Edge Juice with Attitude Adds 133 HP to a VP44 Cummins
And It's 50-State Legal!
Text and Photos by Jason Sands
Recently I bought a pristine '99 Dodge with a VP44-pump 5.9L Cummins and only 188,000 miles on the clock, but like most vehicles I own, stock just wasn't good enough. Rated at only 215 hp from the factory, these older Cummins powered rigs kill it on fuel economy, but are definitely underpowered. Fortunately, Edge had the medicine for my Dodge, in the form of an Edge Juice with Attitude programmer and Insight CTS2 Monitor for '98.5 to '02 Dodges. California, which is often excluded from this type of performance, is now firmly in the horsepower loop, thanks to a new CARB E.O. number that the CTS2/Juice combo now carries. I also made a deal with Edge that we'd test the Juice with complete honesty. If it didn't make power, or smoked, that's exactly what we'd report. Fortunately for us, results not only met expectations, but they also exceeded them!
I opted for all the bells and whistles when we tested the Juice with Attitude. This meant not only did I have the magic performance box, but I also had an Attitude CTS2 monitor so we could change tunes on the fly and fuel pressure and exhaust gas temperature (EGT) sensors so we could gain additional information on our engine's efficiency and avoid harmful temperature levels. Edge's kit also came with all the needed wiring harnesses and taps for the modules, so virtually everything became plug and play.
If you're a backyard mechanic, it's probably good to block out an afternoon for the install, but in our case, we were able to get the folks at Brown's Diesel in Riverdale, California to help us out. A good amount of install time was spent running the wires to make sure everything was tucked nice and neat and out of sight, but all of it was pretty simple. Other than wiring, the only other labor we had to perform is installing the boost elbow on the turbo, drilling the exhaust manifold for an EGT sensor and removing the intake horn and APPS cover to wire-tap the VP44 pump. Instructions were very good and straightforward, and Erick Brown of Brown's Diesel was able to perform the installation in about two hours.
While adding performance parts is all well and good, the real pleasure comes in seeing how the truck will actually perform! Fortunately, we didn't have to guess, as Brown's Diesel had a dyno that could give us verifiable numbers. We had baselined the truck at 180rwhp before the installation, and we knew we'd pick up more. But being that it has to be clean and legal, how much more? We started on level 1, which indicated that it was Economy mode. That alone broke us clean through the 200 hp mark with a 232 hp dyno pull. It would only get better from there. Level 2 was 258 hp, level 3 made 261 hp, level 4 cranked out 292 hp and when our hottest tune (level 5) was installed, the truck put down a whopping 313rwhp or 133rwhp from stock! That's nearly 400 horsepower at the crank, or just about what the new $70,000 diesels make!
Real-World Performance and Fuel Economy
Dyno testing has long been the gold standard for comparative testing, but there's always old school: 0-60 mph and quarter-mile. This tests modification under real-world conditions, not a controlled environment, which brings traction, shifting, exhaust gas temperatures and more. For simplicity's sake, we went with stock, and level 5, to get the maximum difference in performance we could expect out of the tuner. The first thing we noticed is how loose the factory torque converter is, as any full throttle input resulted in at least 2,500 rpm...and lots of speed! We even had traction problems!
Zero to 60 mph went from a humdrum 11.1 seconds to a quick 8.4; knocking nearly three seconds off the time! The quarter-mile was equally impressive, as our time and speed went from 18.7 at 68 mph to a flying 16.4 at 84 mph. The truck would have been even quicker if we had a lock-up switch (or traction.) Exhaust gas temperatures stayed in check and were 1,132 degrees at the end of the quarter-mile at the end of our run. If they had gotten too hot, or engine temps too high (like when towing) The Juice with Attitude has features that automatically pull the power back.
Fuel economy is probably one of the main reasons diesel enthusiasts purchase tuners, although let's be honest, the power doesn't hurt. Still, we drove a 300-mile freeway test loop at 70 mph before and after to see just how much of an improvement could be made. After our first run, the low 2wd Dodge hit 19 mpg, making us wonder how much room there was for improvement. We didn't need to worry, as with the Edge on "1" we pulled down a whopping 22 mpg on the next loop--a 3mpg gain! Over the course of a 100,000 miles, that amounts to over a $2,500 savings!
After being in the industry for 15 years, it's not often that a product exceeds my expectations; but there you have it, Edge has done just that. To make that much power, smoke-free, leads me to believe that there's hope for hot-rodded diesels after all, even after the black eye that the industry has received through emissions scandals in the past few years. So, 100-plus horsepower for your VP? Two to three mpg extra?? Edge has you covered!