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Thread: 87 Ram 50 4x4 "junkyard" rescue,

  1. #426

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    Nice
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  2. #427

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    i love it! the engine color is pretty cool, cant wait to get my little 4 cly in the truck.

    then yank it out and throw a 3 3 in there

  3. #428

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    I'd say run the 4 cyl for as long as you can, the fuel economy will help you save up for the swap and give you plenty of time to find all the parts and little things you'll need.

    I did not try starting the truck again yesterday, I was working by myself and I want to have an extra set of hands so I can adjust timing, idle mixture screws, and (if necessary) spray starting fluid into the carb while cranking. Wife is having a hell of a time with her allergies, so there was no way of getting her outside yesterday while the mowing company were out cutting the grass.

    I have a few ideas I want to bounce off of the more experienced on here, as to why the truck did not want to start:

    1. The battery had 12.67 volts, and it tested at 832 cranking amps, it's rated for 650 CCA. However, during cranking I watched the voltage drop down to 10 volts, and then 8 volts. I'm hoping that's the main reason it didn't start, but I have a few other suspicions.
    2. I have a new fuel filter directly before the carb, but I haven't checked the filter next to the tank yet. There is fuel in the new filter, but it does not visibly look like it's flowing through the filter while the fuel pump is running. It could be because the float bowl is full and the needle and seat is doing it's job, but the accelerator pump doesn't seem to be squirting as much as I remember... It has been 6 months though. I went ahead and added another 5 gal of gas to the tank just to be sure.
    3. I have the ignition coil and distributor wired correctly (as far as I can tell with the 15+ diagrams and reference pictures I still have), but I have not yet pulled out the spark plugs and tested for spark. I did have a few small sputters and burbles when I tried to start it the first time, but with the voltage dropping down to 8v I seriously doubt that the ignition pickup in the distributor was even activating.
    4. I've double checked cam timing, distributor position, firing order, and I even put a 1/2" ratchet on the crank to make sure it did not take too much force to rotate the engine with the spark plugs in. I looked for any potential vacuum leaks, oil leaks, and water leaks. I checked the tightness of every fitting, bolt, nut, and clamp. I found and fixed a couple of tiny things, but not anything that would prevent the engine from starting.


    I did find a noticeable oil leak at the fuel pump block off plate on the side of the head, which had ran down to the back of the block and was dripping off of the bellhousing. I pulled the plate back off, put it in the tiny little bench vice I have, and straightened it out. If that doesn't fix it I'm probably going to have to cut some new gaskets, or possibly cut the block-off plate so it'll actually fit properly.

    While I was installing the flywheel inspection cover I found one of the oil pan bolts had snapped off (it happened after I installed the engine...somehow) and leaking as well, but it's not even dripping yet, so I'm going to procrastinate on deal ing with that until after the engine is running reliably.

    I have the gauges almost completely wired up, the only thing that isn't connected is the power for the lighting, because I haven't figured out where exactly I want to tap into for that. I have the positive wire for the voltage gauge connected to the switched +12v powering the ignition system... I doubt it will draw enough to cause issues with the coil or distributor, plus it will tell me immediately if the ignition system loses voltage.

    I still need to actually mount the gauges to the dash, I'm thinking some heavy duty velcro-type tape, the kind with the mushroom shaped heads that interlock. That's what is currently holding the tach to the dash, but I can't seem to find the rest of what I used before.

    I finished "attaching" the seat cover, I'm not 100% satisfied with how it attaches to the bottom seat but it seems to be holding relatively well. It does look pretty damn good, though.

    I decided to cut/remove what was left of the upper bump stops on the front suspension... The upper bump stops were already sitting on the frame brackets, they were crumbling and falling apart, and I (eventually) will be replacing the control arms anyways. At some point I should pull the torsion bars out, clock them and adjust the anchor arms properly... Both anchor arms are within 1/2" of each other, but the front end is kinda tilting sideways. The driver's side front is about 3/4"-1" lower than the passenger side, and the rear end is another inch higher than the passenger side front. I at least want it level side-to-side, later I can worry about getting Montero upper control arms and making the front level with the rear.

    Oh, and I put the center caps on the rear wheels, installed the underseat cubby on the passenger side, and then sat in the driver's seat for a couple hours... I'm remembering why I absolutely love this truck.

    The shoulder-to-elbow arm angle with my elbow resting on the window sill is perfect, and the distance between the steering wheel and window allows the perfect elbow position on the window sill while still having a decent grip on the steering wheel. When the bench is positioned at the perfect distance for me to reach the pedals comfortably, the steering wheel and shift levers are at the perfect distance, and all of this culminates in the most comfortable cruising position possible... For me, at least.

