Greg Boardman is the owner of Desert Racing Concepts in Twentynine Palms, California. We'll let him continue the story of his buildup of Great White, the '04.5 Dodge Ram Quad Cab 4x4...
"At DRC, we love the Cummins Turbodiesel engine as the amount of usable power is truly amazing. From pulling a trailer to staying on top of the sand, power is your friend. Too much power can get you into trouble though, and not enough can be catastrophic. We decided to tune the Great White truck to fulfill all and any needs. This requires a special type of power. Not your everyday "add-a-box" power, but hard parts power - injectors, turbo, intake, exhaust, and an Edge EZ. We have been using Edge products for a long time and have faith in the company's products to make a truck last for years. With the right combo, 400 hp is easily achieved at the rear wheels. An Edge Jammer BB turbo, Edge EZ, Jammer injectors, and Diesel Dynamics exhaust combined with the Scotty 5 air intake are a lethal package. Jeremy Bloom, a certified Cummins mechanic for over a decade, has been seen hanging around DRC lately. With his help, we massaged the powerplant into a fire-breathing monster. His expertise with the CTD was greatly appreciated. He installed the Jammer turbo, injectors, ran the top end, and made sure everything was properly torqued to Cummins specs.
"In order to put the power to the ground, we looked to Fred Swanson, owner of Desert Diesel Parts in Phoenix, Arizona. Fred has been an installer of DTT transmissions for the past decade. Diesel Trans Technologies of British Columbia is a leader in and innovator of diesel transmission performance. Many trucks in the U.S. holding a high horsepower crown use DTT transmissions; 700 hp is not uncommon with torque numbers at a staggering 1,250. We knew that DTT could keep the power in check and let us roost with confidence.
"After a trip to Phoenix for the day, Fred and Jim of DDP made short work of removing the tranny. That is where the magic starts. Fred began by tearing down the complete unit and rebuilding it from scratch. With hundreds of parts lying on the workbench, the methodical Swanson replaced all the clutches with high-friction performance clutches and installed billet parts here and there. They then installed the high-performance DTT valvebody and electronics and finally replaced our tired stock torque converter with a DTT performance unit. After 24 quarts of fluid and a few trips back and forth from Park to Drive, it was time for our testdrive.
"The first thing I did was go flat-footed and hope for carnage. Not a sound! Just the roar of the mighty Cummins and the singing sound of the Edge Jammer turbo. Within a few minutes, I had found an off-road section near DDP and we were flying. With four-wheel drive and 400 hp, this truck was truly amazing. The Edge power was there any time we asked, and the DTT tranny held hard and shifted fast and firm, allowing for huge acceleration gains over stock.
"Adding 37-inch rubber was no problem. One call to Jeff Boots, sales manager for Toyo Tires, and we were rollin'. 37/13.50 Toyo Open Country A/Ts gave Great White the look of a real-life Tonka truck, but now we needed the proper gears.
"Pulling those huge meats meant the 3.73 gears that came stock had to go. In place of them, we wanted 4.56 Precision Gear gears from Reider Racing, a locker up front, and a limited-slip in back. At this point, we contacted Jason Hughes of Differential Systems in San Diego, California. Hughes is our go-to guy when we need gears. From building hot rods to off-road race trucks, he is the man. We dropped off the truck with a pallet of parts and left him to do his work. Along with the install of the 4.56 Precision Gear gears, Hughes installed an Eaton E-Locker in the front and an AAM TracRite helical gear limited-slip, also provided by Reider Racing, in the rear. After a quick test, Great White was on the road back to the DRC compound. The gears were the perfect ratio - 65 mph gave us 1,950 on the tach. With the power to the ground and now the gears to turn it, we could hardly wait to test out Great White in the desert!"
Next month, Part III will conclude the buildup and include suspension, fiberglass, bed, and cab mods.