ORANGE CRUSH

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A 1,200-HP PULLER BUILT TO DOMINAT

Mitch Meinhart is a diesel guy, there’s no doubt about it. While he doesn’t own his own diesel shop, he still decided to do a little sled pulling. Then he started to do a lot. Eventually, Mitch knew he needed a purpose-built truck in order to compete, so he retired his 80,000-mile Ram and bought a high-mileage ‘07 Ram 3500.

Cummins Power

Horsepower is on a puller’s short list, and here Mitch started with a fresh 5.9L Cummins in order to make sure there were no surprises that would leave him stranded. After having the block machined and cam bushings installed, Mitch did the assembly himself, adding Carrillo connecting rods, flycut and coated cast pistons, and a 14mm main girdle from Industrial Injection with ARP studs. A steel 207/220 camshaft from Hamilton Cams was added (for highrpm safety and airflow) along with Maxspool pushrods, springs, and retainers. A set of 12mm head studs from Extreme Studs ties everything together.
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Mitch Meinhart took great pains to ensure that his 5.9L would perform extremely well, and also look the part. Although it’s never been on a dyno, Mitch estimates horsepower at about 1,200 hp.

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Safety is of paramount importance in sled pulling, so an Engineered Diesel air shutoff was installed so that air to the engine can be killed should a mishap occur

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Mitch wasn’t taking any chances and performed a full rebuild on the Cummins, including a set of ultra-tough head studs from Extreme Studs.

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Mitch and his buddy Dan made their own low-mount CP3 setup that mounts a second pump where the power steering would have been. This keeps everything out of the way of the side-draft intake.

Where Mitch really got serious, was in the airflow and fuel departments on the upper end. The head was fully ported and polished by Harry’s Heads in Sioux City, Iowa, and fitted with inconel exhaust and intake valves for heat protection. The big oxygen generator on the truck is a S400-based 2.6 turbo, from JEB Modern Machine. Mitch and buddy Dan Bergman performed most of the fabrication work themselves, including designing piping to twin Frozenboost intercoolers, and building a custom intake. The fuel system on Mitch’s Ram is equally serious and starts off in a unique way with an Aviaid oil pump that’s used to push fuel. The high pressure system consists of a stock Cp3 with an Arson kit, and T&C Diesel 11.2 CP3 mounted up top. The final step to an estimated 1,200 horsepower is a set of 350-percent-over injectors from Exergy Engineering, and tuning from Firepunk Diesel.

MITCH AND BUDDY DAN BERGMAN PERFORMED MOST OF THE FABRICATION WORK THEMSELVES, INCLUDING DESIGNING PIPING TO TWIN FROZENBOOST INTERCOOLERS, AND BUILDING A CUSTOM INTAKE.

Power Transmission

While Mitch went fairly mainstream with the engine build, the transmission was a different matter. “Most people think I have a manual…but I don’t,” smiles Mitch. On tricky Iowa tracks, Mitch relies on a 48RE automatic built by Chris Schmitt entirely with Goerend Transmission parts. The unique slushbox has Overdrive locked out and a full-manual valvebody, along with aftermarket input, intermediate and output shafts, and a triple disc 2,800-stall converter–all from Goerend. When pulling Mitch stalls the truck up and leaves in 3rd Gear, and doesn’t shift when headed downtrack. This allows for a more controllable launch, and added converter multiplication at the start of the run.

Chassis

While the engine and transmission was being built, so was the chassis and drivetrain. Mitch built a ladder structure around the rear frame, and added 4.88 gears front and rear, along with a rear Yukon spool, front E-locker from ARB, and 38-spline rear axles. The rear end was also fitted with a 1480-style rear driveshaft, and a pinion brake, which helps the truck spool at the line without pushing through the brakes. Mitch also spent his late nights sanding the truck down, before it was sprayed a House of Kolor Angelo Pearl by Jessie Thompson.

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One area where Mitch departed from the norm was the lift pump. Instead of running a traditional electric pump, Mitch runs a belt driven Aviaid pump that he uses as a lift pump. The system is set up at 17 psi, and has worked flawlessly so far.

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Mitch took great pains to retain the stock body lines on his truck. A full 25 inches of rubber was tucked under each side using a pressed-on axle shim, flipped Ford 8x200mm inner dually wheels, and the aforementioned Fuel outer wheels. The result was a clean look, even with the massive amount of rubber.

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It’s hard to know what transmission is there under the RCI safety blanket. It’s actually a 48RE-based automatic built by Chris Schmitt using parts exclusively from Goerend Transmission Inc.

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At the time, Mitch used a highly modified 2.6 charger from JEB Modern Machines, but has since switched over to a RTC smoothbore 3.0 turbo when the classes did.

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There’s no angle-iron job here, Mitch put some thought into reinforcing the frame on the truck, both with materials and aesthetics.

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So there’s no mix-ups, Mitch relies on a B&M Stealth shifter for the correct gear, and also for lock-up, which is activated with a button on the side.

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Mitch kept a lot of the factory interior from the high mileage Ram, but lost all the seats save for the driver’s seat.

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Mitch put a lot of time and money into strengthening and modifying the rear axle of the truck, from the reinforced differential cover, to the 38 spline axles, to the pinion brake which you can see peeking out on the bottom right corner.

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Under the bright orange paint up front are 35×12.50 BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires, which are mounted on 17×9-inch Fuel Throttle wheels.

With all his hard work, it comes as no surprise that Mitch started doing quite well. With more than 40 hooks under his belt, Mitch’s Ram was enough to take the Eastern/Central Iowa 2.6 points championship. Even after his win, Mitch still isn’t slacking off. He’s got a new RTC 3.0 smooth bore turbo for next year, has built a new stronger rear frame structure, changed rear axles, and extended the wheelbase up to the 158-inch class maximum. Mitch says he can’t wait to get the new changes dialed in, and we say that if you’re in Iowa, watch out for this tough unconventional automatic-equipped puller.DW

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