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1992 Dodge D250 - Budget-Built

Jared Lucas' 1992 Cummins makes big steam on small funds

Jason Sands
Oct 10, 2014
Photographers: The Author
Like many of the younger generation, Jared Lucas of Modesto, California, grew up knowing about the potential of diesels. As soon as he heard of 3⁄4-ton trucks keeping up with muscle cars, he was on the lookout for his own compression-ignition ride. However, inexpensive diesels are getting harder and harder to find—especially those that can make some power. So, when Jared ran across a friend of a friend's Dodge for the budget price of $2,300, he jumped on it and immediately started modifying.
Jared's 1992 turbodiesel Dodge was factory intercooled (1989 to 1991½ models were not equipped with 'coolers) and also had a transmission with an Overdrive gear, so he indeed had a good foundation for his project. From that baseline, he proceeded to change the air filter, tweak the VE pump to the point of runaway, and add a larger exhaust. However, while the mods woke the truck up quite a bit, it still wasn't the car-killer he wanted.
Photo 2/17   |   The engine in Jared’s ’92 Dodge D250 is a mix of first-, second-, and thirdgeneration Dodge parts that combine to produce a lightning-quick throttle response, low smoke, and an estimated 600 to 650 hp. One of the more unique aspects of the build is the compound turbo setup that was built by Dow Brothers Race Cars, which incorporates a third-gen Dodge HE351CW turbo along with an S475 as the large turbo. Maximum boost is unknown because it pegs the Dodge’s current 60-psi gauge.
Since Jared knew the factory Bosch VE injection pump was limited to about 450 hp, he decided to make the switch to a P7100 pump, which can be found on '94 to '98 Dodges. These pumps have much greater fueling capabilities and Jared "stole" the lines, front cover, gear, and pump itself (everything needed for the swap) for a cool thousand bucks. He also scored a ported 12-valve head with fire rings, and the Cummins killer dowel pin was already tabbed. A MaxSpool 184/210 cam was added, along with 60-pound springs, 24-valve tappets, and ARP head studs.
At this point, Jared connected with Cory Dow of Dow Brothers Race Cars, who also deals in diesels. Cory fabricated the unique over/under turbocharger setup, which placed the larger turbo up top and in front as opposed to the traditional way of mounting the larger turbo on the bottom. Cory also handled assembling a low-dollar 47RH transmission with parts from TRE Motorsports, Diesel Performance Converters, and DTT Diesel Performance.
Photo 3/17   |   While Jared initially tried a 63mm/68mm 0.91 turbo as the small charger, it didn't come up on boost like he had hoped. He then swapped the 63 out for a smaller HE351 turbo that has a very tight 9cm2 exhaust housing. This makes throttle response almost instant.
While the truck was together (and quite fast), Jared spent much time refining the combination, switching turbo and injector setups for quicker spooling and less smoke. The turbo strategy has morphed from a single 66mm (which never made it on to the truck) to a 63mm/75mm twin setup to its current, ultra-quick-spooling HE351/75mm configuration, along with a set of Hot Rod 370 injectors from F1 Diesel, which replaced some smoky 5x16s.
Throughout his build, Jared relied on message forums, Craigslist, and shops around the nation to get the right parts for the right deal. As his project was refined, his truck dipped into the 12-second bracket, then mid-12s, and finally high 11s at the NHRDA season opener in Bakersfield, California. While this feat was accomplished on a set of very un-sleeper 33x10.50R15 slicks, the fact that the truck was able to go as fast as it has on a combination of used, borrowed, and buddy-built parts proves Jared's rig was built with a lot of planning and thought behind it. And the best part is, the truck still looks like it did when it just had a cranked VE pump and about 250 hp. That is, until the throttle is pinned, and the truck is flat-out gone.
"I couldn't have done this without the help of countless people off the Internet..."
Photo 4/17   |   Normal daily-driver tires for the Dodge are a rotation of well-used, farm-truck tires that may not always even match. For track duty, a set of 33x10.50R15 Mickey Thompson E.T. Drags are bolted on.

Fast Facts
Year/Make/Model: 1992 Dodge D250
Owner: Jared Lucas
Hometown: Modesto, California
Odometer: 165,000 miles
Engine: 5.9L Cummins I-6; MaxSpool 184/210 camshaft; 24-valve tappets with upgraded pushrods; ARP head studs with a ported, polished, and fire-ringed 12-valve head; and 60-pound valvesprings
Fuel: AirDog 165-gph lift pump, 215hp injection pump with 4,000-rpm governor springs, fuel plate delete, modified overflow valve, racked barrels, F1 Hot Rod 370hp injectors
Air: HE351CW/S475 twin turbos built by Dow Brothers Race Cars, Steed Speed manifold, Turbosmart 45mm wastegate
Transmission: 47RH built by Dow Brothers Race Cars with a DTT converter and flexplate, DPC input shaft, TRE valvebody and billet components
Horsepower: 600 hp (est.)
Torque: 1,300 lb-ft (est.)
Tires: Cheap
Wheels: Stock
Suspension: 1-ton springs up front, two leaves removed from rear, altered pinion angle, LML traction bars
Axles: Factory Dana 70 with 3.54 gears and a welded differential
Fun Fact: Jared said he’s not finished with his sleeper Dodge just yet and plans to change its setup again.
Photo 5/17   |   Normal daily-driver tires for the Dodge are a rotation of well-used, farm-truck tires that may not always even match. For track duty, a set of 33x10.50R15 Mickey Thompson E.T. Drags are bolted on.

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