It's a familiar sight on many a highway in the great U.S. of A.-diesel trucks belching out a lot of black smoke, and making gobs of power and torque. The diesel engine is the workhorse powering the nation's trucks and buses. Because a diesel delivers more power and is more durable than its gasoline-burning counterpart, diesel-powered engines are also prevalent in lighter vehicles, including pickups and other work trucks.
So it's no wonder that guys like us would be curious about hot-rodding our diesel Dodge pickup. But what's involved in accomplishing this task? We can all replace a camshaft in our musclecars, but put a diesel engine in front of many, and the nail biting and confusion begins. But there's no need to be worried; it's no more difficult to increase the power in your diesel than it is in your gas engine. In fact, the guys at Jannetty Racing Enterprises set out to prove it's actually easier.
In early February, I had the opportunity to visit Jannetty Racing Enterprises (JRE) in Waterbury, Connecticut, and find out if smoke and power had to go hand-in-hand. I found out quickly you can make a load of power without smoking out the guy in the lane next to you. JRE opened their doors in 1987, and have been building and racing cars for a long time. In 1991, proprietor Ted Jannetty got the itch to add something new to his abilities-enter the diesel engine. Ted was quite possibly one of the first people to ever express an interest in combining a diesel engine with performance. He is not only a strong proponent of building power, but he will also design a package tailored to your needs, and, as an added bonus, that black billowing cloud will not be emitting from your tailpipe. That's right, power and torque with no smoke. Sound like an impossibility? Follow along, and find out we're not blowing smoke up your....
Full-Tilt FiltrationWith our baseline out of the way, it was time to change some parts. Our first point of attack was to make sure the engine could take in enough air. The stock air-filtration system from the factory is a restrictive, EPA-certified box and inlet with a muffler installed. Efficient airflow is not a priority using this filter box. An AFE cold-air kit was installed. The install is really straightforward, and by adding the AFE kit, no change in horsepower or torque were seen at the top, but increased by about 10 hp and 15 pound torque below 2,000 rpm just by getting more air into the engine. Keep in mind, just adding the cold air kit allowed the exhaust gas temperatures (EGT) to drop by 65 degrees because it was taking in more air, but still restricted by the factory exhaust.
A Monster Of A PipeGetting the airflow moving better coming into the engine is one thing; getting it out is another. The guys at JRE decided that a Banks Monster exhaust will outflow the stock pipe, and the streamlined 4-inch intermediate pipe and tailpipe are formed of stainless, heavy-wall tubing with constant-diameter bends to reduce backpressure. The Banks polished-stainless-steel Monster muffler also features a straight-through 4-inch-diameter flow-path with a specially designed expansion chamber to dissipate the annoying mid-range exhaust drone. The exhaust was really a straightforward install, and we left the catalytic converter in place, which keeps it 50-state legal. We only installed the system from the converter back at this time. We'll do the down tube in another step. Not only did the power number increase, but the EGTs also came down. At peak horsepower, with the cold air kit and exhaust, the EGT was 1,294 degrees. A definite improvement.
Getting An EdgeThe Edge Juice control box is designed to be used in conjunction with the Edge Attitude monitor box, and is a highly sophisticated package capable of dramatically improving your Cummins' driveability, towing, mileage, and, most importantly, power.