4x4Wire TrailTalk

My Ramcharger Build Thread

Posted By: rxinhed

My Ramcharger Build Thread - 04/02/12 05:54 AM

Good day all,

Thanks for reading through this post. I purchased the truck with the intent of building a multi-purpose truck to serve needs of the ranch, family camping, trailer hauler and sometimes driver.

To begin with, I ditched the broken bug deflector as the first mod. Then we had a week plus of windy rain and nothing happened.

When I got the RC home:
[Linked Image]

Today was the first sunny day in seemingly forever, I broke out the tools, and wrenched on my own junk for me. The first orders of business were: 1. removing the early 1990s tires and preparing for newer rubber, 2. inspecting springs, shocks, and sway bars to find the source of bump steer on the street, 3. inspect brake and axles, and 4. to rid the truck of the redneck rear bumper in prep for something more useful.

Here are some cluster pics to mull over.

Tires:
[Linked Image]
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Steering and suspension:
[Linked Image]
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Bumper and sliders:
[Linked Image]
[img]http://img813.imageshack.us/img813/9372/1390619.jpg[/img] [img]http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/9563/1390620.jpg[/img] [img]http://img443.imageshack.us/img443/5287/1390629t.jpg[/img]

In particular:
1. The very old tires are starting to delaminate along the sidewall and one sustained fatal damage while briefly on a tow dolly. The turbine wheels look pretty good, but with 6-lugs, won't be able to replace the 5-lug turbo wheels.
2. The shocks are all shot and leaking. Replace as needed.
3. The driver's side knuckle has a raised steering arm, but looks like it was meant for a 4" lift, not the 6" lift installed...cross-over steering likely will solve this.
4. The rear lift was performed with stacked blocks for a total of 7.5 inches over the axle and these will definitely be replaced with Superlift (or similar) 6" springs.
5. The front and rear sway bar links do not let the bars ride level, rear bar to be removed.
6. The rear bumper mounts were bent and no longer safe, allowing the bumper to flex when loaded with a trailer.
7. The so heavy I have to drag it around Iron Mule folding crane bumper will be a simple simple install and give me the ability to lift things to the roof or simply up. This bumper has a 1500 pound winch and is of heavy enough construction that I can probably add a swing out carrier system to both sides...tires and fuel.
8. Montero Gen I LWB sliders are a perfect length for a Ramcharger, thanks Ray!!

Just a beginning, but here we are.

Russell
Posted By: 4x4Wire

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 04/02/12 07:08 PM

Are you considering beefing up the rear frame section for the heavy weight bumper???

What year and engine??
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 04/03/12 03:17 AM

The Ramcharger is an '87 LE model with 360, automatic and all the trimmings. The CAD front axle and 3.21 gear sets are not preferred, and will be eventually upgraded to 3/4-ton pieces.

As to supporting the rear bumper, I will have some modifications to the existing brackets to contain bolting connections along the bottom of the frame. There are cross members and the fuel tank in the way of bracketry over the top of the frame.

My first mod was completed this afternoon, replacing the ancient all terrain tires.
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


Then it was time to make dinner.

R-
Posted By: motero

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 05/03/12 06:56 PM

Keep us updated.
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 05/08/12 04:11 AM

Last trip to DMV, now all paperwork in my name!! Now, wait for title and do something else with the current license plates.
Posted By: rascott

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 05/19/12 01:27 AM

just found this thread.
looks like a good project you've started.
bet it will be quite the work horse.
i look forward to developements.
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 05/22/12 06:07 AM

My first work this month, save for putting in a battery, was to further Ryan as a tow beast. He needed a hitch:

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I sourced a receiver hitch from a '90 Dodge 1-ton service truck. I'll be going back to the parts yard and grab the 4.10 geared D60DH and the 11k pound rear springs for the free lift. I have some stacked blocks in the current rear suspension to do away with, afterall.
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 07/23/12 06:13 AM

Wow, two months between posts! I was able to drive Ryan for a bit before another age-related problem cropped up, death of a radiator tank and some old hoses. The OE radiator was removed and taken to a shop for rodding and repair...there are only 2 radiator shops in my area, couldn't believe nothing closer than 35 miles away!

About a week elapsed between the drop off and phone call from the shop. The upper tank had too many stress cracks for repair and the tech recommended their house brand 3 core as a replacement...priced at $615!!!!!

