We’ve all been tempted to boost our engine power by adding a whole lot of components. If the catalog says this tuner is worth 75 hp, that intake adds 15 horses, and that injection pump will boost performance by 150 hp—then we should get 240 more horsepower! But that’s usually not the case. The real gain when upgrading multiple components comes through choosing ones that complement each other.
To demonstrate this theory, we gathered three performance parts that provide additional power. A Flex-a-lite electric fan will free up power devoured by the beltdriven clutch fan. It also helps your diesel engine warm up more quickly. An Airaid intake system will increase cold-air induction, letting the engine take in more air with less restriction. Cold air from outside the engine compartment is also denser than heated air sucked in from the engine compartment. The third component we chose was a Bully Dog Triple Dog GT diesel gauge tuner. This tuner affects fuel and timing parameters and comes with three power output levels: towing, performance, and extreme. It also displays more than 15 vehicle parameters and has a driving coach designed to help drivers get the best possible fuel economy.
The Bully Dog Triple Dog GT diesel gauge tuner is designed to stay mounted in the truck to
We intentionally chose components that work well together without duplicating efforts or affecting how the other new parts function. We used an ’05 Dodge Ram 2500 as the test mule, and we made multiple trips to the War Room Chassis Dyno Center to measure the power difference with each additional component. Unlimited Offroad Centers installed the components to make the process and testing easier. We also drove the truck several hundred miles after each component was installed to conduct a seat-of-the-pants evaluation.
Our testing showed several things. First, adding up the power gains from the catalog doesn’t align with what you will find if you install multiple parts. Even though the components we tested work well together, the Airaid air intake was building on the gains realized by the Flex-a-lite electric fan, and the Bully Dog tuner was building on the improvement of both of the previous modifications. The second thing we found is that it’s not all about peak power. The Airaid intake system only showed an increase of 2.7 hp in addition to what we found with the Flex-a-lite electric fan. But driving the truck revealed a significant improvement in off-idle performance with the air intake system. While the system delivers a pretty small increase at peak power, it provided about 20 hp throughout most of the lower half of the power band.
All three products provided a power increase that was immediately noticeable. The Flex-a-lite electric fan freed up 11.7 hp—by simply removing the massive factory clutch fan! We already covered the improvements realized by adding the Airaid air intake system. The Bully Dog tuner gave us 92.3 hp in the extreme mode, and the combination of all three turned this truck into a 3-ton hot rod.
To measure the rear-wheel power improvements of these modifications, we visited Mike Clancy at the War Room Chassis Dyno in Waterford, Michigan. This company’s specialty is helping people tune their vehicles for maximum power after they’ve changed a lot of parts—and the crew has helped set up a lot of race cars. They use a Mustang Dyno MD-250, which is known for very conservative power numbers. This explains why all our power numbers are lower than you might expect. All power gains are relative, though, and we’re confident that the numbers we present are accurate because they were measured on the same dyno with the same operator. What we’re not comfortable with is trying to compare these numbers to testing done on other parts on other dynos.
||HP Increase Over Last Mod
||HP Increase Over Stock
|Flex-a-lite Electric Fan
|Airaid Air Intake
|Bully Dog Tow
|Bully Dog Performance
|Bully Dog Extreme
We started our power combo project by replacing the mammoth beltdriven clutch fan on the D
There’s really only one challenging aspect of installing the electric fan: removing the or
Here’s a look at what is removed from the truck and what goes in its place. The aluminum f
We chose an Airaid Maximum MXP Performance air intake for this test. The SynthaMax filter
It was a toss-up as to whether the Airaid intake or the Bully Dog tuner was easier to inst
The new Airaid conical air filter doesn’t require any oil, so there’s no chance of fouling
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Unlimited Offroad Centers
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War Room Chassis Dyno Center