2001 Dodge Ram 2500 Cranks Nearly 700 Tire-Shredding Horsepower
Fast Red: A Clean, Subtle Surface Hides this ’01 Dodge Ram 2500’s Inner Beast
We live in a loud age. When it comes to diesel pickup trucks, it seems everyone is competing to see who has the biggest, shiniest, and most audacious rig they can possibly build. A walk around any truck show, sled pull, or drag race will confirm that most people go for super-high visual impact, which is why rigs like the ’01 Dodge Ram owned by Carl Baker of Columbia Falls, Wyoming, are so compelling.
Carl’s truck looks like it has been only mildly modified and tweaked. However, in reality, it is a machine that puts down just shy of 700 dyno-proven horsepower yet maintains a look that is very close to stock with some subtle changes. Carl has owned the truck since it was brand-new, and he has been playing with it since just after driving the red rig off the dealer’s lot.
Justin Dahl operates Advanced Diesel Works and is the man who has been laying hands on this rig for more than a decade. “I went to college with Carl, and while we were not best friends back then, we knew each other. So, when I got my business started, he came to me for work on the truck,” says Justin. The early mods were basic bolt-ons, each visit starting with the same statement. “Carl would come into the shop and say, ‘Once we do this, I’ll be done.’ I explained how he was wrong about that,” Justin tells us with a laugh. “Finally, I told him he would never be done, and he’s agreeing with me now.”
Third-generation Dodge Ram trucks are a great platform to modify because they’re founded on good pieces. With Carl’s rig, the end result is the combination of a lot of good things that evolved into one great thing. For instance, Advanced Diesel Works took the stock 47RE four-speed automatic transmission and beefed it up with a host of billet parts from SunCoast Diesel Transmissions, making it a gearbox capable of handling the drag racing and other activities Carl likes to use the truck for. “The transmission build was one of the biggest things we did for the truck,” Justin says. “Once Carl drove another truck with a built transmission, he knew it was the right thing to do with his. The SunCoast components are top notch, and the transmission is just what this truck needs.”
The 24-valve, 5.9L Cummins engine is also a study in taking a solid foundation and making smart decisions to create a powerplant that is capable of making tons of reliable power. It is the grouping of the right parts working in harmony that make this truck what it is—well rounded—and not something that is being taxed to its absolute limit to create a dyno queen, fragile pulling monster, or dragstrip blazer that may or may not survive its next pass down the quarter-mile. After all, the fun is in actually driving these things, right? “We’re not known as a huge-power shop,” Justin tells us. “I am really big on driveability and reliability. I want everything that leaves this shop to be user friendly and to get driven. That’s really important to Carl as well.”
The engine is fed by an Industrial Injection Hot Rod VP44 injection pump because the Ram needs virtually every drop of diesel that baby can deliver, due to the compounded BorgWarner turbochargers force-feeding the engine air. The pair of turbos uses an S475 as the atmospheric ’charger and an S362 as the secondary compressor. “This thing really is an animal, even though that’s a set of small turbos to use as compounds,” Justin says. While you can use bigger turbos and run big numbers, we normally race at pretty high elevation, so these work great. They spool quickly and consistently, and Carl has been the number one or two qualifier multiple times,” Justin says.
The truck is lowered mildly and parts from BD Diesel Performance replace stock components where they count the most. “We removed a leaf from the rear and made some custom blocks to lower the back about 4 inches,” Justin says. “Carl did not want to go with a lighter spring in the front, so we modified the stock springs to level the truck out and get the stance he wants.” The upper and lower control arms are also from BD, and they are many times stronger than the stock pieces made from boxed steel tubing. A steering stabilizer and track bar from BD help anchor the truck at high speed. Lowering the truck not only improves its looks, but it also has many positive effects on the dragstrip when it comes to aerodynamics and chassis dynamics.
In many ways, Justin’s life and friendship with Carl have evolved with the truck. When they first started working together, Justin was wrenching in a two-car garage. As Carl’s truck got faster, Justin’s business grew, and now, it’s actually large enough to fully occupy a location with seven bays and multiple employees.
And, as Justin predicted years ago, Carl’s not done yet. “Carl is a guy who does not want to be a show-off or stand out from the crowd, he’s really quiet,” Justin explains. “The engine has a very distinct lope in the configuration it is in now, and it draws people like flies when he has the truck out or at the track. Because of that, Justin has a 6.7L Cummins earmarked for the rig. Carl is a man who likes to walk softly and carry a big stick.
Perhaps the best part of this story? The most surprised guy reading this issue of Diesel Power magazine is probably Carl. Justin and his buddies worked behind his back to see this rig featured in the magazine. Carl has literally no idea it is coming. For someone who doesn’t like to attract attention to himself, we’re pretty sure Carl won’t mind this one bit! This subtle ’01 Dodge Ram 2500 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and it sure sounds like it fits Carl’s personality perfectly.
Fast Facts:Year/Make/Model: ’01 Dodge Ram 2500
Owner: Carl Baker
Hometown: Columbia Falls, Montana
Odometer: 130,000 miles
Fuel economy: More than 19 mpg on the highway
Engine: 5.9L Cummins I-6, ARP main studs, ARP 625 head studs, Colt Cams Stage 2 camshaft, O-ringed block and head
Fuel: FASS Diesel Fuel Systems HD 150G lift pump, Industrial Injection VP44 Hot Rod injection pump, and Dynomite Diesel Products competition injectors
Air: BorgWarner S475 and S362 compound turbochargers, BD Diesel Performance turbo piping, Crazy Carl’s Innovative Diesel Products intake manifold, and a custom cold-air intake by Advanced Diesel Works
Exhaust: ATS Diesel Performance three-piece exhaust manifold, and a 4-inch single stack
Transmission: 47RE four-speed automatic transmission by Advanced Diesel Works; SunCoast Diesel Transmissions Extreme rebuild kit, billet shafts, direct drum, torque converter, and programmable valvebody; BD Diesel Performance flexplate and deep-sump pan
Horsepower: 689 hp
Torque: 1,200 lb-ft
Tires: 285/50R 20 Falken Ziex S-TZ04
Wheels: 20-inch American Racing DJ708
Suspension: BD Diesel Performance control arms and track bar kit, Calvert Racing Suspension CalTracs traction bars
Axles: 3.54 gears, and limited-slip differentials
Body: Rear roll pan stainless steel rocker panel treatment, and a cowl-induction–style hood
Interior: Seat and dash covers; three-gauge A-pillar pod; ISSPRO Products pyrometer, transmission temperature, and boost gauges; and Edge Products Juice with Attitude programmer and Hot Unlock box
Fun Fact: This feature is a big surprise for Carl. His buddies did all this behind his back! Carl has owned the truck for more than a decade, and it continues to be a work in progress.