Sitting Seven Years - 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie SLT Extended Cab

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TexasChill

Junior Member
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Apr 22, 2024
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Location
DeepInTheHeart, Texas
Ram Year
1997
Engine
5.2L V8
97ramSLT.jpg
Recently inherited a 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie SLT Extended Cab - Emerald Green Metallic Color / Mist Gray Interior. The picture is the dream. The reality is a little scarier.

Unlike the photo, she is sunburnt, filthy (on the outside) and in need of some serious attention. The actual truck has a black camper shell with tinted articulated windows. The only exterior damage is a little surface rust spots and a dented rear chrome bumper. Oh and the windshield is seriously cracked and discolored and in need of replacement.

I am no spring chicken and my better days are getting much smaller in the rear view mirror. So I got the help of a mobile mechanic I know named Rico.

Rico is a great guy and really knows all the usual suspects. Hates to work for a shop, mainly because he's not a crook and he hates the politics. So he gives me his commercial discount on parts (often 50%-70% or more) and I play helper so he cuts labor costs too.

Before dad got sick, he took great care of this old gem. Regular maintenance, personal mechanic, synthetic blend oil, etc. 169,000 miles, mostly highway. But after he got sick, we were busy taking care of him.

The truck? Not so much. She sat outdoors in the Texas sun for seven years. It was rarely run. Now the paint is sun damaged and in need of some serious TLC.

I had to replace the battery first, then clean out the fuel system. So I filled it up with new gas and mixed with too much Lucas fuel treatment.

For about a week I would start it and let it run for 10-15 minutes. Letting the Lucas Fuel Treatment sit in the carb dissolved a lot of the gummy crap. Pretty soon it started easier and ran much better.

Spent yesterday replacing most of the ignition system and brakes; plugs, wires, cap, coil. Also rotors, pads, wheel bearing, some hoses, timing belt. So now it purrs like a kitten. It also burnt a little rubber when I punched it. So it sounds good and I'm pleased with the results.

Brakes are hard, so it looks like it will need a master cylinder booster. Pulled the vacuum line and there was no difference in braking.

This poor baby has the usual broken dash, so that gets the glue gun treatment and a new skin and probably a carpet dash cover. But there are a lot of the electronics, switches and stuff that aren't working or aren't working right. So that's going to provide hours of tedious fun.

As it stands, I'm in for a weeks' labor on my part, one day with Rico and about $600 in parts and materials and $200 in labor. Oh, and I forgot to add, Rico found the cause of the A/C problem this truck has while rooting around under the hood. It's a simple fix involving some vacuum tubing and a connector. So far, so good!

I'll try to provide more updates as I go.
 
Last edited:

Marshall

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Location
Sk, Canada
Ram Year
2014 sport
Engine
5.7 hemi
I had a black 95 just like that, great truck
Brake booster may also be cracked vacuum line, so check it
These trucks don’t have carburetors anymore
To bad you hadn’t tossed a tarp over it good luck
 

Dodge 1500 4X4

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Hemi 5.7
Great looking truck, I know all the mechanical and electrical can be fixed, me being up north w all the salt you have to not drive it in the winter to escape massive rot on the metal that the winter does, you don't have to worry about that where you are, take your time do it in stages, sounds like you got it running better already. Sounds like you got a good wrench, most mobile mechanics are excellent to work with.
 
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