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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been a long time since I've been active on this page. Truth is, it's been way too long since I've had a Dodge project. Some of you may recall my old handle, "79 D200 Sleeper". That was my first Dodge pickup and the first project I had after moving to AZ. My wife and I had a new house, new jobs and a new baby. It wasn't the best time to start a project and after a few years life eventually caught up and I sold it to a guy who was able to finish her up.

Since then, life has continued to happen. My wonderful wife and I had added to our family (a bouncing baby boy in March of 2011) and a few more furry babies since then as well. We've progressed professionally and have settled into our careers. With hockey, figure skating, karate, Cub Scouts and family stuff in general, we are just as busy as we have always been, but we're becoming pros and do find time for ourselves.

About 2 years ago, I had the "car itch" and decided to get a Jeep Wrangler YJ. I've always wanted one, ever since I was a kid and my mother was supposed to buy one. She did buy a Jeep, but instead of the beautiful green Sahara YJ with tan soft top I had envisioned in my dreams, she came back with a green Cherokee - talk about utter disappointment...

I ended up building up a 1995 Jeep YJ to play around in the desert. Both of the kids like working on cars, so I've had some help in the garage and it's been a great experience to have their help and get their input on what to do. After two years of work, including a frame swap to replace the bent one originally on the YJ, as well as a pair of e-locked Dana 44's, new suspension, driveline work, wiring, etc. I have a very solid and reliable YJ.



With the Jeep done, I knew it was time to get an old Mopar once again. I looked for a while and ended up finding a 1990 W150 regular cab, short bed that was bought and spent its entire life in sunny AZ...





It was high mileage, with well over 200,000, but was 100% intact, including all of the necessary emissions equipment needed to get it registered in my county. It also was 4WD, had working A/C and wasn't missing anything. With the exception of the older Rough Country 4" lift (I know it's an older kit since it says "Made in Canada" on them), Superwinch hubs and 2nd Gen Ram seats, everything was how it would be in the early 90's.





As the title of the thread suggests, I have some plans for the W150:

- 1-ton axle conversion (I really want the big brakes!)
- 34"-35" tires
- 5.9L Magnum swap (keeping it MPFI of course!)
- Complete restoration of the exterior and interior
- Subtle body modifications, such as the front fender stretch, to support other modifications
- A proper sound system







 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Took some time to do a once over of the W150 and see where I'll need to focus my attention at the start. Like many of my Dodge's before this, it's clear that I'll need to put some focus into the wiring repairs and upgrades. The spaghetti bowl mess of fusible links and half-roll of blue duct tape on the engine harness was a clear indicator of a problem at one time which was not properly fixed.









I had a PDC (Power Distribution Center) from a 1995 Dodge Ram in my parts bin. I picked it up, as well as the 5.9L, engine harness and ECU for a whopping $150 from a gentleman off of Craigslist. The 5.9L will be rebuilt and swapped out next summer, but I used the PDC to replace the factory relay and fusible links.





I need to pick up some 3M Friction Tape and loom but overall I'm happy with how it turned out. It looks factory installed and really cleans up the engine bay harness (plus no more fusible links and the starter relay is the same as the others!). Overall install time was about 6 hours total, which included 2 hours of rearranging the PDC terminals and creating a new fuse/relay map for under the lid, and about 4 hours of labeling the old wires and soldering in the new connections.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is my 3rd Arizona vehicle and every one of them has had tons of dirt and dust behind and inside the dash. In the past, I've tried to vacuum and brush the dirt away, but ultimately the only way to get it cleaned was to completely disassemble the dash and hose it clean. It seems unorthodox but it is the only thing that keeps dust out of my eyes and the musty smell out of the interior.





I use a few drops of Dawn dish soap mixed with a small amount of Lysol General household cleaner and spray everything down. I then scrub with either an old toothbrush or microfiber cloth and hose clean (literally hose it clean!). The water is vacuumed out with a Shop-Vac and an air hose. Next up is replacing the old/crumbling firewall insulation with some lined butyl sound deadener.



After getting the dash and components all cleaned and operational, it was time to reassemble. Before doing so, I used Siless 50-mil Butyl Sound Deadener on the upper firewall to replace the musty and falling off factory jute-type insulation. I double tape all the seams to prevent dripping of the butyl and it has held up fine in AZ heat without any issues. Once I wire wheel and POR-15 the floor, I'll coat the entire floor in this stuff too (as well as a 1/8" layer of acoustic foam and jute pad) - it works so well that it even made my Jeep quiet (not an easy task!) so I suspect a good bit of noise reduction over the factory setup.



