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1993 Dodge W250 - One-Owner Wonder

12-second Elapsed Times, 489 hp, and Clean as the Day it was Built

Jason Sands
Mar 23, 2015
Photographers: David Livesay
Many diesel owners replace their rides as newer and more advanced trucks become available, but not David Livesay. David special-ordered his ’93 Dodge W250 with the intention of keeping it for 20 years or more. He combined the reliability of the work truck package with some luxury features of the LE model, and he had to wait until well into 1994 before he finally got his brand-new, special-order truck.
"“I’ve broken every single one of the stock transmission shafts at one time or another.” — David Livesay"
At first, David drove his new truck around just like most people do, hauling sand, taking the kids to school, or towing a boat. However, an eighth-mile track was only about 15 minutes away from his Benson, North Carolina, home, and after more than a decade of normal use, he got the itch to take the 5.9L Cummins-powered rig for a trip down the track to see what it could do. “I knew these trucks had potential,” David says. “So I ordered a bunch of parts all at once for my first set of modifications.” This initial round of components included larger injectors, a PDR-modified HX35 turbocharger, a 3,200-rpm governor spring, an ATS exhaust manifold, and a 5-inch muffler. With these mods, the truck put down between 240 and 260 hp at the rear wheels and, with a four-wheel-drive launch, was able to beat a Porsche at Dunn-Benson Dragstrip. “After I beat that Porsche, I was hooked,” recalls David. “It’s been full-speed ahead since then.”
Photo 2/13   |   The engine compartment in David’s W250 is so clean you’d think that Cummins engine came with compound turbochargers from the factory. The highly modified 5.9L is also one of the most powerful 12mm VE-pumped trucks out there, with a dyno-verified 489 hp and 845 lb-ft of torque.
Soon, the Cummins engine was upgraded with even larger injectors, which created a problem in the EGT department. With the knowledge that he was going to upgrade to compound turbos at some point, David picked up a PDR cylinder head that had been fully ported and O-ringed, and he secured it to the engine with A1 Technologies head studs. The cam was also upgraded, with a 181/210 unit from Hamilton Cams. Finally, a Banks Power intercooler was installed, for both better charge-air cooling and its pressure-handling capabilities. David’s turbo upgrade was further enhanced by adding a Holset HT3B under a BorgWarner S300, and injectors were upgraded once again, with Dynomite Diesel Products Stage 4s. With this setup, David was able to slip the Dodge into the high 12s in the quarter-mile—but not without its modified automatic transmission slipping as well.
Until this point, David had been running the Dodge’s factory non-lockup A518 TorqueFlite transmission, albeit with some upgraded parts. After the two turbos were installed and hard, 25-psi launches became the norm, David proceeded to break the stock input shaft, output shaft, and intermediate shaft during various track outings. Tired of replacing parts, David decided to build the transmission once and for all, using a complete rotating assembly out of a later 47RH transmission, along with all three billet shafts and an ultra-low-stall SunCoast torque converter.
Photo 3/13   |   Over the years, David has become a transmission expert, thanks to hundreds of boosted launches. His current setup is an A518 with a later-model rotating assembly; billet input, intermediate, and output shafts; and a SunCoast low-stall torque converter.
With the transmission sorted out, David then turned his focus to the Cummins, once again in search of more power. A larger 188/220 camshaft from Hamilton Cams was installed, along with a custom intercooler from Hellmann Performance. These two modifications made the engine more efficient, and even though boost dropped from 70 psi to 58 psi, power increased. A water-methanol injection kit David had on the truck was also further refined, built with parts from Snow Performance and Coolingmist, modified with some of David’s own cooking. With this new setup and a NOS (new old stock) VE injection pump that had been modified with a 3,800-rpm spring, David was able to drive the rig into the mid-12s, with a best e.t. of 12.67 seconds at 103.35 mph.
After more than 20 years of ownership, David is still tinkering and refining his truck into exactly what he wants it to be—and he doubts he’ll ever stop. With more than 267,000 miles and 500 dragstrip passes on the original engine, this truck is a testament to legendary Cummins reliability, and proof of just how far one determined owner can go when building his dream truck.
Photo 4/13   |   1993 Dodge W250 On Drag Strip
Fast Facts:
Year/Make/Model: 1993 Dodge W250
Owner: David Livesay
Hometown: Benson, North Carolina
Odometer: 267,000 miles
Engine: 5.9L Cummins 12-valve with a Fluidampr harmonic balancer, PDR ported and O-ringed head secured with A1 Technologies head studs, Hamilton Cams 188/220 camshaft, pushrods, valvesprings, and retainers
Fuel: Bosch 12mm VE pump with M&H fuel pin and 3,800-rpm governor spring, Hungry Diesel 5x18 injectors honed to “much larger,” Walbro 392 lift pump regulated to 15 psi with an Aeromotive regulator, AN-6 and -8 custom lines and fuel cooler
Air: Custom-built BHAF in stock intake box, Engineered Diesel air shutoff, ATS three-piece exhaust manifold, BorgWarner 62mm S300 turbocharger with a 14cm2 housing over a Holset HT3B turbo with a 21cm2 housing, Hellmann intercooler, Banks Power TwinRam intake, 4-inch downpipe with 5-inch muffler
Transmission: Owner-built A518 TorqueFlite automatic with 47/48-series rotating assembly; billet input, output, and intermediate shafts; owner-built valvebody and revised clutch setup; SunCoast low-stall converter; SFI flexplate; Fluidyne external cooler
Horsepower: 489 hp
Torque: 845 lb-ft
Tires: 305/70R16 BFGoodrich All-Terrain
Wheels: 16x10 Centerline
Suspension: Stock, with homebuilt traction bars
Axles: Dana 60 (front); Dana 70 (rear) with 3.54:1 gears
Fun Fact: David reports that he often hits the beach with his family before or after going to the dragstrip. Sounds like a tough day!

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