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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I thought it be a good idea to start a separate thread for the RamCharger build...

For those who are familiar with my W150 restomod, aka "W1ton50", you'll have already seen the RC before. If you haven't, go ahead and mosey on over to the W150 thread to see where she started, came to, and where she'll go now that I'm building a RamCharger. The W150 thread can be found here: https://ramchargercentral.com/projects/pc1p's-1990-w1ton50-rcsb-restomod/



The Mrs. made a comment a few weeks ago that put a bug in my ear. She casually mentioned that she wished the Dodge was a 4-seater so that we could take it camping (instead of our Subaru) as it would allow us to take the dog (and our soon-to-be-had second pooch). I was thinking about what I'd consider getting and historically have been thinking about getting a Jeep Grand Wagoneer namely because it has 4-doors and a fairly good sized cargo area. Well, after thinking about it for a while, I came to the realization that Wagoneers are simply too small in the cargo area. So, one thought led to another, and few minutes of Facebook Marketplace shopping turned up a clean 1993 RamCharger. Some bartering and dealing later and tad-da - I'm the new owner :D



The owner mentioned that it had been an Arizona truck it's entire life and the underside proves this accurate. It has been used as a camping/hunting rig from ~2007 to 2016, at which point it needed some parts. It was fixed a few times and running up until March of this past year, when the fuel pump went out again. Since then, it hasn't been running. Allegedly the engine and trans run great, but the problem related to the fuel pump will need to be addressed before I can verify that.



With that, sans a dent on the pass side fender (from an angry bull at the PO's ranch!), the body is super clean and complete and the interior is in good shape too (though very dirty/dusty). It not only has the factory t-case skid, but also the factory steering box brace (missing the gas tank skid, so I'll be on the lookout for that). For creature comforts, it boasts cruise control, A/C, power windows, locks, and even power mirrors!

So what are the plans? I'm glad you asked...

Short Term:
1.) Swap the D60's from W1ton50 over (I'm replacing the W150 axles with a D44/D60 combo) and add true 35" tires (the 34" R17's will go to the W150)
2.) Swap the 4" Rancho Lift springs currently on the RC onto the W150, transferring my 2" Skyjacker Softrides over to the RC (as well as the Bilstein shocks).
3.) Fix the dent on the passenger side fender
4.) General tune up and ensure the engine is in tip-top shape
5.) Replace the carpet with a molded vinyl floor and add some butyl sound deadener
6.) Repair the A/C and heater core (it is currently bypassed, which makes me assume it's bad)
7.) Reupholster the seats
8.) Replace the radio and speakers
9.) Add a nice exhaust/muffler - maybe a Flowmaster Super 50.
10.) Add a Warn 10k winch

Long Term Plans
1) Build the 408 Magnum stroker (originally going into W150) and 46RE and swap that into the RC; take the 5.2L/46RH lockup and put that into the W150.
2) Repaint the RC the factory colors
3) Enjoy it :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Getting some work done on both rigs, but nothing starts without a good deep cleaning first. I picked up this electric power washer up for ~$50 a decade ago and it's been great for stuff like this.



I confirmed that the 5.9L is not original, nor is it even a 5.9L. It's a 5.2L, from what appears to be a 94-95 Dakota or maybe a Durango. Not the end of the world as my plans include upgrading to a 408 stroker with OBD-II anyways, but it would have been nice to have a 5.9L that would drop in place in the W150.

I got the tank dropped and it's easy to see why the fuel system was leaking - the entire nipple coming out of the sending unit had cracked off! It didn't help that the PO used Ford-style QD fittings (which works... kind of!). At least they used an EFI style fitting here, the engine side (arguably the more dangerous side) had a slew of hose clamps and generic hose. Needless to say, I've already ordered new fittings to fix this properly.

Not surprisingly, there were other issues with the fuel system besides broken nipples. The 5.2L Dakota engine is a return-style fuel system. The original 5.9L is a returnless style, so rather than update and swap out the fuel rails, the PO simply installed a 5.2L fuel pump, but connected the tank vent hose up to the return line of the fuel rail - with you guessed it, a bunch of hose clamps! Yikes!!! :eek:

I have a spare Magnum intake with returnless style fuel rail on my parts shelf, so I'll snatch that and put it to use. There are some differences in regulator pressures and injector pound/hr rates, but from everything I've heard and read, the SBEC and JTEC ECM's can adjust sufficiently via pulse width. I just need it to run sufficiently well enough to pass emissions before eventually swapping in the OBD-II 408 cid...

Unfortunately, in the process of removing and cleaning out the tank, I noticed a small crack. It doesn't seem brittled, so I'm going to try to repair and stabilize like I did with the W150 tank. I'm putting that on my to-do list this weekend - my goal is to get this baby running by the weekend!



