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bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
9/21/19 6:50 p.m.

Jewels and I bought some property at the first of the year.  We've slowly been planning building our next shop/home.  We're at the point where we need to start clearing some trees, and will be needing to haul a lot of stuff in the near-ish future.  We didn't have a truck, we needed a truck, so we bought a "farm truck."

Meet Bender, the 1989, "1st Gen," litterally the first year, Cummins turbo diesel, 4x4, auto, single cab, flat bed, W250.

Bender is as ugly as homemade sin, but he's ours!

Why Bender, you may be asking?  Jewels came up with the name, after deciding it was a boy, and discussing his features.  Futurama fans will appreciate that Bender is loud, gruff, smokes, is gray-ish, loves show tunes (obviously), isn't too fond of magnets, and has a shiny metal a$$.


I mean the resemblance is uncanny!


Bender has a lot of good going for him, but needs quite a bit of attention, all over.  We're the ~3rd owner, the first of which had it almost all of its life, and practically never drove it off their farm.  We purchased it from a very good friend of ours, and GRM's own forum member, Brian a.k.a. ridinwitcj73.  Brian had done quite a bit to it, but there's quite a bit left to do.

wheelsmithy SuperDork
9/21/19 7:00 p.m.

I don't know what this means, but I like it.

Nice ride.

ebonyandivory PowerDork
9/21/19 7:03 p.m.

+1 for old Dodge. +2 for Bender! +3 for keeping it in “Go ahead, make my day” (in merging traffic) condition.

OjaiM5 Reader
9/21/19 8:08 p.m.

That is badazz!

Cooter UltraDork
9/21/19 8:19 p.m.

This place is quickly becoming Dodge Truck Motorsports.

And I love it.

Georges1991 New Reader
9/21/19 8:50 p.m.

Yay another first gen. Cool truck!

Daylan C
Daylan C PowerDork
9/21/19 8:51 p.m.

You people are going to make me go find another one. I sold my '89 D350 12 valve truck and only miss it a little.

bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
9/22/19 11:40 a.m.

So the good...

Practically amazing actually.  It's drive less than 3,000 miles a year since new.  Discussing it with Brian, we're pretty confident that this is accurate, and the odometer hasn't rolled over.  This farm truck, just never went far from the farm.


The interior is in pretty decent shape for the most part.  I mean there's a lot of diagnosing and repairing to do if I want all the buttons, gauges, and everything to work, but considering its age, and farm truck life style, it's in pretty good shape, and the dash is still one piece.

The big selling point, in addition to the mileage, is the venerable Cummins turbo diesel.  It's not the 4 digit torque monster that today's trucks come with, in fact, it's one of the less desirable versions of the truck, i.e. no intercooler, lazy H1C turbo, VE Pump, etc. but it's still a Cummins!  I mean who doesn't love a rattly 12 valve?

Cherry on top, is the engine has newly remanufactured injectors, and a freshly rebuilt injection pump, less than 500 miles on each.  We think it has a 3200 RPM governor spring, Brian couldn't remember the actual RPM, just that he replaced it with a higher than stock spring.  Otherwise as far as we know it's bone stock.

I've got more pictures, and updates to come.  Brian was kind enough to let me use his driveway, some of his tools, and even himself, to do some repairs before making the journey home.

I'm working on a list of what needs done, and trying to prioritize, needs vs. wants vs. would be nice eventually.

This won't be much of a build thread, don't expect any fabrication porn (not that you should ever expect that from a hack like me) more of a fix what needs fixed, and a farm truck doing farm truck things.

wheelsmithy SuperDork
9/22/19 11:49 a.m.

Here's my '92 Cummins. It is a great tractor.

Post here If you have any problems. I've learned a little about them over the years, and may be able to help.

Also DeBoss Garage You Tube


maschinenbau SuperDork
9/22/19 1:31 p.m.

I want the hell out of your truck! Nice find, I wouldn't change a thing.

914Driver MegaDork
9/22/19 2:03 p.m.
Cooter said:

This place is quickly becoming Dodge Truck Motorsports.


Oo, ooo, can I play?

bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
9/23/19 3:56 p.m.

So here's everything I know that's wrong with it, as of the moment.  There's a good possibility I'm forgetting something and/or will find more.  That list got pretty long, it's kind of daunting seeing it written down.



