Ram 1500 3.0 EcoDiesel engine

Dodge 3.0 EcoDiesel Performance Upgrades Ultimate Guide

Chandler Stark

Meet Chandler

Chandler is an automotive expert that joined the DieselIQ and 8020 Media teams in 2022. He’s been working on and modifying cars from a young age and has a passion for JDM builds. However, Chandler is also a big fan of American muscle & diesel trucks. He delivers endless automotive knowledge and hands-on experience, and is a seasoned writer who spends some of his free time writing for The Grunge.

In 2014, Stellantis debuted the 3.0 EcoDiesel V6 engine inside the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel. Immediately, the new engine was a hit with critics and customers alike. They praised its smooth power delivery, towing abilities, and respectable fuel economy, and it sold very well. From 2014–2019, Dodge rated the 3.0 EcoDiesel at 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. From 2020–2023, Dodge upped the power, retooling it to make 260 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. 

While those are great entry-level power figures, if you really want to take things to the next level you’ll want some 3.0 EcoDiesel performance upgrades. Read on to find out how to make the most horsepower and torque from the best 3.0 EcoDiesel performance upgrades. 

Dodge 3.0 EcoDiesel Engine Info and Vehicles

Dodge began producing the 3.0 EcoDiesel for the 2014 model year, and it is set to conclude with the end of the 2023 model year. From 2014–2023, Dodge put the EcoDiesel inside the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. From 2014–2019, the engine appeared in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. For 2020, Jeep dropped the EcoDiesel from the Grand Cherokee, and instead put it inside the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator through 2023. 

The engine is a 3.0 liter, 60° V6 diesel, with a compacted graphite iron block and aluminum alloy heads. Dodge turbocharged the engine with a Garrett variable geometry turbocharger (VGT), and it uses an air-to-air intercooler. In 2020, Dodge updated the turbocharger to run more efficiently. 

There are three generations of the EcoDiesel, two of which made it stateside: the Gen 2 and Gen 3. The Gen 2 lasted until 2019, when Dodge replaced it with the improved Gen 3. The Gen 2 had 16.5:1 compression, while the Gen 3 dropped to 16.0:1. All versions of the engine use direct injection fueling and have a 1-2-3-4-5-6 firing order. The valve train uses dual overhead camshafts (DOHC), with four valves per cylinder for 24 total. 

For emissions equipment, the EcoDiesel uses diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), diesel particulate filter (DPF), exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems. Previously, we looked at the top 3.0 EcoBoost engine problems, and now we’re looking at how to make some serious horsepower. 

If you would rather consume this content via a video, check out our How to Build a 300WHP 3.0 EcoDiesel video below:

Dodge 3.0 EcoDiesel Power Limits With Performance Upgrades

An important question to consider when thinking about 3.0 EcoDiesel performance upgrades is the power limits of the engine. Dodge made the engine block from compacted graphite iron (CGI), which is actually pretty solid. CGI blocks are becoming standard in many diesel engines now, and they are stronger than traditional iron blocks. Internally, the EcoDiesel has a forged steel crankshaft, cast iron connecting rods, and cast aluminum pistons. 

As you can probably tell, the weakest point is going to be the internals. The cast iron connecting rods and cast aluminum pistons are not ideal, but they will still withstand pretty good power. In the decade since it has come out, most people have found that 350-400 horsepower to be the safe limit. When you start going over 400 horsepower – 140–160 horsepower over stock – the rods and pistons have a much bigger chance of letting go. 

Without a turbo-swap, the EcoDiesel struggles to make it past 325-350 horsepower. So if you stick with our guide you will not have to worry about upgrading them. As of now, forged internals for the EcoDiesel are not easy to come by. So it’s best to stay below 400 horsepower for most builds. 

Top 5 Dodge 3.0 EcoDiesel Performance Upgrades

Our top 5 Dodge 3.0 EcoDiesel performance upgrades are:

  • Performance Tuning
  • Colder Thermostat
  • Upgraded Downpipe
  • Upgraded Filter-back Exhaust
  • EGR and DPF Deletes (Race Only)

1) 3.0 EcoDiesel Performance Tuning

The first of our 3.0 EcoDiesel performance upgrades is EcoDiesel performance tuning. Hands down, performance flash tuning is the best mod you can do for the 3.0 EcoDiesel. With just tuning, you can add serious horsepower and torque without having to do any hardware installs. In addition, tunes are completely reversible. If you decide you do not want it anymore you can always uninstall the tune in just a few steps and return the car back to stock. 

