LOGBOOK: MAY 10, 2010

Mileage: 0000570

Locklear Dodge handed us the keys to our Big Boss project truck. They found exactly what we wanted at a Texas dealer: Ram 2500 4×4 Crew Cab Lariat with Cummins and 3.73 gears. Trip back to office too short. Lots of power. Surprisingly quiet.  Sitting high in the seat gives great view of traffic compared to my own 2wd Ram Hemi. — Stephen Abernathy, ProPickup Advertising Mgr

LOGBOOK: MAY 12, 2010

Mileage: 0000636

I have enjoyed driving the “Big Boss” diesel for the last couple days. Impressive. The technology offered is the biggest surprise. Very nice cabin/interior. Comfort-level is much higher than I expected for a 3/4-ton 4×4.– Dan Tidwell, Construction Media Group Publisher

LOGBOOK: MAY 12, 2010

Mileage: 0000656

First drive of the Big Boss maintains my thoughts from the press ride/drive around the first of the year: A very nicely designed pickup well-suited for a working businessman’s truck.  Comfortable interior with plenty of power underfoot. Brake pedal requires  a firm foot, which takes getting used to after driving around in pickups and SUVs with over-assisted brae pedal feel. Throttle is similar–requires a little more pressure and deeper push o get into the Cummins’ power band. But when it does, it scoots! Easy to roll way faster than posted speed limits. Diesel just idles along at city speeds. Suspension soft in front, firm in rear; some rear suspension fore-aft jitter unladen. I like the driver information controls–easy to select tire pressure, fuel economy, engine maintenance date with thumb controls on steering wheel; radio controls on back of steering wheel. Once you get used to the buttons you hardly have to take eyes off the road ahead. Tire pressure indicator shows 3-4 pound difference between tires side-to-side. Need to air up to match door sticker psi.– Bruce Smith, Editor

LOGBOOK: MAY 13, 2010

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Our first road test–just completed 112-mile fuel run from Tuscaloosa south on I-59 to Epes, Alabama, and back. Interstate relatively flat with a few rolling hills. No wind. Ideal 74-deg temp. No traffic to speak of. Cruise control all the way. Dash mpg indicated 17.2mpg–but my calculations using fuel added  pump-to-pump shows 16.4mpg. Wonder what fuel economy gains will be after the green engine gets 10K on it? Measured interior sound with digital meter: 68dBA@70mph over smooth pavement, and 69dBA@70mph over rougher concrete stretches.  BFG All-terrain tires have no noticeable hum or added sound. Good choice in tires for general construction use. Cummins just cruises at 70mph–1,750rpm; 1,450rpm@55mph. Seats and adjustable pedals make easy to get really comfortable on long drive. Good thing cruise control is part of the package as it’s REALLY easy to run much, much faster without even noticing…this is going to be a fun project truck! — Bruce Smith

LOGBOOK: MAY 14, 2010

Mileage: 0000793

Finally used the bed and tested the big Ram’s hauling ability. Filled bed with the products we’re going to install on the Big Boss–from tires and wheels to winch and gooseneck hitch assembly. Didn’t even budge the rear suspension. Guys at Truck Supply & Outfitters, where we delivered the goodies to, love the truck and can’t wait to start installing the products. Neither can we.–Bruce Smith

LOGBOOK: MAY 21, 2010

Mileage: 001192

Drive to Birmingham to get the truck’s Road Armor bumper at the shipping company. First time using the factory “Jake brake”; ush button on dash to activate; very cool sound when lifting off the throttle. Gives truck that hint of big-rig sound and really helps slow truck without using brakes. Love it! Plenty of power on tap at freeway speeds! Really starting to like driving this truck.–S. Abernathy

LOGBOOK: MAY 24, 2010

Mileage: 001278

Track day. Running truck through Holiday Raceway’s 1/8-mile strip. Have track to ourselves. Giving James first lesson in track testing at “The Beach,” as it’s known around here. 6.7L Cummins is strong once the Boss rolls out; best launch is around 1,600rpm–any higher and wheelspin a problem. 0-60mph times slower than competitors I’ve tested. We’ll cure that in due time 🙂 Brakes are awesome-panic braking truck stays straight and true with no drama, no nose-dive, no sliding. Stopped in 146 feet from 60mph…will be good trailering truck. I’m afraid today will put a dent in overall average fuel economy. –B. Smith

