Donavan Harris’ amazing Dodge 2500 competition beast
Donavan Harris is the owner of Armor Inc. Diesel & Suspension in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. To promote his shop's capabilities he teamed with Lenny Reed of Dynomite Diesel Products to build a drag truck that would be capable of hitting the dyno on a regular basis as well as tackle the pull sled when needed at competitions like the Ultimate Callout Challenge. After the initial build they tackled the inaugural UCC finishing in the mid to upper range in each event for a 4th place overall finish. They came back strong in 2017, finishing in the top three in the drag race and sled pull for a second 4th place overall finish. Harris has also won the Edmonton NHRDA Pro Street as well as the Alligator Diesel dyno day and the Beans Diesel Performance dyno event. Follow along for an unprecedented inside look at this amazing truck.
Starting with a regular cab, long bed 2008 Dodge 2500, Harris and his team at Armor Inc. went to work stripping down the truck before they could build it back up for race conditions by reducing weight and fabricating a race-worthy suspension. Up front they removed the factory coil spring and shock mounts from the frame and axle then replaced them with new fabricated mounts to integrate a pair of Viking coilover double-adjustable shocks on each side to dial in the suspension to match the track conditions and competition requirements. To locate the axle and keep it solidly locked within its travel they replaced the weak factory control arms with lightweight fabricated chromoly control arms. Dual steering stabilizers help keep the truck pointed in the right direction at speed. To reduce weight, the front fenders, hood and bumper supports were removed and replace with a fiberglass 1-piece front end and a bumper shell. The hood and bumper are braced to keep
them from deforming at high speeds as Harris rockets down the track.
In the rear the build team left much of the factory frame (minus several inches at the tail end) but ditched the factory leaf spring suspension setup in favor of a custom-fabricated fourlink design with a diagonal locator bar. Like the front, Harris relies on Viking coilover shocks in the rear to tune the suspension. To save weight they removed the factory steel bed and installed a pair of fiberglass bedsides along with the required bracing and mounts to hold them securely in place as the truck blasts down the drag strip at nearly 170 mph. The rear of the truck is also home to an aluminum fuel cell along with a pair of FASS Titanium fuel pump and filter systems and an Optima Red Top battery. Mounting these in the rear moves the weight rearward and helps with traction to get the truck off the line quicker.
The rear of the truck also helps it to run cooler under stressful racing conditions since the team installed a Mishimoto radiator and a pair of sandwiched BD Diesel transmission coolers in the now-vacant space behind the cab. Both the radiator and transmission coolers use electric fans to pull plenty of air through the cores to keep the engine and transmission cool. A master battery switch is installed at the rear of the truck near the fuel cell and battery to meet safety requirements. The tail end of Harris’ truck is completed with a Stroud parachute to help whoa the truck down from its 170-mph passes at the top end of the drag strip.
Of course, a potent engine is required to compete at the top levels in the diesel world and the one Harris, Reed and the Armor Inc. team built delivers the goods with dyno-proven runs of over 2,000 hp and more than 3,000 lb-ft of torque! The Armor Inc. crew built the engine with parts from D&J Precision Machine to make the stock Cummins into the monster it is today. The Cummins engine is a 6.7L mill from the 2008 truck that has gone under the knife for some serious tweaks that enable it to live at outrageous power levels. A factory Cummins crankshaft swings a set of D&J rods and pistons through the
4.21-inch cylinder bores on a 4.88-inch stroke. A Hamilton Cams camshaft actuates the valves through a set of D&J pushrods. The short block is capped with a factory 6.7L Cummins head that has gone through D&J’S machining, porting and polishing to optimize the airflow in and out of the cylinder head. They also removed the intake shelf and installed a billet aluminum D&J intake manifold.
Plenty of air is fed into the Cummins engine through a two-turbo compound Garrett setup that Harris and his team fabricated for the truck. The compressed air charge travels from the outlet of the second charger into a custom aluminum intercooler before it is directed into the engine through the D&J intake. To go with all that air Harris also adds a dash of water/methanol from a Snow Performance kit along with a healthy dose of giggle gas through Nitrous Outlet solenoids.
