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Thread: Updates: starter, ujoints, center carrier bearing

  1. #1

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    Updates: starter, ujoints, center carrier bearing

    Well the starter decided to grind instead of turn over the engine & we replaced that. Wondering if I should have used locktite on the 2 bolts for that. No problems since it was replaced about 2 months ago (about 104k miles old if it was the original 1984 starter - any interest in that? Worth rebuilding? Or should I just turn it in to the parts store for the $19 core refund? Would appreciate any advice on that, unsure how long to expect the new starter to last *shrugs* IMHO they made older things better usually... so unsure. I tried my best to see the teeth in the hole that the starter gears touch and they didn't look damaged. BF was starting the truck when he said he tried 3x and then stopped because of the grinding noise. He didn't dare keep trying, thank goodness. So far so good w/the new starter.

    The truck seems to have an intermittent issue though I thought it may have been related to the old starter... I'm waiting to see if it happens again. When the truck is warm - not hot and not dead cold, but only say about 2-4 hours after being parked - it makes that noise like the battery has just enough power to start it, like you best step on the gas right away to get it to start fast because the battery needs charged. It never did it dead cold start in the morning or in a store parking lot. Weird. Will update if it happens again. Runs fine once it starts though, acts like nothings wrong. Strange!

    Had a super slow leak on the driver side front tire, turned out to be the rubber air filler thing I forget the name of right now. The tire guy I've been using for ever asked me why the truck still makes a clunk noise and I told him I still haven't figured out what it is! So he jacks up the back, wiggles the driver side rear tire and says "u-joints" and you better take care of that right away. Got the ujoints from the local part store & then started taking pics of under the truck and found this:

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    Yeah so it's a blurry pic but that rubber isn't supposed to look dried with missing chunks. I looked in the book & found out what that part was called & got one ordered from rock auto same day.

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    Hm, yeah that looks great, no? Guess that explained the clunking sounds. Oh, and the auto shifting gear handle vibration that was driving me crazy & made me keep checking the transmission fluid for no reason at all.

    Okay so the vibration that my tire guy asked me about was the ujoint(s) / center carrier bearing. The 3 ujoints & center bearing are all replaced now, but I've only taken her up to 35mph so far - you know, just in case I messed up. I don't want to actually die if the bolts aren't tight enough. Waiting to see if I hear a weird sound or not & then will slowly take it up to 40, 45, 50, 55... unsure since I've never done a driveshaft until this last week. I did try my best to use the torque specs in the book though so should be okay.

    On the upside the truck drives MUCH better now & doesn't vibrate nearly as much as before (duh I guess). People kept asking me if it vibrated over 40mph and I kept saying hell if I know, it vibrates all the time, it needs new shocks, blah blah I didn't even know there was a center bearing thing like that. Stupid new owner me learned a new lesson though and nothing actually broke off while I was being ignorant - thank goodness.

    By the way the cheapest local parts store wanted $91 for the center carrier bearing, mid range store said $141 and the one in the big city said $190. Rock auto said $37 w/shipping so they won and got the business.

    I put on ujoints that have no grease points on them - unsure if that was okay or not but for $9.99 each that was what I did. If they need regreased at least now I know how to take it all apart & put on new different parts.

    Anyway just a little update and FYI for anyone else who's truck doesn't (only) vibrate over 40mph LOL haha oh em gee, if it vibrates at any speed, check out that bearing

  2. #2

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    "When the truck is warm - not hot and not dead cold, but only say about 2-4 hours after being parked - it makes that noise like the battery has just enough power to start it" just a guess - sounds like a connection issue (positive or ground) due to condensation. & you had mentioned a starter vibrating loose issue, so I recommend removing all the connections at the starter, cleaning & applying di-electric grease prior to re-connecting. (cuz when it doesn't start it will occur @ the work possible scenario....like an on-ramp)
    She's mighty mighty just lettin' it all hang out

  3. #3

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    Holy crap that carrier bearing is fragged. Yet another member who has managed to find damage worse than mine When the carriers fail they do all sorts of horrible things to the drivetrain. New bearing and u-joints will make the truck livable again. RRTT's advice on cleaning up all the ground leads will go a long way to debugging the electrics - everything will have a layer of corrosion and gunk on it.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragragtimetime View Post
    "When the truck is warm - not hot and not dead cold, but only say about 2-4 hours after being parked - it makes that noise like the battery has just enough power to start it" just a guess - sounds like a connection issue (positive or ground) due to condensation. & you had mentioned a starter vibrating loose issue, so I recommend removing all the connections at the starter, cleaning & applying di-electric grease prior to re-connecting. (cuz when it doesn't start it will occur @ the work possible scenario....like an on-ramp)
    Hot diggity dog that's a dang good guess about the condensation - will do as you suggested for that. Those intermittent issues are the worst it seems so love good clues about them, thanks bunches!

    Quote Originally Posted by geezer101 View Post
    Holy crap that carrier bearing is fragged. Yet another member who has managed to find damage worse than mine When the carriers fail they do all sorts of horrible things to the drivetrain. New bearing and u-joints will make the truck livable again. RRTT's advice on cleaning up all the ground leads will go a long way to debugging the electrics - everything will have a layer of corrosion and gunk on it.
    Yeah I was amazed when I saw it, too - she's a mighty little truck that's for sure... I've never seen any vehicle have so many things neglected & just plain wrong and yet still run. Dear god the entire rusted out cooling system alone was enough to kill most any other car. You're dead on with the corrosion & gunk, I'm still finding it here & there.

