Author Topic: 89 RC Engine Upgrade  (Read 1006 times)

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Offline GusChiggins86

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89 RC Engine Upgrade
« on: May 4, 2020, 07:30:59 pm »
Howdy Folks,

I am the proud owner of a stock 89 RC (318) 4x4 for the last 17 years, but she's been a garage queen for a long time now. It's been pretty sluggish & smokey of late, so I did a compression/leak-off test and found 2 cylinders leaking off ~20% while the other cylinders appear OK. I've held onto it all these years and now I am ready to give it the attention it deserves.

At this point I think I would like to swap in a new 360 Magnum w/all trimmings (crate short block, quality aftermarket headers, mild cam upgrade, carb/EFI). I'm prepared to spend some dough on this.

Goal:
Nice reliable hobby truck suitable for city/highway/light offloading that has some grunt it has lacked. Nothing too loud to be obnoxious, but still plenty of fun under the hood. I think something 300+hp would knock my socks off compared to my current powerplant. Maybe some infrequent towing as well.

I'm thinking this route would be more rewarding than a refreshed late model LA 318.

Thoughts/Advice?

-Thanks
'89 Ramcharger 318/4x4/727/ 3.23 GR
'09 Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi 4X4

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    Offline DODGEBOYS

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #1 on: May 4, 2020, 08:42:26 pm »
    l,d drop a fresh long block 5.9 Mag in there with either a Carb or a plug n play EFI
    put your truck info HERE
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    Offline GusChiggins86

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #2 on: May 4, 2020, 09:05:12 pm »
    Any thoughts on preferred crate engine vendors?
    '89 Ramcharger 318/4x4/727/ 3.23 GR
    '09 Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi 4X4

    Offline DODGEBOYS

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    put your truck info HERE
    MOPAR TO YA!!!!!! AARON HOWORD TOWNSEND / SLANTEDMIND---GOD BLESSDODGEBOYS FSM STORE
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    former Parts Mgr & A1 Tech @ Pete's Chrysler -Plymouth
    DO NOT use the site IM,s to contact me  l have them turned OFF

    Offline Elwenil

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #4 on: May 5, 2020, 09:06:41 am »
    Mopar doesn't actually offer any crate engines for our trucks anymore. You could retrofit a 3rd gen "Hemi" crate engine, but they are very expensive.
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    Offline GusChiggins86

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #5 on: May 5, 2020, 11:19:32 am »
    How would a crate long block w/remanufactured cylinder heads compare to the Enginequest magnum heads?

    for reference:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dodge-360-Magnum-5-9-1994-01-Ram-1500-2500-3500-New-Reman-Crate-Engine/273972067795?hash=item3fca01fdd3:g:TmgAAOSwAU1dcVg2
    '89 Ramcharger 318/4x4/727/ 3.23 GR
    '09 Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi 4X4

    Offline catahoulahogger

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #6 on: May 5, 2020, 06:37:07 pm »
    I'm about 80% done with a very similar situation.... heres my recommendations in no particular order

    use the complete magnum serpentine set up as mixing la v-belt stuff is cumbersome and research a/c comp. mounting locations for whatever intake you choose,  electric fuel pump (non la timing cover), i wish i wouldve been able to go with aluminum heads, you may have to change your ignition style depending on what you currently have, all this being said i am very excited about adding that 'MAGNUM' power in place of the tired 318. guys on here are happy to help and are very knowledgeable. If you're stumped about anything.... there's a high probability that there are 2-12 threads already answering in detail how to fix it. magnumswap.com scramspeed.com hughesengines.com
    RAMCHARGERCENTRALROCKS!!

    first car- 1986 ramcharger w/5.2 2wd  gifted to me
    work truck 2013 1500 w/5.7 hemi 2wd
    current project- 1987 ramcharger w/magnum 5.9 2wd

    Offline ToxicDoc

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #7 on: May 5, 2020, 08:09:40 pm »
    you want an whole engine for serpentine components mentioned above, but also for timing cover, flywheel and balancer (different balance from LA engines), etc. The LA exhaust will fit, but Magnum is slightly larger. Around 92-93 they used a limited-run larger collector. You will need to go with a specific intake manifold or use the EFI.

