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Diesel Freaks - Crazy Diesel Vehicles

What A Jet Truck, A Rockcrawler, And A Duramax Tractor All Have In Common

Jason Sands
Apr 1, 2010
Photographers: Jason Sands
In our travels around the globe, we here at Diesel Power come across vehicles that are, uh, a little far from what's normal. While the meat and potatoes of our coverage will continue to be Chevy, Dodge, and Ford trucks, every so often we see something so outlandish that we have to take pictures of it. In this article, we'll present to you three of the craziest diesel vehicles we've run into so far-diesel freaks, if you will. These unorthodox vehicles include a diesel jet truck, a tube-frame 6.0L Ford rock crawler, and a 35hp Massy Ferguson tractor that has had its original engine replaced with a mechanically injected 620hp Duramax. So enjoy the ride as we venture way, way outside the box of normality.
The Silver Fox
While Jet A may be fine for flying across the country, when it comes time for owner Bruce Andrew to blast down the track in his 6,000hp jet-powered Chevy S-10, he turns to a cheaper and slightly more potent fuel: diesel. Yep, that's right, the fuel that powers this truck to 6.48 seconds at 256 mph in the quarter-mile is pumped straight out of the transfer tank of his Duramax-powered GMC pickup. Once on the track, it's time for a fire show and quarter-mile pass that uses an amazing 25 gallons of fuel. Pulling more than 4G's off the line, Bruce's jet truck can accelerate from 150 mph to 250 mph in just 3 seconds-quicker than a new ZR-1 Corvette can do 0 to 60 mph!
The Super Crawler
While this rig may look like a lifted Ford Super Duty, in reality, the only factory pieces are the cab, engine, transmission, and transfer case. Chris Smith, owner of The House of Diesel in San Martin, California, built the '03 F-350 from the ground up. The original frame was ditched in favor of a tube chassis, and the leaf springs and 1-ton axles were replaced with a link-style suspension and 2 1/2-ton Rockwells.
The heart of the truck remains diesel, however, as the 6.0L engine was upgraded with head studs, a six-position tuner, intercooler, and a set of injectors from Hypermax. With rockcrawling, torque is just as important as horsepower, and torque is something this diesel has in spades. An estimated 1,000 lb-ft of torque is sent through a BD Diesel 5R110 transmission to a stock transfer case and 6.72-geared Rockwell axles. In First gear and low range, this diesel sends a whopping 56,845 lb-ft of torque to the tires. Sure, it can only go a few miles per hour in that gear, but with enough traction, it could probably move a building.
While the truck was built for off-roading, don't be surprised to see this rig at a Northern California sled pull. Owner Chris Smith pulls regularly and usually finishes in the top five.
The Duramax Tractor
We don't know how practical it is to put a 620hp Duramax in a tractor originally designed for 35 hp, but we're glad someone did it. Owner and builder Lammert ter Heide of the Netherlands didn't put in just any Duramax-this engine was switched over to a Minimec mechanical injection pump to allow the engine to spin to a whopping 5,200 rpm. The conversion put the injection pump in the valley of the engine, and it's driven off a combination of gears, shafts, and belts to achieve the correct timing. Incredibly, Lammert went from a bare Duramax block to a complete running tractor in less than a year, after exploding an inline-pumped 6.2L GM engine the previous season.


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