Dodge RamCharger Central banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I am losing interest in my Dodge, I dont know what to do...  I have a Jeep CJ7 and its so easy to find parts for and all that stuff, and doesnt cost a whole lot of money to get it in good 4'wheelin shape.  My Powerwagon on the other hand, is a dog offroad, gets high centered easy, and doesnt have much articulation in the suspension or in the driveline, and is probably going to take quite a bit of work to get it going to not make it such a dog.  I have a money issue at this point, I get paid every 2 weeks, and its not that much money.  The problems on it include, the front D44 is a weird model, and its yoke faces kinda downward, which causes problems with the driveline, if extended to any degree.  The rear has stupid blocks under the springs.  The truck has a problem with high centering, locker somewhere is a must.  Carb has problems with any type of slope uphill or downhill, 600 edelbrock.  Cap and rotor, even with sealant has all types of trouble with any type of water, even just driving in a small puddle on the road.  It does need a clutch at some point. 

Parts list:
Do something with the front D44 - $? (do something with the front shackles maybe)
Locker - lunchbox locker in front $250 - D60 rear detroit locker rear - $600
rear shackles to get rid of block $?
Clutch (not a must, but would be nice) - $300
New transfercase shifter -$50
Carb Problems - $?
Rear Driveshaft (CV or really awesome u-joints) $50 - $300 (cv driveshaft)
Odds and ends -$100?

Jeep Parts:
3.73 gear rearends (front and rear)- $150 -$200
2.5" lift - $300
Shackles - Freebie or $50
1" Body lift - $100 (not a must)
Bigger tires - $?  (not a must)
rear locker - $250 (already have a front)
*jeep is also smaller and can get alot of places the ol' powerwagon cant*


Ugh I dont know what to do, the Dodge is going to need work, and lots of time, the jeep stuff is there for the taking for cheap, and abundant, and its easier to do.  Pep talk, is there something I am not seeing here?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,766 Posts
Why not just park the Powerwagon till things turn around financially. You made your decision, youve gathered the facts and weighed the pros and cons.

Park the truck on the side and continue on with the jeep! If you get fustrated with a never ending project you will never be happy. Especially if its the almighty dollar keeping you from enjoying it. Sounds like the jeep is just about ready to go for less. Wheel that, have fun and piggybank for a repair on the dodge one day!!!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, I just want to have the thing for RamJam, but it wont be very fun if it keeps getting hung up, the jeep has yet to get hung up.. The only thing going for the Dodge is the bigger tires 36". 
 

·
Founder
Joined
·
25,710 Posts
Sell one to buy parts for the other.  Both can be nice rigs.  I currently have an 83 CJ-7 that I am building.  I got rid of my Ramcharger and used some of the parts off it for the Jeep.  No shame in having a Jeep, although I am keeping it mopar by swapping in a magnum 5.2L out of a grand cherokee and it is running a dana 60 front out of a 93 cummins.  So if you go with the jeep, don't bastardize it with chevy stuff :)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
29,559 Posts
Eh, everyone has a Jeep.  ;D
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, thanks sam, I am not going to put anything new on it from a Chevy.  Only things it came out with Chevy is what is staying on it.  I like the 258, lightweight, easy to work on, and you can pick them up all day for $100, and they run forever.  I love my pick up, but its just so darn expensive to work on, dang 3/4 ton stuff!  Sam do you still have the truck in your profile pic?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,766 Posts
Sam Simpson said:
don't bastardize it with chevy stuff :)
What the hell are you talking about? Jeep has always been a bastard. They have always used someone elses parts ;D Buicl, Pontiac, Ford, Chrysler.....etc etc.

Elwenil said:
Eh, everyone has a Jeep. ;D
For good reason. They work. An set up right they work well.

Hey monkey! Why not build the truck as a hauler and build the jeep as a dedicated crawler.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,034 Posts
You are comparing apples to oranges.  A jeep is a small, buggy-like, ride.  A Dodge truck is a work horse with a bed that can also go offroad.  If you really want cheap make a 4wd go-cart and be done with it.  If you want a larger vehicle to go off road it will cost you.  You need to clarify your goals for yourself.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Lol, because its  a pretty decent jeep, its actually my daily driver.  I cant stand to ride in anything with a top and doors anymore.  Another reason I am having a problem building the dodge, I am afraid I will still prefer the jeep.  I cant see where I am going on the trails in the big ol' truck, the jeep I can see just about everywhere around me, and it fits in some tight spots.  Plus since its my daily driver, if I go wheeling in it, and it breaks, I can find parts everywhere and it doesnt take to long to fix.  I nearly have enough parts to build me another jeep, lol.  I am looking to sell some of my metal and other stuff, to help with "toy" money, maybe if I can sell enuff stuff, I can afford both.  I am going to sell a camper that I bought for my dodge, to pay for half a locker.  The locker will help out a ton in the truck, but it still has obvious problems.  I am afraid of breaking the dodge, the parts dont come often and when they do its an arm and a leg, and lots of time working on it.  This is my dilemma  :-\.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
965 Posts
Jeeps are good - my '45 was my first "car" and I still have it today over 30 years later and my wife refers to it as my first love.  '73 is a thrill with lockers, V8, big tires, and stripped out tub - that damn thing can go anywhere.  Then there's my clapped out '88 RC.  Certainly not a Jeep but I'm quite found of it too.  Bought it new in '88 and have been driving it daily since (except when it was under the knife, then I drove the Jeep). 

