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chandler
chandler PowerDork
5/21/19 10:20 a.m.
Professor_Brap said:

In reply to Tony Sestito :

I always tapped them for a pipe thread and put plugs in them. 

That’s a pretty high end solution; I usually just cut them off and crimp them lol.

Professor_Brap
Professor_Brap Dork
5/21/19 10:27 a.m.

In reply to chandler :

Why all my projects take forever. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/21/19 10:34 a.m.

I'm also thinking a pipe plug or  even a rubber cap would do the trick, as I want to get rid of the exhaust leak in the process. It should technically unscrew from the manifold, but the manifold needs to be removed to do that, and that's not happening right now.

Last time I removed manifolds off of a vehicle from 1979, that turned into pulling the heads and dropping them off at the machine shop to have every manifold stud extracted and all holes re-tapped (yes, I'm talking about my Trans Am). I really don't want to do that.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/28/19 10:51 a.m.

Memorial Day weekend delivered some nice weather for a change (It's been 50 degrees and rainy here for the past 2 months almost every day) so I took advantage of this and busted out a few projects on the truck.

Friday night, I decided to knock out a couple quick ones: the transmission mounts and fixing that transmission cooler line leak. While I didn't bother taking pics of the tranny line, the right diameter hose is on there now and it's not leaking.



Yep, these were smoked. Very easy to replace, too!

Much better. There's still some driveline clunk, but it's better than it was.

After that, I took it for a test drive to do some "Truck Stuff", aka picking up some grass seed.


I decided to be brave and take it on the highway for a few exits. That was interesting. It does 55mph comfortably, but I pushed it to about 65mph and it was SCREAMING due to the 4.10's. Also, the speedometer bounces below 20 and above 55, which is annoying. I will have to pull the cable off and re-lube it. Either that or the speedo gear is stripped out.

I didn't have a lot of time for wrenching on Saturday and Sunday, but yesterday was a different story. My buddy Greg dropped by and we broke out the welder to fix the sketchy P/S seat belt situation.



Turns out there was a bit more rust than we liked, so we cut out a new patch, cut out the bad stuff, and welded it in. A thicker mounting plate for the belt anchor bolt was also properly welded in. Got to use my sorta-new MIG welder for the first time with gas, and it worked nicely. After grinding down the welds, some seam sealer got globbed on and it's as good (if not better) than new!


I've had these little side steps in the garage for a few months now, so I figured it was a good time to toss them on so I don't continue to trip over them in the garage. I'm not a huge fan of how they mount; the upper part is held into the inner rocker with sheet metal screws, and the lower parts are held in with 3/8" bolts through the pinch weld. They do, however, pass the "Tony Test", aka me bouncing up and down on them. They are more for the 5ft tall wife, because she currently has to get a running start to get into the truck. laugh



I also mounted the spare tire to the side of the bed. There was already an eyelet bolt hanging over there on a bolt-on handle, which I am assuming was for the spare. I dug around my magic bolt bucket and found a big washer and nut, and on it went! I do need to swap a better tire on there instead of the "Dean Alpha IV Season Steel Belted Radial" (a fantastic off-brand tire name by the way!) that's dry rotted to hell, but at least it's up and out of the way for now.

And an updated glamour shot with the side steps. smiley

 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/3/19 8:35 a.m.

GRM member Cooter has a FB group dedicated to 1972-93 Dodge Trucks and Ramchargers that I joined a while back, but never posted in until last week. I tossed up a few pics of the truck, and a guy said, "That thing really needs some dog dishes!" which I 100% agreed with. After some messaging with the guy, he sold me a set! Naturally, I had to take more glamour shots. Yes, I know I need to polish the bumper. Been waiting for some new front bumper brackets to do that.

 

As far as the looks go, I like it as-is for now. I plan on doing the roof soon (it's really bad), but other than that, the dog dishes make it perfect.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
6/3/19 9:06 a.m.

damn son, such a small piece makes such a big difference.   capless steelies bum me out.  dog dishes say "i'm a base model, but i am LOVED!"

