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Thread: Got a free 1994 V6 4x4 Mighty Max here in Washington State! Say hello to Rudy!

  1. #1

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    Got a free 1994 V6 4x4 Mighty Max here in Washington State! Say hello to Rudy!

    Hello Mightyram forum!

    my name is Alex, and I recently acquired a 1994 Mighty max 4x4 5 speed manual from a friend of mine who needed it off of her property. She owned the truck for about 10 years, and had many adventures and ups and downs in it, and named him Rudy the Antichrist. About a year ago, she decided she needed a "reliable" vehicle and decided to finance a newer car, and parked the max outside her rental house and let it sit. After some time she tried to start it again and it wouldn't fire, tried charging the battery and it wouldn't help. So, she let it sit still for 8 months, debating what to do with it. Then recently, her landlord apparently told her it needed to leave the property or she would be evicted. She promptly sent out an email on a chain that I am part of, and I happened to see it and respond in time to grab it from her.
    here is how I found Rudy, parked outside of her house
    9BB0A557-DC2D-437E-BE56-8B4039D473F6.jpg 9E58CC71-C7E3-4DC7-9532-E59810AC0DC2.jpg4BB1C009-6B58-446D-BF56-D8B9010373A1.jpg


    First step for me was to drag Rudy around the corner from her house to a location that would be better to work on him and get it out of sight of the landlord. Then, I threw some jumpers on him and sure as shit- he fired up. But when I took the jumpers off, he would die immediately.5E8443C3-B232-44A1-A2CF-769CDC687AAF.jpg


    This made me question the alternator, and battery. So I ripped off the alternator, pulled the battery, brought both to an auto parts store. They say the battery is shot and the alternator is still good. My friend suggests I top off the battery cells with water and throw it on a charger and see what happens. I throw the battery back into Rudy, strap on the original alternator, and he fires up.

    In the meantime while I was figuring all this out, Rudy got his first bath in a long time.
    C3952FB9-375D-45F7-BF9C-3241E99D8183.jpg5B6B136A-D5FC-4A7C-85B6-ECAC8D393D79.jpg

    and the next day, I drove him home to my house on his maiden voyage. He seemed to hold a charge and ran pretty decent. Shifted through 4 of 5 gears, tracked pretty good. I was happy. And he looked like a new truck after a proper cleaning.

    then, I went to start him up the next day, and got the dead battery clicking.
    after troubleshooting with a friend, we found a blown looking fuse near the battery terminal. With a little google time, we found that it was the alternator fuse. Sure enough, I threw in a new fuse and wham- I was holding a charge. And haven't had a charging issue since then which has been about 3 weeks now.

    I put some fresh gas in him, sea foam, ran that through and a couple more tanks now. I am now experiencing blue/ white smoke from the pipe. Which is a bummer, but not surprising. I thought maybe it was the gas, but after doing my first oil change with some thicker 10w30 and an additive, I realized about a week later that my oil level was down pretty significantly. So I am guessing I am burning oil somewhere in the head or valve gaskets. Any ideas out there on troubleshooting this issue? I'm sure there's tons of info in the forums.

    regardless of my light smoking issue, and some shaking of the engine, Rudy runs so well. The last owner put a clutch in 10k miles ago, and he shifts through the gears like a dream. He does have a little trouble starting up and needs some gas and love to get going. Never dies on me though.

    last night I found a guy who was selling a 87 max and he had a topper laying next to it in the pics. I grabbed it from him for $60. Here's Rudy with a topper on him now.
    F546CD30-A226-4BF3-83EE-AFDC2C5EB263.jpg

    all in all, currently I have spent $150 on title transfer and registration, 40 on an oil change, 10 on sea foam, 4 on a fuse and 60 on the topper to get what I have today. Yes, I got this truck as a gift from my friend- and I am so grateful for that. I have lots of plans for Rudy, mostly making him as reliable as possible- maybe swapping in a newer cleaner engine. He is at 140k now, and his body is straight, with almost no rust at all(west coast truck baby). So I feel like a new v6 would do him well. Also a set of aggressive mud terrains on these old school rims.
    thanks for reading and stay tuned for updates ! Thanks all!!!! I am open to input and ideas about him! Let me know what you think!
    Attached Images

  2. #2

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    No way! What a coincidence. I have a '94 4x4 5-speed Mighty Max too! Except mine is blue. I've had mine for a couple years sitting and my boss, whose house it was parked at, finally needed me to move it this week so the city could tear up the driveway for some gas line work haha. Oddly similar situations! As a fellow member of the '94 club, I'll be curious to see how your build comes along! Mine needs a fair bit of work but yours is already giving me some inspiration. Cheers!

