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Thread: 2nd gen convert to diesel?

  1. #1

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    2nd gen convert to diesel?

    So in response to the turbo diesel I mentioned before the guy dropped the price to $500. It's an 84. The body is in rough shape. It needs a head gasket since it overheated. It's a turbo diesel 4wd 5-speed. Would this drivetrain fit in my 94? I know I need to change the front end for the front diff 4wd but would the rest interchange? At this point I'd have a doner truck. It is a short bed so the driveshaft may fit. The engine should be a 4D55 TD which should be the same as the 4D56 that came in the 2nd gens. So if I get mounts it should work. We've been doing some research but idk what to do about 4wd. May look into doing a 2wd since my truck is 2wd. Could I change the existing trans' tailshaft to a 2wd?
    Last edited by recian; 01-11-2013 at 07:27 PM.

  2. #2

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    Well I found someone who did it and said it's pretty straight forward. bolt in swap. My biggest thing now is the transmission conversion to 2wd. I'd rather not change my whole front end.

  3. #3

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    BUMP! ...wish i could help but unfortunately i've nvr done this swap. and lucky find, i've been lookin for a '84 diesel ram50 for a while now. they're beast! good luck w/ the work.

  4. #4

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    I've been doing non stop research on this swap over the past week. The only thing that worries me is the engine has no compression. As long as the block is straight we're good. I can get a 4d56 head if necessary and overhaul it. I think it's just a bad head gasket tho. I read the swap is a bolt-in just have to wire up some things. The hardest is going to be the glow plugs since I cant find 12v ones and the modules tend to go bad but he said the truck was running til it oveheated. Gona go look at the truck this weekend. I'll be doing a build thread if I get it. I'll also have parts for sale if I do. Sucks I just spent $600 in parts to overhaul my 2.4L that broke a timing belt. I'm pretty excited to have the opportunity to get it so I'll be keeping up to date.

  5. #5

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    sounds like a plan. yeah it aint cheap rebuilding diesels. I have 2, but they're OM617 Benz's. lmk how it goes this weekend, best of luck and hopefully u pick it up. heck it'd be nice if u can keep both of them. lol
    if you can't dodge it, Ram it!

  6. #6

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    I wanted to keep em both and use the first gen as a fun off road truck and keep my 2nd gen as a daily 2wd auto but from the pics i've seen the diesel is a farm truck so the body is too far gone. That's why it's so cheap

  7. #7

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    well u mentioned the bad compression.. is it bad rings?

    and see if u can lowball him quite a bit and pick up that truck mainly for its motor since u could rebuild it and sell whatever u dnt need.
    if you can't dodge it, Ram it!

  8. #8

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    The guy already turned down $450 and said he wont go under $500. I plan to yank the drivetrain, sell any good interior parts or needed underhood parts I dont need to the guys here or donate them to the guys for the site and scrap the body when i'm done since most of it is rusted out. His story is it overheated a couple miles from home, blew the radiator cap off and kept running until he got home, no noises or anything unusual. He parked it and a few months later tried to start it and it had no compression across all cylinders. It's either a warped head or blown h/g. I've read these engines can blow head gaskets and lose compression on all cylinders. If it's a warped head I'll get a better flowing more available 4D56 head since it'll bolt on and there's no difference from the 55 head.

  9. #9



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    Hope that block isn't cracked - he sounds like he really beat that to death to get it home.
    Pennyman1
    The best Dodge that Dodge never made
    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  10. #10

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    Im gona go look at it tomorrow. I would think no compression on all 4 would be a warped head. Block damage would be limited to the cylinder and have to be extensive since diesel blocks are built stronger than the gas ones. The guy doesnt seem to know too much about it so im gona take my trucks battery and see if we can turn it over. Could be a broken timing belt from sitting after getting so hot. Those belts go through alot of stress with 21:1 compression and if its been heated and could have oil on it.. thats not uncommon. Thats how mine broke, oil soaked the belt.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by pennyman1 View Post
    Hope that block isn't cracked - he sounds like he really beat that to death to get it home.
    x2! but hopefully damage isnt too severe.

    Quote Originally Posted by recian View Post
    Im gona go look at it tomorrow. I would think no compression on all 4 would be a warped head. Block damage would be limited to the cylinder and have to be extensive since diesel blocks are built stronger than the gas ones. The guy doesnt seem to know too much about it so im gona take my trucks battery and see if we can turn it over. Could be a broken timing belt from sitting after getting so hot. Those belts go through alot of stress with 21:1 compression and if its been heated and could have oil on it.. thats not uncommon. Thats how mine broke, oil soaked the belt.
    diesels have timing chains in general..and i believe that particular motor does too. well the head gasket is most likely toast and its possible the head is warped since there's no compression in any cylinder.
    if you can't dodge it, Ram it!

