97 Ram Crank Sensor problems - DodgeTalk : Dodge Car Forums, Dodge Truck Forums and Ram Forums
 
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#1 Old 03-29-2010, 08:40 PM
nhdiesel
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97 Ram Crank Sensor problems

For those who didn't see my other thread, I am putting a 5-speed from a '96 Ram into a '97 that had an auto. Doing a part number check, the same transmission fits '94-'01. The same for the flywheel, and ditto for the crankshaft. I didn't get an interchange for the engine block, but an aftermarket interchange showed the engine block fitting '92-'01. That should be everything that affects the fitment of the crank sensor.

Now for the problem. I purchased a CPS from a part's store for a '97 Ram, 5.2, 5-speed. The sensor wouldn't fit in the bellhousing properly, because it rubbed the front of the flywheel. I pulled it out and compared it to the one that came from the same truck the 5-speed came out of, and the aftermarket sensor is more than 1/8" thicker than the '96 factory one.

I looked up the sensor on Napa's site, and it shows the sensor being as thick as the other aftermarket one I tried. I ordered one from the dealer today in the hope that its just an aftermarket parts error, but I'm a little worried that the factory sensor for the '97 will be similar to the aftermarket one. I'll know tomorrow afternoon when it comes in.

In the meantime I'm trying to think if there is something I missed somewhere. If the dealer sensor doesn't fit, then there is a problem with the relationship of the flywheel to the block, since the sensor bolts to the top/back of the block, and rubs the flywheel. The only thing I can think of would be if a spacer is needed between the flywheel and block, but there was no spacer when I pulled the flywheel from the '96 engine. The other thing that keeps me from considering this is the fact that the '96 sensor is, indeed, thinner than the replacements for the '97.

Any ideas?

Jim
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#2 Old 03-29-2010, 10:18 PM
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I have the automatic in my '97 Ram 4x4 that I would love to switch out for the 5 speed manual. How hard was this swap and what all did you need for the swap?
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#3 Old 03-30-2010, 09:24 AM
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List of parts, running off memory-

From the donor truck, you will need:

-Transmission ('94-'01)
-Flywheel ('94-'01)
-Clutch & brake pedals (not sure what years exactly, '96 fit perfectly)
-Clutch hydraulic assembly (Mopar site shows '96 having different part number, but it fit perfectly)
-Crankshaft sensor for a '97 with 5-speed
-PCM for a '97 with 5-speed (will run with the auto PCM, but you will have trans codes)
-Transfer case shifter and bracket from the 5-speed truck (bracket is different)

For electrical, there are 3 wires you have to deal with- 2 for the reverse lights, and they are color coded the same- just match them up and splice together. There is a black wire/white stripe, this is for the neutral switch- just ground that wire to the transmission or chassis. When you install the hydraulic assembly, there is a plug under the dash already with a dummy jumper wire plugged in. Unplug the dummy, and plug in the wire from the clutch master cylinder. Now it only starts with the clutch in, as it should. The pedals popped right in just by removing the pivot pin and pulling the brake pedal, and installing the manual's pedals.

I'll report back on the possible issue with the crank sensor later after I pick it up.

It really has gone pretty smoothly, if I would have known the trucks were 2 different years before I started (I asked, and was told they were the same), then I would have done more homework on it and would have been fully prepared. So there were a couple minor delays just because I had to research things a bit. In all, if you can find a wrecked truck to pull the parts from, you will be best off, especially if it is also a '97. I've been on it 3 evenings so far and the new trans, shifter, and hydraulic system are in place. I just left the other parts out for now because it makes it a bit easier to get to the crank sensor, as well as modify the wiring (which I did last night).

