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1987 Ramcharger. 318, auto, 4x4.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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New to me 1987 318 Ramcharger. I'm trying to figure out what's going on with my ignition. I've been reading threads but I'm not getting far so I figured I'd ask. I don't have a vacuum advance on my distributor and I'm not sure if I've got the lean burn system or not.

Do I need to get a different distributor? Or does this one have a mechanical advance? Or how does it advance? Most of the factory vacuum lines are gone.

The Ramcharger is slow. I'm not sure that it's advancing at all.

Thanks in advance.
 

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It looks like a lean burn dist. Take a pic by the battery, the lean burn computer is behind the battery. Also take a couple pics of the carb, we can tell if it is the old lean burn carb, or if it has been swapped. Look for wires going into the carb.

The lean burn computer controlled all the advance, so the dist has nothing. In general, you need the distributor, and carb.but you may be lucky and someone swapped the carb.
 
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1987 Ramcharger. 318, auto, 4x4.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Upon further investigation, yes, it has the computer behind the battery. However, the vacuum line goes nowhere...it's disconnected. So, I'm assuming this means I'm not getting an advance since the computer isn't receiving a vacuum signal.

Do I rip this crap out an go with a Petronix set up? I want something reliable and simple.

Pic of carb:
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Im not a expert on 87s, but did notice the hole where your vacuum tree should be in the intake, is welded shut. You should have a vacuum line diagram under the hood. Otherwise you need a fsm
 
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I think you are ok with the carb. I would look for vacuum lines that are disconnected. That last pic, the one going off to the right, likely went to the lean burn comp, make sure it is capped.

Now for the dist. You will need vacuum advance, and mech adv. Even with a pertronix conversion.

You could go with a mopar vac advance distributor, and then do the pertronix, or HEI, or other type of conversion, or even go with the mopar electronic ignition setup.

Or there is several choices for other style dists. I like the HEI dists that are made for mopar small blocks (does get close to the firewall). there is also the small cap HEI style. I know they is a few others, I just cannot think of them right off. There is also the option of going back to the old style points, some here like the simplicity they have.
 
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1987 Ramcharger. 318, auto, 4x4.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think you are ok with the carb. I would look for vacuum lines that are disconnected. That last pic, the one going off to the right, likely went to the lean burn comp, make sure it is capped.

Now for the dist. You will need vacuum advance, and mech adv. Even with a pertronix conversion.

You could go with a mopar vac advance distributor, and then do the pertronix, or HEI, or other type of conversion, or even go with the mopar electronic ignition setup.

Or there is several choices for other style dists. I like the HEI dists that are made for mopar small blocks (does get close to the firewall). there is also the small cap HEI style. I know they is a few others, I just cannot think of them right off. There is also the option of going back to the old style points, some here like the simplicity they have.
Okay, carb is good news. I'm on Summit right now. The Petronix don't have great reviews. I'll probably pick up a Mopar kit since its about the cheapest option.

Then I need to look into removing the ignition computer.

Thanks for the info!
 

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1987 Ramcharger. 318, auto, 4x4.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Im not a expert on 87s, but did notice the hole where your vacuum tree should be in the intake, is welded shut. You should have a vacuum line diagram under the hood. Otherwise you need a fsm
I'm not hooking the vacuum lines back up. I want to stay simple. I do have the factory diagram still though.
 

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The Mopar EI kit is probably the most practical for you.

When it comes to ignitions the most simple (magneto) is also the most expensive.:(

Bucky
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Mopar EI kit is probably the most practical for you.

When it comes to ignitions the most simple (magneto) is also the most expensive.:(

Bucky
Thanks. I've got a Proform kit on the way. Dizzy, module, ballast resistor, and wiring.
 

