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Budget Diesel Mods: ’94-’98 Cummins

While 400, 500 and even 600rwhp has become commonplace with today’s diesel pickups, this was the platform that helped bring diesel performance to the masses: the ’94-’98 Dodge Ram equipped with the P-pumped 5.9L Cummins. Thanks to the mechanical, Bosch P7100 injection pump, the engine was much more akin to something you’d find in a tractor on the farm than in a consumer vehicle—and as such, the good old boys were quick to break out the wrenches and turn up the wick on the P-pump. Some 25 years later, there are literally thousands of people that know how to get an extra 100-120rwhp out of the P-pumped Cummins using nothing more than a few simple hand tools.

Although we would be remiss if we didn’t recommend you start with all the free mods (full-forward AFC, turned star wheel, fuel plate delete, etc.), it’s important to know that with an extra 100-120rwhp on tap, the factory automatic or the stock clutch in five-speed manual probably won’t like it, or harness it very well. For this reason, and in keeping with our theme of ensuring your budget allows you to enjoy the power you add to your truck, you’ll have to fork over the cash for a built transmission rather quickly. If you drive an NV4500-graced ’94-’98 Ram, you can literally cut the second and third budgets listed below in half (this five-speed manual transmission is one stout S.O.B. and only requires a clutch upgrade and a larger input shaft to handle major power).

Own a ’98.5-‘02 model second-gen? Stay tuned. We’ll show you how to turn your sluggish, VP44-equipped Cummins into the ultimate play toy/workhorse in the next installment.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  1. These trucks are old. They were produced more than 20 years ago, so don’t expect everything to be in perfect condition (injectors, transmission, turbo).
  2. The ’96-’98 versions of the 5.9L (specifically trucks equipped with the NV4500 manual transmission) offer more performance potential than ’94-’95 engines, as the later engines benefitted from a 215hp P7100.
  3. Owners of manual transmission ’94-’98 Rams can save themselves a lot of money by not having to build the transmission, although a reputable dual disc clutch and possibly an input shaft upgrade should be installed at higher power levels.
  4. Each budget assumes you’re starting new, with a bone-stock truck.
  5. Most of the items listed in these budgets is stuff that you and a buddy or novice mechanic could install in a weekend. The labor to have these parts installed has purposely been excluded.

$1,600 Budget (230–300rwhp)

Full-Forward AFC: Free!

The air fuel control (AFC) assembly controls the P-pump’s fuel rate under low-boost conditions. To bring fuel into the equation at a much lower rpm (and lower boost), slide the AFC assembly completely forward.

Adjust the Pre-Boost Screw: Free!

By “adjust” we mean back out the pre-boost screw (i.e. “smoke screw”). Backing out the pre-boost screw changes the pump’s governor linkage and also adjusts the rack forward, thereby bringing considerably more fuel in at low engine speed and boost levels.

Turn the Star Wheel: Free!

Located inside the AFC housing, the star wheel can be turned toward the passenger side of the truck to open the fuel rack more. A bit of trial and error is required here in order to find the perfect balance between added power and streetability.

Remove the Fuel Plate: Free!

Another freebie, this one allows for full rack travel within the P7100. It calls for you to remove the AFC housing, a tamper-proof bolt and the two fuel plate mounting bolts in order to do it, but—like everything mentioned above—it can be done with a few simple hand tools. Removing the fuel plate usually adds 30-40hp.

Mack Rack Plug: $15

The Mack rack plug has been a go-to, cheap horsepower trick for P-pump owners for as long as we can remember. By increasing rack travel from 19mm to 21mm, it allows approximately 70ccs more fuel into the pump’s plungers and barrels. Depending on your specific setup (P7100 model, fuel plate arrangement, delivery valves and injectors), the rack plug can add anywhere from 10-35hp.

Boost Elbow: $25

With the factory wastegate limiting the Holset HX35 turbo’s ability to make more than 20-22 psi of boost, an adjustable boost elbow (or outright disabling the wastegate) is a necessity. Available from various aftermarket companies, a boost elbow will allow the turbo to produce as much as 35 psi, will help lower your exhaust gas temps and will add 10-20hp to the equation.

3,000 RPM Governor Spring Kit: $115

In stock form, the P7100 is governed at approximately 2,700 rpm—and the governor actually begins to de-fuel as early as 2,400 rpm. Installing 3,000 rpm governor springs will broaden the power curve of the engine. Note that most kits come with both 3,000 rpm springs and 4,000 rpm springs, but without stiffer valve springs we would stick with the 3,000 rpm units.

