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Need help please, don't know much about trucks and just bought an older Dodge

Discussion in 'Ram Trucks' started by brandonjames, Dec 25, 2007.

  1. brandonjames

    brandonjames Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    HI all,
    I joined this site a few eeks ago to try and learn a little about plowing, and I must say there is a lot of pretty knowledgeable guys on here. I never learned much at all growing up about cars, trucks, engines or anything of the sort, should of listened to my Dad! Any way I am moving my family out of Grand Rapids, MI to Lowell (outside of Lowell in the counrty) The property and house is up some hills and in the country off unpaved roads...we are going to love it! The thing is I am afraid my Buick Lesabre won't make it very well in the winter time and I was nervous about being snowed in. So I decided I wanted to get a truck with a plow and learn a thing or two...hahaha! I found an older truck, a 1977 Dodge Power Wagon for $400. It started right up and I checked all the things my brother-in-law told me on the phone to check (smoke, overheating etc. etc.) everything seemed pretty good except the brakes, the guy told me that the front left brake line had to be crimped (whatever that means?) my B.I.L. told me that wasnt too major a thing. The heater did not start the first time I started it, although the truck fired right up. The dome light does not work...whoopee! It needs mufflers (very loud) again whoopee! I just want something that is a strong runner and dependable and safe enough for my wife to take the twins from time to time (only when absolutely necessary) to town to the store or Dr. visit when I am at work. I just got home from the 40 mile drive from picking up the truck and over 50mph the steering is terrible and it used almost a half a tank WOW? the brakes are pretty bad, you have to pump them and then it pulls to the right, that would explain the crimping of the left front brake line...duh! But I don't even know what size it 1/2, 3/4 or 1 ton? and did I pay a fair amount for this truck? Now what do I need to do
    and know to get a used plow for it? I just really wanted a truck mainly for the property to maybe haul wood and plow driveway (700 yards) Thanks alot for any kind of info and advice you can give me, I appreciate it. I wish I started at a younger age to learn the manly things, I need a mentor. Anyway have a very Merry Christmas!
  2. bigmudder77

    bigmudder77 Senior Member
    from wooster
    Messages: 125

    well replace all the brake lines and the front pads and rotors $400 for a running truck is like nothing you can get almost all that back by junking it.

    now im not really sure on what your question is.

    but plows this time of year are going for like 2-4 times what you paid for that truck lol kinda the wrong year to buy plows

    but let me know what you wanna know and ill try to help you
  3. brandonjames

    brandonjames Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Cool thanks alot, that makes my wife feel alot better. The guy said the brake pads and rotors were good, just put them on a couple of years ago but he hasnt hardly driven much at all since, only fired it up a few times a year to keep the juices flowing. What kind of plow do I need for that kind of truck? Will I have to take off the heavy duty pusher bar in the front to installl a plow and my BIL was telling me I could get a used older plow and have it installed for about $600? What do you think?
  4. Wiseguyinc

    Wiseguyinc Member
    from MN
    Messages: 56

    dodges are great

    I have always liked the older dodge trucks. Good price too. If you have a model number on the side of your truck it will tell you what size it is. The 100 series is a 1/2 ton.The 150 or 200 is a 3/4 ton and the 300 is a 1 ton.If you have the 1/2 ton I bet your engine is a 318.Great engines that will run many miles. The mpg should be fairly good.You may have full time four wheel drive however which will make it lower.
    First thing, I would make sure to check the brake fluid to see if you need to fill it.If you are having to pump the brakes they may be leaking.If the fluid is full then they may only need to be bled.I don't know what is meant by crimping the brake line.You may want to have a mechanic check it out if you are not certain.Brakes are not something to leave half done.:eek:
    a plow installed for 600 bucks would not be much of a plow I am afraid. Maybe in the summer time you could find that but now I doubt it.
    Enjoy the old dodge.
  5. bigmudder77

    bigmudder77 Senior Member
    from wooster
    Messages: 125

    ya man $600 for an old plow isnt too bad around this time of year but most people that sell it for that its just the blade (no pump wiring frame controlls)

    but i mean hey maybe he just wants to sell it get some pics of it first and post it

    also if the brakes are new but didnt have alot of use and it sat some place for a while when you get in it and try to drive it the rust and junk can make the rotors warp cause of the heat it would cause.

