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Thread: Mikes, 87 4X4 D50 rebuild.

  1. #1

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    Mikes, 87 4X4 D50 rebuild.

    Well I guess it is time to start the official build thread. Gotta have a place to keep everything documented, ask questions, and throw down random rants whenever the mood hits me.

    Quick background on the truck. We (wife, daughter and I) drove about 100 miles to pick up this find, paid a whopping $375. Figured if nothing else it should be worth at least that in parts. It hadn't been driven in 2 years and had a flat. So home it came...

    The down and dirty. As soon as we got it home the carb came off and got torn apart for a cleaning. Boy was it nasty in side that thing. So I gave it a good bath in the carb cleaning tank at work and gave it a once over. Unfortunately there are a couple of parts that look like they are damaged that I don't believe I can get replacement parts for. But that is fine because I was leaning on changing that setup anyway. A few days later I pulled the motor out and started taking it apart to access the rest of it. The head was shot, both of the rocker rods were broken in 3 places and the center cam cap alignment dowel holes are way out of round, and the cap inst flat on the mating surface any more. And here I was worried about cracks in the head from the air jet valves...... O yea and the cam bearing journals and balance shaft bearings aren't what they should be.

    On to the bottom end. After getting the oil pan off and the front cover off I thought there was good news coming my way..... Almost everything in the timing cover looked good except for the obviously loose balance shaft chain. But of course it didn't stop there. After pulling the remaining internals out I found that the crank needs to be turned and there is a some strange wear in the number 4 cylinder so it would need a bore and hone...

    I figured I would probably need a new engine when we purchased this little truck for its price. Now I just need to figure out what one to put in it. I want to keep cost of a swap to a minimum and ease of install would be ideal, the fewer "custom" parts the better (I don't count wiring as custom parts, it is too easy to modify). So I suppose if I had to put my options down on paper, they would be...

    1. See if I can find another G54B that is in better shape than this one and build it up or drop the money to have all the work done to the block to make her new again. If I can I would like to up compression using a G52B head and possibly thinner head gasket shooting for about 10:1. Also one thing I want to do is swap from away from the carb and move to TBI at the bare minimum, MPFI if I can find a manifold that will work on the 54/52 head. Figure TBI from a dodge v6 or GM 4cyl and megasquirt.

    2. Start junkyard assembling a NA 4G64 wide block using a DOHC head from a 7 bolt Eclipse or Talon (this should put the exhaust manifold on the correct side of the block for routing) I would also like to shoot for that 10:1 ratio here as well, Pistons from a newer Eclipse or Gallant should help with this. The only issue I have with doing this swap is the intake manifold but I think if I can get my hands on an intake manifold from an overseas Montero 4G64 I will be good there. For this one I would probably use an ECU from a newer Eclipse because I already have tuning abilities for that.

    3. V6 from a Montero. Engine, ECU, Wiring and trans. Nothing fancy. Simply refresh the engine with new gaskets and drop her in.

    If I had to put them in an order of what I would prefer to do it would be 3, 1, 2.. But in all actuality it will probably be going with a toned down option 1... (stock rebuild, non jet valve G54B head, and the TBI conversion)

    So with all that said it is time to sit down with the wife and daughter and figure out what we want to do...

    O, Yea... Pictures.......

    The rocker rods





    Cam caps









    The damage to the head





    The cam





    The balance shaft chain... Can you say jump rope....



    The pistons...

    #1



    #2



    And last but not least the cylinders. Well Cylinder #4 anyway


  2. #2

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    Welcome to Mighty Ram 50 & Thx for saving another one!!!
    Good the beastie has a home where the new owner will at least
    change the frikin oil & do proper maintenance!!!

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by claych View Post
    Good the beastie has a home where the new owner will at least
    change the frikin oil & do proper maintenance!!!
    You only need to change the oil if there is any in it to start with (apparently...) My engine was badly messed up - but that...wtf. Definitely a good move to upgrade the engine Mike. IMO the 4G64 will be the easier option. The 4G54 is a tough old lump but is not big on horses. You'll get an all round improvement with the swap.

  4. #4



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    Welcome to the forum.

    That engine looks like it exploded or just never taken care of. With that much damage up top, you can guarantee the bottom has wobble damages too.

    Sounds like to me you have your mind pretty much set on the way you want to go and it sounds good. Call up the bank and ask them to hold some money in the vault for you because it's so much fun to spend money on these bad habits. Also be prepared to hide the receipts from the wifey. They are never very interested in our garage mechanics until they get a feeling that you love the truck more then her.

