Project DeadSpool: A 2004 Ram Drag Truck

It’s been a while since we here at DieselArmy have had the opportunity to start a project for enthusiasts like yourself to follow. Hearing the word project can be taken two different ways. Starting from ground zero, or just continuing an unfinished project. That wasn’t the case with our newest addition, Project DeadSpool.

Project DeadSpool came to Diesel Army with plenty of aftermarket parts to get this build headed in the direction desired. The build has already started out with a significant amount of power. Which, in this industry would be considered a mild street truck, but the decision was made. It’s time to go racing.

Behind The Truck And Where It Will End Up

Slowly but surely, this truck has started to make a turn – For the better. Offset wheels, aggressive street tire for on-track performance, and even sporting some performance decals.

Project DeadSpool is a 2004 Dodge Ram 3500, with the historic 5.9-liter inline six-cylinder Cummins turbo diesel engine. Although all generations of the 5.9 have been great, we went with the 2004 model due to the ease of the power adders. Deadspool is a single-rear-wheel, quad cab short bed, and 4×4.

Getting all of the torque to the ground are a set of 20×12 Anthem Commander wheels surrounded by Nitto 420 S tires. A comfortable ride is given due to the factory Dodge interior but the shocks front and back, are the original from 2004. Most of the truck retains the factory parts on the suspension and exterior.

This truck has made its rounds to multiple venues and events around the country. This specific event, was the All Diesel Day near Louisville, Kentucky hosted by Banean Woosley.

Naturally, a project has to have a purpose behind it and Project DeadSpool certainly does as well. The truck was originally supposed to be a wild horsepower, but still contained enough that it’s street drivable. Plans have changed. The truck was too much fun to only drive on the (restrictive laws) streets. The new purpose for Project DeadSpool, is to be an all out 4×4 drag truck competing in NHRDA and Outlaw Diesel Super Series around the country.

This means the truck will surrender all the comfort’s of a daily driven truck: air conditioning, radio, dash, and interior. A completely stripped cab will help with to get the most weight loss possible. As we all know, these trucks are not light.

We will cover every step of the build and what it takes to make a 4×4 diesel drag truck. We have plenty of ideas for this truck to get it where we want it. We anticipate the roadblocks and we’ll explain how to get around them to save you time and give you a better understanding of how everything works.

Project DeadSpool will get a wheel and tire upgrade, removing the oversize street tires and slipping into a smaller wheel with drag slicks for the most traction possible. Furthermore, an upgraded coil-over suspension system and aftermarket braking system will also be added. The worn factory brakes and suspension aren’t going to be sufficient once our end goal is achieved.

A menacing stance in the staging lanes which eventually went on to a fourth place win at the 2016 TS Outlaw Diesel Drag event in Bowling Green Kentucky.

The drag strip is concrete with rubber laid down from the tires constantly going over it. Pre-race rituals are to spray the track down with VHT  so that all the tires can stick to the track while tearing down the track. Sometimes, even with the glue, trucks can overpower the track and still spin. This is where upgraded tires and suspension play their role.

We will definitely not ignore the engine modifications. With the added horsepower and torque, the bottom end of the 5.9-liter engine doesn’t like the added juice. Once that is beefed up, we can pour the coals to it.

The bed of the truck, along with gooseneck trailer hitch in the bed will be removed, for a lighter platform. The bed is also covered in Linex so that only add’s to the weight of the truck. At this point, the plan is to coil-over the truck, but the idea of four-link has been tossed around.

These trucks are barges going down the drag strip. Hence why we're taking DeadSpool on a diet and cutting as much weight as possible. Combining that with a big horsepower number. With that combination, this will be a very fun truck.

With all of the lost weight in areas of the truck, it will take a lot of stress off of the drivetrain and axles. If the previous beating hasn’t already done some damage, we’ll be okay. The factory axles more than likely will not hold up the lethal traction and torque combination. We’ll also look into a lightweight and stronger axle assembly.

We’re going to build this truck to be a threat in the 6.70 and 10.50 index classes with enough horsepower on tap to bump up to a more serious class like Super Diesel or Pro Street. It won’t be an easy feat, but it can and will be done.

Project DeadSpool has an already promising look and performs great, but we want to push the limits and make a legitimate contender. We at Diesel Army plan on making this as bad to the bone as possible and easily reach our end goal, full drag truck. Be sure to keep checking back for more updates on Project DeadSpool!

About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds as well as sled pulling competitions.
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