1 ... 28 29 30 31 32 ... 35
Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself
Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself PowerDork
8/1/22 12:39 p.m.
Azryael said:

. I average 16.5mpg with mixed driving in the Durango with the exact same motor and transmission. On a long journey between TX and FL I saw as high as 19.5mpg, and that's cruising at 70.

Unless you swapped a 727 into your Durango, you don't have the same transmission.

Azryael HalfDork
8/1/22 1:06 p.m.
Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself said:
Azryael said:

. I average 16.5mpg with mixed driving in the Durango with the exact same motor and transmission. On a long journey between TX and FL I saw as high as 19.5mpg, and that's cruising at 70.

Unless you swapped a 727 into your Durango, you don't have the same transmission.

Ooops! Missed the part where he said he kept the 727. The 46RE I have won't be in much longer itself. The overdrive does make a difference compared to the 3-speed, but the 1:1 for third in the 727 is still better than nothing.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/1/22 1:55 p.m.

In reply to Azryael :

Without trying, it already gets 3mpg better than the 318 ever did. Granted that's still 10mpg, but I'll take it! Once I sort a few other things out, I expect it to increase a bit.

And yes, this truck sports a 727, full-time 4wd, and 4.10 axles. It's not designed to be thrifty. Overdrive would be nice, but to my knowledge, I don't know if anything later bolts to the NP203 and doesn't require driveshaft modification. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/4/22 9:37 a.m.

Well, I had myself a night last night. In a good way. 

I was invited to go to this:

Every year, the New England Motor Press Association has an awards dinner, which just happens to be up the road from my house. I've been to the building a few times now for press events, and it's a great excuse to see my writing friends from the Northeast region. This is a 2-day deal, with a press car cruise happening on day 2 up the coast of Maine. I wasn't able to make day 2, but I made ot over to the dinner last night, and of course, I took the truck! 

That Jeep is a '66 CJ5 owned by my friend Craig. It's awesome. 

It's got the 225ci "Dauntless V6", aka the Buick Fireball V6 licensed by Kaiser. He converted it to a Holley Sniper 2bbl setup, and it rules! He drives it all over the place, and it's been dead nuts reliable with the Sniper setup. 

At one point, we had a crowd of people around both my truck and his Jeep, and a lady that I met at one of the previous events came over to say hi with a couple of other guys wearing Jeep and Ram shirts. She was asking me all about the truck and noticed that the Magnum engine was in there. Turns out she's a high-up Stellantis (aka Chrysler) PR manager and the guys with her were Jeep and Ram PR guys! They were all digging the truck. That felt like validation for all the work I've been doing over the years. I ended up sitting at the Stellantis table with them for dinner and I gave them the history of the truck and all that. We passed around pics of our projects like people do with their kids. It was fun! 

RandolphCarter Reader
8/5/22 9:52 a.m.
Tony Sestito said:

I ended up sitting at the Stellantis table with them for dinner and I gave them the history of the truck and all that. We passed around pics of our projects like people do with their kids. It was fun! 


Years ago my wife and I had a bunch of friends over and she pointed out that talking about/showing pictures of my kids was the only time I was more enthusiastic than talking about/showing pictures of my project bikes.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/5/22 12:15 p.m.

In reply to RandolphCarter :

Totally normal! laugh

I've met a few industry reps since starting the writing side gig thing, and it's cool to see that a lot of them aren't just PR reps; they really are car people. For example, I've met a few Chrysler/Stellantis/FCA people over the years, and every single one has been like "You have to see this cool project I have going on!" or "That PR pic of us at Moab? That's me driving that thing up that rock face with my kid!" It's always cool to see that enthusiasm. They are car dorks, just like we are!


Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/7/22 9:42 p.m.

When I swapped the engine, in the interest of getting the truck out of my friend's driveway ASAP, I decided to slap on the throttle body with the gasket that was stuck to the bottom of it still on there. I've been having odd issues lately that equate to a vacuum leak, so this was the first thing I thought of. So I pulled it today to take a look. 

Yeah, that looks less than good. I had to scrape the old one off, so I covered the intake hole, got it all off, and replaced it with a new one. Seems to idle a bit better now. 

While I was there, I tried tackling another issue: the kickdown cable adjustment. Since I installed it last year, it's never been quite right. The issue is twofold: the 1-2 shift and kicking down from 3rd.

