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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I saw the hp stats and could believe it.

What's even the point of putting a V8 in a truck if you're going to only give it 140hp. Hell, my 98 Cavalier's 4-banger has 140hp. What a huge waste of an engine's potential. Grrr
 

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Wow, never really thought about that with my old 318 but you're right, I had a 2007 Jeep Compass with the 2.4L 4 cyl. and got 172hp. Other than the 318 being the small block V8 compared to the 360, that is odd when you think about it but I had some mods on my 318 so I never felt underpowered.

- Cajun
 

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I'm showing 170hp and 230lb ft of torque for your 1990 318. Gotta remember that back then, a truck wasn't a personal statement so much as a work tool. The shift came when the Chevy 454SS, the Syclone/Typhoon, and the Ford Lightning came around in the early/mid 90s.

The good thing is that you can redo that 1990 and make it truly terrifying....
 

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^like he said, back then no truck had hp. My 1981 F100 I believe had 180hp stock, I spent about $1,000 - $1,500 and did some labor and the same engine had about 300-350hp.
 

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The best thing is that you could take that 318 out and put in a 360 HP- 360 create motor with little or no trouble.. you can still get one for under 5K. It will be a true bolt in.
You still have the same 9 1/4" rear end that is in a 2012 RAM
 

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That 318 is a hard working motor and very hard to kill. I have had about 3 older mopars all had the 318 in it when i got them. Hadn't been cranked in years, changed the fluids, etc and fired on over. Very tough motor. You can change the intake and carb and pick up some quick power. Also if you find an older set of higher compression heads and bolt them on. There is a lot of minor things to be done to make more power, even headers arent very much for the older trucks. I have an 83 d150 stepside
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The good thing is that you can redo that 1990 and make it truly terrifying....


You are indeed speaking my language, Pete. What are some good, low dollar changes and bolt-ons for more hp for me?

I plan to convert the truck to dual exhaust, too. How much HP/Torque will that give me?
 

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1.Intake and Carb Upgrade

2.Mild cam

3.Heads. Even some of the older 318 heads have higher compression and will make more power and bolt right on.

4.Headers
 

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So have to remember there was a "gas crisis" in the late 80's early 90's
Corvettes had 350 with only 180hp
This is true, they put big engines with horrible flowing heads on all the vehicles back then.
 

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What you guys are missing is the thinking at the time. By the mid-80's the Dakota was coming, and it was designed for a big engine being the V6. Mopar had already scrapped all the old big block tooling. V8's were on the way out (brilliant, huh?). While they were tooling up for turbo 4's, things were changing and at least Ford and Chevy had their pony cars to respond with. Mopar was divesting in V8's, so they did nothing to develop them. As things changed, they realized 8's were going to be around for more than just big tow trucks, so the Magnum line was planned. Again, why invest in the LA line? That would only steal thunder from the Magnum line when it was introduced. Also, every improvement had to be emissions-certified, and that was major corporate money. By the late 80's their only v8 market was the truck line, and their sales were dismal, so why leech money off when they could pour it all into the Magnum and the new Ram. Seriously, it was all about the money. They added the TBI and opened the rear coolant passages in the intake strictly in response to tighter emissions requirements. That's it. The late 80's were a great time of development for Mopar, but it was at the expense of the LA v8's. The minivan and K cars were making tons of cash. They developed the Viper for $150 million bucks, and while Chevy got attention with their 454 SS truck, Mopar had Carroll Shelby pushing thier cars and they beat Chevy by one model year with the '89 Shelby Dakota, a 175hp, 318-equipped Dakota. It was the first to ignite the sport truck wars. Anyway, the 318LA was always a utilitarian engine of the group. It made good low end power for towing. Even with the small ports and valves, you can add 100hp with a decent cam, free-flowing exhaust, and a 4-barrel induction system, or in the case of the tbi model, a factory 360 tbi or aftermarket unit. What Mopar did with the Magnum line was standardize on 360-size heads and intake, something we have been doing with 318's all through the 70's and 80's
 

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they beat Chevy by one model year with the '89 Shelby Dakota, a 175hp, 318-equipped Dakota. It was the first to ignite the sport truck wars.
I wouldn't agree with this statement, didn't they only make a few of these trucks? Or only one? Or something like that...they weren't really a production car, more of a concept. The 454 SS was a production truck, many (relatively) were produced. Same with the others mentioned (sy/ty)...many (relatively) were produced.
 

