Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum - View Single Post - Newbies guide to your new to you truck
View Single Post
post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2016, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
steve05ram360's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 10,441
Thanks: 536
Thanked 1,400 Times in 1,022 Posts
Newbies guide to your new to you truck

First off welcome to CumminsForum! Lots of smart guys here that have seen a lot.

Service Manuals (PM me if the link is not working, use Adobe to open them)

Updated Links





These may not work





Affordable gauges...

Second... Please... DO NOT BUY REMAN INJECTORS... They have a high failure rate and A LOT of guys come here seeking answers to why they have white smoke or hard starts with them installed... If your dead set on buying them, go research here FIRST!! Not saying all remans will cause problems, just saying there is a higher failure rate of them.

Edit: There has been some great discussion in this thread regarding reman injectors... at the time of this update, Martin_BBI has posed up some very good info on why some remans fail (around pg 22~23) and mentioned that they have had zero warranty returns on their reman injectors.

Third... if you start a thread to ask for help to solve a problem, PLEASE, PLEASE, follow up the thread with whatever the end solution was. That way others searching for help can leverage your experience. -Grunt 11B

So you just bought a used Cummins, 3rd gen 2003-07.5 (they actually go further but I will limit this to the models with the 5.9 motor).

What I would suggest you do, regardless of what you know of the motor, is go buy these two products...

Dynomite Diesel products INC.
(also a link to their website... Common Rail Diesel System Clean & Protect - Fuel System - Diesel - Powermaxx - Products )


Oil System Cleaner - Engine - Powermaxx - Products

Both are available at

Dynomite Diesel products INC.

Get oil and filters, and a fresh fuel filter and be prepared to swap them all in the near future. You can get all 3 of these at any cummins dealer.
Oil... I use royal purple 15w-40. Pricey but a new motor is more expensive. I currently have 281k on my truck and have owned it since 2006 with 13k on it.

Fuel filter
Filters - Fuel - FUEL FILTER- FLEETGUARD ('03 - '07, 5.9L) - FS19856

2micron fuel filter (what I use)
Vulcan performance


oil filters
Fleetguard LF16035 StrataPore Oil Filter

Then do a valve adjustment...

I recommend getting this barring tool, makes the adjustment so much easier than trying to turn the motor from the front.
'89-'16 Dodge Cummins Engine Barring Tool

Here are some writeups on how to do it...

2nd gen but all the info is the same
Valve Lash Adjustment for Cummins - Mopar1973Man's Dodge Cummins Articles

Valve cover grommet p/n from felpro

Valve Adjustment 24 Valve CTD's
(there are other links, cant find them ATM, will update later)

Thread post with the valve lash instructions

Once the cleaners are in hand...

1) Do the valve adjustment. Do all of them regardless of what the feeler gauge indicates, it only takes about 60~90 minutes.
One tip... when the crank is at 12 oclock, check cylinders 1 & 6 as described in the writeups and adjust those set of valves at that time, then rotate 360 and do the other set. Saves time on having to rotate the motor multiple times. There is no need to do 1 set before the other.

2) Add the fuel cleaner to a full tank of fuel, drive it to near empty, then fillup and swap the fuel filter.
Note, ATF, non-synthetic Dex/Merc from Walmart has been used by several of us here with great results. NOT ALL members here will recommend it, so if you decide to go this route at any time, do your research and make your own decision. rgsauger has about 90k miles since he started using it and has nothing but good things to say. I have about 8k (I think) since starting and have been putting 8oz per tank.

Use 2 Stroke Oil aka 2SO in the fuel... Walmart has what we use in the gallon jugs, Supertech TC-W3 2 stroke oil. Cheap and works to add lubrication to the fuel.

Now that the fuel system is clean and the motor "should" be clean on the inside, swap the remaining fluids when your ready. Since the truck is new to you I recommend doing it sooner rather than later. I personally change oil, filter and fuel filter every 10k, and (not discussed yet) the 2 micron & filter screen every 20k (your truck may not have these).

3) Next add the oil additive the day your going to do an oil change. Per DDP's instructions to me, drive it for about an hour, unloaded and be nice to it. Then change the oil.

4) Check your drive belt and swap if needed!! If it breaks, it can cause a nice headache...
Fluids, ATF4 is used in the Automatic, transfer case and power steering box

Steering box should be flushed with fresh ATF about every 50~60k. This is what I do, my choice, still running the original power steering pump, on my 2nd steering box which needs to be swapped out (sector shaft leak) after 150~160k... I have aboutt 180~190k on this box and its been leaking a while. Slow enough to just add fluid when needed.