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'79 Macho 360 Magnum, Comp 480 cam, Hughes springs, 650 Thunder AVS, Pertronix Flamethrower ignition
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I absolutely love my Pertronix distributor. The best $500 I ever spent (distributor/coil combo). It has performed flawlessly in the 10 years I've owned my truck and it comes with a mechanical vacuum advance. Its truly the answer to all Dodge's as you can bypass the stupid ballast resistor and combined with their Flamethrower 45,000v coil it's as powerful as an MSD 6A but all under the cap and with only two wires that go straight to the coil and nothing else. It also has a built-in rev limiter. When I had my engine out a few months back I inspected the distributor and it spun smooth still and no play in the shaft 10 years later, because it's made in the good ol' USofA. I'm sure they're still made there. You can get them with the factory look (like what I have) or you can get it in a billit housing.
 
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'79 Macho 360 Magnum, Comp 480 cam, Hughes springs, 650 Thunder AVS, Pertronix Flamethrower ignition
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Okay, carb is good news. I'm on Summit right now. The Petronix don't have great reviews. I'll probably pick up a Mopar kit since its about the cheapest option.

Then I need to look into removing the ignition computer.

Thanks for the info!
Since when does Pertronix have poor reviews. Everyone I know that has one loves their's and I love mine. The Pertronix you want is the Igniter III.
 

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'79 Macho 360 Magnum, Comp 480 cam, Hughes springs, 650 Thunder AVS, Pertronix Flamethrower ignition
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Pictures of my set-up. Excuse the ugly wires I have to find a way to reach them so I can clean them up, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Since when does Pertronix have poor reviews. Everyone I know that has one loves their's and I love mine. The Pertronix you want is the Igniter III.
I saw similar reviews on Amazon. I'm glad to hear yours is working well.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I absolutely love my Pertronix distributor. The best $500 I ever spent (distributor/coil combo). It has performed flawlessly in the 10 years I've owned my truck and it comes with a mechanical vacuum advance. Its truly the answer to all Dodge's as you can bypass the stupid ballast resistor and combined with their Flamethrower 45,000v coil it's as powerful as an MSD 6A but all under the cap and with only two wires that go straight to the coil and nothing else. It also has a built-in rev limiter. When I had my engine out a few months back I inspected the distributor and it spun smooth still and no play in the shaft 10 years later, because it's made in the good ol' USofA. I'm sure they're still made there. You can get them with the factory look (like what I have) or you can get it in a billit housing.
$500 was way above my budget. I would love to simplify everything but I ended up getting an electronic ignition kit for under $150.
 

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'79 Macho 360 Magnum, Comp 480 cam, Hughes springs, 650 Thunder AVS, Pertronix Flamethrower ignition
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Ok but be careful, for $150 bux it's probably made in Chiner and you know how the old saying goes - you get what you paid for. I looked at the reviews for the same Flamethrower distributor I have and it didn't have many reviews but the majority love it. It's under $300 in American for just the dizzy.
 

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And my cheap $65 HEI dizzys have been doing great. Paying more does not always get you more.
 
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Ok but be careful, for $150 bux it's probably made in Chiner and you know how the old saying goes - you get what you paid for. I looked at the reviews for the same Flamethrower distributor I have and it didn't have many reviews but the majority love it. It's under $300 in American for just the dizzy.
One reviewer states it's just 3 wires, but it looks like you have some kind of box right above your distributor. Is that part of the system or something else?
 

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1987 Ramcharger. 318, auto, 4x4.
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
here is a very good article to read

Thanks, lots of good info in there. It seems that I had most of the conversion done. Someone rewired the coil but there isn't a ballast resistor or vacuum/mechanical advance distributor. So as a I drive, the timing is staying the same.
 

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1987 Ramcharger. 318, auto, 4x4.
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok but be careful, for $150 bux it's probably made in Chiner and you know how the old saying goes - you get what you paid for. I looked at the reviews for the same Flamethrower distributor I have and it didn't have many reviews but the majority love it. It's under $300 in American for just dizzy.
The one I got had great reviews on Amazon and Summit.

I wasn't knocking the Petronix, I just like to buy tried and true products based on reviews. I did go back and see some other Petronix items had 5 stars but only one reviewer. I know their points conversion kits were supposed to be really great.

I do appreciate your feedback.
 
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