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Discussion Starter · #421 ·
looks like the trans output shaft seal got overlooked during the rebuild - it was brittle and came out in pieces - we were drinkin' - it happens 🍺 . My local O'riellys has them in stock along with a new flange gasket - should have it back together tomorrow. Might have it all running by the weekend.

Meanwhile, I started on the slider extensions/running boards - this is the part of builds I really enjoy







 

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C'mon Dodge - NEW DAKOTA
2003 Dakota Club Cab Sport 4.7L
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What about the rear main? Is that easy to change?
 

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Discussion Starter · #423 ·
it can be done with the engine still bolted in place - pull the pan and do the surgery upside down - but it's a lot of no-fun, and much more difficult to get 'just right'. Big block Mopar rear main seals are kinda no fun regardless of how they're done...but I'm going to run it as-is for now and see if it isn't just seeping a little oil across the saddle bolts at the oil pan seal - might not be the actual RMS at all.

Plus, in the 'very cool' department, Steve at Advance Adapters is sending me a care package, including new o-rings, gaskets, oil, and instructions, and will personally walk me through re-sealing the t-case (y) . He offered to bring it back to their shop and do it but I offered to do it myself - I'll gain the knowledge of how the thing is put together, and all I have to do is be patient. Meanwhile I can take it apart and get ready...but first I need to make a clean spot on a workbench - which along with being patient are probably the hardest parts of it all 😬😝.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - the customer service and support from Advance Adapters is outstanding 👍
 

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Discussion Starter · #426 · (Edited)
yup for sure, and I have some 'time' before firing it all back up again, so I'm'a'gonna glue me together some metal (...is there no welding emoticon??!) :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #428 ·
so back to the cooling issue - I still don't know exactly what the issue really is, but in the spirit of 'more radiator is always better than less' I found an excellent upgraded radiator for the Dak from Wizard Cooling. USA made, nearly 3-times bigger core, all aluminum, factory replacement - badass. They have 4 versions; two core thicknesses (2" and ~2.75"), each with or w/out the heat exchanger, with or without the sweet fan and shroud assembly. They had the big phat one with the exchanger in stock (w/out the fan/shroud assy), which was slightly blemished, which they offered me at a nice discount, and I'll get it next week. (they saw pics of my fan shroud and thought it looked pretty much 'good' so I opted to keep my shroud and fan assembly as-is, for now). I can't think of a much better solution, and even if the radiator isn't the cooling problem it for sure will definitely not be the problem down the road, especially when I start driving it hard and hooking up a camper trailer - I'll opt for 'maximum cooling capacity possible' all day long (y) . If I'd known about these before I'd have ordered one to begin with.

Dodge Durango/ Dakota (wizardcooling.com)

I'm also installing a 6-blade Derale clutch fan and ditching the 5-blade OE fan - visually the 6-blade unit should move 'more' air, and that's what I want....well, what I want is for this 440 to...like the 5.9 Cummins in my last off-road truck...to have SO much more cooling capability than necessary that it will effectively 'never' get hot. Granted, diesels don't really make a lot of heat when idling so it's not quite a fair comparison, but I got very spoiled by how smooth and cool the Cummins ran that I really want this 440 to be the same, or as close as possible.
 
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Discussion Starter · #429 ·
ok - the engine is all buttoned back up, a new tail housing seal is installed, and the Atlas half way back together and should have it buttoned up tomorrow. After the sealant (Permatex 81182 'Gear Oil') has had at least 24 hrs to dry I'll fill it with fluid, and if it doesn't leak out everywhere I'll toss it back under.

Once the t-case is back in then the driveline and heat shields go back in, and then the radiator and all that go back in, and...then I'll be pretty close to firing it back up, and THEN I'll maybe know if the lifters were bad after all. Just some minor assembly required...
 

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Discussion Starter · #430 ·
two steps forward, one step back. Fired it back up yesterday - it fired right up no problem, and after 20 minutes or so it seems that 'lifters' were indeed the 'noise' issue; it does not seem anywhere near as noisy as before, but it wasn't until the second and for sure third warm-up the last go-round that the noise materialized. We also noticed that the Sniper itself is 'clicky' - makes some distinct light clicky noises, which we attribute to the injectors. I e-mailed Ethan at Holley Tech and yes he confirmed the Snipers make a smooth clicking sound, much like a find running sewing machine, so okay there.