I'll need to fix the vent hose to the EVAP canister (which is missing, luckily I have a spare) to maintain emissions compliance. I noticed the radiator has some scale, so I bought a few cans of radiator flush, so once I get the engine running, that will be one of the first things I need to address...
 

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Before you start the project, you should see if she wants a convertible.  Then you can get a 1st generation ramcharger.  ;D
Nice truck, Good luck with the project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
AzTrailduster said:
Before you start the project, you should see if she wants a convertible. Then you can get a 1st generation ramcharger. ;D
Nice truck, Good luck with the project.
She does want a convertible, but one shaped more like a 65-66 Mustang :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
While I'm waiting on parts to finished the axles for the W150 (since the ones under the W150 currently will be used for the RamCharger), I started fixing the mess that was the RC's fuel system. First, it involved getting the Dakota 5.2L return-style fuel rail swapped out for a returnless style unit. I ordered some new o-rings and within an hour, the old rail was off and the new rail was in place:


Since the use of generic fuel line and 3 hose clamps per connection were not what I would consider "roadworthy" (especially so when the hose was literally resting on the exhaust manifold!), I made replacement hoses using braided stainless hose, AN fittings and EFI specific (and rated!) QD connectors:


The fuel tank has been cleaned and repaired, but I ran into an issue with the rollover vent. I need to find a replacement (or one that I can make work)... once I get that sorted out, she'll be ready for her first fire-up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Been on the road a lot, even managed to sneak off to a Falcons game while in Georgia, but did get some work on the RamCharger done...

In AZ, in my county at least, they won't let you transfer the title or register your vehicle unless you pass an emissions test. This means before I could start doing anything major, emissions + registration was top priority. This meant not only did I have to get her running again, I had to make sure all the emissions equipment was installed and operations.

Since the factory charcoal canister was removed, I pulled the one from the W150 as a temporary fix (I already ordered a replacement from a guy on FB parting out a truck). I had a hard time finding a replacement roll over valve. I ended up using one for a Jeep (the same one as on my YJ actually). It wasn't very tight, but was snug enough to build pressure (I blocked the vent line to check), so I had high hopes!

The radiator in the truck was disgustingly filthy, but I happened to run across a Craigslist advertisement of someone parting out a 1993 W250 (gasser). I got a near-new radiator, complete HVAC box, and mint-condition owners manual for $100. After getting the fuel tank and replacement pump installed, purging the fuel lines, and topping off the new radiator with some water and radiator flush, she fired right up!

She ran rough but not terrible. The CEL was on for code #22 (coolant temp out of range), but that turned out to be due to an unplugged sensor. After snaking through 16' of emissions hose, plus a handful of adapters and fittings, I'm happy to report that she passed her emissions test on the first try - gotta love multi-port EFI!!



Just like the W150, I had to go with Historic Tags 8)



Next up:
- Swap axles and springs from W150 to the RC, then install the D44/60 combo into the W150
- Swap over crossover steering (W150 goes back to factory style push/pull and I'll steal the sway-bar from the RC axle)
- Freshen up the '99 5.9L/46RE and install
- Convert to OBD-II and replace "fusible link spaghetti" with a Ram PDC
- Trim/extend the 1410/1350 Adam's Driveshafts to fit the RC; extend the RC rear shaft to fit W150

That should get the RC back on the road and running well. The weather is starting to break and work will go much smoother now that I'm not sweating buckets to do basic stuff! One of my first tasks will be to completely strip the interior out, remove that raggedy carpet and replace with a vinyl floor. From there I'll get some fresh upholstery
-
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It cooled down a bit and feels great out compared to a few weekends ago. That said, it's still it's a tad warm. As a result, I had to stretch the rear-end swap out over a few hours over both Saturday and Sunday. Even with the slow moving pace, I was able to get it done and am happy about the progress...



Started on the RC first - got the rear end jacked up and started on the tear down. The driver-side spring had a frozen bolt, so I had to put the angle grinder to work...



Rinse and repeat on the W150, though thankfully there were no frozen bolts...



The remnants of the RamCharger rear parts...



Got the Skyjacker SoftRide springs and D60 installed under the RC, though I had to repair a broken brake line to make it work. I'm really happy with how the tires/wheels seem to fit the RC's proportions better than the W150.



Now that the rear is done, time to flip her around and get started on the front end (not without doing a handful of FWD burnouts first)...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I got the front bumper removed, as well as the sway bar and shocks. Unfortunately, I can't do much at the moment for the front axle swap until the parts for the W150 arrive...



So, while I'm in a holding pattern on the axles, I switched my focus to other areas. I'll be converting the RC to an OBD-II motor and 46RE (and then a 408 stroker in the spring), so the logic step #1 is to prep the harness for the upgrades. I found, while working on the W150, that the PDC from a 94-95 Ram works great to upgrade the fusible links and fender-mounted relays to a more modern setup with slow-burn fuses and easy-to-find Bosch style SPST relays.

