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Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
10/22/20 9:55 a.m.

In reply to JeremyJ :

So much better!

The problem with OEM headlights on these is that they SUCK for light output. Even the crappy ricer lights have to be better. I had a fairly clean set of stock lights on my old Dakota with brighter aftermarket bulbs and I used to drive around with my high beams on sometimes just to see, and no one was bothered by that. Even with the highs on, they had about the same light output as a living room table lamp. I say just find a clean set of the clear/black housing ones like you posted and toss them in. Two flashlights duct taped to the hood is better than stock!

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
10/22/20 10:21 a.m.

I hear you. I'm stuck between the headlights I posted and some OEM looking ones with a crystal clear main headlight section. Like this:

They're both cheap and aftermarket so it's kind of a crapshoot. I think either will be an improvement with the light output. I like the look of the black ones a little better, but they aren't perfect. As much as I don't like the current headlights, my main focus is on suspension now. I really need to drop this thing. I just couldn't handle the tails anymore. Headlights will come later. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
11/3/20 9:43 a.m.
JeremyJ said:

In related news, the sounds coming from the transmission may not be a throwout bearing. There's a grindy, bad bearing sound that happens only in neutral, with my foot off the clutch pedal. As soon as I push it in, the noise stops. It seems to be quiet when I'm driving around and the clutch engages just fine. I've been reading a bit and it sounds like it might actually be the input shaft bearing. Wouldn't the throwout bearing only make noise when I engage the clutch pedal, and not when it's released? Does anyone here have experience with the NV3500? 

So as it turns out, the transmission is shot and needs to be replaced. I don't have the time to do it myself, so I've enlisted a good local shop to do it for me. The truck should be back on the road here shortly. The biggest downside of this for me, is that the money I had for the drop kit is being soaked up my the transmission work. Such a bummer. Looks like I'll be riding high for longer than I had anticipated. 

bentwrench
bentwrench SuperDork
11/3/20 9:57 a.m.

Replaced or rebuilt?

It probably just needs bearings if there were no shifting problems.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
11/3/20 11:21 a.m.

The shop charges about $500 more to rebuild than to replace, so I'm replacing it with a lower mileage unit. Kind of crazy how much they charge to replace the seals and bearings. 

bonylad
bonylad Reader
11/3/20 2:53 p.m.

I love it!

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
12/2/20 10:20 a.m.

I got the truck back from the shop, with its replacement transmission installed. The lack of rattling bearing noise at idle is a welcome change. It's not perfect, though. The truck doesn't like it when I rev-match upon downshifting. It will just grind the gears and not go in. However, if I just shove it into gear with no heel-toe, it begrudgingly downshifts with a little bit of force. In fact, all gear changes require a little bit more force than they used to. Reverse is really stiff. I hope that's normal for this transmission and the super loose action from the previous trans was just a symptom of the failing input shaft with a mile of play in it. I suppose I'll get used to it, but the downshifting issue bugs me. 

thedoc
thedoc Reader
12/2/20 10:24 a.m.

In reply to JeremyJ :

That is one sexy beast!

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/2/20 1:42 p.m.

Mine were stiff and notchy. Synchos hated being rushed. 

Redline mtl helped. Didn't cure it, but helped. So did greasing the bronze bushing that i replaced the destroyed plastic one in the shifter cup. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
12/2/20 3:06 p.m.

It kind of acts like the clutch isn't disengaging 100%. The clutch grabs right off the floor. I'm hoping the new disc is just a tad thick and it'll wear down after some miles and loosen up a little. There's no pedal adjustment and it uses a sealed hydraulic system with no way to bleed the cylinder. No real way to adjust anything. 

On the bright side, this new transmission is a lot tighter. There's not nearly as much stick movement in gear, which is nice. I'm still contemplating a Hurst short throw shifter for it. I'll look into some better fluid. I've heard good things about Redline. 

Azryael
Azryael Reader
12/2/20 3:38 p.m.

The Durango console should fit just fine, just have to cut out the tray for the shifter. That's what I plan to do on mine, anyway.

For the headlights, I opted to get the Anzo clears, and just swapped them into the factory headlight bracket, and kept my original turn signal bits as they are still in fantastic shape. I toyed with relays to get more out of the standard halogen lights, but I opted to go HID with proper projectors, and it's been the best decision yet. Excuse the mess, I haven't given him a bath in a while:

I've yet to replace the fogs, been meaning to, just never get around to it. The nice thing is that the HIDs almost look factory (at least to me anyway) and don't look out of place at all.

I've got an NV3500 from a 5.2 which should work just fine behind my stock 5.9, since I don't plan on asking any more from it. The Rams with the 5.9 that had the manual used the NV4500, but it's a much, much larger case, and you'll be modifying the floorboard.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
12/2/20 4:39 p.m.

Your headlights look great. The light output must be a thousand times better than the stock units. I'll replace mine eventually. 

Wasn't the NV4500 only offered on 4WD trucks? Good to know about the size of it. I think if I ever go far enough to upgrade the trans, I'll probably just jump headfirst into a Hemi/TR6060 swap. Apparenly, the NV3500 from the 4.7 will bolt up to a Hemi just fine, but I don't trust it to handle the abuse. 

Azryael
Azryael Reader
12/2/20 5:04 p.m.

The light output is PHENOMENAL! I wish I had done this sooner, but the HID kits weren't available when granddad gifted the Durango to me.

There are definitely 2WD versions of the NV4500, only difference is the tail shaft. The NV4500 is a 5-speed, just like the 3500, but there is the NV5600, which is a 6-speed.