Before I messed with it today, the 1-2 under heavy throttle would shift to 2nd and then back down to 1st for a second, and then back to 2nd. 2-3 is fine, but it was reluctant to downshift from 3rd to 2nd. After much messing around with the Lokar kickdown cable, and setting it to what it's supposed to be set to per the instructions, the 1-2 shift now does what it did above under very light throttle, and it does seem to downshift from 3rd to 2nd OK now. Under normal driving conditions, I can live with it, but I'm not sure what there's left to adjust on this setup to make it work like it should. I don't think it's slipping, since I changed when it occurs, and the fluid isn't burnt or low. Pointing the blame squarely at the Lokar stuff I bought last year. 

Going on record again: I am NOT impressed with the Lokar throttle cable, kickdown cable, or throttle bracket I bought. If you are running a non-stock carb, you pretty much have to run this setup or a custom set of kickdown linkage that can be hard to come by. If this setup was like $30, it would be bad, but for over $200? Flat out unacceptable. The throttle cable is already fraying, too.  

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/8/22 8:36 p.m.

Today, I was racking my brain trying to figure out what I did wrong with the transmission. Did I mess something up during the swap? Did the added power of the new engine lunch the thing? I started thinking back to when things started going wrong, and that was with the install of the Lokar setup. With the original linkage, it shifted fine. Things got weird after the Lokar stuff made its way onto the truck. So, starting there, I scoured the instructions again. On the last step, I noticed this:

Thinking about it, I think I misunderstood what it meant here by pulling all the tension out of the wire. So, not trusting my work, I went back and started from scratch. First thing I needed was "a helper" to hold the pedal down. 

There's my "helper". 

Well, look at this:

That's quite a bit of cable. I'm sure that's causing some issues. 

This was the initial adjustment. Basically, you have to move that lock around until you get the optimal shifting, kickdown, and the use of all the gears. After a few test drives and adjustments, I got it so I have all 3 gears AND it will downshift when needed.

Before, it was basically starting in 2nd, shifting to 3rd, downshifting back to 2nd for a second, and back to 3rd. 1st was completely missing. Now, it holds all 3 gears properly. The only issue, and it is minor, is that the 2-3 can be a little hard during certain conditions. Under light load, it does it, but if you give it the beans, it shifts smooth. It's much better than it's ever been with the Lokar setup. 

So yeah, I take back what I said in the previous post about Lokar when it comes to the kickdown linkage. If you pay attention to the instructions, it does do what it's supposed to do. The throttle cable still frayed, and the bracket is really chintzy, so they still get demerits there. 

Another observation: I thought this truck had plenty of power before fixing the trans. I've been starting in 2nd this entire time. With the trans doing trans things again and having all the gears... WOW. While I wouldn't exactly say it's fast, it does get up and go quite well. Now, I can focus on making everything else better around it! 

No Time
No Time SuperDork
8/8/22 10:08 p.m.

Going from 7 mpg to 10 mpg is almost a $20 savings in 100 miles at todays gas prices. Not too shabby. 

It will be interesting to see what you get with the recent adjustment of the kickdown cable and now having all 3 gears. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/9/22 11:51 a.m.

In reply to No Time :

Exactly. Can't wait to see what it does with a tank of fuel with a completely functioning transmission. Has to be better than it already is! 

onemanarmy Reader
8/9/22 4:01 p.m.

Love this build!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/10/22 5:49 p.m.

In reply to onemanarmy :

Thanks! Hope you're enjoying the thread. 

Fixed 4 really annoying things today:

-I re-repaired the dome light wiring. The quick repair I did a while back was not very good, and it was working intermittently. I made it better with real connections and heat shrink. 

-The steering wheel has been slightly off since the install of the Borgeson steering shaft. Popped it on a spline over, and that made it all better. 

-The ground for the stereo was loose, also my doing before I got "good" at wiring. That made it cut out and turn off sometimes over bumps. I used a better stainless heat shrink loop terminal and fixed that.

-For some reason, the left turn signal indicator was not lighting up. I pulled the bulb holder, bent a few tabs, and now it works again. 

Not bad for a half hour on my lunch break! 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/11/22 9:53 a.m.

Since I've brought home the truck, my wife has complained about one aspect of the truck: the interior. She's 5ft tall, so getting in the truck has been hard for her. Once she's in there, the lack of adjustability and the overall grunginess hasn't helped matters. I have been telling her for years now that I'll get around to making it better.

Her biggest complaint is the seat. 

I'm fine with the bench, but it's starting to deteriorate. There's splits and big holes in the vinyl, the foam on the driver's side is falling apart, and for my wife, the lack of adjustability makes it uncomfortable. She really misses our old Dakota's 40/20/40 seat with the console. 

