-ADVERTISEMENT-

Half the fun of seeing diesel trucks at the dragstrip is witnessing the unexpected. Sure, there are some fast street trucks at your normal diesel race, but when we first saw Matt Santjer’s ‘06 Dodge line up for the “Pro Street” class, our thought was, “Yeah right.”

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-

“After our shoot, I upgraded the big turbo to a 94mm Garrett, and bent all six rods” – Matt Santjer

To make the field against full-on drag trucks in a street driver would be quite an accomplishment, much less in a 7,000-pound behemoth. A few minutes later, our jaw dropped when Matt did indeed make the field, with a stellar 6.56 at 110.86mph. For those of you who don’t speak eighth-mile, that’s knocking on the door of a nine-second quarter-mile pass! From the stands, we headed straight to the pits, to see “what the heck” was going on.

For air, Matt used the tried-and-true 66mm S300 and 80mm S400 combination. Producing 80psi of boost, the compound turbos are a big reason the Ram can get down the track so quickly.

Matt was careful to leave plenty of room for the exhaust when fabricating his turbo system. He also wrapped the exhaust, to keep as much heat in the exhaust as possible.

As it turns out, Matt’s a normal-enough guy, who just happened to get a little carried away with making his diesel fast. “I sled-pull with it too, but I also try to drive it to work at least once a week, to keep myself honest,” Matt says. “If it can’t make it the 100 miles to work, it’s not a street truck, at least not one I can really use.”

Carried Away

So, with its street cred out of the way, we grilled Matt for info on his rad ride. With an estimated 1,300hp on tap, the bottom end needed to be plenty stout, so that’s where Matt started. The block and crank are stock, but the factory common-rail rods have been replaced with shot-peened 12-valve rods. The 0.02-over pistons are also new Mahle factory replacements. The head has been O-ringed for sealing, and a 188/220 duration camshaft from Hamilton Cams bumps the valvetrain. ARP hardware is also found throughout the engine, in the form of rod bolts and head studs. Matt did the engine assembly himself, with the help of a few friends.

Based upon the Ram’s weight and trap speed, the math works out to about 1,300hp for the compound turbo, twin CP3, nitrous injected, 5.9L Cummins.

At the track, Matt’s run a best of 6.56 at 110mph, with a 1.57-second 60-foot time. “I probably make about the same power as the guys running fives, I’m just 2,000 pounds heavier,” laughs Matt.

Fuel and Air

For the fuel system, Matt had a few different ideas than the rest of the diesel crowd.

“Most people have way too much fuel, and an inefficient setup,” Matt reports. “I didn’t overbuild mine, I just went with what I needed for the power I was after,” says Matt. For Matt, this meant twin factory CP3 pumps, along with a single Raptor 150 lift pump for support. The injectors are highly effective Apex 9s from F1 diesel, which Matt indicated flow around 150 percent more than stock.

-ADVERTISEMENT-

The turbos are another area where Matt had his hands in (literally), as he built the system himself. Starting with an ATS manifold, Matt mounted a 66mm top charger, with an 80mm bottom turbo for maximum airflow. The piping was welded by Matt, and powder-coated in a candy-blue color. Boost from the compound setup is 80psi, and is sent through a Spearco intercooler and into the engine. For a bit of insurance (and to make the Pro Street field), Matt also hooked up a single solenoid nitrous system, with a 0.075 jet.

Tranny Work

When we got to the subject of putting 1,300hp to the ground, Matt had a wry smile.

“I’ve tried all sorts of transmission combinations, valve bodies, shafts; I must have had that transmission out of the truck 20 times,” Matt recalls. Finally, with the help of Tim Barber at TRE Diesel Performance, Matt found a combination that worked.

“7,000 pounds and 6.56 seconds at 110.86mph in the eighth…”

Starting with a custom torque converter from Diesel Performance Converters, power is transmitted through the transmission via oversized input, intermediate and output shafts from Intelligent Engineering. The valve body was spec’d by Tim, and he also did the final transmission assembly. “I’ve done plenty of launches at more than 20psi of boost, and so far it has held,” Matt says.

A single CP3 pump wasn’t going to cut it, so Matt used an ATS kit to install a second pump with a custom wheel.

Twin Isspro gauges that read fuel pressure and rail pressure match the factory instrumentation, and are mounted on the steering column. Three additional gauges, measuring boost, exhaust gas temperature and transmission temperature, are mounted on the interiors’ A-pillar.

One of the big surprises was the simple fuel system the Dodge uses. A Raptor 150 pump is all that’s needed to support the engine’s high-pressure injection system.

For the rest of the drivetrain and suspension, Matt has held the same “might as well modify it” attitude that influenced the rest of the build. Starting with a Fabtech four-and-a-half-inch lift, Matt then integrated his own traction bars and driveshaft loops, which were all treated to the same candy-blue hue as the engine bay. The axle tubes are also welded to the center section for strength (“I twisted them once, during a pull,” Matt states), but surprisingly, the 3.73-geared front and rear axles are stock.

With a well thought-out and executed combination, Matt definitely has made the most of the mileage on the 138,000 mile ’06 Dodge.

Matt’s Dodge has enough fuel on tap that it can make use of a little extra oxygen, and so a single NOS nitrous solenoid was added for track duty. Matt estimates the one-stage system adds at least 100 to 200 extra horsepower.

On the street, Matt runs a large, universal S&B air filter; but, on the drag strip or at the pulling track, he switches to this candy-blue ram-air intake, which ducts in fresh air from the outside through the front headlight vent.

With large turbos, a stock intercooler can create a pressure restriction and loss of horsepower. To combat this, Matt chose a higher flowing Spearco intercooler that can keep up with the big compound setup.

An ATS manifold was used to mount the custom turbo system; but, before it was installed, it was treated to a heat-resistant ceramic coating for both looks and performance.

Safety items, like driveshaft loops, are built in to compete on both the drag strip and pulling track. The loops were built by Matt, and powder-coated in the same blue shade that can be found gracing the rest of the truck.

Matt’s Ram runs a Fabtech 4.5-inch lift, which does a remarkable job of keeping the truck straight and true, whether it be on the street, drag strip or pulling track.

“This type of hobby does push a truck’s limits,” Matt states. “After our shoot, I upgraded the big turbo to a 94mm Garrett, and bent all six rods. One of them is sort of a ‘U’ shape from one side, and an ‘S’ from another,” chuckled Matt. With a newly rebuilt engine (again) and Carrillo rods, Matt and his Dodge are now back and better than ever. The competition better watch out! DW

“1,300 horsepower to the ground…”