Dreams With Connections

Cummins comes to life

August 2016 Cummins, Feature Brady L. Kay

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue.

Being the sales manager in any business has its advantages, but when that business is centered on diesel performance, it’s that much sweeter. As sales manager at Alligator Performance, Matt Chambers has a bird’s-eye view on the diesel industry, which gives him a better understanding of what works when it comes to helping others as well as building his own 2006 Dodge Cummins.  

“The biggest advantage of working at Alligator as far as my own truck is knowing the efficient combinations, leading brands and which products will last the longest,” said Chambers. “Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few missteps along the way like everyone else, but with my connections I can correct those easier and help others avoid having to go through the same learning curve that I have.”

Alligator Performance began in 2005 in Las Vegas, Nev., with owners Chad and Jayme Hall selling parts out of their home to a handful of customers. Today, located in the resort town of Hayden, Idaho, Alligator has grown into one of the largest automotive performance shops and part distributors in the country.

“We’re not only salesmen, but we’re also performance enthusiasts with personal daily driver trucks and we’re always looking to improve and make them more efficient,” said Chad. “We’re addicted to power and performance in all its forms. We have also tested, installed, or own almost every part we sell to better assist our customers in choosing the right products.”

Wasting No Time

Chambers has been with Alligator over five years now and besides his role as sales manager he also assists with the marketing efforts. Just six months after starting at Alligator, the sales manager bought a 2006 Dodge 2500 with a 5.9L Cummins. He had always liked the Ram platform and he knew it was the best way to gain knowledge.  

“It was a grandpa truck when I first got it, bone stock with the full chrome accessory package,” recalls Chambers. “From day one I had big plans to modify it. There was never any doubt in my mind.”

Even though he considered himself a diesel enthusiast before starting at Alligator, he gladly admits that his job has turned his “hobby” into a full-blown addiction today. I guess you could blame it on his day job.


One of the first upgrades Chambers added to his stock truck was an Edge Juice w/ Attitude, an MBRP dual exhaust and an AirDog 150gph pump. Other additions along the way included Industrial Injection 45 LPM (180hp) injectors, PPE Dual CP3 kit with upgraded LBZ Pump, Colt Stage 3 “Big Stick” cam, Stage 3 MPG-MAX water meth kit from Snow Performance, as well as EFILive tuning from Cummins Tuner.  

Inside the cab his Auto Meter NV Series triple gauge pillar (EGT, Boost) and his newly released Edge Insight CTS 2 help him keep an eye on what’s going on under the hood.

Chambers also included the heavy-duty front end kit from Thuren Fabrication, BD Power intercooler, as well as an ATS two-piece wastegated exhaust manifold. Also from ATS was the Colorado-based manufacturer’s compound turbo kit that includes its Aurora 3000 and Aurora 5000 turbos with a Turbosmart 45mm wastegate.

“I have a great relationship with the guys over at ATS and they have always been known for their transmissions. But over the last year or so, we talked more and more about expanding their Cummins compound turbo line since it seems like their turbos don’t really get the credit they deserve,” said Chambers. “We sat down on a few occasions and talked about popular compound combinations versus the most efficient and usable combinations for a wide variety of horsepower goals. A few months’ worth of R&D later, ATS brought me three compound kits to try out: the Aurora 3k/5k, 3k/6500, and the 3k/7500 equipped with a two-piece exhaust manifold and a 45mm Turbosmart wastegate. When it was all said and done I stuck with the 3k/5k compound kit.”

Not only did Chambers make the most power with it—821hp and1568 ft/lbs. of torque—but he says his temperatures were low too.

“The EGTs were at their lowest and those turbos spooled the quickest, which was pretty important to me for daily driving and towing,” adds Chambers. “I have run their kit for over a year now with no complaints.”

A Big Jump

Chambers went from stock height to his current 8-inch Long Arm kit from BDS soon after he bought his truck. At times he wishes he would have gone with a 4-inch lift instead and to this day he still considers it.

“I have humored the idea of dropping down to a 4- or 5-inch lift kit strictly for personal reasons such as my dogs are getting older and the pregnant wife has issues jumping very high,” said Chambers. “But getting them in and out of the truck is probably easier than coming up with the money to lower it and buy new tires for it.”

Shortly after the lift he also added an ATS rear diff cover, aFe front diff cover and traction bars from Adrenaline Performance. The list of other modifications made to the truck over the years includes the MHT 20x12 Black Fuel Octanes with Deep Lip wheels wrapped in 38x15.50r20 Open Country M/T tires from Toyo.


Clearly this truck has a lot going for it, but usually the first thing people notice is the number of lights Chambers has managed to add to his Cummins. The list includes smoked halo headlights and taillights from Spec-D, Recon smoked cab lights and a third brake light and then a collection of LED light bars including two 40-inch bars as well as some bright lights in both bumpers. But how he got started was more out of necessity than an actual plan.

“I purchased a Fusion bumper and I wanted something to fill that space,” said Chambers.  “So I figured, ‘Why not throw some light bars in there!’ Plus Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where I live is right in the middle of the Rocky Mountains so I partake in many outdoor activities like camping, hunting, dirt biking, side-by-side riding, etc. On many occasions it seems like I find myself driving dirt roads at night and those light bars make it day again.”

Final Touches

Bumpers can truly make or break a build—at least from a cosmetic standpoint—so that’s why a lot of truck owners seem to take a little more time in deciding which direction to go.

“I’ve always liked Fusion Bumpers because they offer a unique feel without looking too bulky,” said Chambers. “I especially love the look of the Defender Guard on the front. Fusion just does great bumpers.”

When combined with a Royalty Core RC3DX grille with Sword insert, the truck instantly takes on its own distinct personality. Bushwacker Pocket fender flares, a B&W 9-inch drop hitch and other improvements over the years like the Nitrous Express Diesel Stacker 2 (150hp shot) have helped get the truck where it is today.

“I’m happy where my truck sits today at over 800hp on fuel and over 1,000hp on spray as my daily driver,” said Chambers. “But for me it’s more about having a reliable truck than being the most powerful since I depend on my truck a lot for towing. It will tow any trailer and still stay cool.”  

While Chambers has participated in sled pulls and a few drag events, it’s not what he built his truck to really be.

“I like sled pulls, but I also don’t want to mess up any camping trips,” said Chambers with a smile. “So I’m a little more cautious with my truck that really is all about towing and getting me to work each day.”

While he’s asked to pull the Alligator race trailer loaded with tools and typically another truck for shows from time to time, his 23-foot camper is what he pulls most often.

Of course you never say never, but at this point Chambers doesn’t have any big plans left for his truck, unless you count where he plans to take his truck this weekend when he hooks up his trailer and heads for the mountains. But as new parts are developed and released, he won’t shy away from installing and testing them as needed because that of course comes with being the sales manager for a business that is focused on improving the diesel industry. 

Adrenaline Performance



aFe Power






Alligator Performance



ATS Diesel Performance



Automotive Racing Products



Auto Meter



BD Diesel Performance



BDS Suspension






B&W Hitches



Calibrated Power Solutions



Colt Cams



Deviant Race Parts



Edge Products






Fuel Wheels


Fusion Bumpers



Industrial Injection



MBRP Performance Exhaust



Nitrous Express



OPTIMA Batteries





Royalty Core



Snow Performance






T/Rex Technology LLC



Thuren Fabrication



Toyo Tires






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