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2004 Dodge Ram 3500 - Diesel Power Challenge 2014 Competitor

Mike McGlothlin
Jun 25, 2014
Photographers: Diesel Power Staff
One of the more formidable contenders for the DPC crown this year is Lavon Miller. We've seen his truck compete at a few diesel events in the Midwest, so we know he can cut a good light at the dragstrip. And, being from Ohio, we think it's safe to assume he knows a thing or two about hooking to a sled. But not only does he have experience sled pulling, drag racing, and building some nasty street trucks, he's also attended the Diesel Power Challenge before. In 2013, Lavon was on Banean Woosley's crew and played a key role in his Third Place overall finish. No doubt, he took notes, and his insider knowledge definitely gives him an edge. The first sign that Lavon paid close attention to altitude's effect on performance last year surfaced when he rolled into Denver with a 6.7L Cummins under the hood—not a 5.9L.
6.7L
Thanks to the added displacement, the S366/S484 turbo combination should light quickly, and Lavon told us that was the primary reason for ditching the 5.9L. "I installed the 6.7L to help deal with the elevation out here," he said. In addition to the extra cubic inches aiding spool up, it should also improve the truck's torque number on the dyno, have better responsiveness at the dragstrip, and demonstrate all-around better driveability than a 5.9L. His Ram's long wheelbase should lend itself to a successful sled pull as well. Look for Lavon's slick-looking Dodge to make four-digit horsepower and 2,000 lb-ft on the rollers, run low 11s in the quarter-mile, and finish things off with a strong sled pull effort.
Photo 2/10   |   Lavon Miller 2004 Dodge Ram 3500 Cummins Rear View
No Weak Links
The ace up Lavon's sleeve is the fact that he is well known for building performance 47 and 48RE automatic transmissions for a living. In an event like DPC, in which transmission failure is all too common, this definitely gives him an advantage. We fully expect the slushbox under Lavon's Dodge to survive all events—despite the truck weighing in near the 8,000-pound mark.
Prepared
With the game plan of preparing for the worst yet hoping for the best, Lavon is ready for any kind of failure during the event. His spare parts list includes: front and rear axleshafts, transfer case, front driveshaft, and an extra ring and pinion for the front and rear axles. "We pretty much brought an entire spare drivetrain," he told us. An extra set of injectors, cylinder head, intercooler, intercooler boots, transmission, and a turbo also made the trip west to Colorado. And, in the event of a worst-case scenario, Lavon even brought the 5.9L the current 6.7L replaced.
Fuel Only
Lavon is your typical Midwestern diesel guru: he's a fuel-only die-hard. With the exception of using a small shot of nitrous on the dyno if needed, he plans to use nothing more than good old number 2 diesel for the remainder of the events. If he opts for the fuel-only route and comes out on top, it will be the first time we've crowned a fuel-only Diesel Power Challenge champion since 2009.
Photo 6/10   |   Lavon Miller 2004 Dodge Ram 3500 Cummins Air Dog
Photo 10/10   |   Lavon Miller 2004 Dodge Ram 3500 Cummins ATS Pullies

Build Sheet
Name/City: Lavon Miller/Plain City, Ohio
Vehicle: 2004½ Dodge Ram 3500
Driver Experience: Dyno, sled pull, drag race, tow, wrench
Engine: 6.7L Cummins I-6 built with Carrillo rods, Industrial Injection 6.7L pistons, ARP Custom Age 625 main and head studs, D&J Precision Machine ported head with side draft intake, Hamilton Cams HD pushrods
Turbo(s): Engineered Diesel billet S366/S484 compounds, Firepunk Diesel intercooler
Fuel: Exergy Engineering 200-percent-over injectors, ATS Twin CP3 kit with 12mm Exergy CP3, AirDog fuel system with 4G-HD lift pump
Electronics: Smarty SSR
Injectables: Custom nitrous-oxide system
Intake/Exhaust: AFE cone filter/Firepunk Diesel turbo-back exhaust
Transmission: Firepunk Diesel Competition Stage 3 48RE four-speed automatic with a Diesel Performance Converter torque converter
Suspension: Stock with Firepunk Diesel traction bars
Tires/Wheels: 305/55R20 Nitto Terra Grappler/20x12-inch American Force
Differentials: 3.73 gears, Detroit Truetrac rear

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