But this second break-in session wasn't without issues, one really - both valve covers were literally dripping oil past the gaskets, and both sides of the block had oil slowly dripping down onto the components below and floor, which was awesome. I didn't want to stop the break-in process so I had to just try to sop it up and continue. It made a nice oily smoky mess...but we got the 20 minutes in.
And for what it's worth, I used Permatex High-Tack Spray-a-Gasket #80064 on the valve cover gaskets this time thinking it'd be just right, but it utterly failed to seal anything. Maybe I just happened to get an old can or a bad batch but all it did was help oil seem past the gasket(s). The first drips I noticed were 'red'...and I'm thinking 'how the hell is trans fluid leaking out of the engine', but then realized it was just the sealant doing everything except 'seal'. Last time I used aviation #3, which worked great but since it's utter failure to seal my NPT fuel fittings I've all but sworn off, so this time I'll use form-a-gasket #2 (80011), which the techs at Permatex say should be perfect, and better than their Super-300.

Cooling. We think it's 'okay'. First off the new fan clutch had the new 6-blade Derale fan sounding like a Freightliner - I had paper towels laying at the ready on a tray a foot in front of the radiator and it immediately sucked them clean up flat against the front of the rad - so that was good 👍 . The fan was kickin' and was apparently clutched in on start-up because about 5 minutes in it maybe got all broke in and 'released' and there was an obvious difference (decrease) in sound, and suction. It only came on once during the rest of the break-in, and when it did kick in there was no denying the sound that comes with it. But by the end of the 20 minutes the temperature only got to about 210-215 on the gauge - still hotter than I was hoping...but we had an IR gun this time, and the thermostat housing was at 220* or so...but the inlet to the radiator...was only at 147*. Pretty big difference, and the radiator outlet was at 91* - lots of cold coolant just waiting to get sucked in. So it was either 1) full of steam or 2) the thermostat is faulty or 3) I left a towel in the system or something...and hot coolant can't get 'out' of the block. And the upper hose was fully pressurized. Also the overflow did not have any 'new' hot coolant in it - just what was in it from before. But I had to know...so I gathered a bunch of towels and put on leather gloves and made sure my protective eyewear was securely in place and just 'cracked' the cap; if it released a bunch of steam/pressure then the system is likely still trying to burp and likely why it isn't staying cool, but if it's full of coolant then something is likely wrong with the thermostat. Cracked the seal and PPPSSHHH!!!!! with a bit of splatter - but not gushing coolant.
Checked it last night after it cooled off and found what I was hoping to find - the upper hose was empty. So this morning I topped it off with more G05 and I'll continue to burp it like I do my 3 month old daughter :) . Still tho, I was pretty happy to see that the engine only got to 215* or so despite the steam pocket - that could have been worse, and I'm hoping I don't have to r-n-r the thermostat.

Pull the valve covers this morning (...again) and should have it all back together today, and tomorrow I'll fire it back up and keep on it. It's getting closer, and...hopefully the engine is indeed not hurt. I'll know more after I get it running again and back into testing...but after all the time blood sweat money and tears and ridiculous wrench time this whole freaking year I don't know if it's going to make Moab next week...and that really f-ing sucks...
 
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two steps forward, one step back. Fired it back up yesterday - it fired right up no problem, and after 20 minutes or so it seems that 'lifters' were indeed the 'noise' issue; it does not seem anywhere near as noisy as before, but it wasn't until the second and for sure third warm-up the last go-round that the noise materialized. We also noticed that the Sniper itself is 'clicky' - makes some distinct light clicky noises, which we attribute to the injectors. I e-mailed Ethan at Holley Tech and yes he confirmed the Snipers make a smooth clicking sound, much like a find running sewing machine, so okay there.

But this second break-in session wasn't without issues, one really - both valve covers were literally dripping oil past the gaskets, and both sides of the block had oil slowly dripping down onto the components below and floor, which was awesome. I didn't want to stop the break-in process so I had to just try to sop it up and continue. It made a nice oily smoky mess...but we got the 20 minutes in.
And for what it's worth, I used Permatex High-Tack Spray-a-Gasket #80064 on the valve cover gaskets this time thinking it'd be just right, but it utterly failed to seal anything. Maybe I just happened to get an old can or a bad batch but all it did was help oil seem past the gasket(s). The first drips I noticed were 'red'...and I'm thinking 'how the hell is trans fluid leaking out of the engine', but then realized it was just the sealant doing everything except 'seal'. Last time I used aviation #3, which worked great but since it's utter failure to seal my NPT fuel fittings I've all but sworn off, so this time I'll use form-a-gasket #2 (80011), which the techs at Permatex say should be perfect, and better than their Super-300.

