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2004 Dodge Ram 2500: Just One Fix

From the Land of 10,000 Horsepower

Harry Wagner
Mar 1, 2011
Photographers: Harry Wagner
Drug addiction has a reputation for ruining careers and leaving people penniless. In the diesel community, methanol and nitrous oxide are the most common forms of chemical addiction. Josh Gruis of Zimmerman, Minnesota, has resisted the temptation of these so-called drugs, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a diesel addiction.
Photo 2/14   |   1103dp 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 Just One Fix dragstrip Side Shot
Josh's diesel habit hasn't ruined his career, though. On the contrary, it has given him a new path in life. Josh's obsession is diesel drag racing, and it has even led him to become a dealer-a dealer of diesel parts that is, at Jags Pro Truck Shop.
Josh gets his fix from his '04 Dodge Ram 2500, which he bought new in 2004. Up until that point in his life Josh had never been down the dragstrip, but he did have experience building high-performance engines, so the foundation for his new passion was already in place. "I first took the truck to the track in 2006," Josh recalls. "I was hooked right from the start." It wasn't long before Josh was spending all his free time under the hood of his Ram, determined to make it faster. By 2009, he was racing in the National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) finals in the Super Street Class, in which he placed Second. "We were actually faster than the winner," Josh explains. "We beat him in qualifying, but breakage kept us from taking the win." With a long winter in Minnesota to think about how to take First in Super Street, Josh made plenty of changes to his truck.
Under The Hood
With a background in engine building, it's no surprise that nearly every component within Josh's common-rail Cummins has been modified. Josh was pretty tight-lipped about exactly what he's done to the engine's bottom end. All he would tell us was that the stock pistons and rods were massaged before being reassembled with ARP main studs and a race cam from Bullet Racing Cams. The cylinder head received heavy porting, a Hellmann Performance billet-aluminum intake manifold, and ARP head studs.
Photo 3/14   |   Everything Josh deemed unnecessary was removed from the '04 5.9L Cummins' engine bay-such as the second battery. This not only frees up space under the hood, it also sheds weight from the front of the truck.
On the fuel side, a FASS lift pump delivers fuel to dual CP3s that have been modified by Floor-It Diesel for more volume. The dual CP3 kit and huge race injectors are both from Industrial Injection, while the programming comes from a Smarty TNT tuner stacked with a Dr. Performance fuel box.
Up to 75 psi of air is crammed into the engine by a huge S478 turbocharger from Industrial Injection. The compressed air is routed through an ATS SubZero intercooler before it hits the intake valves. When asked why he didn't run a smaller turbo to help build boost, Josh said, "You still have to cram air through that smaller turbo, and once you are moving, the small turbo becomes a restriction. I find that the big, single turbo works better for drag racing." It must work, since Josh estimates 1,200 hp is routed through the 48RE transmission built by Lakeland Transmission with upgraded bands, clutches, and billet-steel shafts.
Still Licensed And Insured
While the engine is radical, the rest of the truck is surprisingly modest-no flashy paint or huge suspension lift. In fact, Josh kept the stock suspension on his truck, with the only addition being a set of CalTracs traction bars to prevent wheelhop at the line. While the traction bars help, a set of Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial II drag radials really make the Ram hook up hard. The 29-inch-tall tires are mounted on 18-inch XD Revolver wheels and contribute to 60-foot times in the 1.50-second range.
Photo 4/14   |   Aspiration comes in the form of a huge Industrial Injection S478 turbocharger with a 78mm inducer. It's so big, you could practically crawl inside this turbo and take a nap in it.
With his sights set squarely on the 9s, safety equipment was necessary to ensure Josh doesn't get kicked off the track after his first pass. Driveshaft hoops were fabricated for the front and rear driveshafts, and Brian Bartles built a 10-point interior rollcage that's certified for 8.50-second passes. That should leave Josh plenty of room on the table for going faster. The passenger seat and rear seat of the Quad Cab were removed, but the interior is otherwise complete.
Photo 5/14   |   Fueling is provided by dual CP3s, using an Industrial Injection installation kit. Floor-It Diesel modified both injection pumps for increased volume.
DiProcol gauges on the dash monitor boost, EGT, transmission temperature, and oil temperature. "The truck is still registered and street-legal," Josh explains. "I can easily throw another set of tires on my Dodge and drive it on the road without a problem." The factory dash, carpet, driver seat, and the air conditioning all remain intact. "Removing it would save weight," Josh admits, "but we run races all summer, and sitting in the truck with a firesuit on in 100-degree heat is not very fun." What is fun, however, is going fast, and Josh has plans to keep shaving more time off his e.t.'s.
Plans For The Future
We met up with Josh during his first race since making significant changes to his Dodge, and he continues to refine tire pressure, wastegate settings, and engine tuning in an effort to get the truck completely dialed in. His best time thus far is 10.59 seconds at 129 mph. "I really wish EFILive was available for the Cummins engine. I love the Smarty, but my truck is so far from stock, it would be nice to have control over more parameters.
"Once I get the truck all dialed in, I might run some nitrous on it," Josh casually mentions. One can only wonder where this new addiction will lead him. If the past is any indication, it will take his truck into the 9s and Josh to the winner's circle. Who says all addictions are bad?