The current tires are old, well worn, weather cracked, not necessarily round, and of the 7 wheels/tires that I got with the truck, I’ve got at least 2 different sizes.  Tires are at the top of the batting order, or at least on deck.  

I’m seriously considering stepping up to a 17” wheel, just for greater tire selection.  No brodozer Methods or Rockstars, I hate those with white hot heat of 100 suns.  I really thought I could snag some Hummer H2 wheels cheap, but I’ve been looking for 6+ weeks, and haven’t found anything cheap enough, or close enough to justify going to get.  Pro Comp Classics are at the top of my list if I go with new.  Surprisingly Jewels is really pushing for new wheels.


Brian was a big help with this, before I drove it 2+ hours through the hills out of the Ozarks, we replaced all the brake hoses, flushed/bled the brake fluid, and adjusted the rear drums.  The Front hoses were bad, FL was twisted like a pretzel, and FR was one  panic stop away from bursting.  Brian replaced the booster already, but I believe the master cylinder is leaking, and there may be a leak at the rear T on the axle.  I haven’t confirmed if it’s brake fluid, or gear oil from the axle vent.  Axle vent bolt/bung also holds the rear brake line T in place.  Also, the ABS light is constantly illuminated on the dash.

Fluids & Filters

This is fairly obvious, based on Brian’s records it’s due for an oil change.  Brian topped off the transfer case, and axles before I left his place.

Wheel Studs

I think there’s only one wheel with all 8 lug nuts on it.  The lug nuts are through nuts, with nothing to protect the stud sticking through them.  The studs with missing lug nuts all have boogerd up threads.  I already have a brand new ½-20 die to chase the threads with, in hopes of repairing them, and spent a small fortune on a 40 acorn style lug nuts to replace all of the originals, I'll have 8 extra, since they came in 10 packs.

Parking Brake

I think (hope) this is just going to be, lube the cable and adjust.  I haven’t tried the parking brake since we got it home.  I think having the rear shoes adjusted should help now too, but Brian had the parking brake stick on him, so I was hesitant to mess with it until I got it home.


Steering is more of a casual suggestion of where you want to go.  There’s a good 30° of play in the steering wheel left to right before the wheels turn.  To go straight, the steering is turned 45° to the left.  I’m not sure I’d call it death wobble, not quite the same as I’ve experienced in my Jeeps anyway, but there’s a significant shimmy between 30-45 mph.


Ditching the sealed beams, and going to an H4 bulb and lens combo will happen soon-ish.  Will probably upgrade the headlight wiring harnesses and relays too.  I know LEDs are in vogue, but I’ve not seen an LED light for these trucks, that isn’t goofy looking.  I have no reverse lights, that’s going to require some diagnosing, and will probably upgrade to some birght LEDs to match the tail lights.  

Turn Signals 

The LED tail lights are playing havoc with the turn signals, going to have to upgrade the flasher relay.  Both Front side marker lights are MIA as well.  I may have to do some panel beating to get the fenders straight enough for new lenses.

Rear View Mirror

There’s no rear view mirror, which wouldn’t be too big of a deal, if the side view mirrors would stay put.  The right mirror self adjusts after a few miles.  The left side mirror, surprisingly, more or less stays put.

Loose Steering Column

This should maybe be in the steering section above, but the column is physically loose from the dash, like you can move it over an inch side to side.  Hopefully there’s just some nuts/bolts to tighten or replace.


I don’t know if the Killer Dowel Pin has been addressed on this engine.  I’ll pull the front timing cover, and find out.  I’ll take that opportunity to go ahead and preemptively replace the water pump. 


I need to do some research on this.  I don’t think the front springs should have a negative arch, should they?  Not sure if adding leaves, or whole new packs are the way to go.  I am pretty sure the shocks are all original.  I know the rear suspension is stiff, especially without a load,  and this thing is nose heavy, but you can really unsettle the rear end, with a bump/pothole/road seam at highway speeds.  I don’t need high end Bilsteins or Konis, I’ll probably be sticking some Doetsch 8000s and similar steering stabilizer on it.

Trailer Hitch

While the homemade drop hitch, makes a lovely step to get up onto the bed, I don’t have a lot of faith in it, or how it’s attached to the flat bed.  I’ll be putting a frame mounted Class IV or V hitch on it.

