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Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
1/6/22 4:52 p.m.

Santa dropped off some new window sweeps for the truck on Christmas, so I tossed them on the other day. Might have been one of the best bang-for-the-buck fixes I've done.

Tools needed: flathead screwdriver and a pair of needlenose pliers.
Repair time: 5 minutes per door, if that.

Old ones looked like this. The outers were completely gonzo, and the inners were brittle and worn out. This made the windows rattle around whether they were up, down, or in-between.

Basically, you pull up on one side of the sweep and unclip it from the door. Keep pulling until it's off. Then snap the new ones in place. It's that simple.

This is what was left of the old ones. They are now in the dumpster at the local transfer station.

After replacing them, the windows stay put and don't rattle. Truck is much quieter going down the road now, and I can crack the window without fear of the whole thing rattling apart!

Also uploaded a new tune for the EFI. Getting closer to where I want it to be, but still dealing with a tip-in issue. Also, it makes a hell of a rattle from the engine and/or the exhaust after driving it. Going to investigate that ASAP. Just did a 50 mile round trip in it today on the new tune, and it seems happier overall.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
2/7/22 1:12 p.m.

It's been about a month since I last posted in here, and I haven't really done a lot with the truck because the weather has been terrible. That said, I have been focusing on tuning the EFI, since it has been driving me nuts. Plus, it doesn't involve me laying on my back in the snow!

After some back and forth with friends and industry people, I got connected with some folks over at Holley Performance who helped me a great deal. After looking at my data logs, we came to the conclusion that the truck didn't have nearly enough fuel in the fuel table. This was what was causing the lean tip-in, and after some tweaks, we got it running much, much better. It still has hiccups every once in a while, but it's like I did an engine swap. More power everywhere and smoother operation.

That said, it's still exhibiting some troubling issues:

-Something is knocking BAD. I'm not 100% convinced it's the engine. I feel it in the floor and through the column, so I'm banking on the exhaust hitting something. Plus, the engine itself is running great now, and the oil doesn't have sparklies. Still planning on swapping the engine, but if I could hold off on that a bit, it would be nice.

-Hot starts are still giving me trouble. It only does it sometimes, but it's a real pain. It hasn't left me stranded... yet.

I have a whole host of things I'll be addressing soon, including the above. Stay tuned...

crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/7/22 1:35 p.m.

Take an oil sample and send it off to Blackstone. If it was truly a deep engine knock caused by a wasted bearing or two, I'd expect to see tin and lead in the sample. Either way that gives you a little more data. U joints, steering components, suspension...tracing down noises like that isn't fun.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
2/7/22 2:42 p.m.

In reply to crankwalk (Forum Supporter) :

Probably a good idea. I've got lift time booked at my buddy's place soon, so I can rule out all of the other stuff. Really hoping it's just the exhaust smacking something underneath.

2/7/22 3:33 p.m.

Tony, just recently discovered this thread while trying to diagnose a faulty blower motor. Several days later and I was able to read the whole thing. About to replace the oil pan gasket, rear main seal, oil pump, transmission mounts, fuel pump and a battery tray, to try to fix a whole lot of issues all at once!


With reagrds to your knocking, if you have access to a GoPro, I have seen others mount then below to then review footage after some driving. Especially if it's something as simple as the exhaust knocking. Just a thought. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
2/7/22 7:24 p.m.

In reply to liamk182 :

Hey, pull up a chair and stay awhile! Glad you enjoyed the thread so far.

I could do that with a GoPro, good idea. I'm also getting it up on a lift soon and will be poking and prodding just about everything. If it is engine internal, it's to be expected. This thing is 43 years old and recently tried to kill itself, so it wouldn't surprise me.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
2/13/22 7:34 p.m.

Back in May of 2019, I scored a set of NOS front leaf springs from a local parts house. 

These were NLA, and were sitting around for 20 years basically waiting for me to stop by and buy them. I bought them because this truck used to sit on a lot with a plow on it, and apparently angled to the driver's side, since the driver's side leaf spring was collapsed. As a result, the truck has listed to the port side since I brought it home. 

Yesterday, after almost 3 years of them sitting on the shelf, I got around to tossing them in. 

I was able to do this on my friend's lift, which makes things A LOT easier. 

I've been marinating the U-Bolts in penetrant for a while, not to mention they had been protected in 40+ years of sludge, so there was a chance that I could actually remove them without the Wheel of Death. 

All four bolt heads on the driver's side looked like this. Threads were just gone. This is what New England does. Despite this, these came off easily with hand tools! I don't get it. Actually, the spring swap was one of the easiest repairs I've done to the truck. This took about an hour to do tops with a few friends. 