To replace the seat, I have a few options:

1. Find a set of factory Buddy Seats

These came in the high-end Macho Power Wagons and Lil' Red Express. They were rare in their day, and even more so now. When they do come up for sale, they price in the thousands, and often times require a complete restoration. Also, they come in any color you want, as long as the color is black. 

2. Ramcharger Seats

These are much more common, but finding a Ramcharger around here is tough. Finding the seats and console to one? Even harder. 

3. Go aftermarket. 

There are plenty of aftermarket seat sets out there. They can range from decent to really nice. They will require some modification to fit, but nothing I wouldn't have to do with the other options anyway. 

A friend of mine sent me an ad yesterday for these: 

These are aftermarket seats that a guy had reupholstered in "medium blue" velour. He had them in a 1970 C10 until he found a set of factory buckets, and now he's selling them. They come with the mounting bracket, and the "buddy seat" has under seat storage as well as a fold-down console with more storage and cup holders. The price is less than what I'd pay to recover and fix my factory bench. They even look like the factory ones, but have higher backs. 

I'm going to take a look at the seats this weekend, tentatively. Lots can go sideways between now and then, as I've learned in the past with buying from various sellers, but he says he's holding them for me. 

If I do pick these up, then it looks like I'll be doing the floors, flooring, and seats sooner than expected! 


Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/14/22 9:43 p.m.

The Power Wagon and I had a weekend. 

Yesterday, we had our annual family day at a local park with a pond a few towns over, and I figured it was a perfect opportunity to see how the truck could handle loading up and cruising somewhere with the new engine and the now-functioning transmission. 

Truck did great! With the bed filled with chairs, tables, and a grill, we hit the park, unloaded, and had a great time. One thing I learned is the truck loaded up doesn't like stopping well. In fact, I had to panic stop a couple times due to moronic driving (not MY moronic driving) and the brake lamp on the dash lit up. Feels like the rears are just about smoked, but that was on my upcoming repairs list anyway. The park ranger LOVED the truck! 

Today, I met up with a buddy to grab those seats. And the guy didn't flake out!

Check these things out!

Sumptuous Smurf-hide velour! 

And it's got a console! And cup holders! 

And storage! 

And pockets! 

Came with the seat bracket as well! This should bolt to the existing bench brackets, and then the seats just bolt to this. The left and right seats slide independently and recline, which is nice. 

Guy bought them new a few years back from Smittybilt for his 1970 C10 project. He still has an in-tank cab, and they didn't fit as well in there as he hoped, so he replaced them with stock low-back buckets from a 70's Suburban. They are practically new, they were cheaper than me fixing up my stock bench, and I couldn't have picked a better shade of blue. I also have a passenger side floor pan on the way, and will be ordering flooring soon. I love it when a plan comes together!

David_H New Reader
8/15/22 12:54 a.m.

There's my "helper". 

Rock on Tony, rock on! Nice score on the velour  sweetness. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/15/22 4:40 p.m.

In reply to David_H :

Thanks man! I'm really excited to get these in the truck. Should make it a lot more enjoyable than it already is! 

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
8/15/22 4:59 p.m.

Comfortable seats and carpet are a total game changer. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/15/22 5:12 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

Indeed. I decided to go with vinyl flooring though for ease of cleaning (and by SWMBO's request), granted I can actually get it. They even make it in blue, well, in theory anyway. We'll see what happens when I go to order it! 

Still a few things that need to happen before then, though. First, I need to the floors. The driver's side is real bad. The passenger side has some bad spots but it's mostly there. Once that gets done, I also need to find some sound deadener. I have some Killmat kicking around, but not enough to do the cab, so I'll order more. On the fence on doing some sort of jute padding over that. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/16/22 2:25 p.m.

As I mentioned earlier, since the new engine has been in the truck, I've been driving it a lot more, and the brakes leave a lot to be desired. Over the past few years, I've replaced everything up front (calipers, pads, rotors, hoses, etc), the master cylinder, and all of the rear brake lines and hoses. One thing I've been afraid to mess with was the rear drum brakes. But since I've been driving it more, I've noticed reluctance to stop, as if the rears weren't doing anything. I took a peek under the truck last night and there's no leaks, so on my break today, I decided to pop off the drums and see what's up. 

The drums were loose enough that they nearly fell off when I pulled the wheels. That's a first. Also, I solved the mystery of what size brake drums the truck has: it says it right there on the drum! 

The drums themselves are in good shape. They actually look like they haven't been used much. 

Inside, everything looks dusty and is caked in crap. But right away, I saw what was wrong. 

The self-adjuster must have frozen from sitting dormant for years before I got the truck, and the cable snapped. That explains why the shoes have 99% of their material left and why the drums look great. And on the other side, the entire self-adjusting cable was flat-out missing! So yeah, the rear brakes haven't been doing a damn thing the entire time I've owned the truck. 