Trailer Wiring

There’s remnants of at least a 4-pin connector under the bed, but there’s a lot of ratty looking wiring.  I’m a wiring snob, so I’ll be redoing all of it.  For sure a 7-pin connector, and a brake controller is on the horizon.


It doesn’t work, I don’t know why.  Fuse?  Clock spring?  Wiring?  Stay tuned.


The key doesn’t actually start the truck.  You turn the key, if you can, if you can’t, you have to grab the ignition rod on the column, and assist the rod, as you turn the key.  The cover is off of the column so it’s easy to access the rod.  With the key in the “on” position, you can then push the aftermarket momentary switch on the dash, to actually engage the starter, and start the engine.  Also, the key seemingly goes in the ignition upside down?  The key is only cut on one side, and the cut side goes up, i.e. the tumblers in the ignition are on the top, not the bottom, is that normal?


It has one, it has power, even has a tape deck.  As far as I know it doesn’t work.  Not real sure there are even speakers in the truck though.  The deck isn’t mounted securely, it moves in its hole when you push buttons.  It’s a stupid Chrysler 1.5 DIN size too, so there’s no tasteful way to get a full double DIN headunit in there, and I’m not interested in cutting up the dash.

Rear Window

The rear window is a slider, which is great.  However, there’s no latch to close the window.  I don’t mean there’s no latch, like the typical, latch breaking off on so many trucks of this vintage.  I mean, it’s just 2 pieces of glass, there’s no latch, or frame for a latch to attach or latch to.

Door Window Motors

The truck had power windows.  Emphasis on had, neither work.  I have the original regulators, 2 brand new AC Delco window motors, and hope to remedy that soon.  Currently the left window is held in place with a precisely cut to length 1x4 piece of lumber.

Door Bushings/Hinges

Both doors could use bushings, but the left (driver’s side) door is bad, you’ve got to lift up on it to close it, and you’ve got to really put your shoulder into it to open it.  The truck has had some work done to it in the past, you can see some patches welded in where the hinge on the left side mounts to the door.  I’m not sure what all I’m in for there.

D/S Door Panel & Switches

The left door panel is missing, as are the switches for the windows and locks.  There’s currently a metal gate handle attached to the door with self tapping screws…  I’ve been looking for a replacement red P/W P/L left door panel, and have found a few, but they’re either expensive, or I’ve been given "F-off" shipping quotes to have a single door panel shipped halfway across the country.  Keep your eyes peeled, I’m still looking for a door panel.


The A/C is currently INOP, flip the A/C on in the cab, and the clutch on the compressor does nothing.  May simply not have any charge in it, may be worse.  I’ve got plans to have A/C working in this truck.  It’s R12, but Brian and I have both had good luck with REDTEK R12 replacement.  If this scorching weather keeps up this fall, the A/C may become a greater priority. 

Dash Vents

There’s a few missing.

Dangling Fuse/Relay Panel

Self explanatory, it’s dangling above the pedals under the dash, I think it’s probably supposed to be mounted to something.

Gauges - Oil Pressure, Coolant, etc.

The oil pressure gauge doesn’t work, hopefully a new sending unit fixes that.  The coolant gauge allegedly works, if you work the truck hard enough.  Driving 2.5 hours between 50-65 mph unloaded, the coolant gauge never budged.  The accuracy of the fuel gauge has yet to be determined. 

Power Mirrors

The power mirror adjustment doesn’t work, and I’d like it to.  Haven’t even began to diagnose them.

Windshield Washer Bottle

The windshield washer reservoir is vented to the atmosphere with a large crack/hole in the top.

Hood Latch/Hood

At some point in the truck’s life, the hood latch cable froze/rusted in-place, preventing the hood from opening.  Apparently, the solution was to pry the hood open, denting the grille, header panel, and ruining the hood.  Since the hood was already ruined, instead of fixing the hood latch cable, they installed hood pins.  Twice, apparently, they got the holes in the wrong spot the first time.


The foam, and some of the glue is still there, the fabric is long gone.

Flat Bed

I like the flatbed in general.  I’m not getting rid of it, but it could use some improvement.  I think this is a homemade bed, or Brian mentioned possibly something an FFA/high school shop class built.  It’s not a bad design, it is however poorly mounted in my opinion.  The bed is currently welded directly to the frame, via stacks of pieces of metal from someone’s scrap pile.  I’d like it to be removable without a torch/grinder.  The original fuel filler neck is still attached to the tank, but nothing else.  The fuel filler neck is too short for the bed.  Additionally, the fuel filler cannot support the weight of a filling station fuel nozzle/hose, so you have to hold the fuel nozzle the whole time you're filling the tank.