 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Since I live in Maricopa county and it has emissions, I had to focus on getting the Dodge running well enough to pass the sniffers...

It was a little bit of a challenge, considering the # of miles, but I was confident that I could get her to pass. A new set of plugs, adjusted timing and some SeaFoam got me to test #1, which I failed miserably. I pulled the stored CEL's and two stood out to me - the O2 sensor and Coolant Temp Sensor. During the diagnosis, I found that the wiring harness was damaged on both of these. I found a new CTS pigtail on Amazon for $9 and was able to repair the terminals on the O2 sensor harness (the O2 sensor itself looks brand new!). Once getting those fixed, the idle and overall performance was up significantly compared to the day I drove her home...

Unfortunately, another fail! :(

Since all three numbers (CO, HC, NOX) were high, I figured it was likely due to the age of the engine and a poorly performing catalytic converter. I'm guessing the engine was running rich for a long time, which probably fried the catalyst bed on the converter. Using my IR thermal gun, I check inlet and outlet temperatures on the cat. I was able to get ~255º on the inlet and ~235º on the outlet - a clear indicator that the cat wasn't doing anything.



I picked up a Magnaflow 2.5" 3-way cat from my local AutoZone and brought it to the exhaust and muffler shop down the block (it was 111º outside at the time, so I didn't feel like busting out the welder and leathers!). While it was there, I had them install a Flowmaster 40-series dual outlet pipe with some 2-1/2" tailpipes to replace the rattling Magnaflow single-in/single-out muffler that was on the truck when I bought it.



A third and final visit to the sniffer and I passed with flying colors!



Since the truck is over 25 years old, I qualified for cool-looking, cooper-clad "Historic Plates".



In the process of all this, I found the original sales pouch behind the passenger seat with an old road atlas. The truck was confirmed to be bought locally (the dealership has since moved locations since 1990 but is still about 25 miles from the house).



While I was getting the plates, I asked the lady and she said it was first registered in May of 1990 (I'm a May baby myself!) and the records show that it's always had an AZ listed registration since 1990 - explains why the body doesn't have any rust...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Parts are never easy to find with a Dodge project, so I've been busy driving all over the valley. I got lucky and found a gentleman selling a bunch of old Dodge parts from a 1990 D150. I got almost everything I needed for mine, including a working + non-cracked gauge cluster, A/C switch, cargo light switch and bezel, two wiring harnesses, seat belts, all interior trim panels and a even a complete set of door weatherstripping.



The best score was the complete non-tilt steering column. It was all original and even included the original Mopar key! I stripped it apart, cleaned out the 28 years of dirt and dried grease, cleaned all the electrical contacts and even wet-sanded and painted the column a semi-gloss black.



The column that was originally in the W150 was horrible - I believe it was an older column (from a pre-86) that they made work (and just barely!). There was no bearing at the lower end of the steering shaft and the entire assembly would wobble within the column, leading to erratic and sloppy steering. The bearings in the replacement column were in good condition, but filthy. A quick shot of brake cleaner and some fresh high-temp, high-viscosity synthetic grease makes the column feel brand new ;D



I ran across a shop selling what was listed as a 1992 D60 for $500. I talked him down to $300 and he included the wheels and springs that were on the axle. Turns out, the gentleman didn't understand how to read the markings on the housing and it is actually a SRW D70U. It has the massive 12"x3" brakes as well as the ABS sensor, correct perch width and e-brake cables to bolt right in. My guess is that this came from a W350 based on the large diameter bolt in the shackle.



I've been around Jeeps for too long... I forget just how massive a D60F is! I found me a Unitrax-rebuilt D60F out of a 1991 Dodge 3/4-ton SRW Cummins.



The BOM is 610357-5 and measures 67.5" wide. The guy has all new brakes on it, calipers, Warn Hubs, etc. He was building a "zombie truck" that was basically a HUMMV body on a 91 Dodge frame. The project was a roller and was assembled but never finalized. He never even took the plugs out of the calipers! I paid a bit more than I wanted, but considering the value here (cost of the Warn hubs, new rotors, etc.) I feel like I'll still come out ahead, even with a gear ratio change (I won't be locking this one, though if a good LSD comes my way, I would be inclined to get one).

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A big selling point of the W150 was the working A/C. While it was "working", it was not working well. The A/C clutch would cycle but the air would only blow through the defrost vents and was only room temperature at best.



