I wanted to share with all of you what I’ve done to my truck. It all started out when the actuator on my turbo started going out. Whenever my engine would get to operating temperature, I would get a zero boost condition and I would lose my exhaust brake. After a lot of research I realized that the electronic actuator is prone to failure on our trucks. This is mainly due to heat and soot buildup from the egr coking up the veins. I had gone to my local dealership, as my truck is still under warranty. They told me that the actuator needed to be replaced. Duh. He also stated that it wasn’t a lubricated part and because of that it was not under any powertrain warranty. That was a surprise to me. They had quoted me a $4000 plus estimate to fix it. No thanks. Perhaps they would’ve treated me different had I bought the truck there, however I bought used from a private party. I did find a brand new turbo with the actuator already calibrated to the turbo on eBay for $1200 however it’s sold before I was able to grab it. The other alternative is to send your actuator in to various companies and they will rebuild it for you, however you will need to somehow get your truck to a shop so they can calibrate the actuator to the turbo. This is assuming that you leave the turbo in place. The more I thought of that, it didn’t seem like a good idea because really the actuator is failure prone do to the coking of the veins on the turbo. So really to do it right, you would either need to get a brand new unit that has the actuator calibrated, or pull the entire turbo and actuator off and send it to a shop for rebuild and have them calibrate for you. It was unfortunate because I absolutely love the variable geometry turbo and the exhaust brake. However, it is a complex unit. I had just sold my 1993 W250 and I absolutely loved the simplicity. The only thing needed to start that motor was a 12V wire to open a fuel solenoid...Dang
Fast forward, after a lot of research I decided to go with a fixed geometry unit and not replace the VGT. Why? For the reliability and also that I don’t tow anything, I just use a truck camper only so although the EB is nice, it’s not a must right now.
The two common choices are a 2nd gen or 3rd gen swap. It seems that people usually prefer the 2nd gen swap due to the cool factor of the turbo location, the sound, the larger area for a big turbo to fit, and also it seems that you don’t get as much heat buildup in the fifth and six cylinder with a 2nd gen manifold. The downside is it costs at least $1000 more, new turbo downpipe location, new air intake location, new intercooler hose location, new oil feed and drain location, and possibly altering you A/C hoses. After doing some research on my needs, I decided that a 3rd gen swap is fine for me. Really because I wasn’t planning on big power, for me it was just more reliability.
However, if you go with a fixed geometry unit you need to get tuning for your truck. It might work without tuning but your truck is probably going to be throwing all sorts of codes and think something is broken. Tuning includes the hardware whether MM3 by Smarty, Edge, H &S, BullyDog etc., and software you decide to go with, as there is a lot of great choices. By software I mean the person, or program writing and coding tunes That reprogram and replace the software in your ECM. Based on the referral from a friend, AND the glowing remarks of customer service, I decided to go with the Ray’s tunes. I was looking towards the emissions compliant tuning but I thought to myself if I’m going to go this far I might as well go hard or not at all. So, I decided a stainless 5” Flo Pro w muffler I found on Craigslist. I found a used MM3 with EGT on cumminsforum. And I also ordered a Shibby plug kit from DRD as well. The DPF Throttle valve delete was on eBay for cheap, I would have rather paid extra money for something domestic but I couldn’t find one... Either sold out or something else...
The 3rd Gen swap took me a while to decide on. There are a ton of great companies out there on 3rd gen swaps. And in researching the 3rd vs 4th gen manifold, I had wondered why you can’t just direct bolt on a fixed vein turbo to a 4th gen manifold. Well, the main thing seems to be that most turbo upgrades have a T4 style flange (bigger), which a stock 4th gen manifold does not. In addition, the stock 4th gen does not have a twin scroll design, instead it is an open volute. Think of if you look into the exhaust manifold where the turbo bolts up, there will either be one big hole, or two smaller ones. The divided housing of the twin scroll design benefits by allowing quicker turbo spool up. It’s downside is it is prone to hairline cracks as compared to an open volute. Some say the open volute allows more airflow, but for my needs it is a non issue. I decided on a BD Iron Horn kit after asking a few people. The S364.5 SXE is good for up to 600hp. After that you aren’t just getting a bigger turbo, but bigger injectors and a modified CP3, which I wasn’t going to do.
