Monster Muscle: 2003 Dodge Ram 3500 4x4 Cummins

Head and shoulders above, and built for getting attention

Mark Williams
May 2, 2005
Photographers: Brian Vance
Maybe it's our imagination, but there seem to be more one-ton diesel trucks driving around the country than ever before. In fact, over the last several years, full-size heavy-duty pickups, specifically 3/4-ton and one-ton trucks, have seen steady (sometimes double-digit) sales growth. And as more people buy these trucks and see others buying similar models, creating something that stands out from a crowd will be more important. One standout we couldn't ignore is this big red Dodge Ram dualie with a host of aftermarket parts to set it apart from everything else on the road.

Owned by Jeff Kelderman of Kelderman Manufacturing, this 2003 Dodge Ram 3500 4x4 Cummins diesel is a showpiece, highlighting a ton of unique customizing parts and electronics. To begin, Jeff installed his own Air Ride suspension lift that can vary the ride height of the truck from 5 to 13 inches. With three separate settings, the Firestone IntelliRide computer can set the heavy-duty airbags at a comfortable five inches off the bumpstops to provide a fairly smooth drive-around-town ride. In addition, the up-level setting provides for 10 inches of lift by using the high-output air compressor to pump more air into the four Firestone airbags. The third suspension setting is at full extension, or show mode, where the truck gets a top-floor lift of 13 inches--making the climb into the front or rear seats almost impossible without a ladder.
Photo 2/8   |   Before
Big Red uses chromed trailing arms in the front and back to locate the front and rear live axles. Bilstein 7100 shocks with added reservoirs (duals in front, singles in back) keep the huge Alcoa Peterbilt-style wheels and 255/70R22.5 Yokohama tires in check.
The cab was lengthened 12 inches by Alton Company, offering back-seat passengers of the Dodge Quad Cab considerably more legroom than before. To keep the overall wheelbase the same (and prevent further driveline customization), Big Red had those exact 12 inches removed from the front of the bed, turning the 8-foot bed into a seamless 7-foot bed. At first glance, most onlookers don't even notice.
Photo 3/8   |   After
Inside, it's all Kenwood. Over $20,000 worth of video, audio, and electronics, including five video monitors, four amps, a DVD player and full navigation system, and 24 separate speakers. There's even a light show inside, thanks to several yards of luminescent cord wrapped around amps and speaker boxes.
Just so you don't think this truck is all show and no go, there have been a few Bully Dog power upgrades to the Cummins, reported to give the 5.9-liter B-motor 392 horsepower and something well above 550 pound-feet of torque.

As you might imagine, the extra elevation and musclepower are usually a huge hit wherever the truck goes, attracting attention from men and women alike. It certainly stands out in a crowd.
Photo 4/8
Photo 8/8
SOURCES
Alton Truck Manufacturing
989/453-3653
www.altonco.com
Cab stretch

Bully Dog Technologies
208/397-3200
www.bullydog.com
Diesel performance

Firestone Industrial Products
800/888-0650
www.firestoneindustrial.com
Air springs

Kelderman Manufacturing
800/334-6150
www.kelderman.com
Air Ride suspension

Kenwood USA
800/536-9663
www.kenwoodusa.com
Audio, video, electronics

Line-X
800/831-3232
www.linexcorp.com
Spray-on bedliner

Modeling by Sara Christine Moore

2015 Ram 3500 Specifications

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Fair Market Price $30,311
MSRP $31,740
Editors' Overall Rating
Mileage N/A City / N/A Highway
Engine 5.7L V8
Horse Power 383 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 400 ft lb of torque @ 4,000 rpm
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Fair Market Price
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MSRP: $31,740
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Engine: 5.7L V8
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