As everyone knows, a big issue with Dodge's of this era is that anything plastic has about seen its end of life. The HVAC control switch is no exception here - they are notorious for blowing the guts out the backside as the plastic rivets let go. Having pushed mine in and having the button basically go all the way in, I figured that was what had happened. Upon ripping the dash apart, I confirmed I too was a victim of good intentions but poor execution...



Other than the popped off rivets and blow apart case, my switch was in good shape. The contacts were clean and the guides looked and operated like new. To fix, I simply drilled the rivets out with a 3/32" drill bit (first by hand to get the pilot hole started, then with a drill) and reinstalled the rear cover with some #4 screws (you can see them in the background on the upper right of the image below).



I reinstalled and nothing worked :( I did some investigating and checked for vacuum supply. Turns out, the port on the manifold was clogged. I swapped the vacuum feed to another open branch and everything works like it should! The A/C is cycling on but it isn't getting very cold. I checked and it seems as though all the blend doors are operating as they should, but looks like I'll need to investigate some more and check the high/low pressures. With cooler temps coming, I won't worry too much but it's nice to know that the defroster and heater will blow as they should over the winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
"If there aren't any puddles below it, there aren't any fluids inside it!"
- Dodge Motto ;)



Went to the store to get some stuff to make chili and came out to a serious smell of gas and a puddle on the floor. I was worried about driving it home, but the engine was quite cool (the grocery store is less than a block away) and is was a short, straight drive home. I did a quick check and the leak was away from anything significantly hot and took the risk to drive home.

I made it home without any issues but water hosed the intake and rear of the engine off anyways as a precaution. Once it was cool and dry, I did some digging and found the culprit. The supply line hose had completely ripped and was very softened.



After a close inspection, it appeared as though the crimps were just crimped bands over a standard hose. I tried cutting with some snips but ended up using a cut-off wheel. Obviously, if you have to do this, do it FAR, FAR away from vapors and fumes.



Although a greasy job, especially on an original 200K mile 5.2L, but after a quick 1/2 hour fix, she was back up and running! I used some 3.4 bar 1/4" hose for the return line and 3.4 bar 5/16" hose with some fuel-injection rated clamps.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm still gathering parts for the axle swap. Thanks to a sweet 5% code at RockAuto, I ordered all new Raybestos "Professional Grade" brake hoses, dual-diaphragm booster, and W350 master cylinder. I also ordered Prothane 1" and Daystar 1.25" leaf spring bushings to replace the old rubber bushings on the springs.

While those are on the way, I'm cleaning out some extra parts I had left over for the Jeep to make some room in the garage. I actually have two 5.9L Magnum blocks - one will be nicely built version for the Dodge and the other will be a mild version for the Jeep.



I'll be using an OBD-II ECU for both builds and will likely drop the ECU in the exact spot that the factory TBI computer resides. I've measured out the harness length and routing and am in the process of extending wires and reterminating a handful of connectors. Once I find a replacement 1990 engine harness, I'll combine the two and will be able to "plug and play" once the 5.9L comes back from the machine shop and is ready to install.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I had a chance to swap out the 31" x 10.5" LT tires for a set of half-used 33" x 12.5" Duratracs...



I wasn't really looking for any increased performance, I'm really looking to see how much room the 33" tires have inside the wheel wells. These First Gen Rams have notoriously small openings and most tires tend to rub and trimming is often required, so I wanted to see what I was working with...





After 5 weeks of searching, I finally found a bench seat! A guy was parting out his '85 W150, so I made the 90-mile trek to pick up his seat. It's ugly and ripped, but surprisingly in good shape. No bent or broken springs, sliders work as they should, and even the foam is in nice shape. I'll throw a seat cover over it for now, but will be playing with ideas on how to reupholster.





I like the original design, but want a modern take on the materials. I'm thinking a grey micro-suede on the seat part (where it is light blue now), then on the accent panels and sides that a dark charcoal or black vinyl would look sharp and add some nice contrast. Top it off with some black piping and she should be a sharp looking seat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Almost forgot - in case anyone was wondering how the Jeep turned out...

We got her the day after Thanksgiving 2016 - here's a photo from that inaugural "photo shoot", my daughter posing on the roof (which she thinks is the best thing ever!)...



We had a hard time finding an unmolested YJ and ended up going towards the other end of the spectrum - finding a modified, salvage title (had a bent rear frame) Jeep that needed a fair amount of work to be reliable. With that being said, she was rust free, a 4.0L and 5-speed. She was also cheap and I ended up bartering off some stuff for it.

