Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Bone stock with the exception of boost & pyro gauge. 97 Dodge 12V Cummings, 2500 HD EX cab 8' bed, 5 spd trans, 3:54 rear end, pretty sure a P-215 pump, 284,000 miles.
My goal is to improve towing a 33' 5th wheel that has a 10,700 GVWR and make the truck more fun to drive and not kill the MPG with keeping it dependable. I don't want to change injectors, turbo etc.. Maybe 3000 rpm governor springs and timing if that would help me but don't want to spin it to fast to ensure a long service life. When the clutch goes I would upgrade to handle to handle more power if I use an AFC Live tuner.
My debate is do I mod my stock fuel plate or go with a fuel plate #11 to stay within power specs and not fry my clutch. Or go with a #10 fuel plate and overpower the clutch and have to keep an eye on exhaust gas temps. Not sure if the #11 or 10 plates will make for decent pulling without more mods than I want to do. Or do I go with an AFC Live tuner. With an AFC Tuner with a gauge I like the idea of the ability to tune for daily driving and towing separate. Controlling exhaust gas temps uphill pulling is a major plus for me to. I would have to be careful not to fry the clutch till I could afford to upgrade it. The #11 plate mod would be cheaper but think it would be 280 HP & 550 TQ. Not sure how that would feel towing. Daily driving I would think it would be more responsive as that would be rear wheel specs. Don't know what pulling exhaust temps would be. Got to admit being a gear head I favor the AFC Live tuner. After a new clutch down the road with stock turbo, fuel injectors etc. I would have a very responsive truck and can control exhaust temps. Let's here your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks in advance. :nerd:
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
24,466 Posts
Has your 5th gear nut been updated on your trans, that would be my first concern.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
9297, only had the truck a little over a year. I have not done anything and doubt the previous driver did unless he had problems. He used the truck only to pull a 28' 5th wheel. He was up in years so know it was not a performance truck. Seems like he did good maintenance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
You can run whatever plate you want once you change out the clutch. I had the organic single disk from south bend and I really like the clutch. I have a ceramic dd now and it’s definitely a different feel. But 3k gsk around 14-15 degrees is about all the more timing I would go with stock injectors and no studs. I can’t say one way or the other about plates with a stock clutch as mine hasn’t had a plate since I bought it. But I got about 10-15k out of the stock clutch before it started slipping.

I have driven a friends truck from northern Virginia to Texas and back. Stock except plate delete and it pulled his 18’ enclosed trailer packed full of racing stuff without any issues except egts getting a little high.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,340 Posts
My '97 with a #11 plate and no other mods dynoed 297 HP and about 650 TQ. I found out the stock gov springs are much better for towing and I think you'll find you can spin more than 2800 as it sits. I did get a better plate for towing, but it is a custom build from a shop in TX that I use. Sometime the 5th gear nut on the NV4500 backs off and you have a 4 speed. I drove from ND to TX when mine came off. Not a high priority IMO, if it comes off deal with it then. That would be the time to upgrade the clutch too. Tabbing the KDP and loctiting/torquing the gear case mounting bolts should be high on your priority list. Along with the fuel plate a timing advance to about 15 will give you decent mileage and more power. Maybe lose the cat and get a flow through muffler to help EGTs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
As for the 5th gear nut. Usually they will just fall off while driving normal. I was merging from one highway to another just before Christmas and when I shifted back into fifth mine fell off. So I figure it was time for a dd a rebuild. Both trucks that I’ve never that has fallen off have been around 250-275k. I want to say all the parts was like $700 including main shaft, gear set, rebuild kit, and a different style nut.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
531 Posts
it sounds to me like you are aware of the weak points in the stock truck with the clutch, KDP & 5th gear nut.

so to answer your questions,
you will notice a big difference changing the gov springs!
doing the "free" mods like smoke screw, star wheel and slide both the fuel plate & AFC all the way forward, and bump up the timing. will all help too
however, after tinkering, adjusting and trying different fuel plates myself,
I think there is a great benefit to skipping all of the fuel plate and AFC adjusting trials and install an AFC Live 2 with a gauge. be sure to add their AFC max travel kit too. you do it once and your done. Afterwards, your future adjustments are twisting a knob from inside the cab.

side note,
since you said you haven't had the truck very long and it sounds like it is your first cummins,
If the waste gate actuator gets a hole in the diaphragm, you will loose boost, not enough that you will notice it, but your AFC will. without enough boost pressure in the AFC, it won't let the truck get much fuel no matter what mods you do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
12VHamilton, sounds like you have similar hopes and plans for your truck as I do, now. I bought my 97 in 2003 and over the next few years added to its capabilities. Originally I wasn't thinking I would use it for 5th wheel towing, but this past year that changed too as we bought a 2011 DRV 38-ft 5th wheel RV to live in for a while. With the mods implemented below I was very pleased with how capable it was, in all aspects, while towing this rig from Ft Lauderdale, FL to our home near Colorado Springs, CO over the 4 days it took to cover that distance. The power, the handling and braking, especially WITH the 5th wheel in tow, combined with the 12-valve reliability, made the trip a lot less stressful that it could have been.

---------------------------------------------------
97 2500 SLT ClubCab, LB, 4x4, 5-spd, 3.54 gears: 3K GSK, #10 plate, DDP Stg 2 injectors, 4" exhaust with gutted cat, BHAF, SBC clutch, 285/70R17s on H2 wheels, Yukon Gear front hub conversion w/Hardcore lockouts, Bilstein shocks, 1-ton rear brakes and springs, Firestone air bags, Curt 30-K gooseneck hitch, Andersen 5th wheel hitch, Tekonsha P3 trailer brake controller, air horns, ISSPro EV gauges, CB/10-meter radio, Alpine head & amp. Also have 19.5" wheels & tires for heavy 5th wheel towing. KDP killed 8-18-03 at 96,050 miles! White, 21+ ft long and named Moby . Currently at 270K miles on odometer.