The wheel cylinders themselves work, I know that. They bled fine last year, and they seem to be in good shape. The shoes and drums are also near new looking, so I decided that I'll just throw some new hardware and self-adjuster kits in there. Then, I remembered something...

When I did rear drums on my old Dakota, I bought two sets of hardware for some reason. Knowing Mopar, they don't like to change things for decades, so I looked up and confirmed that this kit for a 1997 Dodge Dakota fits my 1979 Dodge W150. Ha! I did grab some self-adjuster kits locally. 

Plan is to clean things up, toss the new hardware and self adjusters in, and send it. There's plenty of material on the shoes, and the drums look fine. Time to brush up on doing drum brakes, which I loathe. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/17/22 9:06 a.m.

After work, I decided to dive in and do a further damage assessment. 

Here's the passenger side after some brake clean:

To my surprise, the shoes were blue. I think this could be anti-rattle spray like you spray on the back of disc brake pads, and it was gooped on there. Otherwise the shoes are near new. 

That self-adjuster was frozen solid. That is what likely led to the cable snapping. 

And here's the driver's side: 

No blue sprayed shoes over here. 

Yes, that's a carriage bolt. It was holding on the shoe with a wing nut. The Wire Nut Bandit also does brakes! (shudders)

Someone went in here, removed the shoes, removed the likely-broken self-adjuster cable, and slapped it all back together. This self adjuster was also frozen solid. 

I decided to start on the driver's side. since I'll be re-using the shoes, I decided to remove the whole assembly in one piece. I'll replace the bad stuff and pop it all back on. 

And of course, with any drum brake job, that's when things started to go south. I so much as looked at the wheel cylinder, and it started puking through the seal. Great! The parts store I went to earlier in the day didn't have them, otherwise I would've bought them. Luckily, another store elsewhere had a pair of them, so I ran out and grabbed them. By that time, it was late and it had started to rain, so I'll have to finish later this week. 

I am not a fan of drum brakes. I wish there was an easy junkyard solution to convert to discs, but there's nothing out there for these as far as I know. 

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
8/17/22 9:09 a.m.

Just replace the shoes. If they have ever had brake fluid or gear oil on them, they will never behave properly. And its $30 well spent. 

I like wagner shoes. More money, but they seem to stay adjusted properly longer. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/17/22 9:37 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

I'm really not trying to cheap out completely, I swear! I would've bought shoes yesterday, but neither of the parts stores I went to had them. They were special order only and take days to get. I'd like to replace them if I can get a set locally. Worst case scenario, I re-use these. I need this wrapped up by the weekend because I have some planned Truck Stuff to do. I'll keep calling around. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/17/22 3:10 p.m.

Two quick updates: 

-I ended up finding some shoes locally. The drums look fine, and I can't get those locally anywhere. Honestly, even if I got them turned, I don't think they would look better than they do now. 

-I posted my brake situation on the Book of Faces, and many people immediately said "Do a disc brake conversion!", to which I said, "Do you know Mopar guys? Most think the drums are superior to discs, no one does that!". Then, I remembered something: I have a Chrysler 8.25" axle out back. Like many Jeeps do. Like 90's ZJ's with FACTORY REAR DISC BRAKES do. I found a tutorial that goes over the conversion for XJ guys, and I think I can make it work. So add that to the "down the road" mods I'll do.  

Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself
Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself PowerDork
8/17/22 5:21 p.m.

ZJs never had an 8.25 in the back.   D35 or D44a only.

But the Jeep KJ (Liberty) did.      And this is the New Millenium; MoPar guys run rear discs.  In fact, MoPar Action has a tutorial on swapping Liberty rear disc brakes onto your 5 on 4 1/2" lug pattern 9 1/4, 8 3/4, or Dana 60.      

And Part II

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
8/17/22 10:01 p.m.

In reply to Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself :

Ahh, ok. I had my Jeeps confused. Thanks for the heads-up! 

In other news, I got everything back together tonight, mostly drama free. The wheel cylinder push rods had a hard time aligning, but I think that was due to the shoes being a little off without the drum on there. I took it for a test drive after a quick system bleed, and it has 100% more pedal and stops a lot better. I did my usual "just did the brakes" test loop, and it felt good. When I got home, the driver's side was smoking a bit. I've seen this before with new shoes, and eventually things should self-clearance. That side's clearances were a little tight, so I think a few drives will get it to where it needs to be. 

1 ... 28 29 30 31 32 ... 35
Our Preferred Partners