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Old 01-30-2013, 07:53 AM   #15
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Re-pete,everybodys situation is different,If you do not need the extra power then there is little reason to spend the money.I have hundreds of happy Smarty customers.Some are able to use some additional power with-out any tramsmission up-grades and some can not.The funny thing is most people can't answer that till after they have it.Having the power to climb Sherwin grade in overdrive at any speed with my trailer to me is a luxury that I enjoy.Most people are ok with downshifting and enjoying the scenery.There is no doubt that not modifying the power on your truck will cost you less in the long run.
When it comes to gauges once again it has to do with your use and personality.Gauges are a great diagnostic tool.Tell me your readings over the phone and I can point you in the right direction on whats going on.The smarty on level 1 runs lower egt's than stock making gauges another expense.There is no great need for a fuel pressure grade on the common rail except for diag use because the common rails will run fine and safe between 0-20 psi.The rail pressure gauge is nice to have for diag purposses as well-That is the one gauge I have mounted on my a-pillar.We have 2 trans coolers on the ram they have plenty of cooling capacity for towing an airstream.The secret to staying cool on a long climb is to keep the torque convertor locked.With a bit of miles you will become familiar with this.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:55 AM   #16
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Once someone uses a tuner there is no going back. There is no free lunch as there is no perfect tuner software. And the proportion of those who use such generally see earlier transmission problems than those who do not. Expect a trans rebuild eariler, in other words.

The need for gauges undercuts the merit of using a tuner for towing. The stock configuration has no need, especially for lightweight/aero TT's such as found here. These trucks are overpowered straight from the factory.

Your characterization of those who post on CF is without merit; too broad a brush. As with any vehicle forum there is a mix. And more than one "tech" around.

The Smarty may be good (relative to others), but it is still unnecessary. And adds potential problems. The cost is higher than at first glance.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:06 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Midnightmoon View Post
...As far as gauges are concerned, it is my opinion that you should have them in place before any performance upgrades. You especially need to be concerned with Exhaust Gas Temp under heavy load/towing situations. Some of the Smarty programming is designed to be able to tow without gauges or worry about excessive EGT's, but I always suggest having them in place. For your automatic truck, I would do EGT', Boost, Fuel Pressure, and Trans temp. I also monitor rail pressure in both my automatic and manual Rams.
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Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
...There is no free lunch as there is no perfect tuner software. And the proportion of those who use such generally see earlier transmission problems than those who do not. Expect a trans rebuild eariler, in other words....
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Originally Posted by Bob4x4 View Post
Re-pete,everybodys situation is different,If you do not need the extra power then there is little reason to spend the money.I have hundreds of happy Smarty customers.Some are able to use some additional power with-out any tramsmission up-grades and some can not.The funny thing is most people can't answer that till after they have it.Having the power to climb Sherwin grade in overdrive at any speed with my trailer to me is a luxury that I enjoy.Most people are ok with downshifting and enjoying the scenery.There is no doubt that not modifying the power on your truck will cost you less in the long run.
When it comes to gauges once again it has to do with your use and personality.Gauges are a great diagnostic tool.Tell me your readings over the phone and I can point you in the right direction on whats going on.The smarty on level 1 runs lower egt's than stock making gauges another expense.There is no great need for a fuel pressure grade on the common rail except for diag use because the common rails will run fine and safe between 0-20 psi.The rail pressure gauge is nice to have for diag purposses as well-That is the one gauge I have mounted on my a-pillar.We have 2 trans coolers on the ram they have plenty of cooling capacity for towing an airstream.The secret to staying cool on a long climb is to keep the torque convertor locked.With a bit of miles you will become familiar with this.
This is some terrific information. I'm learning a lot. As I've said though, I wading in pretty deep on this stuff. Not part of my knowledge base. So, with that here's a few questions.

Gauges - Midnightmoon and or Bob4X4, I counted a recommendation for four. Where do you put them all? Also, where can I read up on all EGT, Trans Temp, Fuel Pressure, Rail Pressure and Boost? Any recommendations on brands? Do they all come lighted? Do you prefer analog or digital?

Transmission - Slowmover (nice job on that 83' Silver Streak, BTW) brought up a good point. I've heard that the stock Dodge automatic transmission from like 2002 through my 2006 are as they put it "like glass". I've had pretty good performance from mine, but because of the many negative things I've heard about the frailty of the Dodge auto trans. with the Cummins 5.9, I've tried to be gentle. So far, so good, but I'm a realist and I know that with the extra stress of towing the AS I'm probably in for problems sooner than later since it's now getting be 7 years old...

