Re-Powering my 1946 Dodge Power Wagon

Since the Truck didn't have the correct Dodge in-line 6, and the Plymouth 218 is did have being well worn, it was time to add some modern power and convenience, a 1990 Dodge 318 V8 fitted with a 46RH (A518) Automatic Transmission and NP241 Tracsfercase.  Picture and details to come.

11/19/2019

The Donor
OFF WITH HER HEAD!
Well Off with the Engine Head that is. Pulled out the 1990 318 from a W250 with 102K miles to prep it for a project. Started with a compression test, and it wasn’t good. I started with the cylinders soaked with some oil even though the engine wasn’t stuck to lube everything up. After turning it over a few times by hand and adding some more oil I started the test. It took a while and a few test to get the rings to seal and the compression to seem to stabilize. Here are the results:
1 - 182
2 - 155
3 - 160
4 - 120
5 - 165
6 - 125
7 - 124
8 - 45 (yes 45!)
After the test, I proceeded to clean the engine off and then removed the wiring harness. I have the entire trucks wiring harness and dash and a new TBI, so my plans are to strip out everything in the harness/dash I don’t need/want and use the stock 1990 computer to control the engine and transmission only.

11/20/2019

Tearing Down the Donor
The heads were as nasty as I expected, but was shocked to see cylinder #7 looking worse than #8.
After cleaning the cylinders and valve train valley as well as some of the external areas, I'm in a bit of a quandary. Everything cleaned up nice, but cylinder walls 7&8 have some surface issues.
I've still got to drop the pan and see what the lower side of the engine looks like. But dang guess it set for a while with a valve on 7&8 open before I got it, as I've kept it inside for the 11.5 years I've had it.

11/21/2019

Further Teardown
Took the heads to the machine shop for a valve job and cleaning.
I proceeded with a little more disassembly and cleanup, including cleaning out my parts washer in preparation for use. The oil pan had some gunk, the pickup screen was clean. The initial inspection of the lower end of the engine looks good.
I was shocked to see how clean the inside of the water pump was, but will replace it as the bearing has a little rust. I'll drop the trans pan next so see how it looks inside before separating it from the block.

11/22/2019

Push Rods

11/23/2019

Cracked Heads
Well, one step forward and two back. After cleaning the push rods I noticed the rocker end looks a little more wore than the lifter end but wasn't too concerned.
Then I got a call from the Machine Shop (Donnelly Automotive Machine, a great shop). The heads have cracks! repairable but not reliable, but might work for a low use low abuse engine.
Now what do I do, put more money in the heads, try and find another used set, or buy new AL heads? If I go with new, then I'm forced into doing a better lower build to support the investment.
Decisions, Decisions. Any ideas from the masses?

12/12/2016

Wiring Harness work
Well, I'm finally feeling pretty good, still some congestion and a little coughing, but sleeping well, and enjoying time back in the Shop.
Started stripping the un-needed/not-wanted wires from the 1990 Dodge Wiring Harness. I'm only planning on using the engine control, and necessary Dash items from the truck, so I'm stripping all the lighting, emissions, accessories, etc... The Power Wagon is already wired for everything, so this will then be an engine control only harness.
Cleaning up the Engine Harness is simple, just need to remove three wires from the harness connector and it's done.
The Chassis Harness, well now that is a different item. I've removed most of the un-deeded items and identified almost all wires/connectors. The fun on it will come when I install it in the truck and have to start shortening the harness to fit. So once it's stripped of the extra circuits, it will be left as mostly bare wire for that cut and shorten activity.
Next will come the Dash Harness. I hope in the end it works and I'm not scrambling to install an aftermarket TBI system.

12/13/2016

Wiring Harness Work
Well, a little more cleanup of the Engine and Chassis Harness, then the deep dive into the Dash and it's Harness.
It's a lot thinner, and I've got a few ground/dash light wires to tend with on the install. I'll also take care of installing the check engine/maintenance lights as well a brake signal. It will also need connecting the existing start switch.
I hope I got all the right wires out and left behind, but I'll know when the time comes to test and engine with it.

12/16/2016

2nd Motor and the needed Transfercase
Picked up the NP241D Transfercase, and the attached 318 and transmission, Thanks Doug!
Hopefully the heads on this engine are not cracked and what I need to move forward with the project.

