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The Long Haul: 1978 Cummins-Powered Dodge W-150

The bond between man and machine is something felt the world over. It’s an indescribable love that merges freedom, responsibility, and history. For Greg Yount, his mother’s ’78 Dodge Ram W-150 is something much more than a classic truck, but a piece of his childhood that can’t be replaced. They say what you learn to drive on will always be your first car love. We’re not sure that stands true for everyone, but for Yount, the classic 4x4 had him captivated from the first time he touched the wheel.

While the truck has seen many phases over the past 39 years, losing his mother to cancer in 2009 would be the catalyst to start the transformation into the extremely unique pickup you see here today. We caught up with Yount at the 2017 Nitto Tire Auto Enthusiast Day, where the Oregon native made the trek down with the Dodge he calls Ol Yeller.

You can hear about the truck from Yount in the video above and find out even more details in our feature breakdown below.

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The complete frame-off restoration would be aided by a parts sourced from a ’00 Ram 2500 4x4. This would include the legendary 5.9L Cummins diesel engine. To get a little more power air flow out of the 24-valve mill, a BD Diesel turbo, intake and exhaust manifold were bolted in place.

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Channeling the power is a 47RE transmission and NV271D chain-driven transfer case. Note the custom crossmember, along with the entire frame was sand blasted and powdercoated by QuickSand Industries.

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The Dana 80 rear axle is fit with 4.10 gears and paired with custom traction bars to prevent axle wrap. Dumped over the 1-ton rear diff is a 5-inch Diamond Eye Performance exhaust, while 2.65 Prodigy series shocks from Pure Performance dampen the ride.

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The high-pinion Dana 60 front axle combines late-model Ram steering linkage with the original steering gear box. The custom coil towers on the frame allowed Yount to reuse the stock spring perches on the front axle, while custom radius control arms secure the frontend in place.

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Providing interior comfort are seats pulled from the wrecked ’00 Dodge Ram. To freshen up the chairs, they were wrapped in Roadwire leather. Sitting off to the left of the Grant steering wheel is an Edge Insight CTS2 programing module, which allows Yount to easily dial in the power levels.

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As the owner of Greg’s Custom Creations, Yount is pretty handy with metal. However, the bed of the truck shows off some of his woodworking skills. The air compressor and tank you see mounted to the bed feed a set of air horns from Horn Blasters.

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While W-150’s are a rare site, the Utiline (commonly called a stepside) version is even more so. Yount credits Performance Authority, 369 Custom Fabrication and his father from helping to get the truck where it is today. Although you probably won’t catch the truck in its current condition buried to the doors in mud, before the rehash, the truck used to frequent the mud bog circuit.

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Getting that Cummins torque to the ground are a set of 40x15.50R22 Nitto Mud Grapplers. These extreme treads are wrapped around 22x14 Hostile Gauntlet wheels.

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There are a few subtle modern touches on the truck, such as the LED headlights and full Rockford Fosgate sound system. The luminous paint on the truck is an Aston Martin yellow pearl.

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HARD FACTS

1978 Dodge W-150 

ENGINE 5.9L Cummins 24-valve
TRANSMISSION 47RE
TRANSFER CASE NV271D
FRONT AXLE High-pinion Dana 60, 4.10 gears
REAR AXLE Dana 80, 4.10 gears
SUSPENSION 12" 3rd Gen Ram front coil springs, 10" 3rd Gen Ram leaf springs, Pure Performance 2.65 shocks
TIRES 40x15.50R22 Nitto Mud Grapplers
WHEELS 20x14 Hostile Gauntlet 
MISC. Custom aluminum fuel cell, Grant steering wheel, Suncoast standalone TCM and valve body, BD Maxflow fuel pump

Digging old Dodges? Check out this one-off 1st Gen Ram.

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