Finding it online, I bought my Dodge in Sept. 09 from a used car dealer about 3 hours from home. It had 46K on it and seemed to be in great shape. Thank goodness it was. The first thing I did was have it checked over when I got it home and got a clean bill of health. Then I changed all of the fluids and I replaced them with Amsoil. I did all but the transmission fluid myself. I had a transmission place do that because I wanted them to flush and check the transmission. I can't remember if they had to do anything like tighten bands, buy they gave it a clean bill of health. Sorry for all the detail I thought it might help.

So, my question is, based on Slowmover's point, would a Smarty put more wear and tear on the Trans.? Also should I be doing anything else preemptively regardless?

Bob4X4, were you saying that the Dodge comes with plenty of cooling or were you saying you added more?

I understand about the function of the Torque Converter and why it's good to have it locked, but how does one know it's locked?

I know this is a lot of questions and feel free to point me to articles rather than answering all of this stuff yourselves. Believe it or not it's starting to soak in.

Pete
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:17 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Re-Pete View Post
This is some terrific information. I'm learning a lot. As I've said though, I wading in pretty deep on this stuff. Not part of my knowledge base. So, with that here's a few questions.

Gauges - Midnightmoon and or Bob4X4, I counted a recommendation for four. Where do you put them all? Also, where can I read up on all EGT, Trans Temp, Fuel Pressure, Rail Pressure and Boost? Any recommendations on brands? Do they all come lighted? Do you prefer analog or digital?
Here is a picture out of my '07. It is a 6-speed manual, so this one only has 4 gauges. In the dash pod, from left to right, is Turbo Boost, Pyrometer (EGT), and Fuel Pressure (lift pump pressure monitored at the head of the CP3 (injection pump)). Below the 3 mechanical gauges is a Quadzilla digital rail pressure gauge.

In our '04.5, which is an automatic, I have the same set on the dash plus one gauge in an SRT-10 a-pillar mount. The 4th mechanical gauge monitors trans temp. Sorry, but I don't have a picture from that truck.

The standard gauges in the picture are made by Isspro. I've used exclusively for well over 10 years and have had great luck with them. There are other brands that have good reviews, but I don't have much personal experience with them. If you end up installing a fuel pressure gauge, make sure to use an isolator so that you are not moving raw fuel in to the cab.

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Old 01-30-2013, 04:42 PM   #19
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So, my question is, based on Slowmover's point, would a Smarty put more wear and tear on the Trans.? Also should I be doing anything else preemptively regardless?
Yes, a Smarty or any other programmer can/will reduce the life of an automatic trans or a clutch with a manual if you don't control the power/load correctly. You simply can't expect to load a high power level, hook to a heavy trailer, and run it like you normally would. The excess heat, torque load, etc. will take out parts very fast.

Now with that said, our 2004.5 has over 300K on the original 48re automatic with only routine fluid changes and band adjustments. And, we use it all winter as a plow truck. When towing, most often we run the truck stock or on level one. The Smarty seems to really firm up the shifts and keeps it from doing the in and out of OD shuffle under load. In my personal experience, the 48re has been an excellent trans. I have however, also had to haul trucks back to the shop that their owners have toasted the trans within a few miles of power modifications. You will need major trans upgrades if you want to run any programmer to it's fullest capability.

I tacked on a picture of our '04.5 just for kicks.

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Old 01-30-2013, 07:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnightmoon View Post
Here is a picture out of my '07. It is a 6-speed manual, so this one only has 4 gauges. In the dash pod, from left to right, is Turbo Boost, Pyrometer (EGT), and Fuel Pressure (lift pump pressure monitored at the head of the CP3 (injection pump)). Below the 3 mechanical gauges is a Quadzilla digital rail pressure gauge.

In our '04.5, which is an automatic, I have the same set on the dash plus one gauge in an SRT-10 a-pillar mount. The 4th mechanical gauge monitors trans temp. Sorry, but I don't have a picture from that truck.

The standard gauges in the picture are made by Isspro. I've used exclusively for well over 10 years and have had great luck with them. There are other brands that have good reviews, but I don't have much personal experience with them. If you end up installing a fuel pressure gauge, make sure to use an isolator so that you are not moving raw fuel in to the cab.
My Pacbrake PRXB Exhaust Brake is in the mail. Ordered it this afternoon from a place in Colorado called Healdworks.com. A guy (Jim) at Pacbrake actually gave me Healdworks as a good place to start, but the price I found on the website was a bit more than I'd hoped for, so I continued to shop. Funny thing though, after I realized the place in Charlottesville wasn't going to come through, I did an EBay search and found it for a pretty good price and it turned out it was Healdworks. I called and spoke to the owner, Chuck, and after speaking with him I decided to pull the trigger. He's shipping it 3 day delivery and did not charge me extra for the shipping.

