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Equipping A '99 Dodge Ram With A Variable-Geometry Turbo

Old Engine New Tricks: 1999 Dodge Ram 3500

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When a Holset variable-geometry turbocharger (VGT) came as standard equipment on the 6.7L Cummins engine for the '071/2 model year, it was a major eye-opener. Thanks to its capability of varying the exhaust housing's aspect ratio (A/R) depending on engine speed, the Holset HE351 provided instant spool-up and unmatched responsiveness from idle to 3,000 rpm. The icing on the cake was its built-in, electronically actuated exhaust brake, which made the medium-duty Cummins engine even more suited for towing.

But it wasn't only an eye-opener to those seeking brand-new Rams-the aftermarket took note as well. And it was only a matter of time before this modern technology was embraced and found its way onto older, 5.9L engines. One company that has found a niche for the Holset HE351 VNT turbo is Fleece Performance Engineering, and the folks there were in the middle of installing one on a modified '99 Dodge Ram 3500 when we stopped in.

After the owner of the 24-valve Cummins added a fuel system, 100hp injectors, an Edge Comp box, a dual-disc clutch, and an aftermarket turbo, he still experienced turbo lag, excessive smoke, and power that felt more like an On-Off switch than smooth or progressive. So the truck was brought to the experts at Fleece, who not only sell and install HE351s but also make their own stand-alone turbo controller. Check out how easy the install went, how the turbo and exhaust brake are controlled, and how big of an improvement it made in the truck's performance.

Feedback From The Owner:
This is an email the owner of the truck sent Fleece Performance Engineering a few days after the install, once he'd collected some data on the truck's new setup:

"I just wanted to tell you [Fleece] and the rest of your folks that it was a very pleasant experience Wednesday. What you all can do there is incredible. I am very, very pleased with the VGT turbo and what it can do. I had a blast going home that evening. Playing with the dial and turning on the exhaust brake was cool. It did lower the exhaust gas temperature, and I am going to hook up our horse trailer tonight and head to the fairgrounds, so I'll get to see more tonight as well. It is awesome how quick it spools now, and I don't have to wait on it."

PRICE LIST:
*Holset HE351 turbo (core): $100 to $600
*6.7L exhaust manifold (core): $100 to $200
*'03 to '07 5.9L downpipe (core): $150 to $250
Stand-alone VGT controller: $624.75
with exhaust brake option
Labor: $450 to $600
Total: $1,424.75 to $2,274.75
*Prices on core parts may vary depending on where they're purchased
SOURCES
Fleece Performance Engineering
2463N 625W
North Salem
IN  46165
855-839-5040
www.fleeceperformance.com
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