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2000 Dodge Dakota R/T bunch of mods
In contrast to our last two articles that only dealt with a single modification, for this installment we look at what happens when you do a lot. The test automobile is a 2000 Dodge Dakota RT. For a truck, you get some nice performance with this thing. The mods were many and include: Mopar computer, 52 mm throttle body, Mopar performance headers, 1.7 roller rockers, MSD 6A ignition, K&N Gen II intake, and the ubiquitous Flowmaster cat-back exhaust. It would have been nice to get separate dyno runs after each mod, but we will just have to look at the whole package.

As you can probably guess, this truck picked up a lot of power after these modifications. On average, it gained 17% which turns out to be about 30 horse power and 30 ft-lbs of torque (rear wheel of course). If you use a generous 15% drive loss, then this truck is pumping out about 275 HP at the flywheel. That's a substantial gain.

There are a lot of components to talk about, but they can be broken down into 3 groups: flow, engine, and computer. All the easy bolt-ons were done on the flow side. The air intake, t-body, headers, and exhaust we are changed. Not much more to do there. Then the ignition system and roller rockers were replaced and finally the computer. I would have liked to see what the Unichip from our last article would have done to this setup, but we are stuck with the Mopar computer which probably does the more traditional programming.

Even though this is an impressive gain, it came at an impressive cost. A quick, back of the envelope calculation shows about $3k for just the parts and quite a bit for the installation considering headers being done as part of the job. Our Unichip mod from the last article picked up 30 RWHP at a cost of about $600. Ultimately, I would have expected more from a package like this. If you use "traditional/conservative" numbers you would expect 5 hp from the exhaust, 10 hp from the intake, 1 for the ignition, roller-rockers are hard to predict - let's say 5 hp for the sake of argument, 10 hp from the headers, 5 hp from the t-body, and 5-10 hp from the computer for a total of over 40. This tells me that you are approaching a wall with the general design since it picked up 30. No matter what you do on the intake and exhaust side, there is an inherent limitation here until you go in a mess with the engine. I think that this truck has reached a plateau with bolt-on mods. To get anything else, you would have to get exotic and throw on a supercharger. Money aside, this is an impressive ride that has all the bells and whistles.




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