The need for a new truck that will do a few jobs and provide basic transportation is a good place to start when trying to convince the better half that the truck is a necessity. The reality is that when it comes time to actually drive that new truck off of the showroom floor, a "plain Jane" model just won't do. This was the case when David Danielson walked into his local Dodge dealer to look at a new '06 Dodge Ram 3500 Mega Cab. Dodge was hailing the Mega Cab as the largest truck on the market, with the most interior room for passengers and cargo-a real Texas-size family truck.

Of course, once he got the big truck home, it did not take long for David and his friend Jack Ramos to start doing the little things that make a truck personal, while keeping it functional. The body received some upgrades by adding a complete set of Road Armor bumpers, which included a Warn winch and a set of PIAA lights mounted in the front bumper. A new grille insert completes the changes on the front of the big Dodge.

When it came time to tackle the interior, a set of custom red and gray Katskin seat covers was installed by David, along with a set of ISSPRO gauges. The crew at Custom Car Stereo helped with the audio/video setup, which includes twin amps mounted behind the rear seat for plenty of power to the new system. A drop-down monitor mounted to the headliner works along with the monitor mounted in the dash, and there is a rear-mount camera to provide some safety when backing up the lifted rig. There is also a Prestige Alarm system in place that includes remote-start capabilities to help protect the upgraded truck.

To make some suspension modifications that would allow for taller tires, the crew at All Out Off-Road in Richmond, Texas, offered some of their experience on building a usable suspension lift. David took all the advice he could get, along with some helping hands. The big Dodge ended up with a 12-inch lift up front by combining King coilovers and Full Throttle suspension components. Some much-needed steering modifications come from Bullet-Proof Steering to make it all work together out on the street. The rear suspension is based on a Kelderman Manufacturing 10-12 inch lift kit that includes a pair of Firestone airbags, which are installed on a set of custom mounts created by the owner and friends. The air supply for the rear suspension comes from a chrome 5-gallon tank mounted under the bed that is kept full by twin Viair compressors mounted nearby. This combination of components gets the suspension and body up with plenty of room for a set of KMC 22x14 rims. The black wheels are wrapped in 40x15.5R22 Toyo tires that provide a level of performance stout enough to haul trailers and shred the dirt. Of course, increasing the rolling resistance of the truck means there has to be more power to keep the truck performing efficiently, and David also wanted the Dodge to be able to perform with a little punch when the road makes the day long.

Under the big hood of the Dodge is a factory-rated 325-horse Cummins 5.9L engine that David has managed to do a little work on with the help of Dybala's Auto Repair in Richmond, Texas. The Dodge now has a very real street engine that provides 800 lb-ft of torque along with 495 hp as measured at the rear wheels. The engine build includes an HTT Turbo 62/65/12SS to improve the spin-up time and AEM injectors for more efficient fuel distribution. The package also includes a Banks intercooler and even ARP studs to keep the head on this high-compression monster. A custom 5-inch MagnaFlow exhaust sends the fumes out the rear of the truck, while the Smarty programmer is stacked with an Edge EZ performance module for efficient control of the power while maximizing efficiency.

Of course, with this kind of power, the rest of the drivetrain has to be almost bulletproof, which required more of the factory parts to be upgraded. The torque converter is from Sun Coast, while a Hawk Torqueflite Specialties (HTS) flex plate, valve body, and shift kit were installed in the factory 48RE transmission. The rearend is an 11.5-inch American Axle setup, while the driveshaft to tie it all together is from High Angle Driveline, in Paradise, California.

The selective use of chrome suspension parts, as well as the matching custom-painted components show how detailed the Dodge build really is. So while the Dodge has developed to the point that it is no longer a daily driver, the truck is still driven to shows across Texas as the changes continue to take place. David and his family consider the Dodge one more sign of livin' large down in the Lone Star State.

The 411
Engine/drivetrain:
Cummins 5.9L rated at 325 hp / HTT Turbo 62/65/13SS / AEM injectors / Banks intercooler / Edge EX Smarty Programmer / FASS fuel pump / ARP head studs / 5-inch MagnaFlow stainless exhaust / American Axle 11.5 limited-slip rearend with 4.56 gears / Mag-Hytec differential cover / Sun Coast converter with HTS Flexplate / Dyballa's Custom Transmission build with Mag-Hytec transmission pan / High Angle Driveline driveshaft
By: Owner / Jack Ramos / Dybala's Custom

Rims:
Front & Rear: 22x14 KMC Diesel

Tires:
Front & Rear: 40x15.50R22 Toyo

Suspension:
Front: King coilover and Full Throttle 12-inch suspension lift, King coilover shocks, Bulletproof steering
Rear: Kelderman Manufacturing 10-12 inch lift / Kelderman four-link and Panhard bar / Firestone airbags / chrome Fox shocks with remote reservoirs
Accessories: Air Ride Technologies controls and valves / 5-gallon chrome air tank / two Viair compressors
Chassis: Custom airbag mounts / chromed and powdercoated suspension parts
By: Owner / Dybala's Custom

Body Mods:
Billet grille insert / Road Armor front bumper with Warn ISK winch and four PIAA lights / Road Armor rear bumper / AMP Research auto-extending running boards
By: Owner

Custom Paint:
Red with black flames on lower body panels / axles painted black and red with PPG paint
By: SouthCoast Paint & Body, Katy, Texas

Interior:
Original seats reupholstered in Katzkin gray leather with red leather inserts / custom Dodge logo embroidery / ISSPRO gauges / Air Ride Tech control panel for air suspension components
By: Owner

Audio/Video:
Eclipse head unit / JL Audio amplifier / FOCAL crossover and signal processor / four 6.5-inch FOCAL speakers with separate tweeters / two JL Audio 10W6 subwoofers / Alpine DVD screen / backup camera /Prestige Alarm with remote start
By: Owner / Custom Car Stereo

Club:
N/A

Special Thanks:
To his understanding wife, Carrie, friend Jack Ramos, and all of the guys at All Out Off-Road, Custom Car Stereo, Dybala's Custom, and David's crew at SouthCoast Paint & Body.