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Discussion Starter · #361 ·
Having been instructed to purchase Chrysler only sensors, I'm trying. They are a little more difficult to find and clearly not priced for quick sale. I will say as they slowly find their way to me each is marked Made in the United States. I have yet to complete the collection. Seal the valve covers, add plugs, tape the intake TB and injectors and I can quit bagging this thing. Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #363 ·
Cost vs reward, think about it needle roller bearings are not designed to oscillate. I would not use less than top quality ones. My experience with extended ratio rockers is they tend to loose on the bottom and may pay back further up the rpm range. You didn't ask about those but if you wanted to know. We will at some point remember this is just an old truck engine. Steve
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Wow, it's crazy how good the engine looks now. I read through nearly all of this thread late last night, was really nice to see the machining, cleaning, and someone fully building the often-unloved 3.9L V6. I almost don't want to look under the hood of my dad's truck anymore since I'll be disappointed that it looks nowhere as good. I'd love to hear how it sounds once you start her up again, wonder if a V6 with only headers will have a nice and super smooth running sound like my high school auto shop's 1983 Firebird with a Vortec V8 swap with just headers after our rebuild. (not even coming close to your refinements and level of cleaning)

I've been looking at your posts @CooperTune , and your dedication + experience is amazing. Raising the rev limit of any engine more than 500RPM with any semblance of reliability seems crazy to me, although I guess a lot of machining hours and high quality, forged internals can do a lot. The 9000 RPM Minis sound like they would have been wild to hear. (I may not remember that part perfectly; even the modern Minis were never my thing since I'm 6'6".)

Edited my reply so that the wall of text is hidden. You made some good points; I'm not a big user of forums and I got carried away with my enthusiasm last night. (probably <10 posts ever) Also noticed the final drive post you made; I might have missed it being tired, or ignored it since I might have thought about it after I saw the post title, having forgotten about it.

Obviously this is a Dakota forum as the name suggests, but the 3.9L is shared, and the base model RAM 1500 with the V6 are pretty similar.
My dad bought his Dodge RAM 1500 V6 WS (Standard cab, 8' bed) new in 1998, I'm excited that I'll get to drive it a fair bit once we order the brake line kit for it.
(We've already tried replacing the small section of line where the steel line connects to the flexible line that goes down to the rear axle, ended up leaking when trying to bleed even with what we thought were good flares after many practice attempts flaring spare brake line.
Quite hard to work with when it goes along inside the frame rail, and just rearwards of the fuel tank.)

I've been looking all around to look for some ideas to improve the power output of the V6 since it will have probably lost some power over the years, and I'm far from able to do a full rebuild. Maybe I don't explore full engine builds enough, but yours seems incredible, like a re-manufacture instead of a re-build. Boost (either supercharger or turbo) is of course the best bang for buck option for power, yet also requires a lot of supporting mods to work, let alone to be somewhat reliable. I'd be very interested to hear your opinion/experience with various cheaper mods as to how beneficial they are. (I know that stock intakes are often quite good, especially on these trucks. Aftermarket cold air intakes are gonna be warmer than most stock intakes unless they're sticking up through a cut hood or behind a hole in the bumper)

Basically, I'm thinking of removing the belt-driven fan and replacing it with electric fans, along with the necessary oil change (truck has been sitting for a few years), gonna check the spark plugs to see if they need replacing or cleaning. Less likely, I'd consider removing the power steering pump/pulley and possibly even the A/C compressor to further reduce the power losses and weight. Dad would certainly question the power steering removal though, and my mom would probably hate it if she had to drive it on a random occasion where our Grand Caravan wasn't available. There's not a lot of cheap/free weight-reduction options otherwise since it's a full steel, long bed, full size truck (not a Ranger or anything, the toolboxes and tools are going go in the garage once we've gotten it roadworthy again).

As well, we're gonna ignore that the truck has a 90s 4-speed automatic that's probably never been serviced as we discuss "power losses". A manual would have been a lot nicer, but I think the Work Special package may have been auto-only, and maybe my dad wanted an auto as part of his need for a budget work truck at the time. As such, I won't be able to demonstrate the third gear third base joke (doesn't make sense if the transmission isn't a dog leg or weird shift pattern though) to a girlfriend, but there's subsequently more interior space and more leg room for the middle seat.

