Dreaded Check Engine Light

Modern vehicles are typically great, but they are also complex, computer-controlled, and sometimes have unexplained gremlins.

Thankfully I was able to clear these codes on my 2014 Ram 2500 crew cab, on the second attempt, and they’ve stayed away for the last 10 days. There were zero drivability problems, and who knows what triggered the errors. Fingers crossed.

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James Langan, December 2020

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Dodge Ram Cummins 30 month oil change interval

 

Changing the oil in my fourth generation Ram/Cummins trucks (and Toyota 4Runner) is so easy with the NoSpill Systems drain plug kit; I love them. The gallon freezer bag trick also works great to capture the oil filter, which is easily accessed through the wheel well on manual transmission fourth generation Rams.

This Chevron Delo 400 5W-40 oil had been in the engine of this 2014 Ram 2500 for 14,700 miles, many miles but not excessive based on the guidelines for the platform. However, it took 30 months to accumulate those miles because we have a few vehicles, and I work from home and don’t have a daily commute. Should I have changed it sooner? Maybe.

I’m well aware that Cummins and Ram recommend an oil change interval of six months on these trucks if the mileage recommendation is not met before. This has always seemed excessive and I’ve preferred one year as a general guide. Of course, if one is concerned about meeting warranty standards they probably want to follow the manufacturers’ rules.

Anyone want to bet against me, and take the position that the oil was excessively deteriorated, contaminated, and in bad condition because of the time-in-service? Even if someone was willing, my morals wouldn’t let me take their money. While the results are pending, based on past experiences and testing, I’m confident all will be fine. We shall see.

Oil samples submitted for analysis from both my late-model Ram/Cummins (2014 & 2017) and a 2006 Toyota V8, and other rigs I no longer own, have shown that time is not the old bugaboo that many still fear. At least not for my uses and practices.

Data from some recent samples have shown that theoretically excessive time-in-service did not damage the oil in my applications. Of course duty-cycle does matter, and if one rarely gets engines up to full operating temperature, or makes repeated, excessively-short trips, total time might be a concern. Your environment may matter too. You’ll have to be your own judge.

Stay tuned, the results from this most recent analysis, and those from previous tests, will interest many and might dispel myths.

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James Langan, December 2020

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Resources:

NoSpill Systems (Original and BEST, Made in Canada with U.S. materials! Not the knock-off.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cummins Fuel Filters

See a dealer for “fuel system service required” because the fuel filters need to be replaced? 

No thanks, I’ll do it faster, better, and cheaper myself, with OEM Mopar/Fleetguard filters I buy from Geno’s Garage.

The billet aluminum fuel filter canister cap in the engine compartment is also from Geno’s Garage.

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James Langan, December 2020

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Geno’s Garage Dodge/Ram/Cummins parts

 

ARB Differential Breather Kit

ARB Differential Breather Kit.

It’s not news that oil and water don’t mix, but if it happens inside a driveline component and you are unaware, the results will eventually be catastrophic. The factory differential breathers on late-model Rams are raised slightly, to near the top of the tires, which is good enough for most folks. Hopefully that would be plenty for me too, as I’m not a fan of playing in deep water or soupy mud. However, it has happened before, including an unfortunate loss of forward progress that lasted hours. Being an ounce-of-prevention guy, I chose to be proactive regarding keeping the H2O out of my gearing lubricants.

For decades I have extended the breathers for driveline components using small, inexpensive air or fuel filters, but a few years ago ARB introduced a most tidy aftermarket solution that I’ve used since. Employing the same filter as their 12-volt air compressors, ARB makes a neat aluminum manifold into which their filter and extended vent lines attach. Vent tubing and fittings are also supplied, and the kit retails for $72.

Aluminum manifold block and air filter.

For the 2017 Ram/Cummins 2500 Pack Mule with Hallmark flatbed camper, I mounted the ARB manifold at the top left of the engine compartment, similar to my 2014 Ram, but I drilled a new hole this time. Using the OE rubber vent hose as my start, the rear axle breather line was extended using ARB’s plastic vent tubing, first inside the Hillsboro flatbed frame, then along the truck frame under the cab and up into the engine compartment. The front differential vent was extended the short distance from near the left front shock, and the transfer-case breather was raised from atop that gearbox into the engine compartment. A trained eye might notice the ARB Differential Breather Kit as aftermarket, but it’s very tidy and clean.

Low, factory vent hoses/caps can get clogged with goop, snow, or ice, causing housing pressure that can lead to leaks. Mounted in this spot, the filter just clears the closed hood.

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James Langan

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Resource:

ARB USA

Cummins Engine Plant, Columbus, Indiana

Oscar The Pack Mule, with Hallmark flatbed camper, at CMEP, the Cummins Midrange Engine Plant, during 100th Anniversary Celebrations.

I was in Columbus, Indiana, for the 100th anniversary of the Cummins Engine Company, and the Turbo Diesel Register Rallly.

It will take me a while to sort through all the content I created, but I’m sharing some iphone snaps here and on Instagram. (Heck, I still have material from Overland Expo West I have not finished sharing.)

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James Langan

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Toyo Tires Open Country C/T First Rotation

Great, slow wear thus far on these 35-inch Toyo C/T commercial grade, Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake traction treads.

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James Langan

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Resource:

Toyo Tires