Reed and his team at Dynomite Diesel Products developed a fuel system capable of keeping up with the airflow and injectables. The fuel system starts with the pair of high-flow Titanium-se- ries FASS fuel pumps mounted on each side of the fuel cell that hand off the #2 diesel to a trio of 12mm Dynomite CP3 high-pressure pumps. One CP3 is installed in the factory location with the additional two mounted with a Beans Diesel Performance large diameter pulley drive kit and machined drive pullies with Dynomite Diesel logos machined into the faces of the highly polished billet aluminum. Highly pressurized fuel is then force-fed into the engine through a set of DDP injectors. On the exhaust side, spent gasses exit the engine through a Steed Speed exhaust
manifold before pushing through the Garrett turbos and exiting the hood through a stack alongside the small diameter wastegate outlet stack.
Jarid Vollmer of Breakout Tuning handled the custom tuning for the truck using EFILIVE to make tons of power safely. To date, the truck has been dynoed on several of the best chassis dynos across the country and in Canada with the highest dyno measurements being 2,033 hp and 3,021 lb-ft of torque. Harris’ current dyno numbers are considerably higher than measured at either of the UCC events after the team discovered a simple mistake that was robbing them of lockup and robbing performance in all aspects of competition. With the problem repaired the truck has picked up power on the dyno and speed on the track!
The Armor Inc. team built a Dodge 48RE transmission to back up the potent Cummins engine using a TCS billet Fatshaft input shaft, billet intermediate shaft and Fatshaft output shaft as well as additional billet TCS internal components and Raybestos clutches to handle the high power demands of diesel competition. A BD Diesel Sfi-rated billet flexplate is used to link the crankshaft to the billet Diesel Performance Converters quad-disc torque converter sending the power from the engine to the transmission. They also installed a Suncoast Pcs-controlled valve body in the transmission to give Harris the control over the shifting that he desires using a PCS 2000 controller.
Power output from the transmission is channeled to a stock transfer case that has been modified to accept the larger diameter billet Fatshaft TCS transmission output shaft. From there, power is handed off to a set of factory drive shafts to deliver the power to the stock AAM 9.25 axle up front and the stock AAM 11.5 axle in the rear. Yukon Gear and Axle gears in various ratios (Harris chose to keep the ratios he uses secret to not give any information
away to his competitors.—ed.) for each event Harris runs are stuffed in each axle assembly. During drag racing and dyno competition he runs the factory differential and axle shafts in the front axle with an Eaton locker and stock axles in the rear. For sled pulling, the Armor Inc. team swaps out the front differential for an Eaton Detroit Truetrac differential with Yukon gears and axle shafts. In the rear they swap out for a Yukon spool, gears and 38-spline axle shafts.
Putting the power to the drag strip, dyno rollers and pull track is highly important if you aim to win diesel competitions, so Harris has a wheel and tire combination for each discipline. When he’s hitting the dyno rollers the truck typically sports Moto Metal wheels wrapped in 305/50R20 Cooper Zeon LTZ tires. Then for drag race competition the Armor Inc. team swaps out the tread for a set of 16-inch M&H drag slicks mounted on Raceline wheels for great traction and light weight. To handle the slick dirt surfaces of sled pulling the team mounts up a set of six 35/12.50R17 tires on Fuel wheels with four Interco Truxus tires in the rear and a pair of Nitto Mud Grapplers up front.
Continuing with the weight reduction theme, Harris and the Armor Inc. build team stripped the cab of the factory seats, door panels, side and rear windows, dash, headliner and other trim, leaving the factory carpet as one of the only remnants of the truck’s original interior. For safety at the high speeds the truck would be capable of running they fabricated and installed a Nhra-certified 7.99-second roll cage in the truck using chromoly tubing. The cage ties into the factory frame below the cab and in the bed to strengthen the entire chassis and protect Harris in the event that anything bad happens while he is at speed. The factory windshield remains in the truck, but the side and rear windows were replaced with lightweight acrylic windows to save weight and allow the rear tubes to run through the rear window into the bed.
