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Thread: Diesel D50 : "PW50"

  1. #1

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    Diesel D50 : "PW50"

    I've given this little truck the nickname "Power Wagon 50"

    It's powered by a Intercooled 4D56 (heading off to the machine shop in a few hours)

    It was my first truck, and before that it was my dad's First New Truck. It started life as a 2.6L / 904 Power-Ram 50, In the end there was 270,000 miles clocked on the original 2.6L before it kicked the bucket. The truck has had a hard life as a Work Truck / Plow Truck / Daily Driver. And here in the Rust Belt that just annhilates the body.

    I had to replace the Body (piece by piece, since 1st Gen Parts are hard to find). And i settled for whatever parts i could find, regardless of their condition. Once I get the truck running again (yay New/Rebuilt 4D56) I'll be replacing the Doors, Cab Corners, & Lower Quarters with ones from a virtually Rust Free 2WD that was slammed hard in the front. A friend of my dad's owns a junkyard, and he's put that 2WD into his personal collection of cars to keep vultures from tearing stuff off it until i get around to removing the parts i need. (i'm just gonna get the whole truck, that way i have tons of spare parts)

    Here's how the truck sits at the moment, Pretty much the only original parts left on the truck are the Front Clip and the Interior.







    It may not be pretty right now, but it will be someday. Within the bounds of reason of course, nothing too fancy, since i'll still be using it as a work truck / daily beater.

  2. #2


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    sweet looks like its gonna be a nice project. Ill def. be tuned in to this one...

  3. #3


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    1989 Mitsubishi Mighty Max
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    Very nice truck. Very hard to find on the road locally where I live. Since I was looking locally for parts, which was about 2 years now, I only came across 2. One in the scrap yard that has disappeared in like 2 weeks, one one parked on the side of the road selling fruits.

  4. #4

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    1984 Dodge Power Ram 50
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    Well I've gotta buy a Head, this one has cracks in each of the Injector "inserts". Some of the cracks have spread beyond the fire-ring that goes around the cylinder (on the head gasket) Bummer....

  5. #5


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    Big bummer man. You source any replacements yet?

  6. #6


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    no luck here on these trucks....good luck on finding parts. keep us posted....

  7. #7

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    My dad's a little more knowledgeable when it comes to heads, he looked at it and said "why in the world would you want to replace it right now?" He then picked up the old head gasket and pointed to the fire-ring that goes around the cylinder, showing that it had an offset that went around the injector inserts too and said. "Even if it cracks all the way to the edge, it's still not going to leak."

    I looked at it closer, and he's right. I don't see any harm in running that head now that he pointed that out to me. It's not like it would cause a loss in compression, or oil in the coolant (or vice versa). So i cleaned the head up and straight edged it, no warpage, no cracks between the valves or in other crucial areas. Just those cracks in those inserts, which are sealed into the combustion chamber anyway with the fire-ring.

    I'll save up the cash though and eventually pick up a new 4D56 Head to keep on the shelf, should it ever crack between the valves though.

  8. #8

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    I still recommend getting a new head from Heads-R-Us on the eBay-uk

  9. #9


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    I would take it to a shop and get the cracks looked at and sealed if possible. Cracks on gas engine can cause a hotspots as well as preignition that can mess up your block. If not replaced, then at least repaired. Good luck with progress.

  10. #10


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    yeah i would have it looked at or replaced..like stated above it could lead to more problems and the need to find more parts..and spend more money.

  11. #11

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    It's part of the plan now, but not in the original budget. So i'm substituting a different truck for the time being while i save up the cash to get the head.

    My '87 Power Ram 50 is going back on the road for now (i have a build thread for it too)

    It has a built up 1984 2.6L with a Non-Jet Valve Head, 10 to 1 Compression, Balancing Shaft Elimination, High Volume Oil Pump, Aisan Progressive 2BBL Carb, Mild Port Work, Oversized Valves. And a KM145 (this is actually my last KM145, they don't last very long, even behind bone stock 2.6's) If it kills this one (and it will for sure), i'm bolting a NP435 behind the 2.6. The 435 can handle a Chrysler 440 (7.2L), so it won't even know if there's a 2.6L in front of it.

