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1978 Dodge 3/4 ton 4x4 plowtruck? should i get?

Discussion in 'Ram Trucks' started by BushHogBoy, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. BushHogBoy

    BushHogBoy Senior Member
    Messages: 665

    Ran across a '78 Dodge 3/4 ton 4x4, 360, a/t. I think it might be a M880 Ex-military truck, not real sure yet. haven't checked it out real good. haven't talked to the owner but the owners brother showed it to me sitting in their barn. i can get it real cheap. also i can get a 7.5' Meyer blade cheap. i searched but couldn't find much info on these old Dodge "PowerWagon" trucks. Seems what info was there said they were indestructable and great for plowing :D
    My uncle has one similar to this and its been indestructable. My other uncle has one like it but a half ton and with leather interior, and a stick shift i beleive he got it new. plus i know a couple kids running these old Dodge trucks around here if i need parts they probably could hook me up. it comes with another engine and transfer case, 4 new white wagon spoke wheels and at least 2 if not 4 thornbird? tires. ran strong when parked. i think i can get it for around $500-600. The plow i can get $200 or maybe less. I'm sure i'll have to do a couple thing to the plow and truck but looks like for under $1k i could have a good strong plow truck that would be good to romp around in in summer time :D
    yes? no? anyone familiar with these old tanks?
    this would be my first plow truck. i'm 17. i really like the idea of having this truck around... i can see having alot of fun with it and letting it make money with the plow.
  2. Bad Luck

    Bad Luck Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    How rusty are the floors, rockers, fenders and cab mounts?

    Those trucks are tanks. Excellent plow vehicles. If you don't buy point me to the guy. 500 beans and it comes with an extra engine and trans? SOLD
  3. BushHogBoy

    BushHogBoy Senior Member
    Messages: 665

    haven't looked at it close yet.
    yep spare engine and transfer case (not transmission). I am sure it could be had for 500-600. I know where another one is at, about same age, 3/4 ton 4x4 its rougher though. comes with two "complete" 440 motors, truck and a plow (belt driven pump) its all rougher and the truck is mostly apart right now. has factory a/c and tilt wheel, its an a/t. Wanted $500 for the whole bowl of wax but its too much of a project for me and its all rougher and more rusted, being a plow truck. I knew where it was sitting and had the guys phone number but then he moved the stuff to a different place (i don't know where) and i had his cell number. i did talk to him after he moved it and he still had it just gave up trying to sell it. then i lost his cell number. it was 2 hrs away from here, near my uncles with the Power Wagons also. Give me some time i MIGHT be able to find a way to get ahold of the guy again..... he wouldn't really come down on the price any though and wouldn't seperate the items. at the time i was only interested in the blade. that was like this summer and i wasn't giving $500 for the whole mess then try to get rid of it all but the blade which was rusted anyway.
  4. ProEnterprises

    ProEnterprises Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 379

    eric, as long as the body is not totally cancered out, i would say without a doubt go for it. i mean, the sep. engine and case alone are worth that much. you coudl get the plow for 200, have it ready to go with 500 at most. your right, you could have a perfectly functional plow truck for under 1 grand, go for it! keep us posted.
  5. BushHogBoy

    BushHogBoy Senior Member
    Messages: 665

    I already have MY mind made up about it before i posted, I'm just waiting for my parents to decide if i can get another vehicle... :rolleyes: :yow!:

    Was just seeing if anyone else has or had one of these trucks to plow with if they'd come out of the wood work and speak up. Don't seem like these years of Dodge trucks are too common... yet they seem pretty tough too.
  6. Big John

    Big John Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    I plow with a '90 1/2 ton Dodge. It's a pretty tough old truck! The late '70s Power Wagons we're really built tough.
  7. tuna

    tuna Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    Deffinitly a tough truck but those old Dodges are notorious for weak front wheel bearings,check it out good it should be a pretty good buy.
  8. 440trk

    440trk Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    Buy IT!

    My daily driver/plow/tow vehicle is a 77 Dodge Club Cab 1/2 ton 4x4.
    It's a tank. gas milage isn't the greatest (400CID auto), but it plows great. The 75-79 Dodge trucks used the NP203 transfer case, and are a FULL TIME 4x4. For plowing...this rocks! The transfer case shifter will read:


    When not in a "LOC" position, the transfer case will act kind of like an open differential....allowing power to both the front and rear axle, but not always equal power. When you want a 50/50 power split from front to rear, use one of the "LOC" positions.

    You can effectively plow snow in "LO" (1.98:1 ratio), get power to both the front and rear axles, but still make tight turns without drivetrain binding/bucking. Just using "Lo" and not "Lo-Loc" for plowing is great.