12/17/2016

Teardown of 2nd Motor
Well, the weather changed my plans, so after some ice removal I did get a few hours in the shop.
I tore into the 1989 motor and was pleased to find a good looking internals and nice looking cylinder walls and piston tops.
The engine has about 120K miles on it, and was a running engine when it was recently pulled. It did have an overheating problem, and was leaking coolant.
I was happy to see a set of heads that look pretty good to my naked eye. I'll take them into the machine shop and have them checked out.
I also pulled the NP241D Transfercase and test fit it onto the 1990 46RH (A518) 4-speed transmission. As expected it fit correctly, the donor had a 36RH (A727) 3-speed transmission.

12/18/2016

Cooling passages
Well, for those following my pre-magnum late model LA engine activity, here is a new update.
I removed all 10 freeze plugs and, well was greeted with a slimy/chunky wet mix. The block will have to be further disassembled and boiled clean, so I'll also have it re-honed and deked before re-assembly with a fresh set of rings.
You can still see some of the factory hone marks from the top of the block, and easily see them from the bottom side. So other than some nasty coolant at some point in it's life the block is looking good.
Oh, I managed to smash my thumb, so in a couple of months I'm sure to get e new thumb nail.

12/19/2016

More Teardown
After dropping the heads off at the machine shop and running some errands and getting in a little archery, I finished tearing down the block.
The main bearings and connecting as well as pistons looked good. The carbon/ring at the top of the cylinder bore wasn't enough to make it hard to get the pistons out.
The cam bearings showed more wear than the crank, but I also had a worn spot on all 16 lifters, now what to do about them?
The cylinder walls looked decent, a little pitting on several, but much better than the other block I started with.
I'll drop the block off at the machine shop and have it cleaned, new cam bearings and a fresh honing.

12/22/2016
 
Parts Layout
Just to keep you posted on the Engine Work.
While I wait for the Heads and Block to be done at the Machine Shop, I've been slowly and sometimes painfully cleaning parts.

12/27/2016
 
Parts
Picked up the Block, Crank, Intake and Rocker Arms from the machine shop (Donnelly Automotive Machine).
They Block was cleaned, new cam bearings installed, honed and checked, very little wear at 1 to 2 thousandths. The crank was polished and checked, and measurements came in at standard. The heads didn't have any cracks and look good, but won't be ready for a few more days.
The rest of the parts cleaning and preparing is coming along well. I also moved the first engine over to my other engine storage stand (after some modifications and adding casters).
Now just need some new rings and bearings and assembly will start.

1/3/2017 

Title
Picked up the Block, Crank, Intake and Rocker Arms from the machine shop (Donnelly Automotive Machine).
They Block was cleaned, new cam bearings installed, honed and checked, very little wear at 1 to 2 thousandths. The crank was polished and checked, and measurements came in at standard. The heads didn't have any cracks and look good, but won't be ready for a few more days.
The rest of the parts cleaning and preparing is coming along well. I also moved the first engine over to my other engine storage stand (after some modifications and adding casters).
Now just need some new rings and bearings and assembly will start.

1/4/2017


Stopped by the Machine Shop and Phil pressed out the wrist pin from piston #8, lightly polished the pin, mic'd it and installed it back correctly. it hadn't slipped and apparently was installed wrong from the factory back in '98.
Swapped the '89 3 speed onto the '90 engine, and have it ready to back to engine row, that is once I can get to that location in the shop again.
I cleaned up the exterior of the transfercase some and don't expect to have to do anything else to it. I will however have to rebuild the 1990 4 speed transmission.
I cleaned up the camshaft and further cleaned up the intake manifold. before going to prepare the spare TBI I had gotten with the 1990 motor. It turned out that the new TBI was actually from a 1988 318, but I think it will work. If not I'll clean up the once from the 1989 as it was a good working unit.
Next came the cleaning of the tools (and some work surfaces) so I can start the engine assembly without getting too much grease and crud on the new and clean parts.

