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First-Gen Cummins Masterpiece 1992 Dodge RAM W-350 

Jon Edgar Waller’s First-Gen Cummins Dream Dodge

Photos by Mach1Media

Every enthusiast has a grand vision of their own personal dream truck. For some of us, that image takes a lifetime to develop, not to mention a small fortune to shape into the ideal mold. Others have known the exact pickup they wanted from an early age though. It’s not often that the first truck we own turns into one that sticks around well into adulthood but when this happens, there is usually a very good story behind the build.

We recently had the pleasure of meeting up with Jon Edgar Waller of Lebanon, Tennessee. Jon rolled up to the photoshoot in his 1992 Dodge Ram W-350 dually, which is his absolute pride and joy. It’s clear to see why he is so enamored with his truck. Jon has meticulously designed it to meet his standards when it comes to both work and play. Contrary to any misconceptions, his Dodge wasn’t set up like this after he was old enough to enter the job market. In fact, this is exactly the way he envisioned—even back when he was a kid.

 Dial-Up Dreams

“Back when I was about 10 years old and was able to scroll the Internet, I began searching Google for images of ‘jacked up Dodge truck’—just like every other farm kid I knew,” Jon recalls. “After looking through as many photos as I could with our slow country Internet speed, I finally landed on a photo of a first-gen Dodge RAM, dark blue in color with white stripes and exhaust stacks. Little kid in me wanted that exact truck, and I spent many nights praying and preparing a speech to sway my parents into helping me get my hands on one.”

“… I began searching Google for images of ‘jacked up Dodge truck’—just like every other farm kid I knew.”

Yes, Jon was that dead set on finding the truck he wanted, but even after getting his parents’ approval to buy one, and tracking down a few locally, he soon felt the deflating experience of having them being sold out from under him one by one. It’s a feeling that’s enough to stifle one’s enthusiasm but Jon was about to land on a streak of luck.

“My friend’s dad was looking to sell his old Dodge truck, and it ended up being perfect for me,” Jon adds. “I sold off the tractor my dad bought me to work with to put towards the $8,000 price. I have not stopped customizing it since the very first day the truck became mine (May 28, 2015).”

“Eagle Alloys wheels wrapped in Mastercraft Courser MXT 315/75R16 tires give the truck dependable off-road capability, which is a requirement due to the line of work Jon is involved in.”

High Hopes

Jon has finished with school and is now self-employed as an excavation company owner/farmer/model builder—not a bad combination. Luckily, the truck he wanted as a kid is still as relevant as it was to him years ago. Not only is Jon still able to have fun with his Dodge, but he has banked on the utility of its flatbed to his advantage as a hardworking man. To satisfy both fun/work functions, the truck was lifted a total of 4 inches utilizing a full Skyjacker suspension package that includes leaf springs and shocks. Eagle Alloys wheels wrapped in Mastercraft Courser MXT 315/75R16 tires give the truck dependable off-road capability, which is a requirement due to the line of work Jon is involved in. Given this RAM was a former farm truck, there were plenty of repairs and alterations made to it in the past that didn’t exactly live up to his modern standards, however.

“One of the sketchy ‘farm’ fixes that was made to it was the steering setup,” Jon admits. “The gear box was stuck in 2WD, and the severely undersized, homemade drag link was too scary to not replace. Dalton Lovejoy at Dudes Fab in Hartville, Ohio, was able to assist by putting together a crossover steering solution paired with a drop Pitman arm and new steering knuckle to help remedy the issue.”

“When I was young, this truck gave me something to look forward to working on, and as an adult it has given me an opportunity to show off what I have invested in it.”

Stacked

One of the truck’s factory attributes that got Jon hooked on the RAM in the first place was the first-gen Cummins engine. Throughout the years of owning the truck, he has learned how to maintain and even customize that diesel powerplant with his own hands. The engine has been gradually built up over time and is currently in tip top condition. Mike Joseph of Patriot Diesel in Reno, Nevada, was asked to help source a few key performance components for the project. From the Gillett Diesel 63/64/12 turbo, milled head and rockers, Dynamite Diesel Power injectors, Diesel Auto Power three-piece intake manifold, towering dual exhaust stacks rising over the cab, and custom paint and pinstriping found all throughout the engine bay makes for well-rounded performance with a side of visual appeal with some awesome pinstriping by hatem graphics.

A Bright Future

To expand on the RAM’s outer façade, Jon whipped up a custom headache rack, and strung 40 individual rock lights from C4 Off Road across the truck. He stashed four of them on the grille, eight on the rack, eight spread throughout all wheelwells, eight around the flatbed, and 12 along the frame. There’s no mistaking his truck in broad daylight, let alone in the darkness of night. From front to back, the Dodge boasts an overall eye-catching burly build.

“These first-gen Cummins trucks aren’t for everybody,” Jon shares of his personal experience. “For the most part, they are slow, ride rough and are normally rusted out, but they do appeal to many more dedicated enthusiasts other than me who can’t get enough of them. Even though my truck is looking and running great, I still have a lot more planned for it. When I was young, this truck gave me something to look forward to working on, and as an adult it has given me an opportunity to show off what I have invested in it. I’ve learned as a kid that finding money was an issue when customizing this truck, but now that I’m older, it’s the lack of time that has proven to be the current struggle. Either way, I’ll find a way to keep making the improvements I have in mind.”.


1992 Dodge RAM W-350 

Owner

Jon Edgar Waller
Lebanon, TN
Tennessee Diesel Addiction (TDA)

Engine & Powertrain   

  • 1992 6BT Cummins I-6 5.9L
  • Stock bottom end
  • Gillett Diesel 63/64/12 turbo
  • Turbo-Master spring wastegate controller
  • Milled head and rockers
  • 179 Garage radiator cover
  • Keating Machine tappet cover and front timing cover
  • The Hungry Diesel 2nd gen lift pump
  • Auto Meter EGT and boost gauge
  • ARP head studs
  • Pacbrake 60-lb valve springs
  • Dynamite Diesel Power Stage-2 injectors
  • Honest Speed Shop cold air intake
  • Diesel Auto Power 3-piece exhaust manifold
  • 4-inch turbo back to dual ‘bull hauler’ style exhaust stacks
  • Denny T Stage-2 fuel pin w/ 3200 RPM governor spring
  • 1992 Getrag 360 transmission
  • South Bend upgraded single disc clutch and flywheel
  • NP205 transfer case w/ 4:10 gears
  • 250 front axle Dana 60, rear Dana 70 cab and chassis axle

Chassis & Suspension

  • 1992 Dodge cab and chassis
  • 135-inch wheelbase
  • 4-inch Skyjacker leaf spring lift w/ Nitro shocks
  • Crossover steering by Dalton Lovejoy @ Dudes Fab Shop, Hartville, OH
  • Drop pitman arm and steering knuckle

Wheels, Tires & Brakes

  • Eagle Alloy front (#0589) 16×10 and rear (#058) 16×6.5 wheels
  • Mastercraft Courser MXT 315/75R16 tires

Body/Paint

  • Gloss white on cab, gloss black on bed
  • Pinstriping by Ronnie Hatem w/ Hatem Graphics, Plaistow, NH
  • Engine block, head and firewall, inner fenders painted by owner
  • Altitude Lighting/Hawkeye LED headlights
  • (40) C4 Off Road RGBW rock lights
  • Klearz clear light lenses
  • Custom headache rack
  • Hornblasters horn and compressor

Interior/Stereo

  • Bench seats w/ red leather upholstery
  • Pioneer stereo
  • Kicker 10-inch subwoofer
  • CB radio
  • Under-dash lighting