I can usually grab these at the local Pick-A-Part for $12-20, but as I said, it's been way hot and I simply don't have the the time to head down there. I found one for $36 shipped on eBay and ordered it up...



I cut the tape and the loom, then removed all the extra and unnecessary wiring. From there, I used some parts from the other PDC I picked up last year and modified this one to suite my needs. Essentially, all I did was use the open fuse spot and the 2 empty relay spots that were reserved for the ABS stuff, and will now be using that to convert the headlights to a dual relay setup. All the wires were then labeled and PDC set aside for the 5.9/46RE swap coming once the front axle swap is done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We had a blast in Vegas with the kids and I was pleasantly surprised at how much kid-stuff there is to do. We always try to hit up at least one "educational" place on any of our trips and this time was the Hoover Dam... the Dam Tour was a success and everyone enjoyed it. We did the entire inner tour and got to go way down into the generator room, as well as up and through the dam itself.



Now that the fun is over, it was time to get back to work. I got the front axle pulled...


With the old springs out of the way, I used my trusty air chisel to get the frame bushings out. After messing with these on the W150, the air chisel is really the only reliable way to get these out and now that I knew what it needed, it went much faster than last time (15 minutes vs 3 hours!):



Now that the D44 was out of the way, the D60 was shimmied back in its final resting place:


I really like the ride height but still think it needs some more width on the tires and less backspacing on the wheels. For now, this will work just fine!


Up next is measuring for the new rear driveshaft length and getting that sent off to Adam's Driveshafts in Nevada. From there, cleaning up the 4" lift springs I removed from the RC and transfer them over to the W150 so I can get that back off the stands as well. After that, I need to rebuild the RC's steering gear, convert to crossover steering, swap boosters and get the brakes all hooked up and bled. Plenty to do but I'm making progress...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well the suspension is done, the brakes are bled and working, and the crossover steering and rebuilt steering gear is working perfectly. I think I'll need to adjust the back brakes some and then rebleed since I wasn't happy with the flow out of the passenger side rear, but that's a simple task I'll tackle next week. With all the above done, I decided that it was time to start working on the engine/trans. The engine lacks powers and although it passed emissions testing, it isn't what I'd consider to be "road ready"...

I started pulling apart the spare 5.9L I have. This was a block, sold as a "core only", and came with most of the harness and ECM for $100. The block was filthy and smelled of old, old oil, but the bores look fine and the bearings had plenty of life left on them - just goes to show how durable these Magnums are!

I'm going to be on the road this week, but when I get back next week, I'll power wash the block a bit and then take it to the machine shop for a tank dip, magnaflux and bore check. If it's clean, I'll figure out the specific parts list I need. I have some extra travel coming these next few weeks as well, so I may end up bringing the machine shop the parts and having them assemble the short block. I'll just have to see if I can get the time I need to build the block AND pull the old engine/trans from the engine bay.

For internals, this will be a moderately built 408/6.7L stroker:
- SCAT cast crank 4" stroke
- Forged 4.030" pistons (~10.6 compression)
- Forged 4340 i-beam rods
- "RV" style cam, maybe slightly more aggressive but still a low RPM option
- PIE-prepped EQ heads

By all conservative estimates, this should be a 405-425 hp motor, with 500+ ft lbs. ATK and other builders are making basically the same motor as a short block and with a slightly more aggressive cam are advertising these as 475 hp motors. This should be plenty for a street-driven RamCharger and I'll accept the slightly lower power levels to maintain emissions compliance :)







This is the recently rebuilt trans I picked up for the W150. I decided that I want to get the RC going first, so that I have time to get everything else working and addressed before April/May (and the before the heat of summer comes back!). I was going to swap it in as it was into the W150 but glad I decided against it. The aluminum planetary was about to completely strip out. My builder is currently going through it, swapping out the aluminum planetary for a steel version, adding a 5-disc clutch pack, replacing all internals, adding a Stage II trans kit, etc. This should mate up to the stroker build quite nicely and provide plenty of years of reliable service...

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well it feels like progress is taking forever here but things are moving...

The block has been cleaned, inspected and fluxed and is a good candidate for a rebuild. The bores had some uneven wear on the rear two cylinders (#7 and #8) and need 0.030" overbore to get them clean and straight. This is perfect since I'm going with a 408 stroker kit, which requires a 0.030" overbore to reach the full 408 cubic inches.