    As mentioned..the front bearings in these trucks are an odd design. IF you buy this truck, the first order of business should be to jack up and support the front axle, remove both front tires, and look for about a 1" diameter hole in the hub, between 2 lug studs. Now, while looking through that hole (use flashlight), slowly turn the rotor, until you see a grease zerk. Grease the living crap outta it! Do that often and the front bearings will live a long and happy life (providing you don't hang a set of 34" or larger tires on it).

    That truck should have a Dana 44 front, and a Dana 60 rear.

    If you have ANY questions on these trucks, feel free to PM me, or drop me an e-mail 440trk@ Excite.com

    I've owned several of these trucks, and my brother has 2 of the Military versions (one 880 and one 882)

    Also check out these sites:

    www.Moparts.com (go to the truck section)

    All the info you will probably ever want to know about these trucks. :nod:
  9. ProEnterprises

    ProEnterprises Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 379

    any updates on the truck and/or plow eric?
  10. BushHogBoy

    BushHogBoy Senior Member
    Messages: 665

    it does not look like i'll be getting the truck at this point. plow- i dunno. if i do get it i'll have to get new tires on my dually flatbed F350. For the cost of that i don't see how its a better idea than getting the Dodge 4x4... but i guess i'm not a parent so i'm stupid.. what do i know huh.....

    i can't find a way to make it work with garden tractors either. the one i had to use, the motor is junk on and i don't have a good replacement motor, plus the tractor wasn't setup the best either. but its the best option out of my 4 tractors. so i dont' know what to do... i'm pretty mad at my parents because they are messing me up... every day that goes by that they delay making a decision on stuff is one more day lost that i could be working on doing SOMETHING toward removing the freakin snow (no snow yet but its december in indiana ya never know we could get 2' this month or none at all). no matter which machine i end up using i need time to get it all ready but they act like they got all the time in the world and its never a good time to talk about it... sheez i can't wait to move out so i can get a freaking life of my own... i'm not stupid i'm just nearly broke right now and my options aren't very good.
  11. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    The only ones with any history of bearing problems was the 73 to 79 models with that darn hubless bearing design axle used in the front end of trucks during those years.
  12. tuna

    tuna Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    I believe 78 falls within those years :salute:
  13. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    It sure does but the good news is if you can find a donor truck (any brand with a D44) with correct hub, spindle and axle stub shafts, you can swap out them out on current axle without have to change complete assembly
  14. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    If its old military you may want to check it may be a 24 volt system
  15. BushHogBoy

    BushHogBoy Senior Member
    Messages: 665

    Thanks for all the replies guys.
    actually my parents said i could get it so i need go look at it alot closer as soon as the owner and i get together on the deal hopefully soon. the plow will be coming in about a week i beleive/hope.
    we'll see. i'll keep you updated.
    Thanks for all the help!
    Eric :jester: :cool: :drinkup: :nod:
  16. 440trk

    440trk Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    72-74 full size trucks used lock-outs and the NP205 transfer case. 75-79 full size trucks used the full-time hubs and the NP203 transfer case.

    And as long as they are maintained properly....they hold up pretty well as long as you don't hang huge tires on 'em.
  17. 440trk

    440trk Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    Nope...the Military trucks are basically 3/4 ton civilian units. Some did use a dual battery system (mostly communications trucks), but even those kept the 12v basics for the main truck, and only used true 24v for the radio equipment if needed.
  18. 440trk

    440trk Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    I believe you need to swap the steering knuckle for this as well?
    Again, there is no need to go through this unless the current front axle has not been properly maintained. Albeit not the greatest bearing design, the fulltime factory setup works fine when properly lubed/taken care of.

    Bushhogboy...the Military M880's were NOT 360 equipped. They came with the 318 engine. If the truck you are looking at does indeed have a 360...it was transplanted. (not necessarily a bad thing as 360 = more torque). Physically, the 318 and 360 do not really look any different from one another...but there are ways to tell them apart. On the Drivers side of the engine block, above the Starter, you will see a casting number simular to this....4179930-360-2

    In this example, the 4179930 is part of a sequential casting number, the "360" is the cubic inch displacement. and the "2" is the engine series number.

    If your truck has an engine block that ends in 318-x then you have a 318 engine, and not a 360.

    PS the 4179930 is not a specific sequential number, so yours will probably be different.
  19. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    Correct basically everything from the pivot/ball joints out. Dodge use their design for reduced production costs and also made it harder for end users to correctly service the unit too.