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2012 Dodge 5500 - Road Warrior

Rob Graft Needs Reliability And Comfort On The Road

J.D. Lusardi
Apr 18, 2013
Photographers: Bob Carpenter
Photo 2/13   |   2012 Dodge 5500 front View
Rob Graft owns Nemesis Industries, a company that makes Jeep products. Hauling a 53-foot show trailer around the country from his base in Elbert, Colorado, can involve thousands of miles, so he took great care when building this '12 Dodge 5500.
"I've built a few trucks since I turned 16," Graft told us. "They have spanned many different makes and models, motors and accessories, but I just recently learned the value of a truly valuable lesson my uncle tried to teach me early in life: Toys are toys, and tools are tools. Never count on a toy doing a tool's work. This truck was built only after being stranded on different stretches of highway in different states with a blown this or that, because I thought adding a second turbo or bigger injectors or a different suspension would be a great idea. This truck is simply a tool. I take it out of the toolbox, use it, clean it, and put it back. Nothing more and nothing less. I do have to say I miss my compounds when pulling the hills, but being slower and making it home on time is worth it."
Photo 3/13   |   These inset side steps make it easier to get to the hitch.
The crew cab came as a cab and chassis, and then the real fun began. Graft consulted with the crew at Utility Bodywerks and came up with a few modifications to the company's Ranch Mate Plus to suit exactly what he needed. We're talking about side-mounted dock lights, inset side steps, stainless steel trim, additional running lights, polished aluminum fender flares, and much more.
The truck runs down the road with a 6.7L Cummins that puts out 305 hp and 610 lb-ft of torque. When fully loaded pulling a bit more than 30,000 pounds, the truck gets about 8 mpg. It was less before Graft installed an H&S tuner. The truck is not always on the highway, as it gets used at home on the ranch hauling hay, horses, and cows.
Dependability was a key feature in the selection of the 5500, but comfort was just as important. The air-ride seats are like sitting on pillows, and you can drive almost endlessly when you have such top-level accommodations. Rob only wishes Dodge would offer the Mega Cab in a cab and chassis so he could have more room for sleeping in the backseat.
Photo 4/13   |   Graft uses the remote to lower his trailer onto the fifth-wheel hitch.
Specs:
84-inch CA Ranch Mate Plus
Electro-coated steel tube subframe
Painted 3⁄16-inch smooth aluminum body
Diamond-plate skirt trim on bottom of bed
LED running lights and chrome guards
3⁄16-inch diamond-plate aluminum deck
Diamond-plate aluminum bumper with backup lamps
Painted aluminum light pylon with third brake light, two LED stop-turn lights, and two work lights
Four LED stop-turn and brake lights at rear
Universal rail kit for gooseneck or fifth-wheel hitches in bed
2½-inch Class V hitch receiver with seven-way plug
Four D-ring tie-downs on deck
Six individual vented storage compartments with interior lighting
One crossbox storage compartment at body bulkhead; opens into both front outside storage compartments
Flush handles on storage compartment doors
T-handles on top, with locks and damping pistons to prevent slamming
Lizard skin coating on storage compartment interiors
Rhino-lined bed, sides, and tops
Rubber mudflaps with diamond-plate aluminum highlights
OEM-style waterproof wiring harness
Independent fuse block, if required
Seven-way trailer plug in bed
OEM-approved door seals
Fiberglass running boards for cab area (Ford only)
Running board LED courtesy lights (Ford only)
Rob’s Custom Additions:
Side-mounting dock lights for additional visibility
Inset side steps to get to hitch area of bed
Stainless steel bottom trim with additional running lights
Stainless steel door hinges and fasteners
Polished aluminum fender flares
Custom rear bumper with inset backup lights in rear of bed
LED interior compartment lights

Sources

The Utility Bodyworks
574-522-8422
http://www.utilitybodyworks.com

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