Jim
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#4 Old 03-30-2010, 05:52 PM
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Thanks for the info. I'll keep watching your thread for some more info. All I have to do now is find a truck with a 5 speed thats being parted out/wrecked.
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#5 Old 03-30-2010, 06:20 PM
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i read awile back that the thicker plastic cps is for the auto trans and the thinner cps is the stick shift cps. if one doesnt fit order for the other trany. hope this helps!
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#6 Old 03-30-2010, 10:18 PM
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We test drove the truck tonight, and its working great. There are a few small things to finish up, such as installing the shifter boots, the steel lines onto the x-member for the front axle shift motor, adjusting the brake light switch (the new pedal caused the lights to stay on), and finding out why the reverse lights don't work. The switch in the trans could just be bad. It was 10pm when we test drove it, so it was time to call it a night anyway.

The dealer crank sensor was the correct one- all the ones I tried from part's stores were wrong. Basically they all had the same thickness as the auto sensors, even though they were for a manual. There is also a length difference- manual's sensors are shorter to compensate for a larger diameter flywheel. The dealer sensor was perfect.

The plugs are different between the auto and manual sensors, but its just one tab on the plug, and its very easy to trim the tab. Wiring is all the same, its just the alignment tab that is different.

Mechanically everything bolted right in. The transfer cases are the same, so you can keep yours. Electrically, modify the 3 wires I mentioned, and trim the tab on the manual trans's CPS plug to allow it to work.

If your truck is a '97, it looks like the mechanical parts (trans, flywheel, clutch) from a '94-'01 will work. The correct sensor is $110 from the dealer, so its not a huge expense if you have to use a different year truck. Even the clutch hydraulic system is under $200.

Overall, if you do the work yourself, you should be able to find a part's truck, buy new sensors and hydraulics, and even a new clutch for under $1000. Total cost for this swap was around $1000, and that included my labor, the new CPS, and a new clutch. That is way below what a good auto trans rebuild would be.
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#7 Old 03-31-2010, 08:11 PM
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Thanks for the info. I might have a parts truck lined up that has the manual tranny. By the way what 5 speed should I be looking for. I've heard the nv3500 was for the v6's and 318, the nv4500 was for the 360, and the nv4500hd was used with the diesels. Any ideas?
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#8 Old 03-31-2010, 09:09 PM
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I don't know all of the trans options, but here is info I've found- 1/2 ton got the nv3500 for the V-6 and V-8, both 4x4 and 4x2. 2500 & 3500 series V-8 got the NV4500, V-10 and diesel got the 4500HD. Anything I didn't specifically list is because I'm not sure.

You will want to try to find a donor with the same engine as yours, as the flywheels are balanced different for 5.2 and 5.9. Even so, if the price of the donor is right, you can always just buy a flywheel. Crank sensor is the same for 5.2 and 5.9.

Oh, and the auto and manual transmissions are the same length, so you don't need to worry about driveshafts, or the trans crossmember.

You don't need to remove the entire pedal bracket assembly for the pedal swap, just remove the pivot pin and swap pedals.

To mark for the shifter hole, I removed the old t-case shifter and boot, then attached the lower boot for the manual shifters using a few of the original bolt holes. Then I pilot drilled through the rest of the mounting holes using a 1/16" bit, then trimmed the carpet back and cut the new hole using the mounting holes as a guide. Cut just inside the holes.

You will need the 4x4 shifter from the donor truck, as the mounting brackets are different.

Jim
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#9 Old 04-01-2010, 08:36 AM
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Great info, much appreciated. My truck originally had the 5.2L. Starting to build a 360/408 stroker for it now. Will need the automatic thats in it rebuilt, so I was thinking of the manual swap. Still waiting to hear about this donor truck I have lined up. Anything in the nv3500 that would need to be rebuilt/upgraded?? Thanks, Rick
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#10 Old 04-01-2010, 10:21 AM
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Hmmmm, if you are going with a stroked 360, you might want to look for a stronger transmission. Not that the 3500 is a bad transmission at all, but it wasn't meant for that kind of power. If you drove the truck sanely it would probably work fine...but then again, you wouldn't be building a stroker if you drove like my grandmother. If you don't mind slightly more truck-like shifting, you might want to look into the NV4500 from a 2500-series. The standard nv4500 (not the HD) will bolt right up to your engine as well as your existing transfer case. I'm not sure about length, and whether your driveshafts would work.

