Making It His Way

Andrew’s backyard build

May 2021 Feature Colin Peterson

This article originally appeared in the April 2021 issue.

The owner of this high-output common rail Cummins truck may call it a backyard build, but it’s way more than that. This blue one-ton truck has a ton of upgrades on it, so many might think the truck has already made its way into the big leagues. Andrew Daddario, who serves diligently in the U.S. Air Force, originally is from central Pennsylvania but now lives in West Haven, Utah, a northern suburb of Salt Lake City.

“I enlisted in the Air Force right out of high school in 2015, and the West Haven area is my duty station,” he says. Andrew has owned this 5.9L 2004 Dodge RAM 3500 for just about two years now. It’s a well-traveled machine, given that it has more than 300,000 miles on it. However, it’s very impressive and still clearly plenty able to sport a show-quality status and appearance despite its age. To add to the “wow” factor, Andrew did all of the work on the truck himself!

“It’s a 2004.5 model; it’s my baby and a SEMA build in the making,” he says. “I do plan to take it down to that show in the future. Prior to this, I had a third-generation Ford F150 that I wanted to do a build on, but I ended up selling it and buying the RAM. I always wanted a lifted diesel truck and I wanted it to stand out.”

Andrew definitely hopes he can take the rig to big shows sooner rather than later, all depending on how the COVID pandemic pans out in the time ahead. He has used the truck as a show vehicle at other smaller shows as well as his daily driver.

“I’ve been to local pop-up truck and car meets with this beast,” he says, “but further down the road, I’m actually hoping to get this into SEMA 2022 as well as maybe Daytona. It’ll be at Weekend on the Edge at the end of this year.” He has plenty of fun with the blue beast as well, as he has taken it on the off-road quite often. For example, he has spent his time crawling the rocks in Moab, in southern Utah, as well as in the Wasatch mountains near his home.

“I haul my dirt bike with it and I’ve also taken it to several locations in north-central and south-central Utah,” he says. “It has had a lot of gravel miles but now it’s mostly highway. It’s the vehicle I use to clear my head, so it gets driven a lot.”

He’s in one of the best locations in the U.S. for spending time in the great outdoors, and he seriously takes advantage of it! Pennsylvania may have mountains, but they sure aren’t as tall as the ones in Utah.

The blue color makes the truck blend in well anywhere it goes, but especially in a natural setting, such as near mountain lakes and forests. A truck that gets heavily used and cleans up well at a show is also very impressive to say the least.

The Build

The base of Andrew’s backyard build is large and begins with a 6-inch Tuff Country lift kit, sitting on 22-inch TIS model 544BM (Black & Milled) wheels wrapped in 37-inch Kanati Mudhog M/T tires. He also has Rock Tamer mud flaps at the rear end. With this setup, the truck is already plenty prepared for various off-road terrains, though Andrew tries to go easy in that area, as he doesn’t want to put too much wear on a show truck. The Rock Tamers, however, really help to keep mud not only from getting onto other vehicles, but also from getting onto the nice-looking truck with its many sharp aesthetic upgrades. Other than the Rock Tamers, the upgrades of that category include a T-REX billet grille, an Iron Cross front bumper, as well as a removed tailgate. For performance-based upgrades, the truck has an Edge Juice with Attitude programmer, Sinister Diesel cold air intake as well as a 5-inch MBRP turbo back exhaust. To spice things up even further as well as to help him off the beaten path when he goes there, he added rock lights from FCKLightBars.

“The truck came with the 6-inch coil spacer lift and Edge programmer but then I had everything else added,” Andrew says.

What The Future Holds

Andrew has accomplished so much with his high-output Cummins build, and he’s still not finished. Despite all that work and achievement under his belt so far, Andrew explains, “I’m just another self-sponsored backyard build trying to work my way up into the big leagues.”

Andrew likes that it’s already a very tall truck and says it feels wide when he first gets in. The larger size has taken some time to get used to, but it’s now second nature to him.

“I can’t go through most drive-throughs and I almost have to take up two parking spaces, but after a while, you’ll get used to it and it’s like the back of your hand,” Andrew says with a smile. “Same with the power, but sometimes the torque likes to sneak up on me. The power is almost always instant, and it’ll eat tires like nothing.” 

Andrew originally had plans to keep it as an off-road machine, but he’s now shooting for less of a lifted off-road look and more of a street-friendly one.

“Right now, my plan is to turn it into a street truck so that it’s faster and more functional but still maintains the eye-catching factor,” he says. “I want a clean, simple, but unique build.”

He also plans to add a rear Iron Cross bumper, dual 6-inch Shotgun stacks, a custom interior with Rolls Royce headliner, bed-mounted marine speakers, more custom lighting, fire rings and studs, compound turbos and an NV5600 manual transmission swap.

“I’m definitely doing LED everything, possibly more under-the-hood goodies, fresh paint, powder-coat everything, and interior work on this rig,” Andrew says. “It’s been a slow build but I’m almost entirely self-sponsored, minus a partial from FCK and Optilube.” His truck is surely destined to end up being a real performance monster as well as party animal, with plenty of enjoyable miles ahead of him in the future.




Edge Products






Greenball Tires



Iron Cross Automotive






Rock Tamers


Sinister Diesel



T-REX Grilles



Tuff Country



TIS Wheels


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