When we first spotted Jordan Galbraith's '94 Dodge Ram 2500 at a drag race in Texas, we didn't quite know what to think about it. Instead of being a lifted four-wheel drive with nice paint, it’s slammed to the ground, on slicks, and looks like a rat rod. The truck is also two-wheel drive and is outfitted with a shortbed, which wasn’t offered for diesel-powered 2500s in 1994.
Jordan is a pretty cool guy who just wanted to build a drag truck on a budget. “I like the idea of having a fast 8,000-pound truck, but I know it'll go a whole lot faster at 5,000 pounds,” Jordan says. Jordan also built almost the entire truck himself, from shortening the frame to building the compound-turbocharger system and even assembling the transmission. “I only paid $2,000 for the truck, so I figured I didn't have that much to lose if I messed anything up,” he says.
Since building a drag truck was Jordan’s plan from the start, he was able to accept high mileage and other nuances that might scare other buyers off. “The truck had more than 400,000 miles when I got it, but it didn't smoke, and the engine seemed strong,” Jordan says. After the initial purchase, a shortbed conversion was one of the first changes Jordan made. “I cut 16 inches out of the frame, welded it back up, then shortened the driveshaft and looped the brake lines. Other than finding a shortbed, that's about all there was to it.”
The bed Jordan acquired also started the “Rusty” theme for his project. It had a bunch of paint missing, and the cab wasn't much better, so Jordan stripped everything down to bare metal. The original plan was just to apply a clearcoat over the bare metal. “I let it sit for too long, and it started rusting, so I sanded it all down again, and then it rained and rusted again,” Jordan laments. After that, he decided it was just meant to be rusty and went with it.
While the body corroded, Jordan went to work on the drivetrain. He fabricated a compound-turbocharger system, using a 60mm Holset HE351 turbo and an 83mm Holset HT4C. Jordan also fabricated the downpipe and the rest of the exhaust system. The original P-pump was re-timed at 28 degrees and then fitted with 4,000-rpm governor springs, competition delivery valves, and a mack rack plug. After experiencing head gasket issues, Jordan even O-ringed the block and installed a set of ARP 425 cylinder-head studs.
Jordan also rebuilt the 47RH four-speed automatic transmission himself, using a Sonnex billet input shaft and a TransGo shift kit, and he completed the upgrade with a 2,200-rpm-stall torque converter from Diesel Performance Converters.
The final step of Jordan’s build was completing the drag truck look by moving the rear leaf springs below the axlehousing. The relocation lowered the truck “at least 3 inches,” Jordan says.
With the look he wanted and the type of power he needed to go fast, the only thing Jordan needed to prove was that the lightweight 2500 is a force at the dragstrip. After a number of trips to the track, the rusty truck has clicked off an 11.23 e.t. at 117 mph, with an impressive 1.61-second 60-foot time.
With only an estimated $10,000 invested in the truck, Jordan is very close to his “10s for 10K” goal. Best of all, the rig is still street legal and driven everywhere, making it one of the best bang-for-the-buck performance diesel pickups we’ve seen.
Year/Make/Model: ’94 Dodge Ram 2500
Owner: Jordan Galbraith
Hometown: Lancaster, Texas
Odometer: 410,487 miles
Engine: 5.9L Cummins I-6 featuring an O-ringed block, ARP 425 head studs, Pacbrake 60-pound springs, a clipped water pump, and a coolant bypass
Fuel: Glacier Diesel Power lift pump, 215hp P-pump upgraded with 4,000-rpm governor springs, competition delivery valves, 28 degrees timing, mack rack plug, Contagious Diesel Performance 5x.018 injectors, and Power Driven Diesel’s AFC Live fueling control
Air: Holset HE351 and HT4C compound turbochargers, BD intercooler boots, and an AEM 6-inch universal filter
Exhaust: Inverted factory manifold, and an owner-built 5-inch exhaust system with a 6-inch stack,
Transmission: Owner-built 47RH four-speed automatic with a TransGo shift kit, Sonnex 300M input shaft, 2,200-rpm-stall torque converter, Diesel Performance Converters flexplate, and a B&M external oil cooler
Horsepower: 750 hp (est.)
Torque: 1,600 lb-ft (est.)
