Twenty-two years old. 177,000 miles. Original paint. One glance, you’d never believe it: Miles Flight’s ’94 Dodge Ram has spent more than two decades exposed to Northern Ohio winters. One reason for this second-gen Cummins’ near-perfect condition has to do with the fact that it’s been garage-kept most of its tenure. But don’t be mistaken; it’s seen its fair share of harsh weather. In fact, the truck plowed snow for the first three years of its life, and regularly saw snow until ‘08.
But the primary reason for the truck’s showroom stature rests in its sentimental value. You see, the truck originally belonged to Miles’ father, whose untimely passing in 1998 left the truck in the care of his mother. A few years later, it was sold to Miles’ uncle, who retained ownership until 2008: “I was a senior in high school when I bought it back,” Miles told us. “Essentially, the truck never left the family.”
Less is more when the right parts work in conjunction with each other.
As you might’ve imagined, a lot of time, effort, and pride has gone into not only preserving the truck’s factory paint and bodylines, but also in modifying it. Add to that the fact that Miles is a talented fabricator, and you start to understand why the truck is built the way it is. Its traction bars, 5-inch lift, front long-arm kit, track bar, sway bar and links, dual steering stabilizer mount, and steering box stabilizer bracket can’t be ordered in a catalog—Miles built all of these components himself.
Aside from the custom fabricated mod’s that made the truck more drivable and visually appealing, Miles didn’t skimp on anything in the power department either. While the factory bottom end was left alone, the head became the beneficiary of 60-lb. valve springs and was ported, polished, and fitted with O-rings at Enterprise Engine Performance. ARP head studs hold down the fort, anchoring the worked over 12-valve head to the block.
At the heart of the 5.9L Cummins rests the original 12mm P-pump. It’s graced with .022 delivery valves, 4,000-rpm governor springs, a billet rack plug, #5 fuel plate, and 16.5 degrees of timing advancement. The 175-hp (factory rated) P-pump is supplied with 35 psi of fuel pressure thanks to a 100-gph AirDog fuel system and sends fuel to a set of DDP Stage 4 injectors.
For airflow, Miles put his fabrication skills to use once more. After receiving an internally wastegated S364 and an S475 from Industrial Injection, he built his own compound turbo system. The intercooler tubes, hot-pipe, and turbo support brackets were all handcrafted in his shop, along with an aluminum airbox. The factory intake elbow was also ported for improved airflow.
Although NV4500 manual transmissions are robust in nature, Miles didn’t take any chances when it came to power transfer. In addition to adding a dual disc 3600 clutch from South Bend, he had the crew from nearby Tantrum Drivetrain beef up the five-speed’s weak links. The input shaft was upgraded to a 1-3/8-inch diameter unit, a chromoly main shaft was added, and third gear was cryogenically treated for utmost strength.
With stunningly clean looks, showpiece-worthy suspension components, and all the under hood bells and whistles to go along with it, this truck is truly an heirloom worth preserving. Even better: Nothing has been overdone. The cosmetic changes don’t disrupt the truck’s overall visual appeal, the suspension and steering upgrades were done—more or less—to improve drivability, and a time-tested combination of power adders are utilized to make good, “streetable” horsepower: “Less is more when the right parts work in conjunction with each other,” Miles told us. We couldn’t agree more. DW