1/5/2017


Well, a little progress today. It seems when you discover your 1/2" Torque Wrench is broke and your waiting on a part you just don't go very far.
I fortunately had another smaller 3/8" torque wrench that I made do with for the main and worked for the connecting rods/oil pump.
I need the Timing chain Tensioner Retaining Plate before I can check the cam timing and then install the heads. It kept getting back ordered and ended up being on National Back Order. So I canceled the Mopar brand and ordered the Cloyes brand part. Hope to have it tomorrow.

1/6/2017


Well, a little progress today. It seems when you discover your 1/2" Torque Wrench is broke and your waiting on a part you just don't go very far.
I fortunately had another smaller 3/8" torque wrench that I made do with for the main and worked for the connecting rods/oil pump.
I need the Timing chain Tensioner Retaining Plate before I can check the cam timing and then install the heads. It kept getting back ordered and ended up being on National Back Order. So I canceled the Mopar brand and ordered the Cloyes brand part. Hope to have it tomorrow.

1/9/2017


Well after some more cleaning and prepping, it was time to spray the Epoxy Primer. So next comes some color.

1/10/2017


Well, color applied as well as the clear coat.
I oh so wish I had quality spray guns and a proper clean paint booth! But it's not a show engine so it should be just fine.
Once it cures better I'll assemble what I can before moving on to the other parts.
Guess now I'll have to decide if I'm attempting my first Automatic re-build or I find someone who can do a good job. When I rebuilt my Jeep the Automatic was the only items I didn't rebuild, and it's the only item that still gives me problems

1/10/2017


Dave Lennie, well I was just going to wrestle it around on the bench, but after watching a video and with your previous post, I decided to use the engine stand.
First I had to transfer the Engine back to the floor stand, but that meant without a transmission attached I needed to build some rear legs. So I did, but I did not have another swivel dolly wheel, so it's not complete, but setting on blocks.
Next it was thinking through how I could/should build the adapter. Well what you see is my third idea. I did have to go back and add the cross brace as the brackets would rotate a some.
It should work well and allow me to access all the required areas for the teardown and build. The fuild had been previously drained, but what was left in the torque converter says burnt. You can also see some of the debris on the filter.
The case numbers are: K4505154 0344 5742 (Missing a leading P?)
Now to tear it down and get the rebuild kit and parts.

1/13/2017


Well, here is a pile of parts, Automatic Transmission A518/46RH Parts that is. Initial looks at the clutch packs look good, however the 1st/Reverse Band and Drum look like the problem area.
All in all it wasn't too complex, just had to keep checking and re-checking the order and how to. I still need to disassemble the OD unit, but it has the 800 pound spring and I'll either need a special tool, or a press to do it.
Overhaul kit and shift kit are on order, and after some counting (24 spline) and research I know what torque converter to order.
Now to start cleaning everything and getting ready for the parts to arrive.

1/14/2017


Here you can see the 131 tooth 24 tooth spline Torque Converter, I've found a PRO-King # CR61 is the correct replacement.
You can also see the good condition that the Front Band was in.
Next in order are the condition of the Clutch's: Front, Rear & Overdrive Clutches. Based on a conversation with Alan Vanevenhoven, and the conditions of everything I'm not planning of disassembling the OD unit just to find it's Direct Clutch Pack in good condition.
When I went to pull the pump from the front of the case I noticed that it had been removed before, indicating that it had this transmission had likely been rebuilt once before in it's 102K mile life. I found further evidence in what looks like vice teeth marks on the Planetarie Gear Cases. The gears and their bearings are in good condition as well.
This transmission was out of the engine that had the cracked heads from and from MI. I'm betting that this bare bones truck was a plow truck and that likely explains the significant wear only to the Reverse/Manual 1st Gear Band and drum.
Well, it looks like the 1990 and early 91 A518/46RH's used the old 6" 727 Reverse Drum. Which by my luck is not as readily available as the later 6.25" later units. I'll make a call to a place Alan recommended on Monday and do some searching.
The case is, well cleaner. All the internals are nice and clean, and the external part of the case, well it's not as bad as it was.

