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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A couple years back I bought a 78 RC that was an old Alabama Game Warden truck. Well it's been sitting since Memorial Day 2017 in storage. I've been doing a lot of travel work so the time hasn't been there for me to do much of anything with it. But that's all about to change. My plan for it is to take her on a cross country/overland trek. The trip will take us from TN to the closest access to the Trans America Trail onward to MT where we'll cross the border into CA and final destination being Prudhoe Bay. The wife and I are both retired and I only do power plant outage work in the spring and fall as a boilermaker so we'll have the time now.

There's some cosmetic stuff I wanna address but that's the least of my worries right now. It sat for 4 years before I bought it and its been sitting since I bought it. However, about 3 weeks ago I put a breaker bar on it and the engine still turned.

So my 3 areas of emphasis are the engine, trans and driveline.

Engine: 360, wanna keep it relatively stock. Maybe go for a bit more torque but nothing that requires to much high performance stuff. For what it's intended purpose is, less of a headache and access to parts would be a concern. How would you build it?

Trans: keep the np435 or go with a 727 or A518?

Driveline: keep the stock 1/2 ton running gear or throw in the 1 ton gear I have? With a 727 should I run 3.55's with either set of axles?


I will be dragging a 12' trailer stuffed full of tools, camping gear, chainsaw(s) and quite possibly a SxS/ATV. Of course extra fuel cans, winch bumper, a spare or two, etc...

Thanks fellas,
Chris
 

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I think I'd keep the NP435. An extra gear can't hurt with the amount of travel you plan on doing.

Sounds like you are going to be loading it down with quite a bit of weight and towing load. If you have a one ton driveline available, I'd go with that.

What size tires are on it right now? I'm just curious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think I'd keep the NP435. An extra gear can't hurt with the amount of travel you plan on doing.

Sounds like you are going to be loading it down with quite a bit of weight and towing load. If you have a one ton driveline available, I'd go with that.

What size tires are on it right now? I'm just curious.
Those swampers are 32/9.50/15 and dry rotted. I'll be going with will be 33 or 34" Falken wildpeak at3w or Cooper ST Maxx's on 16 or 17 inch rims.

I have 1 ton axle I bought a while back ready to go in, so axle/weight issues solved. I'll have a set of custom leaf springs in 4" lift made for it.

No problem on the 4spd, saves me money on buying an auto for it.
 

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I agree stay with the 4 speed manual as Bohunk stated. What gears do you have in the one tons? If you are staying with a relatively big tire you should be fine in regards to any highway running.

Just watch your lift and towing. You may end up having more troubles than the lift is worth. Do switch to the one ton axles though no matter what. They will be the most reliable on your trip. 1/2 ton axles are not ideal for hauling long distances if you put any weight or torque to them IMO.

Neil
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I agree stay with the 4 speed manual as Bohunk stated. What gears do you have in the one tons? If you are staying with a relatively big tire you should be fine in regards to any highway running.

Just watch your lift and towing. You may end up having more troubles than the lift is worth. Do switch to the one ton axles though no matter what. They will be the most reliable on your trip. 1/2 ton axles are not ideal for hauling long distances if you put any weight or torque to them IMO.

Neil
4.10's in the 1 tons.

Lift will be no bigger than a 4", may just go with 2" add a leafs on 1 ton springs.

So keep the 4 spd, install 1 tons. Now the engine, keep it mostly stock with 4 barrel or should I go with magnum heads and efi?
 

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I would keep the NP435, go with 35" tires and cut the fenders for clearance and keep the suspension as close to stock as possible. Remember, if you are swapping to D60s front and rear, you will end up almost 2" higher from the axles alone. Remember to leave tire clearance for chains in the rear at least.
 

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4.10's in the 1 tons.

Lift will be no bigger than a 4", may just go with 2" add a leafs on 1 ton springs.

So keep the 4 spd, install 1 tons. Now the engine, keep it mostly stock with 4 barrel or should I go with magnum heads and efi?
I have no experience swapping EFI so I can’t say much, but if reliability is what you are after I would think that’s the route I would go
 

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4.10's in the 1 tons.

Lift will be no bigger than a 4", may just go with 2" add a leafs on 1 ton springs.

So keep the 4 spd, install 1 tons. Now the engine, keep it mostly stock with 4 barrel or should I go with magnum heads and efi?
If she runs good and is not leaking profusely keep the motor stock. The change in elevation may warrant an EFI swap though. Maybe get an aftermarket unit like holley or something similar. I have no experience here but I think for efficiency and reliability the new EFI would be ideal. 410s are perfect and go with 35s if ya can as El stated. Again avoid the lift since your in theory getting one anyway depending on how big of tires you go with and the axle differences.

Neil
 
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Most of the late 360’s have the piston rather deep in the hole and low compression. The magnum head may not benefit quench. Chrysler offered a “302” head on 360 ci LA non diesel dually. They also used this head on the Commando crate motors. Alleged to flow better than X, ,J or TA heads. They are kinda hard to find but really rocked on a Scamp I built.

