Earning A Living And Riding In Style - 2005 Dodge 3500 4x4
This 4x4 Dodge Welding Truck Earns Its Paycheck Every Day
If you're a regular reader of Work Truck Review, you know we celebrate the blend of form and function in a work truck. Much more than just simple transportation to the job site, a carefully outfitted work truck expands your capabilities and quickly becomes the mainstay of many small businesses. Whether it's carrying heavy loads or negotiating rough terrain, the work truck not only gets you there, it gets you there in style.
This blend of rugged comfort was just what Kenny Matlock was looking for when he purchased his '05 Dodge 3500 4x4 with its high-output 5.9L Cummins. A welder living and working in Marathon in the Florida Keys, Kenny often had to haul heavy loads to job sites where the beach roads were marginal at best. He began tailoring the truck to his job requirements with a 6-inch Skyjacker lift and a 3-inch body lift. Once the altitude was established, the next step was bringing an additional level of sophistication to the suspension. Kenny chose a BDS long-arm kit in front and created his own set of traction bars for the rear, along with a differential guard made from ¾-inch solid round bar. It made an amazing difference and he says, smiling, "I wish I would have made those traction bars sooner!"
Wheels are probably the most important part of any work truck, and Kenny found out the hard way when one of the rims purchased on eBay disintegrated while he was towing a 27-foot trailer. The experts at Diesel Wheels in Miami had a much better solution, outfitting the Dodge with a high-quality set of shaved 22.5-inch Peterbilt rims wrapped in 37x13.50/R22 Toyo Open Country rubber. The upgrade made the truck surefooted in the sand and great on the highway. "You couldn't ask for a smoother ride," Kenny says.
Performance was next on the list, but from the outset, reliability was more important than brute horsepower. The MP-8 stacking module from TS Performance adds 2 to 4 mpg, and there is an in-cab adjustability that can unlock an additional 100 hp from the 24-valve six-cylinder Cummins turbo. An AFE intake adds a dense charge of cool air and an FS2000 bypass oil filter removes water and carbon particles. Kenny created his own distinctive exhaust system, consisting of straight pipes with 6-inch miter-cut stacks. The mod was great for engine efficiency and the setup gets lots of admiring looks, but the downside is extra noise. The twin chrome pipes were positioned so closely to the cab that Kenny opted to gut the interior and add sound insulation everywhere. It made a huge difference and now the truck is almost library quiet. While the engine is as reliable as the family refrigerator, the transmission took a hit while pulling some of the heavy loads required for the job. Kenny went to the experts at DTT Diesel Performance to get a fully built, triple-disc, billet torque converter that has proven itself over the last several years, showing it can always get the job done.
In addition to using all his high-tech welding equipment for customer needs, Kenny used it for some of his own, increasing the range of his big Dodge with a pair of stainless steel fuel tanks. Mounted under the bed, they transfer into the primary tank with a 5-gpm pump, giving him a total of 108 gallons. Separate fuel gauges monitor the quantity, and twin filler caps are located in the original gas filler location. Sound like a lot of fuel? While you can travel from one end of the Keys to the other on a single tank of gas, the extended range makes road trips to the Carolinas a breeze.
About the only thing left was the interior, already comfortable with its passenger car standards of luxury. The only real change was the upgraded stereo for a little workday entertainment. Alpine mids and highs replaced the factory door speakers and Kenny built a fiberglass enclosure under the rear seat for the 10-inch Alpine Type R thin subwoofer. The combination of passenger car comfort, all-terrain traction, cross-country range, and the low-end torque for towing heavy loads makes this Dodge the ultimate work truck.