Being in the diesel industry, like many other industries, you begin to see yourself as a part of a family. Looking forward to competing and hanging out with friends at events becomes a part of your week during the season. That’s what Daniel Whalen of Franklin, Illinois has gotten himself into with his 2001 Dodge Ram.
Whalen’s love of the sport originally started out as a street driving and sled pulling mixture. But with trying to perform better it was time for a serious change. ” The motivation for this all-out build comes from the love of the sport, us constantly trying to better the trucks performance, and the people we do it with,” said Whalen.
Whalen has been involved with the diesel industry for ten years. He got his start from his brother, Ryan and his sled pulling involvement. “My brother Ryan started pulling his 2004 LB7 Chevrolet Duramax which got me hooked,” Whalen said. After an engine failure in his daily driven LB7 due to the sled pulling, we decided to build a dedicated pulling truck.”
How it all began was his first sled pulling season in 2008. Whalen’s truck continues to evolve. “I’ve been upgrading the truck for nine years, since purchasing it as a puller,” Whalen said. “The only thing original since we’ve bought it is the seat and the throttle. This build will never be complete due to the constant change in technology.”
The first alteration to the truck was the clutch. He ran a South Bend dual disk for the first few years of pulling and it was always the strong spot. “We eventually found enough horsepower to basically destroy the entire driveline every pass,” Whalen said. Since then, he’s upgraded the clutch to a Crowler clutch system
It was the winter of 2012, Whalen upgraded his 106 rear-end. “We had to replace twelve front and rear ring gear and pinions in 2012 and we had to upgrade,” Whalen said. “We could see how that would get old replacing carnage every weekend, not to mention the cost to do so. After having the driveline now stout enough the clutch began to take the beating again.”
In the season of 2013, they struggled with clutch issues after finding more horsepower in changing turbochargers. That led him to the now upgraded, Crowler four-disk clutch. Taking things to the next level, Whalen then made a bed out of just the outside skins to save weight and stretched the frame to a long bed configuration.
Cumminized Out uses a Pro-Fab Reverser for a transmission which is outfitted with Bowell bell housing and Pro-Fab intermediate shaft. The output from the transmission is delivered through a custom 1/8-inch wall driveshaft.
After the frame and body-work, Whalen then turned to Lomilino Sign Company and Crows Auto Body to have the truck painted. That led to one of the eye-catching points of the truck. This bright blue is stunning on and off the track.
Ending the 2013 season with a bang, the engine let go in Whalen’s Ram. While this deep into the sport it was time to build an engine. Whalen went to Scheid Diesel Performance, of Effingham, Illinois, for his now, 391 ci, 6.4-liter, deck plate Cummins engine. This is a balanced and blueprinted engine, with a 5/8-inch main girdle, coated bearings, R & R connecting rods, Scheid Diesel camshaft, and a Harts Diesel and Machine 3.6 smooth bore turbocharger mounted on a Steed Speed exhaust manifold.
Building an engine like this requires a lot of testing on the chassis to ensure the best performance possible. “For a long time, the name of the game was who can get the power to the ground,” Whalen said. “Everyone was building engines and making enough horsepower, but our struggles were turning it into traction.”
Whalen relies on Nichols 34×18 cut style tires, wrapping a set of 15×8 front and 15×22 rear Real Racing wheels. Once his class switched to the cut style tires from the DOT type treads, it has been a random drawing as to who would win. After some tinkering though, Whalen feels they have the advantage.
Sled pulling, for those who don’t know, requires a certain gear ratio. The gear ratio that Whalen uses is 6:17 front and 6:20 rear gears. This setup has proven to be the ticket when it comes to the correct RPM and traction. On the front axle, Whalen uses a Detroit locker backed by a rear Pro Fab Machine spool.
Also, in order to fit the 15-inch wheels, Whalen has exchanged the original brakes for Willwood brakes that fit a 1996 1500 Ram. They come equipped with a smaller hub, caliper, and rotor design and unlike the front, the rear brakes have been removed from the truck.
“When we changed to Nicholas tires from CM Pulling tires, we also installed a different four-link system, and four adjustable AFCO shocks from Proformance Pros,” Whalen said. “Between that and changing the hitch around in the winter of 2016, I feel like we’re starting to get a good handle of the truck and look forward to years to come.”
Inside, the truck is all business. The truck has been stripped of everything and gutted empty. The floor of the truck has been cut out to conserve weight and he mounted a custom Corsa Data logger and Digital Display. Other interior features include the hand throttle, billet shifter, transmission brake, and the convenience of power windows. For those warm summer nights pulling, you may want a 30 mph breeze.
After all of the alterations, and overhauls this truck has overcome, Whalen’s favorite part is the custom fender wells and frenched in the tailgate. “Knowing what I know now if I could start from scratch, I would change up some of the chassis,” Whalen said. “The little things we’ve learned over the years would’ve helped us earlier on in the build.”
Whalen would like to thank everyone who has helped get the truck to this point, including Flynn’s Shop, Scheid Diesel Performance, and Harts Diesel and Machine. We’re thrilled to see Whalen’s Ram performing in 2018 and can’t wait to see what this truck will do once all of the bugs are worked out. What’re your thoughts on this Cummins-powered machine?