  4. #429

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    IIRC the backlighting power wire for the instruments/gauges are off a green+white wire. Look on ebay for 2" gauge housings. There are a few made from ABS that look half decent and will cover the wiring/vac lines etc. I bought a dual gauge holder for the Hung Dog that I'm waiting on. The Hyundai has no real flat faces to anchor the gauge mount to as it's all curved but a few minutes with a heat gun should allow me to tweak it enough to sit down flush. I am not a fan of gauge pods on brackets with wiring sticking out the ass of them - it looks like they're ghetto fixed. Even a pillar mount is a better option and they're reasonably cheap to get now.

    Here's the dual gauge mount I've ordered just to give you an idea - https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-52mm-Car-...72.m2749.l2649

    I also ordered a single pillar mount a few days ago for like $5 from China. A heat gun and some trimming will help me get it to sit flush on the big plastic 'A' pillar cover. I have matching volt, vac and AFR gauges on their way. I'm going to wrap both gauge housings with the self adhesive black PU leather or maybe coat them with vinyl spray - not sure yet.

    Make a remote starter wire for your truck - a female spade terminal on a long wire. Just disconnect the starter wire, connect your jumper and turn the ignition on. Strike the end of the jumper on the +ve on the battery and it'll kick over. To kill it, just pull the main coil wire. I've had to do this when going solo on engine tunes or diagnostics. Having to get in and out of a cab to start an engine and meddle with ignition timing is a PITA
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  5. #430

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    better clean that thing with some bleach geezer! china + shipping = coronavirus

  6. #431

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    in all seriousness could you link me to it? i may use it on the D50, although im considering a completely custom console with elevated bucket seats and a touchscreen bluetooth radio.

  7. #432

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    Quote Originally Posted by geezer101 View Post
    I am not a fan of gauge pods on brackets with wiring sticking out the ass of them - it looks like they're ghetto fixed.
    I am going to be honest with you, that's exactly what I did...

    Later on I'll make it look decent, but right now I'm only concerned with function. Plus I don't really feel like pulling the dash right now.

    I feel really dumb that I didn't think about using a jumper wire...

  8. #433

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    Quote Originally Posted by WarStryker13 View Post
    I am going to be honest with you, that's exactly what I did...

    Later on I'll make it look decent, but right now I'm only concerned with function. Plus I don't really feel like pulling the dash right now.

    I feel really dumb that I didn't think about using a jumper wire...
    The simplest answer is the one you end up using. And if you make the jumper wire, then my comment has helped you which is still a win
    If your gauges are reading right and the electrics are bug free, you can swap it over to a nicer looking set up later knowing the nuts and bolts of it all are solid.
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  9. #434

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    Speaking of electrics... Even after charging the battery overnight, it still drops in voltage every time I crank the engine. I even tried jumping it with a friend's truck, no change. I'm about to take it back to AutoZone and force them to warranty it.

    The good news: Every time I crank it, the needle starts moving on the oil pressure gauge, so I know it's pumping oil through the engine.

  10. #435

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    you can un dumb yourself because you listened and learned. well, you read and learned.

    anyways, i really love how the truck is coming along, cant wait to see the gauges in. what gauges you using? what brand and size?

  11. #436

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    It's normal for battery voltage to drop while cranking the engine. typically a 12v battery should be about 13v fully charged. Dropping to 9.5 or 10 volts during cranking is normal. This is why there is a ballast resistor bypass hooked up to the start position on the key switch. So when the battery voltage drops during cranking, you still get a hot spark.
    If your spending some time cranking it, keep a fire extinguisher handy. Once some fuel pools up in the intake you have a fire hazard.
    A little shot of starter fluid and it should stumble for a second or two. If it doesn't, recheck your ignition.
    I just finished rebuilding a 318 for my friends dodge camper van. I made sure to keep the timing marks lined up right, and still put the distributor in 180 out. I think I spun it over tightening the fan. At 180 out, it sounded normal cranking. It would stumble here and there with the occasional burp/backfire in the intake.

  12. #437

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    The distributor was one tooth off.

    I feel dumb.

    But it's alive.

  13. #438

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    try going another tooth, seems to me these engines love some timing put into them.

  14. #439

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    personally dont see how 1 tooth off makes such a difference, say does yours have a clip tyoe distributor or a cap ith 2 screws? my 1987 and 1982 had different caps. the 87 had a clip distributor, but the 82 had the screw in and i nearly stripped the screws getting it out. going with 87 distributor.

    just a heads up to gen 1 owners if the gen 2 had a clip type.