Here's a "Before" pic, where you can see the truck exhibiting the Gangsta Lean:

And "After": 

No more lean, and the truck feels a lot better going down the road. 

While we had it on the lift, we poked around looking for the terrible knocking noise I've been hearing. The first thing we found is that the starter was loose! Like, REAL loose! That would explain all my hard starting issues. It was so loose that I can't believe it didn't fall out! After tightening it up, it had zero trouble starting, even when hot. But unfortunately, the engine sounds like a blacksmith shop circa 1793. Sounds like either the #1 or #2 rod is knocking on heaven's door. It was inevitable after the timing mishap, but hey, what can you do. It strangely runs great, even though it sounds like parts are going to leave. Hoping it lasts long enough to go pick up a new engine with it. Magnum Time is soon approaching. 

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
2/13/22 7:57 p.m.

I'm enjoying this thread.  

Once I had a Nissan strut loosen and at first I wasn't sure then when I figured out.  Big DOH.  

Dirtydog (Forum Supporter)
Dirtydog (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/14/22 10:37 a.m.

Love that picture.  Somehow, a Power Wagon and snow seem to go together. As an outside observer, that motor is tired.  Hopefully it will hang in there for a little more truck duty.

slantsix HalfDork
2/14/22 12:34 p.m.

Fun Stuff.... Lookin' Good, Tony!

RandolphCarter New Reader
2/14/22 3:07 p.m.

Do you think the loose starter clunking around could explain the noise you were hearing?

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
2/14/22 5:22 p.m.

In reply to RandolphCarter :

That's what I thought originally after I found it literally hanging by threads, but after tightening it down, it still makes terrible sounds. It's odd, when you go to start it, it will rattle a bit like there's no oil. Then, it quiets down. But after driving it for a bit and parking it, the noise returns. Guessing that when it heats up, the clearances get bigger. It's definitely at crank speed, too. 

Azryael HalfDork
2/14/22 5:38 p.m.

I know someone with a '93 350 with the 5.9 and 5-speed MT. Really want to grab it, as I just love these first gen trucks.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
2/15/22 12:00 p.m.

Another thing I did over the weekend was replace my worn steering shaft with a new, upgraded Borgeson unit. 

The original was properly SMOKED. Grease seal was puking out the back and it was all sorts of wonky. 

Removal at the box is easy. Just drive out the roll pin and it pulls out. 

Removal at the rag joint was not as easy. The joint predictably fell apart, and the bolts got stuck. The Death Wheel was involved with removal of the remaining chunks.

Here's the new shaft, along with a new rag joint kit. New shaft has a modern U-joint instead of the ball/socket design. It's also telescoping for easy installation. 

New shaft vs the old one. The Borgeson is a beefy boi. 

Hardest part was drilling a detent in the steering box output shaft for the set screw. 

And done. Set screw locked, telescoping collar locked, and steering much tighter! 

I do have to remove and re-clock the steering wheel, but overall, it was pretty easy. I actually have road feel now. Weird! 

tperkins New Reader
2/15/22 1:08 p.m.

In my head the leaf pack on that truck was like 2x thicker than what it was lol. Great thread, love these trucks. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
2/15/22 1:42 p.m.

In reply to tperkins :

This one has the 3 leaf springs up front and the 5 leaf springs out back. Some trucks have 5 up front, too, but this is a 150 with a small block, so 3 does the trick. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
3/3/22 12:06 p.m.

Even though the engine has been knocking away, I've still been driving the truck as I look for a replacement engine. It drives so much better now with the most recent tune and suspension/steering upgrades. It's a shame that the old 318 isn't happy. It hasn't gotten worse, and only does it after reaching operating temperature. I drove it 50 miles yesterday running errands, and it drove great aside from the sound. Sounds loudest where that piston/valve mishap happened, so I'm guessing it's either a slightly bent rod or bad wrist pin. 

Finding a replacement for the ailing 318 has been a pain so far. I had a replacement low mileage LA 318 lined up to pick up today that I was going to freshen up and toss in, but the buyer backed out on me last minute. Is that a Mopar guy thing? I've had more sellers back out on sales of Mopar-related things (vehicles, parts, etc) than anyone else. I don't get it. This is the 2nd guy in as many weeks to do this on an engine. Anyway, the search continues. I plan on visiting the local yard this weekend and seeing what they have. I spotted a few Magnum 5.9's there last time, so hopefully one of those is salvageable. I also have a friend with a Magnum 5.2 that I could score cheap, but I'd really like to get the 5.9 if I am going through all the work. 

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/3/22 12:30 p.m.

Tony, a buddy up in Maine is restoring one now and cannot find a dash. He needs both pieces and a glove box. Know anyone? I believe his is a '79 as well and he said '74-'79 dash would work

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
3/3/22 4:53 p.m.