Flash tuning involves using a handheld device to load tuning software onto your vehicle. Here’s how it works. You purchase a handheld device, also called a tuner, that has tuning software loaded onto it. You then plug the device into the OBDII port underneath the dashboard on your car. Then, you load the software onto the vehicle’s computer.

The software contains instructions for your car’s engine to run, known as a tune or a map. Tunes and maps are designed by specially trained “tuners.” Tuners are skilled at optimizing things like ignition timing, boost pressure, air-to-fuel ratios, and others. Optimizing these adds more horsepower and torque compared with the factory, and also improves throttle response, fuel economy, and more. 

Best 3.0 EcoDiesel Performance Tuners

For those living stateside, the most reputable tuning company is Green Diesel Engineering, or GDE. GDE has been working with the EcoDiesel since it came out, and they are the experts at modifying and tuning them. GDE has a EcoDiesel Hot Tune available, which adds 45 wheel-horsepower and 80 lb-ft wheel-torque. This is enough to take as much as 2 seconds off your zero to 60 mph time with just the tune. In addition, GDE tunes are one of the few that are emissions compliant.

As you can see from the above dyno plot, the GDE tune picks up horsepower and torque everywhere compared with stock. The GDE tunes also have transmission tuning available. This will help your transmission shift smoother and at more optimal points. Tuning can be pricey at around ~$1,000, but it is actually a very cost effective mod for how much power you gain. Additionally, if you decide to go with other mods you will need to tune for them, so it’s best to get a tuning solution figured out first. 

2) 3.0 EcoDiesel Colder Thermostat

Next up for our 3.0 EcoDiesel performance upgrades is a colder thermostat. Thermostats are relatively cheap, pretty easy to install, and offer significant benefits for those who do extensive towing and/or live in very hot climates (Arizona, Texas, etc.). In the EcoDiesel, the OEM thermostat’s job is to regulate the flow of coolant throughout the engine and radiator.

Here’s how they work. When the engine is still cold, the thermostat stays closed and keeps coolant circulating within the engine block so it heats up quicker. However, once the coolant begins to get too hot, the thermostat opens and allows it to flow into the radiator, where its temperature drops. 

The now colder coolant can then be circulated back into the engine, where it will cool down the block. The thermostat regulates how much coolant goes into and out of the radiator to control the engine’s temperature. Thermostats are designed to keep an engine operating within a specified temperature range. 

Best Thermostat Upgrades

You might be wondering why a relatively simple and seemingly benign part like that could be upgraded, and it’s very simple. For many engines, the EcoDiesel being one of them, OEMs deliberately run them at hotter temperatures. This is because it reduces emissions and improves fuel economy. However, hotter temperatures are also harmful for performance. OEMs have to play a constant balancing game. They have to make sure the engine runs hot enough that it doesn’t overly pollute, while still producing good performance. 

The purpose of upgrading to a colder thermostat is to keep the engine temperature down so that performance stays up. Thermostats do not increase the amount of horsepower or torque an engine makes, but rather they allow engines to continue to operate at peak power for longer. When the engine gets too hot, the engine can go into overheat protection mode, which reduces ignition timing, boost, and enriches the air-to-fuel ratios. Running a colder thermostat helps prevent this from happening, allowing the engine to perform better after repeated runs. 

One of the most reliable EcoDiesel colder thermostats is the GDE 190° thermostat. This thermostat keeps temperature almost 20° lower than stock, which is very beneficial when towing. The thermostat does need to be paired with tuning, as the ECU will throw a check engine light due to the coolant not reaching the OEM spec. Still, it’s a great mod and a must-do for those doing lots of towing. 

3) 3.0 EcoDiesel Downpipe

For the third of our 3.0 EcoDiesel performance upgrades, we’re looking at downpipes. Downpipes are one of the most common mods that are made to turbocharged engines, and they are very helpful on the EcoDiesel. The downpipe is the part of the exhaust that connects to the turbocharger and leads to the DPF pipe and mufflers. The downpipe harnesses the exhaust gasses exiting the turbo and routes them through the DPF pipe and out the tailpipe through the mufflers. 

