Car Race

Tow Pig upgrades (Dodge Ram diesel)(round #2)

My 2002 Dodge 2500 Cummins got a few upgrades and repairs.  On the way back from BIR I got a CEL (Check Engine Light) with a code of P0216 “fuel injection time”, it came back despite clearing the code, and unhooking the batteries…doing some research this all points to the ticking time bomb of the failure of the Bosch VP44 High Pressure Fuel Pump!  DOH!  The truck got us home from the track just fine, but the next day the truck wouldn’t start!  

I will abbreviate my trouble shooting down to the pertinent information.  I started diagnosing by testing the fuel pressure after the low pressure pump with my mechanical gauge.  Problem was logistics, the only place to put a gauge is on the pump didn’t allow for something that big.  So I ordered an 18″ 1/8 NPT extension line and and electronic AutoMeter fuel electric pressure gauge.  Both gauges confirmed I was only getting roughly 3PSI!  DOH!  Also something called a “snubber” which is really nothing more than a reducer is needed for the electric gauge, it reduces the opening to roughly 1/8″ so it can smooth out the pulses of the fluid to the sensor…with out the pressure gauge would swing with 5psi rapidly.

Yes I know I should have had a warning light or gauge on the low pressure pump all along.  My thoughts were, this FAAS low pressure pump has as of now only has 8k miles on it, the truck doesn’t work hard at all, and is still stock…it will be fine.  Besides I want to do my “tune” and gauges all at once with a CTS Edge, that way I only have a single tablet device to do all of my monitoring vs.5 gauges.  

I ordered a pair of replacement fuel filters, turns out that despite ordering a compatible kit for my FASS fuel pump, the WIX 33405 had the incorrect thread pitch.  A trip to the local NAPA to acquire a different one.  I also learned that the rubber gasket for the FASS pump is slightly thicker than the one that comes with the other brand names.  Still couldn’t get the truck to start.  To summarize: air trapped in the filters; the Dodge energizes the low pressure fuel pump for 30 seconds if the motor turns over (one must bump the starter, not just key on).  For me this was insufficient so I hot wired the pump on, while having both filters just barely loose, the pump will dribble fuel, then the sound changes, then tighten.  My fuel gauge now read 15psi!  Turns out that even though my FAAS filters are good for 30k miles, they should also be replaced every year, I had mine on for three!  Doh!  Now the truck started after some grumbling!    YAY!

The truck ran for a bit, even passed a test drive.  The CEL went away and no stored code!  YAY!!  Being paranoid about having this VP44 suffering yet another fuel starvation event.  I believe this truck had at least two fuel pump failures with the previous owner.  I pulled the trigger and ordered a replacement pump from bluechipdiesel.com  I did the checkbook mechanic on this one…too much risk of the job going sideways.  

A bit of background, I back dated my in-tank pickup.  I am using the OEM pick-up which does not have an integrated lift pump..  In other words, this is early OEM style.  Dodge originally had a normal pickup in the tank, and had a lift pump on the side of the motor.  These failed horrible and usually took out the high pressure VP44 pump.  Later one they switch to an in-tank pump  Ironically these also had high failure rates.  My truck started out life with the lift pump on the side of the motor, then was switched to the in-tank pump.  Some have the opinion that the OEM pickup say it cannot provide enough volume to the FAAS and to do a “draw straw”…others say the the draw straw isn’t necessary until we start talking big turbos and crazy high power outputs.

While it was there I had the mechanic install my FluidAmper crank pulley.  I was surprised that it weighs almost 10lbs more than OEM!  YIKES!  FYI the Dodge manual says to inspect the OEM pulley every 50k!  I am not sure if that is because they get vibrated all to heck and fail, or if the grease from the motor gets on the rubber and erodes it.  I have a theory: all of these Cummins engines end up being greasy, nasty, & mess over the years partly due to gasket failure.  These things vibrate like a coin operated massaging bed at a cheap hotel, I believe this contributes to gasket failure.  So by putting this fancy crank pulley on, it will smooth out some of that vibrations and maybe it won’t be such a messy pig later on in life.  Plus it is easier on motor bearing; some street cars will see an increase in HP due to timing being more accurate, but I don’t think that applies here.  The truck might be a bit smoother, hard to tell, without doing a back to back comparison.

I also put on a turbo blanket for a T3.  Theory is that under hood temps are lower, and turbo spools faster.

Turbo Blanket installed
Old VP44 and filters
OEM Crank pulley
My quick, dirty, and temporary gauge install.  I already had the transmission temp, boost gauge, and the holder in inventory.  I had to buy the fuel pressure gauge ($250 from Amazon).  This will be replaced by the CTS Edge when I order it.

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