Cooling. We think it's 'okay'. First off the new fan clutch had the new 6-blade Derale fan sounding like a Freightliner - I had paper towels laying at the ready on a tray a foot in front of the radiator and it immediately sucked them clean up flat against the front of the rad - so that was good 👍 . The fan was kickin' and was apparently clutched in on start-up because about 5 minutes in it maybe got all broke in and 'released' and there was an obvious difference (decrease) in sound, and suction. It only came on once during the rest of the break-in, and when it did kick in there was no denying the sound that comes with it. But by the end of the 20 minutes the temperature only got to about 210-215 on the gauge - still hotter than I was hoping...but we had an IR gun this time, and the thermostat housing was at 220* or so...but the inlet to the radiator...was only at 147*. Pretty big difference, and the radiator outlet was at 91* - lots of cold coolant just waiting to get sucked in. So it was either 1) full of steam or 2) the thermostat is faulty or 3) I left a towel in the system or something...and hot coolant can't get 'out' of the block. And the upper hose was fully pressurized. Also the overflow did not have any 'new' hot coolant in it - just what was in it from before. But I had to know...so I gathered a bunch of towels and put on leather gloves and made sure my protective eyewear was securely in place and just 'cracked' the cap; if it released a bunch of steam/pressure then the system is likely still trying to burp and likely why it isn't staying cool, but if it's full of coolant then something is likely wrong with the thermostat. Cracked the seal and PPPSSHHH!!!!! with a bit of splatter - but not gushing coolant.
Checked it last night after it cooled off and found what I was hoping to find - the upper hose was empty. So this morning I topped it off with more G05 and I'll continue to burp it like I do my 3 month old daughter :) . Still tho, I was pretty happy to see that the engine only got to 215* or so despite the steam pocket - that could have been worse, and I'm hoping I don't have to r-n-r the thermostat.

Pull the valve covers this morning (...again) and should have it all back together today, and tomorrow I'll fire it back up and keep on it. It's getting closer, and...hopefully the engine is indeed not hurt. I'll know more after I get it running again and back into testing...but after all the time blood sweat money and tears and ridiculous wrench time this whole freaking year I don't know if it's going to make Moab next week...and that really f-ing sucks...
I just saw a vid where a guy refreshed a BBC with a new cam and heads and was hearing clacking noises and he thought he had bad lifters. long story short the brand new cam was machined 1/8th in to long and it wiped all the lobes. Worse case I know just putting it out there. Hope thats not your lifter noise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #432 ·
yah I hope that's not it either! No I think the noise was indeed a bad lifter in the previous batch - these new ones are, so far, pretty quiet. I'll know more after I get a few more hours on it...
 
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Discussion Starter · #433 ·
Using plenty of Ultra Copper and following the instructions to the letter, the valve covers back on. Also, to help mitigate any potential 'heat' issues I had my local steel shop blast out a set of 3/8" steel manifold spacers on their waterjet to move the hot manifolds 'away' from things. Also, taking a tip I read from the Mopar RV forums I employed the use of Fel-Pro's 'heat-shield' gaskets on the outside - I used my metal break and folded them just a bit so they wouldn't 'rub' on the v-cover, and using 1/2-inch-longer studs the manifolds are back on too. Have to modify the exhaust a bit to match the new manifold placement, and when that's done everything will have had plenty of time to cure, and I can fire it back up...and see if it all worked...



...I did center the end inner gaskets once I got them snugged up so they weren't 'sagging'...











 

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Discussion Starter · #434 · (Edited)
ok - just about everything is back together, and in the process I discovered a couple things.

First off, more 440 "RV" tech info. My particular 440 is date coded 1978 and was originally in a 79 Winnebago Motorcoach, and because it was intended for an RV is actually has a few minor but important differences between it and a standard car or truck 440. First, the RV 440s were designated at a 440-3, whereas the car/truck 440s were 440-1. The major differences were mostly related to cooling, meaning two additional cooling ports at the outer edges of the cylinder walls, with (or in my case without) respective matching heads with the additional cooling ports, and, the big distinctive difference, the RV heads had 5/8 spark plugs with a non-crush-washer seal (my heads didn't have those plugs so either my 440 just didn't get 'em...or more likely the owner of the RV had the heads swapped out for non-RV heads - my engine did have Fel-Pro head gaskets on it, which was not original, so a head swap was very likely. My heads are a set of non-RV 452s). Also, the RV 440s also received a specific water pump housing, pn# 3751216, easily distinguished by either the CB on the front inlet or the additional bypass port under the thermostat, which I discovered is kinda important.

RV water pump housing (note the two cast recesses for the thermostat and bypass port) -



Also, I discovered that a "skirted" thermostat must be used in conjunction with the RV water pump housing - at least it does if you want it to be cooled properly. The 440-3 thermostat has a lower 'skirt' which when opened blocks off the bypass port in the water pump housing, but without which (with a typical thermostat from the parts stores) will not block the bypass port, which will not send the majority of the coolant to the radiator - it will just continually 'bypass' both within the block/heads (the intent being to warm up the engine rapidly) and some will go through the radiator, but not all, which I believe is why my 440 wasn't cooling well (it was cooling so-so, but not great) - and yep I had a standard 440-1 thermostat in there. Pics of the skirted thermostat are below -