    Congrats on the purchase, you can't go wrong for what you paid for it. You just want to try and do good researching and don't pay so much for parts if you can. You can try car-part.com, they are a mega-site for wrecking yards and 90% of the database of wrecking yards love to ship also.
    The truck is going to cost you some cash, there is no doubt about it. Just don't get to the end of your build and when you tally up the receipts, find out you could bought a Dodge Hellcat instead.

    Keep us up to date and bring on the pictures!!!

  5. #5

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    Welcome to the forums, and good luck on the build! Always nice to see another 4x4 person on here

  6. #6

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    LUCKY...

    Went to the junk yard yesterday, I was hoping to find at least a Montero with a 2.4 even if it was attached to an auto to at least get the engine from and worry about getting flywheel, ECU, Wiring later. To my surprise I found a 94 MM with the 2.4 bolted to a manual. So I basically got everything I need. Engine, ECU, Wiring, Flywheel, clutch. Well almost everything. I will need to make a trip back to the yard to grab a bracket I left in the engine compartment, the fuel lines for the fuel injection and a couple of other small things.

    I just started taking it apart, well It actually came apart at the junk yard to make sure it was ok before bringing it home. Cam looks good and there is a good clean cross hatch in the cylinders. Now I am taking it apart for cleaning. I will take pictures as things get cleaned and ready for reassembly. The plan for now is going to be just a full stock rebuild new gaskets, seals, bearings and rings. I am not sure what if any performance mods I will do. maybe a thinner head gasket for a compression bump and a exhaust manny/full exhaust. That may be the extent of it. We will see... I was going to go for a 16v head swap but the only heads I found all have oval intake and exhaust ports. That will make it dificult to swap the head over and use the MM intake manifold. The exhaust is easy enough to fabricate if I wanted to go that route.

    I do have a question for clarification... I do want to give this truck a tad bit of a lift. My understanding is that some front end parts fro the 1st gen Montero can be used to accomplish this but the parts list is a little blurry... I have read you just need to upper a-arm, and I have read that you need both a-arms, the spindle, front drive shafts, and the torsion rod. Some clarification would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

  7. #7

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    Unfortunately all the 16 valve heads are all oval ports, but I don't necessarily think it's a deal breaker. It will take some fab work to swap the throttle body end to end using the 16 valve manifold and maybe some creative thinking with a Talon or Eclipse exhaust header. I don't know if there would be clearance issues using a 16v header exhaust path fouling an engine mount or the cross member but the lower collector would definitely need to be custom made.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikec96 View Post
    LUCKY...
    I do have a question for clarification... I do want to give this truck a tad bit of a lift. My understanding is that some front end parts fro the 1st gen Montero can be used to accomplish this but the parts list is a little blurry... I have read you just need to upper a-arm, and I have read that you need both a-arms, the spindle, front drive shafts, and the torsion rod. Some clarification would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
    I'm looking for this info too, this link has some decent information in it. Depending on what size tires you're looking to fit, you may only need to adjust the torsion bars. I was able to fit (mostly) 33s with the torsion bars and taking a sawzall to the fenders. I think pretty soon I'm going to try a body lift just so I can get some more articulation and my full turning radius back. Maybe swap upper control arms and ball joint from a 2nd gen montero or montero sport.

  9. #9

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    Just a quick update.

    couple of before and after pics.







    gotta clean the carpet too...


  10. #10

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    Well, it has been a bit. Weather has been hot and nasty so not a lot has been done this summer... I got a few things done over the last couple of weeks here and there. Mostly cleaning parts and getting the motor ready to put back together. I did run into a small snag the other day... I thought I pulled the motor from a 91 MM so that's what I ordered parts for and found that there was a change to the piston rings in 93. So I had to send the parts back and order another set of piston rings... I did make some headway on cleaning things up and getting them painted. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will be able to get the motor re-assembled and back in the truck.





    Seeing what it looks like with black lower sides.








  11. #11

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    Looking very tidy now. Nice work!