People have had luck with the NV3500 behind the 5.9 Magnum so long as it's stock or a very mild tune. I don't plan on doing pulls from the stop light, or making power out of the Durango, just want to pick my own gears when I want to. I've got an F350 with a 7.3 for towing.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
12/4/20 11:40 a.m.

So the truck went back to the shop. It was occasionally getting stuck in neutral and leaving me motionless at green lights. I had to pump the clutch a couple of times and then force it into gear. Not great. I'm hoping it's just a master/slave cylinder issue and not something worse. We'll find out soon. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
12/4/20 2:40 p.m.

I just got a call from the shop. Apparently, someone cut out the catalytic converter while it was in the parking lot last night. Luckily, it was the third, redundant converter that comes after the O2 sensors, so I'm just going to straight pipe it and call it good. 

This truck is cursed, I tell you!

Azryael
Azryael Reader
12/4/20 3:19 p.m.

Ah, that's awful to hear!

thedoc
thedoc Reader
12/4/20 4:44 p.m.

Wow, is this thing cursed?  Do a carfax.  Find out if it was parked over a burial ground or hauled parts for a biker gang.  This is the drag about project vehicles.  The stuff you have to fix before you can mod it.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
12/4/20 5:06 p.m.

I had the same type of luck with my last project car. I had to spend a bunch of money chasing leaks, vibrations, and fixing things like stuck brake calipers. Once I had it all sorted, it treated me well and I did indeed modify it and have a lot of fun. I just keep telling myself that this truck will be the same way. Fun down the road once I fix all of the neglected issues with it. Plus, I was going to remove that third cat anyway. Silver linings, right? 

thedoc
thedoc Reader
12/4/20 7:27 p.m.

In reply to JeremyJ :

You know,the nice thing is all the money you have saved by not buying new.  Even with the aggravation, you are saving money, learning things and making the truck your own.  Silver linings indeed.

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) SuperDork
12/4/20 7:48 p.m.

I like that truck way better than I expected to. I actually like those headlights but maybe they look better in pictures from the internet than they do in person. Amazingly clean truck, nice score. Just sucks about the trans 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
12/9/20 10:42 a.m.

So the shop can't get the transmission to repeat the "stuck in neutral" issues I was having, despite the fact that it happened four times to me in about fifteen miles of driving. It's frustrating. They did notice a stiff first gear engagement, so they're going to swap the fluid to Redline MTL (hooray) and see if that helps. Apparently, all the hydraulics and clutch engagement look good to them.

On a positive note, they are going to pay to fix the pipe from the stolen converter, despite the fact that they initially wanted to charge me for it. It took a mild complaint from me to the owner, but they are going to cover it now. It's going to an exhaust shop for a straight pipe for that third converter, which is something I was going to do anyway. I hope to have the truck back soon. I think it's been at this shop longer than it's been in my driveway in the short time I've owned it. Kind of funny that the number one selling point of this truck for me, was the manual transmission. Now it's become the bane of my existence. 

Azryael
Azryael Reader
12/9/20 11:54 a.m.

I do know that these units are a bear to rebuild, that's why I think only a handful of shops will do it, or even fewer offer to sell them refurbished (like Zumbrota). You're somewhat out of luck on finding a replacement at the yard, as the PowerTech motor (4.7) and Chrysler LA motor (3.9, 5.2, 2.9) bell housings are different, with the starter ears reversed. You could theoretically swap the front half of the case, but in doing so, you might mess with some of the set tolerances when you crack it open. My experience has been that the 5-speeds are much more common behind the magnum motors than they are the 4.7 when I get the yard.

Clutch hydraulics are super simple to replace on these, as you can get pre-bled units that just bolt right up. The biggest issue is that when people crack these open, they're extremely difficult to bleed for some reason or another. I can't say I've had the same issues, just bench bleed the slave and gravity bleed the line from the master, and then you've got minimal air to push out.

I think the bellhousing pattern is the same from the 4.7 you have to the the 5.7 "Hemi" which would again open you up to the NV4500 or the 5600 from the 1/2+ ton trucks, but again you run into issues with have to do some floor surgery. I've not had time to start the trans swap on the Durango, but it'll be interesting to see how that transmission behaves as it is a fresh rebuild. Was hoping to get to it this winter, but I need to get a spare driveshaft to have lengthened first and I still need to find a shifter tower assembly.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
12/16/20 10:52 a.m.

Well, I got the truck back from the shop again and the maiden voyage home went well. It seems to shift better with a few more miles and better fluid in it. They said the fluid that came out looked perfect and there were no shavings or anything of the sort. It also feels like it has a few more horses with that third cat removed. I wasn't expecting to feel anything, but there is indeed a small seat-of-the-pants improvement. I accidentally spun the tires in second gear on the way home, which was fun (the ground was wet). I'm going to put some more miles on it and see how it goes. I'm excited to start adding fun stuff to it. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
12/31/20 12:54 p.m.

Transmission is still locking me into neutral from time to time. It takes a pump of the clutch pedal to get it back into gear. It kind of acts like the slave cylinder is getting momentarily stuck. Is that a thing? I need to get under it and look for leaks around both cylinders. I've done a ton of work on engines and I've installed clutches, but every other aspect of transmissions are kind of foreign to me. I'm annoyed the shop can't duplicate this issue, especially since I had it happen four times to me on a quick trip to the dump and back. I'm contemplating installing a new master/slave setup myself. They come as a pre-bled sealed unit. It couldn't hurt, right? 

linkinparker445
linkinparker445 New Reader
12/31/20 5:34 p.m.

In reply to JeremyJ :

Could the firewall be flexing preventing full clutch release?  I've had a cracked firewall do this, and it would get a bit worse when the engine bay would heat up.

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