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Cooter
Cooter Dork
1/14/19 2:24 p.m.

I was going to suggest swapping in a gauge in place of the oil light in your cluster.  Not sure if there is a matching Sunpro or not.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ New Reader
1/14/19 4:03 p.m.

My dad has a '79 Power Wagon. He had a different one when I was a kid. I'm pretty fond of them. They're cool trucks. Good luck with this one. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/15/19 7:42 p.m.

I've been coming up with a laundry list of things that need to be done to the truck before it can hit the road. Other than the hole in the floor (no pics of that yet), two major issues are the wiring/ammeter/battery situation and the belts needing to be replaced. I went outside after getting home from work to investigate what's going on in the engine bay.

The battery is old as dirt, and the posts seem to be leaking, so that's on the replacement list. Also, check out the wire nut on the left of the battery. Someone's been a tinkerin' with the wires.

Not sure how much of this is stock, but that doesn't look too great. That's the bulkhead connector, and under all that grime, it appears to... well.. still exist.

Some more wiring fun. Also, on the fender, there's some sort of "diagnostic port". Not sure what that's for, but I don't think there's a hint of a computer on this truck anymore.

Check out that excellent alternator wiring! That formerly had a wire nut on it, I'm assuming.

I previously posted a tag that was from an engine builder that listed vacuum readings and things like that. I believe that's for this shiny 2-barrel carb. It's basically new, as are the plugs, wires, cap, and rotor. Bonus!

I will be ordering a pile of parts soon. smiley

Cooter
Cooter Dork
1/15/19 9:04 p.m.




That's some Bad JuJu there.  Lots of Scotchlocks and other weirdness going on. 

The ignition box is sweating out all of its potting material.  Get one ASAP- they are cheap.

I'm guessing the new carb, diagnostic port, wiring, and odd location of the ECU and ballast resistor mean that this was converted from a Lean Burn setup at some point.

I would check the bulkhead connectors by physically unplugging them amd seeing how corroded they are where they mate up.  Also, any signs of heat/melting, and other tomfoolery.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
1/16/19 6:51 a.m.

Unfortunately, all of your wiring appears to be about normal for a Mopar of the era. Owning those is why I got good at doing wiring. And judging by the harness it was converted from a lean burn system. Pull the distributor cap and make sure that there are vacuum and mechanical Advance Parts in the distributor.

Cooter
Cooter Dork
1/16/19 10:55 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

It's the correct dizzy for the swap.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/16/19 1:04 p.m.

So here's a question:

Cooter, you said the ignition module is oozing it's guts all over the firewall (either that or it "snail trailed" it's way into it's current position). That's not great, either way, and I want to replace it. I'm seeing that there's options for a 4 wire unit and a 5 wire unit. I'm new to working on old Mopars, so I'm not sure what the difference is.

From what I understand, the 5 wire ones are for "lean burn" vehicles, while 4 wire units came in older vehicles (I could be wrong, or course). I also have read that the ballast resistor has something to do with it (mine appears to be a 4-terminal resistor). I've also read that there's some interchangeability between the two types of ignition modules. I'm guessing my truck was once equipped with the Lean Burn garbage and has/had a 5-wire ignition box. I haven't looked at it yet to see which one it is.

When I go to buy a new one, can I just get a 5 wire, or do I need the 4 wire since it's been converted?

Cooter
Cooter Dork
1/16/19 10:21 p.m.

The 4 vs 5 pin is for the single vs dual ballast.   The Lean Burn didn't use an ignition box that bolts to the firewall, hence your wiring butchery.

I would just get a 4 pin.  They will work for either setup, whereas the 5 pin will only work with the dual ballast.  MoPar superseded the 5 pin into the 4 pin years ago.   Most of the new aftermarket ones I have seen are 4 pin, and even most of the 5 pins have a dummy as the fifth pin.  All of the performance boxes are also 4 pin.

oldopelguy
oldopelguy UberDork
1/17/19 12:29 a.m.

The 5 pin gave the option of a slightly higher voltage to the coil for a little bit hotter spark during cranking, but that's pretty much it. You certainly don't need it. 

I also usually buy voltage regulators two at a time and have a spare installed on the dash within reach of the wires for the in service one. That way when it fails on me after dark in the rain I can just move the plug and replace it later.

I might have the dash parts for that truck to install the tachometer.  I'll keep an eye out. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/17/19 7:38 a.m.

Ok, 4-wire it is!

And Oldopelguy, Tach stuff would be cool! Let me know what you end up finding.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/17/19 1:03 p.m.