To recap, here is my RV water pump housing -



But wait - there's more. All of the upper thermostat housings I've found have a recess in them too, which according to the books is to center the thermostat in the 440-1 non-RV applications. The strange part is my 440-3 water pump housing also has a recess for...I think...the thermostat. Now, because the thermostat lower skirt is supposed to extend down into the lower recess and block the bypass coolant flow I chose to presume the thermostat is supposed to be placed in the pump housing itself, and not in the upper thermostat housing. Should the thermostat go in the upper housing? - don't know, but if it did then there would be the chance of it not aligning with the lower recess, so I went with the lower/below-the-gasket placement. Then, UltraGrey RTV, gasket, more RTV, and upper "thermostat" housing went on, bolted to 18 lb/ft. I'm pretty sure my thermostat housing is not for an RV application and is simply for all the 440-1 applications. I have not yet found a genuine 440-3 thermostat housing, but if I did I'd wager there is no recess in it for the thermostat.

But still, my thermostat housing had that recess in it...or at least it used to ;) . To try to get maximum clamping and sealing potential from it I went ahead and had a local welding shop fill in the recess, and I machined it flat - actually I machined it to perfectly match the pump housing with just the slightest detectable amount of center 'rise' to get that much more clamping on the gasket. So, just posting my process and pics for it all... :)

Upper thermostat housing 'filled in' -



...machined flat -



I took Joel's advice and got a Milodon thermostat, skirted/RV design (silver), compared to the less reputable Mr. Gasket version -







and Permatex 27036 ultragrey to seal it all up -



Now I only recently became aware of all this 440-3 "RV" info and I'm really glad I did. But while I was getting smart on the RV info I was in the meantime trying to find a better way to seal a big block thermostat housing. I was trying to find a way to use a more modern thermostat with the rubber seal around the outer edge, one which would not require using a gasket at all - just bolt the top housing down and 'done'. I did find a thermostat which I think would have worked great...at least for those with a non-RV water pump housing, NAPA pn# 375-180, which I think is from a 2nd Gen Cummins -





If I'm not mistaken, that thermostat (180* in this case) would simply sit on top of the standard water pump housing, and it would be capped off with the thermostat housing of your choice with the recess in it, and...I think...you'd never need a gasket. Anyone want to test my theory? :)

But, I have a RV pump housing, so, naturally, I can't use it :( - noooo I have to use the RV stuff....unless I swap in a non-RV housing...which I wasn't ready to do. Nope I'm gonna do the RV thermostat thing first and see how awesome my cooling system now will be. It's all back together and I'll be pouring in coolant tomorrow morning.

Interesting stuff I continue to learn in this Hot Rod life of mine... :)

And, with all of this extra work done, I'm now inclined to think that...if I had originally assembled the system with the correct skirted thermostat the stock radiator may just have cooled my 440 just fine. If that were the case, then I am now inclined to think that with the correct 'stat in there now plus the Wizard radiator and max-duty fan and clutch...well I may just have inadvertently achieved a max-overkill cooling system for the truck which...I'm hoping...may just keep my 440 at 180* all day long...which is what I was hoping for to begin with (y) . Time will soon tell :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #436 · (Edited)
...that...would be just fine (y) :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #439 · (Edited)
...well with 3 kids below the age of 4 it took bit longer than most 😵🥴 , but all I can say right now is 'sweeeeet!!' - coolant has been in it for 36 hrs with no leaks, and an hour ago I fired it back up; it fired up perfect, got to 180, and never went a degree higher (y) , and the cooling system is not leaking! (y) . Plus!, the valve covers are not leaking!! (y) (y) . And, we think we know why the idle has been 'wonky' - after some unplug/cap off/test of the available rubber hoses on the back of the throttle body it appears the gas tank vent system (which feeds into the air hat) may be the culprit; I'll discuss that with Ethan at Holley next week.

So, bottom line is...so long as nothing else decides to get wonky, the engine may finally be 'there'. And with that done, it is Beer-30! 🍺 .
 
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...with 3 kids below the age of 4 it can take a little bit longer than most :) , but all I can say right now is 'sweeeeet!!' - coolant has been in it for 36 hrs with no leaks, and an hour ago I fired it back up; it fired up perfect, got to 180, and never went a degree higher (y) , and the cooling system is not leaking! (y) . Plus!, the valve covers are not leaking!! (y) (y) . And, we think we know why the idle has been 'wonky' - after some unplug/cap off/test of the available rubber hoses on the back of the throttle body it appears the gas tank vent system (which feeds into the air hat) may be the culprit; I'll discuss that with Ethan at Holley next week.

So, bottom line is...so long as nothing else decides to get wonky, the engine may finally be 'there'. And with that done, it is Beer-30! 🍺 .
heck ya brother, awesome news I was hoping for in the outcome
🇺🇸🏁🚀🎯🥓🌝🐘🎅👅😈 DONE
Sorry couldn't find a beer emoji
 
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