Monthly Archives: June 2016

Catch-Up Post

3/27/16 201,325 miles: drained, flushed three times with distilled, and refilled coolant. The old coolant was apparently a mix of gold and green. New is Zerex G-05. Kevin was a big help with this job.

4/21/16 202,800 miles: Added a DiabloSport Power Puck (+60 HP/+100 lb-ft and +90 HP /+180 lb-ft), used on eBay for $30. Part of the cover was missing and the connector for the three-position switch was so corroded that it didn’t work, but I made a cover and soldered in a new connector and now it works fine. Really wakes the truck up, though I don’t see much difference between the +60 and +90 settings.

5/28/16 204,772 miles: Changed transmission oil; new oil is Valvoline MTF Synchromesh. I drained the old oil through the PTO cover’s bottom bolt and refilled the transmission through the shift tower, allowing me to put in 6 quarts (one quart overfull, recommended for towing with the NV5600 transmission). The old oil looked fine, wasn’t too dark.

5/29/16 204,780 miles: Changed the oil in the front and rear differentials. The new oil is AutoZone house brand 75w-90 conventional, non limited slip (the rear axle is not a limited slip axle, and fronts are not limited slip on 4x4s). For the rear diff, I took the cover off, drained completely, and cleaned inside really well. The original gasket was still on, leading me to think this may be the first time the diff(s) have been changed. I made a new gasket with Permatex RTV and waited 24 hours to let it cure before refilling with oil. The front diff, on the other hand, seemed just too difficult to get apart (would have had to remove various tie rods and whatnot even to get at the bolts), so I simply pumped out as much oil as I could and refilled. I had trouble getting the fill plug to not leak; I tried torquing it to spec (no help), using teflon tape, using Permatex thread sealant, and eventually just using Permatex RTV, which fixed it once and for all but may make removing the plug challenging next time. The oil in both diffs was quite dark compared to new oil (straw color) and there was quite a bit of metal attached to each diff’s plug magnet.

6/4/16 205,003 miles: Changed the power steering fluid using the turkey baster method (replaced with a quart of ATF+4, recommended for this system). Afterward we drove to Sandia Crest. Somehow — though I can’t figure out how — I must have overfilled the power steering reservoir, because power steering fluid was leaking out of the reservoir the whole way to the top. But when I checked the level periodically, it was fine. The pump sounds a lot happier now, especially at the stops.

6/4/16 205,003 miles: Changed the brake fluid using the turkey baster method, and bled the brakes with the Mity-Vac until the fluid turned yellow (not clear, although the new fluid is clear). The brakes feel much firmer afterward.

By the Book Fixed the Ram

I guess I haven’t updated this in quite a while — mostly because the Ram has been nearly trouble-free.

By the Book found a tiny hole in two wires (one of which was the J1850 bus) in the loom adjacent to the transfer case. I had actually had that apart months ago, but I was working on the connectors themselves and didn’t inspect the loom. The mechanic said a ground strap had worn a tiny hole in the loom over 200k miles.

He wrapped it in some new plastic loom, so it shouldn’t be a problem again soon.

$300 well spent. I wish I had taken it there a year ago.