A big pile of parts is now en route. Ordered everything I need except the seatbelt mounting plate and the exhaust; I will be tackling both of those soon.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/18/19 7:37 a.m.

Ok, moving right along to the seatbelt issue...

The only rust hole on this truck is where the passenger side seat belt anchors to the floor. The metal got weak there over the years and pulled out (I'll get pics this weekend). My plan was to fab up a chunk of 16 gauge steel to cover the hole and get a mounting plate like this to replace what's gone:

I've never had to replace a seatbelt anchor before, but I want to make sure it's done the right way so it's safe.

 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
1/18/19 8:39 a.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

Just keep in mind that “safe” is only going to be relative to everything else about that truck. Yes, you need a secure mount, but don’t stress too much about it. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/18/19 9:29 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett :

Well, yeah...

I need it for the state vehicle safety inspection. A hole in the floor where the seat belt was anchored down is not gonna fly, and I'll get a rejection sticker.

This thing is more tractor than passenger vehicle. laugh

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/18/19 10:35 a.m.

Posting this exhaust diagram so I don't forget it:

Cooter
Cooter Dork
1/18/19 10:43 a.m.

The one downside to the in-frame tank is that it is a serious pain to try to run a dual exhaust.  I ended up running them outside the rails, Little Red Express style on one of my 440 powered tow rigs.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/18/19 11:45 a.m.

In reply to Cooter :

I'm totally fine with single, simple exhaust for now. It just needs to exit the truck in the right place. Right now, the pipes aren't really connected to the muffler and what's lef of the exhaust that hasn't leaked out just dumps under the bed. That will fail inspection spectacularly here in MA.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/19/19 6:57 p.m.

I had about a half hour today to play with the truck so I tackled a few small things.

First, the alternator wiring. There were two chunks of wire wrapped around the terminals on the back of the alternator (yeah, talk about scary!!!) so I cleaned that up for now with some clip-on terminals. I'll go back when I install the voltmeter and sort that out a little neater, but I think I have the alternator working. I swapped in a fresh battery, and it fired right up just fine. I also noticed that the upper radiator hose was leaking a bit due to age, so I'll order one of those.

My parts started trickling in today as well, so I did some small things, like replace a front turn signal bulb. It came out in chunks.

I also scoped out that hole in the floor. It's not wonderful, but I believe I can fix it fairly easily.

 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/22/19 8:42 a.m.

I have another noob question about the NP203:

How do you shift it?

Do you have to be rolling, in neutral, stopped, etc? I tried shifting it "on the fly" and in park, and the shifter wouldn't budge. I'm 99% sure it's currently in 4WD Hi right now, but I want to make sure it works in every mode.

Cooter
Cooter Dork
1/22/19 12:56 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

In neutral.  Sometimes it helps to bump it into drive an roll forwards just a bit to get it into gear.

But make sure your linkage isn't completely rusted up first.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/23/19 6:36 p.m.

In reply to Cooter :

Thanks for the clarification! I definitely was not trying to shift it in neutral.

In other news...

It's got plates. This thing is now on the road. surprise

I went today and was able to register, insure, and get a title for it! The title part was super hazy due to it not having one (vehicles in Maine that are 1995-older don't need them, but here in MA, you can't register a car without one) which makes for all sorts of fun at the RMV. I had the right insurance forms, previous registration and a bill of sale, and I was in and out in 15 minutes. The lady at the counter was even nice to me! I felt like I won the damn lottery.

No, I haven't taken it down the road yet. As you can see, it snowed recently, so there's salt all over the roads. We are getting torrential rains over the next 24 hours, so I'll putter down the road later in the week to see how it goes.

chandler
chandler PowerDork
1/24/19 5:51 a.m.

There are usually instructions for 4w operation on the back of the sun visor.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/24/19 6:22 a.m.

In reply to chandler :

True, but not on this thing. Cooter is right. I did find it in the owner's manual. The way it was worded threw me off, but yeah, it needs to be in neutral.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
1/24/19 6:45 a.m.

Did this era of trucks ever have a steel or mostly steel dash? Or is there a way to convert away from the factory dash cap look? I check these out occasionally and I can't quite convince myself that I can deal with what I see. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/24/19 11:06 a.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

1972-80 had a very similar dash, but they did revise it somewhere around 1976-77. They are mostly metal, outside of the dash pad and glove box door. It reminds me of the 1970-81 Trans Am dash in a way, so I like it. I actually prefer it over the GM/Ford truck dashes of the day.

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