"Come Awn" - Long Term Test Results
By Lance Clifford
Back in October
of 2003 I bought "Come Awn" - a brand spankin' new
2003 Dodge 2500 Ram with the legendary Cummins Turbo Diesel.
When I drove it off the showroom floor, I knew this truck
would be subjected to a hard life of towing across the country,
and my heavy right foot. I also knew that it's not in my blood
to leave anything stock, so this truck would see lots of modifications..
Fast forward to
November 2005, and the odometer just turned 50,000 miles.
I figured it was time to give you all an update on my truck,
and how it and all the goodies have held up over the past
two years of abuse.
I will go in chronological
order, from the first things installed, to the latest stuff.
Stage IV Transmission
I met Clint Cannon
from ATS Diesel at the 2003 SEMA show. I made arrangements
with him to drive my still new truck out to Colorado to have
an ATS Stage IV transmission installed in the truck. The transmission
has been in the truck for over 47,000 miles now, and has been
literally bulletproof. The truck has seen abuse over the past
two years that would make an OEM tranny blow to pieces. The
ATS transmission has NEVER exceeded 180 degrees at any time,
even towing loads in excess of 12,000lbs! I think this transmission
was probably one of the best upgrades I have done to this
truck. Click here to
see the full ATS article.
EZ, ATS 4" Exhaust, AFE intake
When I took my truck to ATS for the transmission, they also
installed an Edge EZ computer chip and 4" exhaust. When
I got home from ATS, I installed an AFE intake system as well.
This upgrade really woke up my anemic 235 hp standard output
motor. While it still wasn't a power house, it certainly made
a HUGE improvement in usable power.
XMonitor Digital Gauge
Since I installed the Edge EZ, I felt it was necessary to
install pyro and boost gauges in my truck. What I didn't want
was a big obtrusive Christmas tree of gauges and lights going
all the way up my pillar. Not only do the pillar mounted gauges
greatly restrict your vision they also require you remove
your factory grab handle. The solution was simple - an X-Monitor
which incorporates 3 functions into one slick looking digital
unit. I've heard people say that they like mechanical gauges
better than digital, but I haven't met a person yet who has
driven my truck that didn't like the X-Monitor. A nifty feature
of the X-Monitor is the fact that is saves the highest settings
in memory. So you can go back and show off your high boost
numbers to your friends. The memory is resettable, and you
can set alarms to go off at predetermined settings as well.
I was able to install the X-Monitor myself with little trouble.
Hitch and Camper Mounts
full article shows what a beefy unit this setup is. I have hauled
my 11' Lance cabover countless times with this setup, and it is
by far the best camper setup on the market.
This is the big daddy chip. This bad boy claims 150hp and
500ft lb. gains. This chip replaced my Edge EZ .. The power
gain was significant, but the power wasn't near as usable
as the Edge. Pyro temps were through the roof on the higher
settings. This chip ended up being the downfall of my truck's
The Cliff's Notes
to the story go something like this:
On the way home from Moab, by truck's turbo blew up. I took
it to the dealer out in Utah, and they said it needed a new
engine and turbo. They found codes stored in the truck's ECM
(computer) that indicated the presence of an aftermarket chip.
They voided my warranty on the spot, and I was on my own to
fix my truck. I took my truck to Shaffer's Offroad, and they
found that the truck blew up because of a failed oil pump.
The TST chip in fact had nothing to do with the failure. Looking
back I probably could have fought Daimler Chrysler on the
whole fiasco, but it would have taken lawyers, money, and
time. I didn't feel it was worth the gamble. I had SOR fix
it, and decided to go big. I called Piers Diesel Research..
The folks at Piers
rock. After discussing what I wanted to do with the truck,
it was decided twin turbos were in order. They actually sent
me a stock turbo (the old turbo blew up from lack of oil)
to install in the truck so I could drive up to Canada to have
the twin turbos installed at their shop. Check
out the full twin turbo story here. After 30,000 miles
of peeling out and driving the truck like it's a sports car,
the twins still give me a big grin every time I mash he throttle
and hear their whine. The best part is my fuel mileage is
better than my friend who has the exact same truck, but stock.
