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Dodge Truck pulling issues

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by The Grass Amputator, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. The Grass Amputator

    The Grass Amputator LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    The truck: 1986 Dodge Ram D-150, engine is a 318, automatic transmission.

    History: Up until Febuary of this year, the truck sat parked in my dad's yard for 10-12 years. Nothing wrong when it was parked, he just didn't drive it. I tinkered with it and got it started. Changed the plugs, plug wires, dist.cap and rotor button. Changed the oil, changed the trans.filter and oil, drained the gas tank, treated, and refilled. Truck runs fine.

    The trailer: Extra heavy-duty equipment hauler, also formerly used to transport autos. I added 1.1/4" tubular sides and lighter-weight ramps. Estimated weight of trailer alone is in the #2,000 range.

    The problem: Truck pulls trailer fine around town. A little sluggish on start-off (as in starting off from a traffic light), but pulls fine. When I head toward home, I have to cross over Clinch Mountain (elevation +/- 3,000 ft.), the truck seems to "bog down", and I'm not able to go much over 40mph.

    I realize that part of the problem lies with the fact that my trailer is so heavy. Hoowever, previous experience with Mopar products leads me to believe that it shouldn't pose that significant of a problem that the truck wouldn't be able to pull the trailer (total loaded weight is around #3500.)

    I am exploring several options at this point, including a transmission swap. But first, I was wondering if there was anything I could possibly do to the engine and/or existing transmission in order to boost the pulling ability of the truck.

    Any advice and/or input would be appreciated.

  2. Redneckn

    Redneckn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    I am guessing that you do NOT attempt to pull a load with the trans in overdrive. That will kill one pretty quick.

    Otherwise, I have no idea really why. I would think it would pull it. But, it is a Dodge. So it could just be scared. :blob3:
  3. The Grass Amputator

    The Grass Amputator LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    Current tranny doesn't have overdrive. Pull up hill in 2nd gear, or first when the speed gets way down there.

    Nah, she's just groggy from being asleep for so long...
  4. Redneckn

    Redneckn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    I don't know much about an auto trans. other than how to destroy it right proper. I would guess that some seals have gone bad from sitting and there is some fluid not staying where it should or something of the sort.

    Like on my old Ford. It sat for long time and when we started to use it again, it would sit for about 3-5 mins and then finally would take off. would work fine for the rest of the day. We ended up having to have a seal job done on the inners of the trans.
  5. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    I believe your problem lies with the rear end, It sounds like it's geared too high. Drop to a lower geared rear end and it should pull just fine.
  6. xcopterdoc

    xcopterdoc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 752

    I agree with Rob.. get a set of lower gears for the rear if yur intent on hauling that much weight with it. I'd also add a tranny cooler. The old 727 trannys are great but heat will kill any of them. Also I would do a complete check of the engine... Compression check, vacumn check and also look at the timing. If all thats up to snuff, then the gear change should do you wonders.
  7. The Grass Amputator

    The Grass Amputator LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    Someone locally mentioned checking the timing, so I'll be sure to check that out first.

    As for the rear end: Any idea as to what ratio I need to be in? Should I try to find a used rear end somewhere, or just buy new gears?

    As for my being intent upon pulling with it, it's what I have, so I have to make it work.....

    Thanks a million-!

  8. Redneckn

    Redneckn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    I've got 3.54's in my F-250 and 4.11 (positive) in my F-350. I think my dads Dodge 2500 has 3.73's in it. it hauls loaded 28' flatbed with 12000lbs of hay pretty good. the gearing in my f250 is a little less than i'd like, but, it has a 460 under the hood to make up for it.
  9. xcopterdoc

    xcopterdoc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 752

    Scott... check the tag on the rear first to see what you have. I'd look somewhere in the 3:73 to 4:10.. 4:11 range. A new "used" rear is a faster change over if you can find one. Putting a set of lower gears in is simple when we talk about it, but on the Mopar rears it can be a pain if you dont know what yur doing. My suggestion would be... check the tag, go a lil lower than you think you need to be. Buy the gears after market, find a good shop and have them install them. You will still be to the good. The 318's in the trucks were/are real stump pullers.. they had an excellent cam setup from the factory.. however, they upped the gear ratio to get a few extra mpg's and ******** the timing. If you can find an "old school" speed shop with Mopar know how, thats who ya need to see about it. I aint really a Dodge fan.. but those were pretty good years for trucks.
  10. cushman

    cushman LawnSite Member
    from se pa
    Messages: 36

    You may want to check for a clogged cat.

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