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Thread: The Resurrection of Ol' Dirty Blue...My Build Thread

  1. #1

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    The Resurrection of Ol' Dirty Blue...My Build Thread

    Well I have been a member of this site for over two years now and have yet to post a build thread; and I know you all like pictures. So I figured is was about time to put it all in writing (as much as I can remember and have documented).

    The brief back story on the truck can be found in my introduction post:In Memorial No need to repeat this information.

    Since I am no mechanic (or at least wasn't 2 years ago), this is has been a learning experience. Most of the initial work that I did was more cosmetic. However as the years went by I went deeper into the engine to fix more and more issues as they arose.

    First set of images are from the first year, in a rented tiny garage. This is the way Ol' Dirty Blue looked when she first came to me.

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    After adjusting some timing issues, she still wasn't running right. So I elected to remove the Mikuni Carb since calibrating these can be tricky and opted for the Weber 32/36 DFEV conversion.

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    Now that she was able to start up and run; though she smoked abit (burning oil). I decided to hold off on tackling the leaks in favor of more cosmetic changes.

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    Then came the gasket replacements and fan upgrade.

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    Then she was almost ready to roll, though she still smoked abit. But she was still sitting on flat old tires...so new tires were ordered and she rolled out of the garage. Unfortunately, no test drive that day because she really didn't have much power. Plus getting in her in the sun allowed me to see the damage that years of road salt and sitting had done to the frame.

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    Then we moved and I started sharing our neighbor's garage to really dig into the oil leak more aggressively. So first the head came off.

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    Then as I waited for additional parts; valve lash adjusters, new valves (one exhaust valve was found to be bent), and more gaskets. I decided to clean under the hood and work on replacing the fenders.

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    Then, with the help of my more mechanically inclined neighbor, I decided to pull the motor and replace the rod bearings, re-ring the pistons, and lightly hone the cylinders. But figured, while it's out let's paint it up.

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  2. #2

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    After a good paint job (IMO), everything went back in and was tested. Less smoke and she started to really come to life. She still ran a little rich so had to tweak the carb a bit.



    Last edited by Ram50-Newb; 12-08-2013 at 03:54 PM. Reason: Testing adding additional pics

  3. #3

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    Sounds like a story with a happy ending, looking forward to the rest.
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  4. #4

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    Sorry for the large images on post #2, half of my photos were taken with our Kodak camera and the file size is too large to upload and link like those in my first post. I am only going to post two more pics due to size. I will on re-sizing the rest for a later post. Here is the motor set back into place with an upgraded Accel ignition coil, my temporary Mr. Gasket electric fuel pump, PaceSetter headers (which have not impressed me as of yet), and my wiring nightmare that still needs cleaned up today.




    The truck has basically been used as a farm truck for the last year, because of complications with getting the title / registration in my name. The most recent work being done now, is focusing on the rust removal from the back half of the frame. The pictures are little tight on the frame, because my space surrounding the truck is a bit small.

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  5. #5

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    So as I wait for the temperature to heat up so I can treat the frame rust, I decided this might be a good time to plan the install of the Carter P4070 fuel pump. Ideally, I'd like this pump mounted close to the tank (similar to Mopar_ja's Setup), but with the Gen2 it appears that the main fuel line hose is routed between the two frame brackets for the bed.

    So I guess the choices are remove and rerun the fuel and brake lines routed along the frame to accommodate the pump to be mounted in front of the tank on the inside edge of the frame. Or, determine if there is a way to use some creative engineering to mount the pump in between the bed supports and still have the fuel tank hose routed above the pump (body lift maybe). Any thoughts?

  6. #6

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    Wow, Ol' Blue sure is inspiring! How much trouble was it to take the bed off? That is certainly the way to tackle that rust, and mine is just as bad. I want to arrest the rust, and also get some reinforcement welded on. If removing the bed isn't traumatic, that is certainly the way I'd like to go.

    I have no ideas to offer regarding the fuel pump placement. It's frikken' TIGHT in that area. My '90 has fuel injection, the pump is inside the tank, and the repair I had to make didn't allow for much fudging room. On my '89 parts truck, the fuel pump is right on the intake manifold, running off the cam.

