Today was the day to head out and pick up the wheels, centre caps, transmission, and transfer case. I had to take the old transfer case (tc) with me so it could be shipped back in its crate and thereby avoid a core charge. That meant the tc had to drop out on Friday night. Luckily Pntyrmvd suggested helping me out with it so it went quickly with no grief.
First I put a wheel chock behind the rear wheel to prevent the van from rolling back once the tc was out. Safety is number one around here.
Then the jack went up underneath to support it.
The front and rear u-joints are unbolted and the driveshafts are hung temporarily under the van. Then the speedo cable, 4wd indicator sensor, and shift linkage are unbolted. The vent tube is removed. Lastly the six bolts that hold the tc to the transmission are unbolted. A wiggle, a twist, and a yank and it's free of the tranny. 90 minutes to get it out thanks to my gal and the ability to crawl under the 4x4 without jacking it up. Pint obviously approves.
Certainly very Dodgy around here, eh Pint?
This morning I pulled off the yokes from the tc for the driveshafts. Giving them back to the tc supplier would have been a huge mistake. The front yoke is not a Dodge piece or pattern. GMC Suburban I think.
Today I headed out to pick up the parts in Niagara Falls, NY. I had them shipped to a warehouse there to avoid the insane cross border shipping rates and brokerage fees that a shipment to the Ranch would have entailed. Besides Pntyrmvd is at her sister's place and nothing says bachelor-hood like a cross border road trip.
I got to the warehouse, swapped the old tc for the new one, loaded up, paid the sales tax at the border and headed home.
At the Ranch I got a better look at my purchases.
Transmission by PATC in Louisiana. Full of expensive clutches, bands, and fairy dust. Good for 500 hp and includes overdrive. Will mate up with 93 fuel injected engine without a problem. In fact the same as a 93 4x4 Dodge truck tranny except more fairy dust and a new deeper oil pan.
Of course putting a 93 trans and motor in a 1984 van is going to create a few opportunities for creativity. First of all total length of the overdrive tranny is 3 1/2" longer than the old tranny. That means the tranny mount will have to be moved back, the rear driveshaft shortened, the front driveshaft lenghtened, and both axles angles verified and likely altered.
Secondly this tc was never meant to be installed behind this tranny. The shaft diameter, spline count, bolt pattern, and clocking (offset) are fine. The problem is the depth. Somewhere in the recesses of my brain I knew this was going to be an issue. Rough math with a tape measure shows a 1/4" gap that must be filled to stop the units from damaging each other.
Luckily the folks that make Atlas tc's have faced this same issue with Mopar trannies and sell spacers. They don't sell one at 1/4" but I'll order a 1/2" one and have it machined down to size.
The torque converter is new too. It includes a lockup function, but is made for serious abuse. It is made from billet steel with pixie dust interior parts and a 1800 rpm stall speed. Check out the machining on this lump.
Now on to some visible, sexy parts. The wheels! Initially I was going to buy 17"x8" factory Dodge truck rims. I priced them out and fell over. Even used they were too much money for the condition they were in. Also very hard to locate. I called Midwest Wheels and Tires in Michigan and Mike had the answer. He shipped me 5 wheels and 4 centres. The wheels are exact duplicates of the factory wheels and came in white boxes with marked boxes inside. They are new, beautifully packaged, and have stampings on the back side.
Now I'm no fan of Chinese made stuff. Chrysler has used aluminum wheels for years now and they are tested and very strong. I want a wheel that won't let me down. I have seen wrecking yard pieces that were bent, but only broken in the most extreme collisions. Imagine my surprise when I turn around this well known wheel manufacturer's product and find the stamps and castings that indicate SAE J2530 testing:
I then ran the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) number through Google and found out that these wheels were tested to a standard. The other numbers indicate the maker, the offset, WEIGHT rating of 3000+ lbs, and their pixie dust content.
So for a very reasonable price I have strong, good looking wheels that pay homage to a van Dodge never built. I'll cut the centres out of the front caps to allow access to the locking hubs. Later I can add rear disc brakes with no worries about wheel interference.
My only question is how can they copy the exact look of the factory wheel and not be stopped by Chrysler. If we used this forum to blatantly copy a design Jage would rightly scold us and possibly throw us out. Hmmm... maybe they are the same company that Chrysler used for their wheels. Oh, the mystery of it all!