I didn't know exactly what I wanted when I first started working on "Belle", b/c honestly I've never had a short wheelbase Jeep. I had a few revisions in vision and scope, but the aspects that remained constant throughout the build and subsequent rebuilds were that she must be as reliable (or more so) than factory, durable, safe, and fit in the garage. I also had to retain the rear seat and cargo area so the Mrs. and kids could enjoy the Jeep with me.





After about 2 years of work, Belle ended up with a RE Extreme 4.5" lift, Waggy D44 up front, Isuzu D44 rear, both running 4.88 gears and Eaton E-Lockers. For rubber, she's riding on 35" MTRs mounted on 15 x 8 AR Baja's. Other items include a 1" Daystar body lift, TJ Flares, Adam's driveshafts, rebuilt NP231HD with JB Super Short SYE and 231D/241 internals, BDO 1" MML, Viair Onboard Air, Warn XD9000i, upgraded wiring with Hella H4's, and a 5.9L Swap in-progress.

My plans going forward are fairly simple stuff, though I am considering swapping out the fenders for some Metalcloak tube fenders and lowering the 4.5" lift springs for 2.5" (or possibly even going 4 link).







You can read more here: https://www.wranglerforum.com/f330/95-yj-bleu-belle-ver-2-0-a-2161137.html#post31669353
 

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Welcome back. Great project you have going. Have you checked the gearing on the D70U? The 89 thru 91 Dodge Cummins trucks with 727 auto trans used the D70U with 3.07 gears. They also used a D61 front axle during that same time frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
J10Mike said:
Welcome back. Great project you have going. Have you checked the gearing on the D70U? The 89 thru 91 Dodge Cummins trucks with 727 auto trans used the D70U with 3.07 gears. They also used a D61 front axle during that same time frame.
Thanks J10Mike, I'm happy to be back!

Both of these axles came from 1991 W-trucks, although not the same truck. Since both were AZ trucks, it was easy to find the BOM and match that with the cover tags. In the case of these axles, the D70U has BOM# 605509-7 and has the matching tag that says it's a 3.54 ratio. The D60F has BOM# 610357-5, which is also 3.54. I haven't popped the covers to inspect, but a quick check by spinning the pinion yoke suggests that these are untouched ratios.

As I mentioned, I'll be running these behind the built 5.9L Magnum and the A518/46RH. It is a non-lockup model (2 wire), but still has the 0.69 OD ratio. With my planned 315/75/R16's, basically a metric 35" x 12.5", I'm thinking 4.56 gears would work well, as this would give ~2000 RPM engine speed at 65 MPH. I know that I'm limited with the LSD selection, particularly with the factory 32-spline shafts, so I'm considering my options. I'd like to avoid running an auto-locker in the rear, even though I've confirmed with Detroit/Eaton that the Detroit Locker offerings are the "Soft Locker" design.

I see that Dana offers OEM 4.56 "thick" gears for the 3-series carrier as well. I have also read that upgrading to 35-spline shafts is easy, which would open up locker/LSD options. I prefer a LSD for general day-to-day driving (a LSD rear/selectable front is an ideal setup IMO for a tow/street rig), but I do run dual-selectable lockers in my Jeep and know the advantages full well (on road and off road). I really wish Eaton was making the D70U TrueTrac still...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Getting ready to go under the knife...



Even a 115" wheelbase short bed, regular cab won't fit in the garage with enough room to do anything, but luckily I have a side yard and RV gate! I gave the D70U another good spray down with Super Clean and a stiff scrub brush, then touched her up with one of my favorite VHT chassis paint options.



I'm still waiting on the OEM Mopar/Spicer 7260 yoke to arrive (replacing the Spicer 1410 yoke on there), but I can get started on getting her all torn apart in the meantime. I suspect the spring bushings are going to cause me some grief, so I figure the more time I can set aside to do that the less likely I'll rush and break something!

Over the weekend I also found a guy on Craigslist selling a classic set of Mickey Thompson "Classic Locks" and I couldn't resist. For the price ($225 for the set, including semi-usable tires) and perfect 90's look, I think it was a good find. I know they don't make these anymore but I often see one or two wheels pop up on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace now and then. I'll simply keep an eye out and will pick one up the next time I see one come up.

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We are supposed to have the remnants of hurricane Rosa hitting us late this weekend, so I'm trying to get the rear wrapped up no later than tomorrow (Saturday). Getting the rear apart was quite easy, thankfully, likely due to the Dodge spending its entire life in sunny and dry Arizona. Nothing was frozen and I had the C9.25" yanked out within 2 hours or so.



