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Pickup Trucks

Big Boss

Bruce Smith April 7, 2011

It’s a Wrap

Eight months and 8,000 miles marks the end of our first project truck

By the time you read this, our Big Boss Ram 2500 will be making its last visit to Truck Supply & Outfitters, where the crew who did the majority of our project truck’s upgrades during the past eight months will be giving it a final once-over.

In a few weeks it’ll be in the hands of some outrageously lucky contractor whose name was picked from the thousands who filled out the sweepstakes entry forms. Lucky, indeed.

Thousands have come by the Big Boss Ram at trade and truck shows to see our project truck in person and to fill out sweepstakes forms hoping they win the keys.

The Big Boss started out as a nicely-equipped 2010 Crew Cab 4×4 Lariat perfectly capable of serving the basic needs of anyone in the business of moving dirt and rock. We picked it up from Locklear’s Dodge City here in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and promptly went to work accessorizing it as a robust contractor’s dream ride. One we saw as driven by the “Big Boss.”

We spent our first few weeks getting used to our new truck and getting baseline numbers before we started adding parts.

The 6.7L Cummins and 3.73 gears worked well together, moving the big Ram out smartly while delivering a respectable 17.1mpg over our 100-mile Interstate test loop.

Our acceleration and braking tests at Holiday Raceway in nearby Woodstock gave us a few more numbers: 0-60mph in 9 seconds and 60mph-0 braking in 146 feet, while covering the strip’s 1/8th mile of asphalt in 10.8 seconds at 67mph. Not a rocket, but perfectly fine for a work truck.

Our friends across town at TuscaBlue handled the graphics, and from there the Big Boss headed to Truck Supply & Outfitters off and on for six months as we added a little here and there – giving the big Ram the look and performance befitting a construction company’s rolling business card.

Form and function have been our goals from day one. We added products to improve performance on and off-pavement while providing style and innovation.

We married Warn’s 12,000-pound capacity winch and PIAA lights to Road Armor’s front bumper, installed a Daystar leveling kit with Firestone Ride-Rite air shocks and helper springs to keep the truck level loaded or empty.

Raising the truck a couple inches made room for the 35-inch General Grabber mud tires mounted on the Dick Cepek Torque wheels we selected to improve off-pavement ground clearance and traction.

Bigger tires led to adding Bushwacker fender flares to keep mud off the body while Line-X Xtra spray-on coatings put a layer of protection over bumpers, rockers, flares and in the bed.

More jobsite functionality came with the addition of a Curt gooseneck hitch and Transfer Flow cross-bed tool box/refueling tank combo. The Thule/DeWalt cargo rack, JW Speaker LED work lights, Sage Oil Vac service system and Vanair Air N Arc welder/air-compressor/generator unit further outfitted the Big Boss for both looks and performance.

We added a TeleSwivel to the factory hitch, installed N-Fab nerf-steps to protect the rockers, added a Tailgate Master step to ease getting into the bed and topped the cab with a remote-controlled GoLight.

External modifications complete, we turned our attention inward. Our friends at AllComm Wireless in Birmingham installed Whelen emergency strobes in the headlights/taillights and CoverCraft put in cool canvas seat covers over the leather and a no-slip mat on the dash.

WeatherTech made sure we had the best in heavy-duty floor mats and US Fleet Tracking hid a GPS tracker on the truck, plugging us in to their web-tracking system for all to see where the Big Boss was located 24/7.

As for power, we turned to Hypertech for their electronic engine-tuning expertise and aFe for a cold-air intake and DPF-back exhaust system. And to protect the Cummins from the use and abuse it’ll see down the road, Valvoline synthetics are now the lifeblood of the engine, transmission and differentials.

Throughout the build we relied on GearWrench hand tools and SuperLube lubricants to make sure installs went smoothly. And to see how the installs and upgrades were done, just go to our website (propickupmag.com) and click on “Project Big Boss.”

Building the Big Boss over the past eight months has been a lot of fun. We got a lot of feedback from readers like you on what would be good upgrades, and a number of those ideas were put to use on our Ram 2500 Crew Cab 4×4. It turned out to be a really cool project truck that turns heads wherever it travels.

We hate to see it go. But, then again, it’s not like it’s going to disappear. The Big Boss will be out there somewhere doing what it was built to do: be a contractor’s dream work truck.

Big Boss Crew Members

The Big Boss is a self-contained, light-duty service truck complete with a Vanair welder/generator/air compressor unit and Sage Oil Vac service system. JW Speaker LED lighting and DeWalt rack add to the package.

Air N Arc: vanair.com; (800) 526-8817

Bushwacker: bushwacker.com; (800) 234-8920

CoverCraft: covercraft.com; 405-238-9651

Curt Manufacturing: curtmfg.com; (877) 287-8634

Daystar: daystarweb.com; (800) 595-7659

General Tire: generaltire.com; (800) 847-3349

Holiday Raceway: holidayraceway.com; (205) 938-2123

Hypertech: hypertech-inc.com; (901) 382-8888

Line-X: linex.com; (877) 330-1331

Locklear Dodge: locklearcars.com; (205) 759-4421

Ram Brand Trucks: ramtrucks.com

Sage Oil Vac: sageoilvac.com; (806) 372.7559

Tailgate Master Truck Steps: tailgatemastertrucksteps.com; (724) 348-5277

Thule/DeWalt: dewalt.com

Transfer Flow: transferflow.com; (800) 442-0056

Truck Supply & Outfitters: trucksupplyandoutfitters.com; (205) 553-4203

USFleetTracking: usfleettracking.com; (405) 749-1105

Valvoline: valvoline.com; (800) 832-6825

Warn Industries: warn.com; (800) 910-1122

Other valued contributors to our project build:

advanced Flow engineering: afepower.com

AllComm Wireless: allcomm.com

Bridgestone/Firestone: bridgestonetire.com

Dick Cepek: dickcepek.com

Firestone Industrial Products:

firestoneindustrial.com/riderite

GearWrench: gearwrench.com

GoLight: golight.com

JW Speaker: jwspeaker.com

N-Fab: n-fab.com

PIAA: piaa.com

ProLong Super Lubricants: prolong.com

Road Armor: roadarmor.com

SPAL U.S.A.: spalusa.com

Superlift Suspensions: superlift.com

TeleSwivel: teleswivel.com

We’ve been to a number of jobsites during the project build and the truck always attracts a lot of attention.

Tuscablue: tuscablue.com

WeatherTech: weathertech.com

Whelen Engineering: whelen.com

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