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John Weatherby: 2012 Diesel Power Challenge Competitor

2012 Diesel Power Challenge Contestant - John Weatherby

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We first met John Weatherby at the Bradenton, Florida, Super Stock Quick 16 drag race in February 2011. Initially, we couldn’t believe a six-speed-shifted dualie had traveled 1,500 miles to compete with purpose-built, lightweight drag trucks. John didn’t waste any time proving us wrong, though. Thanks to the stock G56 manual transmission, which is similar (in shifting ability) to a ZF-6 (and unlike an NV4500 or NV5600), it can be shifted very fast, and John makes quick work of Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth gear after his Third gear launches. As it turns out, his 7,600-pound dualie is capable of clicking off 12-second quarter-miles.

Sled Puller By Trade
Despite being able to get this hefty Ram through the quarter-mile quickly, John’s main area of expertise is sled pulling. He regularly competes in the local 2.6 Class in Texas, where he’s known to dominate—as well as run neck and neck with 2.8 trucks. Competing in the Diesel Power Challenge entailed swapping in a triple-disc street clutch from Valair and ditching the water-to-air intercooler in favor of a more street-friendly, air-to-air unit. As we’ve seen in the past, trucks set up for sled pulling typically do well in all other events. And because getting maximum power to the ground is what sled pulling is all about, look for John to excel in the dirt, keep pace at the dragstrip, and lay down some impressive numbers on the dyno.

Built For Power and Survival
With 65-lpm injectors, dual CP3s, and sled pull and EFILive guru Danny Toops on his team, John’s setup calls for throwing lots of fuel at the state-of-the-art S466 (2.6-inch-inducer turbo) under the hood. A fire-ringed cylinder head fastened to the block via ARP studs should stand up to cylinder pressure. The triple-disc clutch should provide hassle-free horsepower and torque transfer. And the homemade traction bars and Truetrac front limited-slip differential should keep traction high—and breakage low. The Achilles’ heel concern for John is the G56 six-speed transmission, which is known for failing behind big power combinations. To remedy this, John installed a Tork-Shield from LazarSmith, which is said to keep the aluminum case from flexing and maintain perfect countershaft-to-mainshaft gear mesh under high torque loads.

If you’re a manual transmission fan, a fuel-only proponent, or if you’re looking for a fearless driver, John is your guy. When we asked how he planned to approach each event, his answer was simple: “Honestly, everybody who knows me knows I go all out.” John is bringing a go-for-broke mentality to every event. “On the dyno, if it pops, it pops. For the drag race, we’ll give it all it’s got. And for the sled pull, we’ll just do like we do every weekend—pull it till it stops.” Look for John’s expert ability in rowing gears to be less detrimental than you think, his truck’s overall weight to hardly hamper its performance, and a never-say-die attitude to pull him through all events.

Name: John Weatherby, Big Lake, Texas
Vehicle: 2007 Dodge Ram 2500 (dualie conversion)
Driver Experience: Dyno, drag racing, towing, sled pulling, wrenching
Engine: 5.9L Cummins common-rail with fire-ringed and ported and polished cylinder head, ARP head studs, Hamilton Cams camshaft, aftermarket valvesprings and push tubes, Flex-a-lite electric fans, West Texas Diesel Performance coolant bypass kit
Turbo: Single Engineered Diesel S466 (66mm, 2.6-inch inducer), BD Diesel second-generation exhaust manifold
Electronics: EFILive
Injection System: AirDog lift pump system, PPE Dual Fueler CP3s (T&C Wild pump on bottom, stock 6.7L pump up top), Industrial Injection 65-lpm injectors
Injectables: None
Intake/Exhaust system: Side draft intake manifold, custom air intake system, hood stack
Transmission: G56 six-speed transmission with triple-disc street clutch from Valair and Tork-Shield from LazarSmith (to try and keep the transmission case from flexing)
Suspension: 2-inch leveling kit, Bilstein shocks, homemade traction bars
Tires: 295/70R17 Nitto Trail Grappler
Differential: 3.73 with Detroit Truetrac limited-slip up front

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