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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ok this will be my build thread / not sure how much traffic we’ll get or help but I’d like to document my trucks progress for anyone who’s interested. Plus I’ve been searching for a good truck 360mag swap thread and haven’t found what I’m looking for. So maybe this will inspire anyone with a first gen who’s in the same boat as me. For starts this is a 318 auto short bed truck nicknamed “boozer”with 45k on the clock. Basically a super truck to leave alone — or as I’m planning to transform into a more mordern street/at truck. Haven’t quite figured it all out yet so will welcome comments and advise. It’s got a few dings and scratches but probably one of the nicest ones I’ve come across. One family owned barn find kind of stuff. This truck will stay with me hopefully for a long time.


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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
First thing I wanted to do was change up the wheels as the tires are super dry rotted and cracking anyways. I found some for sale on a first gen , not sure if original but has correct fit. Paid 300 for the 4 turbine style wheels that I craved 15x7 center caps were pretty roached. Might have needed more work than I had planned but ended up polished and painted to suit.


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Discussion Starter #4



Cleaned up then sanded down starting with a dermel all the way to 2000 wetgrit.


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Discussion Starter #6
Picked up some 4 1/4 center caps off eBay cheap. I never really cared for the center caps sticking out too far so I got shallow ones and had to use a large socket and hammer to pop out the front ones as the wheel hub is a bit larger/longer than the rears. I want to stick a mopar decal or something on them but for right now they are bare. Truck got tinted too which is a must for any of my vehicles. Went with 5% and actually find it too dark as it will reflect lights on the inside at night but does have a cool look outside.





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Discussion Starter #7
Pulled the instrument cluster out to try and fix a bad alt meter gauge (its stuck in the middle ) well didn’t figure out how to fix it but while I had the trim out covered it with some fake carbon fiber wrap from advanced auto. I didn’t like the dated fake wood look / might do white faced gauges and leds next time but I also like the fact that the dimmer switch can adjust the brightness and every led set up I’ve seen looks too bright.
Before

After




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Sweet ride brother!!!
Few, I think, appreciate the bond a man has for his pickup. Especially a well worn one that's been ridden hard n put away wet for years and still gets him where he wants to go with few if any complaints and even less attention outside of oil, brakes and antifreeze. There's something about a container on wheels that can be used for storage, hauling, a date, movin' an ever increasing in size n number family...plus...lets not forget the ubiquitous drivein! I've got a '96 Ram 1500 with 220k+ miles n with little maintenance, she still gets me down the road
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I also should note that while the dash was out a CD player went in / happened to be from a parts truck I got. I got the universal dash piece from Walmart and ordered a wiring kit from eBay to plug into our stock wiring harness. Soldier and heat shrink that to the CD players harness and it’s a plug and play deal. I was planning on doing the speakers too but surprisingly enough the upgraded head unit made the speakers sound very good so will leave them stock for now. This is the parts truck - I got it for the 5.9magnum and trans mainly will be swapping over ASAP.


This truck is wore out but the motor is a reman with 20k on it supposedly and it’s not leaking. It drove and shifted fine but the front suspension is toast and the interior is toast. Not much power but my plans are to fix that. Picked it up for a grand.


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I also should note that while the dash was out a CD player went in / happened to be from a parts truck I got. I got the universal dash piece from Walmart and ordered a wiring kit from eBay to plug into our stock wiring harness. Soldier and heat shrink that to the CD players harness and it’s a plug and play deal. I was planning on doing the speakers too but surprisingly enough the upgraded head unit made the speakers sound very good so will leave them stock for now. This is the parts truck - I got it for the 5.9magnum and trans mainly will be swapping over ASAP.


This truck is wore out but the motor is a reman with 20k on it supposedly and it’s not leaking. It drove and shifted fine but the front suspension is toast and the interior is toast. Not much power but my plans are to fix that. Picked it up for a grand.


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Love the Magnum swap idea! While you've got it out, I'd preemptively repair the gasket on the bottom of the intake with a "V8 MAG PLENUM REPAIR KIT W/FELPRO GSKTS" from Hughes Engines. Or replace it with a completely different intake... But that can get costly real quick! I like the direction you're headed!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the comments / replies, I was planning a quick and easy swap but after yanking the magnum out it’s due some more work than anticipated. It had broken off one the motor mounts and was sitting in the truck still running and driving. I had oil in the intake due to the leaky gasket and was generally in pretty rough condition. What I thought was a non leaking motor probably wasn’t and just sealed up with crust and dirt. Once the motor was out I was kinda disappointed and figured that I’ll pretty much have to pull it apart/clean/re gasket and replace whatever I could to get a good motor So instead of fixing that system on top I’ve decided to go carbed or modern FI set up like the Holley sniper. My understanding of the OBD1 computers are that they are pretty limited in tuning capabilities and if I’m going get into this motor I might as well modify for more horsepower/torque.

This is how it was sitting in there.

I’ve started accumulating parts and bits and pieces.

