Not Every Ram Truck With a 12-Valve Cummins Can Drift Like This One

An old pickup shouldn’t be able to move like this on the touge.

byCaleb JacobsJul 26, 2022 3:36 PM
Not Every Ram Truck With a 12-Valve Cummins Can Drift Like This One
Drifts N' Lifts via YouTube
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Diesel trucks are meant to work, but all that torque can be used for fun, too. Not only is there a huge diesel drag racing scene, but there's also sled-pulling, which has been one of rural America's hootin' and hollerin' pastimes for generations. With that in mind, few diesel trucks can drift all that well. Koltan MacDonald's second-gen Ram with a 12-valve Cummins can, as you're about to see.

MacDonald runs the Drifts N' Lifts channel on YouTube, where he also showcases plenty of sliding Volvos. We're here to talk about his 1994 Ram 2500, though, with its NV4500 five-speed and nasty clutch-dump capability. It's got two-wheel drive, of course, and a whole host of engine mods that put it somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 horsepower.

Simply put, the truck's full mod list is lengthy. MacDonald joked after sending it over to me saying, "Gosh, no wonder I'm broke." It includes some common fare in the Cummins tuning world, like a 175-hp P-Pump. It's had the fuel plate removed, too, with 4,000-rpm governor springs and big 5x0.016 injectors that make plenty of black smoke until the BorgWarner S364.5 turbo spools up. MacDonald says it makes 55 pounds of boost, meaning there's a lot of air and diesel that comes together to make big power. This is what the modifying scene used to look like before computer tuning took over.

Even with all these engine upgrades, the truck still wouldn't be any good at drifting if the chassis and suspension were stock. They're not, as MacDonald lowered the Ram by five inches with cut front springs and refabricated leaf brackets out back. It's also got a FFS traction bar setup. He mentions that it would really benefit from a steering angle kit, which is commonplace on pretty much every other build that's meant to go sideways.

The welded Dana 80 rear differential allows the Ram to slide around without a handbrake, but that means it's limited to flat ground and uphill drifts. It does both of those things pretty great, honestly, as MacDonald is also a skilled wheelman. He's owned something like 75 Volvos in the past and a lot of them were made specifically to be tail happy. Experience in any RWD vehicle can be applied to a great big truck like this; just know that it won't move as fast as a car, even with all that added power.

There's more than a handful of clips showcasing the Cummins' drift prowess, and the latest one takes place on a touge-type road. MacDonald and his crew are dedicated to the drift culture, for sure, as they roll around in right-hand drive Nissans and more. The Ram may look a little out of place, but it can lay down rubber with the best of them.

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