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98.5-02 Cummins 24V 5.9L VP-44 Tech Talk Tech Articles for the 2nd Generation Cummins 24V 5.9L VP-44 Engines.

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09-15-2007, 06:49 PM #1

Whit Join Date: Mar 2007

Location: Why-homing
Posts: 16,010

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If your truck "Bucks" under hard load or towing this is an

indication the engine is probably starving for fuel. To test fuel
delivery or pressure, install a fuel pressure gauge with a long
hose on it after the fuel filter and before the injection pump. The
long hose allows you to drive the truck and watch the gauge at 1/10
12/13/2017 DIAGNOSE THE VP44 FUEL SYSTEM* - Diesel Bombers
the same time! You can install our Low Fuel Pressure Warning
Kit and it will diagnose low fuel pressure too. To diagnose lift
pump performance click the ignition key to the start function
quickly, so the engine doesn't start, and let go, leaving the key in
the run position; the lift pump should run 25 seconds. If you don't
hear the lift pump, test for 12 volts going in to it and if it doesn't
run with 12 volts going into it, replace it. If you do hear it run and
it doesn't make at least 5 PSI replace the fuel filter. If, after
changing the filter, it DOES make at least 5 PSI go DRIVE the
truck UNDER LOAD. If it doesn't make at least 5 PSI after
changing the filter, or if you have to pressurize the fuel tank to
bleed the system to get the truck to run, then change the lift
pump. Revving it up proves NOTHING. If DRIVING UNDER LOAD
the pressure drops below 5 PSI, replace the fuel filter (if you
haven't already done so) and if that doesn't fix it, you need a new
lift pump if the fuel lines arent rusty and or sucking air. We
proved on a dynomometer in 1998 that if you have 5 PSI, under
load, you can make all the power available from a VP44. We do
not recommend running more than 12 PSI or you will diminish
fuel delivery to the rotor and make the truck run worse at high
RPM and possibly overheat and damage the fuel bypass solenoid.
This diagnosis is only for the lift pump, but is necessary for the
successful diagnosis of injection pump issues. If you dont have
enough lift pump pressure it will cause low power or bucking
under load. All other drivability issues usually are caused by the
injection pump.

If you have an intermittent "Dead Pedal" this can be caused by

either a faulty APPS (Accelerator Pedal Position Switch) or a faulty
computer on the VP44 injection pump. Since the APPS is only
$460.00 from D/C and it is cheaper than a replacement injection
pump, we recommend getting someone to "scan" the ECM (not
the PCM) in your truck to check for any DTC codes pertaining to
the APPS. If there are none pertaining to the APPS you DON'T
need an APPS, as a bad APPS always displays a code. If you dont
have access to a scan tool, the difference between a bad APPS
and an injection pump is that an APPS usually is just a flat spot at
a certain throttle opening, usually 65-70 MPH and smacking the
pedal a few times usually clears it up. This usually is worse during
cold and or wet conditions. If it is an injection pump the Dead
Pedal is dead at all throttle positions and may reset and play if
you let the pedal go to idle for a brief time and reestablish Idle
Validation. This one is most often when hot, but sometimes right
after start up when cold.

If you see the code 216, or if there are injection pump codes, or
even if you have NO codes for the injection pump AND you have
ANY of the above listed drivability complaints, YOU NEED AN
INJECTION PUMP! Code 1693 only means there are codes in the
other computer, which have NOTHING to do with the fuel system.

There are basically only two other components to the fuel system
in a VP44 fueled truck and they are the ECM (Engine Control
Module) and the injectors. Neither of these give any trouble
typically. In 13 years of doing ONLY Dodges every day I have
never seen or even heard of a bad ECM and or injector. It is highly
improbable that either component could cause any of the
aforementioned drivability issues. Symptoms are different for
these components.

The other situation that is pretty easy to diagnose is when the

truck dies driving down the road, for no apparent reason, or when
you let off the throttle, especially at high RPM. This is usually a
seized rotor in the injection pump and most common on 1998 and
1999 trucks. The cause of this failure is a poorly "deburred" rotor
which seems to have been mostly limited to those years of
manufacture. If you run any year truck out of fuel at high RPM or
heavy load you CAN seize the rotor also! If this happens to your 2/10
12/13/2017 DIAGNOSE THE VP44 FUEL SYSTEM* - Diesel Bombers
truck and you want to diagnose it simply, positively and
accurately, do the following. Loosen three injector lines at the
valve cover. Crank the engine a few times for 30 seconds and if
fuel only comes out one line or none of the lines, this indicates a
seized rotor. I know this because we proved you can not put this
pump in a hydraulic lock, so therefore fuel has to come out of an
injection line even if the rotor is not turning. If you have fuel
coming from one line only that is where the rotor is stuck. The
feeble flow is due to having only lift pump pressure moving fuel. If
you have no fuel from any line opened then it is stuck at one that
is closed. If you get fuel from all three lines you must bleed the
engine to get it to run again and then you have to figure out why
it ran out of fuel.

