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5.2 / 5.9 Magnum - durability / reliability

Discussion in 'Vans' started by Kevin1990, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. Kevin1990

    Kevin1990 Active Member

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    Gentlemen,

    I got 2 offers for 2 different Ram Van´s. I always wanted one, but there are maybe 5 pcs driving arround in the whole scene / country...
    One has only got 47 000 miles on it, it´s a 5.9 / short wheelbase / cargo. The other one´s a conversion, low top, short wheelbase, 165 000 miles.

    I already got into the chassis / drivelines and how they´re built etc, but are there any known troubles on this engines / transmissions?

    What oil do they need?

    Any weak spots on the chassis?


    I´ve never even seen one, so i never had the chance to do some work on them...

    Thanks again and Merry X Mas from oversea
    Kevin
     
  2. dana44

    Ad-Free Member

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    Well, runnig gear wise they are durable, pretty easy to get parts still, so that shouldn't be an issue. They usually run 10W30 or 10W40 without a problem, never heard of them being finicky about either like some.

    Suspension connections are about the only thing I have heard as an issue with the big vans, rusting at times, but easy to fix or prevent that issue, so not major.

    They are very good workhorses and lots of conversions were done with them in the 70s thru 90s, and if it were a desire of mine to have one, good vehicles overall.
     
  3. Kevin1990

    Kevin1990 Active Member

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    OK great to read thanks!

    Yeah i heard of some rust problems arround the frame area....the cargovan was coated with Mike Sanders underneith, current owner says like new, but i havent seen the van yet.
     
  4. dana44

    Ad-Free Member

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    Yes, but other than that, haven't heard of any common failures.
     
  5. Kevin1990

    Kevin1990 Active Member

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    OK that´s great.

    And gas mileage? Any known numbers? Sure, it´ll eat more then my 2 6G72´s....but would be good to know :)
     
  6. AC TC

    AC TC Well-Known Member

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    Both the 5.2 and 5.9 suffers from leaky intake bally pan gaskets. ( makes em use oil and foul plugs)
    - Easy to diagnose and easy to fix
    They still have distributors and ign wires.
    - Needs maintance once in a while. ( theres one hell of spark in the system so any weakspots sparkle..)
    Likes gas.
    Uses almost any xW-30/ 40 oil, not finnickly at all.( stay away from not know brands...)
    Dont run them on a long oil change..stay at say 6-7000 miles between changes. ( they love rotella, delo, delvac "diesel oils")

    Dont forget to flush the cooling system and get some new antifreeze in there. ( old green or G05, motorcraft gold but no dexcool or all makes antifreeze)
    The rust usually ends up in the cabin heater with a bad result, cool ride in the winter.
     
  7. valiant67

    valiant67 Rich Corinthian Leather
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    One weak spot that has not been mentioned is cracked heads. I've seen some people speculate that almost all of these heads crack but most cracks don't cause a problem. Also depending on the year the timing chain may need replaced between 100-150k miles. Eventually they used double roller chains. The 9.25" rear axle isn't as good after 1999 or so. before it has been bullet proof.
     
  8. floridaman2013

    floridaman2013 Active Member

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    Also, if these are the "B" series vans, they used to have a steering box to frame cracking problem. There was an available kit to weld around the frame attaching points to beef up the frame rail from stress cracking of the steering box. Not sure if Chrysler ever fixed the situation or what year if any.
     
  9. vipergg

    vipergg Well-Known Member

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    I had a 97 2500 Conversion lowtop with the 5.2 liter and it was very consistent at about 18 mpg on the highway and probably 13-14 in the city . Certainly not misers and the main reason I eventually got rid of it due to the 32 gallon tanks.Took it on numerous trips from upstate NY to florida and back. Great to travel in other than when you had high winds which made it a handful to drive. I loved it while i had it and our kids who were small then loved all the lights and stuff on the ceiling of the conversion . Back then bought it brand new 2500 long conversion for $17000 . I did have to get the intake plenum fixed to solve the oil burning but other than that never had many issues with it . New shocks made a huge difference in the ride in later years at about 70000 miles . Never saw any major rust issues in the 7 years I had it and they salt the heck out of the roads up here. That being said anything you are buying now is pretty old so check for rust issues before you buy.
     
