A Noble Underdog: Chris Krebs’ VP-Powered 1999 RAM

Throughout the year, we travel around the country to bring you the coolest and most unique builds out there. One of the stops that we obviously couldn’t miss, the Ultimate Callout Challenge, led us to meet someone who is adamant about keeping the VP44 injection pump alive and proving they can compete against the best, Chris Krebs.

This Coos Bay, Oregon native drove nearly 2,400 miles to Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana to prove just how tough his truck was in the Ultimate Callout Challenge Qualifier. Although he would compete in a desired second-generation Ram, the fueling system is the biggest shocker of this entire build. The VP44 pump is, as you know, inferior in the horsepower world.

Krebs, like most, got his start by following his idol, his father. “My dad was a mechanic on just about everything,” said Krebs. “Anything from heavy equipment to farm machinery, he wrenched on it and I was by his side learning.” Luckily for Krebs, those days and nights with dad paid off saving him a ton of money on labor charges as his diesel performance passion grew.

Usually, people will buy a truck and use it as a daily driver. Krebs initially did that, but once he was bitten by the “power bug”, his daily became too built for daily use. “My daily was getting to the point where it was too much for the street,” Krebs said. “I purchased this truck to have something I could put all these parts on and have fun with it, while still obtaining a reliable daily driven truck.”

“It has been a build that has proven VP-powered trucks can make power and be competitive with higher horsepower trucks,” Krebs said.

After swapping all of the parts over the 99′, the powerplant actually surprised Krebs. “I was shocked after the first pass with the budget style build engine,” Krebs said. “It ran a 10.96 at 123.80 mph in the quarter-mile on fuel only.” During some nitrous testing at Industrial Injection, the budget build engine was thought to have perished. Although he cracked the 1,000 horsepower mark, the nitrous backfire was so violent, Krebs just knew the connecting rods exited the engine.

This 1999 Dodge Ram Krebs calls “American Wolf Hunter” is powered by a 5.9-liter Cummins engine that is stamped with the infamous “53“. This 24-valve Cummins is fueled by a Monster VP44 injection pump that feeds six Industrial Injection custom six-hole race injectors. Keeping these injection pumps fed with plenty of fuel is how you keep them alive, so Krebs relies on a FASS 260 GPH lift pump to keep the fuel pressure at the desired level.

Trying to shave as much weight off the truck as possible, Krebs took a grinder to the inside of the truck bed leaving only the absolutely necessary areas.

To match the big fuel, Krebs decided he needed some brute force power when it came to turbochargers. “I went with the Aurora 4000 and 7500 turbochargers because of the long-term reliability they offer and they fit best for what I want to do with the truck. With all of the events I planned to compete in, they just fit perfectly in my setup,” Krebs says. “With the help of ATS Diesel, I’ve been able to match all of their parts together to make something great.”

To support the rest of the modifications, the truck is tuned with an Edge Products Comp Box, Juice With Attitude, or Quadzilla programmer depending on the event. Different boxes work better for different scenarios. As if the hotter tuning wasn't enough, Krebs uses a custom ZEX Nitrous Oxide dual stage setup on this Ram that punches its way to above that 1,000 horsepower mark.

With the desired power Krebs was after, it was important to have a cylinder head that would stay harnessed onto the block. Using ARP 425 head studs, main cap studs, and connecting rod bolts, this engine is torqued down and should safely take any abuse Krebs can throw at it. “Knowing I was going to be turning some serious RPMs, I went ahead and replaced the factory parts with Hamilton valve springs, and heavy-duty pushrods,” Krebs said.

In this event, Krebs is required to be loaded and ready for every event. For the drag racing, Krebs uses a set of 18x10 WELD Rubicons wrapped in 325-45-18 Hoosier drag radials. On day three, when sled pulling began, Krebs swapped to two 33-inch STS tires on the front and four 33-inch BFG AT's on the rear.

Maintaining this trend of using high-end parts on this build, Krebs added a fully built ATS Diesel transmission and custom ATS triple disk lock-up torque converter to the driveline and maintains temperatures with a Derale external transmission cooler. Inside this Stage 6 47RE are all the bells and whistles including billet input, intermediate, and output shafts. Krebs controls this 47RE’s every move with a B & M Pro-Ratchet shifter.

“I said if I finished top 10 I’d be stoked. I got 9th place with my little VP44-powered truck out of 25 ,” said Krebs. “I knew I’d need to send it on the pull track so I grabbed 3rd and spray. We twisted the pinion right off and had a 249’ pull. Can’t thank everyone enough for all the help and support to get me fixed up with some of the best parts in the industry.” Krebs ended his weekend in 9th place with a pulling distance of 249 feet, a drag racing time of 10.502, and chassis dynoed 1,002.7 horsepower and 1,792.8 lb/ft of torque.

It was truly an honor in meeting someone with so much passion about something. Krebs has poured his heart and soul into this build and he is very proud of it. To keep up with this build and to see where it’s going next, be sure and check out his Instagram. What do you think about this competitive second generation, Ram? Let us know in the comment below.

 

 

 

 

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.
Read My Articles

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