2004 Dodge Ram 3500HD Laramie - Functional, Fast, And Fun
An 800hp Dodge That Can Do It All
Some folks are fortunate in that they are able to make a living doing something they already enjoy as a hobby. Wes Withers owns Withers Manufacturing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and has used his technical talents to not only satisfy customers over the years, but also to modify a long list of personal custom vehicles. Back in 2004, after a succession of Camaros and C-10s, Wes bought one of the first Dodge Ram 3500HD Laramie diesels sold in Tulsa and started modifying it the next day. It began with a small lift and a programmer, but things changed when he began seeing more trucks set up like his.
To make the Ram 3500HD stand out from the crowd, Wes swapped out the original lift in favor of an 8-inch Rize Industries suspension lift, along with a 3-inch body lift. The front end uses a Rize heavy-duty control arm system with Fabtech Dirt Logic coilovers, twin steering stabilizers, and a sway bar. In the rear, full-length traction bars, also from Rize, control the axle. A pair of Fabtech Dirt Logic shocks was also fitted in the rear. Both the front AAM 9.25 and rear AAM 1150 house 4.88 gears.
To create a genuinely personal touch, Wes machined six 24.5-inch Alcoa semi wheels down to 24 inches in his shop,then wrapped 40-inch Interco M-16 tires around each one. They look good,are highway-friendly, and bridge the gap between allterrain tires and aggressive off-road rubber. Custom spacers were required to keep the dual rear tires from rubbing, and Wes cut his own design into the 10-lug rims for a unique look. Bushwacker fender flares protect the body when off-roading, front and rear bumpers are painted to match, and Amp Research retractable steps ensure easy entry and exit. A Pace Edwards electric tonneau cover keeps the contents of the bed secure.
While the lift and new wheels helped the appearance of the truck, power was another story -- and Wes likes a responsive engine. His original plan was just a simple injector upgrade and a compound turbo setup for the 5.9L common-rail Cummins. The first phase of horsepower mods began with a pair of S300 turbos, but injector problems led Wes to Shane Goodnight and the team at Diesel Power Plus in Tulsa. While a few minor tweaks to the engine might have been good enough for most, good enough is rarely good or enough for Wes. So he decided on a complete overhaul. And by complete, we mean the block is about all that’s left of the original engine.
Phase two of the upward horsepower spiral entailed a balanced crank, polished and shot-peened factory rods, and Cummins marine pistons making it into the short-block, along with a Hamilton Cams camshaft and pushrods. The Diesel Power Plus team installed a new BD Diesel Track Master Twin Turbo arrangement, with ported and polished heads and a set of F1 Diesel 200hp injectors. Fuel is supplied to the rail by a PPE Dual Fueler CP3 kit. The CP3s see plenty of diesel supply thanks to a FASS 250-gph fuel system. A Banks Power air-toair intercooler ensures a dense air charge and Tial blow-off valves handle excess boost pressure. To ensure free breathing, the engine was fitted with an AFE cold-air intake; massive Diesel Power Plus intake elbow; and a custom-built, 5-inch, straight-through exhaust. Once the engine mods were complete, horsepower and torque management were left to an all-billet 48RE automatic from Sun Coast.
Moving inside, the interior retains its premium Laramie factory package with plush black leather and gray suede. Creature comforts include a Panasonic in-dash widescreen color monitor/DVD receiver that controls four Infinity component sets in the factory door locations, along with a pair of Panasonic amps and twin 12-inch Panasonic subs behind the back seat. Passengers enjoy library-like quiet, thanks to the Dynamat insulation throughout the cab and a heavy layer of undercoating. The truck’s vital signs are monitored by a combination of Phantom Series boost, pyro, and trans temp gauges from Auto Meter along the A-pillar. A TST PowerMax controller stacked with a Smarty SSR programmer ramps up timing and pulse width to create additional horsepower.
Thanks to its hitch on the rear and gooseneck in the bed, the completed truck is used on a regular basis at the shop. It’s also a great weekend toy-hauler to get Wes’ Polaris RZRs to the dunes. Adding to the fun, the onboard air compressor has fittings to air the huge tires up after a day of rockcrawling. Who ever said you can’t have it all?
|2004 Dodge Ram 3500HD Laramie|
|ENGINE:||5.9L Cummins I-6 with a balanced crank, Cummins Marine pistons and rods, Hamilton Cams camshaft and pushrods, ported and polished head|
|AIR:||BD Diesel Track Master Twin Turbos, Banks intercooler,Tial Sport blow-off valves|
|FUEL:||PPE Dual Fueler CP3 kit, FASS 250-gph lift pump, F1 Diesel 200hp injectors|
|HORSEPOWER:||860 rwhp (est.)|
|TORQUE:||1,800 lb-ft (est.)|
|TRANSMISSION:||Full-billet Sun Coast 48RE|
|TIRES:||40X14.50R24LT Interco M-16 tires (40-inch)|
|WHEELS:||Six 10-lug, 24.5-inch Alcoa rims machined down to 24 inches with a custom design and spacers in the rear|
|SUSPENSION:||Rize Industries 8-inch suspension lift and 3-inch body lift, Rize heavy-duty control arm system and Fabtech Dirt Logic coilovers up front with twin steering stabilizers and sway bar, Rize traction bars with Fabtech Dirt Logic shocks, both axles are equipped with 4.88 gears|
|FUN FACT:||Wes says: “After we gained a little maturity, we felt the original stripper pole in the bed would be better served as a flag pole for Ol’ Glory!”|