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Thread: Picked up a 1983 Dodge TD today

  1. #1

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    Picked up a 1983 Dodge TD today

    Today I bought a 1983 Dodge Power Ram D-50. The truck has some rust, has high miles, (has either 231k miles or 331k miles lol) It also needs a new radiator and head gasket. Now for the positive side, it's been lowered, has tinted windows, has a carbon fiber stack in the bed, has pillar gauges for the boost, can easily hit 22 psi, and it has a new 4D56 head. Can't wait to get it fixed and drive it! It's definitely a head turner and conversation starter. It's a 2 owner vehicle that was owned by a man from 1983- early 2015. Still has the original stereo, jack, owners manual, and all kinds of receipts dating back to 1983... Then he sold it to a guy who owns a custom vehicle shop and today it was sold to me.
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  2. #2

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    Hi Drake TD, welcome to mightyram. Out of all the 'interesting' trim and body colour combos, this is a really nice looking stock Ram. The pics make the interior look burgundy - is that the actual colour or is it brown? Most of the paint looks solid other than the hood and that patch on the door. Annoys me that you guys got one piece door glass and Oz ended up with quarter glass (they look fugly )

  3. #3

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    the interior is a reddish/burgandy for now. soon to be black hopefully! most of the trim is in good enough shape to dye it black, carpet won't be too much, and I've got my eye on some 1999-2003 Dodge Durango leather seats (charcoal with dodge emblem on then) that look like they'd fit well. The hood was sanded down to give it a hot rod look by previous owner but it will be getting painted flat black for a temporary fix until I paint the whole thing (if i do) I was curious so i lifted up the carpet and there is also rust in the floor pan front corners where the body mounts are.

  4. #4

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    Rust in those corners especially in that area below the door hinges is common - must be a blocked drain hole thing. I like the burgundy myself - way nicer than Mitsubishi poo brown or herringbone stitched tan and beige(ish). Some fresh black carpet would make it look great.

  5. #5



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    Great looking truck and what a find! That rust around the mounts can also come from a bad windshield gasket that is letting water in at the corners and it runs down the a pillars. Welcome to the forum!
    Pennyman1
    The best Dodge that Dodge never made
    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  6. #6

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    Thanks I'll have to check those out. I've got the interior gutted out and I'll be getting the new seats and carpet soon and dying all the interior pieces black. I've also got the head out and ordered an all new gasket kit for the engine and a radiator and I got all new fluids for it. Getting the head machined today too.

  7. #7

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    Fun little truck. Way to post pictures right away. Keeps the veterans on this site happy! Keep us in the loop on your progress. Post some build threads of what you do and keep the pictures coming. There's a small diesel following but they are still out there. Welcome!

  8. #8

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    Stripped out the interior today. Anything in the one pic could possibly be for sale. The dash is a real b**** to remove, but I finally got it out. I dyed all the interior pieces black with Krylon Fusion black satin spray paint, so hopefully it holds up well. I will be making door panels with either carpet or vinyl at the top, then black diamond plating at the bottom. Need to weld in new metal in 3 of the 4 cab mounts first so there are no holes in the floor. After that I'll get a new Hurst shift knob and a new shift boot. 'll be putting in seats from a 1999-2003 Durango. Should be fairly easy, I'll use the stock seat rails, remove the frame rails from the Durango seats, and then weld them together. They are leather with manual reclining and lumbar, but have power front and back and up/down. $50 for both and they are in great shape! Then I'll get black carpet and eventually a stereo after I figure out how to get the doors to lock lol. Or maybe I'll just get a decent stereo with a removeable face plate or get a full system when I fix the door locks. Anyways the interior will be very nice and I want to keep the exterior looking as original as possible. I may just get new tires for it and get a bed mat and some brighter headlights. But first I need to save up for a 4d56 head and whatever else I may need to get it running again.
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  9. #9

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    The previous owner is also giving me an extra clutch and flywheel, and also a matching camper top for the bed. The all new gasket kit came today and my new radiator will be here soon. I got new coolant, oil, oil filter, coolant, power steering fluid, wiper fluid, and rear diff fluid waiting to go in it too. If there is anything else you think I should definitely replace let me know.