Plans: modified HE351CW turbo (bought, just not installed yet), exhaust brake (coming soon), HD bumpers.
---------------------------------------------------

With regard to the engine mods, the #3K GSK and #10 fuel plate have worked very well for me. The GSK enables my engine to pull hard at WOT to 3400-3500 RPM which is more than I need it to do and the #10 plate just amplifies the power all through the RPM range the GSK expanded on. The other mods - injectors, 4" exhaust, etc. - all help with getting more air in and out and adding fuel so the power can be made and utilized. I'm not quite done with engine mods as I do have a modified turbo that's just about ready to install, that by all accounts from others who've used this turbo, should provide a nice (not extreme) bump in power and with pretty good characteristics for keeping EGTs under control while towing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Rockyhud, you have done a bunch of mods and sounds good. Firestone airbags are on the radar but may not happen till next year. Also planning to have the driver side seat reupholstered. The motor I don't want to venture much more than a tuned fuel pump,timing and a clutch when the time comes. Performance mods are addicting for me so trying to avoid going down that road. Trying to get retired and full-time RV or at least travel a lot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I made a decision and ordered parts today. I ended up going with an AFC Live tuner with a gauge along with a 30-35 boost AFC Max Travel Kit. I went with the higher stock turbo boost spring vs the 20-25 boost stock spring after talking to Power Driven Diesel. I was told low end power would come on a little sooner with that spring choice and making it feel more responsive and not be to high to hurt the reliability. I went the AFC Live Tuner route despite the higher cost for a few reasons. I like the option to tune for daily driving and tune for towing. I also like the ability to decrease fuel to lower the EGT if needed. It's nice to have options. Oh, and the little show off/full power switch if needed. Think I will label it NWTW (NOT WITH THE WIFE) 🙂 Thanks everyone for your thoughts and feedback.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,340 Posts
I like the option to tune for daily driving and tune for towing.
I'd love to hear in a year or so how much you actually use it. I see it as a dash decoration once the tuning is complete.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
747 Posts
Busy Fingers

I'd love to hear in a year or so how much you actually use it. I see it as a dash decoration once the tuning is complete.
I like the idea but with a busy fingered grandson would/could be a real problem.
It could go in the engine compartment but on the fly tuning would not fly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: captainronpo614

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Games, I think you will be correct with very little use once tuned. I see two tunes for me using the gauge to set them. One for daily driving and one for towing. Once I start full time RVing I suspect I might tweek it for different elevations and extream heat locations. Will post my thoughts from time to time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
GAmes, never thought aboot little people etc.. From what I understand if you know your reading on the tuners pressure gauge it should be easy to get back to the tuning point you desire.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,011 Posts
I think you'll be amazed with what pump tuning can do! I couldn't believe the power increase from just sliding the fuel plate forward in my old truck. I'm sure it's fun to have 600hp in a truck, but i think it's amazing how well 275hp/600ft lbs pulls!

I think you'll really like gov springs on your setup. With the NV4500 it really helps with the gap between 3rd and 4th. You can get them for $40 on Amazon and they're easy to install.

If I were you, I'd put an exhaust brake high up my list. Especially towing something that big all the time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Kmehr, I will tune for daily driving and pulling for now due to a stock clutch. I may hit the bypass and slowly roll on it till I feel the clutch has had enough. 🙂
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Kmehr, think my HP will be around
375 and TQ 950ish or more. My build is very near the Power Driven Diesels video of AFC LIVE into a stock 12V. Only difference is there truck was an automatic transmission, 180 HP pump, free flow AF. milage about the same as my truck. My truck has a stock AF, 5 spd, and pretty sure a 215 HP pump.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,340 Posts
Games, I think you will be correct with very little use once tuned. I see two tunes for me using the gauge to set them. One for daily driving and one for towing. Once I start full time RVing I suspect I might tweek it for different elevations and extream heat locations. Will post my thoughts from time to time.
Sounds good on paper, but real life will bite you in the butt. I tow. I tow a lot. All over the US and Canada. Here is a synopsis of my last trip. From Silverton, OR to Martinez, CA with a 32 ft empty enclosed utility trailer, about 5000 lbs. Crossed the Siskiyou Mountains with it, an easy pull. Empty to Quartszite, AZ where I picked up a privately owned 5th whl, 14,000+ pounds, 107 degrees and took it to CO. Drug that thing across the desert and into the Rocky mountains, including crossing Wolf Creek Pass (look it up). Then empty along the western edge of the Rockies to Jackson Hole, WY where I hooked up an 11,000 lb cement silo and took it to the tri-cities of WA. So in the course of a week I was at all elevations from sea level to 10,000 ft, temps over 100, and no load to over 14,000 lbs. The uninitiated would say, wow, a perfect use for AFC live. NOT!!! I could care less about added hp/tq, my main concern is fuel efficiency. Since there isn't any way to measure, on the fly, what mileage I'd be getting at any one setting it is useless. Being able to change fueling by twisting a knob doesn't do much good if there isn't a way to change timing to correspond to the fuel mixture. And lastly, no variable geometry turbo to compensate for altitude changes. The HX-35 turbo is spinning a lot slower to produce 20 psi at sea level than it is to push 20 psi at 8000 ft. Hope you like it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
GAmes, yes you do a lot of towing and make some very good views from your experience. Got me second guessing now but the order has been made. I hope I like the tuner. But worst case if I didn't like it in a year or so just go to the old fashioned fuel plate mods. Might have to get a new foot from trimming the old one 1/8". Then sell the unit to someone who may make use of it and take it for a hard lessoned learned. I am hoping for the best.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top