alloys were in development in the late 1950s through early 1960s. On the news one morning in 1964 I heard that a DC-8 had suffered a turbine break-up on take-off from Boston’s Logan Airport. In the parking lot at work I would find a small piece of that turbine. Today, failures of that kind are extremely rare. Almost as a footnote to all this, the resulting fall in the price of high performance refractory metals made reliable truck engine turbocharging common at last. Kevin Cameron TDR Writer
Pratt & Whitney envisioned much more elaborate schemes in which their 28-cylinder radial 4360 engine would supply exhaust gas to multiple turbines, in some cases operating as turbochargers and in others being turbo-compounded. In the vast array of insulated stainless steel ducting, turbines, valves, compressors, and nozzles, the actual power section with its 28 cylinders seemed to shrink into insignificance. Such complex powerplants—part piston and part turbine, containing an unbelievable numbers of parts—were expected to power updated versions of the B-50 and B-36 bombers. Fortunately for Pratt & Whitney, these versions were canceled, forcing the company to make a new plan—to begin licensed
Advertiser...........................................................................Page Number A&M Turbo Diesel................................................................................149 AFE .......................................................................................................71 Aero Tanks Enterprises........................................................................149 AirTabs...................................................................................................65 Amsoil...................................................................................................169 Amsoil.....................................................................................................57 ANSA Automotive................................................................................. 115 Association of Diesel Specialist............................................................ 137 ATS Diesel Performance........................................................................29 Banks Power.....................................................................................19/21 BD Diesel Performance........................................................................127 Blumenthal Heavy Duty, Inc...................................................................31 Borgeson Universal Co............................................................................5 Bully Dog................................................................................................25 Centramatic Wheel Balance.................................................................103 Cummins Inc.........................................................................Outside Back Dial-A-Clutch........................................................................................129 Diamond Hitch........................................................................................13 Diesel Performance Parts......................................................................57 Diesel Performance Products.................................................................81 Dunrite Converters.................................................................................79 EGR Brakes...........................................................................................23 Edge Products........................................................................................69 Gomer’s Warehouse............................................................................... 11 High-Tech Turbo...................................................................................155 Kelderman Air Ride................................................................................77 Kore Performance..................................................................................67 Luke’s Link..............................................................................................91 Mag-Hytec..............................................................................................83 Pacbrake..............................................................................................137 Performance Motorsports.......................................................................99 Performance Systems Manufacturing.................................................... 93 PML Inc................................................................................................107 Power Vision.........................................................................................103 Premier Performance.............................................................................91 Reliance Truck and Auto......................................................................161 Rickson...................................................................................................35 Snow Performance.................................................................................77 South Bend Clutch.................................................................................13 Southwest Diesel Service.......................................................................61 Stanadyne............................................................................................105 Standard Transmission and Gear........................................................... 27 Stan’s Headers.......................................................................................35 Sun Coast Converters/PRO-LOC......................................................... 125 TS Performance...................................................................................123 TST Products........................................................................... Inside Back Transfer Flow Inc....................................................................Inside Cover Xtreme Diesel Performance...................................................................61 Zoom Performance Clutches................................................................ 119 Business Referral Page........................................................................170 Goerend Bill Shirk Quad 4x4 Tom Eldred Larry Buck Piers Diesel
Scheid Diesel Amsoil (Cross) Jannetty Racing Huckstorf Diesel J&H Performance Gillette Diesel Service
Gould Gear & Electric LIberator Performance Diesel Power Products Wentland Diesel Service Azure Biodiesel Company
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112 Polly’s Pickup Accessories/Driving Awareness 32 24-Valve Engines Transfer Pump Kit/Clutch/Steering 150 Product Showcase TDR Writers’ Fav...