    also you might have a stuck caliper ive had that with some cars i left sitting for a while some you can fix but might just be better to go get a new one depending on price my cars was $50 trucks i know are alot more

    and also do you want a good plow that you can leave on your truck ALL winter or one to just put on when it snows plow with it then take it off right away and not do over 40mph with?

    cause there are ways to make it work with a wench and some welding you just would have to angle it your self or leave it stright

    but thats what i bet this guy for $600 is gonna do weld up some junk that yours gonna have nothing but trouble with

    i check on a new plow for my truck and it was over $5000 used i cant find and thing under $2000 just to let you know

    but good luck and keep us posted
  6. dforbes

    dforbes Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    if the brake line is crimped it probably had a leak in it so he cut it and crimped it to keep it from leaking. If this is what he did you only have fluid goin to 3 brakes. also air in the lines. I would start by replacing the brake lines, inspect brakes and rotors. Also go look at the plow and see what it is. I have sold some old westerns at this time of year that worked great for $500.00. so it is possible that you are getting a good deal. Just be sure to ask lots of questions. then ask us any if you are not sure.
  7. brandonjames

    brandonjames Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks alot I really appreciate all the info and advice I ncan get guys!:salute: I know the motor is a 360 and it has a shifter with hi, HiLoc, neutral, Lo, and LoLoc. The guy told me it is a floating 4 wheel drive in Hi (he described it like a slip differential between tires in back only here it is between front and rear tires) then in HiLoc or LoLoc it is full time 4x4 with LoLoc being a granny gear.
  8. brandonjames

    brandonjames Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I am sorry guys, I need to clear up some confusion I am prolly responsible for. My Brother-in-law down home in Keokuk, Iowa told me on the phone I was probably looking at spending around $600 for an older used plow to fit this truck, and that is with everything, wiring, mount and controls?? But he wasnt 100% positive. I don't actually have a plow yet that I am looking at. I want to get this truck out to our new property and find someone who is good at this kind of thing and have him come out and take a look at it and give me a run down on everything it needs to be safe and reliable and start knocking off one thing at a time. I would love (so would my wife) if I could start learning how to do these things myself. It would sure be alot cheaper. I only make $16 an hour, but have been finding opportunities to work 70-80 hours a week here lately. Thank God, or none of this would be possible, including moving my family out of this darn city.
  9. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    Count the lug nuts...
    then report back..

    Take a look at the sticker in the door jam It will have the info as to what size the truck is.
    What does the title say??

    5 lugs a W100 or a 150, 1500 = 1/2 ton

    W200 or 250, 2500=3/4 ton
    W300 0r a350, 3500 = 1 ton.

    Unless you are handy with a wrench and plain on working on it your self then it maybe a k.o. find.

    What condition is the body and wiring in?
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2007
  10. brandonjames

    brandonjames Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I already took the truck out to the new property and parked it in the garage with a load of stuff on it from the house here. I don't want to spend any money on insurance and tags at this point and time, so it will stay parked there and just drive it on the property. I didn't think to count the lug nuts, like I said I unfortunately don't know much at all. My wife thinks it would be a cool restoration project for me. I know she is right that I would love to do something like that and to learn the how to's, but I know enough to know you need money, knowledge and tools and equipment for all that, all of which I do NOT have :( The cab is rusted pretty good and would need a new cab put on it. The wiring looks like it could use some work. The heater doesn't work too good. The domelight and fog lights dont work. The guy I bought it from told me he don't know if it is a fuse or wiring problems. Today she was tough getting started, it has a newer Edelbrock carbuerator on it, I know that, and a 360 motor. The truck has a emblem on it that says "custom" but where the numbers would go there are none. I looked underneath it today in the light and can see the gas tank is wired up with heavy duty cable? And the brakes are almost non-existent, and it really pulls to the right badly when you apply the brakes. But I love the style and look of the truck (surprisingly my wife does too, just not how loud it is with no mufflers....I love that part...LOL) This would be a cool restore project, just need knowledge and money...hahaha
    Oh almost forgot, I am sitting here looking at the title and it really don't tell ya much? just that it is a 1977 Dodge pickup and the vin #, title #,and WT./FEE CAT. 4230
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2007
  11. bigmudder77