LOGBOOK: MAY 24, 2010

Mileage: 001351

Stopped by Truck Supply & Outfitters to get the Dick Cepek LT305/60R18s Fun Countrys and M/T 18×8.5 DC Torque wheels put on.  New tires and wheels really make the truck stand out…have road trip to Huntsville in the morning. We’ll see how the sound/feel on the 5 hour round trip– B. Smith

LOGBOOK: MAY 26, 2010

Mileage: 001762

Road trip to Huntsville to have Line-X HQ spray the Road Armor bumper, bed and lower rockers of the Ram went smoothly. Cepek tires have a slight whine above 40mph but not annoying at all; sound becomes white noise in short order. Sound readings are just 1-2dBa above the stock in-cab readings. Wider tread a little more affected by road crown than narrower tires. You hear a little road slap when tires go over expansion joints. Tires also make steering feel a little heavier–but nothing someone new to the truck would ever notice. My co-driver, Stephen, runs truck close to 80 — guess he figures cops won;t apy attention a bright two-tone Dodge Ram 4×4 blazing past everything in sight…fuel economy readout on dash is showing steady 13.5mpg. Big Boss likes the speed–and it’s fair share of diesel. Set-up hands-free/Bluetooth for my cell phone. Boy is new tech making that easier; Easy to do–and sound quality on the receivng end is as good as it is in the cab…a great tool for the business person for sure.–B.Smith

LOGBOOK: JUNE 26, 2010

Mileage: 0002787

Installed the N-Fab nerf steps and Transfer Flow combo refuel/tool box at Truck Supply’s shop a couple days back. Also have the GPS tracker installed. Took truck today to get photos and nearly got it stuck when I pulled off onto a dirt side road and didn’t see the mud-filled low-spot. So got a chance to try out the limited-slip rear diff ,four-wheel-drive system and new tires. Dick Cepek Fun Country all-terrians work great on sand, dirt, rock, but don’t like red clay! Fortunately the 4×4 system works great. Slung some mud, for sure. Definetly needs fender flares; cost me $20 at car wash to get stuff cleaned off. Ram is now initiated. Stopped by a job site in town for photos. Workers had to take a close look; even Ford die-hard said he liked it–a lot. Now I’m sure we have a winner brewing here..:) — B. Smith


Mileage: 0002854

Went to the “Beach” to get the track numbers with the Dick Cepek Fun Country tires. Truck weighs about 600 pounds more since we ran the last numbers, with the winch, bumper, wheels, nerf steps, bed/fuel box, and gooseneck installed. Expected it to be a little slower–and it was. But not by much. Stalker ATS numbers show the big Ram lost .5 sec 0-60 mph (9.40 vs 8.97), and 1/8th mile times were similar difference at 11.30 now and 18.86 earlier. Stopping distance is better with the wider tread, despite the extra weight: 145.64 feet 60-0mph vs 146.50 with the stock BFG A/Ts. Most noticeable difference now is fuel economy; on-board avg mpg is reading 14.3 @ 70mph on the interstate where we were closer to 17 before the additions. Oh, well–she looks great…and we know a whole lot of Cummins performance experts to take care of the need for more muscle!–Bruce Smith/Editor


Mileage: 0002905

Made several changes to the Big Boss during the past couple weeks, including swapping out the Cepek FC-II’s for a set of Firestone Destination MTs and replacing the factory rear bumper withe the mate to the Road Armor Stealth bumper we have in front. We’ve also added Bushwacker “pocket-style” flares shot with Line-X to match the rocker panels and bumpers. The upgrades really help set this truck apart from the other Rams we see on the road. I like the Ram’s ride a lot right now; MTs are a  little softer and absorb bumps,cracks,potholes better than the wider all-terrains. Will do a road report in a month or so on the tires…Check out the Big Boss page and our Tech section to see the installs. — Bruce Smith/Editor

LOGBOOK: May 5, 2011

Mileage: 0011045

We just turned over the keys of our Big Boss to Thomas Ferguson, a young contractor from Knoxville, TN, who was the lucky winner of our Big Boss Sweepstakes. Our associate publisher, Stephen Abernathy (pictured), handed Thomas the keys in front of Locklear Dodge here in Tuscaloosa. He drove his tricked-out ’98 Ram 3500 Crew Cab down to trailer his new ride back home. Talk about one excited, happy contractor. Thomas says he is going to put the ‘Boss’ to work right away as he goes about his daily duties working for Titan Mining Reclamation. We’ll sure miss having the big Ram around. But we know it’s going to be used and abused just like it was built to do — and do it all in style.

Congratulations, Thomas!