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Discussion Starter #141
Alright, it has been a really long time since I updated this thread, so I'll give y'all the Readers Digest version...

The truck now has a name, Ethyl, because she is a shameless hussy that needed bits from a lot of trucks to make her complete. Lol.

I did switch to OBD-2 and am currently running a mix and match for engine management. The wire harness is from a 1996, the PCM from a 1998, and the transmission is still the 46RH from 1994. So far, it is all working together and Ethyl runs and drives, though I don't trust the transmission well enough to drive her off the property for any distance. In the long term, I will be getting a three wire 46RE built and matched up to a 1996 PCM.

All of the truck's lighting is now hooked up and running through the 1996 Dodge wire harness, using the multi-function switch in the Dodge steering column. I am about to hook-up the aftermarket gauges in my cluster to the Dodge harness as well. The only issue not yet addressed is the mechanical drive speedometer.

In addition to a crap ton of pictures, I've got videos and a few slide shows now posted up on YouTube. The first of two slide shows about the build starts here:
There are a lot more actual videos from there, and dare I say it, they get better as you go.

Last weekend, I took Ethyl to the Pauls Valley, OK "Brickfest" car show and entered her in the work in progress class. She didn't get much love from the judges, but the folks attending really liked her. A few even picked up right away that the chassis was Dodge and the engine was a Magnum V8.

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Things are starting to slow back down now with the winter weather fixing to hit soon. I still don't have a shop to work out of, so I am at the will of Ma' Nature. If all goes well, Ethyl will be part of next year's Hot Rod Power Tour. The big issues besides the transmission are new drive shafts and then paint and body.
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Take some time, check out the videos and enjoy. FWIW, the slide shows are from the images in the beginning of this thread, that were taken down when Photobucket decided they were going to start charging for my content. Later videos show Ethyl running, driving and being used on the farm, as well as a lot of the work that has been done the past few years.

-Joe
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Discussion Starter #142
The latest update...as of yesterday, my mix-and-match instrument cluster is working via the 1996 Dodge Ram wire harness. I just tapped into the appropriate wires from the cluster plugs and everything is working like it should.


-Joe
 

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That is truly amazing! I look forward to watching your videos and am looking forward to next years Hot Rod Power Tour featuring Ethyl.
 

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Discussion Starter #144
That is truly amazing! I look forward to watching your videos and am looking forward to next years Hot Rod Power Tour featuring Ethyl.
Thank you Chief! Ethyl has been a labor of love for 25 years now and I’m happy to say I am finally beginning to see daylight at the end of the tunnel. Lol! I started with a bone stock rolling shell and the original frame and suspension. The plan was to hot rod her, but handling was very sketchy.

Version 2.0 was a Camaro front subframe and TBI on a small block 350, but I didn’t like the low rider look and something everyone else had done.

In 2012, the thought of using the Ram 1500 to create a modern version of the NAPCO 4wd came to mind and I knew that was the answer.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #145
It's been a while since the last update, so just to bring things up to speed...I've been using Ethyl as a farm truck through the winter to move round bales out to the pastures to feed horses. My tractor hasn't run in years, and with the mud tires on Ethyl, she does as well or better than the tractor ever could to drag round bales that weigh up to 1200# no matter how soft the ground is.

I also managed to pick up some extra work, which has been paying for a few needed items. Last month I had a new front driveshaft built at Precision Drive in OKC to accommodate having moved the engine and transmission backward 3" in the chassis. Add to that a Posi-Lok actuator system for the CAD on the front axle, so no more vacuum modulator to engage four wheel drive.

I was hustling to get Ethyl ready for the 2020 Hot Rod Power Tour, but with all of this Covid-19 stuff and a few other things, plans for that have been scrapped. We'll see what 2021 has to offer on that front.

Winter also brought about the only decent snowfall we've had in the past few years. I took Ethyl out to play in one of the pastures for some "snownuts". With the new mud terrain tires, they bit down to the dirt, but she didn't care.It was all about the fun!

I'm in contact with Marty Fletcher at Utawsome Performance to see about getting a tuner and some custom tunes to make the most of the cam. When she gets up on it, the motor really comes alive. The video doesn't do it justice.
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-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #146
Here is the latest news on the Ethyl build. I’ve e been working a lot of 14 hour shifts lately to fund parts, but work on her has been slow as a result. In spite of that, I got my tuner from Utawsome Performance and a custom tune from Marty Fletcher that works great with my cam. Ethyl is a rocket! Who knew, lol!

I’ve also been parting out my son-in-law’s 1996 Ram 1500 (Ugly Truckling) and cannibalized the Flowmaster muffler to replace the XJ Cherokee muffler that I had been using. The 3” in, dual 2.5” outs sounds so much better.

Yesterday, I took her out on the highway for a shakedown drive. This is the first time she’s been on a highway in 18 years.

 

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Discussion Starter #148
Alrighty now. Here is the latest update. To start with, a few weeks back I picked up a set of the original New Zealand castings EQ Magnum heads for a ridiculously low price on Marketplace. The seller didn’t know what they were and I bought them for a song.

