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Hi Guys,

I am new to this forum but have been reading and absorbing as much as I can from the past V10 threads before I joined. At little about me is that I have been an active CumminsForum member for years, as I have owned a wide variety of Cummins powered Dodge pick ups (of all generations). I have a soft spot for original, clean second and first gen dodge pickups which is how I ended up with the truck I am posting this thread about!

Truck in question is a 1999 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 Regular Cab V10 with 110,000 miles on it. It has a rebuilt 47RE automatic transmission and a new transfercase. The truck is all original (other than maintenance repairs, some cheap rocker guard paint and the cats being cut out of it). I have put a couple thousand miles on it since I have purchased it and I have noticed some things about the truck that I am not sure are normal so I am hoping some veterans on here can help. Below is a photo of towing it home with my 1998 12 valve:



First off, the truck is exceptionally bad on fuel. It gets about 9-9.5MPG empty and it got 7.1 MPG on a recent trip to the mountains with two snowmobiles on a deck. Is this normal? From what I had previously read, guys are getting closer to 11-12 MPG empty and around 9-10 MPG loaded. The truck has had a recent tune up with plug/wires/coils(i believe) and fluids etc. It also has new wheel bearings and alignment and steering components etc. are tight. Tires are stock size. The one thing is that with the cats missing, the truck does smell like it is running a little rich. I am not sure if that makes sense but is it possible/common for the truck to need tuning after CAT removal? The air pump is still hooked up and ported into the exhaust before the muffler and I have no CEL. Any other suggestions?

Secondly, how powerful should the truck be? On a fairly level road, with the two snowmobiles on the sled deck, the truck could not hold 70 MPH in 4th gear. With cruise on it would slow down to about 60 MPH and just lug. If I hit the gas, it would kick down to 3rd, lock up and accelerate to 70 MPH, shift into 4th again and then start slowing down as there was not enough power in 4th to hold the speed. Is this normal? Does two sled (1250lbs) on the back mean I need to be in 3rd gear all the time? Or does this sound like the truck is not running to its full potential? (photo below of truck loaded with the snow mobiles)



Third is are there any cheap/easy mods that can be done to improve fuel milage? I have seen guys delete the air pump off the motor - does that make much of a difference? I am not really interested in spending a couple thousand bucks to only gain 1 MPG. That being said, if my truck currently sounds like it isn't running right (see point 1) I am willing to get it back to factory spec.

And fourth and final question (for now) is more a hypothetical thought I have been bouncing around - how hard would these trucks be to swap to a 24 valve Cummins? I believe the transmission is the same and for some reason I feel like I remember hearing that the motor mounts for the cummins are the same as the v10 as well - correct me if I am wrong? So from what I can tell it would be a matter of find a good motor complete with ECM and PCM, bolting it in along with the intercooler and rad and obviously new fuel lines and flush the tank? I would assume I'd need a diesel cluster as well but other than that is it really that simple? Or am I missing something here? I don't plan on doing this - if I can get the V10 to a point where it is a little more fuel efficient and powerful I would much rather keep it stock but it would be nice to know if this is possible or not.

And because I know guys like photos heres on of it cleaned up after the trip:



Anyways thanks in advance for any advice!
 

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Sounds like it needs a good tune up. Check the compression it's a good habit on used anything. The weight isn't much an issue as the aerodynamics are, but the v10 should definitely hold 70mph. My wimpy 318 van towing a left travel trailer held 70mph from FL to SC way back. Think it just needs love.
 

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I had a 1999 Quad Cab, long box, 4x4 V-10 for over 15 yrs and 190K miles.
9mpg is awesome highway mpg.


Truck should easily do 70-80-90-whatever the hell ya want mph, up anything short of Mt Everest, pulling whatever the hell you want. Anything less, tranny or engine is weak, pure and simple.


there ain't jack you can do to get better mileage except go buy a ricer.
It;'s a V-10. you buy those for the power, pure and simple.
Power likes to eat

ALOT..



Body builder, NFL Offensive Lineman or your V-10, they're all powerful and they all like to eat. Reason folks go Deisel, cheaper fuel costs, but you pay the difference, up front, for the engine.
 

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Wonder why Chrysler didn't opt for cylinder deactivation on the V10's? It was basically new technology back then so guess it wasn't cost effective.
 

