2nd Gen Ram Tech1994-2001 Rams: This section is for TECHNICAL discussions only, that involve the 1994 through 2001 Rams. For any non-tech discussions, please direct your attention to the "General discussion/NON-tech" sub sections.
1996 Ram 2500 4x4 5.9 gas auto trans. Multiple issues, questions.
Long time reader, first time poster.... Naw, not really, just found you guys today. Anyway, on to the topic at hand.
Purchased my first 2nd gen ram in may of this year. 1996 2500, ext cab, long box, 5.9 gas, auto trans, 173,000 miles, 285/75 r16 on black steelies, 3.55 gears.
Truck fires right up, runs fairly good. used it to move from Ohio back to California (I know, I know, but the weathers better, plenty of desert wheeling, and I have a lot of family here) On the way out, towing a fairly heavy box trailer, I plugged the cat and had to replace it in Utah. did the plugs at the same time, filter etc. had a really hard time pulling hills.
Even unloaded (I live in the mountains) it has a hard time getting out of its own way and gets warm on long grades (replaced t stat with 180 deg, full cooling system drain, flush, refill), and pulling any kind of weight is just a painful, slow, gas sucking experience from hell.
1. Could the loss of power/ warm condition be related to a plenum issue?
2. the 285's are 33 in tall, with 3.55's, never had power issues with other truck brands running similar combos with v8 power, do I need to re gear, and if so, are there factory dodges with either 4.10's or 4.56's in the axles I can rob from a yard (limited budget) and its d60 front, not sure if d60 or 70 rear (8800 gvw truck)?
3. How can I eke more power out of this motor while still being smog compliant in Cali? Or with the mileage should I consider a rebuild?
4. Can someone post a link to a trans band adjustment for this truck?
5. Any other known issues I should consider with these trucks (besides Chrysler elec gremlins)?
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1. Yes. Plenum also leads to bad cats, and O2 sensors.
2. Yes, you need to regear. 4.10's would keep the engine right around stock RPM when it had stock size tires. (probably 265's originally.) 4.56 would give you better bottom end, and towing capability, with the compromise of lower fuel economy on the freeway. Don't tow in O/D.
2. Fix the plenum, full tune up, (apparently already done) timing chain and gears. SCT tuner from Hemifever when they become available again. (check with him. He has his own website. hemifevertuning.com) Harland Sharp 1.7 roller rockers. Better flowing exhaust. (magnaflow high flow cat, shorty headers, small muffler... all should have CARB EO numbers.)
Also may want to replace your heads if the are questionable. These trucks like to crack 'em around the valve seats.
4. Look in the FAQ section here for the service manual thread. You can download the 96 factory service manual.
5. Plenum. Weak trans. Body rot. (probably not as much of an issue in Cali. ) Healthy appetite for various front end parts.
I have the same truck, 'cept mines a short bed. You got 4x4 as well?
Dash mat helps if the dash isn't already cracked.
I did my plenum a couple days ago, and I had all the same symptoms. Now the truck runs like a dream.
Also, I live in Utah! We're practically neighbors!
did some checking on the plenum sticky, yep, nice oily coating inside and steel pan. leaking, needs changed. Was an Ohio truck, body rot isn't terrible, but it sure is there (I hate salt). 245 tires originally (looked retarded on said monsterous bus of a vehicle), Dash already cracked, but its a truck, so not an issue. will eventually be lifted so up to 4.56s I go (did any models, say cab and chassis 4x4's come with 4.56's so I can find used gears?) Never have, nor ever will tow in O/D, that's bad, bad juju. unless ones self enjoy transmission replacement. Would eventually like to convert to a 5 speed and a Diesel.
You might find D60's with 4.56 gears, but, I really wouldn't hold my breath on that. Those are going to be rarer than honest politicians.
Looks like you got your work cut out for you. Plenum really isn't that bad a job. You can get the plate from Ebay, and source the gaskets locally.
It has been suggested that doing the water pump, and timing chain/gears at the same time is a good plan, as it is only a dozen more bolts to get down to the bottom of it. Good double roller timing set can be had for around 50 bucks, gaskets are 20 and some change, pump? as much as you want to spend. I did my plenum, and then the timing set/pump a couple weeks later. (it started leaking....) Doing the chain/gears was one of the BEST performance improvements I have done on my truck. That was a BIG difference in power/drivability.
Probably cheaper/easier to just find a truck with the diesel already in it. Although, there are a couple threads around here for auto to manual swap.
Original tires! that's terrible. I know sets are expensive as hell, but I got a set of Kenda Klever's for $650 in 285/75 r16 E rated and free shipping off of ebay, awesome score! Found a set of soft 8 black steelies on craigslist for less than a hundred bucks, so wheels and tires came to less than $750 for a complete set, just shop around, deals are out there. Not sure if the salt in Utah is comparable to Ohio, but the 99 Cherokee I had didn't have rockers or rear lower quarters from all the salt, glad to be back in a rust free zone.
I looked into the plate, gears and roller rockers, looks like I'm out about $500 for all that (dammit, this is taking money out of my 74 Baja bug/offroad play car rebuild). But the trucks a daily, so this **** has to be taken care of. I do wanna get into that tranny swap, I hate pretty much all things to do with automatics when it comes to towing/hauling/offroad. So much easier and more reliable when you can push start something (if you have a crew big enough to push it) and gear/speed holding ability when going down hill especially. regearing looks to be about $1300, so that'll have to wait for now. Lots of good info on this forum, Thanks for the help so far, and keep the tips coming.
My truck is has almost the same combo as your with the exception of extended cab. I have Dana 60s front and rear with 3.55 gears and 285/75/16 Michelin load range E tires. With that mileage, like others have stated, I'd change the timing chain and gear set and use a double roller replacement set, with a chain tensioner. Change the water pump, while you are in there. Also, doing the plenum is a must, along with improving the exhaust system to be more free flowing. An SCT 9550 tuner will help, especially if you have the 'death flash' on your PCM. As for keeping the motor cool, your radiator or engine block may be also plugged a bit. If you plan to keep the truck, be sure to replace the radiator with an all-aluminum radiator (CSF 2969 - for more info - see http://dodgeforum.com/forum/2nd-gen-...-radiator.html) as these will last longer, as there is no plastic tank to crack. You can also look into removing the freeze plugs in the block and checking around the cylinders for sludge/muck, which can cause the motor to run hot.
As far as other issues, beware of 'death wobble', which is typically caused by worn out front end parts - most likely culprits are the worn tires, track bar, ball joints, wheel bearings and the steering gear box.
Last edited by AtomicDog; 10-23-2013 at 07:44 PM..