Build list and price:
igoracummins.com membership $100
Shibby Plug Kit $129
Used MM3 w/ EGT $550
License from Smarty $150
SD card and Reader $15
OBD2 splitter for AMP steps $11
DRD Tunes w 12 valve sound upgrade $620
EGR and Throttle Valve delete kit $50
Flo Pro Exhaust $550
Exhaust Hanger Pliers $15
BD Diesel S364.5SXE 3rd gen swap $1750
Total Cost for Fixed vein setup: $3940
Install was OK. I’m kinda embarrassed it took me forever to get the stupid radiator drain bolt out. Holy Toledo it took 30 minutes to find the thing... I also had a tuff time reinstalling the V band clamps for the downpipe and turbo exhaust elbow. It is tuff by yourself, much easier I think to have some help... It also took me some time to get the bolts off the turbo oil drain line. Little did I know that the other end is just press fit into the block and you can just wiggle it out so you don’t even need to remove it from the turbo...hopefully that makes sense. The hardest part to was getting the turbo drain line bolted to the new turbo and re routed and fit back into the block. There has got to be a trick. It’s in a cramped position and it was not working well for me, took about an hour. I’m sure some of you would laugh. The EGR was pretty straightforward. There were no instructions but I just watched some YouTube videos...
Well, how do I say this. A tuned G56 is a monster. Well, I actually don’t even know it’s potential. Why do you ask? Rays tunes go from 30 to 200. I decided at 60mph to get into 4th gear and hammer the throttle just to get it going, it was at the 60hp tune. I hammered the throttle and shifted to 5th and even at that speed, with a mild tune, the clutch couldn’t keep up. My RPMs went up, my speed didn’t... I was anticipating this happening but not at freeway speeds! Wow. Pretty exciting to think what my truck could do with an upgraded clutch... next project.
I played with a couple more tunes, even the 200hp. I didn’t like it because it rolled coal two lanes over when I hammered the throttle. Maybe because over fueling before the turbo gets going to good boost? Maybe stock clutch slipping reducing the load on the engine? I actually realized that even with the 30 horse tune if I hammered the throttle I would be puffing some smoke until my turbo caught up to around 15 psi, then it would subside slightly. I think this also is because the fixed veins need more time to spool than the VGT, but I’m not sure. I dont like looking like a DBag and pissing other drivers off, so I would really like not to blow smoke out of the exhaust. Thankfully, with conservative driving it is barely noticeable. The smell at idle is just like my W250 which I love! I got to 36lbs max recorded boost per my mm3, but like I said, clutch limited...
Well, the big lie-o-meter.... after a tank of fuel I am getting roughly 2-3 mpg better. I did take a trip to Carlsbad with my camper on as well. In addition, i had a heavy foot playing with the tunes. My average was around 15mpg prior to. I will remind you I have a 3” lift up front, 35” on stock gearing, and my truck is a CCLB. I am confident at 65 mph on the freeway my truck can probably hit 20mpg with the deletes. Pretty cool considering my wife’s Highlander AWD gets 18 combined. To be continued however, I think with my driving I can hit 17-18mph combined but I need to put more miles in to get the data.
really happy with the choices so far. Oh, the 12 valve sound a do constantly. It isn’t quite like the W250 but it is nostalgia! The truck just feels, well, uncorked. It’s still a truck, not a Mustang, but Dang! I really like driving it. Hammer the throttle and it moves! Nothing like a stock 6.7.... I don’t have any experience with the Aisin or 68 but I could only imagine with tranny tuning it is even better than my manual.
I know the post is long. I am still working on uploading the few pics I took, but I wanted to provide the info I searched for to anyone looking for alternatives when their stock systems start taking a dive. ??