Second Generation Dodge Ram trucks with 24 valve Cummins engines rolled off the assembly line with good overall performance. With manual transmission versions boasting numbers just shy of 240 horsepower and 460 foot pounds of torque, there is plenty to work with on these trucks. However, if you’ve ever hauled a really heavy load or pulled a large trailer, you’ll admit the need to downshift in order to keep moving. There are three no brainer upgrades that can change that. Best of all, they are simple and affordable.
High Flow Air Filter
Diesel engines need to breath. Options to improve airflow include cold air intakes and high performance air boxes. However, if you aren’t careful, you can actually go too far with an air intake upgrade and end up working against your end goal. Most experienced diesel tuners will admit that if you are looking for upgrades to aline with practical performance gains, a drop in high flow air filter is all you will need. K&N part number 33-2056 is one option to consider.
Diesel trucks require fuel. Cummins 24 valve platform employs a mechanical injector pump that is controlled by a computer module. By hooking into the truck’s computer system an owner can responsibly and safely manipulate both timing and fuel pressure. The easiest and safest way to do that is an Edge Box.
A properly installed Edge Box is about a 90 minute job and includes a 3 way toggle switch that is mounted in the cab. The result is power increases ranging from 20 to 65 horsepower and 45 to 180 pound feet of torque. You will want to read the instructions carefully and be mindful that the most powerful setting is not recommended for towing applications. Note there is a version for 1998.5 to 2000 models and a version for 2001 models.
Turbo Back Exhaust
Now that you have solved for air intake and fuel, your truck needs to let the exhaust turbo go to work. The most cost effective way to do that is by replacing the factor exhaust with a turbo back exhaust system.
There are a lot of options when it comes to 24 valve Cummins exhaust upgrades. You can go big, loud, and fancy. Still, it all comes with a price tag and doesn’t necessarily buy you more power. An aluminized 4″ turbo back exhaust is a cost effective option that pairs well with a drop in air filter upgrade and an Edge box. One option in this category is MBRP’s Performance Series 4″ Turbo Back Single Exhaust. These are heavy duty, designed to fit Gen 2 Dodge Rams, and add a nice note to the exhaust sound without taking it too far. Here is an actual recording of a cold start:
A Cummins 24 valve platform can be fitted with a wide variety of tuning options. With new injectors, fuel pumps, and custom tuning modules, you can take these platforms to 500 horsepower and beyond. Still, these upgrades come at a cost and can impact the life of your engine and transmission. If you rely on your Gen 2 Dodge Ram 24 valve Cummins for work and value its reliability, consider the modest upgrades mentioned in this post.