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The Best 12V Cummins Performance Upgrades [+How to Install Them]

Make your engine feel brand new again with our 12V Cummins performance upgrades. We’ve gathered three optimal upgrades, including a turbocharger, injection pump, and nitrogen oxide sensor.

All these upgrades are designed to optimize your vehicle’s performance.

They are not expensive and can be easily installed, but if you don’t know how to install any of these upgrades, then we’ve also got a short guide to help you install them.

Why Install Performance Upgrades on a 12V Cummins?

Performance Boost

Getting new performance upgrades is the easiest way to make your vehicle feel brand new again

Extend Lifespan

Some parts of your vehicle might need some upgrading. So it would be helpful to replace them to extend your car’s lifespan

Fun

The car community loves modifying their vehicles. It is just entertaining to push your vehicle’s limits and see what you can accomplish

It’s Cheap

You don’t have to drop thousands of dollars to upgrade your car. There are many cheap and reliable aftermarket parts to choose from

Best Turbocharger for 12V Cummins

We know that not everybody enjoys installing 5.9 Cummins 12 valve performance upgrades.

After all, most stock cars work just fine. However, as time goes by, all these stock parts might not cut it anymore.

Perhaps you want to get more power out of your vehicle. Or you might want to make your car more reliable.

Whatever the reason might be, the turbocharger or turbo is a terrific way to increase your horsepower.

This is achieved by burning more gas more quickly, which gives drivers more power.

01. Blackhorseracing ER26508 Turbocharger

 

Highlighted Features

  • Boost horsepower
  • Reinforced turbo
  • OEM-like build
  • Fuel economy improvement

The best turbocharger for your 12V Cummins is available from Blackhorseracing.

This unit is designed to boost your performance and fuel economy, making it an excellent performance upgrade.

By installing this unit, you will have better fuel economy and torque output.

This performance upgrade feels pretty solid. It doesn’t feel like you’re reducing your vehicle’s lifespan.

You’re just adding a well-built turbo that makes your riding experience better.

Reviewers have also expressed a significant boost after the installation.

The 12V Cummins is pretty good on its own, but this turbocharger upgrade makes a world of difference.

However, you might need other upgrades to make it work.

We wouldn’t say that the installation is easy since it requires a lot of work, but they’ve made it so you wouldn’t waste any time adjusting your parts to fit this turbo inside your car. All parts match OEM.

Better yet, this unit holds up pretty well. It is designed to withstand external damage, so you shouldn’t worry about replacing it any time soon.

“As we noted, it takes a lot of time to install this unit, it is not necessarily hard, but it’s a shame they didn’t include any instructions. You’re kind of on your own.”

Pros

  • Massive performance boost
  • Matches OEM
  • Reliable performance
  • Holds up well

Cons

  • Does not include instructions

How to Install a Turbocharger on a 12V Cummins

  1. First, remove the engine cover, intercooler, and then the blow-off valve. Next, remove the heat shield.
  2. Now jack up the vehicle, get underneath, and then remove the downpipe. With that out of the way, kindly remove the oil feed line from the turbo.
  3. When that’s done, remove the water supply lines. You should now be able to remove the turbo.
  4. Now you can begin the installation. First, put the gasket on your vehicle, and then install the replacement on top of the gasket.
  5. Install the oil and water lines and make sure to tighten them. Once again, get underneath the car and install the downpipe. After that, reinstall the heat shield, intercooler, and blow-off valve.
  6. To make sure that everything is working, bleed the cooling system. Once that’s done, put the engine’s cover back on, and you should be good to go.

For more information about turbochargers, watch this video:

Best Injection Pump for 12V Cummins

Simply put, your injection pump keeps the engine running smoothly, and it also controls how much fuel is allowed inside the system.

Although this injection pump is pretty durable (usually lasts about 100,000 miles), it can stop working from time to time and cause countless problems like low fuel pressure.

So, if you’ve noticed that your engine is acting up, it might be time to replace your stock injection pump.

02. Karbay P7100 Injection Pump

 

Highlighted Features

  • Iron-based injection pump
  • Beginner-friendly installation
  • Performance boost
  • Smooth performance

The Injection pump can malfunction for several reasons. But regardless, they make a whole mess when that happens.

So, get this model from Karbay to avoid problems. It is one of our favorite 12 valve Cummins horsepower upgrades.

If you’re installing several performance upgrades on your 12V Cummins, the injection pump is a must. Otherwise, you won’t get much out of your upgrades.

Installing this unit is not necessarily hard, but it isn’t a walk in the park. They included everything you need, so you shouldn’t spend too much time looking up stuff.

But apart from that, we’d say that this unit feels pretty solid.

In fact, reviewers seem to be pretty happy about the durability of this performance upgrade. It doesn’t feel cheap, and it just gets the job done.

As for the performance, you should notice some improvement after getting this thing up and running.

But, as we said, you need one of these if you plan to add a bunch of performance upgrades.

“We love this unit, but we noticed that it has too much spring tension, which can be problematic. However, this seems to be more of a problem for older vehicles.” 

