After seeing and hearing all about Dale and Sue Freeman's 2006 Dodge 3500 Mega Cab dually truck earlier this year, we have just one question: Is it a work truck or a play truck?
They want us to believe it's both, but we have a sneaking suspicion that it's heavy on the play and work is just something to do between play times.
In reality, the Freemans' truck gets a workout regardless of whether it's on a run hauling another load of custom-made cabinets to a customer in northern Idaho or eastern Washington or it's hauling four-wheelers or snowmobiles to one of the Freeman's favorite riding spots.
It's always on the road to somewhere.
"We use our truck to haul the three trailers we have," Dale Freeman said. That includes a 30-foot fifth-wheel to haul cabinets from the Freemans' business, Dreamwood Cabinets, located in Rathdrum, ID, as well as a 33-foot fifth-wheel Tahoe Toy Box loaded with four four-wheelers. The third unit holds and hauls the Freeman's pride and joy-snowmobiles, carefully carried in a 26-foot four-place enclosed snowmobile trailer.
WORK TO PLAY
Freeman tells Diesel Tech that his Dodge dually is on the road hauling something at least once a week. That's in addition to any other running Freeman has to do to take care of business. There's no doubt the Freemans work hard-a quick look around Dreamwood Cabinets' new shop confirms that-so they can play hard when the opportunity arises.
Because the Freemans are hands-on owners and can't afford any down time, they carefully chose their truck and then the products to go on it to enhance the vehicle's ability to haul up and over the numerous passes that dominate the mountainous areas of northern Idaho and eastern Washington. Play trips have taken the Freemans into Canada to Revelstoke, BC, one of the premier snowmobiling spots in all of North America.
"That's why we put the power on the truck," Freeman said, "So we don't have to be in the slow lane. We want to `wheelie up the hill' is what we say."
Over the course of the 19 years they have owned and operated Dreamwood Cabinets, the Freemans have owned a slew of trucks before their latest pride and joy, the Dodge 3500 Mega Cab dually, which he bought new. They first ran Ford trucks, from the F150 to F250 and then F350 diesels. After Ford it was on to a 2003 Dodge 3500 diesel, of which they owned a pair. "But in 2006, we went to the '06 Dodge 3500 Mega Cab diesel," Freeman said. "We were so happy with that vehicle, we bought two of them."
He added, "We went to the Mega Cab because the kids had grown up and were kicking us in the back with their knees in our '03 Dodge 3500." But the move to the '06 Dodge wasn't just a "space" issue, it had to do with power, and lots of it. "The motor has more power and has a six-speed transmission," Freeman said. "We were able to go to the Mega Cab with the help of a slide hitch so we could haul our 30-foot fifth-wheel cabinet trailer and our 33-foot fifth-wheel toy box. We needed a diesel for the weight hauling capacity and for the fuel mileage."
The list of add-ons and performance enhancers is modest but reflects the goal Freeman had in getting the most out of his hauler.
He added a Smarty Box, Edge Juice With Attitude, five-inch inline PBX Pacbrake, South Bend dual disc clutch, upgraded hydraulics for the clutch, ARP head studs, dual six-inch dual chrome stacks, FASS fuel system (95 gpm, pump only), PIAA driving lights and backup lights, North West Custom twin turbos, stock over a K31, Pro Tech aluminum flat bed with skirt, aFe cold air intake, Westin front Bull Bar, smoke black running lights, custom lighted rear flaps and 33-inch Toyo Open Country A/T tire on Ultra rims.
Jason Burton at North West Custom did all the engine and exhaust work on Freeman's truck while Titan Truck did the flat bed work. Don Gutierrez painted the vehicle and Les Schwab installed the tires and rims.
"We have been happy with all our product choices," Freeman said. When asked about the specific products, he responded, "The Smarty box is the best programmable box available. The Edge is the best on-the-fly box and the Pacbrake has the best braking power. The South Bend clutch was the best to handle the power and the dual stacks are just awesome. PIAA simply should be in all Dodge headlights. The Pro Tech bed gives us the extra space that we need to haul all the extra stuff (like our dogs) and sure looks great with the stacks. The aFe Cold Air Intake delivers plenty of air flow and the front Bull Bar looks just awesome with the PIAA lights. The smoke black running lights just set it off and the tires and rims make the truck look fantastic."
We pressed Freeman about having any favorites on his Dodge 3500. Sure he does. "The stacks. I love blowing black smoke," he said. "And the Pacbrake has made the biggest impression of all. I can't believe how well it works."
We almost feel silly asking any of our diesel addicts if they're finished adding on and beefing up their diesel. The answer is always no. The same goes for Freeman. "We're going to change out the stock turbo on the twins and add 90 hp injectors with a CP3 injector pump," he said. "I also want to get air bags for the rear suspension." More specifically, on the turbo, Freeman will be adding a Phat Shaft 62 top turbo.
For the Freemans, it's work hard and play hard.
Now they have the truck to do `em both.