Catalytic converter removal and replacement with a "test pipe" would be good as well, considering that Dodge lowered the output rating to 175 HP after making the exhaust manifold slightly smaller for like the 1996 model year. (IK about the implications of this, even though my province scrapped emissions testing) I'd be willing to even run it without the exhaust manifolds, if not for the obscene noise level that would be worse than straight pipes, (budget isn't high enough for exhaust valves and a proper exhaust setup so I can switch between normal sound levels and straight pipe for when I want to rip it) and the potential for CO2 to buildup in the cabin. I know about the torque dip that occurs below ~3000rpm because of this, which is fine as this engine has a good torque rating and I won't be towing anything with the truck. (not gonna haul anything super heavy in the bed either)

Another, somewhat silly modification I thought of was to add pieces of plastic to close off the two holes in the front bumper, and possibly behind/in front of the grill because this also isn't a very low drag vehicle, which will help highway fuel economy a touch, nice for if and when I go camping with it. (engine is very well cooled as it has the same radiator as the 5.2L and 5.9L V8, thermostat is working correctly, so I'm not gonna go overheat it like a dummy) The often-recommended 180F thermostat swap seems to just be snake oil from what I can tell from more credible sources like a Motor Trend article, let me know if your experience says otherwise.

The method to slightly advance the timing listed here: Did some low cost 3.9 mods
seems promising, but I know I'll want to drive it for some time to get an idea of how it really runs and also a baseline to gauge whether there was any improvement. I have heard that these engines do like that though. (I understand how this is a delicate balance between more power and stuff like detonation)

Lastly, a more recent idea (and a less stupid idea to try and pull off compared to bargain bin turbos and refurb OEM superchargers) is to possibly eventually change the final drive rack & pinion for some more "power" and torque provided by a shorter final drive (moving from the 3.55 once now to a 4:10 or something ideally in between). Obviously a bit involved since it involves draining and refilling the diff, but it's something that's not neccessarily bad for reliability compared to bargain bin forced induction. Not gonna be as good for highway fuel economy, but I'm generally not going to be driving on highways for very long or often.

Thanks for your time, I realize I ended up typing an essay. :LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter · #366 ·
I'm overwhelmed have no idea what to say. Nice work it's clear you know your way around a computer. You have links and additional info. I do not want to hurt your feelings and having a son who thinks a car if something to get there in, what's got the most gas? I respect your interest and desire to take part. Maybe humor?

You mention dad's truck and mom don't like manual steering so you weren't raised by wolves. Where are your manners? Take a look around, I have 11 discussions in this section alone. There is something related to some part of your 11 paragraphs ( nice touch I'm not a word smith but appreciate the written word ) and they could be addressed there. Maybe you could cut and paste what ever you do and move all but your first paragraph and ending. Editing here for a cleaner look. I just don't understand your setting up your home page in the middle of a 4 month effort by others? Sorry I'm an old man and can't help myself. Thanks for all the kind words and interest. What ever you think is best. Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #368 ·
I have mentioned it before but not shown it bagged. When ever not working on or taking pictures it's was bagged for protection. Once fully sealed it would require a much larger bag or just a fender cover.