Tires: 265/75R16 Michelin LTX M/S2 (front)/Mickey Thompson 33x10.5Wx15 (rear)
Wheels: 16x7 Factory (front)/15x8 U.S. Wheel 78 Series (rear)
Chassis: 16 inches removed from the frame, converted to shortbed
Suspension: Modified springs (1.5 front coils cut, 2 rear leafs removed), rear spring-under-axle conversion, and homebuilt traction bars
Axles: Dana 70 with 3.55 gears and welded spider gears
Body: Fourth-generation Dodge front bumper, steel roll pan (rear)
Interior: Isspro boost, fuel pressure, and pyrometer gauges
Fun Fact: Jordan's shortbed tips the scales at an ultra-light (for a diesel pickup) 5,240 pounds with driver.
| 002 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 750 Hp Cummins
Don't let the rust fool you, the 410,487-mile 5.9L Cummins engine in Jordan Galbraith's ’94 Dodge Ram 2500 is very capable. With an O-ringed block, ARP cylinder-head studs, compound turbochargers, and fueling modifications, the 12-valve powerplant cranks out at estimated 750 hp and 1,600 lb-ft of torque.
| 003 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 Mr Gasket Breather
Jordan incorporated a few innovative ideas into his budget build. To relieve excess crankcase pressure on the high-boost, high-mileage engine, a Mr. Gasket universal breather was installed on the oil-filler tube.
| 004 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 Coolant Bypass
A homebuilt coolant bypass and clipped water pump were installed on the engine to try and keep the coolant system from overpressurizing at high engine speeds.
| 005 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 AEM Filter
| 006 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 HE351 HT4C Compounds
Jordan scored the 60mm Holset HE351 turbo from a newer, common-rail Cummins to use as the high-pressure turbo, and he mounted it on an inverted factory manifold. The larger of the two ’chargers is an 83mm Holset HT4C. Both turbos combine to produce an impressive 85 pounds of boost.
| 007 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 Six Inch Stack
The rusty ’94’s “borrowed, budget, and used” theme is continued with the exhaust system, where owner-bent 5-inch tubing extends into a 6-inch “big rig” stack.
| 008 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 Glacier Diesel Lift Pump
With the rest of the truck being stone-simple, Jordan decided that using a mechanical lift pump was the best option for fueling. A crankshaft-driven Fuel Boss lift pump from Glacier Diesel Performance was selected and supplies a wild 75 psi of fuel pressure to the engine.
| 009 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 Ppump Homebuilt
After running the truck for a while with the factory 160hp P-pump, Jordan installed a 215hp unit from a later-model truck. The pump has been upgraded with a mack rack plug, 4,000-rpm governor springs, and competition delivery valves, and it’s set at 28 degrees of timing.
| 010 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 Contagious Diesel 5x18 Injectors
Since the ’94 was built to be used mainly as a drag truck, a set of rather large 5x.018 injectors from Contagious Diesel Performance was installed on the engine, which Jordan estimates should be good enough for 700 to 800 hp.
| 011 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 AFC Live
Since Jordan bracket-races, he installed an AFC Live control unit from Power Driven Diesel. The module allows Jordan to add or subtract fuel just by a turn of a knob to speed up or slow the truck down as necessary. The race unit also has a “full fuel” override switch for times when Jordan needs to pass an opponent just before the finish line.
| 012 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 Interior
Since looks don't make it go any faster, the interior of the Ram remains stock, with the exception of boost, fuel pressure, and pyrometer gauges from Isspro. Jordan says his next project is installing a rollcage, as the truck already runs quicker than 11.49 seconds in the quarter-mile, which is the lowest e.t. permitted (without that safety equipment) by the NHRA.
| 013 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 Shortbed Conversion
To save weight, and for better starting line traction, Jordan converted the truck from a longbed to a shortbed by taking a whopping 16 inches out of the frame, then rewelding it.
| 014 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 Dana 70 Spring Under
The rig’s slammed stance is another unique feature that says, “drag truck,” loud and clear. To achieve this type of drop, the rear axle (which is normally mounted below the leaf springs) was mounted above the factory springs. This modification, along with a set of “parts store” air shocks, gives the truck a huge drop and the look Jordan wanted to achieve.
| 015 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 Homebuilt Traction Bars
The traction bars are also parts Jordan built himself using a couple of link arms from Harbor Freight.
| 016 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 33x10W Slicks
Jordan didn't pull any punches in the traction department and went straight to a set of Mickey Thompson 33x10.5Wx15 slicks, which are mounted on 15x8 wheels and aired down to 11 psi for track outings.
| 017 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 Front Wheels And Tires
An interesting trick was used to make the front of the truck look lower than it actually is. While cutting 1.5 coils out of the front springs did lower it quite a bit, Jordan also stuffed in a set of 265/75R16 Michelins (which are 31.6 inches tall) to completely fill in the front wheelwell.
| 018 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 Fourth Gen Bumper
For better aerodynamics and to complete the drag-truck look, the stock bumper of a fourth-generation Dodge Ram was added after it was left outside to rust for a while.
| 019 Rusty 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 Rollpan