Last weekend, I visited the local yard and returned to the truck I sourced the hitch from, and found a relatively new 3 core radiator, heavy duty 7-blade fan and correct fan shroud all reasonably priced. Tonight I installed the radiator and shroud, hoses tomorrow and refill fluids.

About 4 weeks have elapsed since my last drive in Ryan now, but he'll be repaired soon. Once this repair is done, time to save money for rear lift springs and get Pearl repaired.

Once Pearl has a new headgasket, I can return to either plotting her sale or power train donation to Roxy.

Cheers. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 08/06/12 04:29 AM

Radiator in, new thermostat, housing, and all hoses redone.

Warmed up, everything seems ok...driving to work in the morning for check-see. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: motero

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 08/12/12 07:03 AM

I know your pain, buying used trucks is just lots of fun. Good score on the radiator.
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 09/03/12 01:59 AM

The VVRRRRHHHH noise finally became apparent Wednesday night on my drive home. The rear U-joint finally gave it up. Picked a pair of joint from the NAPA tree, ready for install tomorrow.
Posted By: rascott

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 09/15/12 08:18 PM

ryan back in operation?
i"ve been carrying around a spare u-joint for suzi - i wonder how long those factory greased joints with no grease zerks can last.
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 09/16/12 04:42 AM

We have 119k miles on sealed u-joints in my wife's truck. Ryan is back on the road, sans aftermarket rear sway bar too. There is known driveline vibration that shortens u-joint life on the rear position due to an angle increase with the stack block, no tilt lift. I expect the new joints to have a hard life until I can correct the present lift. I couldn't remember the last time I replaced u-joints in a vehicle, but used the field method rather than the shop method, just in case I have to do one again out in the boonies.

Has suzi taken you fishing lately?
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 09/18/12 04:30 AM

Finally mounted the rear bumper with the fold up crane. My son was indispensable with the operation, sucker was really really really heavy!!

[Linked Image]
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Yeah, one more thing out of the yard after almost 4 years!

Russell
Posted By: rascott

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 09/22/12 01:46 AM

good pics of ryan's evolution.
your son driving him some?
suzi's been making a run a month since april, but must cancel this month's(work).
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 09/24/12 03:39 AM

My children haven't been behind the wheel. My wife drove Ryan down the street and complained she couldn't see out...leaves me to have the Ram in peace presently. My daughter really likes the truck, and I think my son would trade his Montero for it. We'll see. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

Ryan has been an expensive commuter for the last two months. Must restore operation of my Mitsu pickup for better mileage.

Looking forward to more pics of suzi. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 12/07/12 03:07 AM

Put the keys in Pearl, the turbo truck, and fired right up as if nothing was wrong...stupid truck!

I've been driving Ryan around wearing out my mud tires on the highway. Having now traveled over 4500 miles since my purchase, I am happy with the ride, but need new shock absorbers...see comment about wearing out the tires.

I've had no excess $$ for new things, just fuel. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/baby.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 02/03/13 06:41 AM

Another 1500 miles and playing some with various accessories, trying to determine where things go. I'm planning on touring the Mt. Lassen area this summer, take the family camping and exploring our nearby volcano.

[Linked Image]
Posted By: rascott

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 02/03/13 05:43 PM

ryan's looking ready.
go figure a geologist would be interested in volcanos.
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 02/14/13 03:50 AM

Yep, go figure.

Tonight I removed the clunky, defunct OE radio and will be installing a stereo system that Offroader gifted to me. I'm looking forward to having tunes of aerial, magnetic, and digital types.

I'll have pictures of the install, though that's not really tech, when I get to that this coming weekend.

<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 07/19/13 05:49 AM

Too long since my last post. I had taken the day off for an appointment and had the afternoon free. As a result of my fortune, I spent some beautification time with my Ramcharger. I decided the flat OD wasn't working with a burgundy interior and remedied that with satin burgundy for the side insets. I used about 1.8 rattle cans, probably due to a slight breeze turning to a gusty wind.

Pics:
[Linked Image]
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Then, the outside temp was too high for the masking tape and I went inside for a nap. My paint job isn't concourse, but is a factory combination....and it looks fine at 20 feet!
Posted By: DRX350

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 07/20/13 12:34 AM

That's way cool! I am in the process of my Dodge build too...