The purpose of upgrading the downpipe is to reduce back pressure and flow restriction. By putting on a larger diameter downpipe, the back pressure differential is reduced, which allows for better airflow out of the engine. In addition, performance downpipes are also designed with less bends to also improve airflow. The OEM downpipe on the EcoDiesel is 3 inch, and we recommend a 4 inch performance downpipe. 

Best 3.0 Ecodiesel Downpipes

There are a few options for EcoDiesel downpipes, but we recommend this 4 inch EcoDiesel downpipe sold by T&S Speed Shop. It has a good price, is well reviewed, and is a direct bolt-on fit for the EcoDiesel. They made the downpipe out of 409 stainless steel, which is considered the industry standard. 

At just under $500, the T&S downpipe is a pretty good deal. You will definitely need a tuning solution if you go with a downpipe, as the ECU will struggle to compensate with the reduced back pressure. It’s a solid mod that will add 10-20 horsepower and 10-25 lb-ft of torque once tuned. 

4) 3.0 EcoDiesel Exhaust

After you upgrade the downpipe, it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and upgrade the rest of the exhaust past the DPF filter.  The DPF pipe connects to the downpipe, and lies in between it and the mufflers. Upgrading the exhaust past the DPF pipe won’t give you nearly the gains of a downpipe, but it will have some airflow increases. 

For most people who upgrade the exhaust, they are looking at both increasing aesthetic appeal and producing a better tone. There are both dual exit and single-side exit exhausts for the EcoDiesel, allowing you to customize your tailpipe exactly how you want. In addition, different mufflers and pipe styles will produce different tones, some deeper and more aggressive than others. 

Best EcoDiesel Filter-back Exhausts

For the EcoDiesel, we recommend the MBRP 2.5 inch filter-back exhaust. It has a nice looking design and produces an increase of 30-45% in flow depending on which style you chose. It will make your EcoDiesel sound much better while also adding a few horsepower. 

If you prefer a 3.5 inch exhaust, then we would recommend the Banks Monster Exhaust System. The Banks unit will outflow and be louder than the MBRP, though it probably won’t produce anymore horsepower. It is also more expensive.

5) 3.0 EcoDiesel EGR/DPF Deletes (Race Only)

Our final recommendation is only for those using their EcoDiesel off-road or for racing: EGR and DPF pipe deletes. Since these remove emissions equipment, they are not street-legal or emissions compliant. This means they cannot be run on street vehicles, and are only for off-road and racing use. 

The EcoDiesel exhaust works like this: First the downpipe connects to the turbo, then the diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) connects to the downpipe. Connecting to the DOC is the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and diesel particulate filter (DPF), which are part of the same piece of piping. As part of the SCR system is the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), which also helps with emissions. 

Why Delete the DPF/EGR?

Deleting the DPF involves also deleting the DOC, SCR, and DEF systems, too. This is because it is all replaced by one large piece of pipe that contains zero emissions equipment. One end connects to the downpipe and the other to the tailpipe, completely removing the Emissions system. Deleting the emissions equipment will not only increase horsepower and torque, but it also removes a host of potential failure points. 

If you are going to delete the DPF, it only makes sense to also delete the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system, too. The EGR system is another emissions system that can only be eliminated for off-road or non-street driven vehicles. 

While the DOC, DPF, SCR, EGR, and DEF systems are good for reducing emissions, they can sometimes have negative effects on performance and on the engine’s longevity. You can check out our 3.0 EcoDiesel DPF/EGR Delete Guide for even more information. Again, we only recommend these for non-street driven vehicles.  

Top 3.0 EcoDiesel Performance Upgrades FAQ

How much hp can an EcoDiesel make?

From the factory the EcoDiesel produces 240-260 horsepower and 420-480 lb-ft of torque. With performance upgrades, you can add as much as 100 horsepower and 100 lb-ft of torque through tuning and exhaust upgrades.

Can you tune a 3.0 EcoDiesel?

Yes, there are many tuning solutions out there for the EcoDiesel. You can increase horsepower and torque by 10-25% through just tuning alone.

What are the best 3.0 EcoDiesel performance Upgrades?

The best EcoDiesel performance upgrades are tuning, colder thermostat, upgraded downpipe, upgraded exhaust, and EGR/DPF deletes.

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