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Thread: 81 Big Horn resuurection

  1. #1




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    81 Big Horn resuurection

    I finally got the chance yesterday to start working on the 81 Big Horn. It was not running when I got it, and I think I know why. Apparently, the ignition module failed, so someone decided to use a GM HEI module external to the distributor to get it to run. They also swapped out the original Mikuni carb with a weber, and hooked the fuel line off the return line from the mechanical pump to the tank with a inline reg on it. The PO claimed it ran like this, but I don't know how, and if it did, not very well. I am waiting for a new module before I fix the fuel line issue, and I will replace the hacked ignition module wiring with the right pickup and module. Why someone would hack up the distributor wiring for a 6 dollar part is beyond me...Will take pics when I return to it with the parts to fix it.
    Pennyman1
    The best Dodge that Dodge never made
    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by pennyman1 View Post
    I am waiting for a new module before I fix the fuel line issue, and I will replace the hacked ignition module wiring with the right pickup and module. Why someone would hack up the distributor wiring for a 6 dollar part is beyond me...
    Coz they can. Coz the external HEI was lying around on a shelf somewhere. Coz they don't know better. ETC, ETC. We see a ton of nasty ghetto fixes - always entertaining to decipher WTF what one the many PO's were thinking. How did it pick up fuel? And do it without choking to death every time it went around a turn or over something. If anyone can bring it back to life it'll be you
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  3. #3


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    Glad to see you're getting this up and running again. Love that truck.

  4. #4

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    Great to hear you have started ,,, Keep us posted !

    And of course you know ,,, we Love Pictures !

  5. #5




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    Well I worked some more on the Big Horn - finally got it started. The hacked ignition and the funky plumbing from the pump to the carb wasn't the issue - just sitting for far too long. Having said that, the bad news is the PO did damage to the motor running it out of oil - it has a loud rod knock. Now I am trying to decide to rebuild the motor now and put it back in, use the remanned short block and put that in and rebuild the original motor, or pull the 2.6 out of the 89 parts truck, drop that in, and rebuild the original. I want to start driving the truck now, but the options are many, and I also have many things to do around the house which will complicate the issue. What should I do?
    Pennyman1
    The best Dodge that Dodge never made
    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  6. #6


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    My 2 cents, motor out of 89 parts truck+from my recollection of east coast winters the rebuilding of the orig. engine would be a first rate winter project.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by pennyman1 View Post
    Well I worked some more on the Big Horn - finally got it started. The hacked ignition and the funky plumbing from the pump to the carb wasn't the issue - just sitting for far too long. Having said that, the bad news is the PO did damage to the motor running it out of oil - it has a loud rod knock. Now I am trying to decide to rebuild the motor now and put it back in, use the remanned short block and put that in and rebuild the original motor, or pull the 2.6 out of the 89 parts truck, drop that in, and rebuild the original. I want to start driving the truck now, but the options are many, and I also have many things to do around the house which will complicate the issue. What should I do?
    You're asking us what to do lol. Now that is a first! is rebuild it. If you - A: aren't in dire need of it, B:want to keep it as original as possible (if a full resto is on the cards) and C: don't want to play Russian roulette with your wallet on a 'good used engine', I'd pull it down and work on it whenever you have nothing better to do and cash permits. You know the engine and what to do to improve it. When it's cold and crappy outside, there is nothing like some late night porting on a cylinder head as personal therapy.
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