A Crew Cab Dodge Packing An Allison, Air-Ride, And Late-Model Interior

In less than a year, Chris Ohl purchased a First Gen Cummins-powered ’82 Dodge D350, tore it down to a bare frame, and rebuilt it to his liking. In the process, he put together the first-gen dually he’d always wanted. A fresh 12-valve 5.9L Cummins sits under the hood and is ready for a million miles of service. It’s backed by an Allison transmission that has been prepped to do the same. For heavy hauling, the rear suspension is four-linked and bagged. And for utmost comfort in the four-door cab, fourth-gen leather (and power) seats provide a plush ride. It’s a fully-functional, old-school dually that was built to tow anything, anywhere—and do it in style.

First-Gen 5.9L

With an unknown history behind the P-pumped 12-valve that was in the truck when he bought it, Chris erred on the side of playing it safe and replaced the Cummins with the one he had sitting in the corner of the shop. First however, the ’93 model year 5.9L took a ride to Scheid Diesel for a complete rebuild. From oil pan to the one-piece, billet-aluminum valve cover up top, the overhaul featured a mix of factory parts and aftermarket upgrades. The block was machined to accept fire-rings, the forged-steel factory rods were shot-peened, graced with ARP rod bolts, and topped off with stock compression, cast-aluminum Mahle pistons. Scheid improved the valvetrain with one of its street cams, heavy-duty pushrods, and stiffer valve springs.

5.9L Cummins fire-ringed, ARP rod bolts, stock compression, Mahle cast-aluminum pistons, Scheid’s street cams, cylinder head, heavy-duty valve springs, ARP head studs
Although the truck had already been Cummins-swapped when Chris Ohl got his hands on it, he decided to make the ’82 Dodge D350 his own and started with a fresh 5.9L. After enlisting the help of Scheid Diesel, a ground-up engine was put together based off of the core ’93 Cummins Chris provided them. At Scheid, the block was fire-ringed, a set of shot-peened factory 12-valve rods were equipped with ARP rod bolts and connected to stock compression, Mahle cast-aluminum pistons, and one of Scheid’s drop-in street cams went in. Up top, a cylinder head fitted with heavy-duty valve springs anchors to the block by way of ARP head studs.

Benched VE & 5×13’s

Sticking with the Bosch VE pump, Chris had the folks at Scheid Diesel treat it to a refresh as well as several fueling tweaks. The 12mm rotary pump now sports a modified fuel pin, makes use of a 4,000-rpm governor spring kit, and sends fuel to a set of Scheid’s Lightning injectors. Each injector is fitted with a 5x.013-inch nozzle, which is conservative enough to tow with but serious enough to get the truck into the 400hp range. A 100-gph Air Dog II low-pressure fuel supply system routes diesel through ½-inch lines and maintains ample pressure for the VE pump.

Dodge 5.9L Cummins with Bosch VE, Scheid Diesel 12mm rotary pump, 4,000-rpm governor spring kit, modified fuel pin, 5x0.013-inch nozzle Lightning injectors
No it’s not P-pumped, but with a goal of 400 to 450 hp it didn’t need to be. For the tow-rig duties Chris has in store for his old Dodge, the Bosch VE will suffice just fine. But for a little something extra (of course), the folks at Scheid Diesel went ahead and maxed out the 12mm rotary pump, added a 4,000-rpm governor spring kit, a modified fuel pin, and installed a set of 5×0.013-inch nozzle Lightning injectors downwind of it.

Allison-Swapped

Ushering the old-school Dodge into the modern era, a six-speed Allison 1000 is mated to the First Gen 5.9L Cummins. Sourced from Custom Automatic Conversions, the commercial-grade automatic uses a billet torque converter and benefits from a 10.5-quart Mag-Hytec deep pan. The Allison is also kept cool thanks to a 40-row, Derale Performance Hyper-Cool Extreme auxiliary transmission cooler mounted along the passenger side frame rail. Dash-mounted buttons in the cab control the Allison’s Tow/Haul mode and Overdrive lockout.

57mm S300 BorgWarner turbo, Steed Speed exhaust manifold, Vibrant Performance silicone intercooler boots and stainless steel clamps,Mishimoto intercooler, AEM filter
A 57mm S300 BorgWarner turbo from Scheid sits on a Steed Speed exhaust manifold and crams boost through a Mishimoto intercooler. The Power Stroke-intended air-to-air unit was made to work using a Far From Stock install kit. Vibrant Performance silicone intercooler boots and stainless steel clamps help hold down the fort under boost, and the S300 breathes through a custom intake tube Chris built himself, and that’s topped off with an AEM filter and outerwear.
six-speed Allison 1000, upgraded billet torque converter, Mag-Hytec deep pan
Surprisingly to many, there’s no four-speed Chrysler transmission behind the Cummins, but rather a six-speed Allison 1000 from Custom Automatic Conversions. An upgraded billet torque converter and Mag-Hytec deep pan help it both handle torque and remain cool while doing it.

Bombproof Dana 80

Every tow rig’s most important component is arguably the rear axle. Knowing he would usually have a trailer behind him, Chris contacted East Coast Gear Supply for one of the strongest Dana 80’s on the market. The axle has been beefed up with ½-inch wall, 4-3/8-inch diameter axle tubes, 40-spline axle shafts, and an ARB air locker. It also utilizes 4.10 gears, which with the double overdrive of the Allison transmission provides low cruising rpm. The Dana 80 also wears a layer of bed liner coating that Chris applied before installing it.