    I just have to replace the bearings, one of the rod bearings looked iffy so i'm replacing those (but it's hard to find 0.5 rod bearings anymore, every parts store lists them as Obsolete/No Longer Available) I already had a Gasket Set here, so i tore the engine down and honed the cylinders, cleaned the oil passages, polished the crank, lapped the valves and went through the engine with a fine tooth comb. In the end i guess it would have been fine to run as-is, but i know those bearings would have bit me in the butt a few years down the road.

    Tomorrow i'm going to check with the only parts store in town that deals with rare/antique/unique vehicles to see if they stock the bearings i need (i know they have the bearings in stock for my 4D56, so hopefully they stock the 2.6 Bearings too... If i remember correctly the 4D5x & 2.6L share the same Rod & Main Bearing part numbers)

  12. #12

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    The 2.3 diesel and the 2.6 gasser are completely different engines and they do not share any parts. If you are running a head with cracks on a diesel your just asking for problems. The 4D55 diesel runs at a 21:1 compression ratio so the parts need to be built much stronger. Like I said you need to get a new head from Heads R Us. The 4d56 heads are redesigned to prevent cracking. Also the KM145 is a descent tranny, I think your expectations of a 20-30 year old transmission are too high. If you went out and had a km145 professionally rebuilt it would last for another 20-30 years. To me that seems like it's a decent tranny.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4D55 Performance View Post
    If you went out and had a km145 professionally rebuilt it would last for another 20-30 years. To me that seems like it's a decent tranny.
    Are parts still available?

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by CRIChouse View Post
    Are parts still available?
    Absolutely, it was a very common tranny. I have seen several NOS trannys floating around for under $500 over the past year.

  15. #15

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    I posted a link to a place that specializes in drivelines, including rebuilding trannies. Apparently they can still get all the parts for this tranny.

  16. #16

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    Regardless of condition, it brings a smile to my face whenever I get to see one of our trucks on the road. Great to see you're keeping her alive!

    -RHP

  17. #17

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    It ain't pretty, but it looks a little better now that 3/4 of the truck has been sprayed with rattle cans. The only reason i didn't spray the front clip, is my dad had those colors custom mixed years ago for the truck, and i want to repaint it in the same colors/style someday. (so i'll need something to go by when i order the paint)







    Running a 2.6L Gas Engine in it for now, while the diesel is out of the truck. Using the little beast to haul loads of scrap to the junkyard to help pay for my huge list of parts for the diesel engine, lol. And I decided to install the winch, since i made some cash dragging people out of the mud when it was on my old truck. And I'll finish up the Snow Plow setup, so i can push some snow with it this winter (more money).

  18. #18

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    More of the "Little Critter" (Camoit seemed to like the name "Little Critter", but i can't modify the original post to change the name of the thread)



    40x17-15 Monster Mudders on a Dodge D50

    I cut 4" out of the rear of the front fenders and reshaped the wheelwells where they meet the floorpans, the front of the fenders had 8" cut off below the side marker lights. SAS with 4" of Suspension Lift, 2" Body Lift, Engine/Transmission/Transfer Cases dropped 2" (to lower the center of gravity)

    Didn't do anything to the bed or lower quarter panels yet, the rear wheelwell openings are massive on the 1st gen D50's.

  19. #19

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    Well I haven't updated this thread in a very long time.

    I gave up on the Diesel, it needed a sleeve on the #2 Cylinder and I couldn't find one (nor could the machine shop) so I ended up scrapping the block and selling off the remaining diesel parts. Ran the truck with the 2.6L for a while and then pulled it out to swap in a 273 Small Block Mopar V8 (Holy Power Increase Batman)














    And some video too. (Older video, Tach has since been hooked up and obviously the transfer case shifters were installed too) At the time it had a 625 Carter AVS carb on it, it now has an 800 Carter Thermoquad on it. I was having problems with the AVS suffering from Heat Soak, so I swapped back to a Thermoquad

    http://youtu.be/aMG0mGEQYpw

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