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Powertrain Upgrades for 2005 5.9L Cummins Ram 3500

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After driving my 2005 ram 3500 4x4 for the last 8 years I've come to the realization that the Powertrain could use upgrading/updating. I currently have a bully dog power pup programmer (set on the tow/haul setting). As well as a cold air intake and aftermarket exhaust. Needless to say, the 5.9 has enough power for someone that only pulls a holiday trailer and is a daily driver. I'm riding on 33" nitto trail grapplers and have the stock 48re transmission (once replaced due to failure with less than 100,000 miles on it) and have factory 3.73 gears.

My holiday trailer isn't large by any means (only 25') but it is old and heavy. Last year I started pulling it almost every other weekend during the summer months and noticed that it seemed like the truck was borderline struggling when pulling a hill or accelerating.

Now the question I have for the community is; aside from adding more power at the engine, what other types of drive train upgrades would you all suggest to save the other components from premature failure?

Talking to some people I've heard of changing the torque converter. Not sure to which brand or model to use.

Another suggestion I heard was to change the gears from 3.73 to 4.10. Kinda new to all of this so if I went this route, I'm assuming as well as the rear axle, the front axle would also need to be changed out.

Last option that was suggested was to go back to the stock 265 tire setup.

Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks guys!

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Jeff...Stock diameter tires would restore the gearing if you have not "lifted" the chassis to fit the 33" tires.  Simpler than a gear change.


Review fellow forum member Megatron's lengthy contributions on engine and transmission building for the 5.9L Cummins and the 48RE.  Megatron has very thoughtful and helpful upgrade suggestions, including chassis (steering), engine and transmission alternatives.  He does take a no holds barred approach.  If that's too costly or more than your budget can bear, consider gearing.


I'm studying the Gear Vendors overdrive option and doing the math on how long it would take to pay for (amortize) this accessory via fuel savings and powertrain load reduction.  Gearing is the one area that can alleviate both fuel efficiency and powertrain load issues...The Cummins ISB engines are highly susceptible to rpm and turbo boost changes when it comes to fuel efficiency and pulling power.  The 48RE needs as much relief as you can offer it.  Megatron is running the ultimate aftermarket 48RE build, you might want to see what it takes to reach a high level of reliability with the 48RE.  I'd emphasize that "normal" use has my relatively stock 48RE working very nicely at 140K miles.  I did do survival upgrades with some pieces from Sonnax.  See my article at:  http://www.4wdmechanix.com/Survival-Upgrades-for-Jeep-and-Dodge-Ram-Automatic-Transmissions.html.


Check out the Megatron posts here at the forums, our exchanges have been an in-depth discussion of a truck just like yours!


We can discuss other options as well.  Input from other Cummins ISB enthusiasts is welcome!



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