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Thread: Time to replace the old 2.6

  1. #1

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    1988 Dodge Power Ram 50
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    Time to replace the old 2.6

    So, this week, my 1988 Dodge Power Ram 50 started making new noises that I am convinced are basically death rattles for the 2.6. She has 275,000 miles. Its time to find a donor engine to rebuild. Hopefully, I've got enough miles left to prepare a new engine before she kicks the bucket.

    So, here's my question to all the experts...

    I'd like to upgrade my induction system to EFI and I need to know what major parts fit what.

    The block needs to match up to the factory bell housing for the 5 speed 4x4 running gear. The head needs to fit the block and the intake manifold needs to fit the head. Now, all that is elementary, but since the '88 didn't come with EFI, I'm going to have to mix and match model year parts.

    Since I can't just find a rebuild able '88 engine and pick one with EFI, What model years of engines will bolt into my truck and also have all the right parts for EFI? Last thing I want is to rebuild an engine and stick it into my truck only then to find it wont bolt up...

  2. #2

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    Hi Dave. You are going to need the wiring loom, ECU and inlet manifold from an Australian built Mitsubish Magna and convert the throttle body to forward facing. This has been done a heap of times and is by far one of the most popular injection upgrades around. I have a friend that has performed this upgrade and his engine runs brilliantly (he did some port work and deleted the balance shafts as well)

    Here's his build thread on another Mitsu-based site - http://www.sigma-galant.com/viewtopi...56c9a92d471dc1

  3. #3



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    your other option is to get a 2.6 from a starquest (starion/conquest). It is a turbo setup with TBI - not as good as the Magna setup, but much easier to get in the USA unless you get lucky. I got one from a friend of mine for my starquest motor build off a conquest he bought for the drivetrain for his 81 Arrow Sport truck - he wants the swap to be the factory TBI setup. There have been people on the starquest forums that have converted the TBI setup to multiport injection with a Megasquirt ECM, and converting the throttle body to just air control.
    Pennyman1
    The best Dodge that Dodge never made
    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  4. #4

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    I was planning on going for the Starquest setup in the beginning... However, some things have changed for me personally and I feel that this is an option that is too expensive, requires too much tinkering and that I will enjoy for too little time. Unfortunately, health issues will eventually force me into a different vehicle, but until I can afford a new (or newer) rig, I'll have to rebuild this one and keep it a bit more down to earth. She is, after all, my daily driver.

    While the Starquest would be preferred, I wouldn't turn my nose completely up at a less complex and more modest non-turbo TBI setup if I could find a third party conversion kit for a 4 banger. I can find a squillion of them for hot rodders and their V8s, but none for this small of an engine. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, but if I've missed one, please tell me!

    Since she is my daily driver and only mode of transportation in the winter, I need to baby this thing until I have a new engine ready to install, so I need to find a donor engine to rebuild instead of rebuilding the one that's in it. Ultimately, my question comes down to what rebuildable engine would bolt onto my transmission and engine mounts that would also give me options for some slightly more modern induction.

    I'm seeing in my research that the 2.4 seems to have replaced the 2.6 in the early 1990's and that engine comes with a TBI. Next generation?... sure... But would it bolt up? Totally unknown.

    I could get another '83-'89 era 2.6 to rebuild with total confidence that it would fall tight into place... but would I be able to just swap out the manifolds and or maybe the head as well for something that is EFI rated?

    Mixing and matching parts is an art...

  5. #5

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    Thanks Geezer. I've heard a few things about these Magnas, but unfortunately, they are indeed rare in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by pennyman1 View Post
    your other option is to get a 2.6 from a starquest (starion/conquest). It is a turbo setup with TBI - not as good as the Magna setup, but much easier to get in the USA unless you get lucky. I got one from a friend of mine for my starquest motor build off a conquest he bought for the drivetrain for his 81 Arrow Sport truck - he wants the swap to be the factory TBI setup. There have been people on the starquest forums that have converted the TBI setup to multiport injection with a Megasquirt ECM, and converting the throttle body to just air control.

    I was planning on going for the Starquest setup in the beginning... However, some things have changed for me personally and I feel that this is an option that is too expensive, requires too much tinkering and that I will enjoy for too little time. Unfortunately, health issues will eventually force me into a different vehicle, but until I can afford a new (or newer) rig, I'll have to rebuild this one and keep it a bit more down to earth. She is, after all, my daily driver.

    While the Starquest would be preferred, I wouldn't turn my nose completely up at a less complex and more modest non-turbo TBI setup if I could find a third party conversion kit for a 4 banger. I can find a squillion of them for hot rodders and their V8s, but none for this small of an engine. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, but if I've missed one, please tell me!

    Since she is my daily driver and only mode of transportation in the winter, I need to baby this thing until I have a new engine ready to install, so I need to find a donor engine to rebuild instead of rebuilding the one that's in it. Ultimately, my question comes down to what rebuildable engine would bolt onto my transmission and engine mounts that would also give me options for some slightly more modern induction.

    I'm seeing in my research that the 2.4 seems to have replaced the 2.6 in the early 1990's and that engine comes with a TBI. Next generation?... sure... But would it bolt up? Totally unknown.

    I could get another '83-'89 era 2.6 to rebuild with total confidence that it would fall tight into place... but would I be able to just swap out the manifolds and or maybe the head as well for something that is EFI rated?

    Mixing and matching parts is an art...

  7. #7

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    1991 Dodge D-50
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    starquest could be the wag to go. I'd check http://www.starquestclub.com for powertrains and bits
    Over the years, quite a few members have swapped the turbo motors into trucks and suvs. The info probably still online
    Only think I used 2 wires to power up the TBI and a separate 12v to the coil. Loom & ecu not hard to extract
    I'd choose it over a non turbo magna mpi.... and that's even when they could be had ez plus cheap shipping from oz/nz
    No sweat to get 300 ft-lbs tq from oem TBI. Some got close to 400 moded. Would wake(or break-lol) that truck right up
    Inexpensive megasquirt options available(from a clubmember)..... even plug n play if u like.
    Alternative to the old stock injectors out there as well

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