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Custom 2005 Dodge Ram - Daily Hauler

Honey, I Shrunk the Peterbilt!

Photography by Joe Greeves

The '05 common rail Cummins still drives the Dodge, but lots of changes occurred under the hood. All of the engine components that were mounted on the inner fender panels had to be relocated. Luckily, there were about 18 inches between the new firewall and the motor, just enough room to create a platform for the twin Optima batteries and much of the truck's electronics. Peterbilt support rods run from the firewall, bracing the stock Dodge radiator and air-to-air intercooler. The bracing was important because the radiator remains in place when the cab tilts forward. The air conditioning system uses the engine compressor from Dodge that Mark mated to the Peterbilt components in the cab. He also shortened the front framehorns by 2 inches and fabricated a bracket between the chassis rails to support the hinge for the tilt-forward hood.

Because of the large tires, the truck had to be lifted slightly to ensure the wheels fit properly in the fenderwells. A 4-inch Tough Country lift was all it took for the front, with a 2-inch lift in the rear. Outside custom touches include the sun visor, an aftermarket unit designed for the Peterbilt along with an auxiliary light bar and twin air tanks that currently work the air horns. They will soon be connected to an air suspension designed for the truck. If the step plates on the running boards have a familiar look, it's because they are aftermarket pieces originally designed for a Harley. Side trim pieces from the JC Whitney catalog complete the running board makeover, while oak planks separated by polished stainless steel strips add a classy touch to the bed. Greg found an aftermarket Ford truck bumper that fits the bed dimensions perfectly. The stainless steel exhaust system exits through a pair of huge rear pipes.

Surprisingly, the cab itself was not cut or modified. The only changes are to the dash, which now sports a custom wood veneer. Stock Dodge instruments, accented with a Mark Kalina-built aluminum surround, occupy the lower portion with new auxiliary gauges added above. The truck uses the original Dodge four-speed automatic transmission with the four-wheel-drive selector mounted on the highly polished, tongue-and-groove, wood floor. Door panels also sport Peterbilt accessory wood trim panels. To ensure comfort, no matter how far you travel, the seats are Bostrum Wide Rides, just like you find in the big rigs. Working in his spare time, Mark built the truck in about six months, finishing the job by spraying the truck cab with Dupont Imron Galaxy Silver, using black for the fenders.

How is the truck to live with? Greg drives the truck regularly back and forth to work, getting about 20 mpg. The hybrid is actually lighter than the original Dodge, thanks to the aluminum cab and front end. Greg fully intended to use it every day, but found the truck attracts so much attention that it's sometimes difficult to make it to the office. Greg does plan to show his Peterbilt/Dodge hybrid at truck shows around the country and enjoys driving it at every opportunity.One final note. He told the Dodge dealer when he was signing the papers that he was going to strip it down and make a hot rod out of it. "I still have to go back to that boy and show him," Greg said with a smile.

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