40-row Hyper-Cool Extreme auxiliary transmission cooler
To further cool the Allison, a 40-row Hyper-Cool Extreme auxiliary transmission cooler sits on the passenger side frame rail. Chris upgraded the remote mount, stacked-plate heat exchanger with higher flowing -8 AN lines, all but guaranteeing his Allison will never see excessive heat.
billet-aluminum oil pan, Kingspeed Race & Repair standard depth pan
For a bit of bling underneath, Chris threw a billet-aluminum oil pan in with his engine build. The fabricated, standard depth pan came from Kingspeed Race & Repair.
Dodge Cummins leaf springs, Far From Stock bolt-on frame brackets, Wide Open Design 7075 aluminum links
With no leaf springs to speak of in the rear, Chris built his own air ride and four-link system. The bolt-on frame brackets were sourced through Far From Stock, while the beefy 7075 aluminum links came from Wide Open Design.
Dodge Ram four-link rear suspension, 7-inch diameter Firestone air bags, dual Viair compressors, Kelderman’s manual height control valves
An air bag mount kit and 7-inch diameter Firestone air bags with a 125-psi rating came from Far From Stock, while Chris designed his own trac bar. Also notice the Kelderman manual height control valves here, along with the Bilstein shocks and bedliner coating he added.

Air Ride Rear Suspension & Brand-New IFS Relying on names like Kelderman, Far From Stock, and Wide Open Designs, and thanks to his own homegrown fabrication skills, Chris pieced together a well-designed four-link rear suspension with air ride. The 7-inch diameter Firestone air bags are inflated courtesy of dual Viair compressors and the system also features Kelderman’s manual height control valves to maintain proper ride height. Up front, the factory IFS arrangement was retained, albeit with new parts and components from head to toe. Among other things, this entailed fresh wheel bearings and sway bar bushings, but also 2-inch taller coil springs, the corresponding extended length shocks, and isolators from Far From Stock, which made the truck sit level.

East Coast Gear Supply’s 40-spline Dana 80, chromoly 40-spline axle shafts, 4.10 gears, ARB air locker
You can never overbuild an axle for a tow rig, and Chris pulled out all the stops in this category by opting for East Coast Gear Supply’s 40-spline Dana 80 monstrosity. It boasts ½-inch wall axle tubes that are 4-3/8-inch in outer diameter, chromoly 40-spline axle shafts, 4.10 gears, and an ARB air locker. A one-ton big brake kit was also included, complete with 13-inch rotors.
Far From Stock upper control arms, 2-inch leveling kit
Up front, all new suspension exists, with Far From Stock upper control arms and a 2-inch leveling kit (springs, shocks, isolators) getting the call. Fresh Timken wheel bearings, new sway bar bushings, a hydroboost conversion for the braking system, and a Red Head steering box also helped update the truck.

A Fully Restored First Gen Classic

While the First Gen truck was Cummins-powered and already equipped with an Allison when he bought it, Chris still tore the truck down to a bare frame after he brought it home. During that process, the frame was blasted and powder coated, he undercoated the cab, fenders and bed, repainted the firewall, inner fenders and core support, and then gutted the interior, added Dynamat, and installed fresh carpet. In short, he performed a full-on, frame-off restoration in order to build the truck he envisioned—and he did it all within a year’s time. His fabrication skills, wrenching ability, attention to detail, and overall aesthetic taste are all a part of the finished project. Chris’s Cummins-powered, Allison-shifted, crew cab definitely adds a unique twist to the first-gen’s timeless charm.

Dynamat floor protection
Knowing that he would be spending a lot of time in the truck, it only made sense for Chris to make things more comfortable. After installing Dynamat inside of the cab, he scored front and rear black leather seats (as well as the center console) from a totaled out 2017 Ram and mounted them via brackets he fabbed up himself. In case you were wondering, the rear seats still fold up just like factory.
Nitto Exo Grappler AWT 275/55R2, machined finish 20-inch DDC Ten wheel, 8 on 6.5 bolt pattern, Far From Stock 1.5-inch wheel spacer
A search for a sub-33-inch tire with good load capacity and quiet street manners brought Chris to the Nitto Exo Grappler AWT. Each all-weather tire measures 275/55R2 and mounts to a black, machined finish, 20-inch DDC The Ten wheel with and an 8 on 6.5 bolt pattern. Far From Stock 1.5-inch wheel spacers gave Chris both the turning clearance and stance he was after up front.
Edge CTS2 monitor
An Edge CTS2 monitor displays boost pressure, EGT, low-pressure fuel supply from the AirDog system, transmission temp, engine oil temp, and any other parameter Chris wants to glance at. Conveniently, the CTS2 is also used to control the ARB locker and the truck’s auxiliary lighting. To the left of the CTS2, you’ll find the controls for the exhaust brake, transfer tank pump, Tow/Haul mode for the Allison, and the Overdrive lockout button.
5-inch MBRP tip, BD exhaust brake
Chris built the truck’s single exit exhaust system from the turbo back, and things culminate with a 5-inch MBRP tip in front of the passenger side rear fender. Further upstream, a BD exhaust brake is in the mix to help slow the first-gen and its load down more effectively.
dual Viair compressors, Dodge Cummins first gen tool box with in-bed110 gallon fuel tank with transfer pump
The dual Viair compressors for the air-ride system were provided by Kelderman and Chris mounted them in the tool box and fuel tank combo in the bed. And speaking of fuel, there’s plenty of it. The in-bed fuel tank with transfer pump holds 110 gallons and the factory fuel tanks are still present under the bed and beyond the rear axle.

 

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