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/11/19 9:26 a.m.

Instead of wrenching, I spent most of my weekend working on my yard. Yeah, fun. 

When I had to make a trip to the local home improvement store to get some mulch, soil, and plants, the wife suggested that we take her 2018 CX-5 and just fold down the seats. NAY I SAY!!! This is a job for the Power Wagon!!!

Three things:

-8 foot beds are awesome. For years, I frowned upon them, but no more. They are so damn useful!

-The truck handled the load fine, although things were getting a little saggy toward the end. Then I remembered that the shocks had rust holes in them. I should probably replace those soon.

-Trips to the home improvement store are way more fun in a questionable old truck. My wife hasn't liked the truck much since I brought it home, calling it "gross" and "ugly" more than a few times. She said that no one likes it and I should have gotten something else. Immediately after saying that, a couple came over and said "That's a nice truck!" and struck up a conversation about how old trucks are awesome and how they are restoring a 1985 F150. This was a perfect "I told you so!" moment. cheeky By the end of the trip, she was all smiles. 

The truck did great, and I think it's starting to win over the wife, which is VERY important.

After the trip, the wife said I should probably sort out the situation with the gauges, especially the fuel gauge. I ordered up a new fuel sending unit, and I diagnosed the headlight switch and found it to be bad, so I ordered one of those up too. The fuel sending unit is a bed-off activity, so that should be fun.

Still, progress!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/11/19 9:34 a.m.
chandler said:
Professor_Brap said:

In reply to Tony Sestito :

I always tapped them for a pipe thread and put plugs in them. 

That’s a pretty high end solution; I usually just cut them off and crimp them lol.

I completely forgot... I did do this. Exhaust leak is now gone, and no more Direct Exhaust Injection! Runs a little smoother and quieter now.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/16/19 10:26 a.m.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, so I started it off with a simple fix on the Power Wagon: the headlight switch. 

As you can see, the old one on the left was worn out and crusty. There's an extra pole on the new one on the rear, but the plug actually had a spot for it. Speaking of the plug...

This was cleaned up too. After installing the new switch, most of the gauge lights came back! Nice. 

Later on, I went to visit a friend. 

My friend has been looking for a family cruiser for a while, and this 1979 Ramcharger popped right down the street from him. His is a loaded SE model, which has two tone paint, a 360, even more woodgrain, and more. We couldn't pass up the photo opp. 

Later in the day, I was out cruising and stopped at the grocery store. As I pulled in, the truck stalled. It fired back up, but ran like crap; low idle and felt like it was stumbling a bit. This is how it ran when the alternator failed, so I limped home and grabbed the voltmeter. It was only showing 11 volts on the meter, so I'm thinking my recently replaced alternator is junk. I am going to pull it, replace the hacked-together wiring for the alternator, and get the voltmeter I picked up a while back installed in the cluster. 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
6/16/19 11:35 a.m.

Gm alternator for an 93 buick lesabre 3800

Almost bolts in. Solves all the charging priblems with mopar alternators. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/16/19 4:54 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

Gm alternator for an 93 buick lesabre 3800

Almost bolts in. Solves all the charging priblems with mopar alternators. 

Hmm, I will have to look into this. Thanks!

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
6/17/19 1:17 p.m.

That other truck is a Ramcharger? 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/17/19 2:30 p.m.

In reply to Mazdax605 :

Yessir! My friend scooped the thing after stalking the seller for a week. It needs a decent amount of work (lots of rust repair), but it's a nice start to a good cruiser.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/22/19 7:47 p.m.

Today, I had a few minutes to troubleshoot the issue I had with the truck last weekend. Once I fired it up, I checked voltage again. This time, it had a proper 14 volts, so I think the alternator is fine. It may have had low voltage due to extremely low idle. 

So what would cause that?