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I had a 1996, V-10, auto, 4x4, dually & 4.10 rear end.

It was a great hauler but terrible mileage. I have to echo what others have reported except mine would not hold 4th gear with a load and/or pulling a 30' travel trailer over the mountains. If kept in 4th it would lug which I don't allow. It would go all day easily in 3rd.

Was a great truck in its time, but its time is long gone.
 

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Just sold my 2001 V10 2500 4x4 quad cab. In the first place, when you are towing, don't have the overdrive(4th gear) engaged. There is a button on the end of the shift column that disables the overdrive. If you have overdrive engaged when towing, yea, it will constantly shift out of it, and it's hard on the tranny. So yea, when you're hauling, 3rd gear should be your top gear. I would even disengage the overdrive empty when doing a lot of hilly terrain.

My truck had the 4.10 rear end.

The truck towed like a beast....regularly hauled a 10'2" camper with a fully loaded 3 horse trailer, and the truck never broke a sweat, even up the steepest of grades. Would hold 65mph with no probs up really steep, long grades. Although the wife would normally do no more than 60mph, due to the live load in the horse trailer.

And yea, the thing eats gas. Mine was all original, just had a tune up 2 years ago, and it got around 11 empty. Best it ever did was around 13mpg on a level highway with a tailwind. Towing the kind of load we did, it would get around 7-8mpg. Whatever you do, don't look at the overhead computer(if yours is equipped with that) when you're towing up a grade. I looked at the instant mileage readout once while doing that with the camper and horse trailer, and it was at 2-3 mpg....lol. (of course, we were hauling 18k+ pounds up that grade, so yea, it will be sucking gas)

Not much you can do on the mpg, as the thing just drinks a lot of gas.

Was a great, reliable work truck, and my wife and I will miss it dearly, as we bought it new and had it for 18 years. But we love our 2018 6.4l hemi even more. Smoother ride, high tech inside stuff, better handling, better power, and better mpg. :)
 

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Ya gotta remember, even the original V10 was something like 488 cubic inches. No matter what you put on it, mileage will suck. Show me an old 440 or 426 Hemi that gets good mileage and runs to it's potential. You might hit high teens.....maybe, at 55mph with virtually no load, and a decent final drive ratio. Oh, there's some modern aftermarket stuff that might help a little (CompCams did market a cam at some point, but thinking mostly about tuners), but you'd never justify the cost with gas savings. Cylinder de-activation wasn't considered because these engines were originally intended for users moving high bulk loads like campers and horse trailers/car haulers, etc. When's it gonna drop cylinders, at a red light? When it's rolling, it's not like a car. That 15,000lb trailer remains a burden, despite initial inertia being overcome. For people cruising around unencumbered, yeah, it might be useful, but that's something ya gotta design in. Adding it after the fact would prove VERY expensive, and why spend the money when the V10 would be a memory in a few years anyway? A cylinder de-activation wouldn't be enough to maintain sales, and then the Hemi was in the planning stages. With the end of the Viper and the aluminum block V10, all signs pointed to the end of Mopar's V10 era. Granted, nothing was quite like that V10. It really belted out the torque. My dad briefly had a standard cab V10. Sheeesh! It was awesome. And watching the gas gauge fall towards "E" reminded me of gassing the '72 Olds we had when I was a kid....455 Rocket. It'd get 14mpg, but only with a light foot.
 

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Nice looking standard cab! My truck is a 95 4x4, has the auto and 3.55 gears, here's my experience:

1 - I have found that driving style greatly affects mileage. Lots of short trips in town, with not a lot of full operating temp, it will drink the gas! 7ish isn't out of the question this way. Driving round town/country roads for longer than a few miles at a time (engine running at operating temp), it will get 10-ish. That's with driving pretty easy mostly. On the freeway, doing 65 it will consistently get about 14 MPG. Lots of 75+will lower it to about 13 or 13.5. Loaded with my Jeep on a trailer, (6,500 LBS) around town it's crazy bad! On the freeway, it seems to get 8.5-10.5 per tank depending on how many mountain passes vs level ground. Not sure on the air pump removal, etc. For reference, mine is all stock except for dual 2.25" exhaust with an H pipe, 2 chamber mufflers (installed by previous owner) and no cats. The air pump just blows underneath the truck where the cats would be.