  12. #12

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    Nope the 4D55 has a timing belt which drives the fuel injection pump and a seperate belt for balance shafts. That's how it knows when to inject fuel into the cylinders. I've done alot of reserarch on it. I dont make purchases without doing research. Buying a cheap used car that doesn't run you always take the chance the engine is beyond repair but for what the truck is and how hard they are to find and how badass and unique my truck could be with that drivetrain, I think it's worth the $500 risk. Worst case If it is toast I can make my money selling parts and scrapping like I originally planned. I've got a good 2.4L from my truck and all the parts to overhaul it ready to be assembled and installed so I've got nothing to lose really.

    It sucks I don't have access to a compressor to run a cylinder leakdown test to make sure it's not block damage. Odds are if I did it would come out the crank case and the radiator anyway.

  13. #13

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    oh i see.. since most diesels are timing chain driven I assumed these diesels were too. but i agree, u got a good back up plan. and u'll find out exactly whats up when u open up that diesel. and hopefully a thread too w/ pix?! lol
    if you can't dodge it, Ram it!

  14. #14

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    Yeah Hopefully I get it home and unloaded tomorrow in time to take some pics of the 2 trucks together before it gets dark. I'll probably start another thread that'll cover the whole build and swap process. I have it rough since not only am I converting it to a diesel but I'm taking an 2.4 EFI auto 2wd truck and taking a 2.3L turbo diesel 5-speed 4wd (converted to 2wd) and dropping it in so I've got the engine swap and a 5-speed trans swap and a 4wd to 2wd trans conversion to do all at the same time.

  15. #15

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    damn.. sounds like ur gonna be elbows deep. we'll call it operation 3-in-1. haha
    if you can't dodge it, Ram it!

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    I would love to have a Diesel with a Jake Brake

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  18. #18

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    That could be a great looking truck when finished

  19. #19

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    I payed 500 for it. The body is gone. Rockers and floors are rusted out but the 2.3 turbo diesel is stout. After getting it i like the 4 headlight first gen more. I may abandon plans to drop it in my 2nd gen and sell the 2nd gen with rebuilt 2.4L. A local guy has an 86 with 27k original miles. Owned by an elderly man. It has a spun rod in its 2.6. I may drop all the diesel parts into that truck. The body is flawless just faded since its dodge red. He wants 875 for it with clean title and it runs.

  20. #20

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    Decisions decisions

  21. #21

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    Im going to pick it up friday. I'll have pics this weekend. The guy said if I didnt get it he was going to buy it off the elderly man (original owner) and dismantle it for parts so I had to save it. The new tires are worth about half what he's asking for it. The swap into that truck will be pretty simple. Just have to modify the firewall to accept hydraulic clutch instead of cable since the diesels had hydraulic. Also the diesel has the tach cluster and p/s so I'll swap those into the 86. It has a leaking steering gear box tho. Gota find a rebuild kit. Down the road I'll have to look into adding a/c since it's got the pulley for it. Then I'll have a super luxury truck that can haul anything (within reason for it's size)

  22. #22

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    It's great when things work out, this sounds a lot better than the alternative.

  23. #23

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    Yep. I love my 2nd gen and the box body but after seeing a 1st gen in person and owning it the bed is larger and the whole truck is more sleek. Ive always liked the 4 headlights since my brother had a 720 pickup back in the day and i loved it. The swap will be easy in the first gen and the diesel truck has every option, hyd. Clutch, power steering and a tach cluster. The 86 has the original radio and body/interior is perfect. Once i swap everything over ill have 1 nice truck from the 2.
    A note to anyone who wants to do this swap it can be done. Its easier in a M/T truck. The biggest obstacle youll have is the 1st and 2nd gen have different brake master setups so making it fit could be a challenge unless you keep the cable clutch. I think the 2.6 and diesel have the same bellhousing pattern so trans may swap. Ill know for sure on that when i get my 2 trucks apart. Its not overly hard swap either.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by recian View Post
    Im going to pick it up friday. I'll have pics this weekend. The guy said if I didnt get it he was going to buy it off the elderly man (original owner) and dismantle it for parts so I had to save it. The new tires are worth about half what he's asking for it. The swap into that truck will be pretty simple. Just have to modify the firewall to accept hydraulic clutch instead of cable since the diesels had hydraulic. Also the diesel has the tach cluster and p/s so I'll swap those into the 86. It has a leaking steering gear box tho. Gota find a rebuild kit. Down the road I'll have to look into adding a/c since it's got the pulley for it. Then I'll have a super luxury truck that can haul anything (within reason for it's size)
    Rock auto.com has the best prices on the steering box kit, and you can order the pitman arm seal seperate

  25. #25

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    that looks pretty rough but theres plenty of parts on it u can sell for some $$. regardless those 1st gens are pretty sick. but i prefer da single headlights Sport 1st gen. check this one out http://www.oldparkedcars.com/2012/12...kup-truck.html I love it and the color combo is awesome!
    if you can't dodge it, Ram it!

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