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A Dodge Registry "Dark Thunder"

MrQ

Smokey the Clutch is, Missed Shift You Did
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'98 EB, '93 Limited
A friend of mine gave me this 1998 Dodge Ram 1500. The transmission wouldn't get out of 2nd and it needed some basic maintenance. He wanted to give it to a junkyard,:eek: but he called me up at work and asked if I wanted it. I said "Hell, yeah!" and brought it home a week later.


Specs:


5.2L V8 (230HP @ 4400RPM / 300 ft.lb. torque @ 3200RPM):D
46RE 4-speed Auto
2WD
Single Cab Long Bed
3.55 Gear Ratio
9.25 Chrysler Rear Axle
ST w/ Cruise, A/C, and fogs
126K miles
Towing Capacity of 8000 lbs
Exhaust cut off after Cats
Class IV Hitch 10,000lb GTW

When I brought it home:












Now:


Flexing


Future Mods

Powertrax Lock Right Locker
Dual Battery setup
Better seats

That's pretty much it. I want more MPGs out of it than the measly 10-12 it has around town. The Scan Gauge will help with logging MPG gains and RPMs, and the filter will allow the engine to breath a little better. :D

Why is the truck jinxed, you say? The answer is simple. I cannot go 2 weeks in a row without something going wrong, be it my fault, general maintenance that's been ignored, or paperwork that's not been done right.

1. Title and Registration issues kept me from driving the truck for 6 months.
2. In trying to get the truck running, the battery craps out
3. When I finally get the truck legal, the radiator blows out on the highway.
4. That same week, I hit a guy who didn't pay attention to traffic, crunching in the fender and destroying the signal lens.
5. While that is being hashed out with the insurance company, the ball joints decide to do the rumba with my steering.
6. Took a while but got the joints done and then did a slide into "home" at 45, because the wheel fell off due to my negligence in checking the lugnuts.
7. With a destroyed knuckle and lower balljoint, I get the pleasure of fixing it in one of Houston's coldest winters.
8. Engine overheated. Nearly zero coolant in reservoir.
9. Transmission slipping out of gear randomly due to Powertrain module :mad:
10. While pushing the Explorer up on a trailer, the Ram gets a nose job from the trailer hitch when it kicks off the front rail.
11. Took the Ram on an unscheduled detour and while hopping a curb, I got stuck on the tranny cross member. Getting off required turning the the cross member into a pretzel.
12. Water pump blew out right before I left for Austin to get the part to fix the Explorer.
I know I should be getting the hint now, but I can't get over my attachment to this truck. :rolleyes:

Maintenance 'n Mods

Interior
Replacement cup holders
Dash cover

Sound

Two 6x9 Kenwoods
Sony CD/USB/Radio head unit

Suspension/Steering
New Ball Joints
Refurbished driver's side steering knuckle
New inner and outer tie rods
New Gabriel Ultra shocks
New Pitman arm

Brakes
New Rotors and Pads

Drivetrain
New Governor and Governor Sensor for transmission
4 qts Valvoline Synth ATF w/ 1 qt of Lucas Tranny Fix
New Filter and Pan gasket for the Transmission

Engine
New Spark Plugs
New Filter
Oil Change every 4k
New Belt tensioner
New Belt

Exhaust
Cut off after Cats

Body
Fixed floppy antenna
New Wipers

Cooling/Heating
New Radiator
New Water Pump
Drier replaced
Liquid Line replaced

Wheels
265/70/16 Michelin LTX's
Chrome Stars

Lighting
Sylvania Silverstars Headlights
Fog Lights

Accessories/Mods
A.R.E "V" Model Bed Cap
Two 10k lb. Reese Tow Hooks
12v Power Socket in Truck Bed
CB Radio
Scan Gauge II
AEM Brute Force Cold Air Intake
 
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rookieshooter

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84 BII "Li'l Samson"
You got yourself one nice parts chaser/tow truck now.
On a side note, do you get a little tingly feeling walking under those power lines in the rain?
 

MrQ

Smokey the Clutch is, Missed Shift You Did
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Oh yeah, but I am afraid that was more due to the thrum of the 230 hp v8 I was sitting behind. :D :D :D
 
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rookieshooter

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Now that's what I call a "Great come back", and didn't take you long either :thumbsup:

Any plans for it yet?
 

MrQ

Smokey the Clutch is, Missed Shift You Did
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It's going to stay pretty stock. It needs new ball joints, shocks, and some new treads down the road. But first I am going to try and get the tranny working.

