930hp Common-Rail 2006 Dodge Ram
Stirring The Pot With EFILive
Danny Toops was always more of a drag racer than a sled puller. That is, until the London, Ohio, resident hooked his first diesel (a ’99 Dodge 24-valve) to the sled. Just two years later, he found himself the proud owner of this ’06 Ram that he was ready to build into the ultimate street truck. But living in the heart of the pulling world has a way of forcing you to build a dedicated, competition-only rig if you want to win on the dirt. “I bought it to be a daily driver,” Danny told us. “But obviously you see what it’s turned into.”
After hurting the engine while drag racing a turbocharged Mustang, Danny realized bolt-on parts would only get him so far. With a 0.040-inch overbore in each cylinder, the stock 5.9L crank, and shot-peened factory connecting rods, a complete 2.6 Class engine build got underway. As for piston selection, he opted to run a set of cut and coated, ’04-style units. The earlier common-rail pistons’ design (’03 to early ’04) is known to keep heat centered in the bowl, which is ideal for competition engines prone to seeing extreme in-cylinder temperatures.
With plans to spin the engine to more than 4,000 rpm, Danny went with Hamilton Cams’ new and improved 181/210 dual-pattern camshaft. Upgrading the link between the cam and rocker arms was a set of Hamilton Cams’ Extreme Duty chromoly pushrods. Anchored to the block via ARP head studs was a fire-ringed cylinder head, which got outfitted with 110-pound valvesprings, also from Hamilton Cams. D&J Precision Machine, out of Rushville, Ohio, ported and polished the intake and exhaust ports and also built the engine’s billet-aluminum intake manifold.
Danny’s injection recipe was a unique one, and it called for tons of fuel. Each injector was equipped with an Exergy Engineering nozzle flowing 175 percent more fuel than stock (considered 325hp nozzles), which is fed by a dual CP3 setup that’s anything but ordinary. The top CP3 is actually a Bosch CP3.4 pump from Fleece Performance, which can supply 2½ times more fuel than a factory CP3. The larger pump was a necessity, as two factory CP3s wouldn’t be able to keep up with the large injectors. The bottom unit is a stock Bosch CP3.
As you can imagine, finding the perfect turbo in any air-limited sled pulling class is the first priority. So Danny enlisted the pros at Engineered Diesel, who specialize in building custom turbochargers. He decided to run an S400-based unit packing a 75mm compressor wheel, which was clipped down to 66 mm in order to meet 2.6-inch inducer rules. After trying a few different options on the exhaust side, he settled on a 96mm turbine wheel (exducer) and a large, 1.10 aspect ratio housing. The turbo sends nearly 50 pounds of boost through two air-to-water intercoolers before entering the engine.
The most important aspect of the truck, and why it’s successful, is the fact that it was tuned with EFILive. Prior to the ’11 pulling season, Danny decided to ditch his programmer in favor of the newly released software. “I used to just pick a number [on the programmer] and hope that it was enough,” he told us. Starting with a base tune created by the EFILive gurus at Fleece Performance, Danny began tweaking tables and making subtle changes on his own. By the end of summer, and thanks to the addition of an NV5600 and South Bend triple-disc clutch, the truck made 934 rwhp on a chassis dyno. At that power level, there was easily enough power to keep up with the country’s best-running 2.6 trucks.
Make no mistake about it, this is no shop-sponsored rig. Danny takes great pride in the fact that he performed all the work himself. “I’ve turned every wrench on the truck and built it from the ground up,” he told us. Even more impressive, this privateer went head-to-head with the best in the business at last year’s Scheid Diesel Extravaganza and took home respectable Seventh and Thirteenth Place finishes out of more than 60 competitors.
Unfortunately, as relentless as the sled pulling addiction is, it often forces competitors to constantly evolve and improve their setups. And sometimes, they even move on to other things. In Danny’s case, he’s doing both. He recently parted out this Ram and now plans to build one for the 3.0 Class. And, as he plans to once again build a common-rail engine, his newfound knowledge of EFILive’s software will come in handy. We can’t wait to see the finished product.