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Just our of curiosity, your opinions on the Dodge Ramcharger?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by AuH2O, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. AuH2O

    AuH2O 1/2 ton status

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    I know there's a couple of these used in wheeling, but at least around my parts they seem to be pretty scarce; I rarely see 'em stock on the roads either. I have virtually no experience with Ramchargers; I know most of 'em have Chrysler's LA small blocks, but as for stock driveline and axles I'm clueless, mostly because I never bothered to find out. I hope I'm not too blasphemous in asking, but I was just interested in hearing your opinions on the truck from a K5 perspective. Not because I'm looking to buy one or anything, I think they look like a K5's ugly cousin, but, all the same... :D
     
  2. merace19

    merace19 1/2 ton status

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  3. 79Beast

    79Beast 1/2 ton status

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    As far as I know, most Ramchargers came with either a 318 or 360 engine with a automatic trans and Dana 44 front and Chrysler 9 1/4 rears. My favorite part is that the wheel wells are easy to cut out real big.
     
  4. barneybasher1010

    barneybasher1010 1/2 ton status

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    my buddy has a 1983 and it does ok it has a 4 inch lift w/35s ATs it is open axle with a 318 and a automatic tranny[​IMG]
     
  5. basing110

    basing110 1/2 ton status

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    im helping a buddy build his 79 ramcharger here is a in progress pic ... rear might sit up higher or we might drop the front since we dropped the hangers down 4"' in front when we had stock dodge 52's in their.. not sure yet .. its on 42's[​IMG]
     
  6. fireplug

    fireplug 1/2 ton status

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    I was surprised to read in that article that they think rust is a bigger problem with the Dodges. I've always maintained just the opposite. I see so many old Dodges with little to no rust around here. That rig in the article is pretty cool.
     
  7. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    I know next to nothing about them but I've always liked the way they look.

    I'd rather have a Ramcharger than a later-model Bronco.
     
  8. bigblazer87

    bigblazer87 1/2 ton status

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    I vote to bring the rear up. What terrain will he be running in?
     
  9. basing110

    basing110 1/2 ton status

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    its gonna be doing stuff like i am .. basically build it top truck material .. but well be doing anything from mud,sand,rocks,trails cause so cal has all that stuff
     
  10. bigblazer87

    bigblazer87 1/2 ton status

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    Well, if it's gonna be in the rocks, it should probably be dropped in the front, and the fenders cut for full-stuff. There are some really nice trucks down in So-Cal, and some really fun places to wheel, with so many variances in terrain. Where I'm at (Elk Grove, right next to Sacramento) there are some trails and some rocks, but I have yet to find a nice mud pit...
     
  11. basing110

    basing110 1/2 ton status

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    yea were gonna set it up pretty close to mine so it will do good offroad
     
  12. WantedaDodge

    WantedaDodge 1/2 ton status

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    I love the Dodges. As my name implies.

    Before I got my '84 Blazer, I was looking at a'75 Plymouth Trailduster(same thing as ramcharger). Full convertible top, 440 big block, A/C, 727 tranny(mopar's stoutest) D44 front and 9.25 rear w/ 3.54 gears.

    It was a sweet truck. $1500 in shoe polish on the windshield. Needed a tune up, tires were shot, skinny 15 inch stocker wheels, but it appeared to be low mileage. Still needed a tune up.

    Gas was spendy, so I offered $1000 straight up. The guy wouldn't bite, It sat for sale for another 3 months, I got a nice '84 Blazer w/ decent rubber ready to ride for $500 from a friend of a friend.

    For straight up coolness and wheeling, I wish I would have got the Trail duster and swapped Dana 60s in front and rear, but for an every day driver, I love my Blazer! The rear windows on the Ramcharger series is so damn noisy! Parts are much easier to get for the blazer too.

    I'll always have a soft spot for the '70s ramcharger/trailduster and I'd love to own one with a big block in it someday, but the Blazer gets the job done w/ power windows and a much quieter, easier to live with comfortable way everyday.

    The ramchargers usually had 203s though, so they are great canidates for a doubler kit!

    I do love Mopar powertrains more then Chevy stuff. I like it a lot more. But I grew up a dodge boy. My Dad had an '80 3/4 tone 4x4 club cab with a mildly built 360. It would always smoke my grandad's big block Chevy 3/4 ton, and it was a fresh hot rebuild too.
     
  13. 1977k5

    1977k5 3/4 ton status Vendor

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    I have 3 friends that have Ramchargers and all of them are about the biggest pieces of crap ever. I realize that not every Blazer made is the greatest and that there are plenty of people out there that have had the reverse experience that I have had.

    Anyway, the one in particular is a '90 Ramcharger. It's totally stock with a 318 and 90,000 original miles. It blew a headgasket a couple years ago and I helped the guy replace it. The first thing that really surprised me is that Chrysler small block heads are held down by 9 head bolts :eek1:! Small block Chevys have 17. Good job Chyrsler engineers, I can't imagine why they have trouble with head gaskets :surepal: The motor makes about 15 horsepower, it (and all 3 of the ramchargers I have driven for that matter) is about the slowest vehicle I have ever driven. The transmission is slipping really bad. The rear end has gone out. There is basically no more paint on it. The steering box leaks like there aren't even any seals on it. The front axle disconnect doesn't work, so no 4WD. The unit bearing hubs :surepal: are going bad. Did I mention that this vehicle only has 90K on it and maintanence has been kept up on it (other than waxing it)?

    Now, I realize that particular vehicle is probably more of a basket case than most but there are tons of things that I think Chrysler really compromised on that truck. Namely: unit bearing hubs, front axle disconnect, transmission and everything about the 318.

