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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey fellas. I just bought my first Dodge ever about a week ago and I'm loving it. It's a 96 CCLB, A/T, 4x4, 167K, and it's bone stock less the 4" MBRP exhaust system the previous owner installed. I'm looking to get as much power as I can get out of it while keeping it's awesome fuel mileage or most of it. I'd like to retain the stock turbo for now. This is not an all out drag vehicle, but I do like to have some power to climb the local grades and this truck will serve as a backup to my welding rig. Also I'd like to chew up my Ford buddies! It may see an additional 2K LBS worth of equipment in the bed on occasion. But it will be my daily driver 99% of the time.

I've read the beginners thread, and spent the last week searching various forums on 12V performance. The result of my research has spun me into a vortex of confusion and I feel like I'm back at square 1. Should I mill the stock fuel plate or buy an aftermarket one? If I buy one, which one? Do I need a valve spring upgrade? Governor upgrade? I read something about a boost elbow but don't really understand it. I have a BHAF, gauges, and KDP kit in the mail currently. How do these common mods affect fuel mileage? I know my stock trans won't last long but I have a friend with a trans shop that will take care of my trans rebuild on the cheap when the time comes. All my buddies own late model Cummins or Superduties and are of no help with my new 12V. I'd really appreciate some direction if you don't mind. Thanks for your patience!
 

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The fuel plate is your own personal preference, grind your stock one yourself or buy one whichever you please, (i think you can get one off ebay for pretty cheap)or take it completely out and throw it in the glove compartment. 3k gov spring kit is a good mod to start with, it will allow the truck to fuel all the way to 3k rpm. I think stock starts defueling around 2200rpm. You don't need to install heavier valve springs until you put in a 4k gsk. As far as the boost elbow, I know what it is and what it does but I'm gonna leave it up to someone else to explain. I hope I answered some of your questions, I'm sure others will be along to share their knowledge.

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You have an expensive problem to take care of before you add more power. Your stock automatic transmission will not reliably take any more power. Adding more power first is almost guaranteed to cost you a transmission.

From 1996 to 1998 the 5 speed truck came with 215hp and 440 ft. lbs of torque.

When more money was spent on a new truck to get an automatic the power went down to 180hp and 420 ft. lbs. of torque.

If mopar knew the automatic was to weak to accept any extra power reliably you should realize they were correct. 20 foot pounds of torque is not a lot but was enough to require a power downgrade for automatic equipped trucks. Those who have not understood or cared about this fact have upped their power and soon after had to rebuilt their automatics.

You can probably just install a shift kit and a single billet lower stall torque converter with a stall speed of about 1,700 to 1.900 and be fine.

One thing not mentioned in the link below is to replace one aluminum planetary gear. Where the splines sit on the shaft has been known to strip out especially with abuse. A steel planetary gear is readily available and only costs about $100. That can wait until you decide on massive power or actually need a rebuild.

Click on this link to see what upgrades should be done. --> http://www.cumminsforum.com/forum/9...uto-tranny-upgrades-increased-hp-engines.html

Once You have decided to increase your power you have put your pistons in danger. More power comes from adding more fuel. More fuel creates more heat when it burns. More heat can melt your pistons.

This is why gauges are so important. By installing a pyrometer you can make sure you Exhaust Gas Temperatures stay in the safe zone.

You also should install a boost gauge. More than 35 psi on a stock turbo is asking for it to blow up. It also helps improve your MPG. Low boost = better MPG.

If you would tow with the truck adding a transmission temperature gauge can save you a lot of money. Running to hot can destroy your fluid. Burned fluid often comes with a burned up transmission.

Once you have your transmission upgraded and your gauges installed you can look at performance parts.

You might consider going to a HX35/40 hybrid for your turbo. Kits are available that allow you to have a bigger wheel on your stock turbo.

When it comes to injectors 5x.011 injectors are the largest you should consider for good mpg. Then again many say that 5x.012 is where the fun begins (although mpg starts to drop).

I would say for your first mod after the transmission is upgraded to slide the fuel plate full forward.

The boost elbow changes when the wastegate opens. That allows more psi to be built up. It is not necessary although you way want one.

A governor spring kit only changes the defuel point. My automatic defuels badly by 2,300 rpm. That could go much higher with a 3K or 4K GSK installed.

The factory valve springs will float at about 3,200 rpm. When they float valves and pistons can be in the same place at the same time with expensive results. If you would not rev past 3,000 rpm your stock parts are fine. If you would rev to 3,000 rpm often install the 60# valve springs. Yes, that gives you 200 rpm for possible tach and driver error. That is better than revving 3,300 rpm thinking you were only at 3,100 rpm or missing a shift.