With Magnum heads you will also have to change, lifters, push rods, springs, rockers and intake.

if the truck runs good add the EFI at this time for dependability and drivability. Save the $$$ for now for a well thought out engine or a complete roller Magnum swap. Late Hemi’s are the hot swap now.

I have 1 ton axles 60/70 in a 2500 chassis long bed with a 440, injection and a NP435. It has 355 gears and basically I’m mostly in 3rd all the time and it likes to live there under 5o mph. 4th on Hiway 60-65 mph isn’t too bad….faster immediately drains the gas tank with NO overdrive…..35” on 16’s….really needs a steering stabilizer and a Borgeson shaft. I’ve set the toe but still wanders. It’s in the sky with stock diesel springs…… the ride beats you up unloaded. Loaded Trail use I’m sure this may better at home.

I’m doing an RC now…. I could imagine on a shorter wheel base RC how diesel springs would ride……I’m looking at the Jungle 52” Chevy Springs for better ride quality. I’m only a 318 w small cam and headers. This one has 9.25/44 with 321 lockers.
I will be swapping higher numerical gear to work with the 33’s. Mostly street and light trail.
440 or 5.9 mag on horizon. And heavier axles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Most of the late 360’s have the piston rather deep in the hole and low compression. The magnum head may not benefit quench. Chrysler offered a “302” head on 360 ci LA non diesel dually. They also used this head on the Commando crate motors. Alleged to flow better than X, ,J or TA heads. They are kinda hard to find but really rocked on a Scamp I built.

With Magnum heads you will also have to change, lifters, push rods, springs, rockers and intake.

if the truck runs good add the EFI at this time for dependability and drivability. Save the $$$ for now for a well thought out engine or a complete roller Magnum swap. Late Hemi’s are the hot swap now.

I have 1 ton axles 60/70 in a 2500 chassis long bed with a 440, injection and a NP435. It has 355 gears and basically I’m mostly in 3rd all the time and it likes to live there under 5o mph. 4th on Hiway 60-65 mph isn’t too bad….faster immediately drains the gas tank with NO overdrive…..35” on 16’s….really needs a steering stabilizer and a Borgeson shaft. I’ve set the toe but still wanders. It’s in the sky with stock diesel springs…… the ride beats you up unloaded. Loaded Trail use I’m sure this may better at home.

I’m doing an RC now…. I could imagine on a shorter wheel base RC how diesel springs would ride……I’m looking at the Jungle 52” Chevy Springs for better ride quality. I’m only a 318 w small cam and headers. This one has 9.25/44 with 321 lockers.
I will be swapping higher numerical gear to work with the 33’s. Mostly street and light trail.
440 or 5.9 mag on horizon. And heavier axles.

Great input, thanks!!!! I want to keep it as pure 78 as possible, but the reliability of the efi is a positive for the pretty drastic elevation and weather changes. The 360 is all this one will ever get, nonplans to go any bigger. To many projects that I want in my shop. Still have a crew cab and club cab I want to get and atleast one more 77/78 RC SE model. Then its on to some other things, so not a tin of money for wild mods for this one.

I'd like to keep 33's or 34's under it. Keep the half ton spring or go with a custom set for "comfort".

The 52" springs is something I've been throwing around as well, we'll see.

Thanks for the info, once I start I may reach out to you for more help.
 

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1 keep it carb it simple.2 make sure before your start it pre lube with a drill if it has started in 3 years. Hell you know what rubber fuel lines have gotten hard. On the heads valve seats and valve job. Three years not running I don’t want you to have a seat go to crap in the middle of no where. Main thing drain fluids all. Pre lube the engine get running. You will find out in 1-3 days what’s leaking
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
1 keep it carb it simple.2 make sure before your start it pre lube with a drill if it has started in 3 years. Hell you know what rubber fuel lines have gotten hard. On the heads valve seats and valve job. Three years not running I don’t want you to have a seat go to crap in the middle of no where. Main thing drain fluids all. Pre lube the engine get running. You will find out in 1-3 days what’s leaking
I'll have to put some more thought into keeping it carb. We'll be experiencing some rather drastic elevation changes once out west and the EFI would eliminate the need for changing out jets. But if I can find a carb that is the simplest of simple, I'd entertain it. Remember, I'm a welder not much of a mechanic, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thanks for all the input, really appreciated!!!

Next question is geared towards the electrical issues the 70's era dodges experienced. What electrical upgrades (EGR, VR, Ballost, ammeter/volt meter, etc...) would you recommend over or as a direct replacement from what is factory. I guess the only two ways of looking at this is EFI or Carb. I'm no mechanic, I'm a welder so when it comes to trucks, warranties on newer and simplicity on older.

Scenario 1: EFI

Scenario 2: Carbed

Currently the build plan includes dual Batts, high output alt or duals for the winch, extra electronics in the cab, USB chargers, inverter for fridge/freezer, extra lights and somehow a heater/blower improvements. I want to duct heat to the rear, so I assume a bigger blower to push the heat is in order.
 
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