Richard Clark’s “Sleeping Dragon” Is A Camper-Towing Sleeper

To be honest, most of the truck features that appear here on Diesel Army are acquired at events I attend or builds I find online. There are a lot of inquiries about how to get a truck featured here, and ciphering through them to find standout builds is tough. When I landed on Richard Clark’s email about his “work truck,” I knew I had to cover it. There was much more under the hood than anyone would suspect, and I had to see if the hype was real. Sure enough, it is.

“Sleeping Dragon”, Clark’s two-wheel-drive 2011 fourth-gen Ram 3500 may look like your ordinary pickup, but it’s definitely hiding something. Like a kid with a smirk on their face, there is more to the story. Pull the latch, pop the hood, and you’ll uncover a beefy 6.7-liter Cummins engine outfitted with a set of Forced Induction 65mm and 85mm turbochargers.

It does look like an ordinary truck, but the hood and wheels really are telling a story. I think it would look less suspicious without these items but you have to admit it’s slick.

These turbos are plumbed to a T6 Steed Speed Comp exhaust manifold and custom piping. Using a set of 350-percent over stock Exergy Performance injectors, 52mm wastegate, and Manton Pushrods conical 105-pound valve springs, Clark is hoping to obtain a 1,700-1,800-horsepower goal while still being able to tow the family camper around through the mountains while utilizing the fast lane.

Clark’s journey to horsepower didn’t start here, though. “I’ve been searching for more horsepower and torque for years. As we all know, it’s a bug. Once it bites you, it’s a done deal,” Clark said. “Decades ago, when I was 15 or 16 years old, my dad and I did a building project on my 1975 Gran Torino. I have always been pursuing how to make more power. It has been wide-open throttle ever since.”

In March of 2012, when Clark first purchased this truck, the dream of a high-horsepower hauler started to come to fruition. Months after purchase, factory parts were starting to fall off and more power was getting churned out. “Once the truck was “deleted,” I was starting to get happier with it. At first, off the showroom floor, I just wasn’t happy with the truck. It didn’t have enough power,” Clark said.

Knowing what this truck does and what it’s capable of is incredibly cool. Clark has built a very cool truck. American Racing AR910 20-inch by 10-inch wheels were sought out then wrapped with 305/50R20 Falken Zeus STZ05 tires. “These tires have proven to be best of both worlds for towing with and hooking up on the street when hard on the throttle,” Clark said.

Clark pulls a 32-foot fifth-wheel camper throughout the year, so a truck with some juice is necessary. The upgrading began with a Mishimoto intercooler and radiator, Stage-3 Colt Cams camshaft, aftermarket transmission cooler, 50-horsepower injector nozzles, 95/gph FASS lift pump, and the required gauges to monitor everything.

Clark, happy with how the truck was progressing, decided to test his luck at a local dyno day that Impact Diesel Performance was organizing. After being strapped to the rollers, Clark’s rig produced 370-horsepower. “I was kind of okay with that, knowing what was done, but I knew I wanted more,” he said.

Impact not only had a dyno, but they were having an open dragstrip for some fun too. “I knew it wouldn’t be fast because she weighs in at 4,800-pounds on the front axle and 3,700 on the rear. On the third rip down the strip, the stock turbo decided to exit stage left, and left its home for good,” he said.

peeking through the window, it looks like the inside of the next manned mission with SpaceX. Elon would be proud.

The truck was towed back to the shop and the teardown began. For months, Clark planned what he wanted to do with this fourth-gen Ram, power-wise, but he was also mindful of the camper that still needs to be towed around. Since the guys at Impact Diesel had impressed him so much with previous work, he trusted them with the next line of upgrades, which are clearly on another level from what he had.

For starters, a clean canvas. otherwise known as a D&J Precision Machine engine, was outfitted with an Exergy Performance 10mm CP3, 60-percent over Exergy injectors, Steed Speed exhaust manifold, and a pair of compound turbos. The S363 over S475 compounds are an obvious upgrade over the stock turbo that decided to die.

“Once these upgrades were done, she was ready for playing and towing again. But, just my luck, Impact was due for another event and I couldn’t control myself — I was going. While I was out playing with it, I compromised the 68RFE transmission in the process. Unfortunately, I had to sit and watch all the others play the rest of the weekend. I limped it back to the Impact Diesel shop for Joe and his guys to dig into again,” Clark explained.

Back to the drawing board, it was time for more upgrades. Clark trusted Joe to get him into an Iconic Driveline Solutions 48RE transmission. Inside this trusted 48 were Firepunk Diesel goodies. This big, fourth-gen Ram was now ready for war with a built 48 transmission, but it wasn’t that easy. The truck was already there at the shop, might as well keep upgrading, right?

Clark, back to the drawing board and unable to control himself, decided to make everything even bigger — much bigger. In went a pair of larger turbos, measuring 65mm and 85mm. Using Joe’s custom piping, Steed Speed comp exhaust manifold, and a full 5-inch exhaust system, the turbos and exhaust were plumbed and ready to pump air in and out of this 6.7-liter monster.

It may look clean on the outside, but the inside is just as sanitary.

Staying with Exergy, Clark upgraded to a 14mm CP3 pump and 150-percent-over injectors and backed them up with a 220/gph FASS lift pump. Tuned by Firepunk Diesel, using EFILive, this truck is finally starting to make some worthy horsepower. In the spring of 2019, Clark’s upgraded fourth-gen Ram earned him a trophy, making 1,225-horsepower and 2,300 lb/ft of torque.

If that wasn’t enough, after the event, Clark decided to throw some nitrous in the mix. With nitrous on board, big whitey here can now make clean over 1,400-horsepower. Big trucks are cool, but fast, big trucks are cooler, right?

“I worked with industry experts to ensure the parts we have are going to work well together and offer proven, reliable horsepower when towing and street driving. In the fall of 2020, I wanted a little bit more. In went a set of 350-percent over injectors, Manton conical valve springs, a 52mm wastegate, and a gated T6 Steed Speed manifold,” he said.

It’s much more than talk, this truck heavy hauls on the regular and that makes it that much cooler.

Clark has a goal of sustaining 1,700-1,800 horsepower while still being able to street drive, race, and tow his camper through the mountains. I’ve seen first-hand big-power trucks putting in work on the streets, and with Clark’s “go-get-em” attitude, I’m sure he’ll accomplish it.

Clark is passionate about horsepower and torque, but he also has a passion for music. With that said, the upgrades didn’t stop under the hood. The entire interior was removed and the cab was layered with a sound-deadening mat and 1/2-inch sound absorbing foam. This controls the vibrations coming from the custom subwoofer enclosure outfitted with eight 8-inch Alpine subwoofers.

Other audio upgrades include a 6.5-inch mid-bass and 4-inch mid-range speaker in each door and additional 1-inch tweeters. On the dash are 4-inch speakers with tweeters. All of this is powered by four 1,200-watt amplifiers and a sound processor for a crisp, clean sound. All adjustments are made through a JVC navigation/CD player in-dash head unit. 

What are your thoughts on Richard’s super sleeper? “Sleeping Dragon” seems like a very fitting name considering the facts under the long, white hood. Let us know in the comments below what you think. For more truck features, part reviews, and event coverage, stay tuned to Diesel Army.

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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