Now all I'll need is a day of decent weather after it gets here so I can put it on. Just had two in a row but storms and cold are moving back in tonight. It was in the 30s on Monday and it was 74 today. Crazy weather. I don't have an indoor place to work on it so I'll wait for another warm and not rainy, day. Fortunately I live in Virginia Beach, so those are fairly frequent here, even this time of year.

Midnightmoon, I've emailed Keystone-Diesel, but have not heard back from them yet, it's only been a day though. Turns out the other place I was looking at went out of business, but for some reason their website is still up and their store is still operational. Not good.

Thanks for the cool pics. Always good to see a Ram set up to do some real work. The pic of the gauges is much appreciated. You're the second person to recommend Isspro gauges. Do these prices look about right?

I read somewhere that there is a port on the PRXB Exhaust brake for the Pyrometer sensor probe. Did yours PRXB come that way? Otherwise I'm under the impression I'll need to drill and tap my exhaust manifold.
How difficult are the other gauges to set up? Is the isolator you speak of something extra I'll need to ask for with the Isspro Fuel Pressure gauge or is it included?

Pete
p.s. I'll get to your second message in a bit. Wife's calling.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:17 PM   #21
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Geno's Garage is an excellent source for parts. I didn't look for prices specifically, but I have purchased many things from there, and they are always in line.

Going to have to check on the fuel pressure isolator, but I think it needs to be ordered separate. I've always had Andy purchase mine for me and he just gets a box full of everything I need. The ones that I use run the fuel from the line in to the isolator and then strait antifreeze in to the back of the gauge in the cab. So, you have the accuracy of the direct fluid connection without the risk of the fuel in the cab.

You can use the probe location on the Pacbrake, but since the exhaust will be measured post turbo, it will show a much cooler # than the manifold location (which is preferred). Figure ~300 degree drop from the real numbers to a probe post turbo. There is endless reading on pre vs. post turbo probe locations over on TDR if you would like more to consider.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:07 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Midnightmoon View Post
Yes, a Smarty or any other programmer can/will reduce the life of an automatic trans or a clutch with a manual if you don't control the power/load correctly. You simply can't expect to load a high power level, hook to a heavy trailer, and run it like you normally would. The excess heat, torque load, etc. will take out parts very fast.

Now with that said, our 2004.5 has over 300K on the original 48re automatic with only routine fluid changes and band adjustments. And, we use it all winter as a plow truck. When towing, most often we run the truck stock or on level one. The Smarty seems to really firm up the shifts and keeps it from doing the in and out of OD shuffle under load. In my personal experience, the 48re has been an excellent trans. I have however, also had to haul trucks back to the shop that their owners have toasted the trans within a few miles of power modifications. You will need major trans upgrades if you want to run any programmer to it's fullest capability.
You're making me feel better already. As you probably know I also have the 48RE. If I hear you correctly, if one does crazy stuff with a tuner installed, like over torque the stock transmission, they're gonna pay the price; however treat it sanely and one should expect a fairly lengthy life span even with a tuner. Correct?

As I mentioned if I add a Smarty, my only intention is to use it to provide just the extra I need for safe, confident towing and hauling.

A couple of questions that didn't get answered.

Considering towing my 29' Excella, do you feel my stock cooling capability is sufficient for the engine and transmission even if I were to add a Smarty? (2006 Ram 2500 Mega Cab 4X4)

Also, if I were to add a Smarty would I be wiser to get the SSR or the Jr. PoD?

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Old 01-30-2013, 09:20 PM   #23
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Additional transmission questions. How often should I have it checked? As you know with Amsoil Transmission fluid they advise every 100K. I'm wondering if I should do it sooner?
Along those lines does the fluid need to be changed to tighten the bands and how often is that necessary?
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:00 AM   #24
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The ISSpro gauges do have a good rep and are oem in some big rigs.The factory cooling both engine and transmission aer good for more than the factory gcwr,you will be fine there.As far as the trans wear with the Smarty-yes anytime you add torque you will increase wear.The 48re that comes in the 3rd gen Rams is a significant improvement from the earlier transmissions that were offered
Another benefit of the smarty is it will read and clear codes and allow you to adjust the accuracy of your speedometer.
Trans temp,egt and boost are the most worthwhile gauges to have for the dailey driver,with the rail pressure being helpful in diagnostics and of course fun to watch(as an indication of what your injection pressure is real time)
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:18 AM   #25
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Yes I paint with a broad stroke when it comes to CF
Anybody that says their truck is overpowered from the factory................


