1,500HP— Hidden In Plain Sight

Josh Ewing’s Rowdy, Single Turbo, 48RE-Swapped ’05 Dodge

Life turned out very differently for this ’05 Dodge Ram 3500 than its original owner probably assumed it would. It still has very low miles on the odometer given its age, but the bright red four-door sports a 6.7L Cummins now, has been 48RE-swapped, and makes five times the horsepower it did when it left the factory. After bringing his spotless, bone-stock, 89,000-mile third-gen home from California five years ago, Josh Ewing quickly made the truck his own. For an Indiana power junkie that meant installing a Smarty tuner and a dual disc clutch right off the bat—which was soon followed by 150-percent over injectors and all the rest of it.

Chucking the original 5.9L common-rail is easy when you’ve got a 6.7L Cummins from Wagler Competition Products for a replacement. Good friends with the Odon, Indiana company, Josh Ewing settled on a build that entailed a fire-ringed block and head, a Gridlock girdle from Bean Machine with ARP main studs, Wagler’s Streetfighter forged-steel rods with ARP ½-inch rod bolts, wide bowl 0.020-inch over QSB factory pistons, and a factory 6.7L cam.
Sparing little expense on the cylinder head, Josh had the folks at Wagler do it up right. After receiving extensive porting, grooves were cut to accept fire-rings, hardened valve seats were installed, and Inconel intake and exhaust valves got the nod for their ability to stand up to excessive heat. Other valvetrain upgrades included Manton 105-lb valve springs and extreme duty 9/16-inch pushrods, while ARP Custom Age 625+ head studs anchor the head to the block. The side-draft intake is a billet, one-off piece from Wagler, which called for the removal of the head’s factory intake shelf.

Finally, with the diesel drag racing scene becoming more and more serious—and having attended a few Streetcar Takeovers—Josh made the decision to go all-in. A built 6.7L, big fuel, a bit of nitrous, a 48RE with a full manual valve body, and 1,500 hp says he’s ready for a 5-second timeslip at the track. In fact, as you’re reading this he’s prepping the truck to run the 5.90 Index class, one of the most exciting eighth-mile categories on the Outlaw Diesel Super Series circuit. Luckily for Josh and his future racing endeavors, some of the best names in the business have contributed to his build…

Wagler-Built 6.7L Cummins

Being that Josh is geographically located just down the road from Wagler Competition Products, one of the premier machine shops and engine builders in the game, it didn’t take long to decide who he wanted to piece together his race-ready long-block. Wagler delivered by machining both the block and head to accept fire-rings, anchoring the crank in place via Bean Machine’s gridlock girdle and ARP main studs, installing a set of Streetfighter forged connecting rods, ARP rod bolts, and 0.020-inch over QSB pistons. The cylinder head, also fire-ringed, was treated to considerable CNC porting, equipped with hardened valve seats, Inconel intake and exhaust valves, 105-lb Manton valve springs, and fastens to the block by way of ARP Custom Age 625+ head studs.

If you guessed big single and nitrous, you’re right—and the lone charger that feeds Josh’s 6.7L is downright serious. An 88mm version of Garrett’s GTX5533R GEN II, it makes use of a 1.24 A/R non-divided turbine housing and bolts to a T6 Steed Speed exhaust manifold. On fuel, the big Garrett produces 55 to 60 psi of boost, with drive pressure peaking lower than 1:1. Also notice the heat-wrapped downpipe, which feeds the 7-inch diameter stack in the hood.
Matching big fuel with big air, Josh reached out to S&S Diesel Motorsport for a pair of the company’s 12mm CP3’s and a set of 300-percent over injectors. The stroker pumps have no issue maintaining 28,000 psi worth of rail pressure, and a tune from Firepunk Diesel’s Lavon Miller that calls for just 1,600 microseconds of duration generates roughly 1,500 hp at the wheels. The factory CM848 ECM is tuned via HP Tuners software.

2 CP3’s & 300-Percent Overs

With big horsepower in mind, Josh reached out to another Indiana-based company, S&S Diesel Motorsport, for his injection system needs. The two 12mm CP3’s he decided to go with have proven more than overkill, easily sharing the workload and combining to feed a steady 28,000 psi to the ported rail and ultimately the 300-percent over injectors. On the low-pressure side of the fuel equation, a 290-gph FASS Titanium signature series system supplies the CP3’s with 18-psi of pressure. It pulls fuel from a dual-feed Bean Machine sump in the factory tank, while a fuel distribution block from Fleece Performance Engineering does away with the OEM fuel filter under the hood.

At the rearmost crossmember, you’ll find Josh’s low-pressure fuel supply system: a 290-gph Titanium signature series system from FASS. It pulls fuel from a Bean Machine dual-feed sump in the factory tank, and -8 AN braided stainless fuel hose ensures the CP3’s see 18-psi of supply pressure at all times.
Believe it or not, the rear AAM 1150 is the same one that left the factory a decade and a half ago. The same goes for the AAM 925 up front. Both solid axles have never been touched. The suspension, however, has been altered both front and rear. Out back, a reverse leveling kit and drop shackles have been added, and all but two leaf springs remain on each side. In the front, both KORE coils have been cut down.

