2001 Ram Draft Horse
Are you familiar with the notion of the cobbler’s son always being the last person to get new shoes? This misfortune is oftentimes the norm in the world of diesel performance, as the hardworking men and women who spend days and nights applying their skills on customers’ trucks almost always have personal projects that only receive attention after the paying work is done.
Jack Naleway is one of those cobblers, and his personal ’01 Dodge Ram 2500 is more than just a typical project. The truck is a tow rig, daily driver, and part-time drag racer, and it is built exactly the way he wants it.
“I bought this truck back in 2007 when it had 86,000 miles on it,” Jack says. “I was pretty particular with what I was looking for. I wanted an ’01 or ’02 Dodge Ram, in either the brown color this truck is painted or a gun-metal gray that was available at the time. I was shopping for two weeks when I found the rig, and I probably overpaid for it.” This truck was not originally intended to be modified. In fact, its main purpose was to haul Jack’s rockcrawler around.
“When I moved to Montana, I sold my rockcrawler, and the Dodge Ram started to become more of a project,” Jack explains. “It started very simply with a DiabloSport Power Puck, which is good for maybe 50 hp. But it woke the truck up, and since I have always loved diesels, it motivated me to start upgrading it more seriously.”
Throughout the entire upgrade process, Jack focused on keeping towing and driveability at the forefront of his build. As he progressed with the Dodge Ram, a FASS 95-gph lift pump was added, injectors were upgraded, and Jack tried bolt-on single turbochargers before taking the plunge with a set of compounds. Using a Holset HE351 and a Garrett 4294, Jack achieved the quick spooling he was looking for, but unfortunately he found a flaw in the combination the hard way. “The turbos lit instantly just like I wanted, and they worked great around town,” Jack says. “When we decided to test the top-end power, the setup was making about 80 psi when we heard a loud pop and the engine stopped running. The housing on the Garrett was too tight for what we were doing and it over-sped the turbo, causing it to fail.” Making matters worse, the engine ingested quite a bit of sharpnel and the damage was evident all the way into the block.
“Before the engine was damaged, my fiancée Hilary and I already had a 1,000-mile trip planned with the horses,” Jack says with a laugh. “I basically had one month to get everything fixed. I took the budget route the first time, so I decided to be far more methodical when putting the engine together again. I installed new pushrods and valvesprings, O-ringed and ported the cylinder head, and spent a lot of time with Justin Dall (owner of Advanced Diesel Works) measuring compressor wheels and housings to get a turbo combination that does the things we want it to do. This had to be right the first time.”
Three weeks later, Jack had a running truck, now sporting compound Holset HE351 and BorgWarner S472 turbos for which he fabricated all the plumbing. After little more than a couple days of testdriving, Hilary and Jack set off on their 1,000-mile trip with an 8,000-pound trailer containing their horses Sadie and Gypsy. “It was a little nerve-wracking to leave on that trip with a brand-new engine, but everything worked perfectly,” Jack says. “I still monitor the backpressure gauge constantly and make tweaks to ensure everything is working right.”
So, why did Jack go with this unique turbo combo? The answer is simple. “I just wanted to do something different rather than open a catalog,” he says. “When customers come into our shop, we want to offer them options, and not all of those choices have to be from a catalog. Depending on the type of experience people want to have with their truck, there are lots of ways to achieve it. This package works fantastic for me.”
The truck’s exterior is interesting, because Jack worked many stock parts into his idea of making his ’01 Dodge Ram 2500 look perfect. “I love the stock look,” Jack says. “Using the original parts from different-year trucks was done absolutely on purpose. When I got the truck, I knew I wanted the Sport front end that was available, and while it was not offered in this color, the paint shop matched it perfectly. The cab’s clearance lights are from a ’10 Ram and the wheels are from a ’10 Ram Laramie model. One of my buddies got a cowl hood, and I like the way it looks, so I also added that. I don’t really need mud tires, but I enjoy the way they look and these have been great for towing. And even with all the highway driving we do, they are not too loud.” The big steel front bumper was a timely addition. According to Jack, “I had the bottom piece of the bumper and I then fabricated the top section. Where we live, there’s a high risk of hitting a deer. A week after I installed the bumper, I hit my first deer. I would have done a number on the truck without it.”
Since all work and no play literally makes Jack a dull boy, this Dodge Ram hits the dragstrip three to four times a season. “The closest track is a solid 4-hour drive, so we do not get out there as much as we want, but during the summer we make a few trips,” Jack says. “The 8.70-second eighth-mile pass was made with a very conservative launch, but I am planning on getting more aggressive with the truck to see how quick I can get it to go. The density altitude there tends to be more than 5,000 feet, so the truck could get hot if it’s overworked.”
Jack took a tough situation and approached it like a professional. By sticking with a good plan, he has a powerful rig that can work and play hard—and allow him and Hilary to travel thousands of miles per year with their beloved horses. It also lets Jack show customers at Advanced Diesel Works a unique turbo combination they may be interested in putting on their own trucks.
Fast Facts:Year/Make/Model: ’01 Dodge Ram 2500
Owner: Jack Naleway
Hometown: Kalispell, Montana
Odometer: 235,000 miles
Fuel economy: 14 mpg towing
Engine: 5.9L Cummins, ARP head studs, O-ringed cylinder head, Hamilton Cams 110-pound valvesprings and heavy-duty pushrods, exhaust ports gasket-matched, Crazy Carl’s Turbos tunnel ram, 12-valve vented side cover
Fuel: FASS 95-gph lift pump, Baldwin 4-micron filter, Dynomite Diesel Performance 150hp injectors, stock VP44 injection pump
Air: S&B cold-air intake, 5-inch filter, BD Diesel Performance X Intake Elbow, Holset HE351 and BorgWarner S472 turbochargers, homemade plumbing
Exhaust: Performance Diesel Inc. three-piece manifold, 4-inch homemade downpipe, 4-inch Diamond Eye Performance dual tubes
Transmission: 47RE four-speed automatic, SunCoast Diesel Transmissions triple-disc torque converter and valvebody, Alto Red clutches, Mag-Hytec pan, deleted heat exchanger
Horsepower: 592 hp
Torque: 1,200 lb-ft
Tires: 285/70/17 General Grabber
Wheels: 17-inch ’10 Ram Laramie
Suspension: 2.5-inch Rough Country Suspension leveling kit
Axles: 4.10 gears
Body: Cowl hood, Sport front end, homemade front bumper, ’10 Ram cab lights
Interior: Color-matched dash bezel; ISSPRO boost, backpressure, and transmission-temperature gauges; Edge Products Juice touch-screen monitor
Fun Fact: When Jack is not running 8.70s at the eighth-mile dragstrip, he’s probably hauling his fiancée’s large horse trailer over the mountains. His fiancée often takes the truck on 1,000- to 1,500-mile tows by herself.