Mega Knockout- 2017 Ram 3500
Whether It’s Lifted or Lowered, Cameron Guernsey’s 800hp ’17 Ram 3500 Is a Winner
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.