Some of the same guys post also on TDR. I doubt you'd find much to complain in re their tech knowledge. BOB4x4, I read your posts here and elsewhere, but this thread (the OPs questions) need to be put in perspective.

We own A/S or vintage kin TT's around here. The heaviest ones weigh 11k. They are not square boxes on leaf springs. So, yeah, a diesel pickup with north of 250HP is overpowered . . unless that person is one of the sheeple afraid to climb a grade at a lower speed. Spec'ng or modifying a truck to perform a particular way to operate for 00.004% of its total miles is less than intelligent.

Braking and steering are what matter. Wasting money -- upfront and long-term -- on "perfomance upgrades" don't matter to the task at hand especially when they tend to degrade component life.

TT disc brakes, anti-lock, and a VPP hitch (or PULLRITE) ought to be where discussions of how/what/why to upgrade a pickup. Same for any handling improvements to said vehicle. Poly bushings on the anti-roll bars, new/better end links, and change to best shocks (probably KONI FSD). The exhaust brake fits here as well.

The OP has an '06, so, correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't the upgraded '08 steering fit this? It ain't just "death wobble", but precision in keeping steering inputs to a minimum. (Ideal alignment and zero steering wander.)

Same for truck and TT tires/wheels, etc. It's potentially a long list beforehand.

A SMARTY and gauges made necessary by such is wasted money on an overpowered truck. On a scale of relevance to what matters to a tow vehicle they are one helluva long ways down. The kiddie toys need to be kept separate from what matters.

What matters is best steering and braking. And HD pickups are poor at both. Address them first . . . toys later.

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Old 01-31-2013, 05:14 PM   #26
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Additional transmission questions. How often should I have it checked? As you know with Amsoil Transmission fluid they advise every 100K. I'm wondering if I should do it sooner?
Along those lines does the fluid need to be changed to tighten the bands and how often is that necessary?

I've done the fluid change in ours approximately every 2 years, so every 65K-70K I would guess. I'd have to look, but I believe that I've done the band adjustment 2 times, once around 150K and just recently.

As far as your question on the Smarty, I prefer the Jr for stock or close to stock trucks like yours.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:35 PM   #27
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I've done the fluid change in ours approximately every 2 years, so every 65K-70K I would guess. I'd have to look, but I believe that I've done the band adjustment 2 times, once around 150K and just recently.

As far as your question on the Smarty, I prefer the Jr for stock or close to stock trucks like yours.
Thanks for that info.

I decided to replace my stock exhaust with the Diamond Eye 409 SS turbo back single exhaust system. I got a decent deal from a really nice guy I was recommended to, Kenny at Kensperfomancesolutions.com. I figured as long as I was gonna be disconnecting the old exhaust elbow anyway to do the exhaust brake I might as well take it the rest of the way.

Should have all my parts this coming week.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:11 AM   #28
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Yes I paint with a broad stroke when it comes to CF
Anybody that says their truck is overpowered from the factory................


Some of the same guys post also on TDR. I doubt you'd find much to complain in re their tech knowledge. BOB4x4, I read your posts here and elsewhere, but this thread (the OPs questions) need to be put in perspective.






The OP has an '06, so, correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't the upgraded '08 steering fit this? It ain't just "death wobble", but precision in keeping steering inputs to a minimum. (Ideal alignment and zero steering wander.)

Same for truck and TT tires/wheels, etc. It's potentially a long list beforehand.

A SMARTY and gauges made necessary by such is wasted money on an overpowered truck. On a scale of relevance to what matters to a tow vehicle they are one helluva long ways down. The kiddie toys need to be kept separate from what matters.

What matters is best steering and braking. And HD pickups are poor at both. Address them first . . . toys later.

.
Once again.............the 06 is not overpowered.That may be true in your case but not mine or in the marketing departments of the big three.They have all invested significant money to increase the power levels to where they should be-hoovering around the 400hp mark.

My 3rd gen has excellent braking (all stock)and is in the top percentile in handling with more than a few dollars invested but I have pre-run Baja at speeds I am sure you never see on freeways here.

The OP wants to have the best from what I gather from his questions and will enjoy playing with his rig,not just trying to keep his cost at bare minimum.
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