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Reader’s Rig: Cole Turner’s Ultra-Cool 1992 W350 Dodge Ram

Regardless of your involvement in the diesel industry, the weekend of the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza catches your attention. You’ve surely heard about it, you’ve seen videos of it, and honestly, it’s something you want to go to or have been to multiple times. Cole Turner, a Marshall, Illinois native, is only 20 minutes from the chaos. So, naturally, he brought his ongoing first-gen Ram build to the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds in Terre Haute, Indiana.

When you’re in the area of this event, it is guaranteed that you will see thousands of cars and trucks. Anything you can imagine, the Scheid Diesel show offers it. With that being said, in the sea of different trucks, Turner’s rust-free, two-tone first-gen Ram stood out with the Cummins-mounted hood stack poking out of that aftermarket RT hood.

first-gen Ram

For the last few years, I’ve witnessed a ton of trucks coming in and out of that show gate, but Turner’s truck is something else. It doesn’t have flashy wheels. It doesn’t have a sky-reaching lift, but what it does have is an unmistakably clean, nostalgic look to it.

“Unlike other truck owners, I never really came up with a name for it,” says Turner. “To be honest, most of my friends have just always called it ‘the First Gen’.” That is proof that even if you don’t name your truck, chances are something unintentionally comes along and sticks. “I bought this truck with 150,000 miles on it,” says Cole. “It cost me $5,500, but the money that I will spend is endless. That’s okay, as long as it’s keeping this old truck going and getting better.”

first-gen Ram

No matter the angle you look at it, these old trucks still just look great.

Nobody has ever said their build is complete. This industry evolves and is continuously offering more new things, and truck owners like Cole will never be satisfied. Like most of us, his first-gen Ram build is far from complete. This dually has been on Cole’s mind for quite some time and it’s been long enough that he knows what he wants to do.

When you were growing up, you surely heard your parents or older friends talk about all of the hot rods they had in high school that they wanted or had. For Cole, the same is true, except his hot rod of choice has always been a diesel truck. “As soon as I got into high school, everyone I hung out with had a diesel truck,” says Turner. “They were mostly mildly built 12-valve trucks but diesel-powered nonetheless. I was immediately hooked and here we are.”

Cole explained he’s spent most of his time since then keeping up with the evolution of the sport of diesel performance and learning as much as he could. At the age of 15, his stepfather was in the process of painting this truck — before Cole owned it — and basically took him under his wing and taught him a lot about the process. Little did he know that one day, it would be his.

“Back in the day, when my stepfather painted this truck, he also did a fuel-pump swap and installed a six-speed transmission. It was built to be a clean truck that he could drive around,” quips Turner. “Later in life, due to family issues, he and I cut ties and that truck disappeared from my life. Eventually, I reached out to him to start fresh and things went great. In fact, within a week, we already negotiated a deal on the truck for me to purchase it.”

first gen

Turner continues, “Unfortunately, before we could finish the deal, he passed away and there wasn’t anything that could be done to get the truck bought,” Cole says. “After a year or so went by, a friend of mine purchased this truck. While you would think would lure me into wanting it, however, it just wasn’t intriguing at the time. As the search for another truck continued, I just tucked the dually in the back of my mind.”

The thought of the first-gen Ram stayed with Cole and eventually, the urge to own it come back. While en route to purchasing a 2006 Mega Cab Ram, He began pondering the idea of owning the first-gen Ram. But he was already committed to the Mega Cab. “I was halfway to my destination when the seller backed out and decided to keep it,” Turner says.

first-gen Ram

“My fascination with the diesel industry is unlike anything else I’ve ever had a passion for. Being in the situation to be able to build my dream truck is exciting, considering I’ve been dreaming of doing these things since I was 15 years old.”

Turner said that immediately prompted a phone call to the friend who owned the first-gen Ram. “I called that friend and told him to get the title ready. I’m was my way,” Cole states with a huge grin on his face. “I bought it that day. Since then, I’ve been daily driving this truck and it has honestly, even with its age, been the best vehicle I have ever owned. I have slowly brought this thing back to life and plan on taking it far.”

Turner has other plans for this first-gen Ram. “You don’t see many fast first-gen trucks out there. There are some, but I’m talking fast,” Turner says. “The plan for this truck is to be one fast dually. I plan on showcasing this at Schied 2020. This will entail a fully built engine, a full manual 48RE transmission from Firepunk Diesel, and a power goal of at least 1,000 horsepower.” Dually trucks aren’t usually what you expect to be fast, but it is certainly possible.

Turner’s favorite part of his first-gen Ram is the NV5600 transmission swap. “With the power it has now and being a daily driver, it’s a lot of fun to drive with a six-speed,” affirms Cole. The focus ever since he acquired the dually was just making it easy to drive and reliable. “Trucks this old need a lot of love to be street-friendly and it’s going to take some time,” he laughs.

"Being able to watch these big-name guys push this sport to the next level is awesome. It's really motivating to me to be a part of the group and push the limits. The guys leading the way in this industry put in a ton of time and effort into their stuff to keep this sport fresh and interesting and for that, I'm thankful. Also, people out there doing videos of how-to's and write-ups of builds keeping guys like me motivated and filled with knowledge to help reach our goals."

Under the hood of this first-gen Ram is a 5.9-liter 12-valve Cummins engine with a Hamilton Cams camshaft, and a set of aftermarket valve springs and pushrods. It may not look like much, but make no bones, it’s hiding some power. Turner uses a Steed Speed T3 exhaust manifold to hang his 58-mm Switzer turbocharger on and a set of 5x.013 Ducky Fuel Injection fuel injectors to match.

first-gen Ram

Motivating The First-Gen Ram

Turner’s truck sends the power through a dual-disc South Bend clutch to the NV5600. But with the power increase that’s coming, he will need much more. The new setup will be a 13mm injection pump offering gobs more fuel and a pair of S400 compounds that will be enough boost to take this dually into orbit.

first-gen Ram

This injection pump is the epicenter of the horsepower Turner will rely on in the future.

Turner gives a shoutout to multiple people for getting the dually where it is today. “I just want to say thanks to all of my buddies who are willing to jump in and help with anything I ever need. My friend, Aaron Wilguess, has spent countless hours helping me fix and change things. Whether it’s just a helping hand with head work or helping weld up the exhaust, he’s always been there and I appreciate it,” Turner says. “Also, Ralph Lovell for always leading me in the right direction. Lovell has always helped me with purchasing parts and more than likely will continue to in the upcoming months as this truck progresses. Also, last but not least, my friend, Kayse Hays for all of his help. Any sort of fabrication this truck has undergone was done by the hands of Kayse. Thank you.”

As you can see, this is your ordinary work truck with a little extra pep in its step.

It was already cool to see this truck out and about at this event and to know that it will serve an even cooler and more fun purpose in life real soon is exciting. We can’t wait to see what Turner and his team of friends can come up with here in the very near future. Stay tuned to Diesel Army for more on the latest builds, events, and results around.

Do you want to see more Reader’s Rigs? This column is dedicated to showcasing what you guys and girls are driving and I need your help to give the Reader’s Rigs the props they deserve. If you would like to share yours, I want to hear about it — I can never get enough. If you want to see your truck featured as a Reader’s Rig, send a few pictures of your truck showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information about it and I’ll make you internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].

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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