2,700 HP Worth Of Sled-Smashing Fury

Without a doubt, sled pulling is the most advanced form of diesel motorsports. It commands the intersection between the industry’s latest technological innovations and its fiercest competition. Like baseball, another fond national pastime that comes to mind, sled pulling is a game of inches. So when we heard that 2014’s Second Place finisher in the Lucas Oil PPL points chase wanted to talk to us, we jumped at the chance. It’s not often you get to see under the body of a competitive Super Stock class truck, and even less often that they’re willing to divulge all (or almost all) of their specifications. But that’s exactly what tough competitor (and all-around good guy) Matt Clemons did with his Hulk-inspired “Alter Ego” pulling truck.

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“The Hulk’s just tough to beat, and I’m very competitive… I have a bit of a Bruce Banner personality myself.”

The 6.4L Cummins-based powerplant in Matt Clemon’s Alter Ego puller is a sight to behold. Cranking out more than 2,700 horsepower (and 3,000 lb-ft of torque) the mechanical monster can spin 6,000 rpm all season, without needing a refresh. If you’re looking for the pinnacle of pickup performance, this is it.

Since the engine’s dimensions are different than stock, a custom front cover from Haisley Machine is used. Also up front is a Fluidampr harmonic balancer that helps control harmonics at 6,000-rpm. A 700-gph Waterman lift pump is driven off a gear inside the front gear train.

On the exhaust side of the near-3,000-hp engine is a Steed Speed exhaust manifold, which has shown to be reliable, and also produce more power. Notice that the truck’s data logging system also monitors exhaust gas temperatures for each individual cylinder, rather than just having one probe.

Why The Hulk? “Well, we wanted something that was going to be a kid favorite,” said Matt. “Also, The Hulk’s just tough to beat, and I’m very competitive… I have a bit of a Bruce Banner personality myself.” In fact, Matt was so dedicated to winning, that he actually formed his own shop around the truck specializing in extreme diesel technology: Alter Ego Diesel Motorsports (or AEDM for short). The goal was simultaneously lofty and simple: build one of the nation’s top pullers!

Head fabricator Rod Wilson started on this latest project by fabricating the frame with a double frame rail design, and a class maximum 158-inch wheelbase. An ultra-light fiberglass body designed by GTS, based on the 2012 Chevy Silverado, was dropped low over the frame to give the truck a sinister look. When tugging a 40,000-lb sled, the stress on the drivetrain is absolutely tremendous, and the front and rear axles were beefed up accordingly. The rear end is an SQHD, which you’d commonly find under the rear of a semi, and it has been beefed up with a spool, ProFab axles, and 6.20 gears. The front axle is a F106 Rockwell that’s been similarly equipped, but surprisingly has a Detroit Locker up front. An SCS Reverser, ProFab dropbox, and 1550 U-joints thoroughly round out the drivetrain.

Remaining competitive in a class like the Super Stock Diesel pulling class doesn’t come without horsepower—a whole lot of it—and with 2,700 hp and 3,000 lb-ft, Matt’s ride delivers in a big way. Haisley Machine provided a solid foundation with one of its “Super B” engines, a 6.4L Cummins engine, based off of a destroked 6.7L block. The Siamese bore block was then filled, sleeved and deckplated for strength. The engine’s rotating assembly consists of a modified crankshaft, Fink’s Machine connecting rods, and 12:1 compression pistons. A Haisley Machine steel roller cam actuates a custom valvetrain with shaft-mounted rockers, and features “more than” .800 lift, and classified duration numbers. New for the 2015 season, the
12-valve just received a new Wind It Tight Engines cylinder head, which should push power output closer to 3,000 hp.

“Matt has a constant drive to win. Keep an eye out for Alter Ego during the 2015 pulling season. If its performance in 2014 is any indication, the Hulk truck will be a tough one to beat!”

Alter Ego’s Hulk-inspired paint is a big hit with kids, families, and, well, pretty much everyone. The body was airbrushed by Danela Shanteau from Swanson, Ohio.