    More detail here: magnumswap.com
    '85 W150 SB, 408 stroker, Magnum manifolds, Performer RPM, 670 Truck Avenger, HEI ignition, Auburn LSD 9.25 and '82 D44 (non-CAD) with 3.55/3.54,  NV4500/NP241

    Offline GusChiggins86

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #8 on: May 5, 2020, 11:27:42 pm »
    Thanks for the advice fellas,

    Like Catahoula has mentioned elsewhere, I too have been reading up on all this from all the aforementioned websites, manuals, rebuild books, etc. Iíve looked at few different build scenarios, and I think I may just give Hughes a call on supplying a block in kit form. This will be my first engine build Iwouldnít mind doing a fair amount the labor myself. At first I figured Iíd keep the V belt/accessories since I already had them, but maybe not.
    '89 Ramcharger 318/4x4/727/ 3.23 GR
    '09 Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi 4X4

    Offline GusChiggins86

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #9 on: May 10, 2020, 09:30:41 am »
    Question:

    With a full engine swap, would it be easier to remove the front end (radiator/grill, etc.) than to try and leave those components in place?

    I suppose I could replace the radiator as well (not pretty but it doesn't have any obvious issues).

    -Thanks
    '89 Ramcharger 318/4x4/727/ 3.23 GR
    '09 Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi 4X4

    Offline Mojack

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #10 on: May 10, 2020, 07:11:03 pm »
    Question:

    With a full engine swap, would it be easier to remove the front end (radiator/grill, etc.) than to try and leave those components in place?

    I suppose I could replace the radiator as well (not pretty but it doesn't have any obvious issues).

    -Thanks

    Some people swear by removing the front clip. After half a day of clearing and unplugging wiring and breaking sheetmetal nuts, I bailed and just pulled my motor up and out. On 32" tires and with the hood still on, no sweat. Just have a hoist with a long enough reach to go as high as you need. You will of course need to remove the radiator,  fan and anything to give a little more clearance.
    1979 Trailduster 0 cubic inches, awaiting a 440, a crusty work in progress.

    Offline GusChiggins86

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #11 on: May 10, 2020, 09:41:07 pm »
    Thanks for the advice,

    I have the hood off already and to me it looks like there should be plenty of room with a decent hoist.
    '89 Ramcharger 318/4x4/727/ 3.23 GR
    '09 Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi 4X4

    Offline GusChiggins86

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #12 on: May 15, 2020, 01:24:31 pm »
    So I spoke w/Hughes Engines, and they claim their costs are the same for a 360 as a 408 build. Assuming the costs are the same, is there any downside installing a 408 stroker in my Ramcharger to replace my stock 318?
    '89 Ramcharger 318/4x4/727/ 3.23 GR
    '09 Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi 4X4

    Offline ToxicDoc

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #13 on: May 15, 2020, 03:09:56 pm »
    So I spoke w/Hughes Engines, and they claim their costs are the same for a 360 as a 408 build. Assuming the costs are the same, is there any downside installing a 408 stroker in my Ramcharger to replace my stock 318?

    Minimal, but mainly increased fuel cost, you'll likely have to use premium octane as their typical stroker kit increases compression ratio.
    '85 W150 SB, 408 stroker, Magnum manifolds, Performer RPM, 670 Truck Avenger, HEI ignition, Auburn LSD 9.25 and '82 D44 (non-CAD) with 3.55/3.54,  NV4500/NP241

    Offline GusChiggins86

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #14 on: May 15, 2020, 04:09:29 pm »
    ToxicDoc,

    I see you have a 408, what did you have in your truck before that? Could you tell a big difference?
    '89 Ramcharger 318/4x4/727/ 3.23 GR
    '09 Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi 4X4

    Offline ToxicDoc

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #15 on: May 15, 2020, 04:58:03 pm »
    ToxicDoc,

    I see you have a 408, what did you have in your truck before that? Could you tell a big difference?