Next on the list was insurance. I’ve been reluctant to drive Ethyl off the property any significant distance because I did not have her insured. I finally got with Hagerty and she is now 100% legal. Once I did that, I began driving her around a bit more as I continue to sort things. Since I installed the new PCM and custom tune, I noticed an issue with the alternator barely charging or charging erratically at highway speed. I suspect voltage regulation is theissue and I’m going to wire in an external regulator, bypassing the MOPAR PCM.

Next has been sound deadening and insulation in the cab. I’ve put down 36 sf of 80 mil Kilmat so far and the improvement is dramatic. Once I get cab corners and steps done, I’ll finish the Kilmat and then install a rubber/vinyl floor mat while I work on the paint and cab weather sealing. After that, I’ll swap the mat for carpet.

So far, the longest trip from home was 26 miles round trip. I talked with my transmission guy this morning and he is going to wire up the overdrive to have the 46RH work in all gears.

And, here is a couple of videos of what’s been going on.


and


-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #149
Kinda feeling a bit like Merle Haggard today. First thing this morning, I found out my day off tomorrow is cancelled due to a scheduled protest. It seems one of our local educators felt it was a good lesson to teach her students that they have a voice, and encouraged a former student turned activist to put together an event. Up to this point, we hadn't been having any of these issues in town and our statistics are on par with the community we serve. We seldom have use-of-force arrests, yet here we are.

Second bit of news was the hospital is cutting the evening security shifts until further notice. This has been my bread and butter for getting things done with Ethyl and paying down credit card balances at the same time. Obviously I will continue to work on Ethyl, but acquiring parts will not come as quickly as I would like, (don't want to run those CCs back up.) The hospital (understandably) doesn't feel the need for security during their evening shift changes as they occur in broad daylight during the summer months, rather than a dimly lit parking lot. IF they continue the morning shifts, I'll try to pick some of those up where I can, but competition for those slots will be fierce. Hopefully come September or October, things will begin to return to "normal". If so, I may just bankroll the extra funds to acquire goodies for next spring.


I spoke with my transmission guy yesterday, about the possibility of paying him to swap the 46RH for the 46RE (before the bad news hit today). He was more inclined to wire up the 46RH to engage overdrive. He said he has done several like this and it isn't a difficult process. Now that the hospital money coming in is all but gone, I am inclined to go that route for now, and then swap in the 46RE at a later point.

Lastly, the alternator...like Yamarocket said, the PCM controls the rate of charge. I had picked up a computer from another donor truck of the proper vintage, (1996-1997 w/360 V8 & automatic transmission) before i bought the SCT tuner and custom tunes. Ethyl ran fine with the 1998 PCM, but it tries to control much more than the 1996-1997 unit and wants a digital dashboard. Anyway, the 1996 computer works fine, but I noticed the charging volts held around 9v at idle and then would jump to 13v off idle. I didn't give this much thought, since the e-fan to cool the engine comes on when the ignition key is turned. Last week, the voltmeter began showing 11-12v while driving in town and would oscillate rapidly between 13v and 15v at highway speed. It appears the voltage regulator that is built in to the PCM is going bad. The fix is to replace the PCM. I have a spare 1996-1997 PCM in the Ugly Truckling that I would prefer to save in the event of an all-out failure. Then I would have to match the SCT tuner to the new PCM. For the time being, I am going to mount an old school external regulator to the inner fender, by the PCM, and use it instead.


I'm going to wire the new regulator through a relay that will power when the ignition key is ON, and route it through my voltage meter on my dash. The external regulator and pigtail ran about $30 at the parts store, so it's a cheap fix. As I understand it, in a stock Dodge truck, this setup would cause a battery light and possibly a Check Engine light, but since I don't have a CEL yet, and no battery light, these shouldn't be an issue.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #150
About two weeks ago, I melted down the motor in the Ford Taurus fan assembly I’ve been using to keep Ethyl cool. I had an errand to run in the city and wanted to ensure things stayed cool, so I switched my wiring to run the fan on high speed constant rather than low speed. After 15 miles of driving like this, the fan motor was done. Apparently it was not designed to do this.

Instead of replacing the fan motor, I opted for a Flex-a-life Black Magic Xtreme, which better fits my radiator. After the fan motor melted down, I drove home with no cooling fan. I found that my cooling system works perfectly. The engine stayed at 205*while driving and only warmed up to 210* while I was stopped at a traffic light. This means I do not need a fan running all the time, so the Flex-a-lite was a better choice. The fan controller included with the kit is set to turn the fan on at 210* and shuts back off at 200*


-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #153
Here’s a video that details the build.



I’m pleased to say that last week, Ethyl won Best of Class for the Under Construction class at Pauls Valley’s Brickfest Car Show.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #154
Some winter fun this week with Ethyl thanks to the Siberia Sample Pack that come through Oklahoma.


-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #156
Post occasionally with updates. I've enjoyed your build and this thread for a number of years. Well done!!
Absolutely. We’re still not done yet.
I got a really cool pen and ink drawing in the mail today from a very talented friend. I’m thinking this is t-shirt material.

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-Joe
 
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