Point is, keep them both if you can afford it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
I personally bought my RC for a glory standpoint. My dad was all about me getting a Jeep, said it fits me, but I wanted something that stood out from the crowd.

When someone see's a Jeep they expect it to be slightly lifted, nice tires, solid axles, manual transmission, inline 6, sticker on the back that says, "If you can read this, please flip me over" and sticker on the front that says, "It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand." All the rock crawling, mountain crawling things.

When you see a nice lifted Ramcharger or Power Wagon, initial reaction is HOT DAMN!!!
Then explaining to people that it's a Ramcharger, not a Bronco or Blazer and that Dodge engineered the best SUV.
Then showing them all the things your designed, engineered and fabricated because Generic 4X4 store doesn't carry or make what your after or looking for, or because it's not a simple bolt on product.

I would suggest as previously stated, park the truck till the times turn around. But keep it as you will surely appreciate a nice build that you did yourself. Then you can get a sticker for the front of your rig that says, "It's a TRUCK thing, you Jeep guys wouldn't understand."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
dgabajay said:
I would suggest as previously stated, park the truck till the times turn around. But keep it as you will surely appreciate a nice build that you did yourself. Then you can get a sticker for the front of your rig that says, "It's a TRUCK thing, you Jeep guys wouldn't understand."
Or better yet I saw a sticker last week on a well used RamCharger that stated "I Got Your Jeep Thing, Now It Hurts When I Pee." But seriously Jeeps are probably the best bang for the buck when it comes to trail riding. The aftermarket supplies stuff for them like a pusher supplying a junkie. I agree with the above statements--park the truck, it won't cost you anything to let it sit until you get more motivation and money to make it do what you want. Old Dodges are getting harder to find that are ready to drive, mostly the ones I've found lately have been sitting for a long time.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Mine is working on a year of sitting, but it still starts right up and runs.  Bought a roll bar/ light bar for it the other week for cheap.  Got a new steering column and key tumbler, just havent put it in yet.  Its ready to do whatever, but its a dog is the problem.  A little CJ with 31's shouldnt beable to go more places than a full size truck and 36's in my opinion...  Only good thing it has done is be able to forge high waters, and it didnt do it gracefully either, but it did start up again after it died in the water, cant kill the dang thing  ::)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
dude, just my two pennies, you need to think of witch one you want to keep for the next 5 to 10 years. I know that i have spent about twice the amount of money on my truck, as the Gov. bought it brand new! And it still looks like a bucket of crap, but it has a 4bt, nv4500, np205 and locked up dana axles rollin on 35" bf good-wrench m/t. About 2/10's of the truck is now chevy b/c the parts are cheaper and easy to get. And if your going to up grade you just make it easyer on your self. But at the end of the day I still have a lifted up DODGE that I put all the wrench time one myself!! And my jeep buddys!lol they envy my truck and i envy there's but you have the best of both worlds! These hard times wont last forever and keep both and spend the money where you can. Keep your head up and know that you own two American legends and be proud to drive both down the road.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So in short, I need to find a 4x4 chevy shortwide rolling frame with everything I need, and just put my '77 powerwagon on it?  I like this idea for some odd reason.  Hmmm
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
29,559 Posts
Why on earth would you put your Dodge body on a GM chassis?  What would you gain that you can't get from a simple axle swap?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Lol, was just playing, but since  you asked that question...  You get better springs, with better spring hangers that people on this site actually carry over to their ramchargers.  If your lucky you might get a D44 front with a Corporate 14 bolt rearend, with a highsteer dana44 front end, with steering box.  And if you play your cards right you might even end up with a 350, and a nv435, with a a np203 attached to it.  The 350, even tho its no match to the 360, is a fairly cheap engine to build up, has a HEI distributor, and a 3 wire charging system.  I mean I like my 360, but its so darned expensive to buy just the stock parts to put back on it, I can build a poor boy 350 that will run, for the same price as one part for my tired ol' 360.  Its the truth :-[.  It bugs me, because I like dodge 360's, and just having one means alot, but its so darned inconvenient for a poor boy to own a pre-72 block 360 and cant do justice for it.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
29,559 Posts
Actually the longer GM springs everyone wants are only found on certain models like the Suburban.  The GM D44 front is no different than a Dodge D44 front, and 9 times out of 10 it will be a 10 bolt anyway.  The 14 bolt is an upgrade but in my opinion, too large for most rigs.  You have to run a pretty tall tire unless you are going to shave the axle, otherwise it will be plowing into everything.  I have yet to see a Dodge D44 that didn't have the flat top passenger side knuckle so they are ideal for a high steer if you so desire to waste that sort of cash on a D44 and the stock late 70's to '90s Dodge steering box simply needs to be mounted in the 2WD position to convert it for high steer.  As for the 350, it's a good cheap engine but one certain ones are really desirable and if you end up with a 305 you are worse off that if you have a stock 318, in my opinion.  On the 4 speed I think you will find that the NP435 was only used in certain rare models in the early '70s and the SM465 is the more common GM truck 4 speed.  It's a good transmission, but has it's own issues as well.  A NP203 is a NP203 in my opinion and nothing I would actually look forward to having unless I was going to do a doubler.  HEI is ok I guess but it fails compared to aftermarket ignition and I personally do not consider it much of an upgrade over the stock Mopar electronic ignition system.  I know some guys here love it, but I just don't feel it's worth the trouble to swap over to it.  I thought the whole point of GM alternators were that they were one wire?  Even so I never thought any charging system was that hard to deal with regardless of how many wires there are.  The cost of GM engine parts are directly related to the demand and competition for that demand.  It's unfortunate that Mopar engines are not as popular, but then if they were, I probably would not like them as much.  Besides, if you know where to look, you can get Dodge parts cheap enough to make them viable but some parts are worth paying the extra money for.  Just my .02
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
yeah man, I know what your saying, when I got my dodge, I was a pure chevy man, did some drag racing with my 71' vega, and just building the engine was cheap, and every time I go to buy something for the dodge, it blows my mind is the main thing. A big problem I have with the Dodge ignition and charging system is its not very tough, seems pretty fragile, in my opinion. when I go wheeling, I go thru mud and water, and I have a hard time keeping these parts waterproofed and in working order. While my buddies with chevys are just having fun with no problems to speak of. It gets annoying.

