This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue.
Jill Mains and Jessica Scheets are a mother-daughter duo from Shelley, Idaho, who are passionate about Ram trucks if their Cummins Coal Roller tattoos are anything to go by—though Jessica will tell you her tattoo is a little bit bigger.
As you can guess, these two boast a big competitive streak that has each one sneaking her truck into Adrenaline Performance in Shelley to have upgrades done without the other one knowing about it—that is, until they roll up to the latest hometown dyno event to show them off.
Jill drives a white 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 Club Cab while her daughter Jessica drives a black 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab.
Let The Games Begin
It all started when Jessica met her husband, Jeremy, who has always owned diesels. After they were married, Jeremy purchased a new truck and later had to work out of town. He couldn’t take his new diesel, so Jessica took over the keys so the truck wouldn’t sit untouched through the winter.
“Then I started to like it,” Jessica said, “and I didn’t want to give it back. And when Dodge came out with the fourth gen, I had to have one. I come from a truck-driving family, so of course I had to have a Cummins.”
Jill, meanwhile, needed something with more power to pull her camp trailer. She had owned a ’96 Dodge half-ton gasser for years and it had been the best truck she’d had, minus the power issue. Jessica talked her into trying out the flipside of the coin, and once Jill sampled the force that could be harnessed with a diesel, there was no turning back.
Now, it has to be said that these two are naturally drawn to engage in friendly, ongoing competition. The question is, were Jessica and Jill competitive before they got their diesels, or have these trucks brought it out afterwards? Did the chicken come before the egg? We can’t really know for sure—but maybe it doesn’t even matter, because the fact is it’s egged each on to greater heights when it comes to modification time. And ever since these women started attending the annual Adrenaline Performance dynos in Shelley, the competition really started coming alive.
When Jessica turned an eye towards improving her 2500 black Mega Cab, she explained, “I wanted to add modifications that would give me more horsepower but not too much to blow my tranny (yet).”
For her part, Jill also wanted more horsepower and to improve the look of her Club Cab, while likewise tackling the changes that would be necessary. Working on rebuilding her engine and tranny with a triple disc converter, Alto red clutches, billet flex plate and billet input shaft, kept Jill busy at first, but soon she found herself running head-to-head with Jessica over mod ideas. Both opted for 60hp injectors, MAG-HYTEC differential covers, XD rims, AMP Research power steps and Adrenaline Performance traction bars. Due to the improved filtration process that would extend the vitality of an injection system, both women also installed FASS Titanium 150 systems. Likewise, they agreed that purchasing S&B cold air intakes would do their trucks good by minimizing airflow issues, while keeping the high filtration needed to protect an engine.
Choosing Their Own Path
But here’s where each takes her own road. Jill chose to install a Diamond Eye exhaust and steering stabilizer. Her truck took on more “attitude” with the addition of an Attitude CS2 Edge tuner, which comes with an inline Juice module and an upgraded button control monitor. Jill also invested in Recon headlights and Diamond Eye bed caps, a durable defense against dents and dings for her new black diamond plate bed rails. Between these, the blacked out headlights and taillights, and the smoked lights all the way around, you can really see a remarkable contrast between the white body of her truck and the black modifications that enliven it even more. Rolling along on Cooper STT pro 37/12.50-17 power tires, you can definitely say Jill’s truck has really developed a rugged personality of its own.
Meanwhile, Jessica installed an ATS co-pilot, which modifies the calibrations sent from the PCM/TCM for the improved drivability and performance gains needed in different situations. An Industrial Injection CP3 pump, complete with microblue superfinished surfaces for reduced heat and friction, made for a better operating performance pump. Jessica also installed a Mini Maxx H&S tuner, an MBRP 5-inch turbo back exhaust, and the 2-inch tire spacers that enabled her to strap on wide 37-inch by 13.5-inch Nitto Trail Grappler tires. Add the FOX shocks, Recon taillights, and Oracle headlights, and her truck is ready to hold its own against her mother’s with its striking contrast and subtle similarities.