Motor torn down and on the stand.


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Wow! Yea... I definitely would not trust the "rebuild" after seeing that motor mount. Usually a good idea to pull a motor apart and reassemble with fresh gaskets before installation anyway. While you're in there... Inspect those heads for cracks. While a crack may not mean poor performance, and some say not to worry about cracked heads on Magnum engines (because most of them Are cracked), in my book: cracked=bad. Anyway. If the long-block really only has 20k miles, then you may be totally good. If not, fleabay has some cheap heads for the Magnum that are sure to last another 20k miles ;) They even have heads that allow the use of LA style intake manifolds on Magnum heads. Look at it as an opportunity, but try not to get sidetracked by the hundreds of way to add hp (unless your budget it limitless).
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Yes budget is definitely not limitless but this truck will be a keeper so the money spent will be returned in smiles. I have been selling off everything possible I don’t need from the red truck to save costs - basically ended up about even with everything I want and probably more just Incase. I have just got the heads back from machine shop - checked out good so I decided against almost every post on the internet about magnum heads and kept them. They did receive some work in the way of a 3 way valve job, blended bowls, new valves/springs, bit of port/polish and shaved up .015. Hopefully I won’t regret that decision but ultimately if they are in good working order I can’t justify tossing them.



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Oh wow! That was a quick turn-around on the heads! And I would have done the same thing... Just refine & upgrade those heads then run 'em since they came back uncracked!

What's next on your list?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Oh wow! That was a quick turn-around on the heads! And I would have done the same thing... Just refine & upgrade those heads then run 'em since they came back uncracked!

What's next on your list?


The heads definitely didn’t take a day to get back haha. This is going back a few months the motors been sitting on the stand untouched for a while and part of the reason I’m doing this thread is to inspire some productivity towards it. I’ve had the truck maybe 2years now if that. They took a couple of weeks to get done and partly because I was waiting on some parts. I got new springs and retainers to match the cam from Hughes. Picked up a full gasket set,ARP head bolts and double roller timing chain even tho my original looks pretty decent. So working on cleaning up the motor is the next step and acquiring more parts for it as I have found the list keeps going.


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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I always try and work on my vehicles myself but some things are beyond me and although I would like to have learnt setting up the rear end and changing gears just seemed like a smarter decision to take to a shop. Well I also didn’t want my truck down for too long either if I got in over my head, little did I know the shop was going to have the truck for 3 weeks and I seemed to get attitude when inquiring about it. Let’s just say I probably won’t be going back to that place. But seems to be a good install of a new factory sure grip locker and 3.9:1 gears - rebuild rear axle. My speedo is off now so I’m sure there is some gear piece I’m missing that I could do a write up on.

Pretty sure it’s the 8 1/4 rear right ? pic is just before the install and looks pretty similar after . Like I said I didn’t get much info from the shop and only 2 gear options ?? But went with the 3.9s. Bill was about 1500 which I felt was reasonable.


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Discussion Starter #18
Well some good news and bad. Opened up the motor and found these .030 over pistons.

Walls look great. Got my new cam delivered and a degree wheel to install it correctly. Pulled the old cam out and discovered 2 of the bearings are a bit chewed up. Need to do some more research as I’m getting mixed opinions on whether these need to be replaced.

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I was going back and forth with a Hemi swap or the magnum but got discouraged about cost/work:horsepower ratio and figured the magnum was the way to go. This was supposed to be a simple swap but I seem to be making it more difficult.


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Middle pic looks like it spun as well, death to a bearing. Cam bearings aren't as tough as you think...with the rite tool o'course! First time I did them I thought, wait a minute, that's it?!? Head for the zone, they might have a rental.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
After looking around I actually found a cam bearing tool locally on Facebook marketplace. Picked it up for $75 which I thought was a good deal but maybe not that great as I see summit has one new for not much more. This one I got is made in the USA and seemed to be complete (cone alignment piece just not in pic).

I could have taken the block to the machine shop that did the heads but the loaner cherry picker I have is not to be trusted anymore (another story) and moving it just seemed like a lot of hassle. Plus now I have a new specialty tool. The bearings weren’t too costly and I replaced them all except the back one which looked ok and seemed like a lot of extra work with the stand in the way then replacing the cap back there. Couple of things they could have improved on the design for what it’s worth- the driving rod unscrews the same way the end unscrews to loosen the bearing off the end so if the rods threads were reversed it wouldn’t want to come apart inside the block, solving the fight to get everything back out. Plus another impact end that screws into the shorter rod. Previous owner obviously had been whacking on the threaded rod end as I spent just about as much time repairing the tool as using it ( note to self check used tools out closer before buying). I used an old socket (added to kit) to protect the threads and also just used the one shorter rod piece to knock the last one in.

I was very happy with the alignment of all the holes since that is a critical part.


The new cam slid in and spins smoothly. Now on to getting this motor put together instead of tearing it apart - much more enjoyable.


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