Speaking of the stroker kit, it has been ordered from Scat (through Summit Racing). I went with kit 1-98113BI (https://www.summitracing.com/parts/sca-1-98113bi), which included the internally balanced rotating assembly, plus rings and bearings. It's a cast crank with forged pistons and rods. I went with the forged pistons in case I ever decided to add a little boost. Mancini Racing had their complete Eddy aluminum heads on sale a few weeks ago, so I ended up picking up a pair of those for the same price as a set of PIE-prepped EQ's. These are aluminum (vs the iron EQ's) and flow a tad better than the stage 1 PIE's and will let me run a slightly higher compression ratio. Running the base numbers with the compression height, stroke and anticipated head gasket, I'm looking right at about 10.2:1 SCR. I was told this is slightly LOW for these heads, particularly with a fast-fill ramp on the cam I'm getting, so I may end up running a thinner Cometic head gasket (which would bring compression into the 10.4 range).

In doing some research and talking to a few builders, I have been told that I can go with a slightly more aggressive cam than I've been considering, thanks to the larger cubes sucking up some of the "aggressiveness", while still maintaining emissions compliance. I need to make a decision shortly, as the block will be ready to go at the beginning of the year!



While I'm waiting for engine parts to arrive, I turned my attention to the rest of the stuff that needs to be done. First up was the NP241D t-case. This was an extra t-case that I got with a bunch of Dodge parts. It was filthy but otherwise in good shape. One of of the output bearings (the front actually) was a bit crunchy. Although there was no signs of damage, I couldn't tell what was wrong, so I decided to err on the side of caution and ordered a Timken rebuild kit.



The rebuild was easy, though for anyone looking to rebuild a NP241D, note that you'll need to order a 307L front bearing (same as the NP 205). This is specific to Dodge t-cases (the GM version take the same smaller bearing front and rear).
 

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We should be neighboor,
Same as you,I bought Mancini alu head last december. Also have a 408 on assembly line.

You may take a look inside head, I found aluminium shaving sticking on grease spot nearby intake valve guide. Also, some hole were not debur properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
About time! ;D

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Got almost all the parts I need ordered (except the pushrods, which I'll need to check the length with the new valvetrain installed first). I should have the block assembled, sans the pushrods, hopefully by this weekend...

In the meantime, I snatched the motor and trans from the RamCharger and will clean up the frame with a twisted wire brush and some paint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I can't believe I started the tear down on Feb 5th and here I am almost 2 months later still wrapping it up! With the W150's brand-new transmission temporarily causing me fits, a 9-day trip to Hawaii, my Jeep's t-case blowing up, and this COVID-19 throwing a monkey wrench into everyone's life - it's been slow moving on the RamCharger...

But - thankfully I'm still making progress! The original intake manifold had a stripped out EGR hole and had some serious corrosion issues around the water ports. Rather than fix it, I elected to find a replacement. Although it took some time but I found a perfect swap candidate that will work well for now (or at least until I can find an elusive Mopar M1 with EGR!).



With the help of a few buddies, we dropped the motor and trans into their new homes last weekend. I buttoned up as much of the reinstall as I could, but was waiting on a few parts to arrive. More importantly, I quickly realized that the factory valve covers I had weren't going to work since they were hitting the roller rockers.



I could clearance the internal baffles some, but doing so wouldn't let me run my PCV or oil filler cap. Mopar Performance no longer makes the nice "Mopar Magnum" valve covers, so I had to go with the Edelbrock valve covers. The black powder coated ones I wanted were >1-month backordered, so I ended up ordering just the standard cast aluminum covers. A few coats of VHT Engine Enamel and VHT clear coat (plus a couple of dabs of cast aluminum paint for accent!) and they look darn close enough (plus doing so saved me over $100 vs the factory powder coated options).



Now that these are in, I will swap them out and I can begin hooking up the rest of the accessories, harness, fuel rail, etc. I'm torn on what to do for my exhaust. The idea of these hideous exhaust manifolds on this big ol' stroker breaks my heart some, but I need the EGR hookup to remain emissions compliant. There is only one company selling stainless/coated headers with the EGR tube (Pacesetter). The price is good (~$400) and they are listed as having 2-1/2" outlet (which matches the 92-93 manifolds). Some people report that they aren't 2-1/2" and are actually 2-1/4", but from what I can gather, they should be 2-1/2". I may order a set and hope they fit as they should!
 

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Actually the "magnum" valve covers from mopar are available under a new part number.  P4532621
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Mopar572 said:
Actually the "magnum" valve covers from mopar are available under a new part number. P4532621
I was told the same by Hughes - but when I called my local Mopar dealer, they said they have the number but it didn't appear to be the Mopar Performance #. The other place that I called said that it had "Mopar Logo" in the description, but they weren't able to place the order.

I'm thinking these are still new and aren't shipping just yet. I'll be looking forward to getting a set or two for my rigs! Until then, these Eddy's will do the job :)
 
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