Getting hooked on sled pulling

The past few months I’ve been helping out with a sled-pulling series in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve always been a fan of pulling, but as much as I hate to admit it, I hadn’t done it myself until recently. My first try was a horrible showing, but it was a blast! Getting into new things — and concentrating at getting good at them — has always been fun for me. I went drag racing almost every Thursday night for years, tweaking my setup until I got to a point where I had pushed my truck as far as I could while still being able to daily it. That pastime is most definitely not dead — I’m keeping an eye out for a standard cab (pure drag truck) as you read, but the old 7.3L that started its life as a tow rig, and later drag truck … well, it’s going to get morphed a bit for sled pulling. Now, as horrible as my first hook was, the holes I dug way too early in the pull are what’s going to drive me to get good at this sport. Like getting beaten on the dragstrip and immediately throwing more power adders in the mix, there’s nothing like overcoming failure to motivate me.

I’ll play in Work Stock class for now, but I’ll be collecting parts as I go, all with an eventual goal of competing in the 2.6 class. First in the plan is a new, reworked front axle and gears in both, plus a new front suspension system. Then some sort of axle stop for the rear, likely just an adjustable steel bump stop for now. The transmission is built for drag racing and isn’t set up how I think it should be for pulling. It’ll likely get manual shift mods and manual lockup controls as well as a different converter.

Getting hooked on sled pulling

Getting hooked on sled pulling

This way I can play with gear/wheel speed more easily and with more control. Having manual controls makes that way, way easier to pull off. Injectors are in need of some love as well. They’ll get mods for a little more fuel plus a good balancing of the entire set. Then the turbo/air setup needs to change from the tiny 38R with nitrous to T4 unit — which turbo, I’m not exactly sure of yet. Here’s where I’m going to be forced to sharpen my turbo skills instead of relying on nitrous like I used to. Better understanding of compressor maps is going to be very helpful here.

I think that’s a pretty decent list for now. I’m sure tires will be changed quickly, and possibly a dual rear setup will come into play — and I’ll deal with the multitude of other tweaks as they come (the stock bottom end likely won’t last more than a season or so, so that’ll be a big one). I’m excited about sled-pulling and to see what new things I’ll learn about diesels from the sport. It’s gonna be a busy few months, that’s for sure, but they should be fun.

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