The team installed a new lightweight aluminum fabricated dash panel complete with their “Say No To Slow” motto cut out of the top of the dash panel. Aluminum panels also replace the factory door panels for more weight savings along with removing the factory glass and window regulators. The bulky and heavy factory steering wheel and column was replaced with a simple column and Driven race wheel on a quickrelease hub. With the factory steering column and shifter gone he installed a B&M shifter on the floor to run through the gears on the track. To data log his passes and keep Harris informed at a glance he installed a TS Performance Informant Pro system as well as an analog Autometer Ultralite II boost gauge. Harris sits comfortably in a Corbeau race seat and is held safely and securely in place with a 5-point G-force Racing Gear harness. The cab is also home to the Snow Performance water/methanol tank and pumps as well as the Nitrous Outlet nitrous bottle.
Harris tells us that like most truck projects he isn’t finished with this one and he has big plans for improvements over the winter that will be unveiled at the 2018 Ultimate Callout Challenge. After finishing in fourth place overall for the past two years, Harris and Reed plan to take the truck to the next level in hopes of not only reaching the podium but to be standing on the top step! We'll have to wait to see how it turns out. UDBG
The front end of Harris’ truck features custom suspension to help keep the front end planted as he launches down the track. Harris and his team at Armor Inc. fabricated custom control arms and mounts for dual double-adjustable Viking coilover shocks to properly locate and control the front axle for any track conditions he might encounter on the drag strip or pull track.
Donavan Harris raced the Armor Inc. Dodge to a third place finish in Indianapolis at the 2017 Ultimate Callout Challenge. His best 1/4-mile pass in the 5,700-pound truck is 8.56 seconds at 167 mph—so far!
To keep the engine cool Harris relies on a rear mounted Mishimoto radiator with dual electric cooling fans. The transmission benefits from a sandwiched pair of BD Diesel coolers with a single electric cooling fan.
Moving to the rear, it is easy to see that this truck is built strictly for competition with the rear mount battery, fuel cell and of course parachute all taking up residence at the rear of the truck.
The massive AAM 11.5 axle is held firmly in place using a custom four-link suspension with a diagonal locator bar that the team at Armor Inc. fabricated. Also notice the Viking single-adjustable coilover shocks that are used to dial in the response to various track conditions.
ABOVE: Fiberglass bedsides contribute to the weight loss the Armor Inc. Dodge has undergone. When running on the dyno Harris relies on a set of 20-inch Moto Metal wheels wrapped in 305/50R20 Cooper Zeon LTZ tires to put the power to the rollers.
RIGHT TOP/BOTTOM: The custom graphics on the CW Wraps finish on the Dodge help Harris to promote his sponsors while looking good at the same time. BELOW: Harris’ truck has an intimidating facade with the bold insert-less grille shell, blackened headlight graphics and highly polished custom fabricated intercooler.
To supply the engine with plenty of fuel Harris is running a trio of 12mm Dynomite Diesel Performance CP3 high-pressure pumps configured with a Beans Diesel Performance large diameter pulley kit and mount.
Peeking behind the CP3 mount you can see the long-stroke CP3S as well as the D&J Precision side-draft intake manifold on the D&J ported and polished cylinder head.
With the hood removed, the glory of Harris’ DDP/D&J Precision Machine 2,000+ horsepower Cummins engine is easy to appreciate.
In an age when triple-turbo configurations are becoming commonplace in big-power trucks, Harris and his Armor Inc. team opted to use a custom two-turbo Garrett compound setup that still delivers enough air for more than 2,000 horsepower.
Strapped down and revved up, Harris’ truck took home the win in the Unlimited Class on the dyno at the Beans Diesel event last fall just before our photo shoot.
Donavan Harris and Lenny Reed easily remove the lightweight fiberglass one-piece hood to reveal the high-power Cummins engine beneath.
Rather than having a whole host of analog gauges, Harris chose to keep the cockpit simple and effective with a Driven race wheel, single analog Autometer boost gauge and a TS Performance Informant Pro data logger and gauge package to monitor the truck’s performance.
Looking in from the passenger side of the truck the Nitrous Outlet nitrous oxide bottle and Snow Performance water/methanol injection tank and pumps dominate the interior, along with a B&M shifter for Harris to bang through the gears as he flies down the strip.
Looking in through the driver door, the competition purpose of Harris’ Dodge is clearly evident with the Nhra-certified roll cage and all the necessary safety equipment for high-speed racing duties. Notice the aluminum interior panels and bolted-in acrylic safety windows that help reduce weight over using the factory components.