First Ram questions

Discussion in 'Engine & Performance' started by jdaleo23, Dec 9, 2016.

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  1. jdaleo23

    jdaleo23 Junior Member

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    Good morning all, new to the forum and to the Ram world.

    My buddies uncle is getting rid of his 98 Ram 2WD 3.9L w/ 242K that he used as a light duty work truck for a few years. He told me he wants $250 for it, and i figured that was a decent price since the truck still runs pretty strong and sounds good. He is upgrading to a new truck so just wanted to get rid of this one for a few bucks.

    I know the truck needs a little bit of work, so i was going to swap out the control arms (needs ball joints anyway), shocks, oil/filter, plugs, wires, cap/rotor, headlight assembly (very very yellow), pads/rotors, coolant and rear diff fluid.

    A/C doesn't work, so i will have to diagnose that. He says the heat doesn't work, he thinks it's the switch, but from what I've seen looking around, getting the truck to heat up is somewhat of a known issue? I saw a video of someone capping off the line that goes to the heater core from the water pump and T'ing it into the upper rad hose? Any input on that?

    I would like to also do the trans filter, does this trans have a reusable gasket, or do i need to add that to the list?

    Is there anything I should know that is common to go in this truck that i should look into or just replace while i'm doing all this work?

    Thanks in advance for any/all help, I look forward to really using this site as a resource.
     
  2. dudeman2009

    dudeman2009 Senior Member

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    First, congrats on getting into a RAM.
    Second, your list looks pretty good, but you will need to add that trans pan gasket, I wouldn't reuse it, its just asking for trouble.

    The ball joints are super easy on the Rams, not like chevy or ford. 3 bolts and one castle nut on the uppers, 4 bolts and one castle nut on the lowers. You dont need to touch the hub assembly or calipers, and neither the control arms, shocks, or coils need to come out. If you don't touch the tie rods, shocks, or camber/caster control. You wont need an alignment right away after as it won't change hardly at all with how close the bolts home it the ball joints.

    A/C could be a couple things, there are some threads on here worth checking out before you make your own. I'd recommend getting an A/C manifold gauge set, less than $100 and it will allow you to troubleshoot as well as top off your A/C system without guessing like on those cans with the crappy built in gauges.

    The heat is another thing. If someone put a 180* T-stat, the cab heat wont get super hot. If the core is plugged, it won't get hot at all (they aren't really hard to replace, having an A/C system that you can unhook because it doesn't work makes the job about twice as easy). Thermostat could be stuck open, just go with the simple stuff first. I wouldn't T off the upper rad hose, its just asking for trouble too. If you're going to fix something, do yourself a favor and keep it as factory as possible.

    Common issues, Plenum. There is a writeup in the engines section. Another one is the headlight switch, it likes to make problems. tensioner pulley bearing likes to go bad. Put a transmission cooler on it, you will thank yourself later.

    As for the trans filter change, a band adjustment it health as well. Generally you don't have to touch the rear band, just the front. There is a procedure flying around here somewhere. Maybe Dapepper can chime in and explain it real quick, i've written quite a bit already. And he disagrees with the service manual as far as turning it back off goes. Can't say either him or the manual is wrong, both have situations where they are correct.
     
  3. jdaleo23

    jdaleo23 Junior Member

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    Thanks a lot for the quick reply, a lot of awesome information!

    I'll definitely get a trans pan gasket.

    I'm guessing as long as the control arms look good, i should be alright just replacing the ball joints? And with it being that easy, that's going to be the way I go. (Trying not to break the bank, just have a reliable second vehicle.)

    A/C - I believe a friend of mine has gauges, i'll definitely do some digging on that.

    Heat - I'll probably just swap out the T-stat to be safe, who knows if it's ever been done before. Is there a way to check if the core is clogged? (Disconnecting some hose to see if coolant flows?) Do you know if the whole dash needs to come apart to change the core.

    I'll do some research on the Plenum. Would you recommend getting a new headlight switch right from the beginning, to avoid any headaches, or should i hold off until something goes wrong? Again, it's a second vehicle so a couple of days downtime won't be a problem. I'll definitely keep an eye and ear on the tensioner pulley. I'll look in to the trans cooler as well.

    I'll have to do research on the band adjustments. Honestly never heard of it. My buddy works on cars a lot, i help and have learned a lot, but my knowledge is still growing. I love coming up with projects for other people!
     
  4. jsmith

    jsmith Senior Member

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  5. dudeman2009

    dudeman2009 Senior Member

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    Once the thermostat has been replaced, let the truck get up to operating temperature. Check the temperature of the upper radiator hose, then the heater core supply (on the passenger side) they should be almost the same. Then check the return hose from the heater core, it should be really close to the heater core supply line. If one or both are drastically cooler than the upper radiator hose, your core is likely clogged. You can try reverse flushing it, but in my experience, that just unplugs holes in the heater core that are currently filled with corrosion. Replacing the heater core isn't hard, but its not as easy as an early 90s chevy. There are 4 bolts on the steering column, one on both sides of the exterior footwells, two right under the cupholders behind a plastic trim piece and 5 or 6 bolts along the windshield. Then the dash pulls back and there are 6 total bolts on the HVAC box that unbolt to allow it to pull into the cab to get the heater core out and in. I have a writeup on it somewhere, i'll look for it. It took me 4 hours to figure it all out myself. I could probably do it in an hour now.

    No need to get a new headlight switch unless this one is giving you problems, just keep it in mind before you rip your hair out in the future.
     
  6. jdaleo23

    jdaleo23 Junior Member

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    Do you have a part number for the trans gasket at RockAuto (or somewhere else that would be recommended)? I was able to find only a filter for the 42RE transmission. Even under gaskets i couldn't locate anything for my trans. Have a pretty large cart including most suspension parts for the vehicle and was hoping to add it to the order.
     
  7. dapepper9

    dapepper9 Senior Member

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    Felpro has one for the 46re/47re/48re (they're all the same)
     
  8. jdaleo23

    jdaleo23 Junior Member

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    The 42 uses the same as the 46? Just confirming. If so, I'll order that one. Thanks!

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
     
  9. dapepper9

    dapepper9 Senior Member

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    No no not what i meant. Here's 3 that'll all work
    Screenshot_20170101-182312.jpg
     
  10. jdaleo23

    jdaleo23 Junior Member

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    Ah! Understood. Thank you, I'll get one ordered. I found the ACDELCO on rock. Looks like they just didn't put which trans it was for, that's why I didn't see it.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
     
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