It’s time for a turbo build. Yes, after our usual magazine of tuners, exhausts, and cold air intakes, we’re going to force the issue, and the induction. Okay, so we’re taking a bit of an easy route, because this week’s AutoMods vehicle comes with a turbo in stock form, but we can’t pass up the opportunity to size up the snail, especially when it can buy us so much power. Reader Brian Hampton’s suggestion of the Dodge Ram was a great one, and we chose a 2005 2500 diesel Quad Cab because turbo.
Of all the Dodge Ram accessories, we’ll start with the turbo, also because turbo. Now, on gas vehicles, when you bolt up some forced induction, you generally add supporting mods to make sure the rest of your vehicle can make full use of the power, and do so without exploding in a chorus of tinkling metal. So if you use a supercharger to add another 150 horsepower to your V8, it might be a good idea to upgrade your transmission, as well. However, on a diesel, the turbo itself could be considered the supporting mod. More on that later.
For this particular mod, we’ve chosen the BD Diesel Super B Single turbo kit. This turbo can create a maximum efficient boost pressure of 45 PSI, which means it can support 50-150 extra horsepower. That’s right, bold and italics, because that’s alot. For this particular kit, BD joined forces with legendary turbo builder Borg Warner, who designed a dual volute (twin spiral) housing. This allows exhaust pulses at low RPMs to start spooling the turbo sooner, and this means more power throughout the rev range.
All that air also means more heat. The colder you can get your air going into your engine, the better. Colder air is denser, so you get more air for the volume, which means you can oxidize more fuel and get more power. But turbos, which are powered by hot exhaust gasses, tend to heat the intake air more than naturally aspirated engines. That’s why an intercooler, like this BD Cool-It unit, is so important. It has a 2.68 inch wide core, giving the air plenty of space to cool as it’s passing between your turbo and your intake manifold. It looks a bit like a radiator, as it operates on the same heat exchange principle, except that it’s full of air instead of coolant.
There’s an oil journal running through the turbo itself to help cool and lubricate it, and that oil needs to cycle through the turbo for a little while while the truck is still running but the turbo isn’t spooling, just to cool down the turbo so it isn’t damaged. So you’re stuck sitting in your truck for a few minutes, and that means you could be late to the movie you’re going to see, and that means missing the first five minutes of Fast and Furious 26, all of which will be packed with crucial plot elements. Thankfully, BD also makes a little computer brain, their Cool Down Timer 2.0, that keeps your engine running until it detects that the turbo is cool enough, then shuts it down for you.
Managing heat is a huge part of tuning diesels. Bob Dylan said “You gotta serve somebody,” and in the same way, that heat will go somewhere. You get to pick the “where.” As your Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) rises, it poses a threat to your valves. If your exhaust doesn’t flow free enough, gasses will crowd into the manifold, and even back into the engine, where temperatures can get high enough to melt your valves. So you need to act like a fifth grade teacher at 3pm and usher everyone out as quickly as possible. That means a free-flowing exhaust manifold and turbo-back exhaust system, both specifically designed to get the heat out of your truck as quickly and efficiently as possible.
This BD Pulse exhaust manifold is optimized to play nice with that big old BD turbo, and comes with thermal expansion joints and heavy webbing. These prevent heat cracking, another risk of heat mismanagement. For the exhaust system, we turn to MBRP’s excellent Installer Series Single Side Exit turbo back. Just from freeing up exhaust flow, they’ve crafted a system that will give you an extra 18 hp and 28 lb-ft of torque. This winning combo will properly manage your EGTs, and it will sound awesome.
Here’s just a sampling of a similar system:
So back to what we said before about the diesel’s turbo being a supporting mod, and how this turbo kit can offer between 50 and 150 horsepower. That sounds a little weird, right? When you boost a gas engine, you can generally have a pretty good idea of how many horses you’re adding to the stable, because a turbo forces air induction, and a gas engine uses air for the throttle. Push the pedal, the throttle opens further, more air gets in, and the engine spins faster. But a diesel usesfuel to throttle the engine. So the more fuel you jet in, the faster the engine spins. Your turbo simply needs to be able to keep up. A high-flow intake like this AFE MagnumFORCE Stage 2 Pro-Guard 7 will help with that, removing a bottleneck in the stock intake system. In fact, it flows 80% better than the stock system. This is good, even without the turbo upgrade, for an extra 21 hp and and extra 53 lb-ft or torque. The filter is washable and separated from the hot engine compartment by an air dam. It has also been reported to help enhance that epic turbo whistle.
