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1997 Dodge Ram 2500 - Great White

Posted in Project Vehicles on October 1, 2005
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Photographers: David Kennedy

When you hear "fullsize trail truck," the first thoughts that pop into mind are a rolled-over, beaten-down Blazer that could barely pass for legal on the street. Hank Slocum of Golden, Colorado, took his perfectly good V-10 Dodge Ram and started wheeling it, and then he bought another one to tow the first one with. And some people say we obsess about our trucks

But we understand why Hank would build such a rig. He's not exactly the kinda guy that'll fit into a buggy; he's more the kinda guy that'd rip the front seats out of a Japanese car and drive it sitting on the rear bench. And we don't blame Hank for wanting to wheel in comfort. There's many a day we'd take the nice, big, plush leather on our butts and carpet on our feet over the burning oil smell and scorching exhaust-heated floorpan of our own rides.

But such a luxury rock ride comes at no small price. At 7,200 pounds, Hank's Dodge is probably one of the heavier things you'll find moving through the Moab slickrock. And being one of the heaviest 4x4s around earns you the responsibility of recovery vehicle. Luckily, Hank is the kind of guy that'll lend a hand, as we witnessed earlier this year in Moab, when a cherry Commando took a dump on Potato Salad Hill and Hank continued to winch it out of the ravine until he burned up an alternator. And don't think he asked the guy for a new one. Hank is an example of the good kind of people that keep four-wheeling friendly and make it so great for everyone.

Hank began with a simple and reliable build plan when putting together his '97 Ram. He started with a Skyjacker 7-inch-lift long-arm kit, but replaced the links with his own links with FK rod ends, moving the Ford high-pinion Dana 60 front axle forward 2 inches. To get the front 60 on, Hank employed KW Welding Services to make sure all the brackets were welded on correctly, since there is just no skimping on a project like this, especially after stuffing it with 35-spline axles, a Detroit Locker, and 4.88 gears. Steering duties are taken care of via an AGR steering box, a Rock Ram, and a Performance Unlimited drag link, tie rod, and track bar. Keeping the steering box steady on the frame while pushing all that weight around is a Solid Steel Biz steering stabilizer brace that connects to the box's sector shaft right below the pitman arm.

PhotosView Slideshow

Tech Specs
Vehicle: '97 Dodge Ram 2500
Engine: 488ci, 8.0L V-10 gas
Transmission: 518 four-speed auto tranny
Transfer Case: NP241 (with a Klune-V Goliath Crawl Box)
Front Axle: High-pinion Ford Dana 60, 35-spline axles, 4.88 gears, Detroit Locker
Rear Axle: Factory Dana 70, 4.88 gears, Detroit Locker
Tires & Wheels: 42x15-16.5 Swamper TSLs on 16.5x10 USA 6x6 double bead-lock wheels
Suspension: Skyjacker coils and leaves, custom control arms, rear shackle flip and remounting of front spring eye, Rancho 9000 shocks

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