1996 Dodge Ram 2500 - High Desert Hauler

It made many people stop by and take a second look at '96 Dodge 2500.

Jason Sands
Jul 5, 2007
Photographers: Jason Sands
With common-rail injection, big-horsepower programmers, and dual CP3 pumps providing a lot of diesel power these days, many people may overlook older trucks when it comes to making the big power. Bright-orange paint, compound turbos, 697 rear-wheel-horsepower, and 1,200-plus lb-ft of torque figures (that's the highest torque number the dyno would read) made many people stop by and take a second look at Dalen Whitmore's old-tech '96 Dodge 2500.
In fact, for the Saturday dyno competition at the '07 Mopars at the Strip event in Las Vegas, this orange diesel came out with the highest horsepower award among all the dyno contestants, beating out Hemis, nitrous'd wedges, and all the other gassers to set the top power number and, of course, the highest torque figure.
Helping the Mopar put out a drug-free (no nitrous) 700 rear-wheel horsepower are myriad mechanical modifications. The heart of the 12-valve is a Scheid Diesel-built motor with lower-compression Mahle pistons, a Scheid cam, and ported heads. Surprisingly, the heads are not machined for 14mm head studs but instead rely on fire-rings and 12mm units. Outside of the long-block, a Piers Diesel street turbo kit provides 75 psi of boost with an HX40 on top and an HT3B as the low-pressure or "big" turbo.
To handle the gale-force winds the turbos produce, a Scheid water-injection kit, a Banks Twin Ram intake, and a Cool Twist intercooler help keep the exhaust-gas temperature down. Fueling is handled by a Piers Diesel "stupid" pump, but the rest of the build is pretty tame-370 injectors, 191 delivery valves, and a 4,000-rpm governor spring kit round out the injection system. A FASS 150 fuel system supplies the injection pump with a steady supply of #2 diesel. Performance Diesel, which did much of the work on the truck, also supplied a 5-inch turbo-back exhaust along with custom 6-inch stacks.
Power numbers are impressive, but they're also useless if you can't get it to the ground, so a full-billet (ATS input, output, and intermediate shafts) Ford E4OD automatic transmission is used along with a Suncoast converter to keep the power this Dodge produces going in the correct direction. A Baumann controller is used to give full control of shift points in the transmission, and Dalen reports he is very happy with his Dodge/Ford engine and transmission combination. A Dana 60 front/Dana 80 rear axle combination is used with 3.54 gears, and an NV271 transfer case makes sure the power gets from the transmission to the tires.
So how do all these mods add up? Well, if First Place at the Mopar event doesn't impress you, then you'll be happy to know the vehicle has also been to the drags. At the time, Dalen didn't have the transfer case in the vehicle, but he wanted to make a few passes anyway (we can relate); he ran 12.90s at the track despite being limited by 2WD and no slicks.
'99 Dodge Ram 2500
When we approached Dalen's orange ride, we noticed this truck sitting beside it. Obviously a tow rig for the orange beast, we figured it would be pretty much stock (despite the big stacks). Wrong. Once the truck was driven off the dyno, the operator reported a very unstock 623 rear-wheel horsepower and 1,200-plus lb-ft of torque for the green truck. Like its orange brother, this 24-valve-engine vehicle also has 12mm studs and a set of twins and is mainly used as a tow rig and a sled puller. The twins are a set of Piers street twins, and boost is approximately 60 psi. It uses a five-speed manual, and a South Bend 3850 clutch helps out in the power-transfer department. A FASS 150 fuel system helps deliver the fuel to the VP44 pump, while an Edge Comp Box and F1 Diesel Mach 6 injectors help deliver plenty of fuel. So next time you go to pick on a tow rig in a drag race or sled pull, make sure it isn't this one.

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