    lol night and day. started with a worn out 318 with ring blow by. then got a great deal on a stock rebuilt 318 and I added HEI ignition with a distributor with advance (prior owner was an idiot and still had the lean burn system without fixing the wiring or vacuum lines for the advance). then went to a 408 with dual exhaust for massive power. I probably tripled the power I initially had. I moved up axle ratio minimally from 3.23 to 3.55 with Auburn LSD to help put power to metric-equivalent 31" tires.
    « Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 05:01:01 pm by ToxicDoc »
    '85 W150 SB, 408 stroker, Magnum manifolds, Performer RPM, 670 Truck Avenger, HEI ignition, Auburn LSD 9.25 and '82 D44 (non-CAD) with 3.55/3.54,  NV4500/NP241

    Offline ToxicDoc

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #16 on: May 15, 2020, 05:10:22 pm »
    Not this clean anymore; it's been a few years now and rust is setting into the cab roof :( but it shows how it was. That's 2.5" pipe (dual) compared to whatever it had, single 2" or 2.25".
    « Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 05:12:12 pm by ToxicDoc »
    '85 W150 SB, 408 stroker, Magnum manifolds, Performer RPM, 670 Truck Avenger, HEI ignition, Auburn LSD 9.25 and '82 D44 (non-CAD) with 3.55/3.54,  NV4500/NP241

    Offline GusChiggins86

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #17 on: May 15, 2020, 10:27:35 pm »
    That looks pretty slick. I had one similar to that when I was 16, but not long before I turned it upside down in a ditch. I think Iíll pull my 318 tomorrow, but no matter what that looks like Iím gonna put a new 360 (or 408) in its place.
    '89 Ramcharger 318/4x4/727/ 3.23 GR
    '09 Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi 4X4

    Offline ToxicDoc

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #18 on: May 15, 2020, 11:36:51 pm »
    That looks pretty slick. I had one similar to that when I was 16, but not long before I turned it upside down in a ditch. I think Iíll pull my 318 tomorrow, but no matter what that looks like Iím gonna put a new 360 (or 408) in its place.

    I paid ~$1700 for my stroker kit about 10 years ago. If I bored the cylinders, I would've needed about ~$300 in new pistons anyway, so I considered the kit actually cost me only $1400 difference. It also included the new crank, which would've save me another $150-200 if the journals on my core engine needed turning down and for balancing.
    « Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 11:38:34 pm by ToxicDoc »
    '85 W150 SB, 408 stroker, Magnum manifolds, Performer RPM, 670 Truck Avenger, HEI ignition, Auburn LSD 9.25 and '82 D44 (non-CAD) with 3.55/3.54,  NV4500/NP241

    Offline GusChiggins86

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #19 on: May 27, 2020, 09:31:57 am »
    I'm about 80% done with a very similar situation.... heres my recommendations in no particular order

    use the complete magnum serpentine set up as mixing la v-belt stuff is cumbersome and research a/c comp. mounting locations for whatever intake you choose,  electric fuel pump (non la timing cover), i wish i wouldve been able to go with aluminum heads, you may have to change your ignition style depending on what you currently have, all this being said i am very excited about adding that 'MAGNUM' power in place of the tired 318. guys on here are happy to help and are very knowledgeable. If you're stumped about anything.... there's a high probability that there are 2-12 threads already answering in detail how to fix it. magnumswap.com scramspeed.com hughesengines.com




    Catahoula,

    Did you swap in the magnum computer as well?
    '89 Ramcharger 318/4x4/727/ 3.23 GR
    '09 Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi 4X4

    Offline catahoulahogger

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    Re: 89 RC Engine Upgrade
    « Reply #20 on: June 1, 2020, 06:42:22 pm »
    I did not. I just put a magnum long block crate motor in place of the LA318. With a Summit orange box ecu, sorry for the delayed response.
    RAMCHARGERCENTRALROCKS!!

    first car- 1986 ramcharger w/5.2 2wd  gifted to me
    work truck 2013 1500 w/5.7 hemi 2wd
    current project- 1987 ramcharger w/magnum 5.9 2wd

     

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