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Mega Knockout- 2017 Ram 3500

Whether It’s Lifted or Lowered, Cameron Guernsey’s 800hp ’17 Ram 3500 Is a Winner

Chris Tobin
May 29, 2019
The stunning '17 Ram 3500 featured in these pages is the first brand-new truck 24-year-old Cameron Guernsey ever purchased. It was originally slated to be a great-looking street rig with color-matched trim, aftermarket wheels, and low-profile tires, but Cameron's plans changed after attending the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he saw builds that inspired a more intensive modification strategy for his new rig. As a matter of fact, he began assembling his dream build's parts list and putting a plan into action—in his head, at least—during the flight home.
Performing all the work at his shop, Knockout Kustomz in Jamestown, Indiana, Cameron started by installing a 12-inch FTS Suspension lift and massive 26x16 wheels with 40-inch tires, and painting the entire chassis. Then he painted the body's trim parts and installed custom lighting to create a Ram 3500 that represented his shop well.
After the truck gained serious attention at its first major event, the 2017 Lone Star Throwdown in Humble, Texas, Cameron decided to upgrade its 6.7L Cummins engine. So, he commissioned the team at Fleece Performance Engineering to build a powerplant that performs well and has great street manners.
Photo 2/60   |   Cameron Guernsey's '17 Ram 3500 is a stunning rig that has experienced quite a few ups and downs in the short time since Cameron purchased it new in late 2016.
Photo 3/60   |   The 6.7L Cummins I-6 engine sports a custom Fleece Performance Engineering compound-turbocharger system and additional paint and powdercoating to make the engine bay look as good as the Ram's body. Cameron and the team at Fleece estimate the Cummins puts out approximately 800 hp, making the truck very fun to drive.
Almost one year after Cameron attended SEMA, Specialty Forged Wheels invited him to display his Ram in the company's booth at the 2017 show. Rather than show up at one of the biggest automotive events of the year with a look that was nearly a year old, he decided to go all in and fabricate a new frame, with a custom 6- to 18-inch air-suspension system.
While the radical Ram was a big hit at the show, trucks with huge adjustable suspensions really aren't practical. So, Cameron decided to make his rig more streetable while retaining its Knockout Kustomz flair. In July 2018, he sold the truck's custom chassis and suspension, replacing it with a stock frame from another '17 Mega Cab. In this recreation of the truck (for what would now be the third time in less than 2 years), the engine, transmission, body, and interior were all swapped onto and into the stock platform.
The Ram now rides on an original suspension with modifications (stock shocks and springs in the back and 2.5-inch leveling springs with Fox Factory 2.0-inch remote-reservoir shocks and dual steering stabilizers up front) that are very tame compared to the past setup—while still giving the truck a smooth ride.
The Ram no longer rides on 40- or 26-inch tires, but it still has a sweet set of shoes: 24x14 Specialty Forged Wheels SF033 rims wrapped by 305/35R24 Nitto Terra Grappler tires.
Photo 4/60   |   Unique 24x14 Specialty Forged Wheels SF033 rims were treated to a brushed finish rather than polished or powdercoated to further distinguish Cameron's Ram. They are wrapped in 305/35R24 Nitto Terra Grappler tires for confident grip on all road surfaces until he unleashes the full force of the 800hp compound-turbo Cummins.
Though the wild suspension is gone, the rowdy Fleece Performance Engineering-massaged Cummins 6.7L powerplant is still in place to give Cameron a thrill whenever he leans on the skinny pedal. The stock Cummins rotating assembly and long-block is enhanced with a set of ARP Custom Age 625 studs to keep boost pressure from lifting the cylinder head. Additionally, Fleece installed Hamilton Cams pushrods and valvesprings for high boost pressure and rpm.
Photo 5/60   |   Looking closely at the passenger side of the engine, you will notice a pair of BorgWarner turbochargers modified by Fleece to enhance airflow and increase the diesel's power. A Steed Speed exhaust manifold feeds spent gases to the 'chargers, while DEI turbo blankets help reduce underhood temperature and protect the paint.
Photo 6/60   |   Plenty of clean air is drawn into the atmospheric S472/87 turbo through the large dry-flow Fleece Performance Engineering air filter located in the front of the engine bay.
Photo 7/60   |   A TIG-welded, powdercoated aluminum coolant-overflow tank replaces the stock unit.
Spent exhaust gases flow into a Steed Speed fabricated intake manifold and then to a compound-turbocharger setup featuring Fleece-modified BorgWarner S362/68 and S472/87 turbos. A 5-inch stainless steel JAMO Performance Exhaust system completes the hot side and is terminated with a brushed stainless steel 6-inch tip. Intake air is drawn in through a large Fleece filter before entering the S472 then being channeled up to the S362's compressor for additional boost. The high-pressure intake charge is then cooled by a custom C&R Racing intercooler mounted in the stock location before being channeled into the engine through a Glacier Diesel Performance cast-aluminum high-flow intake elbow.
