The typical diesel truck owner buys their rig to haul and daily drive. In today’s marketplace, they aren’t just working trucks anymore. Like Chris Gelbaugh’s 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 quad cab, many can play with sports cars at the drag strip. Chris’s Ram is something special; if overkill were a truck, it’d be his. Originally Chris bought his 2500 to haul horses but like some of us, plans for it went another direction.
After a leveling kit, some 35’s, and a tuner to help with towing duties, he got bit by the horsepower bug and had to have more. After drag racing the truck in that form, it retired from a horse hauler to horsepower monster over the last ten years. I know how quickly things like this can happen; it’s happened to me and many others.
I must say, this is one of the most impressive street-driven trucks I’ve ever seen. He gets it honest; he grew up around racing and thought he’d put a spin on it by starting with a big diesel four-door truck. People look at Chris’s quad cab sitting on four slicks and don’t know what to think.
Looks Are Deceiving
From looks alone, people stare and don’t know what to say. It sits at about factory height but sports slicks on all corners. The Cummins engine has evolved over the years, with the current generation sitting at 6.7 liters; Chris’s dodge came with the 5.9 common rail, a solid base to start on, but the newer 6.7 comes with many improvements.
For this build, Chris went all out and trusted the guys over at D&J Precision machine. You can do a lot with 359ci, but 408ci sounds more like it for Chris’s goals. The factory block got some iron sleeves, followed by a deck plate and then fire ringing to help prevent blowing a head gasket at extreme boost levels. It’s also CNC machined and line honed to accept custom billet pistons and 1-inch X-beam rods, all from D&J.
The stock 6.7 crank remains, and HD tool steel wrist pins finish off the rotating assembly. Freeze plug failure is quite common, but to combat that, Gelbaugh trusted D&J’s billet freeze plug kit. Hiding behind a Billet timing cover sits a billet flat tappet cam, and a D&J HD girdle completes the short block. For the top end, the game’s name is airflow, so the head got a significant overhaul as well.
After blasting and checking for leaks, the entire head got a five-axis CNC port job, oversized intake, and exhaust valve ports filled with super alloy valves. Bronze guides, Hamilton Cams 115-pound valve springs, and titanium retainers finish the head.
Mating the top and bottom end together required a new surface and fire ringing with ARP 9/16 studs clamped at 200 ft/lbs. Completing the long block is D&Js own stage 3 intake manifold. Providing air for the new stroker Cummins is a Garrett GTX5533R measuring 91mm; Jason Schmuck, the owner of Schmuck Built, fabricated the entire hot, cold side and downpipe around the T6 headers using Vibrant Performance V bands.
A black 5-inch stack releases black smoke exits from the passenger side of the bed. Big single turbos on diesel builds are somewhat rare, most opting for a compound set or, better yet, a triple turbo set up to minimize turbo lag. Chris’s answer? A little laughing gas, or in this case, a lot of it. The complex system of four, yes, I said four kits of nitrous comprises components from Nitrous Express and Speedwire Systems.
Fueling is a significant component of any diesel build, with many tuners draining factory bowls, and a lift pump has to be one of the first upgrades before bigger injectors. Like everything else, Chris’s fueling system is top-notch. A massive Waterman lift pump supplies fuel to not one but two Exergy 12mm stroker cp3 pumps; those to pumps then feed Exergy 400% over stock injectors. With Firepunk Diesel tuning, the stroker Cummins lays down a mind-bending 2093-horsepower and 2050-lb/ft torque.
This kind of power requires a serious drivetrain, and that’s Chris’s specialty. Being the owner of CG Diesel Performance Transmission, he has complete control over getting everything right. Using a factory 48RE, both the input and output shafts received billet Sonnax replacements.
A Gorend billet flex plate replaced the stock steel, and a 2500 stall Gorend triple-disc bolt-together torque converter gets the power transferred. The valve body also comes from Gorend, and a TCI Automotive Outlaw shifter tops it off. DNR Power sent power factory AAM axles, housing Yukon axles, and 3.73 gears.
All of the front suspension stays intact except for Bilstein shocks. The rear did get some overhauling, with a combination of a four-link system from Firepunk Diesel, Afco springs, and shocks Chris can cut the sixty-foot he’s after. Speaking of sixty feet times, the right wheel and tire setup also factor in. 16×10 black Raceline wheels wrapped in 30/14R16 M&H slicks keep the Heavy four-door planted and spin-free.
Getting the massive weight slowed down is a set of lighter and better performing 2nd gen Dodge Ram 2500 brakes. Like I stated earlier, the look comes from how it sits. The only thing aftermarket on the outside is a cowl hood and grille delete to show off a massive On3 Performance intercooler.
On the inside, everything that should be there for something fast is. The factory interior is intact, but a safe 8.50 certified cage from SK Diesel Service surrounds it. Two Kirkey seats replace the factory ones, and RaceQuip harnesses keep Chris and a passenger strapped in. Where a back seat once sat now sits two 15lb nitrous bottles.
The factory ones are still there for gauges, but additions needed to be added, starting with AEM Electronics CD5 mounted on the steering column. An NX Maximizer nitrous controller with an ARC switch panel also accompanies the digital dash.
Chris has one of the fastest four-door Diesel-powered trucks globally but is still working on achieving his time slip goals. Currently, as it sits, he’s been 6.10 at 122mph in the 8th mile, impressive for any sports car but insanity for a four-door truck.
I met up with Chris at a no-prep event; he’s happy with his first time out and is looking to do more of them. His main goal is going 5.50s at 130mph, and from what I hear from him, this setup can get him there.
There are many companies Chris is thankful for help with this build and the wife for putting up many hours away from her wrenching on the Cummins. Chris has piloted his Ram to a best of 6.10 at 122mph. That’s insanity for a street-driven truck.