    Chrysler did offer a big block in these things for a couple years, and the 9.25" rear end is a bit stronger than a 10/12 bolt. Other than that, I am VERY unimpressed by Ramchargers. I think you would be hard pressed to find any year Ramcharger that would compete (IMO :D) with the same year Blazer.

    I do like the late 70's solid axle Broncos though :whistle:
     
  14. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    My 340's ate tons of Chevy's for lunch... Never blew a head gasket in about 10 yrs of building SB's.. And shaft-mounted rockers, well, rock... :haha:

    I built a 78 Power Wagon back in the mid 80's.. 340, 4 spd... That truck was freakin awesome... I miss the Bambi Basher... :(

    [​IMG]
     
  15. basing110

    basing110 1/2 ton status

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    yea my buddy has had good luck with his .. spins up to 6k easy and holds it down really well did good with 35 x terrains and hes good driver so ....i cant wait till were both wheeling together pulling people out and possibly ripping bumpers off :woot:
     
  16. WantedaDodge

    WantedaDodge 1/2 ton status

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    NEVER EVER had a head gasket problem on a small block mopar...

    My 350 on the other hand I am suspecting has a pinhole in it somewhere. I'm loosing about 2 quarts of antifreeze between fillups and I don't know where it's going. Can't find any leaks in the radiator or the hose.
     
  17. 5280k5

    5280k5 1/2 ton status

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    My parents bought an '87 brand new, 318ci Royal SE package back in the day and overall was a good truck. Took family vacations all over the east coast in it with relatively few problems. I think most of the drama with repairs with it was the guy working on it:mad: They offered it too me when I moved here to CO but decided not to take it. Ran real strong at sea level but I don't know about here at altitude.
     
  18. marv_springer

    marv_springer 1/2 ton status

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    I have a buddy who's just decided to sell the one he has. I think it's a 77, has a 440, 727, 203, D44, and the Mopar rear axle. It's in Az if anyone's interested.

    Not sure how much $$... I'll ask him.

    Marv
     
  19. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Mopar Man...

    My dad always liked Mopars--had many of them ,he was sold on them when he drove a taxi in the 60's,and most of them had the slant 6 motors,and the gas and electric company he worked for also had a large fleet of cars and service trucks with those motors--many were dodges,they would buy an equal number of GMC and Chevy,and Fords--sort of spread out their bussiness to all the local dealers,rather than buy all of one make,and they maintained their own fleet..the mechanics loved the Mopars best--rarely had to fix anything,only needed oil and filter changes and lube jobs,fan belts,hoses,tires,etc...hardly any engine trouble,nothing major anyway..

    I've driven several chrysler vehicles with 318's..I thought they were a decent motor,second best thing to a small block chevy..--never had any head gaskets problems,nor did my friends who had them either!..9 bolts works fine to hold the heads on in my opinion..I've done LOTS of head gaskets on small block chevy's though!..and I always though 17 bolts was overkill on the GM motors...Mopars seem to have rusty cooling systems, and more overheating woes than other brands do though..

    The 318/360 motors were not powerhouses,but they did last well over 100,000 in most cases if taken care of,the big blocks like the 383,413,440 were all very rugged and dependable motors..look at all the 70's Winnebago's that are still tooling around with those engines running strong..not cheap to run,but rugged!..

    I'd much rather own a Dodge than a Ford pickup ,given a choice between the two..but I've been loyal to GM for mostly the fact parts are more plentiful,cheaper,they LAST,(except for the body!),and I've had good luck with all the ones I've owned.. easy to fix for the most part too..Chevy keeps things simple--Ford makes life suck,Dodge is kinda like a Chevy,but have some weird stuff on them too..like "lean burn"!..(anyone remember that nightmare??)...

    I will say SOME of the Dodge trucks I had to work on were easier to fix than compareable trucks of other makes..like no exhaust studs to break off--they use nuts and bolts!..less clutter under the hood,not as many hoses and bundles of wiring like a Ford,or huge EFI plenums that block access to plugs and injectors,etc.. plus we dont SEE too many "broken" Dodge's really,compared to other makes..but when we do,its usually a BIG thing like a tranny,that failed..:doah: newer Dodge's have weak automatic trannys,IMO....the old Torquflite was the best,they should have stuck with it..computer controlled overdrives suck...

    I really liked how the 90 Dakota pickup we just put a used tranny in was set up--had a 2.5 4 banger,mounted normally like a regular 2wd,a big 5 speed tranny (same one used on a V-6 and V-8--150,000 miles and low oil level killed the synchros--not the trucks fault!)..this thing had a hefty rear end and frame for a "small" truck too,and was so easy to work on,I wished I owned it!..another odd thing is its very rust free,yet has never been garaged,washed much,or "babied"--yet its still in very nice shape..cant say that for most similar vintage GM trucks...it gets 30 mpg too!

    We've had very good luck with my moms '93 Caravan ..doors rotted out and had to be patched,but the rest of it isn't rotted,and at 71,000 miles,with never a tune up,it still runs fine--even has the original exhaust still!..cant complain about it at all!..

    I'd rather have a K-5 than a Ramcharger--but if I had the chance to buy one right,I probably would,especially a big block one...they dont seem to rot as bad as GM's do here,and the drivetrain is stout enough..never liked those "unit hub" wheel bearings though--they did suck..:crazy:
     
  20. WantedaDodge

    WantedaDodge 1/2 ton status

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    I'll admit, the front hubs sucked. But with a little work you can turn a 360 into a 350 eating machine. I've never really ridden in a small block powered 4x4 chevy that IMPRESSED me that wasn't stroked out or had massive internal work.

    I don't know, if I wasn't gonna be driving it anywhere other then up the road to go 4 wheeling, I'd probably take the Dodge, but my K5 is more of an expeditionary rig and I don't think I'd trade it for anything.
     

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