  12. #12

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    Well the weather is starting to cool off a bit, temps are hovering just over 100 degrees last couple of days. That means I have started picking back up on a couple of projects around the house, the biggest one being the ram 50... After a few upsets with ordering parts. I finally got what I needed to throw the long block together. Right now the engine is about 95% complete, everything that still needs done can be done with the engine mounted so I decided to go ahead and make a big step forward in getting this project done. One of my big hurtles (or so I thought) was going to be the fuel lines. I had picked up both the feed and returns from that 94MM when I got the engine. After spending some time under the truck I figured it would probably be easier making new lines. Then it hit me, I only needed to make one new line. The return line on the 94MM was the same size as the feed line on the 89D50, so I straightened the end of the 89's feed line and am just going to run a hose to the return port on the tank. Hopefully the return port on the tank isn't too small and will allow enough fuel to flow with out causing the fuel pressure to back up and make it run rich. All that leaves now for the fuel system is an external fuel pump, filter and the feed line. Now the new hurtle, apparently the motor mounts I kept for the truck weren't off of the 94MM but from the 89D50..... Yea nothing is lining up at the moment you will see from the pictures that the passenger side mount sits too high on the frame to bolt down and the driver mount sits in about the right spot if it weren't 1/2 from the frame. The motor is currently being held up by the passenger mount and the oil pan sitting on the front diff... Funny thing is if you look at the motor it is sitting dam near dead center in the engine compartment. So I am going to try swapping the mounts and brackets and see if they get in a little closer to being in the right place, and i will probably need to clearance the oil pan... We will see.

    Most of the way there...





    Soon to be new home....



    Got someone you need to meet....



    Fuel line before the mod.



    and after



    Sorry no pics of the process of actually going in..





    Question... there is this hole in the front of the block. I don't remember there being a bolt in it when i took it apart but it looks that if I don't put something there I will have either an oil leak or a coolant leak.... What do you think?



    all bolted in place...... More less...



    Driver side, hard to see but the oil pan is sitting on the front diff. But you can see the mount isn't even touching the frame.



    and of course passenger side.


  13. #13

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    Good progress Mike. My g63b block has a plug hole there as well but does not lead into the block ? If it's threaded I would probably find a bolt and use some sealant or locktite to seal it up so you won't have a chance of it leaking out .
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  14. #14

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    Well things are starting to pick back up after being put back on hold for a bit due to family issues. Went to the yard today and picked up a couple of small things, gotta go back next Monday and grab a few more small things (motor mount brackets and a couple of odd ball frame mount pieces for relocating stuff like evap canister, solenoids, etc...). No new pics today, just quick update. I do need to spend some time and drop the front diff and brackets to line up the motor and then work on clearancing the oil pan... That should be fun.

  15. #15

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    just a quick update and a few pictures. Weather is cooling down again so it is back to working on the truck. I have done a few things over the last few months but the biggest change is I finely installed a fuel pump and that has me in full swing to have this up and running soon...

    just a few pics of the truck as it sits now.

    http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=19665&d=1508296854

    the engine

    http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=19667&d=1508296877

    new gauge set with CEL. I had to do some custom combining to keep the mileage correct

    http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=19668&d=1508296888

    Just a shot from underneath

    http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=19672&d=1508296943

    the new fuel pump, Part Number is for mid 80's ford bronco, Just need to secure it to something solid.

    http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=19671&d=1508296931

    and the new fuel lines in the engine compartment

    http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=19670&d=1508296914

    new seats thank you Polaris...

    http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin...6&d=1508296866

  16. #16

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    Hmm, Polaris seats. A nice bit of lateral thinking - and they look really good. They should hold up well and they aren't far off the mark with matching the colour scheme of the truck.

    *photobucket has really gone to the dogs. It was a pretty good free online media storage site but now...well, the broken links say it all.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by geezer101 View Post
    *photobucket has really gone to the dogs. It was a pretty good free online media storage site but now...well, the broken links say it all.
    Whats funny is that the photos are there its that they want you to pay to use their premium service if others want to see them crap that makes it suck now.....

    Any way... Quick no photo update,

    IT RUNS...... Spent the day yesterday and got the engine turned over and firing on all 4 cylinders. Took about half a days work trying to figure out what was keeping it from running, came down to some blockage in to fuel rail (damn bugs). Still have a way to go to get it drive-able but now I am fired up to get it back on the road. So with that one checked off the list the harness came back out of the truck to fix a few gremlins still lurking in the rats nest wiring (for some reason the MPI relay is activating when the 4 way flasher button is pressed). Hoping to have that sorted out and back in the truck by the end of the week, Keeping my fingers crossed ...

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