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gsasscer 04-30-2013 04:38 PM

New Purchase/Unknown History
I found my dream truck when I first saw the 1st gen trucks on the Dodge lots back in the early nineties, unfortunately my budget and my dream were not even in the same universe. I never liked the 2nd and 3rd gen truck style – no offense intended for you guys who like those styles, they just were never that appealing to me. I was and am a solid 1st generation Dodge guy.

With kids, job changes, and other budget killers, it wasn’t until recently I was able to put myself in a position to buy one of those older beauties… and I actually found one, with patience, that is in decent shape on eBay (if I am to believe everything stated in the eBay ad as it almost seems too good to be true).

It is a 1990 Dodge Power Ram, 250 Extended Cab, Long Bed, EFI 360 5.9 V8, 4x4 with very little rust, only a little beat up on the wheel-wells, but otherwise looking good. I think it may have had a camper shell or slide-in camper for most of it’s life, as there is very little rust in the bed at all. Being from the Idaho area, I don’t think they use salt on the roads out there so that had to help it, too.

My question for the forum: The truck has 190,000 miles, is mechanically sound per the eBay ad, pushes cold air out the AC, starts immediately, shifts smoothly, works in 2w, 4w H & L, and doesn’t have any leaks… I don’t want to mess this up!

What sort of preventative maintenance do you suggest with this unknown history?

I thought I would start with switching it over to synthetic oil formulated for high miles to start cleaning out the inside and get those seals and whatever conditioned. Then, as my budget allows, start changing the rest of the filters and normal tune-up items.

Should I switch to a better grade sparkplug? Wires?

Any other suggestions?

I am a first responder with the fire department, but other than jumping on it to get to the station, I will probably be babying this truck – not much off-roading or long-trip hauling. I will use it to haul fireplace wood and lumber for projects, but otherwise this truck will only average about 45 – 70 miles a week.

crazzywolfie 04-30-2013 07:16 PM

if you start using synthetic oil you may end up having to tear part of the engine apart and replace the gaskets and seals that come in contact with oil because synthetic oils usually have detergents that will eat away at the build ups around old seals and gaskets and allow leaks to develop.

good plug wire would not hurt anything. i don't think you would gain much from running fancy spark plugs. most people recommend just using plain old copper core spark plugs with these trucks.

now there are some things you may want to look into before it gets too hot. you may want to check the back side of the fuse panel. the trucks with a/c tend to overload the heater fuse. may want to put the blower motor on relay.

also another upgrade you may want to do is to put the headlights on relays. it make a huge difference to the amount of light that the stock headlights put out.

gsasscer 05-01-2013 09:35 AM

Thanks for the suggestions, Crazywolfie. Do you have any links to resources describing the relays you suggest? I understand the concept of what you are saying, but not the details of making it happen.


crazzywolfie 05-01-2013 09:58 AM

this silly website won't let me post links directly to some good diy's so i posted links to the search results where the upgrade should show up as the first result.
this is a link to the headlight relay upgrade
Installing Headlamp Relays - Dodge Diesel - Diesel Truck Resource

here is the blower motor relay upgrade.
Blower motor - Dodge Diesel - Diesel Truck Resource Forums

gsasscer 05-02-2013 03:03 PM

thank you
Thank you, sir. I certainly appreciate the information.

Jimbug 05-02-2013 03:41 PM

One other thing you might think about. Carfax, I know it sound stupid but you can learn things from it if you can get the VIN number or have him run the Carfax. I've run Carfax on all the cars I buy used or sell. Its a good selling point.

gsasscer 05-03-2013 10:54 AM

Thanks, Jimbug - as part of the eBay auction, there was a carfax type history report off the VIN and it comes across clean as the pics and the rest of the description. So far, it is looking like a good deal. Thanks for the tip, though.

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