Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) for Dummies

MOPAR DEF Jug

If you own a 2013+ Ram diesel you know that you need to use diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) or you run the risk of going in to limp mode. You probably have some questions. What does DEF actually do? Does DEF go bad? Are any brands of DEF better than the others? DEF is made up of two things, Urea and de-ionized water. This mixture (32.5% urea/67.5% water) is sprayed via an injector in to the exhaust to lower the N0x emissions emitted from your diesel truck. If you decide…

When is Dodge Cummins Diesel Fuel Pressure Important?

Undoubtedly you have heard from friends or internet forums that you need a fuel pressure gauge on your Cummins Turbo Diesel or else you run the risk of damaging your injection pump. This is true, but only if you own a 1998.5 (first year of the 24-valve engine) to 2002 truck. During these four years of production, a Bosch VP44 fuel injection pump was used on these engines. The VP44 is fuel cooled and needs to have more than 5psi to maintain proper cooling. “The VP44 is fuel cooled and…

’94-’02 Dodge Ram HVAC Service

Dodge Ram dash strapped up and out of the way.

I’ve been putting off replacing the heater core in Red Ryder (a ’98 Dodge Turbo Diesel) for a lot longer than I should have. I’ve been keeping a car blanket in the cab during the winter for a few years now. It generally takes about 30 miles at highway speed to bring the cab to a comfortable temperature when the outside ambient temperature is in the low-40s. I hadn’t observed coolant leaking in the cab…yet. On the return trip from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in January this year there were some…

Which Dodge Ram Ball Joint Should You Buy?

Dodge Ram Balljoints

After installing a steering system upgrade, I visited a local alignment shop to check the toe-in specifications. Unfortunately, the shop refused to align my truck on account of a loose ball joint. I have known high volume tire stores to do this sort of thing to boost sales, but this diagnosis was no surprise, and it came from a shop that I trusted: After 150,000 miles, I knew it was ball joint replacement time.My analytical nature kicked in, and I decided to do some research before choosing my parts. I…

Dodge/Cummins Oil Filter Buyer’s Guide – Part One: Parts is Parts Right?

LF16035 Stratapore and LF3972 Standard oil filter.

Oil filters? Who cares? Just grab a filter from the auto supply store or Wal-Mart and put it on when you change the oil. That rugged Cummins diesel engine under the hood of your Ram won’t notice the difference right? Maybe so, maybe not. Are you willing to be the service life of your diesel engine on just any oil filter, or do you want the best protection for your engine? Going with the lowest bidder makes sense if all the suppliers sell the same item, like copier paper. But…

Read Dodge/Cummins Oil Filter Buyer’s Guide – Part Two: Oil Filter Comparison

Dodge Cummins oil filter line-up.

In our Part One segment we had TDR writer Arden Kysely evaluate the construction of an oil filter. In doing so, he introduced us to a patented filter media (trade name StrataPore) that is made by Cummins’ subsidiary company, Cummins Filtration. In Part Two of our oil filter discussion TDR writer John Martin gets out the filter cutting tool and does a visual examination of 10 different oil filters. Who offers the most expensive filter? Who offers the least expensive filter? Which filter is the best value? We checked the…

How-To: Dodge Ram Sport Headlight Conversion

Dodge Ram Sport headlights installed.

I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of a set of the Ram Sport quad headlights before they became available to the public. I was one of the first to convert a Second Generation Turbo Diesel when I installed them on 2Timer. I wrote about the installation back in Turbo Diesel Register Issue 25, page 50, and it remains one of my favorite upgrades today. With help from Joel Toy at Innova Design and Distributing, Inc., manufacturer of the Brite Box, this conversion will permit the use of all…

Gates vs. Cummins Water Pump Comparison

Gates versus Cummins brand water pump.

Our customers frequently ask us, “Are the Gates water pumps you carry any good?” With the large difference in cost between the ’89-’02 Dodge Cummins water pumps (Gates 41181: $41.95, Cummins 3286278: $129.95), we can understand how you would be skeptical about the quality of a water pump that is 1/3 of the cost of the Cummins-branded one. First things first: We’ve been selling only Ram/Cummins specific parts for 20+ years. If it doesn’t fit correctly or if it has too many warranty failures we don’t sell the part. Like…

’98-’02 Dodge Ram Replacement Dashboard

In Issue 90 of the Turbo Diesel Register magazine, the folks at Geno’s Garage had a press release talking about the development of a ’98-’02 Dodge Ram replacement dashboard. The short version of that story is that they cut the front structure from a wrecked vehicle and had the tooling made to injection-mold a replacement dash. It has been a long process to bring this product to the market, but the replacement dashboards are now in stock for immediate shipment. Call now—operators are standing by. Seriously, this is a full…