The chevy frames do already have the shackles one needs. And you can find suburbans just about everywhere to obtain some springs. I have the nv435 tranny already in my dodge, so just a matter of finding a bellhouse to bolt up to a 350 :p. yeah, the 203 is just about junk, but is a tough little dude, just has staying in gear problems when 4wheeling, and you can pick them up all day for $50. I like cheap easy to find, easy replaceable parts. I could really careless about highsteer, but if a rig already had it when I got it, I will use it. I agree the corporate 14 has a huge housing and does seem to get in the way. I like my d60, just I hate my d44 when it looks like this.



What does one do about that? Its absolutely demoralizing.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
29,559 Posts
What is wrong with that D44?  Also, please show me a GM truck that comes with high steer stock.  The only truck I have ever seen with stock high steer had closed knuckle axles.  My M715 had high steer stock but the front axle was weaker than a modern D44 so it's moot.  As for shackles, they are pretty moot also since anyone with a welder can make new shackles.  If you are talking about a shackle flip, that's a bit more involved but is easily done especially with Jungle's kits.  On the wiring bit, there is nothing wrong with the Dodge ignition and charging system.  If you are dunking it in water and it's causing problems, then you are not sealing things properly or have skimped on maintenance and let the wiring insulation get old and cracked.  Replace any wires with hardened or cracked insulation, pull all the terminals and clean them and pack them with dielectric grease and make sure you are using quality components.  Most of the time people complain about failures and break downs related to wiring they are dealing with 20 year old wiring that has never had the terminals cleaned and they are open to corrosion and/or they are using AutoZone or Advance Auto parts that are the bottom of the barrel in quality.

Also there is no "NV435".  It is a NP435 as it was made by New Process Gear.  That company later became New Venture Gear and used the "NV" prefix but it was never used on the 435 as it was replaced by the NV4500 around the same time.

One more thing about GM chassis, the frames are weak.  Joe likes to talk about how flexible Dodge frames are but they are not where near as bad as GM truck frames.  One of my friends ran a K series truck for a long time and it would get twisted to the point that the bed was a good 8" from lining up with the cab.  All the truck manufacturers have some good things about them.  The trick is to pick and choose what works best for what you want to do and mix and match them.  Just about everything good about a GM truck can easily be retrofitted to a Dodge truck.  Or a Jeep for that matter.  ;D
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top