No Smoke No Poke

500bhp Farm Hand

18th February 2014 | BY Adam

As head of technical operations at STaSIS Engineering, Matt Printz spends his days working with 700bhp supercharged Audi R8s and tuned RS models capable of punching a hole through time. So he’d be forgiven if his head was turned by a big power Quattro. However living in West Virginia, Matty also runs a smallholding with cattle and a few hundred acres of fields, which makes a lower-than-your-grannies-nipples Audi somewhat impractical.   

I met Matt whilst out in US on a shoot for STaSIS last September and when I found out he had a Cummins powered Dodge Ram I arranged to go down to his farm on a Saturday evening and get some shots. As I arrived Matt and his lovely wife Jessy were already out in the yard waiting and as I got out of the cab I was handed a cold beer from the cooler in the back of his truck - this shoot was off to a great start.

Jessy and I hopped in the bed of the truck and Matt drove us around the farm to check out some potential locations. As we head off up the road it becomes apparent that while it may be a smallholding by name, it certainly isn’t in size. There’s acres of beautiful farmland for miles around with the odd house dotted here and there.

We ended up settling for the field with the cows in it because the sun was setting over the horizon and I thought it would be a fun backdrop having them hanging out photo bombing the shots. Whilst setting up Matt told me two of his friends were coming down in their trucks too, one of which was a girl who’s 5.9l Cummins Dodge RAM had pink camo up the side (god bless America!).

For those not familiar with American trucks, there’s three camps: The Dodge Cummins, Chevy Duramax and Ford Powerstroke. If you like our Facebook page then you’ll no doubt have seen the memes we post like this one, and this one, it’s clear that you have to choose your team wisely. I’ve always been about the Cummins motors, which is a good job really given that I stumbled across this whilst shooting interiors of Matt’s truck…

And no, I’m not referring to the Big Gulp and Powerball.

Matt uses his truck every day to get to and from work, as well as tending his farm but that hasn’t stopped him from splashing out on a number of choice mods to make the truck a little more exciting.

It takes a lot of air to let this 5.9l motor breathe, so an AFE Stage II Pro Guard 7 intake system and CFM high flow intake manifold keep it from wheezing.

With all that extra air, the Adrenaline 10 stage adjustable engine control system adds up to 180bhp and a BD Diesel adjustable wastegate keeps that Holset HX35 turbo spooling for longer.
A MBRP 4″ turbo back exhaust system it finished off with a subtle effing huge 6″ chrome tip that you could park a Prius inside.

Matt has also fitted a Pure Flow Air Dog FP150 air/fuel separation system to keep up with the increased fuelling demands. It’s something I’d not seen before here in the UK and is essentially an uprated lift pump for the fuel tank which then filters out any water particulates and air to deliver a consistent, clean flow of fuel to the engine.

A stock Dodge RAM makes 245bhp stock and with his mods, Matt’s truck makes 500bhp and an insane 1,000lbft torque - just a little too much for the standard clutch, so a Southbend performance clutch kit was swapped in to deal with the extra grunt.

Having to cope with both smooth tarmac and rutted fields, Matt opted for a 2″ levelling kit coupled with Bilstein front and rear shocks giving him the added ground clearance but not the wallow of a lifted truck. Skyjacker steering stabiliser and a BD Diesel stabiliser bar also help ensure steering remains a command, not a suggestion.

Exterior mods are subtle, with tinted windows all around and a powder coated black tool box in the bed. I’m not sure if the beer cooler came as an optional extra from Dodge or if it was added by the owner, but either way I’m glad it was there.

The truck sits on American Racing wheels, again powder coated flat black, ofsetting the white bodywork to give it a great storm trooper / utilitarian look.

Everything is bigger in the US, this grass hopper was so big I could have shared my beer with him.

Inside the cab, a pillar pod containing boost, fuel pressure and EGT guages has been added to allow Matt to keep an eye on things.

A 1,000watt Alpine amp powers the Q Logic 10″ sub in a custom box, the Polk audio speakers and a Pioneer head unit drives the whole system. Not forgetting Matt’s trusty Hi-Point .45 which lives under his seat, in case he has to take care of anyone trying to steal his cows…or wife (Ironically somebody stealing his wife shouldn’t be an issue, given that Jessy is a Brazillian Jiu Jitsu champion).

Matt’s friends, husband and wife Michelle and Travis turned up in their trucks as promised. Seeing these two driving across the field to come and meet us in their his-and-hers trucks pretty muched summed up my trip to West Virginia. I absolutely love the place, full of beautiful scenery, lovely people and perhaps most importantly - a shit load of diesel trucks.

Travis’ truck (pictured above right) is a 2008 Dodge Ram 2500 with a 6.7 cummins diesel and 6 speed manual gearbox. Being  newer truck than Matt’s it came from the factory with all the related emissions gubbins which profess to be great for the environment but are by nature, terrible for performance. As any self respecting performance diesel enthusiast should, Travis has deleted the EGR and cooler as well as the DPF. The best part being that with the addition of an H&S programmer he’s managed not only to delete and turn off all of the emissions systems, but actually make the truck run cleaner with better efficiency and more power that stock. Of course, the Brute Force cold air intake, Pusher 3.5″ to dual 3″ intake elbow and 5″ turbo back exhaust system help with freeing up a few extra ponies too.

Michelle’s truck was pretty standard (for now) with the obligatory 4″ turbo back exhaust and programmer. In an attempt to turn the 4WD, smoke belching behemoth in to something a little more demure and girly, pink ‘RealTree’ (Are real trees pink?) camo has been added to the sills along with numerous other pink decals. Future plans include a 6″ lift kit (with additional elevator for her to reach the cabin) and no doubt some breather mods too.

This was my first encounter with the modified truck scene in the US and I sure as hell hope it wont be my last. As a fan of diesels typically exposed to small displacement European cars, spending some time at the other end of the spectrum was a lot of fun. As we drove back to the farm and I sat in the back of the truck with (you guessed it) a cold beer in hand watching the sun set, it was clear to me that the enjoyment of that evening hadn’t just come from shooting the trucks. When we started NSNP one of our goals was to build an inclusive community and for me last year, being the other side of the Atlantic, in a field with four strangers, three trucks and a lot of cows proved that we were doing just that. Through a common interest in diesels, I’d been introduced to a group of people that I ordinarily wouldn’t have crossed paths with and getting to hang out with Matt, Jessy, Travis and Michelle was a great experience and I hope that there’s many more like it to come.