1A - I would look at a scanner with your engine running to see if any readings look off. It's possible the O2 sensors are old and lazy.

2 - Something definitely sounds off with your V10's power - it should be very powerful! You should barely feel those sleds. My truck likes 70 MPH+ on the freeway pulling my Jeep on flat ground, it's almost hard to not speed. It will even hold OD up a slight hill and still do 70. All with 3.55s!

I'm not sure on power adders, as I've never done any and bought the truck with the exhaust installed. Adding the H pipe didn't seem to make a noticeable difference. From what I've read, there really isn't much out there to add power. Some say headers, but I've never tried. Fortunately for you, being a '96, you can get a custom tune made, if you're ok with running higher octane.

From what I've read, swapping the diesel isn't too hard. The truck shares the same radiator, motor mounts, and transmission - except for torque converter and valve body. The rest is normal swap stuff, like ECU, gauge cluster, fuel system, etc.
 

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I've put over 200,000 miles on my 488. I travel a lot and usually keep careful track of mileage. I've learned a couple things. Cool air makes a difference. My truck is happier and gets better mileage in cool not cold weather and up north rather than down in the hot Southwest. The intake setup pulls air from behind the bumper, below the battery, not bad I'm guessing. A cold air hood is a maybe someday project, not sure it will help, but I'm curious.
The V-10 is sensitive to fuel. My theory is that because the stock compression is so low, fuel quality affects power more than it might in a higher compression powerplant. There are two ways to build octane rating into a fuel as far as I know. Either make a high quality fuel that resists detonation, or build a low quality fuel that lights and burns slowly. Texaco proved years ago that providing high quality fuel would raise consumer's vehicle mileage, whether or not htey do that, I don't know. We can troll and argue all day, but my experience is that Chevron/Texaco runs better than any fuel I can buy, and is my go to when available. Shell and here in the West, Costco seem to be good seconds. Maverik is among the worst. I can feel low quality fuel when I put it in. I also blend premium and regular. Why? Seems to run better, just my experience. Finding out what works for you and planning long trips around fuel stops is worthwhile.
Long distance, loaded, no trailer, I get between 13 and almost 15 mpg. Fuel quality can mean 10 percent increase or more. Doesn't sound like that much, but that is the difference between 13 and 14+mpg. That's a 40 mile increase in range for a long box fuel tank, it adds up. I've had late model Ford and Chevy half tons that I ran lots of miles for oil field work that did not mind the fuel nearly as much.
Tires make a difference. If you are one of those people that can't imagine life without wide 35's or bigger, you get what you ask for. Pushing wide mud tires down the road on your lifted grocery getter is going to burn some gas. I work this truck a lot of time off road, snow as well as mud, so lift and taller tires were a given. I run stock 3.54 gearsets on an 8800GVW 4x4. I ran off a couple sets of Goodyear SilentArmor Pro, a set of Yokohamas and some Coopers. I run a 275/70-18 in a 10ply which seems to be a good compromise for diameter/height without going excessively wide. The SilentArmors, an outstanding tire, gave me the best mileage, but are no longer made. I switched to the DuraTrac at the suggestion of my tire shop and It looks like my mileage will drop a bit.
A few years back I freshened everything up prior to a summer's driving in the Rockies and Canada. A Mopar Performance ECU, DUI coilpacks for a Viper, Granatelli wires, new NTK O2 and TPS sensors, Bosch +4 plugs. I replaced the cats, turned the exhaust out the side in front of the tires and added a tiny CherryBomb dual 2.5 inch in and out, which acts like an X pipe, just in front of the cats, no room for any other muffler. Changed all the fluids to synthetic, Mobil 1 engine oil. Best mileage that truck ever turned in.
I finally finished the rebuild of the engine. Hughes Engines ported my throttle body. Shaved the heads for compression, reground the cam to about .500 lift, three angle valve job on some higher flowing stainless valves Manley makes for the Viper, backcut intakes, radius exhaust. Did a bit of lightweight porting, blending the bowls, trimming down the guide bosses, easing over the short turn radius into and out of the cylinders, gasket matched the intake upper and lower and into the heads. Added a Hughes Performance torque converter to tighten things up. Pretty happy with the way it pulls, no experience driving it yet.
My goal has been to increase the power as well as mileage. To that end I have a NatPro rebuild kit with a bunch of Sonnax parts for the 47RH. EMC Offroad gave me a smokin' deal on a part time Dana 60 front hub conversion with new axles for a CAD delete. A set of electric fans and maybe a cold air hood, we'll see where we end up.
 