4-Inch Exhaust System: $240

Aftermarket, 4-inch diameter exhaust systems are pretty affordable for second-gen Cummins trucks. The turbo-back system shown comes from Diamond Eye Performance, is aluminized and comes without a muffler or exhaust tip. Like all aluminized exhaust systems, it won’t last as long as its stainless steel counterparts, but second-gen owners living in the rust belt can still expect to get five to six years of use out of it.

Big Honkin’ Air Filter: $45                                       

To provide the turbo more airflow on the cheap, many second-gen owners run the BHAF from Fleetguard (PN AH1141). This massive air filter’s biggest claim to fame is its ability to offer high flow at low cost.

Auto Meter EGT and Boost Gauges with Pillar Pod: $300

While adding power to a ’94-’98 Cummins is stupid-easy, don’t burn down the barn! Get yourself a pyrometer to measure exhaust gas temperature (EGT) and a boost gauge to keep tabs on the turbo. As a general rule of thumb, don’t spend a lot of time above 1,400 degrees on the pyro or allow the turbo to see 35 psi of boost for extended periods.

Killer Dowel Pin (KDP) Repair Kit: $65

Before you get too carried away in adding power to your P-pumped Cummins (or any ’89-’02 5.9L for that matter), it pays to address the killer dowel pin issue before it’s too late. During assembly at the factory, a dowel pin was pressed into the Cummins’ block in order to locate the timing gear housing. Over time, this pin can work its way loose and cause catastrophic internal damage. At just $65, TST Products offers one of the most affordable killer dowel pin repair kits on the market.

Upgraded Torque Converter or Clutch: $800

While some torque converters in the 47RH and 47RE automatic transmissions (and clutches in the NV4500 manual transmission) will hold up to these mods, many will not. For this reason, it’s wise to make sure you install a converter or clutch with enough holding power to be able to actually use your newfound power. Goerend Transmission offers a sound, single disc converter with a low-stall speed for $800, while South Bend builds several entry level clutches (rated for at least 400hp) in this same price range.

$7,600 Budget (425–450rwhp)

5x12 Injectors: $600

There are literally dozens (if not hundreds) of ways you can go with 12-valve Cummins injectors. However, when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, we’ve never forgotten what the 370 Marine-based, 5x12 injectors from Garmon’s Diesel Performance are capable of when used in conjunction with longer delivery valve springs and a bump in P-pump timing (430rwhp on a stock turbo). If you’re not up on your diesel injector lingo, 5x12 refers to the amount and size of holes in the injector’s nozzle. In this case, the injector nozzle has five holes, each measuring twelve-thousandths of an inch (or 0.012 inches) in diameter. The combination of making sure these injectors have had their pop-off pressures matched to one another and that the P-pump’s timing has been advanced 17 to 18 degrees is vital in getting the most out of them.

*Keep in mind that fine adjustments of the AFC, pre-boost screw and reintroduction of a fuel plate (stock or aftermarket) may be required in order to achieve the perfect balance of drivability and power.

Delivery Valve Springs: $90

Longer delivery valve springs offer more efficient fuel delivery, a crisper throttle, increased power and cleaner emissions. Note that in this instance we’re talking about longer delivery valve springs being matched to a set of the Garmon’s Diesel Performance-built 5x12 injectors mentioned above.

Ported Stock, 14cm2 or 16cm2 Turbine Housing: $150-$200

Opening up the exhaust flow of the factory turbo (especially the Holset HX35 on ’95-’98 models) can add significant power, along with reducing EGT. With a freer flowing turbine side, be it via a ported factory (12cm2) housing or a larger A/R housing (14cm2 or 16cm2), the HX35 can support more than 450rwhp.

Firepunk Diesel Street & Track Transmission: $5,250

While we know that 5K is no small chunk of change, the Chrysler automatics the folks at Firepunk Diesel put together are proven to last whether you commute, tow or race your truck on a regular basis. At this price point, you get a billet triple-disc torque converter from Diesel Performance Converters, a competition master rebuild kit with added direct drum and Overdrive clutches, one of Firepunk’s high-pressure valve bodies and a slushbox that’s rated for 550hp. Most importantly, it comes with a billet input shaft (the factory input is at risk of breaking around 400rwhp).

*IMPORTANT: If your truck is equipped with the NV4500 manual, all you’ll need is a clutch upgrade. That means instead of spending $7,600 to get to this point, you’re spending just $3,300.

Aftermarket Fuel Supply System: $599

It’s never worth taking a chance on starving the P7100, so we would advise installing an aftermarket fuel supply system as soon as possible. This compact system from AirDog comes with a pump that flows 100-gph and is preset to deliver 25 to 30 psi to the P-pump under all driving conditions.

