Diesel Of The Week: Bryan Ward’s Hunting Rig Is A Terrain Conqueror

For a large portion of us, our trucks are the vehicles we either take to work, use to work with at home, a toy, or a combination of all of these examples. Where I’m from, I’ve seen plenty of people go hunting and use their truck as the equipment hauler, but I’ve never seen a truck so dedicated to a hobby. For New Mexico native Bryan Ward, overlanding and hunting is everything.
First off, to have an overlanding capable rig, it needs to be able to go anywhere. You take one look at this truck and you know it will take on just about anything in its way. Ward’s vehicle of choice was this 2015 Ram 2500. Powered by a 6.7-Liter Cummins, “Big Bertha” is ready for battle.
“I have done all kinds of upgrades to this truck to make it the best it can be when I’m out and about,” Ward said. “The frame was chopped down 23 inches for better departure. I’ve added a three-inch AEV Conversions Dual Sport lift kit, PCS Motorsports hydraulic assist steering, Yukon 4.56:1 gears, ARB USA front and rear air lockers, and chromoly axles.”

As an offroader, Ward knows that traction is everything. Dirt, rock, or any kind of loose terrain could make or break the trip. With no off-roading experience, I can imagine being on a ledge, inches from a rollover; traction has to be absolutely everything. Either way, Ward knows better and puts all his trust in a set of 40-inch Gladiator XComp M/T tires wrapped around KMC Machete Crawl wheels.
Other features on Big Bertha are Chassis Unlimited differential covers, Dynatrac free-spin kits on all four corners, Road Armor front bumper with the Intimidator guard, a big Warn winch, and a monster 55-Gallon fuel tank from Titan Fuel Tanks.

Used and abused. Big Bertha is not just for looks.

You can see clearly that Ward wanted the outside to look beefy and that’s done. What about under the hood? To me, I think torque is a big part of crawling and off-roading. Having your gearing and torque working in unison to crawl you up steep, tight spaces. Big Bertha has a much more elegant recipe for horsepower and torque than I expected.
Pop the hood and you’ll find a set of Industrial Injection 65/78 quick spool compound turbos, ARP 625 head studs, Mishimoto radiator and intercooler, Fleece Performance coolant bypass, and a FASS Diesel Fuel Systems 165 lift pump. To me, this is perfect. You’ve got the 4.56:1 gears mixed with these compounds that are instantaneous power, making it easy to throttle control in and around the terrain.

With the power readily available and the chassis ready to support it, all that was left was a transmission to handle the slow-moving abuse of the low RPM torque. Ward turned to the experts at SunCoast Diesel Transmissions for a built Mega Comp 68RFE with a triple disc torque converter.

All sorts of goodies are on this build. If you’re near Carlsbad, New Mexico, chances are you’ve seen this wicked truck headed off the beaten path.

Knowing that the transmission could see some heat, Ward uses a set of BD Diesel Performance transmission coolers in sync with the factory cooler which keeps all the fluid temperatures in check. “This truck is by no means a pavement princess,” Ward said. “It was built to be beaten and abused. I have rock sliders being built for it currently and my future plans for Big Bertha are to be able to take it literally anywhere. This all just started with a lift kit and here we are. It’s crazy how fast things can change.”
I am excited Mr. Ward’s path and mine crossed and we got to share his build with you guys. If you’re interested in doing stuff like this to your truck, maybe you should consider following him. For more truck features, part reviews, and event coverage, stay tuned right here to Diesel Army. Be sure and like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram!

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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