1/18/2017


Well, I've learned one thing. If the parts are not factory original, don't try and find a correct replacement based on what came out of the vehicle.
The Torque Converter that was in the 1990 W250 A518/46RH was a 131 tooth, 11" dia., 4 pads with 5/16" x 24's on a 10" circle with a slotted hub and 24 spline Non-Lockup unit.
Every web site and manufacture kept pointing me in all kinds of directions from different splines and sizes, but I could not find a 131 tooth unit.
Now yes I've counted the number of teeth many times (4+), and the one out of the transmission is indeed 131 tooth. But when I pulled the pump I noticed it had been pulled before, and finding vice marks on the case of the planetary gears leads me to believe the Torque Converter was likely replaced then with a rebuilt unit made with the wrong ring gear.
So after talking to Dacco I've come to the conclusion that I need a:
130 tooth, 11" dia., 4 pads with 5/16" x 24's on a 10" circle with a sloted hub and 24 spline Non-Lockup Torque Converter (1.810 pilot and no weights)
#526 - Low Stall (or #387 - High Stall)
A couple of others units are:
Pro-King (O'Reilly) PRO#CR61
Precision of NH #5409
So any one know of have any better advice?

1/19/2017


Transmission Parts arriving, hope to have the last parts to start the re-build on it by Monday.
A few more parts. The Reverse/First Gear Band, HD Kevlar. I also picked up the custom made (to my design) Alternator bracket that was machined for my by Jason Britz, a great local guy. He did a great job and it's a shame to paint it. I also got the tensioner for the alternator as well.

1/20/2017


Test fitting the new custom Alternator Bracket. This is not the correct Belt, the One I'll use will be 2" shorter. Also I need to get a couple of shorter bolts for the water pump/bracket.
The alternator clears the head by a solid 1/4" and it will not extend out past the exhaust manifold. It will spin about 7% slower being driven from the cranks front pullies but that should not be an issue.

1/23/2017


Well, today I tackled the Valve Body. It's now cleaned, shift kit'ed and re-assembled. I also cleaned and sent through the pump.
Now I'm back to waiting on parts that were supposed to arrive tomorrow, but not are delayed till Thursday. e-Bay shipper issue.

1/25/2017


Well, while I wait for a slow Shipper and slow First Class Postage for the transmission parts I decided to paint a few more odds and ends.

1/26/2017


Well, the parts arrived, and I proceeded to assemble the transmission.
However not with out a couple of issues/problems.
Apparently the early A518/46RH doesn't use the exact same Reverse/1st Drum from an A727. The A518/46RH Drum was further machined to ass a snap ring to hole it in place in the rear of the case that the A727 doesn't use.
The bigger issue however was the Reverse Band was way loose, and I wasn't sure I had it installed correctly. I tried placing the strut on the tip of the rocker, and that allowed enough tension but after a phone call, and finally finding a video Installing it like that was wrong. So further investigation the "Good used" reverse drum was apparently re-surfaced, and thus slightly smaller than stock. Had I known and some one told me I could have ordered the required 0.15" longer strut that I now apparently need.
So to test and verify this I made a 0.15" longer strut, well I made two the same length as stock before getting it right. (Cut twice and still too short, apparently I cut on the wrong line not once but twice!) With the 0.15" longer strut I have adequate adjustment so now I'll be on the search locally for it, or I'll have to order yet another part.
Sure was hopping to paint the transmission tomorrow, but oh well.

1/27/2017


Well, I'm now waiting on $5.69 part that's taking $7.25 to ship it to me! It's the Sonnax 22900-15 0.15" longer Reverse Strut. Neither of the Decatur Transmission shops had it so I had to order it.
So rather than wait, and since I was able to remove and install the strut with out disassembling the transmission (only had to remove the valve body) I went ahead and cleaned, primed, painted and clear coated it.
Now back to the waiting game.

2/6/2017


Well, the parts crept in through the past week, and I picked up the Torque Converter on Saturday.
Got a little worried, the 0.15" longer Sonnax Strut was more the 0.15" longer than the stock strut I removed from the transmission. IT was 0.225" longer, and was a real bear to install. I was afraid I was going to have to disassemble everything to get it installed, but I prevailed. It fits good with the proper adjustment, the adjuster looks like it's about right for use.
Well, the Torque Converter is a different story. The box was a disaster when I picked it up from O'Reilly's, however I took it anyway. Upon inspection the dust cap was broke with some debris inside the converter (correct spline count though) and it had balance weights which were not supposed to be on a 318 converter. I suspect the weights were to correct rebuild issues, but not sure. With the debris and box condition with the weights, I had O'Reilly's order another one, so I'm back to waiting on parts, again.
I was able to assemble the rest of the Transmission while I wait for the Converter so I can then mate it to the engine and start the final assemble.