I like that paint a lot, is it automotive paint, or just spray paint?
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 07/20/13 12:39 AM

This is all rattle can.
Posted By: rascott

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 07/21/13 06:22 AM

ryan looks real good. my rattle can doesn't come out that nice. satin- just enough shine.
Posted By: DRX350

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 07/22/13 03:59 AM

Quote
This is all rattle can.


What brand? I am looking for satin blue, but the few I've tried look too flat, that's an awesome gloss level...
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 07/22/13 05:03 AM

Simple Rustoleum from WalMart.
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 11/10/13 03:14 AM

Had a nice afternoon with the grinder, drill and cut-off saw, and played a little with the Conferr rack I purchased cheap at a yardsale about 5 years ago. The rack had been direct mounted to a Jeep hardtop and the support structure flattened to fit.

I spent an afternoon in January with my shrinking hammer and a body dolly to restore the shape of the supports, then was shipped to Wyoming/Nebraska for work. In the interim time, my wife decided she didn't like how/where I left my things in my part of the yard, and she had everything consolidated to her wishes near the barn and my parts cars. After the cows and horses walked on and over the rack, other delicate things and breakables, she wonders why I was upset so much. Gee, I don't know. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

I have no welder (yet) and have to solve issues using other means. As the support rails were now all catywampus (spelling), I devised a hidden way to restore structure and support across the rack using channel. The channel is conveniently the right height to also support an expanded steel floor inside the rack. A few minutes of drilling tomorrow and I'll be able to mount the rack on my Ramcharger.

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Posted By: rascott

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 11/11/13 08:01 PM

right-on.
ryan gets a rack.
re:welder- i've used one of those harbor freight 90A flux welders for years. cheap, dirty, effective(for light stuff).
just "upgraded" to the 180A model w/gas.
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 11/13/13 05:45 AM

[Linked Image]

Rack mounted. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 11/21/13 04:49 AM

Passed smog today! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 01/06/14 04:06 AM

Nearly two years have been with Ryan, now. Coming up on 98K miles on the odometer, and finally, we had an event that wasn't commuting or getting groceries. I had a road trip event to Sacramento with my kids and my daughter's friends. We attended the Sacramento Anime Show over the weekend. Packed up the Ramcharger and off we went at 9 mpg! While in town, I picked up some ProComp shocks and we all had a smoother ride on the ride home. Yeah!

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My daughter in her Cosplay (center frame):
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Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 03/07/14 03:38 AM

Ryan turned a new leaf today.

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Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 05/25/14 09:26 PM

Moving forward with some needed repairs and replacements:
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I made my son do some work, too:
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From the new parts car, we'll be harvesting the tailgate, non-CAD front axle, AC compressor clutch, bumpers, and trailer hitch. What remains of the rest will be decided later.
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 06/30/14 02:42 AM

rascott and suzi had Ryan jealous. He wanted to go road tripping and transported my son and I up to Lake Almanor this weekend. Sat amongst the pines and clean air:

[Linked Image]
Posted By: DRX350

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 06/30/14 02:45 PM

NICE!
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 08/04/14 05:14 AM

After almost 2 years, I finally have a headliner again. A result of buying the parts car, I now have numerous parts I'd been looking for. The interior has been very noisy with loose plastic and lack of the sound deadening properties of all the interior bits. Secondly, I recycled a grab handle from Ray's ol' Blue for the sake of my wife and coworker, both of whom complain about getting into the lifted Ramcharger.

Yeah!

[Linked Image]

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My immediate plans include replacing the cracked fiberglass tailgate, then using the axles and better springs from the parts truck.
Posted By: rascott

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 08/07/14 05:01 AM

neat looking install!
also- the grab handle is a good touch. suzi had one for the passenger, and the holes for one on the drivers side.
took me years to move it- now i use it all the time.
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 08/07/14 05:31 AM

...and the best thing is the grab handle is a recycled Montero part. No drill for this part, lined up perfectly to existing trim screw holes.
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 09/25/14 04:03 AM

This weekend past, Ryan received a new front license plate hanger:

[Linked Image]

This work was completed during Mongo's visit to the Ranch.
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 10/20/14 05:34 AM

Today I worked on the other end and replaced the Dodge truck hitch with a Ramcharger-appropriate hitch the fits within the rear bumper and has two more bolts (3 per side) for a safer tow connection.

[Linked Image]
Posted By: rxinhed

Re: My Ramcharger Build Thread - 11/02/14 05:42 AM

Ryan acted as a tug for the Mitsubishi vehicles today, good sunny Saturday afternoon:

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