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Old 10-07-2014, 02:13 PM   #1
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Post Looking for input on a winter truck (MOPAR guys look here!)

Fellows,

I'm picking up a '99 Dodge 1500 in a few days to keep my '13 5.0 from being my daily driver for another chicago winter. It's a 5.2L, 4x4, standard cab, standard bed, automatic transmission.

My goal with this thing is to have a winter beater that will occasionally haul crap or tow stuff or pull wives out of ditches when they slide off roads in the winter. Not looking to modify it other than essentials or to replace crap components.

I'm not really a Mopar guy but I am familiar with the LA engine family. I've heard both good and bad on the 318, mostly that the bottom end won't survive much in the way of power adders...not sure how accurate that is, however.

Looking for some input. This thing has 130k on it. It has an aftermarket transmission cooler...and everything else appears stock, from what I could see from crawling in/around/under it for about 20mins. The headers seem pretty rusty, but the truck is mostly clean otherwise. The wiring isn't butchered, and the electronics all work.

I'm thinking a brake job (pads/rotors), oil change (conventional, no point in synthetics for it at this point), transmission fluid flush, coolant flush, and maybe a K&N air filter replacement.

What do I need to watch for? Anything you can think of off the top of your head to warn me about?
If the engine pops I think I can do a 360 swap for around 3k as it should be a direct fit....not really wanting the 318 to pop, though.
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Old 10-07-2014, 04:16 PM   #2
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The 318 and 360 are strong engines. All of the Dodge trucks I have had made it over 200k without any issues.

With 130k on it, I would go ahead and replace the timing chain and water pump, unless they have been recently done. Also look to replace the bushings in the suspension. A complete tune up should also be done (wires, plugs, fuel filter, oil) and flush all the fluids, like you mentioned.

The biggest problem with these trucks are the transmissions. Put a shift kit in it and be done with it before it becomes a problem.


As for the KN drop in filter, don't waste your time. Just buy a 14x3 air cleaner and install it. Much better mod and likely cheaper than the KN.

Also, if the truck needs more power, open up the entire exhaust first. I always ran Pacesetter long tubes on my 5.2 and 5.9's along with 2.75" pipe all they way back. If you still need more power, get some 1.7 rockers for Magnums, those alone are worth about 15 whp and 20 rwtq and a few mpg.

As for power adders on the 318, it's basically the same as the 340/360. They are all capable of around 400 whp on stock internals with no issues.
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Old 10-07-2014, 05:11 PM   #3
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I have 170k on my '97 Dakota 4x4 with the 318. Be prepared, Dodges are gas guzzlers. I get around 13mpg.


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Old 10-09-2014, 12:47 PM   #4
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Good call. It's an automatic, so I'm thinking fluids swap will do nicely starting out - maybe a stall converter at some later time.

It had a 'tune up' this last summer - plugs/wires.

It's still on the stock cats, but it appears to have an aftermarket catback of some sort.

The suspension has had a once-over this last spring (according to the maint receipts I was given) so I don't suspect I'll have many problems with that in the short term.

I'll look into a cheaper air cleaner than the K&N. The stock one looks restrictive...and I think the throttlebody looks odd as hell.
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