Photo 8/60   |   After the compressed intake charge flows through the C&R Racing intercooler, it is fed into the cylinder head through a large Glacier Diesel Performance intake elbow.
The Fleece team made fuel-system improvements as well, starting with the company's PowerFlo in-tank lift pump, which sends fuel up to a 10mm stroker CP3 high-pressure injection pump that supplies plenty of diesel. Stock injectors are enhanced with a set of 80-percent-over Fleece nozzles to increase fuel volume.
OZ Tuner uses EFILive to create ECM calibrations Cameron can select on the fly via a CSP5 switch. While the engine dyno'd at approximately 750 hp in the past, Cameron estimates it now puts out around 800 hp and 1,600 lb-ft of torque.
Photo 9/60   |   Cameron used a combination of color-matched paint (with silver accent pieces to give it a good balance) and powdercoating to dress up his truck's Cummins engine.
To dress up the engine, Cameron had Pro Kote in Indianapolis, Indiana, powdercoat the intake elbow, hot- and cold-side piping, and compressor covers in matching blue and contrasting silver. Then he painted the valve cover blue with silver accents on the lettering to bring the visual package together. A Fleece coolant-bypass kit is installed on the Cummins to prevent the rear freeze plug from blowing out at high rpm, along with replacement air-conditioning lines and a smaller coolant-overflow tank to help make room under the hood for the compound turbos. Cameron even cleaned up the electrical side with a pair of Optima YellowTop batteries and a grid distribution block by Unique Performance.
Photo 10/60   |   Optima YellowTop batteries are relied upon to crank over this 6.7L diesel beast while a billet grid distribution block from Unique Performance further enhances the engine bay by cleaning up the stock wiring.
In a rare driveline twist, Cameron's Ram features a G56 manual transmission behind the modified 6.7L Cummins engine. A Valair triple-disc street clutch and flywheel is in place to handle the additional grunt, and power is channeled from the transfer case to the front and rear axles through custom driveshafts from Drivelines Plus Offroad Center.
Photo 11/60   |   Cameron and the crew at Fleece installed a custom intercooler from C&R Racing to replace the original unit and reduce intake-charge temperature under high boost conditions.
A good portion of the body of the truck features stock parts that received the Knockout Kustomz touch through painting or other customizing. Starting up front, Cameron used a Ram Brushed Tungsten grille but painted the background in matching blue to really make it pop. He also utilized the original bumper, slathering it with more color-matched paint before installing silver-accented parking sensors. The headlights and bumper-mounted driving lights may look aftermarket, but they are also stock units Cameron painted to match the body color. The mirrors, handles, and rear Ram emblem did not escape the spray booth, either, as they were all slathered with copious amounts of matching Blue Streak Pearl paint. He also installed powdercoated Amp Research PowerSteps to make it easier to get in and out of the plush Laramie leather interior.
Photo 12/60   |   The intimidating stance of Cameron's Ram is enhanced by the detailed color matching and accent work he added to the front clip. But there is a real beast lurking under the Blue Streak Pearl hood.
Photo 13/60   |   Cameron treated the new "Brushed Tungsten" stock Ram grille to pops of Blue Streak Pearl paint to help make the truck stand out in any crowd of custom rigs.
In the rear, Cameron capped the bed with a LoPro soft tonneau cover for a clean look and to keep items secure and out of sight when the truck is on display at shows and events. Then he installed a color-matched Street Scene rear roll pan to replace the bulky stock bumper. Even the Recon replacement LED taillights didn't escape Cameron's paint gun, as they were disassembled and treated to a great looking blue and silver finish that blends into the bed while at the same time standing out as completely custom. On the cab, he replaced the cab marker lights with clear Recon units and then replaced the third brake light with a painted Recon light.
The third take on Cameron's Mega Cab Ram may actually be the most subtle, but it is still a stunning truck that turns heads wherever it goes. The current configuration has earned several awards at major shows and events despite the simpler suspension configuration. Like most gearheads, Cameron will probably never actually complete his Ram, but we can be certain that no matter what it morphs into next, it will still be a world-class Knockout truck.
Photo 14/60   |   Like the grille, the headlights and driving lights received the full Knockout Kustomz treatment with paint matching detail work that is second to none and gives Cameron's Ram a unique look.
Photo 15/60   |   013 Mega Knockout 2017 Ram 3500 Light
Photo 16/60   |   The front clip comes together beautifully, with the perfect mix of bright blue with silver accents.
Photo 17/60   |   A pair of Fox Factory's Performance Series steering stabilizers is installed up front to help keep the Ram 3500 pointed in the desired direction—especially when Cameron mashes the loud pedal.
