How To Equip A 5.9-Liter Cummins With A VGT Turbo: BD’s Howler Kit

Today, we’re going to talk about Variable Geometry Turbo’s (VGT) on your 5.9-Liter Cummins-powered truck. Wait, what? Pump the brakes. You mean, factory exhaust brake and VGT off the 6.7-Liter trucks? Yes. BD Diesel Performance heard, listened, and delivered. The all-new 5.9-Liter Howler VGT Kit is now available and this will certainly be a game-changer.

The 5.9 trucks obviously didn’t come with a VGT and we’re here to tell you why you should have one. What exactly are you gaining from having a Howler VGT kit on your 5.9? The factory turbo on the 6.7-liter trucks has proven to be great at reliability, making more horsepower, and drivability.

This is changing the game for all of the 5.9-Liter Cummins trucks.

Firstly, the quick spool-up time offers easy drivability. The variability of the turbo, or the adjustments of the turbine housing, allows these turbos to act like both large and small A/R. Down low, with a smaller A/R, this allows the turbo to quickly spool up whereas, at higher speeds, the A/R can be larger when your turbo needs to breathe and reduce drive pressure.

Secondly, this not only reduces drive pressure but it also protects the turbo from overspeeding in high boost, high wheel speed situations due to the turbo vanes movement. On top of all of this is, in my opinion, the best part of it all. By being able to open and close the vanes on the turbo, you have now a usable exhaust brake. No adding an exhaust brake to your current setup, this Howler VGT kit is the entire package.

There are actually a few different ways you can utilize this kit or its parts. There is the BD Diesel Howler Retro-Fit kit with an OEM HE351 and a kit with BD’s powerful Screamer HE351VE. Determining which kit is best for you really depends on what you’re after for power and what you do with the truck. The biggest factor in their determination is do you have the truck modified already?

  • Stock Injector
  • Stock CP3
  • Tuner or Custom Tuning Only
  • Regularly Tow

If you’re falling in this category, BD Diesel recommends you go with their 60-MM OEM HE351 kit. This turbo kit will allow you to still tow, free from tuning changes, and will handle up to 500-horsepower. This is 100-percent a daily drivable turbo and will cover your needs exceptionally.

  • Dual or Stroker Cp3 Injection Pump(s)
  • Tune or Custom Tuning
  • Large Fuel Injectors
  • Fun Daily Driver

If you fall under this, you’re going to want to step into the realm of the 64-MM HE351 Screamer. If you can remember back when we installed one of these on Project TowBoat, you’ll know this is the exact same turbo and it is an absolute monster. The spool was instantaneous and it makes excellent power throughout the entire powerband.

This is also 100-percent daily drivable and capable of towing and having fun with. This is a complete package for you guys wanting to work the truck, have fun with the truck, and have a reliable setup.

If you want to equip your 5.9 with a VGT turbo, there are multiple ways. You can do it yourself, find your own parts and just utilize the standalone controller, you can buy the entire installation kit minus a turbo, or you can buy the all out ready to bolt-on kit with either the OEM HE351 or the Screamer. The choice is yours.

5.9L HOWLER VGT CONTROLLER KIT – DODGE 2003-2007
This is exactly what it says it is. This is BD’s plug and play VGT controller that enables the use of the VGT, 6.7-Liter Cummins turbo on the older 5.9-Liter Cummins trucks. What’s included? Integrated exhaust brake control with the included toggle switch, full wiring harness that is plug and play, built-in safety defaults the vanes open if erroneous sensor data is received, and it doesn’t require an OBD port connection.
The control module itself monitors sensor inputs and will constantly be on overwatch controlling vane position for optimal spool up, commands boost based on throttle position to maximize cruising fuel economy, and wheel speed control that protects the turbo from overspeeding.

5.9L HOWLER VGT COMPLETE INSTALL KIT C/W CONTROLLER – DODGE 2003-2007
You have got your own turbo and just want the kit to make it all work. Great news. This is it. The BD Howler install kit comes everything necessary to install your turbo correctly onto your 5.9. This includes the controller, oil feed and drain lines, exhaust manifold, exhaust manifold gaskets, downpipe flange, and a EGR port plate.
5.9L HOWLER PERFORMANCE VGT TURBO KIT – DODGE 2003-2007
This is the exact kit shown above with the exception of the turbocharger options. Again, you get the choice of an OEM HE351 or a Screamer Turbo. You can enjoy the drivability of a modern VGT turbo, the exhaust brake with 65-PSI of exhaust back pressure, and will support up to 675-horsepower at the crank.
  • Utilizes a brand new Holset VGT actuator
  • Ballistic Billet 64.5-mm 7+7 blade compressor wheel and Low MOI QST 70mm 12-blade turbine wheel
  • The QST Turbine wheel as a 15% reduction in MOI (moment of inertia) which results in quicker turbo response
  • QST turbine Blade thickness decreased by 25% allowing for higher turbine gas flow and increased efficiency
  • High-performance thick-walled exhaust manifold included
  • Faster spool up than conventional turbo
  • VSR high speed balanced

Screamer’s Low MOI QST Turbine Design

The larger Ballistic Billet compressor wheel and their new and exclusive Low MOI QST turbine design results in reduced back pressure, quicker response, increased efficiency, and increased turbine flow. We have never heard of this because it is so new and so we dove deeper into this with BD’s Research And Development head, Christian Roth.

The image shown is from we installed our own Screamer onto Project TowBoat. You can see the quality of both the charger and the manifold that you would receive.

“Moment of Inertia is the parameter of the turbine of a turbocharger that determines acceleration performance and turbo lag. With BD’s Low Moment Of Inertia design, the MOI is reduced by 15-percent which results in much quicker turbo response,” said Roth.

He continued, “BD’s Quick Spool Technology, or QST, is a mixture of our precision-crafted turbines that reduce MOI by 15-percent and reduce turbo blade thickness by 25-percent.” With a lighter blade, less moment of inertia, you’re guaranteed to see increased efficiency from your turbo with higher turbine gas flow.

This is exciting news for basically the entire 5.9-Liter enthusiast’s group. There are hundreds of thousands of these trucks out there on the road just waiting to breathe better, perform better, and you deserve to feel the power. For more information about the BD Diesel Performance Howler VGT kit, be sure and check out their website here. Stay tuned for more of the hottest parts coming out of the BD Diesel camp in the very near future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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