What the common VP44 problems are.

The housings on the VP44 wear out due to low fuel pressure from
weak lift pumps causing the diaphragm in the front of the VP44
pump to rupture. This causes the steel timing piston to vibrate in
the aluminum bore of the housing and the result in a short time is
the housing wears to the point that fuel bypasses the piston and
full advance cannot be accomplished which causes the code 216.
This makes perfect sense to me as it explains why as 24 valve
trucks get older the fuel mileage goes down steadily, and when
we replace the injection pump with one that has a new housing
we get the mileage back! In a typical competitor's rebuild, if the
case isn't worn out completely and the timing can be reached on
the test stand then it passes the test and a partly worn out case
gets to the customer, just to fail sooner. It should also be pointed
out that the replacement housings we use, have an insert for the
timing piston, which the original housings did not have. The code
216 only tells you that the housing is worn out, but does NOT
cause any drivability issues, other than lost power and fuel
mileage. As these symptoms come on slowly the driver isn't
aware of the change until they drive one of our replacement units
and get back the power and mileage.

The other component that causes almost all of the drivability

issues is the computer on the top of the injection pump. The
computer gets intermittent because of too many heat cycles.
When you shut the truck off the latent heat in the engine heats up
the computer and after many heat cycles the solder that holds the
electrical components to the circuit board of the computer
becomes crystalline and no longer makes a good electrical
connection, causing intermittent drivability issues, such as "dead
pedal", intermittent hard cold start, intermittent hard hot start
and white smoke. These drivability issues usually get so bad that
the customer finally takes the truck in for diagnosis, only to find
none of these issues create a diagnostic code or a so called DTC.
This makes it hard for the inexperienced mechanic to advise the
customer honestly or accurately.

Last edited by Whit; 09-16-2007 at 11:51 AM.

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09-15-2007, 06:55 PM #2

Whit Join Date: Mar 2007

Location: Why-homing
Posts: 16,010

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12/13/2017 DIAGNOSE THE VP44 FUEL SYSTEM* - Diesel Bombers



The best way to start this explanation is to quote an e-mail that

was found on the Cummins website. The Bosch VP44 has not
been as reliable as we had hoped. Depending on who you talk to
and who you think is being honest, you will most likely get only
some of the information you need. I will endeavor here fill in the
gaps and get you up to date and informed; the reason I can tell
you more is because Bosch had not, until 2004, allowed any
franchised dealer to do anything except to send defective pumps
back to the remanufacturing facility. Long before that Blue Chip
had dismantled many pumps to figure them out and diagnose
what failed and what caused the failure. We do not pretend to be
any where near as smart as Bosch, but since there was no
experience or information or truth out there, we felt we had to get
the best information we could any way possible. Probably the
most informative source were the applications for the patents
applicable to the VP44. It was this dismantling and learning
process that allowed us to get a patent and a performance
product to market first.

The most common MECHANICAL failure with the VP44 pump is

the cause of the code 216. This is when weak lift pumps with low
fuel pressure over a perioid of time rupture the diaphragm in the
front of the injection pump and the timing piston then vibrates
and wears the housing of the pump until fuel bypasses the piston
and full advance can no longer be attained. When full advance
can't be attained for more than 5 seconds the code 216 is set.
This means your pump has lost a lot of its power and fuel mileage
and needs to be replaced and upgraded.

The next most common MECHANICAL failure is that the rotor

seizes in the distributor section of the pump. I should note here
that all previous rotary style pumps have had this problem too, to
varying degrees. The most common cause and most accepted
reason for this failure on rotary pumps is lack of lubrication due to
running out of fuel or the possible lower lubricity of the newer low
sulphur fuels.

In the case of the VP44 it is more common for the rotor to seize in
the distributor because the pressures are MUCH higher and
therefore mechanical tolerances have to be much smaller. Add the
fact that the rotor was not "deburred" enough or correctly during 4/10
12/13/2017 DIAGNOSE THE VP44 FUEL SYSTEM* - Diesel Bombers
manufacture, and these failures can be easily explained. Under
the higher working pressure in the VP44, the edge of the slot in
the rotor deflects and interferes with the distributor. Sooner or
later the result is a galling of the two parts and then binding and
then seizure. The seizure causes the "Drive Plate" to break and
the truck stops running, never to start again until the VP44 is
replaced. There is less than a half a thousanth of an inch
clearance between the two parts, so it doesn't take much to make
the rotor interfere with the rotor. Pumps made recently (since
about 2000) are experiencing fewer of these kinds of failures, it
seems to me.

