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sdeeter19555 07-12-2019 11:26 AM

Looking for a toy....
Since there isn't a generic 1st gen section, I posted here...move if inappropriate.

After a eight year break, I'm back in the market for a Cummins, and I decided I want a 1st gen truck. This is a toy, will be a (sometimes) daily driver, haul the occasional load of firewood, and mostly just something to cruise around in...

Now I'm not new to Cummins or Dodge, I've owned a 95 12 valve, two 99 24 valves, and my last truck was a 04.5 600. The 3rd gen was the only one I ever really mod'd (well north of $10k worth, and hardly any of that was engine mods). Traded the 04.5 on a 2012 Silverado 2500hd gasser and have never really looked back...the 04.5 really soured me on any newer Dodge with it's ball joint and steering quirks, injector issues, finicky nv5600, etc.

Recently sold my 1953 M37 that I knew I would never get around to restoring, and decided I could handle working on a truck that was already running and driving. I've got my eye on a 1990 w250 std cab that is mostly stock and has about 160k miles. Owner claims the engine has never been touched short oil changes and filters. It is an auto, which wasn't my first choice (but it is a toy). The truck looks solid from photos I've seen, it looks to have a 4 inch lift and 35s?

What do I need to watch for on these years?

I want to remember that cab supports and rockers are typical rust spots, also the drivers floor at the right heel is a prone spot for rust, any other hidden spots. And I want to remember the top of the windshield is prone to rust?

What can I expect to need servicing on the engine? Do the injectors, lift pump, injection pump cause issues at that mileage?

The current owner said it has 3.55 rears, I thought all the 727 trucks had 3.08 in the D61/D71?

And because I can't find any definite info, what is the towing capabilities of a 727/3.08 truck?

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9297oldram 07-12-2019 12:17 PM

The drip edge across the front of the cab is prone to rusting out, frame crack at gear box is sometimes common.

It should have 3.08 gears unless it was special order or changed. 1991.5 was when they put OD on the trans and then different gears.

It has a LP style that can leak diesel into crankcase when it starts to go bad.

160,000 is very low miles and the IP and injectors should be ok. The IP could have some O rings maybe getting bad for the age if it never had extra lube added to the fuel.

sdeeter19555 07-12-2019 03:04 PM

Is there any downside to the 727/3.08 combination?

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9297oldram 07-12-2019 03:24 PM


Originally Posted by sdeeter19555 (Post 29029745)
Is there any downside to the 727/3.08 combination?

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No overdrive, won't handle alot of power. You'll have to keep the 3.08's if you want to drive over about 50 MPH.

sdeeter19555 07-12-2019 03:34 PM

I don't need a lot of power, just reliability...I have a newer truck if I want to tow heavy.

Do these 727 setups have a stand alone air/ATF cooler and a coolant/ATF cooler like the later trucks do?

I'm pretty sure I'm getting this truck, as long as it is in as good of shape as the photos and no major issues, should be a slam dunk.

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9297oldram 07-12-2019 03:38 PM

I'm pretty sure they do have the water to oil cooler, not sure about one up in front. A few members have put in 47rh's and really like them.

sdeeter19555 07-12-2019 03:52 PM

I saw that the 47rh was an upgrade, maybe down the road...again, the main intent with this truck is something to drive around, not really work all that hard. I would probably go with a manual if I was to swap.

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sdeeter19555 07-12-2019 03:55 PM

Now, when you say 3.55s could have been special ordered, does that mean they were an option? I thought I remembered that d61s were difficult to regear to anything numerically higher than 3.08? If factory with 3.55s, that would make those axles d60 and d70?

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Diesel_Dawg 07-13-2019 12:57 AM

You may want to check out the lower web of the frame adjacent to the fuel tank for rust as well.

sdeeter19555 07-17-2019 11:28 PM


That was a bust...frame-perfect (has less rust than my 2012 Silverado that I oil undercoat), body-solid but beat with an ugly stick (body was cracked in places, dents, repainted from white to gray, wiring was atrocious, slight amount of surface rust above windshield), battery was DOA so no engine or trans report. Looked decent...stated 180k...

Ran a carfax...last mileage report was 341k in 2009. At 10k per year to today, that would mean it has at least 441k...far from 180k. Adding 180k on the odo to the reported 341k, well...

Had a Happi-Jack camper takedown system and HD receiver hitch, Wifey wondered if it was a camper transport...hmmm?

Back to the hunt...

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sdeeter19555 07-19-2019 10:31 AM

Well, not so fast...

Told the seller I wasn't interested with those miles at his asking price and he said he would negotiate. I gave him a realistic price in the current condition and he countered only slightly off my number. At that number, if it runs and drives good, it'll be mine.

I still can't believe how clean (of rust) the body and frame are, especially for those miles. Mechanical issues I can handle...

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sdeeter19555 07-21-2019 03:32 PM

Ok, took this truck for a drive...

Engine is fairly smooth idling...started up with no smoke, at idle it has just a slight bit of roughness. On a slow test drive, it is smooth and has lots of power. The power screw still has its top hat installed, so I don't think it was ever touched.

Transmission shifted fine through the gears, seemed more responsive than I remember the 727s being behind a Cummins, not that I hot rodded it. It definitely has D61/D71 axles, he said it would run 85mph...not happening with 3.55s.

The bad (or good)'s on worn out 35s AND the lift is all blocks...stacked blocks out back, single block up front. I'm fairly certain PA will not pass with blocks up front. They also welded blocks the rear bumpstops to make up for the lift. So I have two choices: pull the blocks, sell the 35s, buy regular rims/tires OR buy front lift springs and rear blocks, and keep it on 35s.

It was also hard to diagnose any issues because of the mud tire lug thump and hum, but I nothing screamed issue to me...I also forgot how harsh the 1st gens shut off...

It needs a lot of TLC, the gear shift selector deal doesn't show the current gear, the ABS/Brake lights are on (what to check first), trim is shot, wiring is a mess. The body panels all need aligned.

Otherwise, the frame is immaculate, the steering box has a brace already, has a bergeson shaft, new front driveshaft, new joints, new exhaust, new shocks, new brakes (rotors, drums, shoes, pads, hardware)...

In the end, I gave him a deposit, go swap the title tomorrow afternoon and have it roll bedded home (it's about 75 miles, not willing to trust its maiden voyage that far). Its a solid start...

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