  3. #3

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    Hi and welcome to mightyram. A free 4x4? How awesome is that. Too bad your friend had some heat put on her about the truck being on the property. It's a decent looking truck too! The oil use + exhaust smoke are typical symptoms of bad valve stem seals. You haven't posted up how many miles Rudy has done but I'd think it's time the heads were taken off and freshened up. This is gonna be costly as you'll need to do the timing belt and most likely the water pump (best time to do it as the last thing you need is to go through all of this just to have the water pump fail in 6-12 months) but the engine will be rock solid for years afterwards. The engine shake could be something small like a misfire from bad coils/leads etc. Do a code scan on the ECM and see what it's up to. If it throws an error code or 2 you'll know where to start looking. The ECM's are known to go bad as well (leaking capacitors) but this is another easy thing to spot and repair. As with all new members - post pics and ask questions
    support the forum that supports you - join and donate to MightyRam50.Net today! donations unlock the edit function

  4. #4

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    Wow. That's cool as shit! My truck was free. 1987 Dodge Power Ram 50. Not a V6, but I have a free V6 going in, if that counts???

    These trucks seem to be pretty reliable. I would say check fir leaks, valve seals maybe? Or just worn piston rings. How many miles does it have? I think somehow the oil is in the combustion chamber, albeit blown head, head gasket, or something that is supposed to seal oil from there such as piston rings. Given the engine shake I bet that the 2 are related.

    But still cool to see a truck sit for so long and then fire right back up!

  5. #5

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    Welcome to the site. Nice truck and a great find! There are many places around Duvall and the Cascade foothills where you can have some great fun with it. Maybe even find out why the PO called it the anti-Christ. Enjoy!

  6. #6

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    I hope you use this quarantine time to get on it !!! keep me posted I would love to see some pics and progress notes. good luck to you!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtreynolds View Post
    No way! What a coincidence. I have a '94 4x4 5-speed Mighty Max too! Except mine is blue. I've had mine for a couple years sitting and my boss, whose house it was parked at, finally needed me to move it this week so the city could tear up the driveway for some gas line work haha. Oddly similar situations! As a fellow member of the '94 club, I'll be curious to see how your build comes along! Mine needs a fair bit of work but yours is already giving me some inspiration. Cheers!
    I hope you use this quarantine time to get on it !!! keep me posted I would love to see some pics and progress notes. good luck to you!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by geezer101 View Post
    Hi and welcome to mightyram. A free 4x4? How awesome is that. Too bad your friend had some heat put on her about the truck being on the property. It's a decent looking truck too! The oil use + exhaust smoke are typical symptoms of bad valve stem seals. You haven't posted up how many miles Rudy has done but I'd think it's time the heads were taken off and freshened up. This is gonna be costly as you'll need to do the timing belt and most likely the water pump (best time to do it as the last thing you need is to go through all of this just to have the water pump fail in 6-12 months) but the engine will be rock solid for years afterwards. The engine shake could be something small like a misfire from bad coils/leads etc. Do a code scan on the ECM and see what it's up to. If it throws an error code or 2 you'll know where to start looking. The ECM's are known to go bad as well (leaking capacitors) but this is another easy thing to spot and repair. As with all new members - post pics and ask questions
    Thanks for the info! and encouragement. I figured I would need to rip the heads off and do a good amount of work on it. I am in debate currently about whether to do all that work, with uncertain outcome, or just buy myself a crate engine from Japan and throw in in.
    I will keep the thread updated

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salteen View Post
    Wow. That's cool as shit! My truck was free. 1987 Dodge Power Ram 50. Not a V6, but I have a free V6 going in, if that counts???

