Need info on 1978 Dodge 4wd truck

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dragonfly, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    I am about to buy a 1978 Dodge ram 3/4 ton 4wd pickup truck with a 318V-8 engine, BUT, I have a question regarding the engine...I do not have a manual for this truck and have ordered 2, but I am unsure about the heads....For instance, I own a 1973 Dodge B-200 3/4ton van, with the 318 v-8. It had some problems as the valves burnt due to the usage of unleaded fuel. The original manual states DO NOT USE UNLEADED FUEL IN THIS VEHICLE! I found out the hard way that the valves burn up! I do not have any info on the 1978 but I suspect that it also must have the heads replaced ??? Does anyone know anything about this beast?
    You won't even believe the price! Blue book lists it at $1,900 low...I am getting it for only $200! Needs some work, and 2 tires...runs and has not been on the road since 1998.
  2. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

    I had a 318 in a Jeep... back in the early 70's Chrysler made motors for Jeep... anyway it was a great motor... and ran fine on unleaded... BTW you can swap heads and intake from a 360 as by and large they are the same engine
  3. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    The 318 is a slug in a full size truck - my Dodge Ramcharger could barely get out of it's own way.........
    Would like to shoehorn a 360 into it, and get it back on the road..... one of these days. A coworker years ago did that with his, and it was much improved.
    Good thing was, in good tune, the Ramcharger got 18MPG on the highway - better than the Cherokee with the same motor!
  4. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    I just found out some rather bad news...
    It seems Dodge made this 1/2 ton, with full time 4wd. Not sure, but most say this will be a fuel hog....
    The 4wd shifter has some strange writing to me ( no operator's manual available) it's marked: hi loc, hi, n, lo loc, and lo....2 speed lever?
    From what I have read, it's always in synch with the rear differential...? It's supposed to be a W-100...? Is that a Trail duster model? So many questions and so few answers! So far we have managed to confirm it has compression, spark and several newer parts ( replaced) like: starter, fuel pump, and elec components....
    Now the carb has to be removed, and cleaned ( rebuilt?) the egr valve connected, the fuel line cleaned for debris and the fuel filter replaced...maybe have to vacuum the manifold, just in case debris managed to get down the carb...someone left the air cleaner off...for (14) years? Lots of dirt and leaves all over the thing....Will be replacing the spark plugs, rotor and cap. Wires appear to be fairly new. Then after making sure everything is where it's supposed to be, we'll add some gas and fire it up ( I hope!) Funny thing, this 1978 has a plastic fuel tank! No skid plate, but appears to have been there for a LONG time! Master cylinder is bad, (pedal is frozen), radiator is dry, bad hoses may be the cause of that....seems to have had the heater core bypassed at some time....Lots to do, 4 pages of stuff to do and check!
    Anyone ever had any workings with one of these beasts?
  5. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    The "Trailduster" was the Plymouth version of the Ramcharger SUV. In that body year range, they had the removable fiberglass top, while the 80's models like my '85 have the fixed steel roof and single piece lift gate.
    The later Dodge 4X4's had selectable 4WD - I normally kept it in 2WD (Rear only). I was always amazed at the relatively good gas mileage it got for a 5700 pound truck!
    But mine is electronic ignition..... if I ever get around to putting it back on the road, I'd like to retro-fit the earlier points system into it.
  6. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Mine has the "reluctor" type of ignition and a LOT of those small aluminum boxes! Scary!
  7. limpingbear

    limpingbear future cancer survivor....

    in the experiance ive had with my 77 powerwagon that was full time....the giberish on the tranfer stick means, HI LOC- high range, center diff locked( transfer case acks as the locking differential) HI- normal high range and this is what it should be in for normal use. LO- low range, for use off road going SLOW LO LOCK- center diff locked, LO range ( for really going slow and careful) Never got to use the low range on mine all that much.
  8. fedorthedog

    fedorthedog Monkey+++

    Heads on a 78 should be built for unleaded fuel it was required 78, in 73 you could still get leaded and trucks did not get unleaded only blocks until I think 76.
  9. Sapper John

    Sapper John Analog Monkey in a Digital World

    dragonfly, see if you can find some "lock-out" hubs for your truck. These mount onto the front axles and you can manually disconnect the front full time drive. I know they made them for many different vehicles,maybe they have some to fit yours.
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