Eric Helton’s Stunning Single Cab 2006 Dodge Dually
There’s absolutely nothing regular about Eric Helton’s regular cab 2006 Dodge dually! The 34-year-old machinist from Rogersville, Tenn., has wanted a dually since he was a young boy and finally realized his dream in 2006 when he bought the truck new to tow his 1986 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS show car. Not long after that, he realized that the itch to show his dually needed to be scratched and he started slowly working on the machine with the goal in mind of building a clean and not overdone show truck that would have the “stock but not” look throughout the build.
Helton started with the upgrades when the truck first needed tires, opting to go with a set of polished 10-lug 22.5-inch Alcoa Classics for the front and outer rear wheels and Accuride 22.5-inch inner wheels. American Force adapters are used to mount the 10-lug wheels to the 8-lug truck. All six of the 22.5-inch wheels are wrapped in Sumitomo 255/70R22.5 ST727 OTR tires to provide plenty of longevity on the one-ton rig. Long spiked lug nut covers make the highly polished wheels really stand out. After the wheels and tires were mounted, Helton was hooked, and he went to work in earnest. The end result is the beautiful truck that you see here—although Helton says, as most gearheads do of their project trucks, it’s still not finished.
Body modifications for the Dodge came next after the wheels. It was stripped of its badges and then Helton sent a sport model grille, along with the mirrors, door handles and bumper trim, out to Shannon Smith at Smith Body Shop in Rogersville, Tenn., to be smoothed and treated to fresh coats of PS2 Bright Silver Metallic paint. The grille shell was gutted of its center bars and smoothed out before RDX billet inserts were installed. Matching RDX billet aluminum inserts were installed in the now color-matched bumper. Joey Davenport of Joey’s Hot Rods reworked the tailgate, removing the third brake light and refinishing it before repainting it. Helton opted to relocate the brake light to the bed below the tailgate.
The bed itself is protected by a Rhino Linings spray-in bedliner from the guys at Truck Toys & More in Johnson City, Tenn., to help it hold up to work duties without showing signs of wear. Helton also installed a set of motorized Kodiak sidewinder power folding side steps to help him and his wife Charla get in and out of the truck a bit easier. All of the bulbs throughout rig were replaced with DDM Tuning LED bulbs except for the headlights and fog lights, which received DDM Tuning HID upgrades. To give the roofline a sleeker look, Helton replaced the cab lights with fourth-gen clear models, and finally he tinted all the window glass to round out the exterior upgrades.
After the body was looking the way Helton wanted it to, he turned his attention to performance. He started with a modest 70hp programmer then eventually found the wonder of EFILive tuning to really wake the engine up. Cody Hale at Anarchy Diesel Tuning in Riceville, Tenn., handled writing the performance EFILive tunes to get the most out of the powerplant. The complete long block is still stock, but Helton has installed plenty of bolt-on performance items including a polished stainless steel Stainless Diesel second-gen swap exhaust manifold and a Borg Warner S363 turbocharger to pressurize the intake charge. He painted the intake and boost tubes and valve cover silver to match the exterior and polished the compressor housing on the turbo to further dress up the engine bay.
The painted boost tubes carry the compressed charge to and from an On3 Performance intercooler. Helton installed a TurboSmart blow-off valve in the boost tube leading to the intake to help prevent surging when shifting gears with the Dodge’s manual transmission. To cover his fueling needs, Helton installed a FASS 150HD fuel pump and filter system on the driver-side frame rail tucked up near the rear wheel opening. Once the clean fuel reaches the engine the pressure in increased by the stock CP3 before being fed into a set of stock fuel injectors with 50% over Extrude Honed nozzles. Helton has dynoed this truck on the DP Tuner mobile chassis dyno, where it put down 687.7 horsepower and 1,250.9 lb-ft of torque at the rollers through the massive rear tires. Helton’s potent Cummins is backed by the stock G56 6-speed manual transmission that receives the power through a South Bend 3250 dual disk clutch and flywheel. He has run a best 1/8-mile time of 9.20-seconds at 82 mph, which is not bad at all for a big, heavy, manual-shifted tow rig.
To help fit the large semi-truck tires and wheels on the Dodge 3500, Helton installed a ReadyLift leveling kit up front. He also installed Bilstein 5100 series shocks on all four corners to improve the ride. Up front, a BD Diesel Performance steering box brace and adjustable track bar work in concert with a Bilstein 5100 series steering stabilizer to keep the dually pointed where Helton intends. He also fabricated custom sway bar drop brackets to achieve proper alignment of the suspension. In the rear, Helton installed a pair of Flight Fabrications ladder-style traction bars to prevent axle wrap. And of course, he paint-matched the bars and brackets before installing them.
Moving inside the regular cab, Helton left most of it stock but keeps it in immaculate shape even when driving around with his wife and 2 1/2-year old daughter Lilly snuggled close together in the small cab. A set of Husky floor liners help trap any dirt or debris that might get tracked into the truck at shows and events. He paint-matched the radio bezel and door panel inserts to bring more of the silver exterior into the cab. Then, to help keep track of the engine’s performance, he added an Auto Meter dash-mount triple gauge pod and a set of Isspro factory match gauges. To wrap up the interior modifications, he installed billet aluminum weighted shift knobs, had Cummins “Cs” embroidered into the seat headrests, and replaced all lighting with LEDs.
“he does enjoy driving it when he can and tries to attend as many diesel events in the region as possible.”
For the final touch, Helton purchased a Power Wheels Dodge dually kids riding truck and painted it to match his own rig using the same PS2 Bright Silver Metallic paint he used for the other paint matching he performed during the build. He also did a truck bed lining in the rear, built a custom faux exhaust to match the bigger truck, and installed a billet grille that he cut down from a Chevy S-10. Last but not least, to boost the performance for little Lilly, Helton made a 16-volt conversion on smaller rig—and of course installed spiked lug nut covers to match Dad’s.
The Ram 3500 is not Helton’s daily driver since it primarily performs tow and show duties, so he has only racked up 62,000 miles. But he does enjoy driving it when he can and tries to attend as many diesel events in the region as possible. Amazingly, except for the clutch installation and the exterior paint and body work he farmed out, Helton did all the work on the big truck and the baby dually right there in his own driveway, illustrating that anyone can build a show-stopping rig if they put in the effort. He has won several Best Dodge, People’s Choice, and Best of Show awards. Even Lilly has won awards with her baby dually. This is a potent pair at the shows; if you get a chance to check them out, do it. You’ll be glad you did.