  • Full-Forward AFC (Mentioned Above): Free!
  • Adjust the Pre-Boost Screw (Mentioned Above): Free!
  • Turn the Star Wheel (Mentioned Above): Free!
  • Remove the Fuel Plate (Mentioned Above): Free!
  • Mack Rack Plug (Mentioned Above): $15
  • Boost Elbow (Mentioned Above): $25
  • 3,000 RPM Governor Spring Kit (Mentioned Above): $115
  • 4-inch Exhaust System (Mentioned Above): $240
  • Big Honkin’ Air Filter (Mentioned Above): $45
  • Auto Meter EGT and Boost Gauges with Pillar Pod (Mentioned Above): $300
  • Killer Dowel Pin (KDP) Repair Kit (Mentioned Above): $65

$11,000 Budget (515–550rwhp)

ARP Head Studs: $450

Although we’ve seen stock head bolts hold up to 100 psi of boost on a 5.9L Cummins, it’s best to play it safe when running 50+ psi of boost. Even threading one ARP head stud in at a time has been known to not cause any head gasket issues on high-mile engines.

5x18 Injectors: $900-$1,000

Big power calls for big sticks and these injectors have been known to support north of 700rwhp with the right amount of air (turbos). Spec’d for the stock piston bowl, they feature SAC style nozzles with each hole measuring 0.018 inches.

024 Delivery Valves: $275  

To match the larger injectors, fuel flow to the injectors needs to be increased. These Bosch delivery valves can be sourced through Pure Diesel Power. Without changing anything else (and according to your specific P-pump’s setup) they can add as much as 25rwhp.

4,000 RPM Governor Spring Kit (Mentioned Above): $115

At this point, it’s time to go with the 4,000 rpm governor springs over the 3,000 rpm units, along with stiffer valve springs in the head. More on that below.

180 LB Valve Springs: $450

With added boost, drive pressure and rpm in the mix at this power level, valve float and creep will be inevitable with the factory valve springs. These 180 lb springs eliminate all of that and come with retainers and keepers.

64mm S300 Turbo: $1,900-$2,100

There are a lot of options in the aftermarket for the S300-based BorgWarner turbos, so the 64mm (compressor inducer) is a general direction to go once you reach this power point. Don’t forget to take your elevation, driving style and what tasks you use the truck for into consideration when spec’ing out the perfect turbo for your needs. We would also choose a charger that utilizes either a 71mm or 74mm turbine wheel (exducer), as the common 65mm often doesn’t flow enough in bigger injector applications. Later on down the road, a 64mm S300 works great in compound arrangements—so it’s a solid investment in your truck’s performance future.

  • Delivery Valve Springs (Mentioned Above): $90
  • Firepunk Diesel Street & Track Transmission (Mentioned Above): $5,250
  • Aftermarket Fuel Supply System (Mentioned Above): $599
  • Full-Forward AFC (Mentioned Above): Free!
  • Adjust the Pre-Boost Screw (Mentioned Above): Free!
  • Turn the Star Wheel (Mentioned Above): Free!
  • Remove the Fuel Plate (Mentioned Above): Free!
  • Mack Rack Plug (Mentioned Above): $15
  • 4-Inch Exhaust System (Mentioned Above): $240
  • Big Honkin’ Air Filter (Mentioned Above): $45
  • Auto Meter EGT and Boost Gauges with Pillar Pod (Mentioned Above): $300
  • Killer Dowel Pin (KDP) Repair Kit (Mentioned Above): $65
Sours: https://www.drivingline.com/articles/budget-diesel-mods-94-98-cummins/

Cummins History, Lesson 2: ’94-’98 5.9L

Thanks to its reputation for making cheap, easy horsepower, its anvil-like construction, long-term durability and simplistic nature, the ’94-’98 12-valve 5.9L Cummins remains one of the most highly sought after engines in the diesel world. In many ways it was similar to the original ’89-’93 5.9L, sharing the same block, head, rods and displacement. However, its biggest difference would be what made it so legendary: the Bosch P7100 (i.e. the P-pump). Believe it or not, the P-pump was introduced so the 5.9L could meet 1994 emission standards set to take effect on January 1, 1994. The higher injection pressures produced by the P7100 were used to cut down on particulate matter produced in-cylinder (and exiting out the tailpipe). In time, many end-users would take advantage of this new injection pump’s ability to flow considerably more volume than the VE pump ever could.