As for mods, I really want to add some tow hooks and those orange little lights you see on the roof of the bigger trucks. Also a CAI and other things to improve gas mileage. This thing sucks gas faster than a big rig towing a backhoe.

If its any indication of this thirsty engine...the fuel light comes on at a 1/4 tank. :wtf:
 
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Hitchhikingmike

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Nice truck. The interior looks pretty clean! Looks like you also have yourself a new tow truck.:thumbsup:
 

MrQ

Smokey the Clutch is, Missed Shift You Did
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I really want to get the Scan Gauge II. The Dodge doesn't have a tachometer which is INCREDIBLY frustrating and the SC will help me diagnose any other problems with the truck.
 

Hitchhikingmike

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Oh yes, I thoroughly enjoy my scanguage, see my posting for my informal review of mine.

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2462392&postcount=15

The four most gauges I keep on the screen at all time is the engine temp, trans temp, avergae fuel economy, and voltage, those I find to be the most useful.

Autozone carries them on their web site and they can be shipped to the store for local pickup.
 

MrQ

Smokey the Clutch is, Missed Shift You Did
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After the trans gets fixed that is my next mod. I can't STAND not having a tach. This is my first belief that Dodge had a brain fart when they installed a freaking huge gas gauge in place of the RPM gauge.
 

black91EB

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just remember, if you look up dodge in the dictionary, it says "to avoid". :D:D


Lol, all kidding aside, thats a nice clean truck.
 

Willard

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Looks like a good truck.

In my experience though, Dodge trucks like that love to drink gas. My friend had one that did, as well as my older brother. My brother was lucky to get 8mpg during the rough parts of winter. Hopefully you can squeeze something acceptable out of it though with some modification.
 

MrQ

Smokey the Clutch is, Missed Shift You Did
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Yeah it loves its daily fill up. I hope to curb its appetite by taking it easier on the pedal. It also needs a little maintenance. In the long run I hope to get an economy tune for it. However, $340 for a tune is a little hard on the wallet. :eek: Fortunately, I only drive a mile to work and back. I can make a tank of gas in the Explorer last 3 weeks, hopefully just a little less for the Ram.

Nothing can beat the power of V8...:cool:
 

rhauf

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I was just given a 1998 Dodge Ram 1500.

The tranny needs a little work but its perfectly drive-able. I can't imagine not having a v8 anymore. My explorer seems a bit puny after driving the truck.

*snip*
Yeah it loves its daily fill up. I hope to curb its appetite by taking it easier on the pedal. It also needs a little maintenance. In the long run I hope to get an economy tune for it. However, $340 for a tune is a little hard on the wallet. :eek: Fortunately, I only drive a mile to work and back. I can make a tank of gas in the Explorer last 3 weeks, hopefully just a little less for the Ram.

Nothing can beat the power of V8...:cool:

heh heh.. now don't get me wrong, i love v8's, they're a blast to drive, and they're definitely the best sounding engine ever, i own a couple trucks with modified v8's in them too..

but i sort of had the opposite epiphany when i started driving my '93 v6 explorer.. although slow, it turns out to be really nice having a considerable amount of extra spending cash after the gas station. $80+ per tank to fill the bronco was getting pretty steep. the little v6 gets almost double the mileage. so now my v8's have been reduced to weekend toys only (see video) :( i wish gas was cheaper (or that i had way more money)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X-QDelPBzo

looks like you scored a pretty damn nice dodge though! if you get a new (rebuilt) trans, have it beefed up a bit (shift kit, upgraded clutches/bands etc), the transmissions are definitely the weak link in those dodges.
 

MrQ

Smokey the Clutch is, Missed Shift You Did
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You know its weird. My truck weighs half a ton less than my Explorer, but only has .2 liters more than the 302 and it uses more gas than the ex v6 and v8. Question is...WHY!!
 

Hitchhikingmike

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What? the explorer is heavier than the dodge? My ex weighs 5,000lbs. Have you gone through a full tank yet to calculate the mpg on the dodge yet?
 

MrQ

Smokey the Clutch is, Missed Shift You Did
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The Dodge has a 3200lbs *EDIT 4300lbs curb weight. Since I don't have insurance on the truck yet, I can't drive it. :(
 
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rhauf

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The dodge has a larger profile... catches more air (not like explorers are aerodynamic anyway) but i think this could account for quite a bit of it.
 

MrQ

Smokey the Clutch is, Missed Shift You Did
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Yeah that was what I was thinking as well...
 
Join the Elite Explorers for $20.

Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see practically no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.


Hitchhikingmike

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No pictures of the engine? Or is it just too dirty to show off?:p:
 

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