bigdata
bigdata None
9/20/19 8:44 a.m.

Backstory:

Ram50Ron here on the forum and I went to college together and built mini Baja cars. I did a lot of the suspension design work and he did the frame design and fab. There were a lot of late nights in the shop getting the car ready for competition. We would BS about future project cars and stuff we would get into after graduation. 

After helping him with his truck for a while I started looking for a my own project. We tossed around ideas for the better part of a year. One night, after a few hours working on his truck and a few beers, we came across something that seemed right. It was weird enough, it was cool enough, and it was crusty enough. I called the guy up next day, got a uhaul, and picked up the rusty old truck.

The Truck:

A 1983 Dodge Ram 50. 5 speed and two-wheel drive, with an extra dash of cool from it’s 4D55 Turbo Diesel. Built by Mitsubishi in Japan.

The Plan (So far):

  1. Repair

This thing is crusty. Real crusty. I’m not usually afraid of rust but this is going to be a challenge. I'll be getting to know the guys at the local steel yard. 

  1. Replace

Once I have it's clear of rust and rolling safely. I'll go to through and replace anything that might cause issues down the road. The engine needs new rockers but otherwise starts and seems to be strong. Suspension will probably need to be replaced and cleaned up too.

  1. Paint and finishes

Plans here are bound the change. I know the truck is never going to be showroom or anything like that. But I think it has potential to still look really good to an untrained eye like mine. Cleaned up interior and a garage paint booth spray job should get it looking nice.

  1. Turn it up

It needs to stay diesel. I think that’s the most solid goal of this project. Whether that’s an upgraded 4D55/56 or something different entirely, it needs it's diesel heart. Onces I have it running well it will get better cooling and the boost/fuel will get turned up. Maybe it will even go highway speed by the time it's tuned up.

Thanks for the opportunity to share. I can’t wait to get to work and see what y’all think.

chandler
chandler PowerDork
9/20/19 9:37 a.m.

I had a gas ‘80 that had a hard time going highway speeds! Such cool trucks, I think Vigo on here has a really nice early one also.

hobiercr
hobiercr SuperDork
9/20/19 9:39 a.m.

When the diesel self-immolates itself you can drop in a 4G63...and then blow it up. laugh

RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon HalfDork
9/20/19 9:41 a.m.

In reply to bigdata :

I'm so jealous of this thing and your resistance to scope creep

schul274
schul274
9/20/19 11:18 a.m.

You should put an LS in it and put a C4 corvette chassis under it.

Thats what the cool kids do.

classicJackets
classicJackets Dork
9/20/19 12:18 p.m.

bigdata
bigdata New Reader
9/20/19 12:58 p.m.

In reply to RacetruckRon :

For now...

slowbird
slowbird HalfDork
9/20/19 12:59 p.m.
schul274 said:

You should put an LS in it and put a C4 corvette chassis under it.

Thats what the cool kids do.

Or a Miata chassis and a Ford 5.0. Or a VW pan and a GM V6. Or a retired Army truck frame and a giant diesel engine. laugh cheeky

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE Reader
9/20/19 2:26 p.m.
slowbird said:
schul274 said:

You should put an LS in it and put a C4 corvette chassis under it.

Thats what the cool kids do.

Or a Miata chassis and a Ford 5.0. Or a VW pan and a GM V6. Or a retired Army truck frame and a giant diesel engine. laugh cheeky

YOU SHOULD BUILD IT

the way you want smiley

bigdata
bigdata New Reader
9/23/19 7:04 a.m.

Made some progress this weekend tearing the truck down. Lots of rusty fasteners and rotten sheet metals. 

The good: Doors, tailgate and front end all look mostly rust free. The frame from the rear axle to the front of the truck looks good too.

The bad: The floors of the bed is rotten. So is the rear of the frame and the rocker panels. 

PB blaster and PBR were two important tools this weekend. 

It's hard not to get discouraged by all the rust. But after getting the bed off, it's a little easier to see what needs to get done. If I can get the frame fixed up before winter I should be able to work on body panels in the basement over winter. 

RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon HalfDork
9/23/19 9:18 a.m.

There's still plenty of room in your garage for a second engine and sheet metal tools.

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
9/23/19 9:54 p.m.

I've wanted one of these for so long. I finally found one that a friend's kid had lucked into. Kid wouldn't sell it to me non-running for twice what he got it for. One day i foolishly foolishly went to said friend's house and out of my excitement over the truck, went ahead and got it running right then and there just so i could drive it up and down the street (owner kid wasn't there). I shouldn't have done it because the kid then sold it for like 4 times what he paid for it after refusing to sell it to me for 2 times and putting zero effort of his own into it and expressing zero appreciation for the  $1000+ of value i dropped into his lap. I got E36 M3, except E36 M3 on. Major regrets. I still get  actual mad. 

sobe_death
sobe_death Dork
9/24/19 11:29 a.m.

My brother had one of these that was 4wd, but apparently the 4wd/Diesel combo was a unicorn.  We ended up pulling the gas engine and putting the 2.3 Mitsubishi from a Ranger in.  Surprising how much more hood clearance you have , as we ended up making a ~4" hood bulge to clear the valve cover up front.

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