Dodge owners have always gotten the short end of the customizing stick. There just aren't a lot of aftermarket accessories for Rams, beyond performance-related items. For Wes Cade of Las Vegas, he wanted a challenge, and the Dodge Ram 3500 was just what he was looking for. But, one of the problems he faced was that there wasn't a lot of aftermarket support for these trucks. He wanted to be one of the first to have a frame-dragging Ram dualie. The second problem staring him dead in the face was he had three weeks to figure it out and get this truck to the SEMA Show.
With the clock ticking away, Wes wasted no time in tracking down a set of 22.5-inch semi wheels, along with Dunlop rubber, so he could start the suspension. Then, it was off to have the chassis brought closer to the earth. Up front, a custom set of upper and lower control arms were fabricated with spherical bearings to allow for a wider range of motion. The front suspension was finished off with the addition of airbag brackets, a set of Slam Specialties air springs, and a pair of Toxic gas-charged shock absorbers. Out back, a step-notch that can be best described as huge was installed, and it had to be huge to get the truck to lay out on the big 22.5-inch wheels.
The factory leaf spring mounts on the rear axle were cut off to make way for the custom link-style rear suspension. The pair of lower bars also features airbag mounts that give the rear suspension a 2:1 lift ratio, instead of the traditional 'bag-over-axle setup. Before the bed was mounted back on the chassis, room was made on the frame to mount a trifecta of Air-Zenith compressors and two 7-gallon air-storage tanks. Then, the air system was plumbed with 1/2-inch line, and a plethora of 1/2-inch Slam Specialties valves were installed to control each corner, individually.
Once the bed was back on, a set of custom wheeltubs were welded into place to replace the long-gone factory tubs and keep dirt and debris from finding its way into the inside of the bed. The bed was then capped with a fiberglass bedcover from Leer that would later be swapped out for the shell. The only other additions to the exterior of Wes' truck are the stainless steel grille from DJ Motorsports, black-housing headlights, and a Sir Michaels tailgate relocator. Most everything else on the body was shaved, including the door handles, tailgate, and various trim items, followed by molding in a Sir Michaels steel roll pan. When the body massaging was complete, Wes rolled the truck into the paint booth and covered the Dodge sheetmetal with a silver base color, topped with DuPont Go Man Go Orange and followed by black over the top half of the truck, which is nicely divided by a silver graphic and outlined in black and custom-mixed orange.
Wes knew that he had the ability to haul all kinds of additional weight with his truck, whether towing a building or stuffing the cab full of friends, but he decided that the truck could use a little extra power. So, he made some phone calls and found a few tried-and-true high-performance upgrades for his truck. It started on the intake side with the addition of a Bully Dog air intake, then he bolted up Bully Dog's 4-inch exhaust, setting up for the addition of some extra go-go juice. And the final piece of the puzzle to control all of this is Bully Dog's Triple Dog downloader, and for even more power, he stacked a Van Aaken Smart Box with monitor and controller to squeeze every last bit of power out of the 5.9L Cummins diesel engine.
With time running out and only days away from the start of SEMA, the plan for the interior was to keep it simple. So, Wes re-skinned the factory seats in Katzkin black leather seat covers with copper carbon-fiber inserts. While Wes was working on the seats, his friend Cory was busy installing all of the Scosche Industries audio components.
By the time all of the modifications were finished, Wes' brand-new Dodge Ram had been out of commission for a total of three weeks. But, when he got it all back together, it was a completely different truck. Sure, it was still a brand-new diesel-powered hauler, but now it was laid out, tucking a giant set of wheels and turning heads everywhere it goes. What more could a hard-core custom truck fanatic ask for?