The Rough Country springs and shocks are definitely older models. The springs themselves were made in Canada - the tag on the eye wrap was easy to read. I also found a small tag that was faded, but it showed a 'Manufacture Date' of either 1994 or 1998.



The shocks appears to be rebadged Monroes, which matches the date code on the springs. It's odd to think of the time when Rough Country stuff was North American made, with US and Canadian components - oh the good ol' days...

The spring bushings were all shot - two of them literally fell out of the spring eyes without trying and the other two were offset and badly deteriorated. I hit a small detour with the shackles - originally, I bought two sets of 1" and 1.25" poly leaf bushings, but none of them fit inside the shackle. Rather than monkey around trying to find the appropriate bushings to work, I simply ordered a new set of Daytons from RockAuto. I may find a set of poly bushings to put into these some time in the future, but for now I think the stock replacements will work just fine.



The Daystar 1.25" bushings fit inside the springs perfectly. The polymer pads were in good shape, so I power washed the spring packs and touched up with some VHT paint. The D70 pinion yoke arrived on Tuesday, so I checked that it's the correct yoke (it appears to be) and also hit it with some paint. UPS is supposed to drop off the new shackles today so she should be back on the ground tomorrow afternoon!



I will need to figure out what shocks I want to run. I've always liked Bilstein 5100's and they would probably offer a great ride on this truck, but it looks like there is no listed part#. I'll have to measure my RC's to see what they measure out to and see if I can match up some 5160's. 4WheelParts has a set of Fox 2.0 IFP's for $499, so I might try those out too (I've used them on various Toyota's and have had nothing but good to say about them). I've also always wanted to try a set of Rancho 9000XL's ???
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
jungle said:
Looking really good so far!!
Jim
Thanks Jim!

I'll be tackling the front next weekend and will let you know if I decide to do with your hangers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Forgot to post my score of the week (maybe year!) :D

I have a few saved searches on FB, OfferUp, etc. I've been keeping an eye out for a 92-93 D/W150 gas tank for my upcoming 5.9L Magnum swap. I saw this posting come up and he had it listed for parts or complete sale...



It was originally listed as a '85 D150 and I messaged him b/c the blower motor and the steering column were definitely a 92-93. In trying to verify what year he had, he said he wasn't sure and simply asked if I wanted to come down and take a look. It was a cool afternoon (relatively speaking of course, this is AZ still) so I hopped in the Jeep with my son and took the 35 minute drive. Unfortunately, two minutes after arriving it was easy to see from the scrap pile of fenders that it was a W250 CTD. I kinda thought that based on the downpipe in the image, but when someone doesn't know what they have, it's almost always worth the drive...



After showing some disappointment about the gas tank, I looked around the rig and noticed the kingpin front axle. I asked if he'd want to sell the axles and maybe some small parts. I glanced and wiped the mud and grease away and sure enough, "60F" was on the webbing. Long story short, the guy delivered the D60F front, D70U2 rear, wheels with tires, spring plates, spring blocks and even a Class III/IV Reese the next day :)



Not sure if I'm going to keep these (maybe find a RamCharger in need), flip them, or save them as spares, but for what I paid for everything, I feel like I stole them!!! :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
My boy (Leo) and I were able to wrap up the rear suspension before the rain rolled in...



We also put the M/T Classic Lock wheels and tires I picked up on to see the (rough) ride height and look - so far we're very happy with the look and fitment.



I run across a set of General Grabber AT2's on Facebook Marketplace. A guy bought out an entire warehouse that had closed and has a few dozen sets of tires he's selling. These were clean, with stickers and 2017 date codes.



For ~$400 off of retail and the fact that they guy was able to deliver them, I couldn't pass on the deal. These look very similar to the older BFG A/T's and all the reviews I found suggest that they are great - quiet on the road and exceptional traction in the rain and snow, exactly what I need on this truck!



With the new axle set I found, the seller included a set of spring plates that were in nice shape. The set of spring plates I picked up off of Facebook were in okay shape, but had some surface pitting. Although I painted them, these look much nicer so I'm going to use these instead. If you ever have items with some surface rust and don't feel like wire wheeling for a few hours, check out how these plates turned out! I picked up a gallon of Rustoleum rust dissolver. I used a 1:5 mixture in a small plastic tub and soaked for about 2 hours. The before and after photos speak for themselves...







After getting the plates stripped of rust, I straightened out the sway bar attachment loop (via a vice and BFH). I noticed the front spot welds on both plates were loose and had pulled away from the base material. After a quick steel brush, I hit them with my Lincoln before priming and painting...



 
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