We all know the blue-collar, hard-labor working man is the backbone of this country. Whether it’s a guy down in a trench welding pipe or swinging a hammer while framing a house, these guys depend on their tools to get the job done as effi ciently as possible. In today’s hard labor industries, the truck you drive can become one of the most important tools for getting your job done. Take this 2012 6.7L Cummins powered 4th Gen Ram 2500 for instance. Yes, it’s the fully loaded Longhorn Edition with air-conditioned seats and a heated steering wheel, but nobody ever said a working man doesn’t enjoy some of the fi ner things in life on occasion.

The 6.7L Cummins in the 2010 to present Ram trucks is no slouch in stock form, with gobs of torque through the midrange for towing and plenty of horsepower to get any job done. The latest emissions equipment under the hood may cause some to fear the aftermarket, but there is always room for improvement with basic bolt-ons that can improve power, drivability and even effi ciency without tampering with emissions controls. The Bully Dog RFI intake and latest BDX programmer, in conjunction with an MBRP dual-exit DPF-back exhaust, is a great place to start.
Being a 2012 model year, this Ram wasn’t equipped with the super tech Ram Active Air system on 2013+ models, so there is plenty reason to upgrade the stock airbox. Increasing airfl ow to the factory variable geometry turbocharger with the Bully Dog Rapid Flow Intake can help improve throttle response and reduce intake air temperatures, while giving you a big conical, cleanable and reusable filter.
The intake tube connecting the factory airbox to the turbocharger has this large restrictive baffl ing system within it that was designed for noise control. Since the OEM is all about keeping things as quiet in the cab, unfortunately, in some applications that can affect overall performance.
Sitting side by side on the ground, the stock intake tube (top) next to the new high fl ow intake tube (bottom) supplied with the RFI system. By removing all internal baffl es and allowing incoming air to travel freely to the turbocharger, you can expect to feel some low-end response and turbo boost at low rpm to improve. In reality, you won’t notice much if any change to in-cab noise eithe—but who doesn’t like the sound a turbo whistling away under the hood anyhow?
Thanks to the plastic injection-molded box used in the RFI kit, underhood temperatures won’t be transferred to the inside of the box or intake tube, helping keep intake temperatures to a minimum. The higher-fl owing cooler air will equate to better drivability and improved engine efficiency.

The big Dodge was just picked up off the used truck market this spring with 88,000 miles on the clock, and the new owner is a job foreman for a large construction company that builds big commercial buildings and hotels. He also has his contractor license and builds houses on the side with his father and brothers. Having a dependable truck that can help him get tools, a skid steer, track hoe, and his heavy dump trailer loaded with dirt or gravel to job sites is a must. The 6.7L Cummins has always been known for its torque output and works great for towing because of it. But one thing we’ve learned is that the vast diesel performance aftermarket will always have some parts available to improve upon that already stellar stock platform. When the EGR, DPF and urea control systems were introduced there was a big fear that the aftermarket would die off, yet nearly ten years later the aftermarket is still plugging away, with plenty of emissions-friendly products that really do work and improve upon what Ram, GM and Ford are offering off the showroom floor.

The new Bully Dog BDX programmer is simple hand-held programmer that offers some of the latest technology in the automotive tuning market. With built in Wi-Fi, custom programming calibrations and tuner updates can be done remotely via the internet without needing to plug into a PC. Custom tunes can be created by your preferred tuner, uploaded to the Bully Dog Cloud, then downloaded into the BDX for programming your truck.
Since this truck is completely stock with changes only to the intake and DPF-back exhaust, the standard pre-programmed tunes from Bully Dog will be perfect. This truck is used for work like hauling skid-steers and construction equipment around, so the Tow Tune was selected as it will offer the best low-end torque and EGT control under load. Don’t worry; the speed limiter was adjusted to a more realistic mph setting before programming.

For this build, we’ll dive into some worthwhile upgrades that can turn any 2010+ 6.7L Cummins into an even better truck for daily driving, towing and working around the job site, all while maintaining the factory emissions equipment that keeps Big Brother happy. Part One of the build starts off with the basics: intake, exhaust and tuning, along with a steering stabilizer that will eliminate the “death wobble” Dodges are sometimes known for when running at higher mileages or with bigger tires.


As with every diesel engine on the market, a good high-fl ow intake system can help improve turbo spool-up and throttle response while still offering excellent fi ltering capabilities. The Bully Dog Rapid Flow Air Intake (RFI) will remove some restriction present in the factory intake to help more cool, dense air get to that big 6.7L engine. The high-fl ow intake tube can broaden the horsepower and torque curves while keeping fuel efficiency intact due to its more effi cient airfl ow passages. The plastic box is sealed to keep ambient air out of the intake stream and the cleanable 8-layer cotton gauze fi lter offers great fi ltration.


