As a processing operator for the J.R. Simplot Company, Dan Ortega’s job is to ensure the quality of the products that are being produced. Perhaps it’s this on-the-job training that has made Ortega passionate about the quality of vehicle he drives.
Like Ortega, anyone living in Boise, ID, recognizes the Simplot brand as a quality food processing facility that produces more than 850 million pounds of French fries and other potato products annually that is distributed to every major food chain outlet in America as well as globally.
Just like the recognition of the quality products he produces at work, Ortega also wants the recognition of the quality truck he drives to work … and about everywhere else—a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab.
Nicknamed “Tiffany” (Like Tiffany & Co. because Ortega says he always knew the truck was going to be expensive due to the modifications he had in mind), he has owned this truck for four years … but most of the modifications have come during the past two years.
Tiffany isn’t the first diesel pickup Ortega has owned. About six years ago he purchased a red Chevy that was lifted. But he soon knew he needed more out of his relationship with his daily drive.
“I drive it every day,” he said. “It allows me to truly enjoy Idaho and all the outdoor activities available—from off-roading in the desert to going up to the mountains to snowboard to way out to hunting camp.”
Ortega said he grew up in San Diego, CA, and was always around lifted custom trucks. “I knew one day that’s what I wanted. That day finally came when I was 19 and was able to buy my first diesel,” he said.
“The first thing I did was to install a five-inch Turbo Back exhaust to give it that mean Dodge sound,” he said. “At the same time I added an Edge Juice with Attitude programmer.”
These changes kept Ortega content for about a year. Then the urge came that he wanted more out of Tiffany.
“Then I ordered a MOVE DIY front pre-runner bumper and I tig welded that together,” he said. “From there I added a rear MOVE DIY bumper that I also welded.”
Soon, Ortega added Offroad LED Bars 20-inch light bar and four 3-inch cube lights in the front bumper and also two 3-inch cube LEDs in the rear bumper.
“Next I put a 5 percent tint all around,” he said. “Then I went with a BDS 8-inch Long Arm suspension lift for a smoother ride. I also added duel Fox reservoir shocks.”
But things didn’t stop there. “I also have the BDS Duel Fox shock steering stabilizer and a RedHead Steering gear which compliments the lift perfectly for a smooth ride. It sits on 40x15.50R22 Toyo MT tires with 22x14 Hostile Gauntlet rims.”
Ortega also installed Mag Hytec front and rear diff covers, an ATS Built transmission Co-Pilots, a FASS Titanium 150 fuel pump and Custom 125HP injectors and nozzles.
“I then had Retro Customz build me a set of custom one-off headlights,” he said. “Then I added Prezywerkzs rock lights and all of their RGB halos for my light bars which I had Trax Customs custom install into all of my light bars and LED cubes.”
To top things off, Ortega added a 50-inch Curved Off-Road LED light bar. “Finally, the last thing I added was switching to EFI Live which was done by J’s General Automotive and Diesel Repair,” he said. “Going to EFI Live was such a huge change for my truck overall it really woke it up and added a lot of power back into the engine.
After all this work, Tiffany has drained upwards to $70,000 from Ortega’s bank account … plus countless hours spent in labor. But it was all worth it.
“The main reasons I made changes was because I like the overall look,” he explained. “It allows me to go on many adventures in the mountains and off-road, and it has allowed me to become a prominent member of the diesel community.”
Although Ortega did the welding on the bumpers, he said for the most part he left the majority of the work for the experts at J’s General and Automotive Repair. “I simply don’t have the time generally,” he said. He trusts Josh Foust at J’s General and Automotive Repair for all of Tiffany’s mechanical needs, and Travis Etchart at Trax Customs for all of the lighting and electrical needs. Both companies are located in Boise.
Performance-wise, Tiffany does what Ortega wants on and off the road. Although he hasn’t yet put his truck up on a dyno, which is on his list of things to do, he thinks Tiffany is putting out somewhere in the range of 700-800 hp.
Not bad for a pretty face with expensive tastes.