This article originally appeared in our August 2021 issue.
While waiting to turn onto a busy road in his 2016 RAM 3500 truck, Dave Friedli became impatient and decided to “shoot the gap,” which shocked his family who didn’t observe the situation the same way. Dave mashed on his pedal while his wife Kris gasped, and the truck…well, the truck hesitated. The Cummins diesel pickup is new to Dave and up to this point he hadn’t really had a need to stomp on the pedal until now as he tends to baby his trucks. The horrible lag time was a real eye-opener for him and his family as they safely merged into traffic but all agreed it was a lot closer than anyone was expecting.
“I saw a gap and as I pulled out I noticed the truck wasn’t going as quickly as I wanted it to go,” said Dave with a smile. “It made my wife a little nervous and this led me to doing a little research to see what was out there.”
After giving his last diesel truck a severe makeover, Dave is no stranger to modifications, so that night he began doing his homework in an attempt to figure out how he could fix his dead pedal issue without getting too deep. While twin turbos and other performance modifications could be in his future, with the truck still on warranty the owner is understandably a little uneasy about doing anything that could void it.
His research quickly led him to the PedalMonster from Banks Power Products, the only On-Board Diagnostics-connected throttle booster on the market. The PedalMonster instantly transforms your truck, making a massive difference on turbo diesels. Dave knew this is what his RAM needed.
“I stumbled upon different products and watched a lot of reviews and was super impressed with what I saw from Banks,” recalled Dave. “I went ahead and placed the order for the stand-alone unit that works with just your cell phone.”
The majority of the performance upgrades Dave had installed on his last truck were done by Adrenaline Performance in Shelley, Idaho, a shop owned by Cam Hulse whom Dave trusts with his business.
“The guys here are super professional and I have no reservations about bringing any vehicle to this shop to be worked on,” said Dave. “Cam is a great guy and goes above and beyond any expectations that I have.”
Even though the PedalMonster hookup is simple and considered to be an easy do-it-yourself type of install, Dave once again returned to Adrenaline.
Tech Brock Hulse was eager to get started after seeing success with this PedalMonster product on other trucks he’s worked on.
“We did one on a ’21 Duramax and the owner loved it a lot,” said Brock. “He said it helps with the throttle response and he especially loves it around town.”
The install on the RAM was short and sweet as expected, but one thing to keep in mind is you will need a splitter if your truck has AMP steps like this truck does.
“You need to get the Banks splitter,” warned Brock. “Other brand splitters can cause it to lose connection so it’s important to get the one from Banks.”
With the PedalMonster you have 30 total sensitivity levels in the City, Sport and Track settings that provide 10 unique throttle maps. The adjustable low-speed trim allows you to remove added sensitivity below 10 mph so you can leave it in an aggressive mode and not jerk the trailer you’re towing.
“One of the neat features is if you throw the truck in reverse it automatically goes back to stock so I don’t have that instant pedal response when I’m backing my big 30-foot fifth wheel,” said Dave. “You don’t want a snappy pedal in that situation.”
Returning your pedal to stock when in reverse is a game-changer as far as safety is concerned and it’s why Banks had it patented. Another patented feature is the pedal will return to stock in the event of an internal or external malfunction.
Powered by a 12-volt from OBD (not a 5-volt pedal circuit like similar pedal products) is another advantage with the check engine lights coming on for competitor products because it’s tapped into the 5-volt pedal circuit.
“The change that the PedalMonster makes in the driving experience is so dramatic that it’s undeniable,” said Jay Tilles, the brand manager at Banks Power. “And it doesn’t set off codes like similar products. Guys were getting so many check engine lights that we thought, ‘We can really make some major improvements in what’s available.’ We’ve designed and sold hundreds of parts at Banks, but I can tell you that none has ever sold like the PedalMonster. We can barely keep them in stock.”
After the quick install Dave headed to the back streets of the small Idaho town to give it a try. It’s all controlled by your mobile phone app, but you could upgrade to iDash if you wanted, which is an OBD monitor/controller. Dave preferred to control everything through his phone to keep the stock look to his truck.
The mobile app shows you what PedalMonster is doing in real time. You see your input versus the Banks-commanded throttle, which is another unique feature.
“I noticed a difference in all of the settings, but especially when you get rolling a little bit,” said Dave. “If you’re out in traffic and I hit the gas it lights up and takes off real quick. It’s more responsive than the initial instance that happened with my family earlier so I’m more comfortable now.”
While at Adrenaline Performance, Dave also had a RAM-Air intake installed, which Jay said is the second most popular intake offered at Banks Power. The over-sized filter is less restrictive with greater dust capacity over stock as well as competition and the more filter surface area means the Banks intake continues to flow while others might get clogged. Adrenaline Tech Camden Meikle did the install on the cold air intake that reduces soot output, decreasing the frequency between regens and reported it was a simple install.
“It’s really straightforward and easy to do,” said Camden.
The 50-state legal intake includes an enclosed housing that keeps out hot, power-robbing engine air and it’s an install that won’t void most warranties.
The combination of the PedalMonster and RAM-Air intake has Dave’s stock-looking truck running better than ever after these two simple installs that have made dramatic improvements. So what’s next?
“I’m not looking to do anything major to my truck just yet, not until my warranty runs out, but I’ve got plenty of ideas when that time comes,” concluded Dave.
Whatever those plans may be, chances are good he’ll be coming back to products offered by Banks Power.