1976 Dodge D100 pickup

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1976 Dodge D100 pickup

Post by Admin on Thu May 24, 2018 6:06 pm

Ok, feeling really upset about the '94 Ranger not doing better than 16mpg with 4.0L and manual transmission, kept saying I could do better with a carburetor V8. Then been reading lot fuel mileage threads about Chevy, Ford, and Dodge pickups and getting better mileage.

I kept saying I can do better than that. Thought about buying a rolling chassis pickup and putting carb engine into it. I frankly think the big thing is having a pre pollution cam. The Chevy people were talking about getting 22mpg in a 4000 pound pre pollution Impala, with 4spd manual (not overdrive), 327 small block Chevy with 194/204 at 050 cam (known as the factory 300hp cam option for the pre-pollution 327). Been looking and you can get very similar aftermarket flat tappet cam for nearly any make of older V8 and some straight six and V6 engines. And recurving the distributor to get max timing without pinging.

I had my own personal experience with a 1971 Buick LeSabre with Buick 350 engine and TH350 and 3.08 rear axle. Pre-pollution, points ignition, etc, all stock. It got 12mpg in town and 22mpg on hiway. Once pollution requirements came, same engine in same weight car, only with HEI and lockup torque converter got max of like 13 or 14mpg on hiway. Yep they put in a weenie pollution cam among other things.

I also had a 1973 C20 Camper Special with 350 Chevy and TH350. It got 8mpg until engine self destructed. This was decades ago. Looking in local shopper paper at the time found a pre-pollution Buick 350 cheap and I needed to get it back on road for cheap. Using same 2bbl carb, it got an amazing 16mpg. For years I thought must be something about the Buick 350 (back when each GM division had their own inhouse V8), but then recently came to conclusion it was the fact that the Buick engines I experienced were pre-pollution, they had more aggressive cam much like those people with the pre-pollution Chevy 327 and the 300hp cam.

Only one mention of SBC engine with this cam in a pickup and guy was claiming 25mpg which is pretty unbelievable in a full size pickup no matter what you do short of converting it to diesel. Getting 20 or 21, that I can see, but without huge amount custom machine work with higher compression, etc. doubting more than that. Also lot people have this false assumption that hotrodding an engine will get better mpg. Hotrodding tends to be oriented to getting most horsepower at high rpm. What makes most horsepower at high rpm on race track doesnt make most mpg at street speeds. You want economy out of an ohv engine, you most likely never go over 3000rpm. So who cares what the engine does above that. You really want it efficient between 1500 and 3000 though. Depends of course on rear axle and whether you have an overdrive. Going super high rear axle may seem like way to mileage, but it isnt. Oh you will gain a bit of mileage, but engine will always be struggling (real dog) trying to use it for anything but cruising on the hiway.

I frankly dont need another vehicle but wanting to experiment. Then pops into my head that I have an old 76 Dodge. Bought it back in 90s cheap, drove it couple years until transmission slipped and parked it. Intended to convert it to granny four speed, even bought an old Dodge four speed cheap at some auction but never bought rest of what was needed. 20 years goes by and its just become part of fence row landscape in back field.

So other day I clear off hood and open it up. Tried turning engine by hand. It will wiggle back and forth a bit so with some ATF in cylinders probably break free wthout much trouble. Pretty well decided I would like to get this going and try to beat Ranger gas mileage with it. These old Dodges with 318 werent known for great gas mileage. Back when I was driving it, never did better than 13mpg. Reading online, this is par for the course with the 318, though some with lean burn system in good working order got up close to 20mpg. Lean burn was a Chrysler pet project to get both mileage and meet emissions with carburetor. Nobody much liked it and where there were no inspections, people ditched it. Only cam change on 318 I ran across seems too aggressive. But you can get the 194/204 at 050 cam for it. Its not cheap, twice price of same cam for a small block chevy, but it is available.

Anyway found a cheap $70 bellhousing on ebay and snagged it before it disappeared. These are kinda rare, Chrysler apparently like GM and didnt sell lot V8s with manual transmission from 70s up and they went to 5spd manual transmissions with bellhousing cast as part of transmission in 90s. If I had to give crazy amount, lot of these over $200, then would have waited until I made sure the engine is still in usable condition without a rebuild. Probably got a 5spd about same money though suspect this Dodge has something like 3.21 rear. Overdrive pointless with that ratio unless you want to cruise on Interstate at 90mph.

If its not, then the cheapest used carb V8 engines still around are Ford 302 out of 80s LTD Crown Vic. The Chevy 305 used to be really easy to find and cheap, but ones I see need rebuild anymore. Can find low mile Ford 302 for like $400 to $500. Nobody seems to want them. Though some of early TBI versions got darn good mileage out of factory. I think once Ford went to TBI this freed them up to use a more efficient cam, at least for few years. I even found article from couple years ago, somebody with a 84 Crown Vic having trouble with TBI and parts expensive due to age of the system, so he converted it to 2bbl carb and vacuum advance distributor. 3.08 rear and overdrive not hooked up. He got 22 to 24mpg. I searched, couldnt find cam specs for 84 Crown Vic. but assume its similar to those old pre-pollution cams to get that kind mileage, no overdrive and carb. This is like 3800-3900 pound car. I assume Ford didnt use this cam in the pickups with 302... LOL they sure werent mileage champs.

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Re: 1976 Dodge D100 pickup

Post by Admin on Wed May 30, 2018 2:12 am

Well yes no problem turning the crank. Didnt put up any fight with spark plugs out and ATF in the cylinders. Alas summer is heating up early this year so no idea if I will progress much with it until fall.

Bellhousing should be here tomorrow. Old granny transmission still turns. Been researching. Chrysler used 203/203 at 050 cam in the 360 so cheap upgrade in the 318. Cant imagine my preferred 194/204 at 050 cam significantly different. The 360 cam plus set lifter is less than $100. The preferred aftermarket cam is $200 plus another $40 or so for lifters.

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