    bigmudder77 Senior Member
    from wooster
    Messages: 125

    if your gonna use it for plowing DONT restore it plowing messes up trucks and if you salt with them its goes even faster.

    restore to keep and look at and drive around town

    also i would replace every line on the truck (brakes, gas, trans,) also id give it a tune up and new brakes and fluids in every thing (gas, engine, brakes, tranny, coolent)

    also about the heat it could be a theromstat that is going bad replace that and see if it helps

    thats some cheap and helpful things to do to maybe save the engine and tranny if its not too late

    with every thing i listed should be under $400 ya its alot all at once but if your just gonna use it around the yard who cares about brakes right. i have a 87 f-150 i used around the yard never did have good brakes but i always got it stopped.

    but i would change the engine and tranny fluid and the coolent

    well maybe not the tranny fluid cause if its been a while since it was changed it can do more damage to change it. so smell the fluid and see if it smells burnt or old or what color it is it should be like a pinkish red color

    but again on that 87 f-150 i had it was black and smelled burnt and i changed it and it didnt shift right and slipped in and out of gear i should of left the old crap in there

    hope this all helps
  12. packey

    packey Member
    Messages: 97

    I am going to guess that you either are running a w100 or w200. If it si a 5 lug rear then it will be a w100 with a 9 1/4 rear end. If it is a w200 you are looking at a dana 44 or 60 8 lug rear. If I remember right the 77 would be a full time 4x4 with a np203 transfer case. You should have front disc rear drum setup. If the truck has been setting a while check all the brake lines replace the ones that are rusty. Look at your break booster see if it is leaking from seals drying out. this is cheap about 25-30 for a reman unit. From what you said about the way it drives down the road you need to put some effort into the front end. check you tie rods both inner and outer. check your front spindles and hubs for slack I bet their is a good bit of slack in the front end. In 77 your carb is prob a carter afb 2 barrel but could be a 4 barrel. especially if someone has rebuilt the engine. change all fluids front and rear end transfercase, transmission, engine and coolant. I have lived around these trucks so I know alot about them. Let me know what you are tring to fix maybe I can give you an idea about how to do it. The good thing is that this is an easy truck to learn to work on and you can do it.
  13. packey

    packey Member
    Messages: 97

    I should of put this on the last post. Tools needed SAE standard wrenches, 3/8 drive sockets, 1/2 inch drive sockets and wratchet. Hammer, Test light (this is all I use I still do not have a test meter) flat and phillips screw drivers, and hydraulic jack with stands. I could think of more but this is a good place to start and you can fix most stuff on the truck. Find you a good wrecking yard that will let you pull parts. Brake parts buy new do not pull old ones. But things like your fuel tank straps that would be great find and the wrecking yard. If you are serious about fixing this truck get it running good, driving good and stoping good. Hold off on fixing the cab until you get this done. Good Luck
  14. brandonjames

    brandonjames Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    OK here is what I know and have found out tonight. the guy called me back and told me that he thought it was a D something, but was for sure that it is a 100 series (1/2 ton) The motor is a 360 with 720something fly tranny (does this sound right? I am going by memory, and it all sounded greek to me when he was spouting this stuff off last night) with a newer Edlebrock 4 barrel carb in it. the 4x4 part is something he called a floating 4 wheel drive, full time when you put it in hi-loc or the granny gear (lo-loc) I think I should start with the brake lines and then go from there....maybe all the other fluids you all mentioned...what do you all think. The brakes have to work in case my wife ever needs to go to town in it with our one year old twins.
  15. shanta74