    The repair to my tank involved doing something to connect the rusted metal outlet and return pipes to the fuel line...a leak brought my attention to the problem. In dropping the tank, I saw the lines were rusted and 'sweating". My first repair actually caused the pipes to break off. Broken off with only 1/4" stubs to work with, I used that PL S10 concrete caulk to adhere fuel line. When the caulking cured, I put hose clamps on. I also surrounded the area with Bondo, sort of like putting a cast on a broken arm. The repair was a success, but it made me keep my eye open for a replacement tank.

    Some parts are headed your way pretty soon: what shape are your sun visors in?

    That's a really suh-weeeeeet paint job, all 'round. Nice project truck!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by royster View Post
    Wow, Ol' Blue sure is inspiring! How much trouble was it to take the bed off? That is certainly the way to tackle that rust, and mine is just as bad. I want to arrest the rust, and also get some reinforcement welded on. If removing the bed isn't traumatic, that is certainly the way I'd like to go.

    Some parts are headed your way pretty soon: what shape are your sun visors in?

    That's a really suh-weeeeeet paint job, all 'round. Nice project truck!
    The bed was easy removal, however if you plan on doing itself, I'd rig a pulley system; I did a make-shift attempt with ratchet straps. It worked until it was time to lower the bed . There are four bolts in the front of the bed, four in the back, and then just disconnect the wiring harness to the tail-lights and hoses from the fuel inlet down pipe; not sure the mechanic's term for that piece. Then the bed just lifts up, if you have the brackets in the four corners of the bed, just latch your chains to them and connect to the pulley system and up it goes.

    Sun-visors have some bubbling from the years of wear, but are still in pretty good shape. Thanks for the compliments on the truck, will be much nicer when she gets cleaned up and I can finally replace the sunroof. Having an aftermarket model sucks when they go obsolete and no one makes the glass anymore.

  8. #8

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    Inspiring, thank you. I'd likely use a system similar to how I take my F-150 cap off: lift it up, support it, and drive from under it. I can do some of the work during winter, but again, you encouraged me to do it right, so this looks like a Spring project. It will allow me to tilt the bed up and easily access the under-side of it. Definitely inspired.

  9. #9

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    Hey! a fellow neon guy with a ram50! you on any neon forums? trucks lookin good!

  10. #10

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    Sorry Redneck - The neon belonged to a neighbor. He was letting me use space in his garage. However, I did enjoy assisting him with modding the neon. We changed the gear ratio, installed a Phantom Grip Unit in the Differential, and turbo'd it. It was a pretty fast little car.

    On another note, I've been toying with a few ideas for the truck once I start planning the paint job. I thought I'd share one with the forum folks. I also enjoy photo manipulation, so I decided to share this. Note the hood on the truck.

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  11. #11



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    Nice Ram50, I'm a retired 25 year Digital Graphic Designer Local #583. Nice idea in the photo. Probably be easier to get cut vinyl at some sign shop to lay on hood instead of paint. You can always remove it and replace it and it will be much easier to produce perfectly.

  12. #12

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    You are correct Brad, I've been considering taking the logo to a local company that does automotive skins and custom decals. Figured it would make it easy, but at the same time, I like the challenge of trying to recreate something through painting. If I do attempt to paint it, free-hand or with fabricated templates, it will likely be on wood first.

    Thanks for the input, makes the ideas running in my head a little more manageable if I move toward the vinyl options. Once I get a good angled shot of the truck, I have another idea that I think will be perfect; I just like putting it in a visual format before committing.

    How well does the polling on this forum work? Once I get the frame rust taken care of, I plan on repainting the truck. Maybe I should post a few ideas and let the masses decide which is the best look.