Daylan C
Daylan C PowerDork
9/23/19 4:43 p.m.

Sounds a lot like my truck but my truck didn't have power windows, locks, or mirrors.

I'll have to dig and see if i have any pictures of the interior that show it but the fuse box clips onto a plastic dash piece that then screws in place under the steering column. 

Azryael New Reader
9/23/19 5:29 p.m.
Cooter said:

This place is quickly becoming Dodge Truck Motorsports.

And I love it.

I was thinking the same thing, given the recent threads popping up or coming up to the top the past few days.

That is one lovely crew cab. Definitely on the wish list.

Cooter UltraDork
9/23/19 9:29 p.m.

In reply to Azryael :

Thanks.  It's one of three I own right now.   I bought it "accidentally" in Portland while I was on a trip delivering some furniture.

This is an unfinished 12v swap project I bought from a friend.

Azryael New Reader
9/23/19 11:00 p.m.

In reply to Cooter :

To keep with the theme of the thread:


But seriously, that thing is awesome and I am filled with envy, jealousy, and happiness to see that.

I have a serious itch for a dually, and it seems the D350 crew cab duallys are the rarest of the bunch. I have a soft spot for older crew cabs from all of the big 3. A K30 CC dually (with the round eye headlights) with a 454 or even what some called the "Bullnose" Ford with the 460 or 6.9 IDI would be a dream to come across.

I always thought moving to Texas, I'd find plenty of well-traveled, but maintained older farm trucks along the lines of what I was looking for, but I was wrong :(

Georges1991 New Reader
9/24/19 1:14 a.m.

The Pacific Northwest is the mythical land of not sun rotted rust free goodness. It's almost not even real.


Beautiful CC Cooter.


Really interested in watching this progress!

ThurdFerguson Reader
9/24/19 7:35 a.m.
bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
9/25/19 9:58 p.m.

Here you can see where the hood was pried open, when the hood release cable froze up, leaving this lovely boogered up gap, and scratching the grille surround all to hell.

Instead of fixing the problem, they chose to drill holes in the hood, twice, guess they got it wrong the first time, and add hood pins.


Before we drove Bender up and down the hills, and through all of the turns to get out of the Ozarks, and into the Arkansas River Valley, we addressed the very sketch brake hoses.  Jewels was pretty disappointed that Rusty and Buddy didn't come with the truck.

The drive home went right by the Military Surplus store.  Who could resist a photo opportunity?  Plus I got some more ammo  boxes.


The drive home was uneventful, thankfully.  I had plenty of time to notice a lot of the little things I'd like to address, and some larger things.  See the wall of text above.

I warned the neighbors, that I like, that I was bringing a big ugly truck home to "class up the neighborhood."  It's not like we're in a nice neighborhood, and they put up with me, since I'm always fixing their mower, loaning tools, and am the neighborhood bicycle shop for all the kids.

9/25/19 11:05 p.m.
  • Missing vents
  • rusty hood
  • inoperable AC
  • bad doors
  • half working radio

I'm pretty sure they all came from the factory that way lmao

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/26/19 12:17 p.m.
Cooter said:

This place is quickly becoming Dodge Truck Motorsports.

And I love it.

Yes, it most certainly has!

And I concur.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
9/26/19 12:23 p.m.

Needs more kc highlights 

And 33x13.50x15 tires.

Im also pretty sure that the front leaves were supposed to be flat, and became negatively arched within a week of assembly. 

914Driver MegaDork
9/26/19 1:17 p.m.

If you have an extra Ram casting, you can drill & tap a hole in the bottom for its new life as an air cleaner wing nut.

bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
9/26/19 7:36 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

Needs more kc highlights 

And 33x13.50x15 tires.

Im also pretty sure that the front leaves were supposed to be flat, and became negatively arched within a week of assembly. 

Working on it. wink


Some flavor of 285/75R16 E mud tire, that's roughly a 33x11R16.  Milestar Patagonia currently has my attention, as the chea... most affordable, mud tire that size, that I can pronounce.

Georges1991 New Reader
9/26/19 9:20 p.m.



I frequently use the term "most economical"


Everyone knows what I mean by now :( 

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