Doing something new can be scary. Sometimes a fear of failure will prevent us from stepping outside of our comfort zone and just going for it. Fear is not something that slows Evan Puwal down. If he has a particular task he wants to complete he just goes after it. His 2008 Dodge Ram 3500 is clear evidence.
In terms of a beginning this Ram has quite a history. Evan shared, “The truck used to be owned by my father. He bought it stock in 2009. It was his daily driver and a work truck for four or five years. It became a little project between us where we would build it up a little here and there. Then when I turned 16 I was given a set of keys and it became my first truck. For the next two to three years we still worked on it together. The really detailed work that we didn’t feel comfortable doing we had shops do. Everything else we did ourselves.”
By the time Evan turned 18 and got out of school he started feeling the need to go bigger. Evan said, “I went with the coil over front end and 14 inches of lift. I got everything under the truck powder coated and totally re-geared the axles. It’s taken a long time to get to where it is now. It’s been about five years of building so far. I might have taken it a little overboard but I have to thank my dad for getting me into it.”
The Real Deal
The big Dodge will never go outside of the family due to that history. Evan explained, “I absolutely love this truck. This is the truck I always wanted to build. Having it in the family made it a little easier, but the history of it being in the family is what makes me want to keep going on it. I’ve replaced the bed, front fenders, and body panels to get it to show quality. I take it out to work, to shows, and into town. Sometimes I’ll even put a skid steer behind it just for the fun of it. It’ll still work for sure.”
Evan has a lot of toys at home but the Dodge is special. He admitted, “There’s just something about these trucks that I have a passion for. I’ve done everything to this truck. It’s fun for me to learn how these trucks work. How you can do different things to them and what I can take it to. I guess there’s just something about driving it down the highway and being eye level with a semi truck driver. When I have people in the passenger seat with me and they can look over and see a semi driver it is not something they can experience in their cars. People are always staring and it’s just an eye catcher.”
Not Just For Looks
Outside of the big Ram the height and bumpers are one of the first things to catch your eye. The front Road Armor stealth winch bumper also incorporates a pre-runner guard. In addition it hides a 12k pound Warn winch with wireless remote. Evan assured us that it has in fact been used for extractions. The rear Road Armor stealth winch bumper matches the front and both bumpers are painted to match the OEM paint.
An M1 Smittybilt wire mesh grille insert has been powder-coated gloss black. The entire ride has also been vinyl wrapped in 3m metallic black. Sharp eyes will catch the OEM SRT Ram hood. The 26×14 Arkon Offroad CS-1 custom powder coated wheels with Metal Lugz spiked lug nuts certainly get your attention. Behind the wheels is a set of BORA Offroad two-inch spacers. They are followed up by a set of 40×15.5r26 Fury Offroad MT tires. Out back the inside of the bed is coated with Bullet Liner as this truck still gets used.
The big wheels get a lot of attention. Evan said with a smile that, “It’s become more popular in the diesel community for sure. I like having the big wheels. Since I use it for show it makes sense to not have as much tire. I think that big wheels are a trend because people just want to see how big they can go. It’s getting a little crazy. For me it’s just a preference and I think it looks cleaner to have more wheel than tire.”
He continued, “Honestly I like having my stuff nice and shiny. I want it to be really presentable. A lot of people that I am friends with in the truck community go to shows. I kind of fall into that group that prefers show builds to off road builds. I’m a member of Team Stance and it’s like a big family. We have people all over the country and people from like twelve different states will come together for events. It’s really fun times and we have a blast. We all hang out and help each other out.”
All The Lights
Evan chose to retain the factory style headlights. However he color-matched them to the body. Then he retrofitted the housings with Morimoto M1 mini led projectors with a turbine shroud. The result is a drastically improved headlight. Inside the cab smoked white LED cab lights were installed to keep things nice and visible. The rear bumper has received the PIAA treatment. Not to be outdone the front of the Dodge Ram also sports four PIAA fog lights. Under the Dodge viewers are treated to a clear shot of the ground via a set of Infinite Offroad eight piece white rock lights.
Springs And Such
In order to keep things plush a set of FOA two and a half inch remote reservoir coilovers are mounted with Plan B Fabrication mounts. They are set at 14 inches of lift. In the rear 10 inch lift Atlas Suspension leaf springs are mounted in place with Dodge Offroad lift shackles. Rear dampening duties are handled by a set of Fox two inch diameter remote reservoir shocks. All of it is located using TGC ladder bars and a TGC long arm kit.
A TGC dual stabilizer kit with Fox 2.0 reservoir shocks resides up front. It gets a hand from the Dodge Offroad upgraded heim crossover steering as well. A Red Head Steering Gears upgraded gearbox with hydraulic assist ports makes sure everything works together safely. Additional components include a custom track bar drop bracket bolted to a BDS adjustable track bar. In true show quality, all of the lift pieces and axles are powder coated.
Modded To The Max
Under the hood, a lot of work has happened. An Industrial Injection Silver Bullet Turbo kit starts off the list. 100hp Industrial Injection injectors, an Airdog II fuel pump, and an ATS three-piece Cummins manifold are just the tip of an iceberg. Redtop Optima batteries, a water-methanol injection kit, AFE power intake horn, and cold air intake also keep things running smooth. Did we mention the ARP head studs?
Unneeded gasses from the plant are handled by a five-inch turbo-back Flo Pro performance exhaust with a muffler delete. All of it is controlled and upgraded with an H&S Mini Maxx tuner with EGR delete.
A built 68RFE transmission with all BD Diesel parts backs up the motor. From there the power goes to the NV241HD transfer case and down to the stock axles. In front is an AAM 9.25 and out back is the beefy 11.5 that retains the stock limited slip. Both are stuffed with 4.88:1 Yukon gears.
This build was not without its challenges. Evan shared that, “The suspension was the most challenging part of it. It’s not a lift you can just go out and purchase. I’ve pieced together a bunch of components from different lift kits to make it work. I’ve had things custom made to get it just right. This is my first build and I don’t know how to do everything. The suspension was the hardest part, but it was also the most fun part. I had to do a little deeper thought in the process and that was really fun.”
He continued, “I’m not done. My dad has always been a good motivator for me. He’s out there in the barn helping me figure things out. He’s always pushing me to get it just the way I want. I think an air ride would be something cool and different for me. The whole point of this truck is testing out different things and finding little things out to switch up.”