  13. #13

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    Has it really been 4 years since I posted to this thread??
    I would love to come back and say the build is done and it has been a very productive 4 years. But sadly not much progress was made since the last post. However, I am back on the Ram 50 project and have spent the last few weeks completing the following:

    - Cutoff old upper leaf spring bolts
    - Pulled off the leaf springs
    - Striped all remaining pieces from the back half of the frame
    - Prepped the frame for painting and coated with Eastwood Rust Encapsulator (x3 coats)
    - I have ordered new bushings from Siberian Bushings (before the big political crap started kicking each others delegates out) - hopefully doesn't cause economic turmoil, as I am still waiting on the bushings to leave the country.
    - New rear shocks - Gabriel G63419 - they are little bigger than the old stock shocks

    I am at the point where re-assembly is on the brain. I want to get everything on the back-end put back together so she can leave the garage again. I know there was still a smoking (running rich or burning oil) issue when I started on dealing with the frame rust, so I know that still needs my focus before she is road worthy.

    Once that is taken care the next phase is the interior. My wife is a project/diy enthusiast and we are looking to re-upholster the seats, new flooring, roof panel fabric, etc... The one big mystery I still need to solve is how to deal with the Sunroof hole, now that I can not find a replacement piece of glass. I figure I'll likely close it up, just need to settle on how I want to accomplish this.

    Please don't judge what you see in the photo, I thought about cleaning and painting everything, but decided leave the fuel tank and axle alone for now.
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  14. #14

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    Welcome back !!!
    The greatest gift you have to give to the world is that of your own self~transformation.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram50-Newb View Post
    The one big mystery I still need to solve is how to deal with the Sunroof hole, now that I can not find a replacement piece of glass. I figure I'll likely close it up, just need to settle on how I want to accomplish this.

    Please don't judge what you see in the photo, I thought about cleaning and painting everything, but decided leave the fuel tank and axle alone for now.
    There are sunroofs and glass on ebay. Granted they're not cheap but maybe you'll find either the glass or a slightly bigger sunroof to replace yours. As for dirty, well at least yours doesn't have rusted through mounts, panels or brackets. Working on a dirt floor is far from ideal but you work with what you got.
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  16. #16



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    If you can find another truck, cut the roof off and reskin yours. I have a parts truck that is a 89 standard cab long bed 2wd I am parting out, but I am in the 'burgh. It is mostly complete at this point. Let me know if you need parts.
    Pennyman1
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  17. #17

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    Hey Pennyman - Thanks for the offer. At this point I'm not aware of any immediate needs on parts, and many items are easily found/ordered online. However, if I come across anything that creates a real challenge I'll let you know; Pittsburgh is not that far away. Re-skinning the roof was certainly one option I was considering.

    Geezer - The sunroof in question is a Farmont/Inalfa F700 aftermarket sunroof. Which apparently stopped being produced in 2004. I did have some leads 4 years ago on someone in Australia on eBay that was selling the complete kit for around $300 or so. But I'm not seeing those available anymore, a victim of my own procrastination.

  18. #18

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    Well Geezer - I take back part of my earlier post. These sunroofs do appear to still be available in the Australia market. The vendor in this eBay post however does not ship to the States.

    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/INALFA-F...m4383.l4275.c1

  19. #19

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    There's always a way. You might need to arrange the freight yourself. I would love another pop up sunroof and the truck would be perfect for it. That would definitely suck not being able to drive your truck due to a sunroof panel you can't find a replacement for
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  20. #20

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    Ok, two weeks have gone by and I have reassembled the whole backend - except the truck bed.
    I remounted the fuel pump I was running to back by the tank. I opted to stick with the current pump, versus the Carter 4070 just because of challenges finding the right place to mount it. Since the current pump came with a fuel filter for the inlet side, I remounted the stock filter under the hood, before the carb. I then ran the line right to the carb, the pump (Mr. Gasket 12-42S) is rated for 2-3.5 PSI, 42GPH so figured this should suffice.

    Started the truck up and it stumbled a bit at first but smoothed out, then my old nemesis returned, thick smoke from the tail pipe. So thinking that maybe what I was seeing was too much pressure to the carb, I spliced in a t-fitting to route excess gas back through the fuel return line. Then she wouldn't start.

