2006 Dodge Ram 1500 Regular Cab 4x4 - Irregular Cab
The 1,161hp salvage title pickup that saved a marriage
When Derek Rose started DNR Customs in 2006, he was primarily building custom suspension parts for first-generation Dodge Rams, along with making old 12-valve Cummins engines run well. Over time, the business was growing, and so was the build up on his personal 2006 Mega Cab Ram until it became an 850hp daily driver. Derek loved having a truck like this to use as a tool for promoting his business. However, all wasn't so peachy, as anytime he and his wife were far from home and something on the truck would break, this would cause her to give him "The Evil Eye." He knew it was time to build a dedicated race truck.
During the fall of 2012, Nicole and Derek were looking for an 2006 to 2007 Cummins-equipped regular cab truck. It took about four months for them to buy one, sight-unseen, from an online auction. The truck was a wrecked 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 regular cab 4x4 with a salvage title. "At first we didn't think it was too bad," Derek tells us, "but it was like an onion. The further we dug into it, the worse it appeared! Over the next six months, I went crazy and transformed that wrecked P.O.S. into what it looks like today." There were hundreds of painstaking hours of work and lots of letdowns along the way but, eventually, the truck turned into something his shop and family, including daughter Izzabella, could be proud of.
They swapped the 850hp engine (with a stock bottom end) from Derek's Mega Cab into the rebuilt truck since the engine was already working nicely. The stock engine from the wrecked truck was then swapped into the family's now-tame daily driver. The plan was to keep the power in the new truck less than 900 hp to keep the rods in the block where they belong. Building a new race engine just wasn't feasible at the time.
The pickup was taken down to the TS Performance Outlaw event in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 2013 and it ran well—but rain on Friday postponed things. During the break, Derek had what he called "the bright idea" to jump out on the highway and drive over to the sled pull event in nearby Franklin, Kentucky. There was no way Derek could resist "having some fun" on the highway, and he ended up blowing the No. 3 rod out the side of the block. Pieces were scattered all over the highway. "I was pretty bummed," Derek says, "but I knew this could happen with stock rods. So, I set my sights on a new motor build.
"Being the persistent person I am, I sourced a burnt 6.7L motor and went to town. About two months later, I thought I had a sweet motor: a 6.7L block, 5.9L crank, Carrillo rods, a Hellmann intake, Big BD twin turbos, the works." The engine broke in nicely and at its first sand drags, the truck brought home a win. After that, Derek took a buddy for a ride and…BOOM!...a broken crank. Upon further investigation, it was revealed that a 12mm main stud had failed and pretty much let everything go.
"At this point," Derek explains, "I was crushed and figured the truck was cursed." The Dodge sat in the shop with no engine for six months while Derek focused on his business. With things running smoothly, Derek decided winter was the perfect time to start building another engine. He elected to go with a proven 5.9L setup and shoot for the 1,000 to 1,100hp mark and 1,800 lb-ft of torque, while keeping all the parts inside the engine.
While building the engine, Derek also had an 8.50 NHRA-certified cage built for the truck by HSP Diesel. The engine block was machined at MJ Tool Fab with a 14mm girdle, fully balanced rotating assembly utilizing a factory crank, Carrillo rods, OEM Cummins pistons with valve reliefs, a Hamilton Cams 194-220 camshaft, bolt-in freeze plugs—the works. The 6.7L head was fully ported and machined for a Hellmann side-draft intake and prepped with Trend Performance one-piece pushrods, Hamilton 110-pound valvesprings, and titanium spring retainers. Bolt-in freeze plugs were used, and there's no shortage of airflow, as the truck runs a BD intercooler, Steed Speed T4 manifold with 45mm gate, BD Diesel R1100 turbo kit with a 366 turbo over an S482, and HSP Diesel piping running 83 psi of manifold pressure.
Derek uses a FASS HD 220-gph lift pump that draws out of a 15-gallon fuel cell mounted in the pickup box along with a PPE Dual CP3 injection pump kit. The T&C Diesel Performance CP3s feed a ported rail hooked to 125-percent-over BD Diesel injectors. The engine is controlled with EFILive that was custom-tuned by Ryan at Hardway Performance. Derek also uses a BD Diesel Staging Limiter to help keep his launches consistent.
Frank's Transmission took the 48RE transmission and installed all-billet MJ Tool Fab shafts. A Monster Mike torque converter, along with a custom BD Diesel valvebody, was used, and a BD Diesel dual transmission cooler with a fan was custom-mounted under the bed. CCI Driveline took care of the driveshafts using Spicer U-joints and high-speed balancing. HSP diesel U-joint shields/hoops are also used for safety measures.
The Ram was making the transformation into a race truck day by day. There were many bumps along the way with the new engine build, and Derek threatened to throw in the towel several times, but they made the trip back to the TS Performance Outlaw event in 2014. Fifteen months after the build first began, the truck ran in the 10.5-second Index Class. The truck took Third Place, only losing out to a better finish because of an intercooler boot issue.
The electric blue Ram uses custom traction bars Derek fabricated at his shop, DNR Customs, and a BD Diesel steering brace. Bilstein 5100 shocks are used at all the corners with shock tower deletes in the front. The rear axle and its factory springs have been tweaked by Derek and his team to handle the abuse of racing.
On the asphalt dragstrip, Derek runs M&H drag radial tires on Diamo 17-inch aluminum rims. At the sand drags, he runs Super Scooper paddle tires. The truck gets fueled by a 15-gallon aluminum fuel cell mounted in the bed. Derek's best quarter-mile time so far is 10.28 seconds at 131 mph, with a 60-foot time of 1.49 seconds. His best dyno run is 1,161 hp and 1,854 lb-ft of torque. Derek is very satisfied with the truck at this point, and the rest of 2014 looks to be a good year for putting this regular cab Ram on the map.