88mm Single

On the other side of the 7-inch stack in the hood, you’ll find a GTX5533R GEN II. The big single employs an 88mm compressor wheel, a 1.24 A/R non-divided turbine housing, and bolts to a T6 Steed Speed exhaust manifold. At full tilt, the big Garrett can make more than 55-psi of boost on fuel alone, but Josh isn’t sure what it jumps to with his two-stage nitrous system in the mix. Despite its size, the 88mm charger spools surprisingly well, thanks in large part to being complemented by the perfect converter for his setup and spot-on tuning. During staging, Josh tells us the turbo comes up on boost and is ready to rock ‘n roll within 4 seconds.

One look in the cab and you realize a full manual valve body is in play. Josh built the mount for the TCI Outlaw shifter while Dave Crain and Justin Titus of Performance TorqueFlite Transmission in Louisville, Kentucky built the 48RE. A triple-disc, bolt-together converter from Goerend Transmission features a 2,500-2,600 rpm stall speed and sits on a 35-spline, Sonnax Smart-Tech big input shaft. A 300 maraging steel intermediate shaft, 29-spline billet-steel output shaft, and Raybestos GPZ clutches also reside inside the 48RE’s case. The Goerend constant pressure, full manual valve body features a regulated torque converter circuit to ensure the converter never sees the same pressure the rest of the transmission does (to prevent ballooning).
As for the cab, it’s barely been lived in. However, the 117,000-mile interior has been modified to monitor a few of the truck’s vitals. The A-pillar Auto Meter gauges provide Josh with lift pump supply pressure, rail pressure, and EGT readings, while the units on the steering column report the turbo’s boost and drive pressures. Down by the cupholders, he keeps tabs on transmission temperature and line pressure.

Extreme 48RE

Speaking of the converter, it’s a loose-stall, bolt-together unit from Goerend Transmission—and it’s part of a rock-solid combination of parts residing inside Josh’s 48RE. Assembled by his friends at Performance TorqueFlite Transmission in Louisville, the four-speed automatic boasts a Sonnax Smart-Tech big input shaft, a 300 maraging steel intermediate, and a larger diameter billet-steel output shaft, along with Raybestos GPZ clutches throughout and a constant pressure, full manual valve body from Goerend. Trust us, the case is the weakest link in this transmission.

A pair of auxiliary transmission coolers from Derale Performance sit behind the cab in the bed. With the fans running, Josh tells us he can keep transmission fluid temperature 100 degrees F—even when racing in the middle of summer.

Untouched Axles & Subtle Suspension Tweaks

Amazingly, Josh is throwing all of this power at bone-stock axles. That’s right, neither the rear AAM 1150 or front AAM 925 have yet to be upgraded in any way, and the transfer case is stock, too. The only driveline upgrades Josh did make was upsizing to 1580 series U-joints, along with the addition of traction bars. As for suspension, the truck’s lowered stance comes from cut down KORE coil springs up front, and a reverse leveling kit with drop shackles and all but two leaf springs pulled out of the rear.

An On 3 Performance intercooler is tasked with cooling down intake temps and reducing EGT, but there’s more than just compressed air being sent through this heat exchanger. Pre-intercooler, two welded bungs conceal the .52 jet and .88 jet that are part of Josh’s two-stage Nitrous Express system.

1,500 HP…At The Wheels

To date, Josh’s nasty, full weight third-gen has gone 6.31 at 113 mph in the eighth-mile on a 1.5-second 60-foot. According to the horsepower calculator, his 6,900-pound race weight means nearly 1,500 hp is making it to the wheels. In preparation to run the 5.90 Index class and get the truck’s chassis to settle down, Josh plans to install QA1 double-adjustable coil overs all the way around over the winter.

When you don’t exactly need to listen to the radio anymore, the antenna mount makes a great place to purge your nitrous system. Josh’s drug addiction is supported by a 15-pound NX bottle in the bed, complete with an automatic bottle heater and a remote bottle opener.

Thanks to his business, 925 Performance, keeping him in the know, his friends at Wagler, S&S, and Firepunk, and his wife Jessica who fully understands and supports his passion, making big horsepower and getting the truck to this point came rather easily for Josh. Now it’s just a matter of dialing in the suspension, adding a cage, shedding some weight, and racking up seat time and he’ll be ready to compete with some of the fastest trucks in the nation.

“Josh made the decision to go all-in. A built 6.7L, big fuel, a bit of nitrous, a 48RE with a full manual valve body, and 1,500 hp says he’s ready for a 5-second timeslip at the track. ”

For the summer truck show or occasional cruise up town, Josh’s third-gen rides on the 305/50R20 Toyo Proxes S/T and 20×10-inch XD 849 Grenade II combination you see here. But when he hits the drag strip, four Hoosier DR2’s measuring 325/45R18 and mounted on 18×10-inch wheels get the call.


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