Fuel Injector Cleaning
Q I would like your opinion on fuel injector cleaning. I own a '03 Dodge Ram 2500 with the 5.7L V-8 and five-speed manual. The truck has 122,000 miles, and I keep up with the required maintenance as suggested by the owner's manual. I have heard varying opinions on the subject, ranging from (a) using quality gas will keep the injectors clean to (b) having them cleaned by a professional every 60,000 miles. Since I bought the truck new, my mpg has remained constant, it idles at approximately 500 rpm, and the engine runs smooth without a miss. The local Dodge dealer charges $99 to clean the system and he said it takes about 30 minutes. I always use a quality brand of gas with 89 octane as recommended by the owner's manual. Also, since new, I have used Mobil 1 fully synthetic oil and also use the Mobil 1 extended performance oil filter.
Schuylkill Haven, PA
A Sounds to me like you're doing everything right to maintain your truck. One of the first signs of injector problems is a rough idle and a loss of fuel mileage, neither of which you are experiencing at this time.
Just to be on the safe side, because I often buy gas at remote stations that don't pump a lot of fuel, I dump a can of a name-brand fuel injection cleaner in the fuel tank of my Jeep about every six months and haven't had any fuel injection problems in about 130,000 miles. Who knows if I would have if I had not put in the cleaner. I don't think that you have anything to worry about, and if it was my truck, I would pass on the dealer services.
Gas Or Diesel Engine Swap: Which Way To Go?
Q I have an '86 Dodge Ramcharger 4x4 with a 318ci V-8 and auto tranny, and have been debating on whether to put a 440ci V-8 or a 12-valve Cummins into her. I've heard that it should just bolt into the motor mounts, but I will need to lift it due to clearance issues and will need new axles. I want some advice on this conversion-and how much you think it would cost to do it.
Park Hills, MO
A There are lots of things to consider when making a swap of this kind. Let's take a minute and look at both engines. The 12-valve Cummins weighs in at just about 1000 pounds, makes between 160 to 215 horsepower and 400 to 440 lb-ft of torque in stock form. Naturally, this can be boosted with aftermarket modifications. Your best bet would be to get an engine/trans/transfer-case combination, as it would make the installation so much easier. If you go with the later-model engine, you will have to deal with intercooler mounting and exhaust system issues. You would also have to address the weight issue as far as frame strength and suspension changes needed. Yes, new motor mounts will have to be fabricated. There will also have to be some changes to the fuel system. A larger radiator will be needed for sure.
Then there is the matter of noise. As you're aware, the 12-valve motor is pretty darn noisy, so you're going to have to spend a lot of money on some high-quality insulation material. Cost: very expensive! Price will depend on the year of engine, how many miles on it, and, well, just how much you really want to pay.
As to the 440, I went through this a long time ago with another reader but can't seem to find my notes on the subject. Here is what I can remember. First off, it's a much easier swap. The engine weighs in at around 670 pounds, and makes anywhere from 220 to 375 horsepower and around 360 lb-ft of torque, depending on what it originally came in. Do keep in mind that the Cummins engine makes its peak horsepower and torque at a much lower rpm. You will also need new motor mounts, but because Chrysler did use these engines in Ramchargers, they may be still available from a dealer that keeps old new stock parts; you can also try Schumacher Creative Services (www.engine-swaps.com).
While you could use the present radiator by swapping the water inlet to the opposite side, I suggest going to a larger one because you're adding another 100-plus cubic inches that need to be cooled. The fuel system can remain the same, though perhaps you could increase the size of the fuel line. You're going to also have to change transmissions, even if they are TorqueFlite 727s (yours may be a 904) because the big-block has a different bolt pattern than the small-block, along with a new matching torque converter. Again, it's just as easy to buy a motor with the proper transmission already bolted behind it. There may be some interference with the valve cover on the left side and the power brake booster. There were a couple different sizes used, as I remember, and you will need the smaller one for proper clearance.
My choice would be to go with the 440 due to cost and ease of installation. Fuel mileage for the 440 will suck (at about 10 to 12 mpg) while the Cummins will get in the 17- to 20mpg range. But when you consider the added cost of the Cummins swap and the noise factor, the 440 seems the way to go.