2/9/2017


Good parts finally arrived. The Torque Converter box wasn't in any better shape than the previous one and was oil soaked. The clerk at O'Reilly's had to re-tape it as best as she could for me to be able to carry it out of the store. But the Torque Converter inside had a good dust cap and no trash inside. It also looked to be better balanced, and amazingly had 131 teeth.
I installed the torque converter and then mated the engine to the transmission. And well wouldn't you know the bolt spacing between the flex plate and the torque converter are apparently not symmetric. I did find a good pattern and was able to both them together.
Next came some more assembly, and then filling with fluids. With oil in the engine and a filter installed it was time to prime the oil system. So out came my custom oil drive shaft I used with Franky and the drill. Oil system primmed fairly quickly and was getting 65 psi.
With everything in place and the oil system primmed I connected the starter and used the compression tester just to see where the fresh engine stood. The cylinder walls were lubed during assembly and none of the spark plugs were in place. The oil pressure while cranking came to 30 psi.
1 - 160
2 - 170
3 - 165
4 - 175
5 - 160
6 - 175
7 - 180
8 - 165
A little more variability (160-180) than i wanted to see, but with new rings and a fresh hone job on an non-ran engine it should not be an issue,
The alternator mount worked great and should be a winner. I did discover I'll have to make a slight wiring harness change to get the alternator wires into the proper position as the alternator location is a little further away wire length wise.
Next comes some more wiring work, test stand cooling system installation and a little more assembly and checking before I fire everything up for the initial test.

2/10/2017


Well, now that the assemble is all together I'm not so sure it will fit in the RZR!
Oh, well, lets put the seat in place and get a feel for how it might set.
Did a little engine wiring harness tweaking.

2/14/2017


Well, I know it's Valentine’s Day, but the Engine is at least Red.
I got to make the final electrical and fuel line connections and start the 1990 Dodge W250 318 Engine for the first time today. Thanks Brittaney for helping me video it.
The first two attempts, well it didn't start, after a little checking I discovered that the Auto Shut Down Relay, was bad, even though it was clicking. As a result it was not turning on the fuel pump, and without fuel they just won’t start and run.
This video starts out with the 3rd attempt, and as you can see, with the fuel pump working it started right up.
I had to add 6 more quarts of ATF, and expected to have to add some. The engine does run good and sounds strong, but it does seem to bog down and die after running a little while.
After adding the ATF the transmission seems to work correctly. It does put a little load on the engine while in reverse, but everything seems to be correct and OK.
I did discover that the valve covers leak, so I’ll have to pull them and add some sealer, and hopefully get them to not leak. The water temperature sender I had installed was bad, and have since switched it out with another good one. The speedometer works, as does the other gauges. The charging system looks to be working strong, with 14.4 volts.
When I topped off the coolant before test firing it I was hit with my curse. A coolant leak, at the thermostat. So off it came and I used some sealant, but to no avail, it’s still leaking, Ug, so in addition to the valve covers I get to fix a coolant leak. The radiator leak is no issue as that is my engine test radiator and won’t be used as the engine gets a home.

3/21/2017


Removed old Motor from PW

3/25/2017


Fit the New Motor into the PW

3/26/2017


Well, I understand that it's not cool to put an Automatic in a Power Wagon, but I now know why it's not done, it just doesn’t fit well physically.

That being said I will succeed in doing it, just not an easy job, and the engine will have a little more slop than I'd like.

I've been looking at solving the exhaust to steering box interference. So as I can't raise the front of the engine any without further aggravating the engine slop issue since the transmission almost hits the bottom of the cab I considered moving the engine further forward.

Will that isn't an option, the engine with the 1990 pullies at the lower installation position is just s snug fit between the firewall and the radiator support.

So now I've come to the realization that I'll have to buy a set of Block Hugger Headers and modify the number 7 header exhaust routing.

I've also worked out the rear cross member basics as well. I'll need to drill out and tap the rear most transmission extension mounting points to keep the cross member as rearward as possible.

 

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