Photos by Mach1Media
We know what you’re thinking—while it may be a very clean looking 2006 Dodge Ram 2500, since when does Diesel World feature stock-ish trucks? Well, we don’t; and despite appearances, this beautiful Ram, owned by Daniel Hargrove, is anything but stock. In fact, as “factory” as it may seem, this truck not only competes, but also stands out at Outlaw Diesel Super Series and Ultimate Callout Challenge events, not to mention puts up some seriously steep competition at local dyno events.
Haling from Charlotte, Tennessee, Daniel works as a diesel mechanic, giving him the ultimate platform to know the ins and outs of diesel performance. And what better way to show your prowess and passion in the diesel world than to build the ultimate street and strip sleeper?
With the help of a number of diesel-pro buddies, Hargrove was able to put this rendition of his truck together in just 6 months, but the build has been a never-ending project.
“I purchased the truck in 2017 – bone-stock, one-owner, old-man truck,” Daniel told us. “Within a month, it had a Comp 48RE, 200 percent-over S&S injectors, a dual-pump kit, and made 900hp. I drove and raced the truck like that for four years and had a blast.”
Now, 900hp may sound like the tip-top of performance for some, but after four years of competing below the 1K threshold, Daniel opted to elevate the truck’s game considerably.
Putting massive amounts of power to the pavement is the first objective of any competitive diesel, and Daniel accomplished this for his truck starting with a swapped 6.7L Cummins inline-six. On top of that sits a large single S485 turbo from Stainless Diesel pro Johnny Gilbert.
Adding even more performance to the Cummins are a Hamilton Cams 178/208 camshaft, fully ported Wagler Competition Products big-valve cylinder head, ARP 625 head studs, a Kingspeed LLC intake manifold, and a full S&S Diesel fuel injection system with 450 percent-over fuel injectors and a 14mm CP3 pump. The bottom-end was upgraded with Wagler connecting rods, Mhale Motorsports coated and cast pistons, Total Seal rings, and a 12mm girdle and main studs.
The exhaust system for the inline-six was also upgraded, making use of a Stainless Diesel exhaust manifold, custom V-banded 5-inch exhaust piping, and a 5-inch downpipe exiting under the truck.
While Daniel played a pivotal role in choosing every component that went into the engine build, it was Jeff McCord of Linco Diesel Performance who was entrusted with the ultimate build of the diesel.
Backing the built engine is a Dodge 48RE transmission with a Suncoast billet triple-disc torque converter equipped with a 2600 stall, Sonnax 35-spline input shaft, Sonnax billet intermediate shaft, and a Sonnax billet fat output shaft, all compliments of Logan Epling of Epling Motorsports. When it came to the transfer case, the Dodge’s stock 271 T-case was utilized and tied to large front and rear driveshafts, compliments of Derek Rose of DNR Customs. Both front and rear axles are fitted with 3.73 gears, while braking power comes from second-generation Ram brakes due to size restrictions related to the truck’s competition wheel and tire combination.
The goal of the build was to get somewhere in the area of 1,200 to 1,300 horsepower on straight fuel, with a three-stage nitrous system utilizing a Nitrous Express Maximizer 5 progressive controller, 375 solenoid and two .99 jets, pushing the diesel to an impressive 1,700 to 1,800hp. The results, however, were a bit grander than Daniel and his team thought they would be, with the truck putting down over 1,400hp on straight fuel, and just over 2,000hp on nitrous.
Now you can’t build a highly competitive diesel without also upgrading the chassis and suspension system, so Daniel entrusted Keaton Samples of Samples Performance Fabrication to upgrade the truck’s undercarriage. In addition to modifications to the rear section of the frame, Keaton equipped the Ram with Firepunk lowering coils and Bilstein 5125 shocks in the front, while modifying the truck’s factory leaf springs in the rear to make use of just two leafs in each pack, and adding Afco coilovers with 200-pound springs to the mix.
The whole chassis sits atop 22×12-inch Forgiato Ventaglio wheels wrapped in Toyo Proxes 305/40/R22 rubber.
When it comes to body and interior modifications to the truck, Daniel opted to do very little, wanting to keep his truck as versatile as possible. Outside, the truck maintains its original white paint, chrome trim, badges and bed. Inside, the truck maintains a similar factory look, right down to the standard heated leather seats, intact heating and air conditioning system, and even a functioning back seat thanks to the singular interior addition – a full rollcage built by Paul Cato of Maverick Diesel, which has removable tubing in the rear section.
As Daniel told us, he may not be taking it to the hardware store to get a load of 2x4s, but he likes the idea that if he needed to, he still could in this truck. Plus, it’s extra comfortable to take on a drive-to-drag trip, which Daniel hopes to do in the near future.