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A little perspective is in order. Making a statement is the whole point and it only takes one to do that. Being first is the key. The Viper started as a showcar, never intended for production. The Shelby Dak generated so much buzz in '89 that Chevy responded in 1990 with the 454SS. There were 1500 Shelby Daks produced. They were production line V6 Sports equipped with 318 and tweaked transmissions, and 3.90 sure grip rear. I happen to own #1246. There were over 13,000 Chevy 454 SS models the first year, but only 983 the second year. Oooops. Meanwhile, the results from the Dak had been so favorable, Dodge redesigned the Dakota front end for '91 to extend it a few inches to allow V8 installation that year (the Shelby was a shoehorn operation to squeeze the V8 in where it wasn't intended). This opened the door to V8 Magnums in '92, not just V6's. Of note, the first run of Vipers was 285 while GM made many thousands of Corvettes. Granted, it was due to production limitations, not demand, but it's not about total numbers, rather the impact it makes. The Viper made Chevy step up their game. If you wanna talk about firsts, I'm sure someone would say the the first of the recent era was the '78 Dodge Lil Red Express which would whip the SS, Shelby Dak, AND the first Lightenings. It was, in fact, the quickest accelerating US vehicle made that year, even over Vettes etc., 14.7 at 93mph in the quarter. However, being a decade earlier, it didn't have much influence over the sport truck developments in the late 80's.
 

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^okok, I didn't know there were that many made, thought it was only a handful... I've never seen one in person.

Still I doubt the 454SS was developed in one year....point is I don't think it was so much a "response" as it was both being developed near the same time line. The dodge is definitely rare, cool that you own one too!
 

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Sean, I was there, 22, and hungry for a V8 RWD Mopar. Prior ride was a '69 Charger. There was no public Internet. Spy photos, car shows, and word-of-mouth were the ways. No texts. Chevy still had 454's in use in heavier trucks. It was little to nothing to start putting them in their half-tonners again. They were already available in the 3/4 ton and 1 ton models. It was little more than a cosmetics package. The massive resources of GM could knock out that concept in a month, easy. That truck needed no real mods so it was easy. The Dak had to have a crossmember welded in for the engine mounts. The Shelby Dak was first shown in 1988. It was released mid-89. Chevy was right behind that and they were everywhere it seemed. Big and in your face. They were rated at 13 mpg, but actually were more like 10mpg. Third year production was over 1300 and it had a 4spd version of a TH400 transmission. However, by then the Magnum Dakota was out and it'd handily outrun the Chevy. Once the new Ram was released, Dodge became the in your face truck to have for many. I know the purists would have my hide for it but I made my Shelby truly mine with some changes, primarily in the form of drivetrain. An angry 360 Magnum with a PATC Viper Level 2 A518 backing it up are now in place of the original setup.
 

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I don't know. It's a unique truck, and fairly quick for it's time, but a mid 16 second 1/4 mile isn't fast especially for a smaller pickup with a v8. The 454SS was a fullsize (and although had a huge motor) ran mid 15's. My point is that the dakota didn't handily outrun the chevy.

There is no way any manufacturer can or could put a vehicle together in 1 month. Development and testing for emissions alone takes several months. If it came out a year after the dakota, it wasn't a response, it just wasn't first. Putting chryslers old v8 in their pickup is no different than putting chevy's old v8 in their pickup, just a little tighter is all.

I've seen some heavily modified v8 dakota's at the track run very fast. I think they are a better platform than the real mini trucks, I think they are just a bit more sized correctly...
 

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I didn't say the Shelby would outrun the SS. The SS had an edge. What I did say was the 1992 magnum 5.2 Dakota would stomp the dog snot out of the SS. The '92 5.2 Mag Dak was a high 14 second runner. It was, in fact, the best of the Daks from a performance standpoint.
Dude, you're talking about testing and emissions. Back then full size trucks were only beginning to come under tighter emissions scrutiny, and that was being handled by air injection and larger catalytic converters. They didn't have to test the 454 because it was already available in that truck in 3/4 ton and 1 ton models. Chrysler had no issues on emissions with the Daks, one, because it was a limited production run, and two, the engines were off the shelf D150 ram engines. The Dak was never intended to have a V8 so it required the engine mount crossmember and an electric radiator fan due to space limitations. Heck, the whole Viper project took only 3 years and that was with a volunteer group after hours and on weekends.
 

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I misread....yeah they were nearly a second faster in the 1/4...
 

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That 318 is a hard working motor and very hard to kill. I have had about 3 older mopars all had the 318 in it when i got them. Hadn't been cranked in years, changed the fluids, etc and fired on over. Very tough motor. You can change the intake and carb and pick up some quick power. Also if you find an older set of higher compression heads and bolt them on. There is a lot of minor things to be done to make more power, even headers arent very much for the older trucks. I have an 83 d150 stepside
ditto, VERY hard to kill. we had a 80s 5th ave that the PO ran out of oil, fired it up and held it to the nuts till it locked up, turned the pulleys back and it fired up again, pulled the motor apart and the was push rods through the oil pan, the oil pan was FULL of piston and connecting rod pieces, and the most saprising part, there was a piston wedged sideways in the cylinder :SHOCKED:
 

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Its worth noting where pollution control technology vs hp technology was at in the early 1990's. Heck, the 454 SS was rated at 230 hp at its best. A big block, 136 more cubes than a 318, for about a 60-90hp gain over the 318. Thanks to todays tech, we can have the emissions and hp.
 
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