Dodge 440 to 5.9 Cummins Diesel conversion

Started by Wantawinnie, October 16, 2012, 12:28 AM

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My only suggestion would be to possible change the current tip out on the exhaust with a down tip to reduce the potential for sooting on the side of the motorhome :)
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in [url=http://


The tip sticks out about 2" from the body. I will see how it goes as I just used pieces that were free to build the exhaust. I will probably get some type of tip for it down the road to spruce it up some.(or maybe big dual stacks LOL)


Quoteor maybe big dual stacks LOL

Now thats an image thats hard to get out of your mind.    Hm?    Just make sure you place anti-burn protection around them   ;)


I did exactly the same thing Lefty did.  Got a nice gash for it.  I cut back the pipe a bit and put a stainless-steel tip on it which extended out maybe an inch or so from the edge of the rig.  I specifically chose one with rounded in edges!
1969 D22, 2 x 1974 D24 Indians, 1977 27' Itasca


Got the tranny up to temp today and it needed 2 more quarts of fluid. Then I took a little cruise around the block. It didn't want to shift out of first right away for some reason. On the last straight section coming back to the shop it finally shifted out of low and it was like getting shot out of a cannon. I think it is going to be fine powerwise. I will have to check on the shifting delay. The trans has been sitting dry for a couple years so maybe something was just sticky.


  • Marvel Mystery Oil  D:oH! :)rotflmao


I think the kickdown linkage needs to be loosened up some, at least that is a starting point. It is running sweet otherwise.


I was gonna say sounds like a throttle pressure issue to me.....ya beat me to it.
We call our coach "Charlie Brown"


The first test drive is done!

Re-engineered my kick down linkage a little and it shifts nice now. The brakes are working better but still need to be checked out before any serious trips.

With that stuff done it was finally time for a drive. The transmission shifts firmly and the aftermarket converter responds nicely. 1st gear shift is around 15-20mph, 2nd gear shift is 30-35mph, and 3rd gear(drive) is maxed out at 50mph. Manually shifting the factory overdrive at about 45mph seems to be about right but it will work fine at lower speeds too. 60 MPH is just about right in overdrive and it doesn't feel underpowered or sluggish.

I had a little trouble getting power to the gear vendor on my first 2 test drives so it wasn't used. Figured out the power issue on the 3rd run and it worked great. The gear vendor electronics shift it into overdrive automatically or you can shut it off and go manual if you want. For speeds up to 55mph the electronic shifts are perfect and the gear vendor overdrive feels right in the diesels powerband. Only got a little driving with this gear but I think that it is going to be used a lot for hill climbing.

The factory overdrive and gear vendor worked well together and should be a good interstate or level highway gear.

Temperatures were in the low 70's today and the engine ran in the 170-180 range the whole time, transmission pan temps on the road varied between 150-180 with hill climbing. Turbo boost was maxed at about 23psi on the hills and varied between 5-15psi cruising. There really was no diesel smoke that I could see in the mirror and overall I am happy with the power. I could play with the pump a little and probably gain some power but it feels good as is for now.

The noise level is not bad in the rig. The exhaust has a nice deep tone and you can hear the turbo whistle but, I like that. This swap was a lot of work and today made it all worth it.


I've been following this thread and all I can say is WOW!!!  Congrats on the success, GREAT JOB!!!

All I can add is, when ya commin to do mine?   ;)



Outstanding!!!  Once you get the brakes dialed in and take it for a long drive, we can't wait to hear what you are getting for gas mileage!  (or diesel!)

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


Right on.  Congrats on your continuing success.



Congratulations !! :)ThmbUp  When you make your first trip be on the look out for Hmmmm I never gave that a thought Gremlins  Good Luck  Frank :)clap
"The Journey is the REWARD !"
Member of 15 years. We will always remember you, Frank.


Thanks for all the encouragement through this conversion. I am afraid that I look forward more to driving it than camping in it. lol

A few more odds and ends and it is back to the interior renovation......


Well, 98 miles on it and so far so good. Time to get back to the interior renovation soon.


Went for a short ride today and ran across the scales. Rig weighed 12,000lbs with me in it. Still need to put the fridge, couch, matresses, and other things in. GVW is listed at 14,000lbs. Fuel tank is about half full and all other tanks are empty.

Overall, the performance is not bad for a 12,000lb brick.


Well done. :)ThmbUp It's been and adventure just fallowing your progress. Nice job.


Congratz on the build.. I've enjoyed reading it as you went along. Looking forward to the next chapter "Interior Restoration"
Now, you should build a bio-diesel processor plant and make your own fuel... it costs about $.70/gal. to make it if you can get a few restaurants lined up for a steady supply of oil.
I've been seriously looking into it lately...since I got the F-350 Turbo Diesel Dually.
The non-computer controlled engines are perfect candidates, as they can run up to 100% bio-diesel.
I reserve the right to reject your reality and substitute my own...


Any more road tests yet or long trips?

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


Not much to report on the drivetrain, probably got about 150 miles on it total. I do start it once or twice a week just to hear it run. :)

I've been working on the interior renovations as it is not ready for any kind of camping in the current state. In hindsight I probably should have bought a rig that was ready to go once the diesel swap was done. On the other hand when it is completely finished it will be exactly what we want.


Hey wanna, I was just looking thru old posts to see if i saw them all , On your question about 3 position switches, My 2001 Dodge 1500 with factory fog lights Has a H/L switch that has 4 positions Off  (full rotation left) Park one click right H/L two clicks right And pull out in either position fog lights Automaticly pulls in when rotated full left to off  This would give you all connections necc. Mounting would be the biggest problem . You would prob have to go to a dealer to see one . Also on the subject of the vented fuel cap when i examined mine, someone had already vented it by grinding off part of the inside opening it to atmosphere , It has never shown any sign of a leak that i noticed Frank
"The Journey is the REWARD !"
Member of 15 years. We will always remember you, Frank.


Hey guys! Still around....this winter has totally sucked for working on the rig. Still plugging away on interior items.


Captain of the Ground Ship "Aluminum Goose"
28' Holiday Rambler Imperial 28


I finally have a little bit of driving data to report on the diesel conversion. The rig has been at the mechanics and received all new rear brakes and new seals in the rear axle. Just got it back so over the weekend I made a 170 mile round trip to get my flooring done. It was the first real venture away from home.

The route I took ended up being almost a worst case senario for fuel economy. I encountered several 6% grades, hilly areas, winding back roads, road construction, detours, and a bunch of small towns to pass through. I did not baby the throttle on the hills and could not use the overdrive or double overdrive nearly as much as I would have liked. Even with all of that going against me the 12000lb.+ rig pulled off 11.3mpg on the trip. I was getting 5-6mpg running 55-60mph on the interstate with the 440 prior to the swap.

I really think that if I can get it out on the highway and just cruise that 14mpg will be possible at about 60mph. The double overdrive is much more usable that I thought it would be. There were a couple sections of road where I was able to use it for a few miles and it felt good in the 60 to 62mph range.

One thing that suprised me is the gear vendor setup. I ended up using the gear vendor 0.78 overdrive way more than I thought. In town driving it proved to be very valuable. I used it in the automatic mode most of the time so it shifted to overdrive on its own. There were occasions where the factory overdrive of 0.69 was a little better gear so I used that. 

Overall, it was a nice shakedown trip and all of the conversion items seemed to perform well. I will keep updating as I find out more.


Outstanding!  Sounds like a setup like that would save us a lot of money in fuel, since we are always making long trips on the highways.

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.