2001 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins - Back To The Future

A 21st-Century Dodge With A 1,237hp Cummins 12-Valve

Jun 24, 2007
Photographers: Trevor Reed
Photo 2/14
At the age of 18, Chris Werner of Redding, California, assigned himself the adult task of buying a brand-new turbodiesel truck. Trips to nearby Chevy and Ford dealerships left him feeling like anything but a grown-up. The salespeople didn't seem to think this kid could be serious about signing papers for an expensive 3/4-ton truck. The treatment he received at the Dodge dealership was another story. When the salesman heard Chris wanted a turbodiesel, he grabbed the keys to an '01 Ram 2500 with the 24-valve Cummins and said, "Let's go!"
Chris was instantly hooked on diesel power when the pedal hit the floor during his testdrive. He got financing, and in just a few months, that truck received plenty of upgrades, including a programmer, an exhaust, an intake, injectors, and a bigger turbo-then he sold it. Reminiscing about the 15-second quarter-mile terror he used to own made Chris feel like a has-been (his words, not ours), so he found another '01 Ram 2500. It started as a pumped-up 24-valve with blue paint but has been quickly transformed into the orange-striped, 12-valve kingmaker you see here.
The 1,237HP Cummins
Chris quickly pushed his 24-valve to the limits of the VP44 injection pump. He decided the only way to get his horsepower into the four digits was to use a 12-valve engine, so the computerized Cummins was ditched and a mechanical 5.9L from a '96 Ram was picked up.
Before the engine was installed, the cylinder head was ported and polished to improve flow. Air enters the engine through a large AFE ProGuard filter and feeds into a custom intake pipe and twin-turbo setup put together by Brian Garbutt at J&H Performance in Redding. It's first compressed by a large B-2 turbo and then travels through custom-welded and polished steel tubes into a smaller B-1 turbo before being shoved through the stock '01 intercooler. A large ATS Arc Flow intake manifold from Ponci's Diesel Center in Fortuna, California, routes chilled air into the modified head. Fuel is provided by a custom-built P-pump and modified Stage 4 injectors by Dynomite Diesel that are designed to combine for more than 1,000 hp. Exhaust leaves the engine through an ATS exhaust manifold and into the custom J&H turbine setup with a large external wastegate to regulate the giant amounts of boost. So far, with the assistance of nitrous injection, Chris has scored dyno runs of 1,237 hp with a calculated torque of more than 2,400 lb-ft-and says he still gets 16.5 mpg at 80 mph.
Three Stages of Nitrous
The laughing gas used to produce more than a ton of torque comes on in three stages. A relatively small NOS nozzle mounted between the turbos provides the first injection. Two NX injectors feeding into the back of the ATS Arc Flow provide the second and third stages. The first stage helps light the turbos and cools the intake charge. The second and third stages use much larger jets to dump lots of nitrous oxide into the cylinder head.
Bulletproof Automatic
The original Dodge automatic transmission had no chance standing up to more than four times the stock torque output, so Chris had J&H Performance build a stronger gearbox. The company put together a full-billet transmission designed for daily driving on the streets, dyno runs, dragstrip passes, and maybe even some sled pulling. It uses a strong Sun Coast torque converter and has a high-capacity, vented Mag-Hytec aluminum transmission pan.
Custom Paint, Stacks, and 20-inch Rims
Chris works in collision repair, so no matter how much power his truck makes-or which engine is under the hood-he wants it to look good. That's why he worked with the folks at Longhair Collision to transform his plain-blue truck into one with wild orange scallops and pinstripes. The Grabber Orange paint starts at the front air dam and travels past the billet grille inserts, over the top of the cab, and into the cargo bed. Oranges slashes crisscross down the sides of the truck and are accented with yellow and dark-purple pinstripes. The color scheme continues to the tailgate, where the orange paint terminates in two final slashes with green striping. Chris didn't like how most Dodge roll pans leave a gap between the bumper and the tailgate, so he custom-built his with sliding latches so it's flush but can be dropped an inch when the gate needs to be lowered. He also put a spring-loaded hinge on the license plate so it can be flipped up for access to the factory trailer hitch. Big 5-inch chrome stacks are fed by a turbo-back setup and exit just behind the cab. The truck's stance was lowered by 5 inches in the rear and 3 inches in the front, which leaves just enough room for 20-inch MB Motori wheels wrapped in Road Hugger XRT 305/50R20 tires to complete the show-truck look.
Next: New Pistons and a Better Block
If you think 1,237 hp is enough, then you're not Chris Werner. After winning dyno competitions all over the West, he's pulled the engine out of his truck to upgrade the internal components in the quest for even more power. He's starting by installing Arias forged pistons to improve combustion and balancing the crankshaft to reduce vibrations and maximize power. Chris is also considering a hotter camshaft and adding a cam bearing to the back of the engine block. Don't worry if you think that all sounds crazy, Chris has been known to put "5150" badges on his truck (referring to the California legal code for mentally disturbed persons who are a danger to themselves or others). To keep an eye on his progress and watch videos, you can go to the Web site dedicated to this wild truck at www.5150ram.com.
"Chris has scored dyno runs of 1,237 hp with a calculated torque of more than 2,400 lb-ft."

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