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2002 Dodge Ram 2500 - Less Is More

Chaz Giles Takes the Unconventional Route to Big-Time Power

Jason Sands
Dec 29, 2014
Photographers: Jason Sands
Chaz Giles’ modified ’02 Dodge Ram 2500 sat for more than a year while he was trying to mold its direction. You see, Chaz discovered how simple building a street-driven, 700hp, common-rail Dodge could be, and suddenly the plan for making 600 hp with his VP-powered, 24-valve Cummins seemed a little mundane.
So, going against the grain a bit, Chaz pulled the trigger on turning the ’02 engine into a high-revving, 1,000hp, P-pumped 12-valve that could take on the common-rail crowd.
Bluegrass Diesel took delivery of the truck and started the big build. While the stock 24-valve block was retained, almost nothing else was kept. A set of balanced and polished 12-valve rods was installed in the engine, along with low-compression, 13:1 24-valve pistons that were prepped by Keating Machine. The bottom end was fortified for high-rpm use, with ARP main bearing studs clamping down on the factory crankshaft, and an ATI Super Damper.
Photo 2/17   |   Custom 2002 Dodge Ram 2500
Since Chaz wanted the engine to spin, he reverted to a 12-valve cylinder head, which has a more rpm-friendly valvetrain. The head still needed to flow big numbers, though, so it was ported and polished, and the intake shelf was cut off before it was fire-ringed and secured with ARP 625 head studs. Bluegrass Diesel added heavy-duty pushrods and double valvesprings (with titanium retainers) that would round out the top end. A Pro Street Diesel billet camshaft provides plenty of valve lift without snapping in half, which can be a problem on high-rpm engines.
When it comes to power-producing parts, Chaz didn’t hold back, using components from some of the biggest names in the business. The rundown starts with a Diesel Performance Engineering P7100 injection pump that’s fitted with 13mm plungers and barrels and flows a maximum of 900 cc of fuel. From there, fuel is sent through 0.120-inch holders and 0.093-inch lines, to Hart’s Diesel 5x20 dual-feed injectors. The supply pump for this combination is one of the most interesting aspects of the build, as a Waterman Racing lift pump delivers up to 600 gph of fuel (regulated to a steady 60 psi). Because the Waterman lift pump is driven by engine speed, the higher the engine revs, the more fuel it flows.
Plenty of airflow and boost are needed to support the amount of fuel the engine is capable of using. So, for turbochargers, Chaz didn’t skimp, either. Since the truck is meant to be streetable, relatively small and quick-spooling (for the power level) turbochargers were selected. The smaller ’charger is an Engineered Diesel 66mm S300, with one of the company’s own billet wheels, and a 1.10 A/R exhaust housing. The atmospheric turbo is also from Engineered Diesel, and is 84 mm, with a 96mm turbine and a 1.32 A/R exhaust. Boost is compounded through a Spearco intercooler, and a Tater Built individual-runner intake, which peaks at 85 psi under full load. Exhaust is sent out through a 5-inch downpipe and into a 7-inch MBRP exhaust stack.
Photo 3/17   |   Other than the engine block, virtually everything else on Chaz’s 24-valve Cummins has been modified. The engine is visually different from most 12-valves, thanks in part to the Keating Machine 1-piece valve cover, timing cover, and Tater Built intake, which really gives the 990hp engine some shine.
In addition to the engine, other areas of the truck received upgrades as well. The transmission worked fine over the years, but it was freshened for this new build with billet input, output, and intermediate shafts from Goerend Transmission. Chaz also decided to take control of shifting and had a manual valvebody from SunCoast Converters installed. A fuel cell was bolted in, the truck was lowered (two leaves were removed from the rear, and a coil was cut out of the front springs), the interior was gutted, and the bumpers were lightened or removed.
With his fire-engine red Ram now nearly ready for the street, all that was left was to dyno the engine to see if it lived up to his expectations. After a few warm-up pulls, the truck managed to put down an even 990 hp at 4,500 rpm, and power was still climbing when the test was stopped. On the street, the Ram 2500 has walked away from numerous 10-second cars and, with relatively high (for a diesel) 4,000-rpm shift points, Chaz reports that it’s a blast to drive. And how is it compared to the 700hp common-rail he’s used to driving? “It’s not even close,” reports Chaz. “Spinning the tires at 70 mph, awesome all-wheel-drive launches—this thing’s an animal.” We concur.
Photo 4/17   |   The interior of Chaz’s Ram is all business, with an exposed Hurst shifter handling the gear-selecting duties via a SunCoast manual valvebody. Chaz says he shifts at about 4,000 rpm, although he’s willing to spin the Cummins as high as 5,000 rpm, depending on how it will affect his track times. While boost and pyrometer gauges are a common sight on a Dodge A-pillar, an exhaust-backpressure gauge isn’t. Chaz uses the gauge as a guide to adjust the turbo combination, which actually led to a housing change after seeing more than 100 psi of backpressure. Exhaust gas temperatures are cooler than you’d think at 1,400 degrees.
Fast Facts:
Year/Make/Model: 2002 Dodge Ram 2500
Owner: Chaz Giles
Hometown: Columbia, Kentucky
Odometer: 84,000 miles
Engine: Stock ’02 24-valve block with ARP main studs and an ATI Super Damper, 12-valve connecting rods, and 13:1 24-valve pistons modified by Keating Machine; ported, polished, fire-ringed 12-valve cylinder head by Skytower Machine; ARP 625 head studs; Pro Street Diesel billet camshaft; heavy-duty pushrods; engine assembly by Bluegrass Diesel
Fuel: Waterman Racing geardriven lift pump, Hart’s Diesel 5x20 dual-feed injectors, Diesel Performance Engineering 900cc injectors, 13mm pump, full-cut delivery valves, 0.120-inch holders, 0.093-inch lines, Scheid Diesel adjustable fuel plate, 6,000-rpm governor springs, Pro Street Diesel billet pump camshaft, 36 degrees of timing
Induction: Engineered Diesel turbochargers, (66mm/74mm/1.1 A/R and 84mm/96mm/1.32 A/R), piping by Bluegrass Diesel, Stainless Diesel T4-flanged turbocharger manifold, Spearco intercooler, 5-inch Tater Built cold-air intake, 5-inch downpipe with 7-inch MBRP exhaust stack
Transmission: Four-speed automatic with Diesel Performance Converters four-disc, 2,200-rpm stall torque converter; SunCoast manual valvebody; billet input, output, and intermediate shafts from Goerend Transmission
Horsepower: 990 hp
Torque: 1,300-plus lb-ft (dyno maxed on torque)
Tires: 305/50R20 Nitto 420S
Wheels: 20x10 XD Monster
Suspension: Lowered with one rear leaf removed, one front coil cut, and BD traction bars
Axles: Factory, with 3.55 gears and welded rear differential
Fun Fact: Chaz’s buddies keep joking with him about his 4,000-rpm shift points. They say 5,000 rpm is really where it’s at!
Photo 17/17   |   The bed of the Dodge says “race truck” now, thanks to a 15-gallon fuel cell that’s mounted there. The completely aftermarket fuel setup was used to save weight, and to keep up with the demands of the Waterman Racing lift pump.

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