    So long story short, new plugs, some carb re-calibration and she once again came to life. A little less smoke, but still smoking. So then I started thinking "you better not be burning oil, again." So for giggles, I threw the old Mr. Gasket fuel regulator on right before the carb, and she fired with only a small amount of smoke. I tweaked the carb a little more, but could not get the smoke to stop. So did some more adjustments, but still nothing.

    I had my son start her up last night so I let her run and check the plugs, and when he started it up, I rev'd the engine with the linkage and when it returned I noticed the choke was slightly more open. My son that called me and said he didn't see any smoke from the tailpipe. Sure enough she stopped smoking. However, the longer it ran the more smoke would start to build up. So I am asking for ideas on what else can be tweaked / re-calibrated to correct the following symptoms. I have read the weber calibration threads, but I don't want to make an adjustment that might foul up how far I'm come.

    Symptom 1 - Begins to build smoke the longer it runs; 1 min = no smoke, 2 min = barely noticeable smoke, 3 min = noticeable smoke, and so on. I haven't kept it running beyond 5 minutes, because I don't want to smoke myself out of the garage.

    Symptom 2 - I pulled it out of the garage, and wanted to see how she handled with some load. Rev'd the engine in gear, threw some stones , but she fell on her face and died once I let off the gas. Starts right up and runs fine with moderate acceleration, just can't gun it.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  21. #21

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    I am about to turn into the grim omen of doom - where'd you get the carb from? If it isn't a genuine Weber it might be the reason why you can't get the engine to run right. It has to have the Weber name and logo cast into it for it to be legit. There is nothing you can do to get the fake carbs to run right - it comes down to bad manufacturing. Also did you do valve stem seals? #1 cause of engine smoke/oil burn. They go rock hard if they've been sitting for a long time. Check your plugs for oil fouling.
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  22. #22

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    Geezer - Thanks for the concern, but it's a genuine weber. I had that scare about 5-6 years ago, but it bares the stamp/casting "Weber" and "Made in Spain". The valve stems seals were replaced about 5 years ago, so if sitting for that long would cause issues, I may explore that option. Another thought, since it was running rich previously and I did have some oil leakage in the past, is it possible the smoking is just excess residue in the exhaust pipe burning off as it is heated?

    I just cooked on the Grill last night, and realized the same happens when you first fire up a propane grill will grease and fat residue on the grates. So it donned on me, could this be the reason its smoking now. I haven't let it run long enough to see if it burns off and stops smoking.

  23. #23

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    The exhaust manifold could (and probably is) fouled from previous contamination.
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  24. #24



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    What color is that smoke again? Black is fuel, gray is engine damage or rebuild time. Also, an engine isn't a grill. No animal fat in and engine lol. Done a compression check lately. Plugs all look the same or is there one getting the burn to smoke. The truck shouldn't smoke but a bit and then clear right up. Maybe a little seafoam if you think it needs to burn off something. To smoke alot, you have to have alot of contamination of something that burns and creates the smoke. But if it keeps smoking then it's getting fed by some tolerance being out of wack or damage. Bent valve or something allowing it to suck something other then fuel.

  25. #25

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    Hey Brad - So wait, an engine is not a grill? So I shouldn't be cooking hotdogs and hamburgers on it?
    To answer your questions, the smoke starts out grayish black and builds to black smoke. I guess I forgot to mention, when I swapped in the new plugs I did do a compression test and there is no deviation between the cylinders. The new plugs (after running about 5 minutes) were black, but that was before all the carb adjustments and fuel line changes. The smoking stopped after that. However, I will admit I did not clean them or plug in new to check if they are still burning rich.

    I don't believe a bent valve would be an issue, since I replaced all the valves, springs, lash adjusters, etc... about 5 years ago. Ensuring that the new valves seat firmly before re-attaching the head. The truck has not run for more than 10 min., at a time, since then due to other work I wanted to complete to get it road worthy and able to pass inspection.

    I know that the exhaust manifold has been on the truck since the beginning of the work I've done. So there were exhaust valve oil leaks at one time, which lead to oil dripping into the manifold. Additionally, it has been running extremely rich since then as well.

    Maybe I'll just get some new plugs again and let it run with a slight load for 10 minutes and see how they look, before making any further adjustments.

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