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  • Nick’s 10-Second 2006 Ram 2500 Was Built with the Help of Diesel Friends Far and Wide

Nick’s 10-Second 2006 Ram 2500 Was Built with the Help of Diesel Friends Far and Wide

Members of the Diesel Nation Pitch in to Help Nick Eklund Build an 1,168hp Street-’Strip Monster

Jan 22, 2016
Photographers: Rick Cooper
For Nick Eklund, owning fast Cummins-powered Dodge Ram trucks is a family and community affair—one that’s required help from all corners of the diesel performance population. As with most enthusiasts, Nick was bitten by the horsepower bug at a young age, after riding in his dad’s VP44-pumped ’99 Dodge Ram 2500. “I thought that was the fastest thing in the world,” Nick says, even though the truck was mostly stock.
Nick bought his own rig, an ’01 Dodge Ram 2500, after joining the United States Air Force, and after a few years of ownership, he came to a crossroads: rebuild the pickup from the ground up, or sell it and get a later-model truck with common-rail fueling. Since he also wanted the comfort of a Laramie model, Nick sold his first ride in 2011, replacing it with the ’06 Dodge Ram 2500 you see here. In that first year, upgrades were limited to an EFILive tuner. But once Nick was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, he decided to start building his long-term dream truck.
Photo 2/13   |   013 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Front Quarter Sunset
“I had the transmission built in to hold 750 hp, even though the engine wasn’t making that much at the time,” Nick says. Considering future upgrades has paid off, however, as the 48RE four-speed automatic has only suffered a broken stock intermediate shaft since it was built by Brian Wilson in 2012.
With the gearbox squared away, Nick turned his focus toward improving the 5.9L engine’s breathing. After going through a few sets of turbochargers, he turned to the diesel community for advice. “Lavon Miller [our two-time Diesel Power Challenge champ] has been a huge help,” he says.
Acting on the knowledge of other enthusiasts, Nick turned to his current turbo setup, built by Tim Miller at HSP Diesel. A billet 72mm BorgWarner S472 feeds a custom-built, 94mm Garrett GT55 unit, and Turbosmart’s wastegate and blow-off valve keep boost controlled and the engine safe. Using an ATS Diesel Performance Twin Fueler kit, a Motorsport Diesel 10.6mm and Exergy Performance 12mm CP3 injection pump feed 150-percent-over Exergy Performance injectors, satisfying the 5.9L’s appetite for diesel.
Photo 3/13   |   011 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Drag Strip
Thanks to a very prodigious 1,168 hp and 1,799 lb-ft of stump-pulling torque, Nick’s truck covers the quarter-mile in 10.38 seconds at 131 mph—and that’s “taking it easy,” Nick says. “Once I get the engine rebuilt, I’ll start trying a little harder.” Aside from getting the engine rebuilt, Nick plans to add safety equipment to his rig. However, since he doesn’t want to lose use of the rear seat, a custom rollcage is in order.
Visually, the truck is exactly where he wants it, with a lowered, race-ready stance that’s achieved with cut springs up front and rear drop shackles. A Borgeson Universal steering box and shaft and Hell Bent Steel’s steering-box brace keep the front wheels pointed true, and Bilstein 5100 shocks help Nick maintain control of the 2500 during high-speed blasts. Such exterior treatments as a Dodge Ram SRT-10 hood, Sport front bumper, painted rear bumper, and custom Cummins grille emblem are the only hints of the truck having serious performance cred.
“The thing I like the most about my truck is how fun it is to drive on the street,” Nick says. “But now, it could become a bit more of a track toy.”
Photo 4/13   |   012 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Rear Quarter
Nick adds that getting to know several members of the diesel community is a highlight of the build. Lavon has helped him quite a bit, as has Brian, who does a lot of the work Nick isn’t able to do. And the experts at Innovative Diesel have helped guide him through the process as well.
“The more the merrier,” Nick says. “I love showing up to events with my friends and girlfriend, and we set up a tent and coolers. I love having people come and hang out with us. I’m more than happy to talk to anyone—young or old, girl or guy—about diesel.” Nick thanks Brian, of Wilson Tire and Alignment, as well as Lavon, and also the experts at Innovative, for their expertise and help. Nick’s attitude (and his truck) proves diesel performance really is a community of friends.
Fast Facts
Owner: Nick Eklund
Hometown: Belcamp, Maryland
Odometer: 117,000 miles