Photo 18/60   |   Cameron installed a set of Fox Factory's Performance Series remote-reservoir 2.0-inch shocks and 2.5-inch leveling springs to give the truck its impressive stance.
Photo 19/60   |   What's not to love about this bright blue behemoth? With its leveled front suspension and stock rear suspension, the truck is a great street/show truck that's fun for Cameron to drive.
Photo 20/60   |   The Amp Research PowerSteps were powdercoated silver while the caps received the Blue Streak Pearl treatment by the team at Pro Kote in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Photo 21/60   |   Even the stubby antenna mast and stock base are painted to match the body
Photo 22/60   |   As are the mirrors and door handles.
Photo 23/60   |   Cameron installed clear Recon cab markers to replace the original lights, making them blend in with the truck's custom theme.
Photo 24/60   |   Since the Ram has the Laramie trim package, Cameron opted to leave the plush leather interior stock, and he keeps it in immaculate shape.
Photo 25/60   |   A '17 Ram 3500 Mega Cab Laramie with a G56 six-speed manual transmission: super rare.
Photo 26/60   |   The cavernous rear of the Mega Cab sports nice leather upholstery as well.
Photo 27/60   |   Specialty Forged's wheels and Nitto tires are mounted out in the rear. The team from 2 Sign Guys in Jasper, Indiana, cut custom silver sponsor decals for Cameron to thank the teams that helped him put his ride together.
Photo 28/60   |   Cameron's truck looks great from any angle, including the back where you can see the custom touches don't stop at the front of the truck or under the hood.
Photo 29/60   |   He counts on a LoPro tonneau cover to keep items secure and out of sight when he has the truck on display at shows and events across the country.
Photo 30/60   |   Cameron decided to ditch the rear bumper in favor of a Street Scene roll pan he painted to match the rest of the Ram. He also installed backup sensors to give the truck a sporty appearance.
Photo 31/60   |   He painted the housing and gave the Recon third brake light a light blue tint to make it blend into the body rather than stick out as a tinted light would do.
Photo 32/60   |   Of course, even bolting on a set of aftermarket lights wasn't enough for Cameron, so he disassembled the Recon lights to give them the full Knockout Kustomz treatment with more color-matched paint and silver accents.
Photo 33/60   |   Looking under the rear roll pan, you can see the stock axle housing along with the JAMO Performance Exhaust 5-inch stainless steel exhaust system and brushed stainless steel 6-inch tip.
Photo 34/60   |   Cameron painted the Ram emblem and tailgate handle to match the rest of the truck.
Photo 35/60   |   Cameron's truck is for sure a show truck, but he is not afraid to flog it on the dyno (to the tune of a mid-700hp run despite a rail pressure issue the team at Fleece has since solved), as we saw at the Beans Diesel Performance 2018 event.
Photo 36/60   |   Before: Believe it or not, this is what Cameron's Ram looked like when it won the Ultimate Callout Challenge 2018 Best In Show title.
Fast Facts:
Year/Make/Model: '17 Ram 3500
Owner: Cameron Guernsey
Hometown: Jamestown, Indiana
Odometer: 9,500 miles
Engine: 6.7L Cummins I-6, ARP Custom Age 625 cylinder-head studs, Hamilton Cams pushrods, valvesprings
Programming: EFILive with tuning by OZ Tuner, CSP5 switch
Fuel: Fleece Performance Engineering in-tank lift pump, 10mm CP3 injection pump, 80-percent-over injector nozzles
Air: Fleece Performance Engineering-modified BorgWarner S472/87 and S362/68 compound turbochargers, Glacier Diesel Performance intake elbow
Exhaust: Steed Speed fabricated manifold, JAMO Performance Exhaust 5-inch stainless steel turbocharger-back tubing, axle-dumped 6-inch brushed stainless tip
Transmission: Ram G56 six-speed manual, Valair triple-disc clutch, Drivelines Plus Offroad Center custom front and rear driveshafts
Horsepower: 800 hp
Torque: 1,600 lb-ft (estimated)
Tires: 305/35R24 Nitto Terra Grappler (front and rear)
Wheels: 24x14 Specialty Forged Wheels SF033 (front and rear)
Suspension: Fox Factory Performance Series remote-reservoir shocks (front), stock shocks (rear), Fox Performance Series dual steering stabilizers, 2.5-inch leveling springs up front
Axles: 3.42 gears
Body: Debadged; color-matched, accent-painted door handles, antenna, mirrors, front bumper, rear roll pan, grille; rebuilt stock headlights; driving lights; Recon taillights
Interior: Ram Laramie black leather
Fun Fact: Cameron's Ram won the Best in Show award at the 2018 Ultimate Callout Challenge show 'n' shine, with a custom-fabricated air suspension and 40-inch tires. A few months later, the same honor was presented at Beans Diesel Performance 2018, despite its lower, street-truck configuration.