    shanta74 Member
    Messages: 72

    the pulling is probely the left brake not working because the line is pinched off and the right brake is the only one grabing and only slowing the one side of the truck down. david
  16. bigmudder77

    bigmudder77 Senior Member
    from wooster
    Messages: 125

    that is a nice looking truck for the age

    also i thought you said you were gonna park it till you got money

    but i would change the oils first and re-do all the brake lines rotors pads. its just as well to do it all at once instead of when the lines blow that not very good i have 5 brake lines blow on me but i didnt get in to any wrecked i noticed them before i got going up to speed and just keep it slow all the way home to fix it

    but i would do them all at once the reason i had all the brake lines go was because i fixed one and left the other which makes them weaker just do it all at once drain all the brake fluid and start fresh.

    then i would guess after you fit the brakes and spend about $100-200 on all that you can move to the fluids of the other stuff

    but word of advise brakes wont do any good if you blow an engine, tranny, front, rear ends so go over all that before you put a TON of money in the brake system
  17. 440trk

    440trk Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    FIRST thing to do.....GREASE THE FRONT HUBS!!! (or have them greased ASAP)
    To do this, you HAVE to pull the front wheels off, and look through hub (there will be a hole to look through) and slowly spin the axle, until you can see the grease zerk. GREASE the ever lovin' heck out of it.....and do it fairly regularly.

    The full time 4x4 has a unique hub design, and MOST folks have NO idea how or where to grease these hubs. It is IMPERATIVE that they get greased regularly.

    Then grease the drive shafts, and front steering.

    Second, replace any/all brake lines that look heavily rusted or leak, or even LOOK like they might be in question. Brake line is cheap....the cost of not stopping is not.

    Third, check all fluids

    You have a 360 with a 727 transmission, and a NP203 full-time transfer case.

    The Transfer case takes straight 30w motor oil
    Transmission takes regular DEXTRON III trans fliud
    Engine should be running 10w30
    Diffs will take 80w90 Gear lube.

    As for the Transfer case....Stay out of LOC position unless you absolutely NEED to use them. The standard 4-hi or 4-lo will get you out of most of winters problems. Keep the hi-loc and lo-loc for getting you out once your stuck, or if you are knowingly on slippery surfaces that mandate maximum traction.

    These are GREAT trucks. I have a 77 w150 Club Cab Powerwagon that I plow with, and I've had several of these trucks over the last 10+ year. Rust is their biggest problem....otherwise they are TANKS!

    Gas mileage will suck. But they go like mountain goats.

    Lastly, have the condition of all U-joints checked, including the front axle ones.

    Any problems or questions, please feel free to contact me. :)
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2007

    RODHALL Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Mike (440trk) got most all the stuff....

    but missed the sloppy steering issue
    there is a rag joint at one end of the steering shaft and "cup" at the other. the cup has 2 shoes a clip and a pin inside the shoes wear out (sometimes messing up the cup,clip and pin) to tighten up the steering tear it apart see what all is torn up and replace as needed (cup, spring, pin, and shoes all new cost $70) ...

    you got a good deal from the looks of the truck, you going to have few $$$ into fixing stuff
  19. ROWDY

    ROWDY Junior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 13

    I'd like to know how far you want to go with this truck in fixing it. One thing is for sure, your truck has a strong driveline. The 727 transmission and the 203 t-case are hard to kill. Like stated above, fix the drive line first then go further on to repair the body, light bulbs, ect. What is the frame condition on your truck?

    I'd suggest that you find a service book to read to fix some of your trouble. Maby Ebay.
  20. sno commander

    sno commander PlowSite.com Addict
    from ct
    Messages: 1,063

    any major auto store will have a detailed repair book on everything you need to know. They have a troble shooting section and they walk you through everything step by step(with pictures) I think i paid like 20 buck for mine and has helped out alot. when you replace the brake lines i would spray some pb blaster on all the fittings,especially below the master cylinder the is a valve that controls where the fluid goes to, thats a $100 piece so be careful. also the back brakes where the lines go into the drums(wheel cylinder) Those are common to brake also. good luck