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Massive boost
  • Durable design
  • Sits well with performance upgrades

Cons

  • High spring tension

How to Install an Injection Pump on a 12V Cummins

  1. First, disconnect your battery. Next, unplug the bracket on the throttle linkage, and then remove it.
  2. See the fuel drain manifold and fuel lines? Unplug them all.
  3. You should now be able to disconnect the fuel-air control tube and the electrical connector. And finally, remove the bracket and oil fill tube. After that, unplug the retaining nut and washer.
  4. Turn the crankshaft until you notice that the keyway of the fuel pump is facing downwards. Now squeeze the dead center pin on your crankshaft as you’re turning the key by hand.
  5. As soon as the pin falls into the timing hole, stop turning the crankshaft.
  6. Your injection pump has a lock screw. Once you find it, loosen it and then remove the washer. Next, tighten it again.
  7. Now remove the drive gear and mounting nuts. You should now be able to pull out the injection pump and gasket.
  8. After completing all these steps, install the gasket and injection pump and then tighten the mounting nuts. Now reinstall the drive gear and then tighten the retaining nut.
  9. Next up, turn the injection pump counterclockwise and then tighten all the nuts to hold it together.
  10. Once again, loosen the lock screw to install the washer. Finally, tighten the lock screw.
  11. You can now remove the top dead center pin located on the timing hole. Reinstall the bracket and then tighten the bolt to secure the unit. Next, install your oil filler and electrical connector.
  12. Now install the fuel-air control and fuel lines. Remember the fuel drain manifold and throttle linkage? Well, now reinstall these two and then reconnect your battery.
  13. See the bleed bolt on your fuel pipe? Turn it clockwise. Now bleed the air from your fuel system. When that’s done, tighten the bleed bolt.

Best Nitrogen-Oxide Sensor for 12V Cummins

The nitrogen-oxide sensor is just a device made to detect nitrogen oxides. This sensor is a part of your emission system. But what does it mean to detect nitrogen oxides?

Well, nitrogen oxides are harmful pollutants that do nasty stuff to the environment. With this sensor, you can heavily decrease the pollutants being released into the atmosphere.

But even if you don’t care about all that stuff, you need to replace this sensor if it ever stops working. Why? Because your vehicle will go into limp mode.

03. Bds ‎3687930/5WK9 6740B Nitrogen Oxide Sensor

 

Highlighted Features

  • Fuel economy boost
  • Pollutant reduction
  • Beginner-friendly installation
  • Performance improvement

You should never drive with a damaged nitrogen oxide sensor since you could damage the engine.

So, getting 12V Cummins performance upgrades like this nitrogen oxide sensor from Bds should be your main priority.

That said, this sensor makes a world of difference. This is all thanks to its optimal design, which several boosts your fuel economy. This means that drivers can save a lot of money on gas.

Besides, this unit heavily reduces all the emissions that vehicles emit from the exhaust.

So this is a win-win since it improves your fuel economy and saves the environment.

This unit is not hard to install. You do have to weld it on, but this doesn’t take much time. Otherwise, expect to pay close to $200 for the installation.

As far as the quality of this unit goes, we’d give it a 10 out of 10. It delivers what it promises and feels pretty sturdy.

Also, this unit matches OEM, which makes the installation even easier.

“Our only issue with this unit is that it’s nowhere as durable as OEM. It is pretty sturdy but far from the original equipment.”

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Solid build
  • Mind-blowing upgrade
  • fuel economy

Cons

  • Not as reliable as OEM

How to Install a Nitrogen-Oxide Sensor on a 12V Cummins

  1. The nitrogen-oxide sensor is located on the driver side of the exhaust. You should be able to spot it if you look above the driveshaft.
  2. That said, get your oxygen sensor wrench and get a firm grip on the unit and remove it. If you can’t get it off, try spinning it until it comes off.
  3. After that, disconnect the electrical connector and then remove the nuts from the frame rail. You should now be able to remove the other end of the sensor.
  4. Now you can install the new sensor. That said, start by installing the sensor part and then install the other end of the sensor on the frame rail.
  5. Please double-check for any trouble codes and follow any additional steps required by your manufacturer.

If you’re having trouble getting through these steps, refer to this video:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Got any questions about all the 12v Cummins performance parts we covered above? Then here’s a small section with helpful information:

How do I get more power out of my Cummins?

The easiest way to get more power out of your engine is to install new upgrades.

This means that you should get things like a cold air intake, turbocharger, nitrogen-oxide sensor, oil cooler, radiator hose, and so on.

How much HP does a turbo add?

This can change depending on how many upgrades you’ve installed on your vehicle. But on average, expect to get about 70-150 horsepower.

How long does a NOx sensor last?

Most NOx sensors can last about 50,000 to 100,000 miles. But this could change depending on how well you maintain your engine.

But if this sensor were to fail, you’d experience problems like high fuel consumption and engine failure.

How to know if my injector pump is bad?

If there’s a problem with the injector pump, the engine might not start.

In some cases, drivers might be able to start up the vehicle, but it will randomly stall as they go down the road. But in other cases, it might take forever to start.

Conclusion

Getting 12V Cummins performance upgrades is a must for any driver. This engine is known for being extremely efficient.

However, after so many years, we know that it gets to a point where it begins to show its age.

With the upgrades we chose, you can get past these limitations and make your vehicle feel better.

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