When you look at performance parts there are 3 types.

1 always sends more fuel to the engine. This includes injectors and dv valves.

2 only sends more fuel to the engine when requested. This includes fuel plates.

3 turbos that send more air to the engine so it runs cooler instead of melting down.

Running a zero plate does not affect anything if you never go more than 1/4 full throttle.
 
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Do not pull the plate, its in there for a reason just take and grind it flat to a 0 it will be just the same and you don't risk having a run away truck. but if I was you I wouldn't do anything to it... once you start it never stops... trust us we know from experience.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Don't mod my truck? What's that mean? Lol! I mod all my fun toys. Its half the fun of owning them. Thanks for all the input guys. I know the trans won't hold up. I've got funds set aside to rebuild it. I don't buy/sell vehicles often and I like to set them up the way I want them. Besides the new diesels suck with all their electronics and emissions crap. I can't see myself ever buying one. So my new 12V Dodge and my 7.3 Superduty are here to stay. I would however like to be able to blow past a new diesel with a generic tuner on occasion. I rarely tow anything but I do load the truck up on occasion. Honestly this truck is a dog right now. It barely gets out of its own way. My 7.3 has some performance mods and scoots quite well for weighing over 10k. Much faster than my unloaded dodge. Anyway, what mods would you say would get me to the point where I can spank a new diesel with the regular tuner, exhaust, intake mods? What type of HP/TQ numbers should I be looking to achieve?
 

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You should be happy in the 400-450hp range. Allows for a good daily driver while still able to have fun and get good mileage. But i would definitely do a shift kit and billet single along with upped line pressure before anything.

There are many ways to skin a cat. You could make 400hp on the stock turbo. But your pushing it. Id recommend a he351 cw or vgt. The cw is very easy to set up and will get you to your 450hp. But the vgt is a little more difficult to set up (this is the turbo I'm running) but spools faster and flows better on top. Along with having an exhaust brake function built in.

Id say my optimal daily driver reliable rig would be

Upgraded Trans, gauges, 4k gsk, valve springs, 5x.011-.012 injectors (pm me, I've got a guy that builds a good set at a good price) tork tek over flow valve, he351, afc mods and tuning, grind your fuel plate to your preference (or remove it, that'll be determined by your injectors and turbo) bump your timing to 16-18° possibly tighten your stock head bolts...and i could go on but that'll give you some stuff to research. That combo would give you a decent daily driver that (being an auto) would walk on most newer diesels and most cars lol.

But that's just my opinion

On Cummins forum instead of working or doing homework
 
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Build your tranny to to support 3xx hp and 7xx ft lbs torque from the free mods. Buy a #10 fuel plate and hang onto your stock plate. A 3k or 4k GSK will help out a lot. Don't turn your truck past 3k rpm whether you buy the 3k or 4k kit. If you want to turn more than 3200 rpm, you will need a valve spring kit. Whether you get with a 60#, 110#, or 165# is up to you. You'll start floating valves around 3200 rpm with stock springs. A boost elbow simply tricks the wastegate into thinking it is producing less boost than it actually is. With the smaller hole (orifice), the turbo thinks it is producing 20 psi when it is really producing almost 40 psi. I prefer needle valves in place of boost elbows. Isspro makes a nice female/male thread valve that works well. My local hardware store didn't have the valve I needed. These basic mods shouldn't effect fuel mileage much. If anything, your right foot will be the cause of crappy economy or excessive EGT's.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great info guys. You've answered a lot of my questions and thank you for that. I do plan on building my trans but probably won't have the time until summer. Are there any simple mods I can do to boost performance slightly until I get the trans built without totally destroying my stock trans? Maybe move the fuel plate? Like I mentioned, I don't tow & this truck is daily driver that will rarely see any load.

Also, per some of the suggestions above, I think I'm going to start buying HD trans parts so I have everything to give my trans builder when the time comes. Other than a HD rebuild kit with clutches & seals, which converter would be right & what power levels are the different converters rated for? Do I need to buy kryptonite internal shafts & gears for my application?
 

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Do not pull the plate, its in there for a reason just take and grind it flat to a 0 it will be just the same and you don't risk having a run away truck. but if I was you I wouldn't do anything to it... once you start it never stops... trust us we know from experience.
:agree2:

I have been stocking up on parts this winter. By spring I am going to swap my injectors, 3k springs, 4 inch exhaust and then I am changing out the lower dash for a nice one that is not cracked in a 1000 pieces.

