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10-Second Terror - 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins

This 1,150hp '03 Dodge Began Life As A Tow Rig

Jason Sands
Jul 1, 2010
Photographers: Jason Sands
Kevin Morken of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, bought his '03 Dodge Ram 2500 brand-new to be used as a tow vehicle. With four doors, it had plenty of room for passengers and could tow quite well, too, thanks to the legendary Cummins power. Yes, Kevin was quite happy with his trailer-toter.
Photo 2/9   |   2003 Dodge Ram 2500 wheels
But not long after he bought his Dodge, Kevin decided to modify it a bit with the basic programmer, intake, exhaust, and transmission upgrades. To his surprise, the Ram ran high 12-second quarter-mile times, roasting imports and Mustangs in the process. For a while, beating up on the local crowd was enough for Kevin, but soon visions of the scoreboards lighting up with 11- or even 10-second elapsed times got to be too strong of an incentive, and the build began.
When we caught up with Kevin at the 2009 August Blackout, his truck had gone from its 12-second beginnings to running a best of 10.84 seconds at 128 mph in the quarter-mile. Oh yeah, and those times were on street tires-not slicks or drag radials. To move a 6,700-pound rig to almost 130 mph in the quarter-mile takes more than 1,000 hp. In fact, it takes about 1,150 hp, according to Kevin. Since he's also not shy about revealing exactly how he's accomplished this feat, let's take a look and see how he did it.
Photo 3/9   |   2003 Dodge Ram 2500 rear Bumper
The Engine
The heart of the Dodge is a relatively stock Cummins long-block. The head has been O-ringed, fitted with a set of F1 Diesel valvesprings, and clamped down with ARP studs-but that's the extent of the engine work. Air and fuel are a different story, as that's where the bulk of Kevin's attention went. The turbocharger moving air into the mighty Cummins is a 74mm-inducer K31 turbo, while the fuel system has been supplemented with Dynomite Diesel Performance competition injectors, and dual CP3 injection pumps courtesy of Industrial Injection. Tuning it all is a Smarty TNT-R programmer, along with a Stage 4 pressure box from Dr. Performance. The final touch of the setup is an owner-designed nitrous system, which uses two bottles and two 0.125-inch-orifice solenoids.
The Transmission
After burning up clutches, breaking internal parts, and generally destroying transmissions due to the 5.9L Cummins engine's immense torque, Kevin finally settled on a combination of parts that have been reliable. The transmission itself was built by NADP and features billet input, output, and intermediate shafts, as well as upgraded drums and additional clutches. The torque converter is a triple-disc unit made by Sun Coast Converters, and an ATS Co-Pilot handles line pressure duties. Now that Kevin has progressed to this setup, he reports consistent 1.5- to 1.6-second 60-foot times without any breakage.
NHRDA Record-Breaker
With a stout engine and transmission, there was still plenty of work left for Kevin to get where he wanted to be. A 5-inch downpipe and 5-inch MBRP stacks were used to exhaust the engine, while a FASS 150-gph lift pump keeps the engine well fed with diesel. A Lund rear roll pan shed some weight, while 305/50R20 Falken tires on Core Racing wheels lightened the load and gave the Dodge a traction advantage over other street-tired rigs. It all came together on August 17, 2008, when Kevin ran a 10.97-second pass, clinching an NHRDA record in the process. While Kevin has dipped further into the 10s since then, he now has his sights set on-you guessed it-9s for 2010. The truck has already undergone a 700-pound weight reduction, and a new engine with compound turbos is being constructed. We wish Kevin luck in his quest toward single-digit times by the end of the year.


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