Remember when we said that Daniel’s truck had been a never-ending project right from the start? Well, that continues to be so today. As of December 2023, the truck was once again torn down and in the midst of another full rebuild in order for it to be more competitive in the 2024 Ultimate Callout Challenge season. Among the upgrades for the new version of the ‘06 Ram 2500 are a deck plate 6.7L diesel engine, compound turbos, and additions to the nitrous system, including two more 375 solenoids and another bottle. This would give the truck a full four-stage nitrous system to make use of. Additionally, Daniel and his team were said to be redoing the wiring, tacking in some new firewalls, and reworking the piping.
The goal for the 2024 competition season is to put down numbers in the range of 2,500hp. We certainly can’t wait to see just what massive marks Daniel and his Ram throw down in the world of competitive diesels in the future.
Chassis & Suspension
Wheels & Tires
Engine & Drivetrain
Interior & Stereo
Photos by Mach1Media
When it comes to any automotive-minded person’s bucket list, attending the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas is among the top goals. But to have a vehicle you built yourself on display at the biggest after-market convention? Now that’s an accomplishment many of us can only dream of, and only a select few can say they did.
Among those on the list is Thomas Szabo, owner of Superior Diesel Performance in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. But he didn’t just build a SEMA show vehicle—he took the saying “Go Big or Go Home” to a whole other level.
Specializing in Super Duty trucks, Thomas wanted to do something a little different for his SEMA debut and build a custom Ford Excursion. But we’re not talking about just any old custom Excursion—we’re talking going well beyond the norm, even by SEMA show standards. Knowing the project would be a big undertaking anyway, as Thomas told us, “We decided to go all out and make it a six-door.”
Stretching the Excursion took many tricks, starting with modifying the Ford from the frame up. Responsible for the bodywork on this unique build, Western Millennium Collision literally took two vehicle bodies and grafted them together to give the Excursion its limousine status. Among one of the coolest tricks implemented in the project was incorporating Super Duty bedsides into the rear quarters. Doing so gave the Excursion larger fender flares in the rear that could almost pass as “factory” with how well they continue into the body lines all the way around the truck.
Less obvious aesthetic choices for the Excursion include shaved badges and keyholes, textured trim panels and door handles, an RK Sport hood, Fusion bumpers, and a custom Overkill Fab front grille. Nine Rigid lights adorn the grille, wheelwells, and bumpers, while a custom Gen-Y Mega-Duty hitch and rear bumper hooks flex out back just waiting for a job to do.
As for the paint, it’s probably not what you’d expect. Shifting from black to dark brown, the exterior of the Excursion was painted by Andrey Kolesnik of Western Millennium Collision in factory Ford gloss black with three coats of copper clearcoat on top.
Inside, the Excursion is just as gorgeous, featuring black leather and suede Roadwire front and second-row bucket seats with two matching rear benches. These seats set the tone for the matching custom headliner and door panels, complements of the talented Tory Wilcox of Ripstitch Interiors. In the dash, Edge CTS3 gauges keep temperatures, speed, and other need-to-know measurements front and center, while a full Kicker stereo system pumps tunes throughout all four seating rows thanks to a combination of speakers, amps, and eight and 10-inch subs, the aforementioned fitted into a custom center console box and spare tire box.
“Incorporating Super Duty bedsides into the rear quarters … gave the Excursion larger fender flares in the rear that could almost pass as ‘factory’ with how well they continue into the body lines all the way around the truck.”
Certainly a looker, the Excursion couldn’t be left with stock mechanics. While this bad boy retains a 2013 6.7 Power Stroke diesel, Thomas gave it a full revamp fitting of the truck’s custom status. Right off the bat, you’ll notice a Compound S480 Turbo setup over a BD Diesel Scorpion 64.5mm turbo kit. A BD intake manifold, headers, and a custom 4-inch downpipe with a 4-inch BD exhaust brake were also added to the truck, dumping the diesel’s exhaust just in front of the rear axle via 5-inch duals.
Other features include a rebuilt bottom end with O-ringed heads and ARP head studs, a PPE oil pan, and an S&S Diesel Disaster Prevention Kit, protecting the fuel system from any possible malfunctions of the fuel pump. Prismatic powdercoated valve covers, upper oil pan, and accessory brackets carry the Excursion’s color scheme throughout the engine bay.
“Thomas hit it out of the park with this build, not only aesthetically, but also in form and function—right down to the custom suspension system that sends this truck soaring about the rest.”
Backing the 6.7L V-8 is a rebuilt Ford 6R140 automatic transmission, which was fitted with an Alto HD clutch pack, Suncoast shafts, and a custom valve body by Mister Transmission. A Suncoast 1700 stall converter feeds the truck’s ponies to the trans while a PPE deep sump pan helps keep extra fluid flowing for optimal performance. Continuing with the truck’s aesthetic cues, both the transmission and the transfer case were powdercoated using Prismatic powder to match the Excursion’s exterior paint.
