Even at the young age of 24, Nick Chase has already been a passionate diesel enthusiast for more than seven years. With a 1997 12-valve race truck already under his belt, it was time to turn his attention to a common-rail daily driver. He purchased the 2007.5 Dodge Ram 2500 HD, seen here, in June of 2012. He knew right away that it would make a solid foundation for a great daily driver. The potent 6.7L Cummins under the hood was just the first clue. As a volunteer firefighter and diesel mechanic for a trucking company, Chase has the skills to work on the truck himself, building the great-looking daily driver you see here without breaking the bank.
Chase went to work on the truck almost immediately after the purchase; with a goal of unlocking the performance potential of the Cummins, and making sure the truck would turn heads. Being a diesel gearhead, Chase addressed the performance aspects of the truck first. To help the big 6.7L Cummins breathe easier, he installed an AIRAID cold air intake system to allow it to inhale plenty of cool filtered air. The truck had a set of “Bull Hauler” stacks on it when he purchased it, but Chase wanted to be a little more subtle with the exhaust. He opted to remove the stacks and install an MBRP 5-in. aluminized-steel system with a Pypes 7-in. polished stainless steel exhaust tip. To help keep EGT low and fuel mileage up, he installed a Snow Performance MPG Max water/methanol injection system. The Snow system tank and pump are installed on the passenger side of the engine bay and the nozzles plumbed into the intake on the driver’s side.
Chase installed a set of ARP head studs to help keep the head firmly in place on the large-bore Cummins. Installing the head studs gave him the peace of mind to go ahead and get more aggressive with the tuning. Chase turned to Cummins-Tuner out of Chicago, Illinois, to turn up the power on the I-6 diesel. Plenty of clean fuel is delivered to the engine’s high-pressure fuel pump from a FASS 150 fuel pump/filter system mounted between the bed and the frame on the driver’s side of the truck. Chase estimates that the truck makes around 500 horsepower and is happy with the performance, especially since it’s a daily driver. He relies on an Edge Insight CTS monitor using a windshield mount near the A-pillar to keep an eye on the engine.
Power from the 6.7L Cummins is routed through a South Bend dual-disc clutch and pressure plate to the G56 manual transmission before heading to the transfer case. The combination of the performance upgrades on the Cummins, along with the tuning and 3.53 gears on the axles, yields great mileage for the big truck with Chase reporting 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg out on the open highway.
Chase puts the power to the ground through a set of 325/60R18 Toyo Open Country ATII all-terrain tires that are wrapped around 18×10 Moto Metal 962 chrome wheels. To aid in planting the rear wheels and prevent axle wrap, he has added a set of powder-coated custom traction bars to the truck since we shot it. The tires and wheels fit the wheel wells perfectly, thanks to a Hell Bent 2.5 leveling kit and Carli springs front and rear. In front, the coil springs are powder coated metallic maroon to match the main body color. Chase installed Bilstein 5100-series stainless steel shocks on all four corners to improve the handling and keep the tires planted on the ground when the ride gets rough. The rear also sports an Air Lift wireless air bag system for load leveling when he tows heavy loads with the truck. The rear of the truck also sports a Viair 150-psi compressor and Nathan AirChime K5LA air horn kit from HornBlasters to get additional attention when needed.
With the truck’s performance dialed in, Chase turned his attention to the looks. Teaming with the crew at Tom Rose Auto Body in Warsaw, Kentucky, they installed a cowl induction-style steel hood as well as a Laramie front bumper before repainting the truck in a two-tone maroon and silver style that matched the factory style with deeper and bolder colors. The two-tone paint is accented subtly with an orange pinstripe between the transition from color to color and they also included a silver accent on the hood with matching striping.
The outside of the truck is further enhanced with color-matched vent visors, dark tinted windows and Recon tinted head, tail and cab lights. Another unique feature of the truck is the grille and bumper combination that uses a custom shell with billet inserts in the grille and bumper opening for a unique look. The Laramie bumper was also treated to matching two-tone paintwork and a Cummins “C” replaces the Ram logo in the center of the grille.
The stock gray interior of the truck was in great shape so it remains stock for now. To make driving the 500-horsepower truck even more enjoyable Chase upgraded the sound system with Kenwood speaks as well as a JL Audio 10-inch sub powered by an MTX Jackhammer amp, both mounted behind the rear seat. He also installed a billet aluminum shift knob to make it more comfortable when rowing the gears. To finish things off, he installed a red/blue firefighter light below the mirror to help him get to the scene quickly when responding as a volunteer firefighter.
Nick Chase has built himself a great daily driver, but like most diesel enthusiasts he says he isn’t finished building the truck yet. He has run a best time of 14.1 seconds at 99 mph in the quarter-mile, making it a very fun multi-purpose street/strip/tow rig. The truck looks great, runs quickly, gets good mileage and is fun to drive… we’re not sure what more he could want out of a truck! DW