"You're gonna have to work for it," said Editor Bolig when the idea of making a reasonable street-performance truck out of a newly acquired '05 Hemi Ram came up. His prophetic jab would ultimately become a curse.

Our initial idea was to document every step of our truck's modifications with a pass on a neighboring dyno after each modification. The steps we thought would be a cinch: a cold air kit install, a header and exhaust bolt-in, and a new performance programmer. Easy, right? Well, it would seem that "the best laid plans of men" would be our undoing in what we had hoped to be a reasonably easy project.

With manufacturers offering the public nearly brainless bolt-ins and upgrades, we here at Mopar Muscle only wanted to show how a few simple alterations to an already stout 5.7-liter Hemi could transform it from mild-mannered to a fierce pavement-pounder. But fate would ultimately make us eat the words "easy" and "simple." A list of extraneous circumstances, accidents, bad judgment, weather, and blatant screw-ups cost us precious time and our patience.

First, we wanted to get a base run-a preliminary pass on the dyno to give us a rear-wheel-horsepower number. What we got instead was a series of "Check Engine" lights, electrical gremlins, and a downed truck for nearly two months. We ended up bouncing the Ram from one dealership to another, finally landing at Plant City Motors. Our technician, Dan, took the flawed Hemi on as a personal challenge and gave diagnosing the issue his all. Apparently, the hard pulls made on the dyno unearthed a succession of electrical gremlins that tripped the sequential five-volt meters that circle the engine block, monitoring crank and cam speed, and other various functions. Flustered, Five Star resolved to have our trusty technician simply "throw parts" at it until the problem went away. A cam sensor, crank position sensor, forward control module, two five-volt meters, and a wiring harness later, the truck seemed to be ok.

Since our Ram didn't like the dyno, we opted to test our truck the old fashioned way-on the track. In preparing the Ram for its debut at the Lakeland Motorsports Park, this author punctured the front tire while pulling into the lift at the shop, which thwarted our evening's plans. With the help of Tony Muniz at Tire Kingdom in Palm Harbor, Florida, we were ready for the next weekend until we were rained out by the tail of Hurricane Katrina. Undaunted, we pushed our trial run back another week. Finally, with the truck at the track and ready to go, an electrical surge zonked out the tower's computers, allowing us to make as many passes as we pleased, but with no time slips.