power and towing options for an older diesel?

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Active member
Nov 20, 2005
I own a 1999 Dodge 2500 Ram, 4X4 automatic trans, long-bed, Cummins Turbo diesel with 246,000 miles so far. I have pulled a 13,000 lb 5th Wheel for maybe 25,000 of those miles. The pickup is still stock with nothing added. I have decided to keep this pickup for a couple more years before getting a new one. Towing the RV and sometimes a boat trailer. I hope to get quite a few more miles out of the truck.

My question is: What can I do to increase engine power and/or add to the power train to increase performance of my pickup? My thoughts are running to...a 'chip'?...a 'special' air filter?...brakes or brake exhaust?...different oil type? Any suggestions on features that help engine performance and towing ability on this used diesel at all would be helpful. Thank you for your input. Roger.

Check out :


They have everything you need for the engine. If you really want to get better performance check out:


I have a Gearvendors aux. transmission on my '95 Dodge diesel 4x4.  Really helps, especially when towing and you come to a long hill.

I agree with Chet - you will get the most observable results with an aux transmission, e.g. the Over/under Drive from Gear Vendors.  Probably next is a major exhaust overhaul, e.g. Banks or another brand of exhaust headers and piping.

In what area are you looking for improvements? Hill climbing? Acceleration? Fuel mileage?  Anything you can get?  ;)

As Gary was saying we need to know more of what you are trying to gain.
First thing I'd recommend before any mods is a set of gauges. Boost, EGT(exhaust gas temp), trans temp and for a 24valve motor a fuel pressure gauge to monitor the lift pump. You have an electronic injection pump that needs a proper amount of fuel to lubricate and cool the high pressure injection pump.

You can easily(and reliably) make more torque than your stock trans will handle. If you are on your original you are lucky!
dsl4us makes a good point - if you are successful in adding any notable amount of torque or horsepower to the engine, your tranny will definitely be overwhelmed. As I recall, the Cummins 5.9 output is already limited to what the Chrysler tranny can handle, simply for that reason.  That may be another reason why an aux transmission is a good bet - it won't overstress the existing tranny like an engine upgrade does.

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