Down below, the Ford’s factory driveline spins a Super Duty Dana 60 in the front and a Dana 70 in the rear, both featuring Nitro 4.30 gears and install kits inside powdercoated axle housings with PPE diff covers. Six-inch backspaced Mickey Thompson 38/15.5/r24 Baja Boss shoes, wrapped around 24×14-inch Gear Off Road wheels, plant the six-door beast to the pavement, while stopping power is provided by 15.5-inch front and 15-inch rear 6-piston Wilwood brakes fitted with braided stainless steel lines.
No SEMA show vehicle is complete without customizations from top to bottom, and Thomas hit it out of the park with this build, not only aesthetically, but also in form and function—right down to the custom suspension system that sends this truck soaring about the rest.
A fully custom Papis air-suspension system does numbers to set this Excursion apart, giving the truck both a unique stance and extensive capabilities with front and rear 4-links, a custom subframe and axle truss, suspension cradle, and Locked Offroad triple-bypasses with remote reservoirs capable of 10 inches of travel on all four corners. Fitted to a 2013 Super Duty front frame section that is melded to a 2002 Excursion rear, Slam Specialties SS8 airbags help actuate the Excursion’s massive lift of 8 to 14 inches above factory ride height.
Feeding the suspension system with air are polished air tanks with two compressors controlled by an AccuAir controller. This on-board air system also feeds the three horns from HornBlasters tucked up discretely under the rear bumper.
From start to finish, the project, which could have easily taken over a year to accomplish, was completed by Thomas and his team in just seven months. Along the way, aspects like shipping times and getting parts through customs challenged the team, but in the end, they pulled off a fantastic bigger-the-life SEMA build that will be admired across the States and Canada for years to come.
Chassis & Suspension
Wheels & Tires
Engine & Drivetrain
Body & Paint
Interior & Stereo
Looking for a little more out of your VP truck? This bundle is for you! Starting at $975.00, you can get a Quadzilla Adrenaline with a set of Diesel Auto Power’s Bosch Reman Performance Injectors. Choose between multiple sizes of injectors and control your adrenaline with either an Android or Apple device.
Diesel Auto Power
Kill Devil Diesel Is proud to present our 7.3 Power Stroke Longblock engine packages. Add performance and reliability to your Ford truck with our proven combination of state-of-the-art blueprint machine work, high quality components, and carefully hand-assembled engines, tested on KDD’s ETS engine validation machine.
Kill Devil Diesel
For those of you who have gone to get out of your Bronco or F-Series truck only to realize you have to roll down the window and open your door using the outside handle, we’ve got just the product for you. This 14-gauge reinforcement plate by Solo Motorsports eliminates this issue.
Dynomite Diesel’s Duramax 01-04 LB7 Injector Set is a remanufactured injector set at 25% over, approximately 50 RWHP over stock. The injector set is capable of 600-625 RWHP with proper supporting modifications. Injectors are safe on stock trucks with little to no modifications. Excellent street manners and MPG. Recommended for a mild bump in performance as well as those who primarily tow with their vehicles. Pyrometer recommended. Sold as a balanced and matched set.
Dynomite Diesel Products
Scheid Diesel’s reman stock VP44 injection pump is one of the best. Their exchange VP44 injection pumps are rebuilt in-house at their Terre Haute, IN location with all the latest Bosch OEM updated parts. Each pump comes with a 1-year warranty (excludes pumps that have wire splicing/tapping).
These tubular control arms from Flight Fabrications replace weak, stamped factory arms. Constructed of 1.875-inch 1026 DOM tubing and tig welded, they are significantly stronger than factory arms.
Protect your truck with the technology high power diesel OEMs use. A Fluidampr performance diesel damper provides premium, broad range control of destructive crankshaft torsional vibration for optimum performance and durability. Install Fluidampr to reduce wear on critical internal engine components when engine modifications are done to gain horsepower or when rotating assembly parts are upgraded. Features high quality, long lasting viscous silicone with precision CNC machined and computer balanced high-grade steel components. No tuning or maintenance required.
These kits replace your factory Ppump return line using -6AN Fittings. Each kit comes preassembled with all fittings tight and thread sealed. This kit also includes a new Tork Tek overflow valve to achieve desired fuel pressure.
Full Hook Performance
The Raptor Fuel Pump combines performance and affordability. The 100GPH is a perfect option for the user just looking for a replacement fuel pump, while the 150GPH version provides higher-than-stock flow rates to feed your modified engine with the steady flow and fuel pressure it needs. Engines with injection pump and injector upgrades can benefit from the 150GPH pump to increase performance by eliminating fuel starvation at higher RPMs.
A customizable aluminum dashboard for the 2nd Gen (’94-’97) Dodge Ram, this design is both engineered and manufactured in house, right here in the USA. Each dash is CNC laser cut from 0.063-inch (1.5mm) aluminum and finished with an even, brushed finish. They arrive ready to be painted, powdercoated, wrapped, or left raw to match your interior or build.