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1998 Ram 1500 Laramie Quad Cab RWD 5.9L
My engine is coming to the end of its life. Starting to use oil at the rate of 2 qts /6000 miles. Of course it is 22 years old and has accumulated 308,000 mile with little or nothing done but a timing chain at 150,000 and 4-5 water pumps ( I can't remember). I am planning on a rebuild but not back to a stock engine. The original plan was to go to a big block but I was advised against that. I will defiantly go with a hotter cam and maybe some headwork and an intake swap. I want to still wish to run the 87 at the pump so I will leave the compression alone.

Anyone know what the computer will do or if it can be reprogrammed?
Should I go to a carburetor and change the distributor too?
Has anyone done this?
Thoughts
 

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That's not any better an idea (carb) than your idea of stuffing a 440 in it lol. If you cam it you'll need tuning, luckily the 98 can be tuned. You should go through the Hughes catalog, they're all about LA & Magnum engines.
 

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That's not any better an idea (carb) than your idea of stuffing a 440 in it lol. If you cam it you'll need tuning, luckily the 98 can be tuned. You should go through the Hughes catalog, they're all about LA & Magnum engines.
Does tuning it give me any control over the timing? Right now I am getting a lot of pinging under load. WOT will cure it but if I start up a hill in OD it starts to ping until I drop down into a lower gear
I'll check out Hughes Engines it may answer my questions. Thank you
 

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Does tuning it give me any control over the timing? Right now I am getting a lot of pinging under load. WOT will cure it but if I start up a hill in OD it starts to ping until I drop down into a lower gear
I'll check out Hughes Engines it may answer my questions. Thank you
Yes lol. That's the way modern fuel injected engines work, even the Magnum engines with a distributor. Once intital timing is set with that distributor, it's never touched again. PCM controls advance and retard. You didn't futz with your distributor, did you....?
 

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Yes lol. That's the way modern fuel injected engines work, even the Magnum engines with a distributor. Once initial timing is set with that distributor, it's never touched again. PCM controls advance and retard. You didn't futz with your distributor, did you....?
No, Not yet. you make it sound bad. I guess that means keep my grubby paws off of it.
I saw several programmers, but every one of them says it requires me to run premium gas. That will eat me in gas @13mpg.
I guess I need to call them and see what I can do to run 87 octane.
 

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No, Not yet. you make it sound bad. I guess that means keep my grubby paws off of it.
I saw several programmers, but every one of them says it requires me to run premium gas. That will eat me in gas @13mpg.
I guess I need to call them and see what I can do to run 87 octane.
It can be, once initial timing is set, that's it, PCM takes it from there. Altering that can screw things up (notice there's no vacuum advance on it?). Most canned tuners (like Superchips) have a set of tunes designed to run on different octanes. The last Superchips I had, had 87,performance & performance towing. The two perf settings require premium because they advance the timing more than stock. 87 does as well within acceptable limits for that octane. Lucky for you, Superchips year range stops at 1998. Their caveats for perf:
The “Performance” and “Towing Perf” tuning levels require that you use at least 91 octane premium fuel. Using a lower octane fuel while the “Performance” or “Towing Perf” tuning Level is selected may cause “pinging” that can be harmful to your engine.
And then for the 87:
The “87 OCTANE” tuning level provides optimized engine efficiency and enhanced transmission tuning often resulting in increased fuel economy and performance. Towing up to half of the manufacturer’s towing limit* is typically acceptable using this tuning level. If while using the “87 OCTANE” tuning level “pinging” or a clattering from the engine is heard, try a higher grade of fuel or return the vehicle to its “Stock” tuning level. The “87 OCTANE” tuning level may not be available for all vehicles.
The bold section is the biggie here. This setting is fine for all around but you don't wanna overdo it with towing.
 

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Since I got rid of my boat I really don't tow much and a 1500 would never tow my tractor, not even with helper springs.
So if there is no vacuum advance how does it know when to adjust the timing? I'm a product of the '70s. I like fuel injection but never tried to help it out so I don't fully understand it like I do a carburated system and vacuum advance. I installed a set of shorty headers the day the warranty ran out and shortly thereafter had true duals put on it. That is the extent of mods for this truck.
 

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So if there is no vacuum advance how does it know when to adjust the timing? I'm a product of the '70s. I like fuel injection but never tried to help it out so I don't fully understand it like I do a carburated system and vacuum advance.
Need to have a fundamental understanding of modern EFI systems. Computer is programmed with a set of variables (the tune) and takes inputs from a variety of sensors to make it run more efficiently. These include the O2 sensors, MAF sensor, AIT sensor, knock sensors, etc. Normally the PCM will advance timing within the limit of its programming unless it receives inputs from the knock sensors telling it there's pre-detonation or knock; it will then pull timing until the knock disappears. It's weird with the Magnum series because they actually have distributors. The 3.7, 4.7 3.6 & hemis are strictly coil packs so none of that is even a factor.
 
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