The other reason injection pumps fail is ELECTRCAL issues and

failures. These are the problems that cause 99% of the drivability
problems. The computer on the top of the VP44 is susceptible to
heat and many many heat cycles. The components on the circuit
board develop bad connections due to crystallized solder over
time and the result is intermittent hard start, white smoke and
drivability issues such as the common " Dead Pedal". Rarely can
these issues be verified or diagnosed by codes set in the ECM.

A lot of people have heard about bad lift pumps and think they
are the cause of VP44 drivability issues and therefore electrical
failures; NOT SO! Starting with the early 98s, not only were they
weak pressure wise, but also had exposed terminals on the
bottom that corrode off in salt environments. The way to tell if
you have a corrosion sensitive pump is to see if the electrical
connection is a plug on a 6-inch pigtail coming from the bottom of
the pump. If the plug is on the top cover of the pump youre all
set, for that problem anyway!

If the lift pump is not delivering fuel pressure the truck stays
running because there is a gear pump in the front of the injection
pump, which keeps the fuel flowing, albeit at a much lower
pressure than desired, and hopefully maintains lubrication to the
rotor. As long as there is return fuel flow from the injection pump
there is lubrication to the rotor, so low fuel pressure and certainly
less return fuel makes it much easier to starve the rotor for
lubrication. The only accurate way to test a lift pump is to monitor
pressure UNDER LOAD and if it is above 5 PSI, no performance is
lost and the pump is OK. If pressure is less than this, a modest
reduction in horsepower results. The usual scenerio is a customer
puts a performance box on his truck and the lift pump can't
produce enough fuel to make more horsepower, and the
performance product gets the blame.This sympton is most always
a "Buck" as opposed to a "Surge" under load.

Often people have mistakenly said that increased pressure from

add-on performance devices causes the injection pump failures.
This statement only indicates their lack of knowledge, because,
unlike most pumps, the VP44 pump does not create more fuel
delivery by increasing lift pump pressure. The VP44 creates more
fuel delivery by holding the fuel bypass solenoid closed longer.
Fuel delivery pressure is controlled by the pop off pressure of
the injector.

The reason any aftermarket device that hooks up to the solenoid

wire is blamed for the failure is that the failure 99 times out of
100 (honest numbers here) the pump fails within 20 minutes of
installing and running with power enhancement. The reason this
happens is because the fuel solenoid is held closed longer,
therefore using more length of the slot in the rotor. The slot in the
rotor overlaps a hole in the distributor to allow for different timing
and amounts of fuel to be delivered to the injector and when the 5/10
12/13/2017 DIAGNOSE THE VP44 FUEL SYSTEM* - Diesel Bombers
solenoid holds the bypass solenoid closed longer, then the high
pop off pressure is still there when the middle of the slot
overlaps the hole. The middle of the slot is the weakest area and
therefore deflects, interferes with the distributor and seizes. Pump
failure with fuel enhancement devices is not CAUSED by the
enhancement device, but PRECIPITATED by the device. WE think
this is a glass half full scenario rather than a glass half empty
one, because the potential, eventual failure can be determined
within controllable parameters, namely on the test run at higher
power, close to home or the local dealer. The other side of the coin
is, honestly, if your truck is still running 20 minutes after the
installation AND BEAT RUN, you have a 90% chance your pump
will not fail for a mechanical reason and therefore last until
electrical issues start to show.

Lastly the installation of bigger injectors; do they alleviate the

high pressure or raise the pop off pressure and therefore cause
many failures of the VP44? Absolutely NOT. They are a bigger hole
so fuel volume is increased at the same pressure. Remember fuel
pressure is controlled by Pop off pressure more than the size of
the hole! Aftermarket injectors that DO raise the pop off pressure
do not appear to cause any problems. Bigger injectors do get
more fuel into the combustion chamber sooner, therefore giving
the engine better throttle response.Bigger injectors are worth it
but not for the reason of saving the pump.

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09-15-2007, 09:23 PM #3

Uncle Bubba Join Date: Mar 2007

Location: Illinois?
Posts: 12,854


Let me add this to this guide so folks can tie all the problems
together and understand more of why these problems happen.

Fueling System Trouble Shooting Guide

This guide will start with the fuel tank and make its way step by
step through the system. I am sure there will be other things to
add to this but these are the problems I have come across.

1. Fuel Tank:

A. Rollover Protection Valve sticking shut. This will prevent your

system from being able to pull air in to replace the fuel you are
using, thus creating a vacuum. This vacuum will slowly pull your
fuel pressure down as you drive. When removing the fuel cap you
will hear the air pressure release. To test this try driving with the
cap loose and see if that corrects your problem.