I checked for vacuum leaks, and there were none that I could find. What about timing? The catalyst sticker says base timing should be set for 12 degrees. With the vacuum advance hooked up, it showed 35 degrees, and without it, it showed 25. It also feels like it's missing. That's not right. 

Now, I never touched the distributor since buying the truck. The distributor is also locked into place and doesn't move, so it's not like it moved on me while driving. It's very odd. 

I picked up a distributor wrench today, but ran out of time. Hopefully, adjusting timing to where it should be will solve the issue. 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
6/22/19 8:15 p.m.

Mopar distributors have an oil wick under the rotor button in the top of the shaft to keep the advance weights from sticking. Nobody but hardcore mopar guys remember they exist, and fewer yet ever add the few drops of oil every oil change. 

Mine always ran best at 12-18 degrees btdc. With all the vacuum advance on at idle. Idle speed of 600-750 in gear with stock cam.

jfryjfry
jfryjfry Dork
6/23/19 12:43 a.m.

I can’t say with 100% certainty but it never should have shown 11v if the alternator was good.  It had died and was running off of the battery for a while. 

I’d replace and upgrade that thing!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/24/19 11:25 a.m.

After acquiring some more tools, I was FINALLY able to adjust timing. It's now set to a proper 12 degrees BTDC and runs a lot better. Phew.
 

I'm currently looking into bypassing the ammeter and installing a voltmeter gauge, as well as a small tachometer. Should be fun!

EDIT: I just took the truck for a ride. What a difference! It runs beautiful now and much smoother now that it has proper timing. How it didn't detonate apart is a mystery. It even smells better now that it's actually combusting fuel properly!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/25/19 8:14 a.m.

Another quick thing I did yesterday:

Everyone I know that has a 70's Dodge pickup or Ramcharger has this same exact tachometer installed here. It's a perfect fit. My friend Greg had a spare kicking around that he gave me a few weeks ago, so I installed it after getting the truck running right. Now I'm able to further dial in idle speed and see where it cruises and shifts. Installation was super easy, and as much as it pained me to cut a hole in the dash bezel, it looks like it belongs there.

Vogin12
Vogin12
6/27/19 5:45 p.m.

Im in the process of doing this to my 79 power wagon. Questions do i need the capacitor on the coil? And what do i do with all the extra wire connections left over from the smog delete and engine swap i have a handful of connections i dont even know what they go to? I have to do the distributor and timing before i get to in depth on the erratic misfire/lac of power

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/28/19 11:00 a.m.

In reply to Vogin12 :

The coil capacitor is there to cut down on ignition noise. I still haven't replaced it, and it runs fine without it, but it may add ignition noise to the stereo system. On the distributor/smog pump stuff, I'm honestly not sure, as someone did all of that before I bought the truck. I know that there are a few wires near the distributor that aren't hooked up, but I'm not sure what they do.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
6/28/19 11:58 a.m.

In reply to Vogin12 :

Did tou do away with all the vacuum stuff and lean burn system? All the vacuum lines plugged, and a sealing egr blockoff installed? Also, start a thread! Plenty of us mopar guys around here to entertain/assist with troubleshooting.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
7/1/19 9:03 a.m.

A couple of quick updates on the truck from over the weekend:

First, as much as it pained me to do it aesthetically, I put a modern radio in the truck with Bluetooth connectivity.

It's a cheapo Walmart-special Kenwood digital media receiver. I just wanted something that streamed Bluetooth and did hands-free calling, and this does it. No frills at all, really. I had a predecessor to this one (although higer specs) in my Dakota for a few years, and it did the job well enough. The blue lighting sorta matches the blue everything else in and outside the truck, and at least it has a knob.

Since the truck only has a single trashed dash speaker, I opted to get some old-school 6x9 enclosures and some $30 JVC speakers:

They fit nicely behind the seats and the speakers make noise without sounding like wet farts. That's about all I was looking for, so these do the trick. The boxes are made by Scosche, and had some poly fill in them and are made well. They make a decent amount of bass, too. Pardon my install, as this is all temporary until I re-do the interior.