The Piers twin turbo kit is the second best upgrade I have
made to my truck, hands down. Huge usable power, and ice cold
EGTs make it money well spent.
Dynamics Pusher Pump
When Piers was installing my twin turbos, I had them install
a Diesel Dynamics pusher pump that I had purchased a couple
of weeks back. I have not installed a fuel pressure gauge
to find out what my actual numbers are, but my hunch is this
pump does not supply enough fuel to my truck at wide open
throttle. I also do not like the obnoxious buzz of this pump.
I have purchased a new FASS system to replace the DD pump.
Stay tuned for a writeup on the FASS system.
I was skeptical
that this suspension kit would live up to the hype. But it
delivered. The suspension kit has been on my truck for about
20,000 miles now, and has performed flawlessly. I live on
a bumpy dirt road, and the massive Fox Shox really soak up
the bumps well. Click here
for the full article on the Kore Race Suspension.
Tires Open Country MT and AT
My first set of Toyo 35 x 12.50 x 18 Open Country MT's only
lasted 15,000 miles. To be fair, it wasn't the tire's fault.
You see part of my job description requires me to occasionally
drive like an idiot. The demise of my Toyo MT's was from doing
burnouts and carving mountain roads like a sports car. As
far as performance, the Toyo MTs are an awesome tow rig tire.
They are one of the few "E" load 35s that I am aware
of. They handle awesome on the pavement, and they really shine
off road - especially in the snow. I can't count how many
times I have pulled out stuck neighbors with my truck.
I am now running
Toyo Open Country ATs. These tires are a little milder looking
than the MTs but still look great. They are quieter on the
road, and perform equally well on pavement. I haven't really
had a chance to take them off road much, but the snow is right
around the corner. They have about 5,000 miles on them now,
and are wearing very well. I am still driving like an idiot,
but I am refraining from doing anymore burnouts - at least
till I get some new stuff for the truck.
Impressions and Future Plans
Overall, I love my truck. It's a very functional truck that
looks good, and works even better. Almost all of the upgrades
I have done to my truck have been great. The truck as a whole
is holding up pretty well. The cruise control has gone out,
and I have not taken it to get fixed yet since I no longer
have a warranty. In typical domestic truck fashion, the truck
has developed a few rattles and creaks over the past two years.
The noises are not too annoying, and are a given part of owning
an American truck that is more than a year old. I wish the
big three could take lessons from Toyota or Honda on assembling
Other than the
motor issue I had, I have had minimal things to replace on
the truck. I have had a tranny line come loose, a tail light
go out, and the power steering pump reservoir come loose.
I attribute the tranny line and pump issues to the motor being
out of the truck. At 50,000 miles I am still amazingly on
the original brakes. I think they are about due to be replaced,
In the future I
plan on installing a FASS Fuel System, and possibly Methanol
Injection. I'd like to put in a better sound system, and navigation,
ATS Diesel Performance
4295 Kipling St.
Wheat Ridge, CO. 80033
Telephone: 303.431.7973 Toll Free: 800.949.6002
Hours: M-F 8am - 6pm MST
Central Welding of Kent
315 N. Central Avenue
Kent, WA 98032
Open M-F 8:30am - 5:00pm Saturdays 8:30am - 1:00pm PST
- Diesel Performance and Off Road Parts and Accessories.
2600 Main Street suite A
Springfield, OR 97477
Sales and Tech
Piers Diesel Research - Diesel Performance for Dodge, Ford,
Chevy, Volkswagen, and even John Deere.
Piers Diesel Research, Inc.
Unit 7, 413B - 19th Street,PMB 226
Lynden, WA 98264
604-888-4159 Main Number
604-888-0057 Tech Line
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