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1989 To 1993 Dodge Ram Power Recipes - Budget-Build

For $1,500, $2,500, $5,000, And $10,000 Budgets

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First-generation Dodge Rams manufactured for '89 to '93 are on the comeback. They have the legendary 5.9L 12-valve Cummins engine, along with a Bosch VE rotary injection pump. While the VE pump doesn't have the performance potential of the Bosch P7100 pump (found in '94 to '98 Dodges), it works pretty well up to about 500 hp. These early trucks are cheap, simple, plentiful, and easy to work on. They can also be made to go plenty fast, thanks to their 5,000- to 6,000-pound curb weight, which is much lighter than newer diesel trucks. They also offer non-lockup transmissions, which means you'll be spending a lot less on transmission parts than with any of the newer vehicles. If you're looking for super-cheap power, non-intercooled trucks built from '89 to '91 1/2 have larger injectors. The early engines can produce nearly 300 hp at the wheels with almost no modifications. But, the '91 1/2 to '93 trucks have an overdrive transmission and an intercooler, which really helps later in the drivability and performance department. Since most people who buy early Dodges are looking for buildups on the cheap, we've included builds from $1,500 to $10,000, although it's pretty hard to spend $10K on a first-gen Dodge without switching to a P-pump injection system. Also, before you get started, make sure your factory lift pump and transmission are in good working order. These are known weak points on first-gens and should be upgraded if they are questionable. Other than that, choose the amount of cash you wish to spend, and have at it!

BUDGET: $1,500

Modification: Turn up full fuel screw
Reason: Turning the fuel up past stock levels can yield 50 to 70 more hp than stock
Price: Free

Modification: 3,200-rpm governor spring
Reason: Because you'll be glad you have that extra 500 rpm
Vendor: Dynomite Diesel, Pure Diesel Power
Price: $30

Modification: 4-inch exhaust (after downpipe)
Reason: Stock exhaust is a restriction
Vendor: Local muffler shop
Price: $300

Modification: Air filter and intake
Reason: More flow through the intake is needed with the 3,200-rpm spring
Vendor: PDR Diesel Performance
Price: $219

Modification: Boost and exhaust temperature gauges
Reason: Keep an eye on boost and EGT numbers-anything above 35 psi or 1,500 degrees is bad news
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $250-$300

Modification: Prince of Darkness (POD) injectors
Reason: They're smoky and you'll have poor fuel economy, but they make power
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $440

Modification: Performance fuel pin
Reason: Because it's worth 20 hp over the stock fuel pin
Vendor: DennyT Performance
Price: $105

Modification: Killer dowel pin kit
Reason: Because engine failure is no fun
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $60

HP: 250 to 300
Weak Links: Torque converter or clutch, smoky exhaust, high EGT

TOTAL: $1,404 to $1,454

BUDGET: $2,500

Modification: Turn up full fuel screw
Reason: Turning the fuel up past stock levels can yield 50 to 70 more hp than stock
Price: Free

Modification: 3,200-rpm governor spring
Reason: Because you'll be glad you have that extra 500 rpm
Vendor: Dynomite Diesel, Pure Diesel Power
Price: $30

Modification: 4-inch exhaust (including downpipe)
Reason: Bigger turbo needs a 4-inch downpipe
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $485

Modification: Air filter and intake
Reason: More flow through the intake is needed with the 3,200-rpm spring
Vendor: PDR Diesel Performance
Price: $219

Modification: Boost and exhaust temperature gauges
Reason: Keep an eye on boost and EGT numbers-anything above 35 psi or 1,500 degrees is bad news
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $250-$300

Modification: Prince of Darkness (POD) injectors
Reason: They're smoky and you'll have poor fuel economy, but they make power
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $440

Modification: Performance fuel pin
Reason: Because it's worth 20 hp over the stock fuel pin
Vendor: DennyT Performance
Price: $105

Modification: Killer dowel pin kit
Reason: Because engine failure is no fun
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $60

Modification: 60mm compressor upgrade
Reason: More air = lower EGT
Vendor: Gillett Diesel
Price: $225

Modification: Aftermarket low-stall torque converter
Reason: Less slip adds 25 hp
Vendor: Spec-Rite Converters, Goerend Transmission Inc.
Price: $900

HP: 300 to 350
Weak Links: High EGT, stock fuel system may not support power levels

Total: $2,529 to $2,579

BUDGET: $5,000

Modification: Turn up full fuel screw
Reason: Turning the fuel up past stock levels can yield 50 to 70 more hp than stock
Price: Free

Modification: 3,200-rpm governor spring
Reason: Because you'll be glad you have that extra 500 rpm
Vendor: Dynomite Diesel, Pure Diesel Power
Price: $30

Modification: 4-inch exhaust (including downpipe)
Reason: Bigger turbo needs a 4-inch downpipe
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $485

Modification: Air filter and intake
Reason: More flow through the intake is needed with the 3,200-rpm spring
Vendor: PDR Diesel Performance
Price: $219

Modification: Boost and exhaust temperature gauges
Reason: Keep an eye on boost and EGT numbers-anything above 35 psi or 1,500 degrees is bad news
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $250-$300

Modification: Dynomite Diesel Stage 4 or 6x0.016 injectors
Reason: With a bigger turbo, more fuel will equal more power
Vendor: Dynomite Diesel, New Era Diesel, Scheid Diesel
Price: $700-$900

Modification: Performance fuel pin
Reason: Because it's worth 20 hp over the stock fuel pin
Vendor: DennyT Performance
Price: $105

Modification: Killer dowel pin kit
Reason: Because engine failure is no fun
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $60