    After all the replaced parts and now this, it's still squeaking in the back somewhere, I'll update once that's sorted out. Thanks guys ever so much I'm really liking the truck more & more

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by tink View Post
    ...Yeah I was amazed when I saw it, too - she's a mighty little truck that's for sure... I've never seen any vehicle have so many things neglected & just plain wrong and yet still run.
    There are few machines that can take a ferocious beatin' and keep going the way these trucks do. It's uncanny. I'm pretty sure the engine in mine still ran after it seized, twisted the crank and then freed itself. Keep up the good work tink!

  6. #6



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    I have a friend that used to be a Dodge Mechanic at the dealer I bought Geronimo at - he had a 1980 d-50 sport with the 2.6 that he shifted at rev limiter from new. One day I stopped at the dealer to pick up some parts, and he showed me what had happened while racing a 924 Porsche - the crank broke on #4 piston, spun around, and locked together so it still drove - he didn't know it was broke until he dropped the pan, although he knew something happened. He ended up totaling it by hitting a patch of oil on the road, spinning it around 180, slid along a section of guardrail, and went over an embankment backwards.
    Pennyman1
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    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  7. #7

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    "it's still squeaking in the back somewhere" - leaf springs tend to squeak (just another guess...I don't want you to realize I've been living under your truck)...any penetrating lubricant will work but I found a "chain spray lubricant" lasts the longest.
    She's mighty mighty just lettin' it all hang out

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by pennyman1 View Post
    ...One day I stopped at the dealer to pick up some parts, and he showed me what had happened while racing a 924 Porsche - the crank broke on #4 piston, spun around, and locked together so it still drove - he didn't know it was broke until he dropped the pan, although he knew something happened. He ended up totaling it by hitting a patch of oil on the road, spinning it around 180, slid along a section of guardrail, and went over an embankment backwards.
    Ouch. I like the 924's - wish I had the cash to take one up as a project one day (add to the wish list of things...) Back to da thread

  9. #9

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    Okay that's got to be one of my new best things to repeat ever: "the crank broke and locked so it still drove" that is so great! Man I know it's got to be true, too, that's what makes it so awesome. Sad for the totalled part though a local guy in one of the 1st gens got t-boned and had major driver door damage - but it still ran great & didn't wobble all over the road either! He said it's the toughest little truck ever made, but needs the frame straightened and replacement door. That got me looking at these once again after 30 or so years. On a personal note I remember seeing one brand new on the dealership parking lot & adding up my min.wage paychecks to see how long it would take me to buy one. Was around $5000 or $6000 if I recall correctly. White & pink, I can still almost see the sticker price sheet in the window. Sure was shiny...

    I'll look into that squeak coming from the springs - you're probably right of course I know you've been under my truck more than me, LOL! Sounds sort of like those old bushings squeaking in the front before they got replaced, but we'll see about any back ones. I'll push it around & listen & see if I can tell if it's bushings or leafs or both. Might as well spray the heck out of the springs & see if it changes, too, so thanks for saying that If the shocks make squeaks then that's probably part of it, too. Those will come as soon as taxes get paid, etc etc etc. It would be nice to put on good shocks so I can carry some weight in the darn thing - after I rebuild the bed or replace it, poor rusty thing that it is. Still need to deal with a leaky f250 so it can be a backup for me being able to tear this one apart for more than 2 days at a time.

    You know you can probably pick up a 924 and just start fixing it up little by little Not like you need to have a whole bunch of cash at once (added to wish list of things & all).

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by tink View Post
    You know you can probably pick up a 924 and just start fixing it up little by little Not like you need to have a whole bunch of cash at once (added to wish list of things & all).
    Truck first, then the Karmann Ghia slumbering in the garage. The truck is a mess and me being me, I'll either fix everything up or upgrade it. Looks like I'm making plans to stay broke lol

  11. #11

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    Yup...awesome little trucks, here's my history with them....1979...Orange County CA...recently laid off...sitting on the couch in my apartment in the middle of the week, toilet starts to gurgle...everybodys crap starts to come up in my bathtub...I call the owner and he sends out a plumber who just happens to be the little brother of a buddy of mine from high school...he fixes the main line, I have to clean up the mess but we start talking, asks me if I want to be a plumber...I need a truck and tools...he tells me two of his guys have little Ram 50's/Plymouth arrows...they swear by them, so I end up being a plumbers trainee, 6 weeks later I am driving my shiny new 1979 Dodge ram 50 2.0 5 sp. making a serious killing in the high rent district....The truck was and is AWESOME...reliable as an anvil...we all ran the crap out of them and they never failed, putting 100-200 miles a day 6 days a week...my 79 was bought new for $4,600 otd.....the 83 new was 5k....fast forward to 2012 and I see a white 1st gen w/graphics sitting in a guys driveway, turns out to be an 86...I tap on the door ask him if he wants to sell, he says it has a blown head gasket, I offer $100...half hour later I'm towing it home, I get it started It's firing on all four but at a 3,000 rpm idle....it's the carb, head gasket is fine....I'm still working on him, piece by piece...having a blast getting him to come to life again...

  12. #12

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    Awesome story ratesheet. I bet it felt like putting on your old favourite sneakers getting behind the wheel of your new acquisition. Like it was meant to happen

  13. #13

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    Oooh ratesheet, what a steal! Even with a blown headgasket - for me who never did one before was only about 3 weeks work w/ the steep learning curve, lol! I swear every once in a while there's a new old arrow or d50 local that looks like crap but runs in the commuters route daily. Always makes me grin & hope they don't drive it til it dies, they're so worth a little tinkering with to be amazingly reliable. Awesome story! Isn't it funny how life works out with timing... can hardly wait to get mine in tip-top shape, too. Best of luck to you on yours

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