The latest hand-held tuner from Bully Dog, the BDX offers preloaded tuning for the 6.7L Cummins that can maximize the engine’s torque curve and power output to better meet the driver’s needs, whether it’s chasing after better fuel mileage or towing that heavy skid-steer around town. The full-color display and customizable gauges can be used to monitor engine parameters while driving via the OBD-II port and a built-in Wi-Fi signal allows wireless internet upgrades and access to the Bully Dog Cloud, where custom tunes can transfer fi les build specifi c for your application without requiring a PC or laptop. For this truck, which is almost always towing heavy loads, Bully Dogs Tow tune offered a little over 50 horsepower gains at the tires without increasing EGTs too much or affecting regeneration cycles; the modifi ed fuel and timing tables have improved mileage some, too.


Since the goal of this build is to show that emissionsfriendly performance is possible with these trucks, the Diesel Particulate Filter and catalytic converter won’t be touched. But that doesn’t mean some changes to the exhaust can’t help; plus, the newest dual 5-inch polished tips and single side exhaust from the MBRP’s XP Series exhaust just look killer. The XP Series offers 409 stainless construction with a lifetime warranty, so it’ll hold up well to the elements without breaking the bank. This particular kit will replace the small factory muffler with high-fl owing 4-inch pipe, but don’t worry. In-cab noise won’t change much if at all since that big DPF will still do a really good job muffl ing the exhaust note from the Cummins engine. Using basic hand tools and help from a friend this system installed in less than an hour and fi t perfectly, including that unique dual 5-inch polished tailpipe section that really helps set the truck apart.


The 2500 and 3500 Dodge trucks have always been known for somewhat problematic front ends and steering linkages, issues that become more prevalent at higher mileages or when running larger wheels and tires. Death Wobble is a term a lot of Ram truck owners are familiar with and preventing that from ever happening is always a good idea. The BD Diesel Steering Box Stabilizer support is an inexpensive, easyto- install upgrade that will help eliminate potential wobble and wandering at high speeds by removing any shaft play within the factory steering box. By supporting the sector shaft of the steering box at the pitman arm with a large greaseable bearing, the shaft can no longer fl ex or move to create excessive play in the steering wheel, offering a more positive driving experience and improving driver confi dence, especially when towing control is important.

For the exhaust side of things, the dual-exit single-sided 4-inch DPF-back exhaust from MBRP was selected for its perfect fitment and awesome dual 5-inch stainless tip look. The 409-stainless piping comes with a lifetime warranty and fits using all factory hangers. Note that the factory muffler is being deleted since the DPF and catalytic converter already do plenty and reducing exhaust noise.
The DPF Regeneration cycles can create some pretty serious exhaust temperatures, so MBRP puts these tabs on the tailpipe section to help introduce cooler outside air into the exhaust stream before it exits the tips to help prevent heat-related issues and keep the polished tips from discoloring from excessive heat.
The DPF-back kit installed in under an hour and included all the clamps and hardware needed. Getting the stock system unbolted and removed from the truck was the longest part of the install; with just basic hand tools and the help of a friend the new MBRP system went together perfectly, and that dual tip really makes this big Ram stand out in a crowd.
While Dodge has made some improvements the Ram front end since the wander-all-over-the-road days of the second and third generations, there are still some trucks that experience some steering play at higher mileages, especially if they’re running bigger aftermarket wheels and tires. To reduce steering sector shaft play, BD Diesel offers this easy-to-install Steering Box Stabilizer.
To install the “Wobbler Stopper,” as BD refers to it, the factory pitman arm nut will be removed and replaced with the supplied sector shaft extender. This will allow a greaseable bearing to help support the shaft from excessive movement once the rest of the kit is bolted on.
The bracket bolts in place using the existing sway bar mounting locations. Simply remove the four sway bar bolts, drop the sway bar down out of the way, install the new Steering Stabilizer brace, and reinstall the sway bar using the supplied slightly longer hardware. Don’t snug anything down until the bearing is centered and moves freely on the steering shaft.
The bearing will help hold the steering shaft in place and remove all play and movement within the steering box shaft, which will offer a more positive feel in the steering wheel and quicker input response. This also helps with the high-speed wander and wobbles experienced in some Ram trucks.

These parts were all installed in a couple of hours using basic hand tools and have already made daily driving, towing, and even fuel mileage improvements. With just 33-inch tires on 18-inch wheels, the steering support has helped steering input and the added power and torque makes commuting and towing a dream. The future of this build is still looking bright with plans of installing a turnover gooseneck hitch from Curt Manufacturing, some transmission and track bar upgrades from BD Diesel, and maybe even increasing fuel capacity and equipment refueling capability with some larger on-board fuel tanks. DW





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