You might want to do a separate post on here asking others who know more about them if the 3500 will handle the stroker. Maybe it will.

Jim
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#11 Old 04-01-2010, 09:03 PM
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I've got whats left of a '95 2500 truck to pick off of, not much left to it but the front axle (dana 44, didn't know that axle was in the 2500's but the build sheet says it is), the rear axle (dana 60) and the nv4500 with everything I need for the swap for $1200. Or a nv3500, '96 pcm, and all the goodies for the swap delivered for $650. I like how the nv3500 shifts, not as truckie, but like you said don't know how it'll hold up. What do you think?
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#12 Old 04-01-2010, 10:24 PM
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Many 2500s got the Dana 44, mostly it was V-10s and Diesels that got the front Dana 60, but I know of at least one with a V-8 that got the Dana 60...so I'm not sure exactly how they spec'd them out.

Only you really knows how much you want to spend, and what the limit is. To help decide, compare both trucks to yours, and see how many extra parts would be needed.

-Neither truck's PCM would match your truck- you would need a true '97 PCM from a 5-speed truck with similar options. One from a truck with different options can be made to work by having the dealer flash the programming, but that depends on the dealer- most will just flash it with the programming for your truck's VIN#. Not many get into doing alterations or custom programing. I've heard your PCM could be reflashed to work with the 5-speed, but I don't know. I was a dealer tech, but we were one of the dealers who just went according to the book, nothing custom, so I've never tried it.

-The 2500: Does it have the same body layout as yours, in case you need to use the driveshafts? I looked up u-joints, and it looks like if the wheelbase is the same as yours, the 2500's driveshafts should fit- V-8 2500 trucks seem to use the same U-joints as a 1/2 ton truck.

-Does the 2500 happen to include the flywheel? If not, add that to the expenses. The crank sensor is bolted to the rear of the engine block- if the engine is missing, add in around $110 for a sensor from the dealer.

-1500 truck- Which engine did it come with? If its a 5.2, plan on buying a 5.9 flywheel to go with your stroker, unless its balanced to 5.2 specs.

Cost: That 1500 is definitely a fair price for a complete truck to strip down. You may find other things you could use, or you could throw a few extras on ebay and get back the cost of the truck. You would still need the proper PCM, as the '96 is different from the '97. You would also need the correct '97 Crank Position Sensor.

The 2500 is a tossup. NV4500s can be found for quite a bit less in some places, but in some areas a used NV4500 is in the neighborhood of $1200 all by itself. If you are considering beefing up other areas of your truck or using it very hard, it might be worth swapping the axles under your truck. For that matter, you would get a larger transfer case as well. That would all make it very worth the money.

Sit down and compare the costs of everything you would need to do the swap with either truck, and compare the 2 lists to see which would work best for you.

Just a quick parts list for what you would have to buy, besides either of those trucks:

-Correct PCM ($100-$150 depending on used or reman)
-Crank Position Sensor for a '97 with 5-speed ($110 from dealer, aftermarket a few bucks cheaper but not worth the hassles)
-New clutch kit (under $200)
-Possibly flywheel
-Plan on possibly replacing some U-joints while the driveshafts are out
-Crankshaft bushing (manual trucks have an adapter bushing in the crankshaft that the pilot bearing sits in- about $18 from the dealer, with the bearing already installed)

Jim
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#13 Old 04-02-2010, 04:10 AM
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Thanks Jim for all your help and info on this. I don't plan on anything to hard on the truck so I'm not sure the 2500 axles would matter much. This is a complete truck with motor. Actually the 5.9L in it runs really well. Its an old plow truck that the guy wants to get rid of, minus the plow.
The 1500 is without truck, just the tranny and associated parts. I might be able to talk this guy into including a drivers door with this package.
I will definently have to way my options here as to what direction I want to go. As of right now I have the my truck completely tore down (frame off rebuild). Getting ready to send the frame off to get powder coated. Thanks again for all the help, Rick
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