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2003 Dodge Ram 4x4 - Big Red

Posted in Features on January 2, 2008
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Greg Boardman, owner of Desert Racing Concepts (DRC) in Twentynine Palms, California, is becoming famous as the builder of Dodge Rams that are absolutely superb off-road at speeds most diesel truck owners have never dreamed of. Greg knew he needed a truck that not only showed what DRC can build, but one that allowed him to do what he likes best -- get extreme in the desert.

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He took his bright red '03 Dodge Ram Quad Cab 4x4 longbed dually pickup and turned it into Big Red, the desert-dominating monster you see here. It came from the factory with a Cummins 5.9 turbodiesel and five-speed manual tranny. Greg immediately went to work, first converting the truck to single-rear-wheel configuration. While the Cummins is hard to top in stock configuration, he installed an Edge Juice/Attitude controller, Edge Jammer injectors, and an Edge Jammer BB turbo to up the horsepower and torque to almost unmanageable levels. Breathing was improved with the addition of a DRC BHAF Hi-Flo intake system and a 5-inch muffler from Diesel Dynamics. Getting the fuel to the Cummins is a Floor It Diesel CP3 injection pump and a FASS 150-gph fuel pump.

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To make room for the 37x12.50R17LT Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires and to allow the truck to travel at the speeds Greg wanted to go off-road, a KORE Unlimited suspension system was installed. We should say that Greg, who's a KORE dealer, mixed and matched different KORE suspension parts until he ended up with the Unlimited system. The KORE suspension includes KORE variable-rate coil springs, progressive Deaver leaf packs, KORE-valved Fox Racing shocks, 7075-T6 billet aluminum hybrid control arms that are clearanced for larger tires, and many other parts that turn the truck into an off-road monster. The Goodyears were mounted on a set of new Commando alloy wheels from Weld Racing.

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DRC offers fiberglass fenders that are strong and look and work great. Greg installed these on Big Red, although he says he'll never do another rear set for a longbed pickup. DRC offers rear shortbed fiberglass fenders, but the longbed evidently took a lot of work to do. No matter, they look great on Big Red. A DRC Racing front bumper and skidplate protects the front end and performs double duty as a mounting point for five Baja Designs/SolteK HID lights. These lights illuminate the night and allow Greg to see, even at the high speeds he's usually going. A TireGate carries the big spare either in or out of the bed and swings open when bed access is required.

Inside the cab, Greg left things pretty stock except for the addition of a Sirius satellite radio, race radios, and a three-gauge pod with gauges from Diesel Dynamics. AMP Research Power Steps (distributed by Bestop), the steps that are out of the way most of the time but swing down when a door is opened, are being installed as this is written so Greg and passengers have an easy time getting in and out of the truck.

Like Greg, Big Red is no pretty-boy hangar queen. Greg thrashes it daily, jumps it all the time, and travels at speeds sane people wouldn't even consider. We got to drive the truck to Moab and around our area here in southern Utah and can report that it truly is as good as it sounds. On the pavement performance is very good too, quite the accomplishment for a truck that regularly preruns races in Baja and sees the kind of use this one does. DRC's Big Red is truly a desert dominator.

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