Hyndman’s 1997 Dodge 3500 Puller – “Ready To Rumble”

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Meet Buck Hyndman and his 1997 Copper Dodge 3500 built for competition. Hyndman is a regular winner and a well known name in the TTTPA (Texas Truck and Tractor Pulling Association), NHRDA (National Hot Rod Diesel Association) and NADM (National Association Diesel Motorsports) events around the country.

DA "Spec Box" - The Goods

  • Name: Buck Hyndman
  • Age: 34
  • Job: Mechanic
  • Truck: 1997 Dodge 3500
  • First Pull: 2004 Deleon Peach and Melon Festival
  • Pit Crew: Gary Hyuchaman (Dad), Vanessa Finstad (girlfriend) and Rob Web (Friend)
  • Leagues: TTTPA, NHRDA, NADM
How It All Began

“Ready to Rumble” was born in the Chrysler Saltillo Assembly plant in Coahuila, Mexico. It came to Buck’s attention when it was just a young, single owner, farm truck in very poor condition and for sale for a mere $1,000. The condition was so poor, it had cracks in the frame and every single body panel had at least one dent. But despite the haphazard condition, Buck saw a future for the dilapidated truck as a full on pulling vehicle and thus “Ready To Rumble” was born.

Putting in a year of hard work to get her completed, “Ready to Rumble” was completely re-built from top to bottom. Let’s take a deeper look at the setup and modifications.

What’s Inside

Hyndman knew that to have a winning pulling truck, horsepower and torque would be the focus. He started with a 2005 common rail block, machined by D&L Machine and assembled by Hyndman himself. This gave him the upgraded strength over the previous generation’s engine blocks thanks to a thicker casting, factory girdle, and different oil passages. To keep the Arias low compression pistons from exiting at their will; Carrillo Rods are employed and connected to a
factory crank.

Finishing off the rotating assembly, a 220/240 competition camshaft from Hamilton Camshafts was used. On the top end, Hyndman went with a 24-valve head that was ported and polished by Scheid Diesel. Maximizing the air-flow was also a priority, so Scheid’s cut off the factory cast intake manifold to gain better access to the runners. With the porting complete, a custom Scheid’s intake manifold was built. To keep the air flowing in and exhaust flowing out properly, factory tappets move the upgraded Hamilton pushrods which rotate the factory rockers to open and close Inconel vales.

Engine_Compartment

(Top) It is all business under the hood. (Left) Northeast Diesel 13mm Injection Pump and Woodruff Diesel's front cover. (Right) Custom Scheid Diesel intake manifold.

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(Left) Haisley HX60 2.6 inch turbocharger. (Right) Steed Speed exhaust manifold

On the fuel side of things, Hyndman opted for a Northeast Diesel 13mm injection pump to feed a set of 6×20 injectors. To make sure that all of the parts were in alignment, Hyndman choose a billet front cover by Woodruff Diesel. In order to be legal in his class, a Haisley HX60 2.6-inch turbocharger is fed via a Steed Speed T-6 competition exhaust manifold.

With the charger at max boost (55psi), the 500+ degree air is sent into a set of air to water intercoolers, which are cooled by Hyndman’s custom ice box (built into his weight bar). The ice box/intercooler combination is able to cool the air down over 400 degrees, helping to control his EGTs, while adding more power.

(Left) Hyndman's custom ice box with two bilge pumps. (Right) Two large air to water intercoolers in series.

With the engine producing over 1,000 horsepower, a pretty healthy clutch was needed. Hyndman opted to go with a 3-disk South Bend clutch controlled by a 3,600-pound pressure plate. All of these modifications send the power back through the factory transfer case and into the heavily modified rearend.

Check Out That Rear

rear_end_1With all that power being transferred into the differential, gears have a tendency to want to bend and break. Not wanting to be left stranded in the middle of a pull, Hyndman called Greensburg Machine and driveline.

They recommended a 4.88 axle ratio with one of their 38-spline spools. Don’t think for a second that these are one of the little drag racing spools; Hyndman says they weigh like 75lbs and are all business. To keep both tires turning, a set of Branik Motorsports 300m steel axles are used.

Holding It All Together

To keep the truck running straight down the track, a solid foundation is needed. When Hyndman stripped everything off the original truck he noticed the frame was cracked in 7 places. After fixing the cracks, he fully boxed the frame in to prevent this from happening again down the line. While this added weight, the rigidity was well worth it. Then in the rear, he made a custom hitch and track-bar setup.

In the front, Hyndman upgraded the factory suspension and went completely through the brakes. To keep the rolling resistance down, he opted for a set of aluminum hubs and rotors and paired that with a set of ceramic calipers from Proformance Pros. These still provide enough braking while idling around the pits but don’t slow him down running on the track.

Safety Equipment

When building a competitive pulling truck, there is required safety equipment that must be installed per regulations. Hyndman went to Fort Worth Axle and Gear for custom drive shafts and opted for the 1480 Spicer u joints. He then made a set of custom drive shaft/u-joint shields for the front and rear. In the passenger’s compartment, he added a remote battery cut-off and fire extinguisher to help control things if flames ever leave the engine.

(Top Left) Cut-off switch just in case he breaks loose from the sled going down the track. (Top Right) Custom-made aluminum drive shafts. (Bottom Left) Fire extinguisher just in case. (Bottom Right) Fully boxed frame with a custom four-link ladder bar setup.

The Look

Everyone knows that a big part of going racing is also the “intimidation” factor. There’s no better way to do that than having a good looking truck that has the power to put its money where its mouth is. “Ready to Rumble” rolls on 17s from Pro Comp and American Racing (front and back wheels respectively) wrapped in BFG 315/70/17 tires.

In an effort to drive home the “Ready to Rumble” theme, a tough looking cowl hood was added along with a 2001 Dodge sport grille. Throw in a 2001 Dodge Sport bumper in the front and a rear roll pan bumper in the back and this truck definitely lives up to its name. Couple all of the power adders and mods with the black and vintage copper (based on Harley Davidson colors) provided by Mineral Wells Collision, and this is one truck you know isn’t going down without a fight.

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About the author

Chad Westfall

With diesel running through his veins from childhood, Chad has more than a decade of experience in the automotive industry. From editorial work to wrenching, there isn’t much he hasn't conquered head-on. When he’s not writing and shooting trucks and tech, you’ll find him in the shop working on turning the ideas floating around in his head into reality.
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