Other than the P-pump’s integration onto the 5.9L, different injectors were used, revised pistons were installed, a wastegated turbocharger was added and a larger intercooler was included. On top of that, the updated 5.9L Cummins was available in Dodge’s brand-new (“rules-changing”) Ram line of pickups. In 1994, the Dodge/Cummins partnership reached a new height—with Ram trucks even outselling Chevy Silverados at one point—and even though the inclusion of the 8.0L V10 stole most of the headlines, the Cummins was still revolutionizing the ¾-ton and larger diesel truck market. Case in point, before the release of Ford’s 7.3L Power Stroke midway through the 1994 model year, Dodge’s Cummins offering had gone unchallenged in terms of torque output for more than five years.

Interested in how the 24-valve Cummins came to be? Stay tuned for Part 3, coming your way next.

‘94-’98 5.9L Hard Facts

Engine:6BTA CumminsValvetrain:OHV, two-valves per cylinder, single cam
Configuration:I6Injection System:Bosch mechanical, direct injection
Bore:4.02 inchesInjectors:Bosch
Stroke:4.72 inchesInjection Pump:Bosch P7100
Displacement:359 ciTurbocharger:Holset WH1C or HX35W fixed geometry
Compression Ratio:17.0:1Intercooler:Air-to-air
Block:Cast-iron with forged-steel crankshaftEmissions Equipment:Catalytic converter (’94.5-‘98), EGR (’96-’98 CA models)
Rods:Forged-steel, I-beamHorsepower:160hp at 2,500 rpm (’94-’95 w/auto), 175hp at 2,500 rpm (’94-’95 w/manual), 180hp at 2,600 rpm (’96-’98 w/auto), 215hp at 2,600 rpm (’96-’98 w/manual)
Pistons:Cast-aluminumTorque:400 lb-ft at 1,750 rpm (’94-’95 w/auto), 420 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (’94-’95 w/manual), 420 lb-ft at 1,600 (’96-’98 w/auto), 440 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (’96-’98 w/manual)
Head:Cast-iron with six head bolts per cylinder (with sharing), cast-aluminum intake manifold

The Second-Gen

While the Cummins-powered ’89-’93 Dodges helped put Chrysler back on the map in the pickup segment, the ’94 Ram took a massive bite out of the market share. Though some of the new Ram’s success could be attributed to its bold look, Class 8-like grille and improved aerodynamics, the Cummins was the end-all, be-all for anyone looking to tow heavy and get impressive fuel economy while doing it. In 1995, Cummins produced engine number 100,000 for Dodge, followed by the quarter-million milestone being met just two years later. With that kind of exponential growth, it was clear for anyone to see that Cummins-powered Dodge Rams were in high demand.

Late ‘97s and Early ‘98s Were Treated to 24-Valve Parts

From ’94-’97, all 5.9L Cummins engines shared the same cast-iron block, crankshaft, main cap bolts and cylinder head found on the ’89-’93 mills. However, in 1997, when Dodge and Cummins were gearing up for the transition to the all-new 24-valve 5.9L ISB set to be released midway through the ’98 model year, the remaining 12-valve engines were built using the 24-valve’s block and crankshaft. As the 24-valve would utilize 12mm bolts to secure the main cap (vs. 14mm bolts on ’89-’97 engines), all late model 12-valves were equipped with the smaller diameter fasteners.

Revised, Emissions-Friendly Pistons

As part of the process of ensuring the engine met the impending 1994 emission standards (which emphasized a considerable reduction in particulate matter), Cummins switched to a different piston design. The pistons were still made from cast-aluminum, but the fuel bowl was reworked to improve swirl for more complete combustion. Cummins also narrowed the ring land above the top ring to cut down on emissions. The same, four-digit horsepower-capable, forged-steel connecting rods remained the rock-steady link between the pistons and the crank.

Improved Camshaft

With horsepower and torque being increased for ‘94, Cummins saw the need to treat the camshaft to a few subtle changes to improve its durability. Most importantly, the area between the front main journal and the first cam lobe, an area Cummins found to be a weak spot in the ’89-’93 camshaft, was shot-peened and treated to a rolled radius. The revised cam also featured hardened tappet faces and wider, lower-friction lobes.

Back When the Manual Option Got You More Power...

Beginning in 1994, if you wanted the higher horsepower, bigger torque version of the 5.9L Cummins you had to opt for a manual gearbox. For 1994 and 1995 model year Ram 2500 and 3500s, the five-speed NV4500 came bolted to the 175hp, 420 lb-ft variant, while the 47RH automatic was matched to the 160hp, 400 lb-ft engine. From ’96 to ’98, a more powerful 215hp, 440 lb-ft Cummins was available with the NV4500, while the new 47RE four-speed auto was joined with a 180hp, 420 lb-ft 5.9L.