Modification: Holset Super 40 turbo or BorgWarner S300
Reason: A larger turbo is needed to match the larger injectors
Vendor: Majestic Turbo, My Holset Turbo
Price: $1,100-$1,300

Modification: Aftermarket low-stall torque converter or new clutch
Reason: Less slip adds 25 hp Also, at this power level, the stock clutch will slip
Vendor: Spec-Rite Converters, Goerend Transmission Inc., South Bend Clutch
Price: $900

Modification: Performance fuel system
Reason: A new lift pump is needed to feed the larger injectors
Vendor: FASS, AirDog
Price: $500

HP: 350 to 400
Weak Links: Manual transmission clutch

TOTAL: $4,349 to $4,799

BUDGET: $10,000

Modification: Turn up full fuel screw
Reason: Turning the fuel up past stock levels can yield 50 to 70 more hp than stock
Price: Free

Modification: 3,200-rpm governor spring
Reason: Because you'll be glad you have that extra 500 rpm
Vendor: Dynomite Diesel, Pure Diesel Power
Price: $30

Modification: 4-inch exhaust (including downpipe)
Reason: Bigger turbo needs a 4-inch downpipe
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $485

Modification: Air filter and intake
Reason: More flow through the intake is needed with the 3,200-rpm spring
Vendor: PDR Diesel Performance
Price: $219

Modification: Boost and exhaust temperature gauges
Reason: Keep an eye on boost and EGT numbers-anything above 35 psi or 1,500 degrees is bad news
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $250-$300

Modification: Dynomite Diesel Stage 4 or 6x0.016 injectors
Reason: With a bigger turbo, more fuel will equal more power
Vendor: Dynomite Diesel, New Era Diesel, Scheid Diesel
Price: $700-$900

Modification: Performance fuel pin
Reason: Because it's worth 20 hp over the stock fuel pin
Vendor: DennyT Performance
Price: $105

Modification: Killer dowel pin kit
Reason: Because engine failure is no fun
Vendor: Source Automotive
Price: $60

Modification: 62mm or 64mm turbo
Reason: At this power level, a larger turbo is needed
Vendor: Majestic Turbo ATS, Industrial Injection
Price: $1,300-$1,800

Modification: Aftermarket low-stall torque converter or new clutch
Reason: Less slip adds 25 hp Also, at this power level, the stock clutch will slip
Vendor: Spec-Rite Converters, Goerend Transmission Inc., South Bend Clutch
Price: $900-$1,100

Modification: Steel planetary, billet input shaft (auto only)
Reason: The transmission will need these upgrades to survive
Vendor: TCS Products
Price: $1,000

Modification: Performance fuel system with 40-psi spring
Reason: A high-pressure lift pump is mandatory witha 14mm head. The front seal must be fitted with Loctite to keep from blowing out
Vendor: AirDog
Price: $700

Modification: 14mm pump head
Reason: A 14mm head is worth about 50 to100 hp more than stock
Vendor: Rocken Tech
Price: $400

Modification: ARP 625 head studs
Reason: Because nitrous makes lots of cylinder pressure
Vendor: Pure Diesel Power
Price: $1,300

Modification: Nitrous Express two-stage nitrous system
Reason: Because love it or hate it, nitrous makes power
Vendor: Nitrous Express
Price: $913

HP: 500 (fuel) 700 (nitrous)
Weak Links: Reliability-at 700 hp, nothing will last forever

Total: $7,962 to $9,112

SOURCES
ATS Diesel
5293 Ward Road
Unit 11
Arvada
CO  80002
866-490-5573
www.atsdiesel.com
Holset Turbochargers
Memphis
TN
www.myholsetturbo.com
Pure Diesel Power
8430 County Road EE
Marshfield
WI  54449
715-254-1833
www.puredieselpower.com
Majestic Turbo
815 Jefferson Ave.
Waco
TX  76101
800-231-5566
www.majesticturbo.com
Industrial Injection
1201 South 700 West
Salt Lake City
UT  84104
800-955-0476
www.industrialinjection.com
New Era Diesel
Columbus
OH
740-819-0457
www.neweradiesel.com
South Bend Clutch
709 W Jefferson Blvd
Mishawaka
IN  46545
800-988-4345
www.southbendclutch.com
Nitrous Express
5411 Seymour Hwy
Wichita Falls
TX  76310
940-767-7694
http://www.nitrousexpress.com
AirDog
1412 Creek Trail Dr
Jefferson City
MO  65109
573-635-0555
www.pureflowairdog.com
PDR Diesel Performance
1770 Front Street
PMB 226
Lynden
WA  98264
604-888-4159
www.piersdiesel.com
Denny T Performance
Waco
TX
www.dennytperformance.com
Rocken Tech Products
1321 Commerce Street
Suite P
Petaluma
CA  94952
707-658-1915
www.rocken-tech.com
Dynomite Diesel Performance
13675 Roosevelt Rd SE
Monroe
WA  98272
760-794-5732
www.dynomitediesel.com
Scheid Diesel
4960 North 13th St
Terre Haute
IN  47805
800-669-1593
www.scheiddiesel.com
Fass
4302 E Congress Ave
Spokane
WA  99223
866-379-8685
www.fassride.com
Source Automotive
16805 SE 130th Ave.
Clackmas
OR  97015
503-654-9004
www.sourceautomotive.biz
Gillett Diesel
14812 South Heritage Crest Way
Bluffdale
UT  84065
800-638-4679
www.gdsdieselparts.com
Spec Rite Converters
2175 Kenyon Drive
Redding
CA  96001
530-243-8300
www.specriteconverters.com
Goerend Transmission Inc.
119 North Main Street
St. Lucas
IA  52166
563-778-2719
www.goerend.com
TCS Products
Langley
WA
800-960-1177
www.tcsproducts.com
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