Shot in the Ram

Our Dodge finds new life with AFC Live…and a few other tricks

Published in the March 2018 Issue May 2019 Feature Trevor Mason

People seem to really love their old 12-valve Dodge pickups. It’s a legendary engine that is infinitely modifiable. Go check your garage; I bet you have a 12-valve out there right now! The point is, people love these and want to get the most out of them whenever possible. It just so happens we had one of our own that needed a little bit of help.

Dean Cowley, one of our advertising executives, has a 1995 12-valve that he’s owned for six years. He first noticed the truck when his neighbor bought it brand-new. They would go on Scouting trips together and pulled trailers, and the Dodge out-pulled and got better fuel mileage than Dean’s old 80’s gasser. He told the neighbor he wanted to buy it whenever he ended up selling. Fate came calling six years ago and Dean snatched it up. Now, better than a gasser though it may have been, he could still tell it needed some help. It had always been bone stock and had issues of its own. Luckily for Dean, the time had come to finally fix up his fixer upper.

Driving Power

We’ve long known that Power Driven Diesel out of Cedar City, UT, was the first and last place to look for the solution. Todd Welch, the owner, knows a thing or two about 12-valves and 24-valves. They have developed their AFC Live control module to cater to this exact generation (1994-1998) of Dodge pickups. “AFC Live allows you in-cab fueling control for your mechanical Dodge Ram Cummins diesel. With infinite levels of adjustability for your fuel system, you have more control for better performance out of your Dodge diesel,” Todd says.

The AFC Live is but the first step toward realizing the truck’s potential. After speaking with Todd, Dean chose to have them add Power Driven’s 400hp fuel package. 

Power Driven’s fuel package includes all the components needed on the fueling side to achieve 400hp. This includes O55 delivery valves, which are a modest increase, a nice towing delivery valve; governor springs so you can wrap out the RPM a little bit higher; and 7x9 injectors. What that means when you hear these numbers is that there are 7 holes in the injector tip and each hole is 9 thousandths of an inch in diameter. If you see injectors at 5x12, 7x9, 6x13, that’s what those mean. According to Todd, “A lot of people think increasing injection timing is a very difficult, highly technical process. It’s not terribly difficult; we supply a degree wheel and it’s actually quite simple to do.” Finally, the AFC live is going to give us complete control of the truck’s fuel. We can turn it up and down, and we’ll be able to dial in the EGT for whatever trailer we’re towing. With this we’ll have total control of the fuel and it’ll make driving his truck real easy and real fun. 

Support System

With all these power upgrades, it’s a good idea to support those with some other modifications. First and foremost, we’re put some gauges in. We wanted to be able to monitor our EGT and know how much boost we were making, so those went in right away with a good set of ISSPRO gauges. Next, we knew we needed to upgrade the clutch. The stock one is not going to handle the power increases, so we chose a South Bend clutch that is rated for about 425hp. We knew the truck would need to breathe better, so we picked out a stainless steel turbo-back MBRP 4-inch exhaust. With all these modifications, we expect the power to go up dramatically.

Once the gauges were in, Todd decided to put the truck on the dyno to see where it landed with stock equipment so we had a baseline to measure against once the rest of the upgrades were installed. It was not pretty.

“Gosh, this is terrible!” Todd exclaimed after running the truck. It made a paltry 146.8hp and 383.7 lb/ft of torque to the tire without any correction at all. “WOW. It’s been such a long time since I’ve been in a stock truck! This is gutless, man! They are known for being slow stock,” he says.

This truck is rated at 175hp to the crank, so to get 146hp to the ground is really about what we’d expect. There’s definitely some room for improvement here. The first thing was to install the AFC Live. Todd says the hardest part of the entire install is probably running the lines through the firewall. Since we just did the gauges, this part was easy. 

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