The other piece of the high-flow puzzle is a high-flow intake manifold, like this AFE BladeRunner 3.5″ intake manifold. Because overengineering can be a good thing, this thing is packed with features. It takes its name from the Multiple Directional Vane, or MDV, technology. There are blades inside the manifold that divide and direct the air stream for a more efficient flow. AFE found an increase of 100 CFM over the stock manifold. The BladeRunner design eliminates the factory heater grid for less turbulence. And AFE added five multi-use ports. Here’s where you bolt in your nitrous injectors, your gauge probes, and anything else you want.
Now, about getting all that fuel. Where’s it all coming from? Thankfully, it all comes down to punching a couple of buttons. The Hypertech Max Energy power programmer is the answer. This guy plugs into your truck’s OBDII port, gives you on-screen instructions, and in just a few minutes, you suddenly have colossal horsepower gains. How many horses? Max Energy offers three stages of programming within the same box. Legal has instructed me to tell you to sit, just so we’re not liable for fall injuries.
Stage 1 | Automatic/Manual: 30 horsepower, 51 lb-ft.
Stage 2 | Automatic: 75 hp, 125 lb-ft. Manual: 113 hp, 185 lb-ft.
Stage 3 | Automatic: 113 hp, 185 lb-ft. Manual: 176 hp, 289 lb-ft.
That, friends, is simply insane. This is a little plastic box that, if you have the right supporting mods, like the above turbo, will put an extra one hundred and seventy six horsepower under your hood. In alot of cars, that’s the entire worth of the engine. Hypertech offers some other features, too, like an OBDII code reader, and the ability to save the factory settings. The Max Energy epitomizes the phrase, “best bang for your buck.”
This is a high performance system we’ve built, here. And when you’re pushing the system like this, communication with the machine is always a good idea. So we’re recommending you invest in some gauges. Auto Meter, the most respected name in gauges, makes a three pack of gauges perfect for a diesel: boost, pyrometer, and transmission temperature. Your boost gauge will tell you how much pressure the turbo is putting out. This is important, because you can check on how the rest of your system reacts to a certain degree of boost. Remember those EGTs we discussed above? A pyrometer will measure those and let you know if you’re getting into the danger zone. And, since all that heat also affects the transmission, it’s great to know when your gearbox is getting too hot. All three are offered in an A-pillar kit to keep things right where you can see them.
As with so many vehicles, we recommend an Optima Yellow Top© battery for this rig. The Yellow Top is Optima’s deep cycle battery, which means it can power more things for longer, even when it’s not being charged by the alternator. It’s perfect for diesels because it’s stable in a greater range of temperatures than lead acid, and because you might want to run some auxiliary equipment when the truck is off, like lights or a stereo. Plus, if you opt out of the AFE intake manifold above, you have a grid heater, and that runs on battery power before you start the truck.
Now that we have the power, it’s time to make the truck look the part. We have alot of options here, but we went with some tough and menacing bumpers by Fab Fours, both front and rear. The front bumper includes a grille guard and tow hooks, and both bumpers wear a two-stage matte black powder coat. Next we’re adding some classic Bushwacker Pocket Style Dodge Ram fender flares. They’re pretty much invincible, and they do feature bolt holes, but they’re only for show. There’s no drilling required. And we’re going to give ourselves a step up into the truck (because we’re going to lift it – more on that Thursday) with these heavy duty N-Fab Wheel-to-Wheel step bars. They sit close to the rockers for great clearance, but feature high-grip step loops for the front and rear doors, as well as another on each side for bed access.
Finally, we’ll add some protection with some never-sliding, full coverage, liquid-holding, impossible to break Husky Liners X-Act Contour floor mats, both front and rear. They’ll help keep your carpet factory fresh, protecting the resale value of your truck. And for the outside, we want to be able to protect the stuff in the bed from the weather, so we went with our very own Streetside Auto Tri-Folding tonneau cover. It installs in minutes, uses heavy-duty canvas, and folds out of the way at need.
That’s alot of Dodge Ram parts. We did alot of work today. Take a load off. On Thursday we’ll work on lift, brakes, towing, and more, so check back, and happy modding!
Click any of the links above to start shopping for your own mods, or find even more 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 parts.
Like we said above, this was a user-submitted vehicle suggestion. We gave the commenter a hundred bucks just for adding the comment, and we’re going to keep it up. Once a month, we’ll grab a user-submitted vehicle and feature it in AutoMods. If we pick the vehicle you suggested, we’ll give you a $100 StreetsideAuto.com gift card. To enter, just post a comment below, or on any AutoMods post, with the vehicle you’d like to see us AutoMod, and you’ll be in the running. We’ll announce this month’s winners on Friday, April 24th, at noon central, so don’t be late!
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.