In reply to preach (dudeist priest) :

I'll keep an eye out, but I haven't seen much in New England since I got this one, and it was the first I had seen in years. There are a bunch of FB groups for these that might be of help, though. 

Loving this thing still. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
3/5/22 1:52 p.m.

This morning, I went to my local junkyard with the mission of finding a new build candidate for the truck. Requirements were simple:

-Cleanish 5.9 Magnum engine
-It turns over
-Looks rebuildable or able to freshen up and stab it in

So with that said, let's take a look at our eligible bachelors:

Bachelor #1: Buzz

Buzz had the biggest wasp nest I have ever seen on the hood last time I was there, but there was a 5.9 under there. Someone took the hood and crushed the nest, and it's winter now, so it was safe to check it out. 

The transmission was already out, and the engine turned over ok, but since that throttle body has been off for a while, I wasn't sure this was a good candidate. 

Bachelor #2: Dub City

Dub City is a 14-passenger 2000 B3500 with a questionable past. Lots of parking tickets, but it had a valid inspection sticker, so it must have been running recently. 

Plugs looked great!

Oil did not look great. And there wasn't much of it, either. There was evidence of sludging in the engine, because a lot of this stayed on the dipstick after it was wiped clean. 

Bachelor #3: Church Lady

Church lady is a 2003 Dodge handicapped transporter van that's been here for a while. Transmission was previously removed, too. 

This one had ALL of the oil. And then some. 

Plugs were... not great. Also, the engine was frozen solid. This was a non-starter. 

Bachelor #4: Pine Cone

Pine Cone is a 1997 Ram 2500 in a shade of pine tree green that looks like it used to be a yard plow truck...

...Until a pine tree hit it . There was evidence of said tree in the bed.

This one was all there and turned over easily. Also had plenty of oil in it and coolant. It also has an A/C Delete pulley on it, which is a bonus, since I will not be running A/C in my truck right now. 

Manifolds still had some paint on them, a rare sight up here!

Plugs were worn but showed no signs of bad stuff. 

138k on the clock meant it had the lowest mileage I've seen on any of the bunch. 

Out of the eligible bachelors, I chose Pine Cone's engine. The guys at the yard said it showed up this week and it's a runner! I struck a deal, left a deposit, and I'll be back next week for it. I'm pumped! 

DarkMonohue Reader
3/5/22 2:06 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

Nice.  Looks like you found a good one.  I'm a little envious of the choices available to Big Three owners as there are no comparable late-model evolutions of AMC V8s to take advantage of. 

I know you have reasons to adapt your aftermarket EFI system, and I know I'm repeating myself, but in your shoes, I'd go with that factory EFI setup, soup to nuts, and never give it a second thought.  And that's from someone who has driven a MegaSquirt vehicle daily for something like fifteen years.

DarkMonohue Reader
3/5/22 2:12 p.m.

A couple more thoughts just hit me (a rare occurrence, I know).  First is that Pine Cone almost certainly has an overdrive transmission, probably a 46RH.  Second is that someone wrote "4.10 LS" in paint pen on the bed near the left rear wheel.  Both of those would be worth investigating if you're currently running a 727 and/or open diff.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
3/5/22 3:43 p.m.
DarkMonohue said:

A couple more thoughts just hit me (a rare occurrence, I know).  First is that Pine Cone almost certainly has an overdrive transmission, probably a 46RH.  Second is that someone wrote "4.10 LS" in paint pen on the bed near the left rear wheel.  Both of those would be worth investigating if you're currently running a 727 and/or open diff.

I am running the MSD/Holley EFI for two reasons: 

-It's dead simple in every way, from installation to operation 

-Tuning/datalogging is far easier than the stock EFI

There's no OBD2 to worry about, there are less components to fail, less stuff to wire into the already questionable stock wiring, and parts availability might be even better than the factory stuff (it uses mostly late model Ford sensors). 

The trans is probably a 46RH, but to take that, I would need to swap transfer cases, driveshafts, and both axles. I would need a "1st Gen" 1981-93 donor truck for that, including different wheels and everything. That's a lot of work (and a lot more money), and I need to turn this around quick, since Truck Stuff season is nearly here. 

No Time
No Time SuperDork
3/5/22 4:44 p.m.

If the deal on the engine falls through, let me know.

I just agreed to buy a 2001 with a 5.9 mainly for the nose. The truck has >200k on it, but the trans and engine are supposed to have been rebuilt. The engine sounded nice, oil and coolant were good, and no blow by, but with a rusted through brake line I didn't drive it. I'll do a compression test on it once it's home  

I plan to keep the engine in the chassis until I sell it, so it can be started and moved around my yard as needed. 

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