World’s Fastest 4×4: The 2,300-HP Dodge
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When diesel performance started its upswing in the early 2000s, sled pullers were at the top of the competitive heap. These monster-turbo, mechanically injected rigs made way more power than anything else, leading many to ask: Why not put a sled pulling engine in a drag truck?

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It was only a matter of time before someone tried it, and Jimmy and Dale Smith, along with the help of Dan Scheid, decided to make that leap. After a number of converter and transmission setups, everything came together in 2007 for one of the quickest and fastest passes to that date, a 9.81 at 138 mph, which was unheard of for a 6,000-pound truck. After putting a number of 9s in the bag, the team started to hit trouble spots. They couldn’t get a converter that would spool and hold up. They couldn’t get the truck to stay in its lane. They fought breakage, even with the sled puller engine. Jimmy hung up his spurs as driver.

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The monster 6.4L Cummins made just over 2,300 horsepower on its last engine dyno outing at about 135 psi of boost. Shift points are sky-high (for a diesel) at 5,000 rpm.

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The foundation of Sullivan’s power is an aluminum block Cummins built by Scheid Diesel that saves more than 100 pounds over a stock block and adds tons of strength. The block has been sleeved, fitted with Scheid Diesel rods, 12:1 Arias pistons and a Scheid Diesel roller camshaft.

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Huge amounts of cylinder pressure come with this type of power, so the top end of the engine has been fire-ringed and fitted with stout 14mm head studs from ARP.

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The “smaller” of the two turbochargers in the compound-turbo setup is an 88mm turbo from Precision Turbo and Engine.

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As if an 88mm turbo wasn’t big enough, a huge 114mm Holsetbased turbocharger is the big air mover, and is a big factor in the engine’s wild 2,300hp power rating

“SCHEID STEPPED UP HIS END TOO, WITH HIS LATEST ALUMINUM BLOCK CUMMINS, WHICH PRODUCES AN INSANE 2,300 HORSEPOWER.”

The story could have ended right there, as 9s is fast, even these days, but the team knew the truck could go even faster. A higher-horsepower engine was installed, along with a unique transmission combination developed by Dan Scheid. Over the course of almost a year, Scheid developed a manual valve body 48RE transmission that was mated to a Crower 4-disc clutch, combining the best of sled pulling and drag racing. The unique clutch setup proved to be difficult to launch, but that didn’t stop new driver Seth Sullivan from mastering the task. With consistent 1.4-1.6 60- foot times, Sullivan could now power around most of the competition, even in the eighth-mile. East Coast and Midwest drag battles saw the truck often at the top of the heap, and the Dodge was also one of the first diesel drag trucks to crack into the 5s in the eighth with a 5.87, and 8s in the quarter with an 8.83 pass at 162 mph.

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Scheid Diesel was able to find big gains in upping the airflow inside the engine, so an individual-runner intake was fitted to a Hamilton Cams cylinder head that flows nearly twice as much as a factory head.

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Stainless steel injection lines that are 0.120-inch in diameter feed the triple feed injectors from Scheid Diesel. The injectors are fitted with 5x.030-inch nozzles, and flow more than enough fuel to keep the Cummins happy.

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A lot of folks might see lines running into the intake and think it’s nitrous, but Sullivan’s truck is all fuel. The black line is a boost reference, while the rest are water injection lines.

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The factory 12mm P7100 injection pump was replaced with a 14mm P8600 from Scheid Diesel that flows well in excess of 1,000cc of fuel. The pump is usually “turned down” quite a bit in order to get down the track.

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Sullivan’s Ram doesn’t run an intercooler, but instead uses a multiple-nozzle water injection kit to keep EGTs under control. A Simpson valve is used to inject the water at an insane 1,000 psi.

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Over time, Sullivan negotiated a deal to buy the Dodge from the Smiths, and decided to ratchet the Dodge up to another level, with a 700-pound weight reduction along with a full back-half and four-link setup. Scheid stepped up his end too, with his latest aluminum block Cummins, which produces an insane 2,300 horsepower. The transmission remained the same basic design including the clutch, and with its newfound power, the truck really was quicker and faster than ever.

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The transmission in the ’98 Ram is probably the most unique in the business. A manual valve body 48RE-based transmission is connected to a Crower 4-disc clutch that Sullivan activates with this huge hand lever. He admits it took a good 20 practice launches in front of the shop before he got it down.

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It’s weird to see an AMS 1000 controller on a 12-valve diesel, but Scheid indicated it’s a big help in dialing in total boost to help the heavy 4×4 get down track without blowing the tires off.

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The bed of the truck was set up to be as simple as possible. A single Optima battery, hydraulic pump for the steering assist, and small fuel cell were all mounted out of the way just behind the cab.

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Things soon got serious when Sullivan bought the truck, with a full back-half by Fast Chassis in Mt. Washington, Kentucky. The rear end was also replaced with a Fab 9 axle housing and full four-link rear suspension with AFCO coilover shocks.

During the 2014 and 2015 season, the green-and-red rocket was hard to beat, dipping into the mid-5s (5.52 best) in the eighth-mile, and trapping 142 mph—a speed that still hasn’t been beat by a two-wheel or four-wheel-drive Pro Street truck. Although Sullivan never got a chance to officially run the truck down the quarter mile, an impromptu data-log pass showed 170 mph trap speeds, which again would have made for an unofficial record.

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Stopping a 5,000-pound diesel can be quite a chore, so twin parachutes were mounted on the tailgate to slow the Ram after a 140+mph eighth-mile pass.

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Four 30×14.5×15-inch M&H Cheater slicks are mounted both on the front and rear of the Dodge, and are a big reason for its 1.4-second 60-foot times.

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Campaigning (and winning) with a 4×4 Pro Street truck has been no easy task. Tons of between-round maintenance is needed to get the truck ready for the next round, and Sullivan reports he pulls the transmission and checks it after every race! He noted all this wouldn’t be possible without the help of friends and family, especially his brother, Micah, who has his own 5-second eighth-mile truck.

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Like many of those at the top of a sport, Seth Sullivan decided that it was time to move on, and sold his insane Dodge just a few months ago, without an engine, to new owner Logan Yelton. Fortunately (for all of us) the final page of this story has yet to be written, as Yelton already has an equally serious sled-pulling powerplant installed, and is ready to keep the truck and its mechanical legacy alive. DW

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