  10. #10

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    Whoops I accidently said coolant twice... Or maybe it was on purpose because of how easy these things overheat haha. But I'll probably have more parts for sale eventually too. Hopefully this thread interests some people or they at least think the finished product will be cool... or somebody can learn something from me or get an idea for a mod for their truck.

  11. #11

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    There's a thread here somewhere about the basics on getting your boat seaworthy. Check the other things like brake fluid condition, the pads and brakes in general, filters (oil,fuel and air), if it has a centre tailshaft carrier bearing make sure it's still solid along with the uni joints (they get really noisy and make a small Mitsubishi truck sound like a T-55 tank from the inside - and it will wreck the output shaft bearing in the gearbox). Seeming you're not going for a resto on the Ram what look are going for in the cab? Might I suggest a retro style 3 spoke dished steering wheel and a nice billet machined gear knob for a starting point? Door cards are easy enough to make and there are a number of threads here that will inspire you.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by geezer101 View Post
    There's a thread here somewhere about the basics on getting your boat seaworthy. .
    http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin...and-do-it-ASAP

    And keep in mind we have a gallery, where you can create a photo album!
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  13. #13

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    Well I didn't get too much done today. I dumped out the brake fluid that was in the reservoir and put new brake fluid in, and I also topped off the clutch fluid with the brake fluid. Then I removed the spare tire because it was rusty and I couldn't reach the rear end to change the fluid with it in the way. I'll probably just keep it off to shave some weight and so it doesn't fall off later. I changed out the rear diff fluid and it seemed to be in decent shape. The oil was pretty dirty but there was hardly any metal shavings sticking to the magnetic drain plug. That's about it but I'm picking up a new passenger seat tomorrow.

  14. #14

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    Things seem to be looking pretty good for the project now. I got most of the interior plastics put back in, the gauge cluster, and the stereo back in. I ordered new black carpet today and also a black carbon fiber steering wheel cover. I also got a great deal on a brand new 4D56 head on Ebay today, I ended up paying $460 and that's shipped to my house. It's complete with the cam and rockers and valves so all I need is my glow plugs and injectors from the old head. I also caught a break on the old head because the previous owner did swap in a 4D56 head so the injectors will bolt into the new one. I still need to find a nice drivers seat, make a headliner, make door panels, install the passenger seat, order seatbelts, fix the rust by the cab bolts, and a few other things but I can finally see the end.

  15. #15

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    New seat compared to the old.

  16. #16

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    Whoops, here it is.
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  17. #17

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    Your original seats are in really good shape. Wish mine were like that

  18. #18

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    I thought you said that it had a new head on it? Why would it already be needing replacement?

  19. #19

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    The previous owner had swapped in a 4D56 head awhile ago and then the head gasket blew. I bought it with a blown head gasket and he told me the head was fine, however when I took the head off and to the machine shop, I found out the head was warped past repair. So I just bought a new 4D56 head to save myself some troubles.

  20. #20

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    Oh, that would explain your cooling concerns too. Well glad you were able to resolve it so easily. Keep the pictures coming.

  21. #21

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    The new head came in 4 days early. I stayed up all night tonight getting it in and I'm almost done besides a few misc. nuts and bolts that I need to finish up and then I'll need to change the oil and put coolant in and I'll see how she runs. The carpet will be here sometime next week, and I also ordered a new led dome light and a rubber pad for the clutch pedal. I also found a drivers seat in great condition that matches my other one for $50, so I'm going tomorrow to pick that up. After I get that, I will have everything for the interior besides a headliner, sun visors, door panels, and seat belts.

  22. #22

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    shiny brand new head. old vs new and the new one after I put the threads, glow plugs, and injectors in it.
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  23. #23



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    That's a great looking first gen, probably my favorite color and decal pattern I've seen. And loving the mods already, that will be one badass truck. Definitely makes me want to get a first gen with a diesel!
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  24. #24

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    The new head is completely in and it's turning over but not starting. It definitely turns over better than with the old head and it sounds like it really wants to start. I want to say the truck isn't getting fuel right now. the fuel lines off the injectors are empty so I'm going to look into it and hopefully get it running soon. If anybody has any other suggestions of what it could be please let me know. I've tried starting fluid.

  25. #25

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    Are the lines meant to be primed before connecting it up? I'm not up to speed on diesel 101 - might need a container to catch fuel and try turning it over until you get fuel flow before hooking it up. Just a suggestion.

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