Automatic trans & trans case should be changed every 30K miles (that was my choice), clean fresh fluid at regular intervals. Service it and adjust bands as needed along with anything else that could be looked at.

This site has a lot of fixes that the average 48RE can use. I went here years back for all of my parts while fixing the bad habits the AT had.

Cold weather... You will loose mpg in the winter... its a fact stated over and over. To combat this mpg loss I did some testing and found intake temps are the reason for the loss... i was able to manage 20+ mpg in temps below 20*f over 460+ miles in the winter of 2014-15 while working in Minnesota. I have a manual transmission... I gained 2 mpg when I swapped mine in for the Auto I pulled out. Read how I tested & concluded warm air = better mpg here...

Block heater corrd

Mods... My experiences over the years...

Your first mod should be something similar to this ( have a smiliar setup but for an aftermarket intake horn.
VP MAX Under Intake Filter System CR

Or if you prefer it on the rail... this
VP MAX Dual Remote Filter Kit

If you go that route, expect to have the potential for gelled fuel which will clog the filters. If you go with one under the hood then chances of gelling can be reduced. I did 2 things talked about in the cold weather thread.

here is some info on gelled fuel
How to Prevent Diesel Fuel Gelling | Fuel & Friction | An automotive website dedicated to all things Fuel and Friction by Boost Performance Products

here is a simple fix...

<blowby info>

<injector info>

<manual trans>

NV5600 (and probably NV4500)

Band Adjustment


4wd Steering brace... needed!
Creative Fabworks Dodge Ram 2500/3500 4x4 Heavy Duty Steering Brace

Tracbar bushings

Longtime members please feel free to add in and or correct if needed, I will add to this post as time goes on.

Felt the need to have this to answer a lot of questions that come up often.

mpg info

winterizing the ram

cleanup after the winterizing

Quick FYI Sticky for service

Fan clutch alternative in this post... Thanks to TryNto for the info...

Hayden fan clutch feedback...

Fan clutch bearing replacement

Coolant flush thread

exhaust manifold blanket

Ash tray assembly removal...

Power Distribution Center Repair

part 1
part 2


saving this info...
This is an Air Intake Heater for a LB7 Duramax. With a quick search you'll find them (Airtex p/n 1S12230) for $50. drill and tap with a M22x1.5 "STANDARD MOTOR PRODUCTS DIH4 {#8972519740, 97251974}" "AIRTEX/WELLS 1S12230 {#97251974, EAH5} "

Front driveshaft greasing...

High Idle wire...
cummins p/n 3164263 ecm repair wire
"pin #22 of the rear connector on the ECM was grounded" -kmech

dorman volvo fan p/n 620-774 and Dorman 620-883 Radiator Fan Assembly

Belt routing,


With AC

Fix for old style fluidampr belt swap issue

Gates belt P/N for updated pulley to use with old Fluidampr = K081243HD

silencer ring info

220A Alternator upgrade

AFE PG7 drop in filter, AFE Torque Tube, HTT 2.5 turbo, AFE e-mani, ATS Arc Flo, 50HP DDP , 424k, HPTuners, G56, 25.065 mpg, mpg threads ->
steve05ram360 is offline  
The Following 37 Users Say Thank You to steve05ram360 For This Useful Post:
05CumminsCoal (04-28-2019), 10 Gauge (11-08-2018), 10sc (10-01-2018), 1Faith4ever (02-05-2017), 70 SS/L78 (01-20-2017), Army_Cowboy (01-20-2016), baweembo (02-28-2018), bountyhunter5150 (12-15-2018), Broncowilly (10-21-2016), ChiknNutz (07-18-2017), Comanche Scott (09-18-2017), Death Row Dave (09-27-2018), Dimblewambie (12-01-2016), DrakeDropper (01-22-2016), dunerking (12-17-2016), Eric-07 (09-27-2019), Ezey (08-17-2018), GRUNT 11B (01-20-2016), higpicker (03-20-2017), IH8CALI (08-08-2018), jpz030 (05-20-2017), kos555 (10-16-2019), LittleBuzzSaw (10-21-2016), Loki223 (01-20-2016), LSUfan71 (02-26-2017), ltrcummins (02-24-2017), Lumpy973 (06-03-2018), My06'3500 (08-03-2017), NoMoFoMoCo (12-12-2018), promisedlandorganicfarmer (11-12-2016), Royalsevens (11-04-2016), shweller (06-16-2019), smartd (Yesterday), southerndiecel (09-05-2018), TheDude724 (07-31-2017), Tribal_Nomad (07-23-2018), tryNto (06-27-2017)
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome