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Upgrade Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 Cummins Diesel Performance With K&N Diesel Air Intake

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1995 Dodge Ram with a 5.9L Cummins 6BT 12-valve diesel engine

The second generation 1994 Dodge Ram 1500 was a sales success and Dodge had the good sense to carry over the 5.9L Cummins 6BT 12-valve diesel engine for Ram 2500 & 3500 models

Cummins Inc. has been a major player in engine manufacturing since it was founded in 1919 by Clessie Lyle Cummins. The Cummins Engine Company focused on developing the engine patented by Rudolf Diesel years earlier. With decades of experience developing and building diesel engines it was no accident that Dodge began offering the Cummins Diesel powered Ram pickup in 1989. The Cummins Diesel engine powered first generation Dodge Ram soon became a viable alternative to large gasoline powered V8 engines of the time. In fact, the Dodge Ram diesel had its competition from General Motors and Ford beat by being the only member of the big three to offer a turbo diesel engine; plus the 5.9L Cummins 6BT 12-valve diesel was direct injected and didn't rely on glow plugs for cold starting.

1994-2002 Dodge Ram 5.9L Cummins Diesel K&N air intake 57-1525

Installing K&N air intake 57-1525 resulted in an estimated additional 9.17 horsepower and 18.79 lb-ft of torque at 2,560 RPM on an otherwise stock 1995 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Diesel 3g

Despite the Cummins Diesel engine the first generation Dodge Ram, merely a face lifted carryover of the Dodge D-Series which had been around since 1972, sold poorly compared to its counterparts from Ford and GM. That is however until 1994 when Dodge introduced the second generation Dodge Ram pickup. The fully redesigned 1994 Dodge Ram 1500 immediately became a sales success. Dodge had the good sense to carry over the 5.9L Cummins 6BT 12-valve diesel engine over as an option for second generation Ram 2500 & 3500 models. Although the Cummins 6BT 12-valve 5.9L L6 Diesel outperformed the 5.9-liter LA/Magnum V8 engines found in the first gen Ram, Dodge introduced the 8.0L Magnum V10 engine as an option for 1994. The 8.0L Magnum V10, basically a cast-iron version of a Dodge Viper engine, was the most powerful gasoline-burning pickup truck engine of the time.

2004 Dodge Ram 2500 with a Cummins ISB 24-valve 5.9L L6 Diesel engine

Dodge rolled out the third generation Ram 1500 pickup in 2002, while the 2500 & 3500 Ram trucks came a year later and the Cummins ISB 24-valve 5.9L L6 Diesel engine was carried over

All engines are essentially a giant air pump and anything that can be done to eliminate restrictions on the intake and / or the exhaust will improve performance, but it's often most dramatic with modern diesel engines. Large displacements and variable vane turbos demand incredible amounts of air in order to run at peak efficiency, yet auto manufacturers usually sacrifice airflow in order to keep under hood noise to a minimum. This is what makes aftermarket K&N diesel air intake systems so effective. A K&N diesel air intake will nearly eliminate intake tract restriction and enable an engine to breathe easier; resulting in more power. Best of all a quality aftermarket diesel air intake system, like those from K&N Filters, offer a simple bolt-on installation and an incredible bang for the buck.

K&N 2003-2007 Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 5.9L Cummins Blackhawk Induction System diesel air intake

The K&N 2003-2007 Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 5.9L Cummins Blackhawk Induction System diesel air intake uses a mandrel-bent aluminum intake tube and a non-oiled synthetic media K&N air filter

Second Generation 1994-2002 Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 pickup owners with the Cummins 6BT 12-valve 5.9L L6 Diesel, or mid-1998 and later Cummins ISB 24-valve 5.9L L6 Diesel engine can easily bolt on more horsepower and torque with K&N diesel air intake system 57-1525. This K&N diesel air intake system replaces the factory accordion hose ducting with a performance engineered roto-molded high-density polyethylene (HDPE) air intake tube. At the end of the K&N air intake tube is a high-flow washable and reusable K&N air filter designed to provide superior airflow, superior performance, and excellent engine protection. This K&N diesel air intake also includes an application specific air filter heat shield to deflect the high under hood temps associated with diesel engines away from incoming airflow. Installing K&N air intake 57-1525 resulted in an estimated additional 9.17 horsepower and 18.79 lb-ft of torque at 2,560 RPM on an otherwise stock 1995 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Diesel 3g. Similar, or perhaps better, results can be expected from installing this K&N diesel air intake on a 1998 to 2002 24-Valve 5.9L Cummins diesel engine.

K&N 2007-2009 Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 6.7L Cummins diesel air intake

K&N 2007-2009 Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 6.7L Cummins diesel air intake 57-1557 uses a roto-molded intake tube, traditional cotton K&N air filter, and an application specific air filter heat shield

Dodge rolled out the third generation Ram 1500 pickup truck in 2002, while the 2500 & 3500 Ram trucks came a year later. With its proven reliability, Dodge carried over the Cummins ISB 24-valve 5.9L L6 Diesel engine into the new trucks. However, the diesel pickup movement was beginning to gather steam and Dodge's tried and true 5.9L Cummins diesel engine soon found itself out muscled , and under sized compared to the General Motors Duramax 6.6L V8 diesel, and even the problematic Ford 6.0L Powerstroke diesel. It took Dodge and Cummins a few years to catch up, but by January 2007 when the 6.7L L6 Cummins was introduced it had both Chevy and Ford beat. Fortunately K&N offers a selection of performance air intake systems for owners of 2003-2007 Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 5.9L Cummins diesel trucks as well as 2007-2009 Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 6.7L Cummins diesel trucks.

2007 Dodge Ram 3500 6.7L CUMMINS K&N cold air intake dyno chart

K&N diesel air intake 57-1557 was shown to provide a massive estimated additional gain of 20.63 HP and 43.35 lb-ft of torque to the wheels of a stock 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 6.7L CUMMINS

2003-2007 Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 5.9L Cummins diesel truck owners can choose from either a K&N roto-molded HDPE air intake system 57-1532, or one of K&N's newer diesel air intake system styles; a K&N Blackhawk Induction System 71-1532. Where these two intake options differ is that instead of an HDPE tube and traditional K&N oiled-cotton air filter, a K&N Blackhawk Induction System diesel air intake uses a mandrel-bent aluminum intake tube and a non-oiled synthetic media K&N air filter. While both diesel intake systems offer a performance boost, and a different look under the hood, K&N's roto-molded air intake tubes and traditional cotton air filters tend to perform better. In this case K&N air intake 57-1532 provided an estimated additional 10.96 horsepower and 20.17 lb-ft of torque when tested on a 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Turbo Diesel. K&N Blackhawk Induction System 71-1532 provided an estimated 8.09 HP and 14.27 lb-ft of torque when installed on a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L diesel.

2011 Ram Trucks 3500 heavy duty Cummins Diesel pickup

2010 ushered in a new generation of heavy-duty Ram 2500 & 3500 pickups as well as a restructuring of the Chrysler Corporation; owned by Fiat, Ram Trucks became its own brand

2007-2009 Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 6.7L Cummins diesel truck owners have a nearly identical choice between K&N diesel air intake system styles. K&N diesel air intake 57-1557 uses a roto-molded air intake tube with an oiled-cotton K&N air filter and was shown to provide a massive estimated additional gain of 20.63 horsepower and 43.35 lb-ft of torque to the wheels of an otherwise stock 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 6.7L CUMMINS. While the K&N Blackhawk Induction System diesel air intake 71-1557 provided an estimated increase of 9.29 horsepower and 19.11 lb-ft of torque it further illustrates the usual performance advantages that a molded HDPE tube and traditional oiled cotton K&N air filter provide. Either way, these K&N air intake systems will provide 2007-2009 Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 6.7L Cummins diesel truck owners with a guaranteed increase in power that can be felt and used in nearly every driving situation.

K&N 2010-2012 Ram Trucks 2500 & 3500 Cummins 6.7L diesel air intake

To increase power on 2010-2012 Ram Trucks 2500/3500 Cummins 6.7L diesel pickups K&N had to engineer a large free flowing covered air filter box to house a K&N high-flow air filter

2010 ushered in a new generation of heavy-duty Ram 2500 & 3500 pickups as well as a restructuring of the Chrysler Corporation, officially FCA US LLC. Now owned by holding company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ram Trucks became its own brand no longer falling under the Dodge umbrella. Now in its sixth year of production, the fourth generation Ram received a series of updates in 2013. While the 6.7L L6 Cummins diesel engine has been carried along since its introduction in 2007, both the fourth gen Ram Truck and its Cummins diesel engine have undergone enough changes to necessitate different intake systems for 2010-2012 Ram 2500/3500 Cummins powered pickups and 2013-2016 Ram 2500/3500 Cummins diesel trucks. Much of these changes revolve around increasingly tighter emissions regulations, more stringent electronic engine controls, and sensitivity to inlet air temperatures. As a result K&N has had to think outside of the box, or inside the box as was the case with fourth gen Ram diesels, when developing K&N diesel air intake systems.

K&N 2013-2016 Ram 2500 & 3500 6.7-liter Cummins diesel air intake system

K&N 2013-2016 Ram 2500 & 3500 6.7-liter Cummins diesel air intake system 63-1568 retains the stock air box but includes a K&N high-flow diesel air filter and new roto-molded air intake tube

2010-2012 Ram Trucks 2500/3500 Cummins 6.7L diesel powered pickup owners once again have a choice between a roto-molded HDPE diesel air intake system 63-1562, and a K&N Blackhawk Induction System diesel air intake system 71-1562. To increase power on 2010-2012 Ram Trucks 2500/3500 Cummins 6.7L diesel powered pickups K&N had to engineer a large free flowing covered air filter box to house a K&N high-flow air filter. The K&N roto-molded HDPE diesel air intake system incorporates a cold air intake snorkel to help draw in cooler air with an additional air source. The result is an estimated additional 8.2 horsepower and 14.76 lb-ft of torque on a 2011 Dodge Ram 2500 6.7L Turbo Diesel. While the K&N Blackhawk Induction System 2010-2012 Ram Trucks 2500/3500 Cummins 6.7L diesel air intake system does not include a cold air intake snorkel, the performance enhancements are very similar. When installed on a 2012 Dodge Ram 2500 6.7L turbo diesel, this air intake system provided an estimated additional 7.15 horsepower and 18.58 lb-ft of torque to the wheels.

K&N 2013-2016 Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 6.7-liter Cummins diesel air intake

K&N performed extensive testing on the 2013-2016 Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 6.7-liter Cummins diesel air intake and it performed better by retaining the stock Ram Active Air filter box

Keeping with the trend of increasingly tighter emissions regulations, more stringent electronic engine controls, and sensitivity to inlet air temperatures; Ram Trucks engineers had to get creative with the 2013 and later Ram Trucks 2500 and 3500 Cummins 6.7L diesel pickups. Ram Trucks engineers developed a new diesel air filter box technology that they call "Ram Active Air". The Ram Active Air box is a dual-inlet type diesel air filter box with the ability to vary the source of incoming air. In normal driving conditions air is drawn from a protected source under the hood. As under hood temperatures rise, the Ram Active Air filter box switches to a sort of cold air intake system drawing air from directly behind the truck's front grille. Ram developed this system to combat power loss in hot, dry, up-hill conditions when temperatures under the hood have been shown to climb to extreme levels.

K&N diesel air filter filtration testing

A K&N diesel air filter is typically built to higher specifications than K&N's standard automotive air filters to achieve increased airflow with high levels of filtration efficiency

K&N performed extensive testing, and each time it was apparent that the 2013-2016 Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 6.7-liter Cummins diesel equipped trucks performed better, and without sacrificing drivability, by retaining the stock Ram Active Air filter box. So K&N diesel air intake system 63-1568 for 2013-2016 Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 6.7-liter Cummins diesel trucks replaces the disposable factory air filter with a K&N high-flow diesel air filter and replaces the convoluted factory air intake ducting with a new roto-molded air intake tube.

K&N 10-year/million mile limited warranty

K&N backs its air filters and air intake systems with a 10-year/million mile limited warranty and a consumer protection pledge to give K&N users confidence in their purchase

On the dyno, the K&N 2013-2016 Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 6.7-liter Cummins diesel air intake produced an estimated additional 14.65 horsepower at 2500 rpm and a substantial 23.86 pound-feet of torque increase at 2122 rpm over the factory system when installed on an otherwise stock 2013 Ram 2500 6.7L Turbo Diesel.

Worth noting is that when K&N engineers design a diesel replacement air filter, or diesel air intake air filter, much consideration is put into improving diesel performance without sacrificing engine protection. A K&N diesel air filter is typically built to higher specifications than K&N's standard automotive air filters. Most K&N diesel air filters are made with extra deep pleats for a large surface area and additional layers of cotton to achieve high levels of filtration efficiency. K&N performs filtration efficiency testing following the internationally recognized ISO 5011 protocol to guarantee that a K&N diesel air filter will provide high airflow without sacrificing engine protection. Additionally, K&N backs its air filters and air intake systems with a 10-year/million mile limited warranty and a consumer protection pledge to give K&N users confidence in their purchase.

Additional K&N Ram Diesel performance upgrades can be found using the K&N vehicle search. Or, use this tool to find performance parts for gasoline engine powered Ram Trucks and other vehicles. K&N products can be purchased at KNFilters.com or find a nearby authorized K&N dealer using the K&N Dealer Search.


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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 30 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit knfilters.com.