Custom 2013 Ram 3500 Diesel Truck Built To Stand Out

Aguirre's 2013 Ram 3500-1

Deciding what to do and how you want it done when building a truck up from stock to modified is not always that easy. Some sweat the details for months, while others just can’t seem to get started at all on a project. That was not the case with Onofre Aguirre. The Texan knew exactly what to do when he started working on his Cummins-powered 2013 Ram 3500 Dually. Aguirre had already owned a couple of modified vehicles, including a bagged Ram 1500 that could sit on its frame, a lifted Ford F-150 and a hopped-up Dodge Charger SRT.

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Standing tall on a 10-inch Kelderman bagged lift kit, Aguirre’s truck rolls on 24-inch Impacts from American Force and 38.8-inch Nitto Tires.

However, the car and the two earlier pickup trucks had their limits when it came to fulfilling certain aspects of Aguirre’s lifestyle. With a trailer full of ATVs to haul on weekends, and the rising trend around him to move up to a diesel truck, the choice was simple. Once he made up his mind, it did not take long to get a new (then) Ram 3500 with a beefy Cummins 6.7-liter straight-six turbodiesel engine.

In addition, Aguirre liked the fact that the 3500 model for 2013 offered a High Output package for the diesel that bumped the factory power output to 385 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque. The rear differential ring gear had been increased to 11.8 inches on the 2013 H.O. diesel trucks. More power and a more stout rear end–just what he was looking for as a base to create his first customized diesel pickup.

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With the help of an S&B intake and 5-inch MBRP exhaust system, the 6.7-liter Cummins can really roar when Aguirre takes it to dyno day events.

Working with Ross Dunagan, the owner of Flyin Diesel Performance and Off Road, located in Kerrville, Texas, the truck began its transformation from mild to wild. The first thing they did was crank up the Cummins. An S&B intake system was installed along with a 5-inch exhaust system from MBRP to allow the 6.7-liter to breath easier and make more power. The big power bump really happened when an EFILive setup was added to the Cummins, and with tuning help from Kory Willis at PPEI Custom Tuning, they got the engine roaring like a beast.

IMG_3237The biggest challenge with the engine modifications came when working out the EGR delete. One wasn’t available for the 2013-and-up Ram then, but Dunagan wasn’t going to be foiled. He modified a Sinister unit for the 2010-2011 model-year Ram diesel truck and made it work by re-routing the cooling system, then drilling a hole for the back-pressure sensor. The automatic transmission received some special attention too.

The boys wanted a billet flex plate, but none were available at the time for the 2013 Ram HD. Having worked with Goerend Transmission on previous builds, Dunagan went to the custom transmission company to have one designed and manufactured. Aguirre’s truck carries the very first Goerend billet aluminum flex plate made for the 2013 Ram diesel pickup truck.

The Kelderman air-spring assisted suspension system (tanks and pumps can be seen at top) and Fox shocks all the way around help give the truck its height and ride control.

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You can see the Kelderman four-link system and the gnarly spikes on the lug nuts up front.

Dunagan told us it was a pretty straight-forward build from then on. It was just a matter of getting the gear and bolting it into place. First, they tackled the suspension. Stock running height was just not going to cut it, so a 10-inch-lift Kelderman suspension kit with air bags was brought into the mix. Taming bounce and keeping rebound under suitable control became a job for Fox shocks on all four corners. For some extra flash under the truck, Aguirre chose a set of 24-inch Impact wheels from American Force and wrapped 38.5-inch tall Nitto tires around them.

IMG_3248A beefy truck needs beefy bumpers and Fusion makes some tough looking and hard working bumpers. Once the guys saw these brawny pieces of metal, an order went out for front and rear bumpers from Fusion. Equally robust are the LED lights from Rigid Industries. The truck carries 12-inch Rigid Industries light bars in the Fusion front bumper and in the custom RaceMesh front grille to light up the darkest night. Custom headlights from Plain & Simple add to the powerful and far-reaching burst of light coming from the Ram’s nose.

A few last-minute touches were all that were needed before Aguirre headed out to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the staff of Diesel Army first saw this terrific-looking truck. Dunagan capped the bed with a tonneau cover from UnderCover to make the rig look super clean. Amp Research automatic-retracting running boards were added to make it easier to get in and out of the skyscraping Ram. And just in case Aguirre should need to come to the rescue of another rig, a Monster Hook and swivels sprout from the the bumpers and hitch receiver.

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Our first impression of Onofre Aguirre’s customized 2013 Ram 3500 HD TD was favorable (we named it one of our top trucks seen at the SEMA Show that year), but when we saw him early the next year at a TSD Dyno Day event, we were convinced we needed to let you have a better look at this impressive pickup truck.

In the otherwise nearly stock interior, you'll find the control panel (left) for the air bags on the Kelderman suspension system mounted in the center console, and the EFILive display head (right) perched near the driver side A-pillar.

As for the future, Aguirre told us that he loves to go to “dyno days” with his buddies whenever they hear about one. It gives them a chance to see lots of other customized diesel trucks in action, not just sitting pretty in the parking lot of a show-n-shine event. Aguirre, also, gets to see what any new powerplant modifications he or his buddies might have made to their rigs have done for the trucks’ power output.

What’s next for Onofre Aguirre’s well-built 2013 Ram 3500 diesel dually? Well, that depends upon what new aftermarket parts and accessories hit the shops. As far as Aguirre is concerned, the next phase is up in the air. He will just have a good time with what he has and see how things go. Knowing his appetite for automotive toys and his love of modifications, we don’t think it will be too long before we see something new coming from the Texas native.

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About the author

Stuart Bourdon

Growing up with a passion for cars, trucks and motorsports made it natural to seek a career in that direction. An education in photojournalism, a love of the outdoors and years of exploring the waters, deserts and mountains of Southern California led to working on boating, outdoor, RV and off-road vehicle enthusiast magazines. Off Road Xtreme is the newest adventure in his life-long love affair with vehicles of all types.
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