I also swapped out my oil pressure switch for a proper sending unit:

The truck puts out between 30-40psi most of the time, which is not bad for a tired, loose, 40 year old 318. 

I also drove it around a bit this weekend running some errands. It runs so much better now with the reset timing!



 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
7/2/19 10:01 a.m.

The last gauge that's not working in my gauge cluster is an important one: the fuel gauge. I know it's getting power, so I believe the float inside the tank on the sender has pinholes and filled up with fuel, keeping it at the bottom of the tank at all times. I bought a new sender recently, and am thinking about installing it over the 4th of July weekend, as I have a tradition of tackling a major automotive project every 4th of July. What's more 'Merican than that? Not much, I'll tell you that!

Here's the fun part: since someone else messed around with the tank in the past, I can't just drop the tank. They nut and bolted the straps, and you can't access them without the bed off the truck. And that's exactly what I'm going to do: I'm pulling the bed off the truck. I'm not going to let this become a "while I'm in there" kind of event; I'm pulling it, swapping the sender, and putting it back on. I've got truck stuff to do, so I don't want it down for more than a few hours.

Now, I'm probably flying solo in this adventure, so my thought is to borrow an engine hoist, get two ratchet straps, cross them across the bed in a X pattern, grab the middle where they intersect with the bed, undo the mounts/filler neck/wiring, and pull it off. This makes perfect sense in my head. Am I missing anything?

 

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
7/2/19 11:11 a.m.

I have an engine hoist. I'll trade helping you for help with our Montero.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
7/6/19 6:31 p.m.

It's been an interesting few days with the Power Wagon, let me tell you!

It started back on Wednesday. I had the day off, so I decided to tackle a few projects, mainly replacing the rear shocks and re-wiring the stereo. First up: the rear shocks.

The 1980's-vintage Monroes on the truck were worn and literally rotting off, so these have been on my list for a while. I ended up replacing them with some newer Monroes that I scored cheap on Amazon. Plus, they are blue and match the truck.

Much better!

On the stereo wiring: I had hooked up the "battery lead" to the stock power wire on the truck's harness, but it kept resetting every time I turned it on, so I made a new direct-to-battery lead with an inline fuse. No pics, but I hooked it up via an eyelet connector to the positive battery terminal. I also noted that the positive wire was getting a bit frayed, so I put one on my list next time I went to the parts store. While I had the soldering iron out, I also fixed the sketchy alternator wiring with a harness I pulled from a Sno-Fiter back over the winter sitting in a junkyard. After that, I tested voltage, and all was good.

Fast forward to Friday: I decided that I was going to get my Trans Am running again soon, so the truck needed to give it back its battery. I ordered up a new one along with a positive cable to replace the frayed one, some new spark plugs, and a new lighter socket to replace the non-functioning one. On the way home, I was driving along and noticed the truck running funny. Then, the tachometer started reading backwards, and then nothing. No power at all.

Uh oh.

Turns out that frayed battery cable pulled out from the terminal! Not good. I re-attached it, fired it back up, and drove off. It pulled out twice more on the way home, but I was able to eventually get there. I replaced it with the new one and all was good, or so I thought (more on this in a few).

Next up: the spark plugs. They have been on the list for a while, so now was a good a time as any. The 318 is probably the easiest OHV V8 I have ever done plugs on; they are right on top of the headers and easy to get to. 1st pic has the 1, 3, 5, and 7, and the 2nd pic has the 2, 4, 6, and 8.

As you can see, there are various states of weirdness going on here. 1, 5, and 6 are completely fouled out, while others have weird issues that indicate the ground electrode has been bent, probably on installation. Furthermore, all the gaps were different and none of them were correct! Chalk this up to "Maine repairs". I replaced them all, gapped them correctly, and even added some wire trees to route things correctly.

Later on Friday, my front shocks arrived, so on they went.

Again, the old ones were smoked. Only one of the four was still functioning at all.

 


 

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