Engine: 5.9L Cummins I-6, stock rotating assembly Hamilton 188-intake/220-exhaust camshaft, Hamilton 110-pound valvesprings, Manton pushrods, ARP 625 cylinder-head studs, factory head gasket, Midget Diesel Performance motor mounts, and Flex-a-Lite fans
Programming: EFILive tuning by Gordon at Innovative Diesel
Fuel: ATS Diesel Performance Twin Fueler injection system with Exergy Performance 12mm stroker and Motorsport Diesel 10.6mm stroker, CP3 injection pumps, Fass 150-gph lift pump, Exergy Performance 150-percent-over injectors and high-pressure relief valve, Hellman Performance fuel sump, and Fleece Performance distribution block
Air: HSP Diesel sequential-turbocharger system featuring a BorgWarner six-blade S472 over a custom-built (Garrett-based) GT55-94, Turbosmart wastegate and blow-off valve, On 3 Performance intercooler, Banks Power 3.5-inch intercooler pipes, and a Pusher intake horn
Exhaust: Custom 5-inch downpipe into Diamond Eye tubing and muffler
Transmission: 48RE four-speed automatic built by Brian Wilson; Goerend Transmissions billet input, intermediate, and output shafts; billet front drum; constant-pressure valvebody, Crankshaft Depot flexplate, and an AFE transmission pan
Axles: Stock (front and rear), with 3.73 gears
Horsepower: 1,168 hp
Torque: 1,799 lb-ft
Tires: 305/50R20 Nitto NT420S
Wheels: 20x10 BMF Novakane Death Metal
Suspension: Hell Bent Steel steering-box brace, Fleece Performance shock-tower deletes, Bilstein 5100 shocks, 1.5 coils cut from front springs, one leaf removed from both rear springs, 2-inch drop shackles, custom traction bars, and Borgeson Universal steering box and steering shaft
Body: Dodge Ram SRT-10 hood and sport bumper, Cummins grille emblem, and painted rear bumper
Interior: A-pillar and column-mounted Auto Meter gauges
Fun Fact: Nick bought the truck when it was lifted, riding on 35-inch tires, and running a single turbocharger. While his original power goal was 750 hp, speed has become a borderline obsession, and now Nick has one of the highest-horsepower, stock short-block trucks in the country!
Photo 5/13   |   002 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Engine Bay
The exterior isn’t the only great looking element of this Dodge Ram. Its engine bay is gleaming, with gloss-black turbochargers, well-routed plumbing, and that valve cover wrapped in C-notes.
Photo 6/13   |   003 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Close Three Quarter
The vented hood is from a Dodge Ram SRT-10, but it looks perfect on Nick’s ’06 2500. The truck’s 5.9L I-6 makes way more power than the SRT-10’s gasoline V-10, anyway.
Photo 7/13   |   004 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Interior
Inside, discreet A-pillar and column gauges are the only indicators there’s something heady under the hood. Laramie-spec leather seating and wood trim make the truck a comfortable daily driver during the week, and Nick uses it for regular commuting duties. Wouldn’t you?
Photo 8/13   |   005 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Three Quarter
The hunkered-down stance is the subject of much discussion whenever Nick shows up at events. It seems like everyone wants to know how he got a 4x4 to sit so low and look so sporty.
Photo 9/13   |   006 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Radiator Fans
Flex-a-lite dual puller radiator fans help keep heat buildup to a minimum, allowing Nick to push the stock short-block engine a bit harder than he could otherwise.
Photo 10/13   |   007 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Turbo Closeup
These sequential turbos were custom-built from previously owned units. With billet parts, they’re lighter and quicker than before, and they look sleek and sinister, giving the engine bay a clean look that suits the truck well.
Photo 11/13   |   008 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Ats Twin Fueler Kit
Two stroker CP3 injection pumps (one Motorsport Diesel 10.6mm and an Exergy Performance 12mm) satisfy the demand for fuel, and they feed a set of Exergy Performance 150-percent-over injectors.
Photo 12/13   |   009 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Wheels And Tires
Wide BMF Novakane Death Metal wheels are wrapped in an aggressive set of Nitto tires, providing grip for the strip and style for the street. They complete the stance very well.
Photo 13/13   |   010 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Window Decal
Nick first met Brian Wilson when he had the truck’s 48RE four-speed automatic transmission rebuilt. Brian is the only Goerend Transmission parts distributor in Nick’s area, and he’s been helping with the truck since 2012. Brian also runs Wilson Tire & Alignment.

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