    These trucks seem to be pretty reliable. I would say check fir leaks, valve seals maybe? Or just worn piston rings. How many miles does it have? I think somehow the oil is in the combustion chamber, albeit blown head, head gasket, or something that is supposed to seal oil from there such as piston rings. Given the engine shake I bet that the 2 are related.

    But still cool to see a truck sit for so long and then fire right back up!
    Heck yeah what an AWESOME feeling to get Rudy goin!! Thats the plan, or do an engine swap. We shall see. Cheers!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by FMS88 View Post
    Welcome to the site. Nice truck and a great find! There are many places around Duvall and the Cascade foothills where you can have some great fun with it. Maybe even find out why the PO called it the anti-Christ. Enjoy!
    Thanks! Are you local to the east side of Seattle? Would love to go for a trail ride with someone!
    I got the story but forget. the full name of the truck was actually longer than that but I forgot the rest. Some movie reference maybe? Either way, it seems to it him well.

  11. #11


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    Hello Alexlotzphotography -- I can relate to your story except the free truck part but I did get a free 1955 Ford Fairlane 2 dr sedan from my pop when I was age 16... Everett, WA is where I lived longest of anyplace in my life, Silver Firs next to Mill Creek... Maybe check online at Yahoo Groups, there might be a local club with Mitsu or other mini trucks... Yahoo Groups PSSST Puget Sound Super Sport Team guys own the 1991 ~ 1996 ImpalaSS & Caprice cars... Corona virus might cancel the next Camano Island Classic Car Show (hope not) but it's a neat event up in Stanwood... Polish & detail the engine bay of your truck & show it...
    Aloha--
    George

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexlotzphotography View Post
    Thanks! Are you local to the east side of Seattle? Would love to go for a trail ride with someone!
    I got the story but forget. the full name of the truck was actually longer than that but I forgot the rest. Some movie reference maybe? Either way, it seems to it him well.
    I live in central Seattle, but grew up in Kirkland. Worked in Redmond and Woodinville in the 1980s, but have preferred the city since finishing college. Don't have much reason now to visit the Eastside, plus its changed so much I hardly recognize it. I'm not sure what trails still exist with all the development; and then there's Covid-19. Things will stay quiet until it abates. Use the time to acclimate to the truck and learn (divine) its needs. It'll be fun and this site's members will be glad to see what you find. Cheers.

  13. #13

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    Great find and great story. By 94 those trucks were getting to be few in production. You have a fairly rare V6 4x4. The 3.0 is a very popular motor of Mitsubishi and pretty reliable. You should be able to get 200K out of her pretty easily.

    Take the time to go through all the fluids, hoses, and maintenance items now, so that it stays reliable and is enjoyable to use.

  14. #14

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    Very nice. I’m jelly. Future plans?

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by xboxrox View Post
    Hello Alexlotzphotography -- I can relate to your story except the free truck part but I did get a free 1955 Ford Fairlane 2 dr sedan from my pop when I was age 16... Everett, WA is where I lived longest of anyplace in my life, Silver Firs next to Mill Creek... Maybe check online at Yahoo Groups, there might be a local club with Mitsu or other mini trucks... Yahoo Groups PSSST Puget Sound Super Sport Team guys own the 1991 ~ 1996 ImpalaSS & Caprice cars... Corona virus might cancel the next Camano Island Classic Car Show (hope not) but it's a neat event up in Stanwood... Polish & detail the engine bay of your truck & show it...
    Aloha--
    George
    thanks for the encouragement George!! Hope to see you out there!

  16. #16

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    Sweet! Welcome to the free truck club and the forum. That beauty looks great. I agree that valve stem seals very well could be the cause of your smoking. I would do a compression check to make sure it's not rings or burned valves. If you have good compression, do a full tune up and the engine may very well smooth out. I'm not familiar with the v6's, but I'm pretty sure that the valve springs are arranged such that you can swap the valve stem seals without pulling the heads if that's a project you would rather not tackle yet.
    Giovanni

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