Why would I need to level it on the engine stand? If you don't know the dip stick runs down a tube in the block, then enters a guide welded to the side of the oil pan which guides the stick to the bottom of the sump. I started a thread based on my concerns about this being a 4 qt system. Each oil change gets a filter and four qts and shows full. In this picture the engine is level and that is qt number 5. Oil pressure has been developed with drill, filter full and engine rotated to pump lifters and send oil though out the system till puddling oil began draining back to the base. I was surprised at the amount of oil retained in the cyl heads and lifter valley. With five qts in the level is still just below the add 1 qt mark. I'm thinking the oil in the cyl heads is there to cool the valve springs and the exhaust ports then carry the heat to the sump. I feel much better knowing there are 6 qts in my engine. Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #370 ·
I still love green oil, ran Kendal GT1 in all my race cars. This is before adding the valve covers and adding oil till it runs to valley though the valve covers. It looks like the valve cover lower edge seal is very important. The Felpro valve cover gaskets appear to be up to the task. Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #372 ·
You just have to love it. Open a box of plug wires here since may. Get to number six the shortest of all and it's missing. They are the 8.5mm super duper ones. Screw it, I ordered another set which I have a feeling will be delivered missing number six! We have talked about mechanical fan and it's drag on HP. New clutch, cleaned up fan. Like everything else I have complained about, weight. My truck has an electric fan that has not worked since I have had it. I do have a new replacement fan and it will work before things go back together. You hear different HP values for removal of mechanical fan. My last trip was 1000 miles in 20 hours with the unloading and turn around. Both fans will stay for now. If we make it to the dyno I'll remove it for a pull or two.
Sorry but I'm still on about the oil. That is qt six and we are still 1/2 qt low on the dip stick. Funny the truck likes the weather and is running great. Getting gas yesterday it too was 1/2 qt low. I used to top at 1/2 qt low, knowing there are six still in there it can wait two more tanks full and get a whole qt.
While they are really cool looking these headers offer up their own set of issues. You would think a 4000 lb truck and a small engine there would be tons of space under there. There is not any extra room and the cast exhaust manifolds had heat shields. I can see the reason and will have to form my own. Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #374 ·
At the beginning I said I would not bother with the early walk around pics. If you haven't looked in awhile this shield is in the brake booster area kind of tucked up under. I'll be honest I did not have fun forming the splash shield with the material I found. Stainless would be nice then I could weld SS hardware to the tubes and bolt right on. Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #376 ·
I did not paint the lugs where the crank sensor mount. Most likely does not require ground though mount. Just below you can see the notches in the ring back side of flywheel. Try as I might I have yet to locate a MOPAR crank sensor. Interesting the info provided lots of parts offer 12 months and 12000 miles. Others 36 months and 36000 miles. Some stuff really is made in the USA.
I kind of thought he black plastic part would extend below the tranny mounting face. It does not causing the mount to preload the pickup against the block. Torqued and Loc-tite. I'm a little surprised at the space between the reluctor ring and pickup. While I know what this one is I don't have a figure for correct spacing.
My new set of plug wires showed up. And I was mistaken, number 6 is the second shortest wire. Still looking for MOPAR cam position sensor. Steve.

PS We are about to stick a fork in it. I'm grateful to the Mature Marine for his support. Also to those who have followed this slightly drawn out thread. I'm not sure if an engine change belongs in this section. The AC has been serviced to remove freon and a space in the shop prepped.. Work and pictures go on. Question is should I display here or start a new thread in another section?
 

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Discussion Starter · #378 ·
I shoot more pictures than you see. I had this great theory about the notches on the flywheel. The flywheel for this job has been a story all it's own. Trying to get a good picture of the raised edge on all the notches I got something else. They show as a thin white line. I tend to de burr everything I come to. I left them and suspect they serve no purpose. Having no flywheel or clutch with the core engine and buying 3/8 X 1 course grade 8 by the 100 for tranny and starter mount (mini) that's what I used. Looking for a good picture to explain my thoughts about notches I realized 3/8 X 7/8 would have been a better choice. Having express interest and concern about crank sensor spacing above the notches until reviewing pics I did not realize the treads may impact the sensor. I could have backed them out and add a loc washer. Two things I have noticed on this engine. They like course threads and don't use loc washers. Better living though chemicals. Shorter grade 8 bolts correct torque with red Loc-tite. After adding sensor I had no reason to rotate engine. Should have gotten a picture of torque front crank bolt. I had to borrow a torque wrench to handle 208 ft lbs. Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #380 · (Edited)
I'm not all that comfortable with the weight on this engine stand. While not the wrench used you get the idea. Even though 208 is a heck of a pull. This is how I lock flywheels for torquing the front bolt. Sorry just playing with the hoses. I can't help but say I'm excited for the next phase. Steve

Edit: I mention I borrowed a tool to torque a bolt. To call, drive over get tool go to my shop torque part and return tool was less than an hour at the worst traffic time of day. I have always had a rule about borrowing tools. Take mine back before sun goes down. I borrow back as soon as possible, order one from Snap-On Tuesday. A 250 ft lb Snap-On torque wrench I'm going to pass this time.
 
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