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I've put over 200,000 miles on my 488. I travel a lot and usually keep careful track of mileage. I've learned a couple things. Cool air makes a difference. My truck is happier and gets better mileage in cool not cold weather and up north rather than down in the hot Southwest. The intake setup pulls air from behind the bumper, below the battery, not bad I'm guessing. A cold air hood is a maybe someday project, not sure it will help, but I'm curious.
The V-10 is sensitive to fuel. My theory is that because the stock compression is so low, fuel quality affects power more than it might in a higher compression powerplant. There are two ways to build octane rating into a fuel as far as I know. Either make a high quality fuel that resists detonation, or build a low quality fuel that lights and burns slowly. Texaco proved years ago that providing high quality fuel would raise consumer's vehicle mileage, whether or not htey do that, I don't know. We can troll and argue all day, but my experience is that Chevron/Texaco runs better than any fuel I can buy, and is my go to when available. Shell and here in the West, Costco seem to be good seconds. Maverik is among the worst. I can feel low quality fuel when I put it in. I also blend premium and regular. Why? Seems to run better, just my experience. Finding out what works for you and planning long trips around fuel stops is worthwhile.
Long distance, loaded, no trailer, I get between 13 and almost 15 mpg. Fuel quality can mean 10 percent increase or more. Doesn't sound like that much, but that is the difference between 13 and 14+mpg. That's a 40 mile increase in range for a long box fuel tank, it adds up. I've had late model Ford and Chevy half tons that I ran lots of miles for oil field work that did not mind the fuel nearly as much.
Tires make a difference. If you are one of those people that can't imagine life without wide 35's or bigger, you get what you ask for. Pushing wide mud tires down the road on your lifted grocery getter is going to burn some gas. I work this truck a lot of time off road, snow as well as mud, so lift and taller tires were a given. I run stock 3.54 gearsets on an 8800GVW 4x4. I ran off a couple sets of Goodyear SilentArmor Pro, a set of Yokohamas and some Coopers. I run a 275/70-18 in a 10ply which seems to be a good compromise for diameter/height without going excessively wide. The SilentArmors, an outstanding tire, gave me the best mileage, but are no longer made. I switched to the DuraTrac at the suggestion of my tire shop and It looks like my mileage will drop a bit.
A few years back I freshened everything up prior to a summer's driving in the Rockies and Canada. A Mopar Performance ECU, DUI coilpacks for a Viper, Granatelli wires, new NTK O2 and TPS sensors, Bosch +4 plugs. I replaced the cats, turned the exhaust out the side in front of the tires and added a tiny CherryBomb dual 2.5 inch in and out, which acts like an X pipe, just in front of the cats, no room for any other muffler. Changed all the fluids to synthetic, Mobil 1 engine oil. Best mileage that truck ever turned in.
I finally finished the rebuild of the engine. Hughes Engines ported my throttle body. Shaved the heads for compression, reground the cam to about .500 lift, three angle valve job on some higher flowing stainless valves Manley makes for the Viper, backcut intakes, radius exhaust. Did a bit of lightweight porting, blending the bowls, trimming down the guide bosses, easing over the short turn radius into and out of the cylinders, gasket matched the intake upper and lower and into the heads. Added a Hughes Performance torque converter to tighten things up. Pretty happy with the way it pulls, no experience driving it yet.
My goal has been to increase the power as well as mileage. To that end I have a NatPro rebuild kit with a bunch of Sonnax parts for the 47RH. EMC Offroad gave me a smokin' deal on a part time Dana 60 front hub conversion with new axles for a CAD delete. A set of electric fans and maybe a cold air hood, we'll see where we end up.
Keep us up to date on the new engine mods! Very interesting.

Also, intersting on the Hughs Torque converter. I don't know how many miles are on my 47RH, (250,000 on the truck but I was told the trans was rebuild before) knock on wood it works fine still, but am looking at what to do when it comes time to rebuild. May swap in a manual also.
 
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