This article originally appeared in the July 2020 issue.
This RAM belongs to Nathan Ivey, who is currently serving in the U.S. Army in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq (he’s been serving in various locations for about 13 years now). He left it at home back in North Carolina for his father, Mike Martin, to look after. Due to the sensitivity of what he does in the Army, he requested that no photos of him be included in this article.
This 2009 RAM 2500 long bed crew cab is a blacked-out performance machine and workhorse, but it’s so much more than what meets the eye. Beneath the metallic black exterior, SOTA Off-Road 20-inch wheels, and Toyo Open Country M/T 33-inch tires, everything has a purpose. Serving primarily as Nathan’s daily driver, it sees a lot of meaningful truck-specific usage as well, as it does tow and haul regularly.
The truck was bought new in 2009, and Nathan started a vehicle repossession business on the side with it. The truck has a “sneaker lift” with a 6,000-pound weight capacity, which was used to lift vehicles for the business.
“I used to repo cars before my position in the Army prohibited it,” Nathan says. Stacks of additional leaf springs were also required to keep the truck from squatting excessively on the repo jobs and a backup camera on the truck helped guide him in place for the lifts. Because of the side business, Nathan wanted to do a performance build on his truck so it could handle it better. Plus, he simply wanted to have more fun with it.
“Upgrades required more upgrades, and then sometimes even bigger upgrades were needed to keep things reliable,” his father says.
Suspension upgrades other than leaf springs include an adjustable track bar and upgraded front suspension links; they were a must for all the work this truck does. Of course, the engine had extensive work done to it as well. First off, a blown head gasket led to the installation of new ARP 625 head studs. That then led to the installation of a FASS lift pump, feeding the ATS Twin Fueler dual CP3 high-pressure pumps and 100 percent over injectors. Providing the air on this truck for those extensive fuel delivery upgrades is a BorgWarner 467 turbo (swapped from a second-gen Cummins). Adding that all up with EFILive tuning, the truck cranks out a massive 720 horsepower and 1300 pound-feet of torque. Supporting that power is a six-speed transmission with a dual-disc South Bend clutch rated for up to 900 horsepower, all connected to 4.10 gears. “OH SNAP!” Nathan exclaims in reaction to all this mind-blowing performance.
“He also has an onboard 12-volt air system for airing up tires and the train horn to get someone's attention,” his father laughs. “But I’m not sure that is needed since it has a 4-inch straight piped exhaust into an 8-inch tip exiting in front of the rear tire.”
For extra decoration, Nathan uses a modified stock bumper; LED cab lights (DIY-installed); and LED headlights, taillights, and interior lights.
Although he doesn’t use the truck for repo work anymore, Nathan still plans to use it for towing on a regular basis. “It’s now mostly used to take my car along between duty stations and home,” he says. “I’ll also occasionally use it for truck pulls, teaching the occasional Mustang or Camaro a lesson in humility.”
Serving in the armed forces can totally change a person’s world, but it never means he or she has to compromise the diesel life. In fact, it actually makes the diesel life more meaningful and interesting in most cases as people have the opportunity to gain technical skill sets, depending on their position. “To say I am proud of Nathan, his truck, his work ethic, his accomplishments in the military and in life, is an understatement,” adds his father.
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