This battle zone of modifications concluded with the war of the lifts, which ended up resulting in both women ending on a 6-inch BDS long arm suspension lift.
Which is a good idea, as it happens, because the two laughingly recall the time Jessica accidentally ran over the infamous rock at Walgreens in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and the lifted truck handled it like a pro. This boulder has caused repeated problems to drivers, as it lurks directly in a blind spot where people are turning into the bustling parking lot while trying to keep an eye on four-lane traffic. Though many cars have literally high-centered, Jessica’s encounter luckily resulted in less of a destroyed undercarriage and more of an inconvenient paint-scrape.
Now that her modifications have given it a serious edge in competitions and daily performance, Jessica jokes, “My truck isn’t completely gutless anymore.” Because she pulls her camp trailer and trailer with a RZR, these are benefits she can really enjoy outside the fun of the dyno competitions. The only blot in the picture would be the fuel mileage, which could be improved.
Then again, this could be a factor of her time as a “daily racer.” Anytime she pulls up to a stoplight next to another diesel—or even an uppity gasser—the tension of a brewing race crackles through the air.
Jill tends to peaceably ignore the hotheads gunning for a race, but after awhile Jessica has started whooping on them.
“Be prepared. EVERY time a guy in a diesel pulls up next to you, they always think they need to prove a point!” Jessica shrugs. So her tactic is to show them who’s boss, smoking the challengers out with her modded truck.
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Jill also uses her truck as a daily driver and heavy puller, and post-modification she can’t get enough of the ease with which her truck can tow her camp trailer and horse trailer. Like Jessica, she also hauls a RZR in the bed.
“I have a lot more power. It’s a lot easier to pull the camp trailer now,” Jill enthuses.
Worth Every Penny
Though she agrees that it’s expensive to put any kind of modifications on a truck, these upgrades made Jill satisfied with the performance gains that were the natural trade-off, and that’s something she can enjoy every time she climbs behind the wheel.
She’s not the only one that enjoys it. According to Jill, her truck is “a limo for my Saint Bernard! He thinks it’s his truck.” Once Jill called up Jessica because she needed to take her Great Dane and Saint Bernard to get their coats cleaned—and only one of them would fit in her diesel.
“You know you’ve got big dogs when you need two diesel trucks to transport them!” Jessica laughs.
Our money goes on the Saint Bernard claiming “his” truck for the ride.
Now that so much has already been tackled, what big plans do these two have for the future? Jill is already looking into a billet grille, intake manifold, exhaust manifold, and Fusion bumpers, while Jessica is waiting on an exhaust manifold, Fusion bumpers, a black grille, and a bigger turbo. But once they see each other’s list, who knows? They might take on a few extras.
“The friendly competition between me and my mom is pretty encouraging!” Jessica says.
Jill will say the same thing, pointing out, “My daughter Jessica encourages me. We have a healthy competition going on.”
That’s something they can both agree on.
If you ask Jill for a bit of advice on how to get involved in the diesel world, she’ll tell you, “You better have a lot of money. And don’t worry about what other people think,” she firmly adds. “If modifying your truck makes you happy, do it no matter your age.”
Jessica chimes in by cautioning, “Be prepared to deal with random opinionated annoying men!” While many men—their husbands, for example—are supportive and encouraging, there are those knuckleheads to be aware of out there.
Now things have come full circle. Each of their families proudly owns no less than three Dodges. When Jessica was picking up her husband at a tire store and someone asked, “Oh, is that your other truck?” Jeremy was quick on the draw with the right answer.
“You’d better not let my wife hear you say that,” he warned. “That’s her truck.”
This pride in claiming your own build is exemplified perfectly as Jill points out, “When you put so much work into your truck, it’s nice to have it appreciated.”
And whether others appreciate it by seeing you breezily haul your trailer and giant Saint Bernard up steep hills or seeing you blow the doors off of challengers at stoplights, these two are sure to find appreciation wherever they drive—and not just from each other.
Photography by Trevor Mason
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