I would look at new (slightly bigger) injectors and have the trans done sooner ratherthan waiting for the "time to come."
 

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Do not pull the plate, its in there for a reason just take and grind it flat to a 0 it will be just the same and you don't risk having a run away truck. but if I was you I wouldn't do anything to it...
once you start it never stops... trust us we know from experience.
Please expalain how no plate can cause runaway
 

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Are there any simple mods I can do to boost performance slightly until I get the trans built without totally destroying my stock trans? Maybe move the fuel plate?
The ONLY safe performance mod on a stock automatic is installing a 3K or 4k GSK and the heavier valve springs. Those who have done the GSK say it really wakes the truck up. Although with a 65% efficient tc it will not do as much as you might like until lockup is achieved.

If you wish to put on bigger exhaust or a different air filter they should not hurt anything but are not really performance enhancers either.

Just sliding the fuel plate forward has resulted in a serious case of transmissionitis. The only cure for transmissionitis is :$: :$: :$:

You may want to use a tc lockup switch. It only works in 3rd and overdrive. Allowing locked shifts can destroy your stock input shaft and the tprque converter itself when the shaft breaks inside it.
http://www.tstproducts.com/Torque Converter Lockup Switch.pdf

You might want to enable 2nd gear lockup now or when the transmission is redone. This only works when 2nd gear is manually chosen. Again, allowing a locked shift can get expensive.

http://www.cumminsforum.com/forum/9...-engine/580571-2nd-gear-automatic-lockup.html

If you like to modify things you may even decide to put a trailer brake in the ashtray like I did. Originally I was going to use the cigarette hole as a lockup switch but decided to place that in the fog light switch spot instead. That would still work for fog lights as you seldom turn them on or off.



My first attempt did not work perfectly so I made a second plate. The curve at the bottom was necessary.
 

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triple disks are better than singles but they're also more expensive. I called around to a bunch of shops just to compare prices and get their input on what I'd need for my own uses. As for the shafts, from what I've read on here, as long as you don't do any boosted launches, it'll be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
triple disks are better than singles but they're also more expensive. I called around to a bunch of shops just to compare prices and get their input on what I'd need for my own uses. As for the shafts, from what I've read on here, as long as you don't do any boosted launches, it'll be fine.
Can I do a boosted launch with an auto trans?
 

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Yes, but a lot depends on how well you build it. And that will determine how long it'll take this boosted launches

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So I added a BHAF and it made a noticeable difference to my surprise. 4gsk springs and 60# valve springs are in the mail. I'm shopping trans parts now and need some advice. Should I buy all my parts and have my local trans guy rebuild my stock trans or buy a completely built performance trans? Sinister diesel is just down the road from me and they stock "Firepunk" transmissions. I read some reviews on them and they seem GTG. Any input?
 

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If you have 4-5k for a brand name transmission and don't have time to do any studying or building yourself, by all means go that route. But for me i like to do things myself so when something goes wrong i know the in's and out's of what i did

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Ever since they were new, the TST #8 Power Kit has been a pretty safe modification that takes it from 180 HP and 420 ft-lb to 230 HP, 605 ft-lb. If you aren't very experienced, it will be risky to the transmission and to egt with stock turbo to grind your own plate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If you have 4-5k for a brand name transmission and don't have time to do any studying or building yourself, by all means go that route. But for me i like to do things myself so when something goes wrong i know the in's and out's of what i did

On Cummins forum instead of working or doing homework
So I'm pretty mechanically inclined (gun smithing, engine assembly, etc...) but never had the balls to tackle an auto trans rebuild. Even my old TH 400s back in my drag racing days were like chicken bone voodoo to me. I always subbed them out. How hard is it, are there any shortcuts that you only learn from years of A/T rebuilding like knowing where to open passages, add or delete check balls, etc? Did you build your own auto? Had you done it before? Any snags? I'm not saying I'm going to build my own but I'm curious about it now.
 

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Build your tranny to to support 3xx hp and 7xx ft lbs torque from the free mods. Buy a #10 fuel plate and hang onto your stock plate. A 3k or 4k GSK will help out a lot. Don't turn your truck past 3k rpm whether you buy the 3k or 4k kit. If you want to turn more than 3200 rpm, you will need a valve spring kit. Whether you get with a 60#, 110#, or 165# is up to you. You'll start floating valves around 3200 rpm with stock springs.

Not to highjack the OP's thread, but is the GSK upgrade doable for an average mechanic with basic tools? Thanks
 
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