Ben Shadday’s first foray into the diesel industry came when he got his first diesel truck with a 12-valve-style Cummins. In no time, Ben was making changes to the truck and the engine to get more power. It was a bug and Ben got bit.
At the time, Ben had a full-time job working for a powerplant in the operations department. It paid well and allowed him to work on his truck during the day. Before long, Ben’s diesel hobby was turning into much more.
“Messing with my truck turned into working on my buddy’s truck and then their buddy’s truck and their buddy’s, buddy’s truck,” Shadday says. “It just kept on going until I was pretty busy. My wife told me I had to make a decision.”
That decision was whether or not to leave his job to open his own diesel shop. Ultimately, his passion for diesel won, and he opened Done Right Diesel Performance in Osgood, IN in 2009.
“I opened the shop, which was a very scary thing to do, because the powerplant paid pretty good,” he says. “I rented half of my father-in-law’s pole barn, which was about 20×20 feet to start in.”
Ben’s decision to open a shop was the right one. Done Right Diesel (DRD) was busy right away, and soon he had the money to purchase the shop DRD is in today.
“This shop, to start, was just one building,” he says. “Eventually, I got enough money to build an actual shop, which is now in back of the original building. The front building is the dyno bay, the storefront and parts storage.”
The new shop was built in 2013 and is 5,400 sq.-ft., while the front shop is 2,500 sq.-ft. Today, Done Right Diesel has seven employees and typically does work on one-ton pickups or less.
“We do a lot of daily driver repair work,” Shadday says. “We also work on competition vehicles such as sled pull trucks and race trucks. We also have a new, used parts division where I’ve been buying low-mile, late-model vehicles. I’m getting ready to build a warehouse for that section of the business, which is called Quality Used Auto Parts.”
Done Right Diesel utilizes another Indiana-based shop, Freedom Racing Engines, for its short block engine work. From there, DRD will build out the long block, dress the engine, tune the engine, install the engine, and do any additional work in-house, such as chassis dyno runs.
“To start builds, we always ask customers about their power goals,” Shadday says. “Once we know that, then I’ll spec an engine to Freedom. I usually have engines overbuilt. If a customer tells you he wants 1,000 horsepower, he really means 1,200 horsepower. I try to overbuild them and give customers what they paid for.”
One of the recent builds Done Right Diesel finished up was a Pro Mod 7.1L Cummins for the shop’s own race truck – a 2006 Ram 1500.
“We had a chassis to run in the diesel Pro Mod category,” he says. “We knew it was going to take anywhere between 2,500 to 3,000 horsepower to be competitive. We turned to our faithful guys at Freedom and we were chatting about what it takes to not only make that power, but do it reliably all year long.
“A factory Cummins engine block wasn’t going to be what we needed. Instead, we turned to a Hamilton Cams solid engine block. I love that engine block, but the only downside is its heavy. It’s about 130 lbs. heavier than a standard block. It’s got a set of Jeremy Wagler connecting rods and an aluminum, 24-valve Wagler Competition cylinder head.”
The shop’s race truck used to have a 6.8L engine in it last year. Now, Done Right Diesel is stepping up to a 7.1L Cummins. According to Ben, this year is a little different than last year.
“This year, we have a dry sump oil system on it. It has a stock Cummins crankshaft.It’s also got a Hamilton custom ground cam. I’ve got two S&S Diesel Motorsport 14mm CP3 pumps on it, and we run Dynomite Diesel fuel injectors.”
In addition, the Pro Mod 7.1L Cummins has a set of Diamond pistons and rings, Trend billet rocker bridges and Manton roller rockers.
“Of course, AMSOIL takes care of all our lubrication,” he says. “We started using AMSOIL mid-season 2017. We’ve been real, real pleased. We haven’t had any lubrication issues. Last year, we went 83 passes without touching the engine!”
All said and done, the 7.1L Cummins is capable of making 2,500 horsepower and around 2,400 ft.-lbs. of torque.
“It can run in the low 4s in the 1/8th mile, however, the fastest it’s run is 4.57 at 164 mph,” Shadday says.
With continued upgrading, we’re sure DRD’s Ram 1500 has some faster ETs in its future!
The Diesel of the Week eNewsletter is sponsored by AMSOIL.
If you have an engine you would like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder magazine’s Editor, Greg Jones at [email protected].