Bosch P7100

When you hear folks refer to the “P-pump,” this is what they mean: the Bosch P7100. Thanks to the mechanical inline pump’s six individual plungers (vs. the one plunger in the VE pump), higher fuel volume and vastly quicker injection rates are made possible in the ’94-’98 5.9L Cummins application. Driven by the pump’s camshaft, each plunger pressurizes fuel within its own separate barrel and then sends it to its corresponding injector. On top of the obvious fueling advantage it possesses over the earlier VE, the P7100 is also much more imposing in physical size. In fact, its 52 pound overall heft required Cummins to design a stronger, wider front timing cover to support it.

P-Pump Tweaks

Whether it’s low-buck modifications or a completely re-worked pump built by an injection shop, nearly every internal component within the P7100 can be tweaked for added horsepower. For solid, homegrown gains using simple hand tools, the air fuel control (AFC) assembly can be adjusted, the pre-boost screw backed out, the star wheel turned and the fuel plate can be custom-ground or removed. Increasing rack travel, adding bigger delivery valves and installing higher rpm governor springs all offer substantial gains in power as well, and can be performed on the cheap. For all-out competition, more exotic items such as 13 mm plungers and barrels, custom high-lift camshafts and RSV governors are on the table.

Higher Pressure Injectors

Working in conjunction with the higher pressure P-pump, the ’94-’98 Cummins employs injectors with higher pop pressure (opening pressure). The difference is 260 bar (3,770 psi) on ’94-’98 engines vs. 245 bar (3,553 psi) on ’89-’93 units. The injectors remain 100-percent mechanically actuated with no electronics involved or computer telling them what to do, but the body is different from the ’89-’93 versions. The 7 mm outer diameter of the injector nozzle was the same as what was found on ’91.5-’93 5.9Ls.

Holset HX35

1994 model year Cummins mills were fitted with a wastegated version of the first-gen engine’s Holset H1C turbocharger, coined the WH1C, as well as a tighter 12cm2 turbine housing (vs. the 18cm2 housing). Then in 1995 the WH1C was scrapped in favor of Holset’s HX35W (better known simply as the HX35), a wastegated charger with a 12cm2 turbine housing that would prove extremely reliable. Even when pushed to twice the factory boost rating (40 psi) the HX35’s failure rate is extremely low. This turbo would be bolted to all ’95-’98 engines and was even included on early 24-valve 5.9Ls.

KDP (Still a Problem)

The killer dowel pin, the tiny steel locating pin used to align the timing gear housing during engine assembly and that can back out and cause all sorts of mayhem at any time, is still a problem on these engines. In fact, KDP-related failures are more common on ’94-’98 engines—but this is due to significantly more ’94-’98 engines being produced than ’89-’93 versions. As is the case with all ’89-’02 5.9L Cummins power plants, the best way to rule out the KDP is to tear into the front of the engine and tab the pin in place. Several all-inclusive kits exist in the aftermarket to make this process as painless as possible.

Sours: https://www.drivingline.com/articles/cummins-history-lesson-2-94-98-59l/
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1994 was the start of a new era in diesels. No longer were diesels only used for towing a fifth wheel or hauling a load of hay, they could be used for a hot rod of sorts, or for running the quarter mile. This new advent in diesels came with the release of the 1994 Dodge Ram sporting a 12 valve Cummins. This P7100 powered truck could be mechanically tuned to offer significant gains in horsepower and torque. In model year 1998.5, Dodge introduced the VP44 powered Cummins 24 valve sporting a similar power plant to the 12 valve, but with more electronic components. This engine did not have quite the versatility in mechanical performance, but has the ability to be tuned easily through simple programmers and chips. We at Diesel Power Products have the ability to custom tune your 12 valve with different BD fuel plates, Industrial Injection P7100 pumps, or about anything else you could think of.

And for those of you with a 24 valve, we can help you determine which programmers or chips, such as Edge Juice with Attitude or Smarty, stack best together. Then compliment that with a BD Super B turbo or maybe a set of Industrial Injection injectors for a truck that will give any of the newer diesels a run for their money. Even if you simply need a Diamond Eye four inch exhaust or an AFE intake, we will help you to tune your truck to your liking.

Many products in this section will work on all 1994-02 trucks. However, some are designated for 94-98 12 valves while others are designated for 98.5-02 24 valves.

  • 12 valve years covered in this section 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
  • 24 valve years covered in this section 1998.5, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002

If you're having trouble determining what's best for you, then give us a call. That's what we're here for...we love this stuff!

Sours: https://www.dieselpowerproducts.com/mm5/


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