    #9 vipergg, Dec 29, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
  10. Kevin1990

    Kevin1990 Active Member

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    Late, but still....

    I got myself this 1993:

    [​IMG]

    5.2, bought it from the original ownor, Florida imported in 1998, rust free, 132 xxx miles.....best thing i ever bought, i love it
     
    PCRMike likes this.
  11. funair92

    funair92 New Member

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    Lots of good information here.

    I have had an 02 1500 for about 5 years. Here are another few common issues.

    The front brake line eventually end up collapsing causing pulling and warping of the rotors. I would do these ASAP.
    The CPS and coil die without warning. Keep spares of these in your van.
    The PCM is notorious for dying a quick and horrible death. Usually if you think it is a computer issue - it is the PCM.
    The ignition switch eventually fails and you will know this when your power windows and radio start turning themselves off without warning.
    The strut rod bushings crack internally and there is no way to see it. If you notice that the bushings are not fully flush and up against the bracket, it is bad.
    It think everyone has had to replace their radiator in these vans.
    The hydraulic transmission, like the 32RH and 42RH and solid and reliable. Mine wore at at 150k miles. My van is a conversion and its dry weight is 6000lbs, that probably had something to do with that. The 42 and 46RE are electronically controlled and have solenoids that can cause shifting issues.
    The power window regulators will fail eventually. If you every hear cracking, like the sound of breaking spaghetti when you roll up the window, your regulator is about to bite it.
    Water pumps fail a lot along with the bypass hose. If you every hear a tiny mouse squeak from your belt, this could be your issue.
    The belt tensioners from aftermarket are hit or miss.
    Plugs, wires and cap should always be replaced at the same time, unless you have the $100 Accel ceramic plug wires. I recommend these if you life in a hot area. You will know your normal wires are bad when you get p0301, 0302 etc. misfire codes.
    Do not use the Bosch O2 sensor. I learned this first hand. It doesn't work right with the PCM and will clog your cat.. Use only the Denso or NTK.
    Fuel pumps die too. If you can get your tank down to less that 5 gallons, it is only 2 nuts to drop the tank. Some people like to cut a hole in the floor of their van. I believe this isn't necessary as dropping the tank is fairly easy.
    That is about all I have off the top of my head :) Enjoy!
     
    Kevin1990 and Bearhawke like this.
  12. 52Dodgecoronet

    52Dodgecoronet Active Member

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    I've owned my 1977 B-200 Sportsman camper van since it was new. Overall, it has been an excellent vehicle, I really like it and I would like to keep it forever.

    It did have the frame cracking problem, which the dealer repaired and has never recurred. At the same time, I braced and gusseted the mounting brackets for the steering box, which I recommend doing.

    Quality control for these vehicles was sometimes poor, although the basic engineering was always top rate. For example, the block deck on my original (LA, non-Magnum) engine was not square, and the timing chain had stretched. Solution: have a good machinist build a really good engine for the van. No further problems with the engine.

    So sometimes you need to correct the factory's poor quality control, but you generally can fix it fine and it is worth it, IMHO.

    A lot of people actually sold off the old Dodge carbureted vans because they could never get the choke working right on them, and they would flood and die on a cold start and refuse to re-start. Getting the choke to work acceptably on these models can be a bit difficult.
     
    Kevin1990 likes this.
  13. Kevin1990

    Kevin1990 Active Member

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    Well mine also needs a trans, but its not worn out yet, just leaking everywhere.

    Also i need some front suspension work done and all brake hoses, just to be safe...
     

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