Oiling is a big factor in getting one of these engines to live reliably, and it’s one place Matt certainly didn’t skimp on, with a multi-stage, Peterson dry sump. In addition to pressure and scavenge stages, the oiling system also runs different pressures to the engine and the turbocharger system.

A Profab dropbox sends power fore and aft at all times, and is custom built to handle the rigors of sled pulling. Gearing changes are also made through the gears in the dropbox, instead of the front and rear axles.

Nitrous is a big “no-no” in sled pulling, so we were surprised to see a ZEX solenoid on the engine. Turns out Matt has a sense of humor, and he actually has it connected to an ether canister, so he can fire up the 12:1 compression Cummins without assistance.

No matter how strong the engine, copious amounts of fuel and air are needed in order to make serious power. In this respect, virtually everything on Matt’s engine is aftermarket, and in a category beyond anything found on the factory truck engine. A stock 12-valve lift pump for instance, flows about 48 gph, while the Waterman gear-driven pump on the front cover flows 700 gph. In factory form, a 12mm Cummins P-pump will be set at about 80-100cc of fuel to make 160-215 hp, while the 16mm Sigma pump in Matt’s truck can flow 1,350cc without even breathing hard. The turbo arrangement on Alter Ego is equally impressive, and a far cry from the 56mm HX35 native to the 12-valve. How impressive? Try two 99mm Holset HC5A-based turbos blowing into a 105mm ball bearing turbo from Columbus Diesel. Total boost is a mind-numbing 150 psi through a custom water-to-air intercooler fabricated by AEDM.

Traction is all-important in pulling applications, and in the Super Stock class, virtually any tire type is allowed. Alter Ego runs on 34x18x15 Nichols Pulling Edge tires, mounted on 15×22-inch Real Wheels. The wheels are actually wider than the tires, which allows for maximum footprint and grip when going down track.

The front of the engine is quite intimidating, with two large 99mm Holset HC5A-based turbos staring out from the front of the truck. The manifold turbo is a 105mm unit made by Columbus Diesel, which features a ball-bearing center section to handle the immense boost pressures the triple-turbo setup creates.

The “hot seat” in Alter Ego is where Matt controls the beast when pulling. A Corbeau racing seat provides support on rough tracks while Matt hangs on. The large lever on the right of the seat is a hand throttle, which is used for precise
control of engine rpm when pulling

The frame of the truck was built in-house by AEDM and reinforced with steel around the engine to prevent flexing. The four-link front suspension was also built by AEDM, and features Eibach shocks and Koni coilovers to allow the front end to move around while staying planted. A New Performance Pro 3-inch steering cylinder rounds out the front end.

A SQHD rear axle that would normally be used in a semi truck application is firmly affixed to the frame, with no rear suspension. It’s been further upgraded from the stock version with a custom housing, and 6.20 gears with ProFab axles.

The Molinari clutch between the Super B engine and SCS Reverser is a four-disc unit, and handles more than 3,000 lb-ft of torque for an entire season’s worth of pulling, with just periodic adjustments.

On a sled puller of this nature, exhaust is kept short and simple. Twin 6-inch Grand Rock stacks exit right next to the cowl hood on the GTS body.

The exhaust side piping was built in-house by Alter Ego Diesel Motorsports, and this angle shows just how much real estate the three large frame turbos take up. The large horizontal cylinder near the top of the photo is a wastegate, which releases exhaust pressure past the turbochargers, if drive pressure gets too high.

The GTS fiberglass body is a tilt design, and features a reinforced Lexan firewall for safety, and so Matt can see what’s going on as he goes down the track.

After finishing second by a heartbreaking four points at the end of the 2014 pulling season, Matt is more determined than ever to come away with the victory in 2015. With the much higher-flowing cylinder head from Wind It Tight Engines, a TS Performance data logger, and a number other changes, Matt has a constant drive to win. Keep an eye out for Alter Ego during the 2015 pulling season. If its performance in 2014 is any indication, the Hulk truck will be a tough one to beat! DW