  15. #440

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    Going half a tooth out will kill these engines. Going full advance or retard on the ignition under this situation won't be enough to get it to run. Experimenting with dynamic tuning will yield results but you need to regap plugs and/or change the temperature rating. Dynamic tuning seems to work very well on OBD I/II engines.
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  16. #441

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  17. #442

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    This truck never fails to fail.

    Thankfully I was almost to my house when the tach started to jump back and forth from 2500 to 4500, before finally dropping to zero right before I pulled into the driveway. As I was pulling in, the engine died, wouldn't start back up.

    My first thought was the ignition module died. I tested the coil first, it will make a spark when jumping voltage to the negative terminal. I haven't measured the resistance on the ignition module, but it's still under warranty through RockAuto so I'm just waiting on the replacement to show up.

    Since this one is a cheap knockoff, the next one will also be a cheap knockoff... I don't expect the new one to last long, but it'll give me time to buy a legit Mistu OEM module when money isn't so tight, and I'll keep the cheap knockoff as a spare in the toolbox.

    Other than that, I haven't had any issues with the truck. Every time I let out the clutch in first gear with more than 15% throttle it will spin the tires for a solid 3-5 seconds, and if I'm giving it any amount of beans in third gear the clutch will slip going to fourth gear... So a new clutch will probably be the next most important item on the list.

    I'm gonna have to wait for a little bit, because I would rather spend more on a decent clutch in a few weeks/months, than burn through another stock clutch in less than a year and be back in the same boat again.

    I do have a number of extra parts from all of the junkyard trips, I'm most likely going to post them for sale on the book-face because things sell faster there, but I will post them on here first just in case someone here needs it.

    Hopefully the ignition module shows up today, so I can take this turd on a real road test.

  18. #443

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    Well that sucks. It wasn't the truck that let you down - it was a junk aftermarket part. There's got to be an online source for a decent ICM. Option #2 - a good used distributor. Getting one shouldn't be that bigger hassle. Other than the distributor glitch, it sounds like it's ready to go hard!
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  19. #444

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    The new ICM showed up today, got it installed and the truck started right up and ran for about 5 minutes before dying again. Started it again, ran for another 5 minutes and died.

    I borrowed a multimeter (can't find mine) and started measuring resistances... There is no continuity between the positive and negative terminals of the MSD coil. It's dead.

    I'm gonna guess that the MSD coil is doing the exact same thing as the stock coil did when I first bought the truck, it works for a little bit after sitting, but it stops working after a few minutes.

  20. #445

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    wonder if something is causing the coil to go bad? i can ship you an almost new genuine mitsubishi coil and distributor if youre interested, DM me for more info.

    anyways, im really surprised your truck is spinning tires. what all did you do?

    https://www.amazon.com/CLUTCH-MIGHTY...A54EHCQ36B4CBV

    clutch kit, there is a stage 2 3 and 4 for different applications.

    there was one for $75 but it was 2 star, guess it was that low for a reason, this was 4 star and $90 AND a reputable brand.

    better yet, there is upgraded options.

  21. #446


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    I hate to say this but... A failing fuel pump will cause this issue as well. The pump gets hot and the metal expands causing the pressure to drop. Let it sit the gas cools down the pump and will fire right up again. Then a few minutes later it dies again.

  22. #447

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    If that were the case, the bowl would be empty when it dies and I wouldn't be able to get the accelerator pump to squirt.

    I started with the alphabetical order: Air, Compression, Fuel, Spark. I have the first three.

  23. #448

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    Murphy's law strikes again. The distributor wires from the ICM to the coil have broken off at the ICM connectors, and the rubber grommet is cracked and falling apart.

    Now I get to look for a new set of wires, or at least a good used set...

  24. #449

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    I forgot to mention this earlier, but the oil pressure gauge failed... I don't think it liked 120+ psi.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've replaced the gauge since this picture, and before anyone else freaks out (like I did at first) the color is from the CeraTec additive. It looked like a melted orange creamsicle while pouring it in, but the color is already starting to go back to looking like regular oil instead of a blown head gasket.

  25. #450

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    Quote Originally Posted by WarStryker13 View Post
    Murphy's law strikes again. The distributor wires from the ICM to the coil have broken off at the ICM connectors, and the rubber grommet is cracked and falling apart.

    Now I get to look for a new set of wires, or at least a good used set...
    Looking at this https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/...ule+(icm),7172
    And this https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/...stributor,7108
    It looks like to me yiou can probably just get new wire of the right gauge and make your own since they do not seem to be physically attached to the ICM but rather bolted to it with end connectors.
    I sent a PM with the same advice before I saw this post.

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