B. Fuel Pickup Tube corrodes on the outside or cracks inside the 6/10
12/13/2017 DIAGNOSE THE VP44 FUEL SYSTEM* - Diesel Bombers
tank. The fuel pickup tube on the early models of 2nd generation
trucks have a tendency to corrode and leak air into the system
right on top of the module where the fuel line connects to it. If it
cracks on the inside your truck will run fine until your fuel level
gets below the crack. Then it will pull air mixed with the fuel. This
is the same thing as putting a hole in your drink and trying to
suck through it, you will get some drink but it is mixed with air.
This will create low fuel pressure and a loss of power.

C. Fuel Pickup Screen clogs with debris inside the tank. On the
bottom of the pick up tube is a fine mesh screen that sometimes
will clog itself up if you have gotten bad fuel. This will sometimes
fall lose when you shut the truck off and then re-occur as your
driving. No real way to diagnose this except to get inside your
tank and check it.

2. Lift Pump:

A. There is only one thing to say about the stock OEM lift Pumps,
regardless of which type you have. They are not sufficient to
provide enough dependable fuel flow to the VP44 to keep it cooled
off. If you are running any type of performance mods this just
increases the weakness of the stock system. A fuel pressure
gauge that is visible to you as you drive is the only assurance you
can have to know if your lift pump is functioning properly. You can
have 20psi at idle, but when you get on the go pedal that could
drop to 0psi and then the very expensive VP44 is on its way to the
graveyard. If you only do one Mod to your truck, make it a fuel
pressure gauge.

3. Fuel Filter:

A. The Water Drain Valve sometimes leaks fuel. If your lucky you
can jiggle it around and break lose whatever is blocking it from
closing completely, if not it will need to be replaced.

B. Seals go bad. Many of us have a tendency to change the filter

but not use the new seals that come with the filter. It is important
to change these to maintain to maintain an air tight seal.

4. Injector Pump:

A. Also known as the VP44, the injector pump is fuel cooled. The
lift pump is expected to not only pump enough fuel to feed your
injectors but enough excess to provide cooling action to this
pump. The main failures to this pump are to the electronics that
overheat and lose there ability to control the fuel flow. There are
many different symptoms associated with this. Among them are a
noticeable loss of power, loss of fuel mileage, hard starting when
warm and/or a code of 0216 on the code reader.

B. Fuel Pressure Regulator is nothing more than a banjo bolt on

the outgoing side of the fuel flow that maintains 14psi of fuel
inside the VP44. If this goes bad it could either stick in the open
or closed position or just get weak and not hold enough fuel
pressure to the pump. If it sticks open or gets to weak to
maintain pressure it will let the fuel just bypass the pump and
return thru to the tank, not feeding the injectors. This will result
in low to no power situation. Many $1000 pumps have been
replaced because this $12 banjo bolt went bad. Test it before you
replace the pump!!!

5. Banjo Bolts:

A. You have several Banjo Bolts throughout the fueling system. 7/10
12/13/2017 DIAGNOSE THE VP44 FUEL SYSTEM* - Diesel Bombers
These are the most restricting part of the fuel system. They are
just a brass bolt with a hole drilled through the length of it and
another that meets it drilled high on the threads to meet together.
They allow fuel to pass through this hole when transitioning
between fuel lines and the components on your truck. There are
two on the fuel filter, two on the VP44 and two on the lift pump.
Some people have drilled the hole out bigger on these bolts to
allow more fuel and some have replaced them with High Pressure
fittings and gotten rid of them all together. The only one you cant
do anything with is the Fuel Pressure Regulator bolt, which is the
outgoing line on the VP44. resulting in codes being thrown and
eventually putting your VP44 into self protection/limp mode.
Last edited by DB Admin; 11-19-2009 at 07:17 AM.

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09-26-2007, 08:22 PM #4

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Posts: 144

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check this one, have a load of pic's

10-24-2007, 07:08 PM #5

Whit Join Date: Mar 2007

Location: Why-homing
Posts: 16,010

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*Defective VP44 Engine Codes

Tampering with the The retrieval of codes does not constitute an
engine diagnosis. However, there are some codes that usually
indicate a defective injection pump. A current P1688 always
means that the pump is bad, there is no further diagnosis
required. Code P0216 is probably the most common code for VP-
44 Pumps. If transfer pump pressure has been checked and is
O.K., the injection pump is defective. Other codes that are less
common are P0180, P0181, P0215, P0251, P0252, P0253,
P0254, P0370, P1287, P1689 and P1690. These codes 8/10
12/13/2017 DIAGNOSE THE VP44 FUEL SYSTEM* - Diesel Bombers
USUALLY, but not always indicate a defective pump. There are
wiring and power checks to be performed if these codes are
present. These codes relate to Dodge pickups only, and are not
for any other ISB application.

11-19-2009, 01:33 AM #6

Uncle Bubba Join Date: Mar 2007

Location: Illinois?
Posts: 12,854


Check out these threads for more info on these issues and the
Timbo APPS. Seems as though a noise filter also fixes some of

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