88 ram van Gear help needed

Discussion in '4X4 Truck Talk and Repairs' started by Little Mac, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Little Mac

    Little Mac Active Member

    Messages:
    1,828
    State:
    NW Arkansa
    Ok my gearhead /catfishin friends, I have a 88 dodge ram conversion van with a 318, auto. Now runs perfect after a ton of money and a ton of work, after all this I still have a problem. I am losing a bunch of power towing my 16 ft fiberglass boat, Does great on flat land but hit any hill an its about over. It drops down to 2nd and bogs out. This is what I am thinking and need input as to if I am right or wrong. I looked at the underhood sticker and it says it has 2.9 gears in the rear axle, 8.25 chrysler. I am thinking this is why I am having the problem, If so, what ratio do I need to go too? I am thinking in the mid 3's. If more information about the van is needed I will provide it. I've always maintained my own equipment but never had to do any gear changes. I appreciate any input. Thanks Mac:confused2:
     
  2. GMC FishHauler

    GMC FishHauler New Member

    Messages:
    1,335
    State:
    Waco, Texas, Un
    Do you have OD in your van?
    If you do I would go with a gear in the 3.7 to 3.9 (something like 3.88 would be good)
    If not I would look for something in the 3.5 to 3.7 range. I would try to get this geared like a truck since you are using it as one. Good luck.
     

  3. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    McMinnvill
    Mac it ain't as much the gears as it is the trannie. The torque converter won't lock up quick enough to let it maintain its hill pull. I qould go to a 354 gear and add a cooler to the trannie and you should be in good shape. Until you get it changed I would cut OD off while towing.
     
  4. Little Mac

    Little Mac Active Member

    Messages:
    1,828
    State:
    NW Arkansa
    Sorry fella's It does not have OD. Wish it did LOL. according to the tag it has a lock up converter, think its not working right?? Thanks guys
     
  5. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    McMinnvill
    Mac flush the trannie and the converter real good and change the filter it should help it.
     
  6. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Sounds like tranny to me too.
     
  7. gabby

    gabby New Member

    Messages:
    11
    State:
    Texas
    Way too tall gear, shop around for a used axle assy there is a lot og them in salvage yards. easer to change the assy than a ring &pinion
     
  8. Little Mac

    Little Mac Active Member

    Messages:
    1,828
    State:
    NW Arkansa
    bubbacat Willard, that has been done already, Other than pullin the boat it runs an shifts like it should. I have been on the dodgetalk forum most of the night reading :eek:oooh: and the conclusion is to go to a 3.55 rear gear, Most of the v6 vans have this gear ratio, and according to them is what I need, I know where a v6 van is for parts, plan to check the rear tag on it sometime today. I can buy the whole van for what a parts place wants just for the rear end. Plus alot of other goodies I would like on mine. Appearently this Van of mine was designed for cruisin which is does fine and gets amazing mileage, in order for them to do that without an overdrive they needed really tall gears in the rear. Most of the light towers start at 3.55 gears and go lower from there. I thank you all for your help on this, believe I got it now. :big_smile:
     
  9. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Messages:
    2,367
    State:
    Louisburg,
    if it downshifts and is still having trouble you may want to run a compression test on the motor. because if it shifted to a lower gear and is holding good enough that the auto tranny is causing the motor to bog down it more than likely aint the trannie. the gear ratio may have a little to do with it but usually when they have hi gears in one place (axle) they will have low in another (trannie) to make it drivable. Id start diagnosis with the simple things to check then progress from there. 88 probally has some miles heavy vehicle run a compression check!
     
  10. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Messages:
    2,367
    State:
    Louisburg,
    thanks for the info. DODGE DIFFERENT guess the comertial was right:roll_eyes: Oh well still like our DURANGO:wink:
     
  11. GMC FishHauler

    GMC FishHauler New Member

    Messages:
    1,335
    State:
    Waco, Texas, Un
    I think that the rear end should be the same as any same year half ton truck, am I right?
    If so you should be able to buy the rear end one for about $150. Atleast that is what I have found them for in my area. I know alot of folks that have the late 80's and early 90's dodge half tons wrecked in their yards if you have trouble finding one.
     
  12. Little Mac

    Little Mac Active Member

    Messages:
    1,828
    State:
    NW Arkansa
    GMCFishhauler, actually I thought that also, but aint so. you can change the ring and pinion between them but as for swapping out a truck rear to a van the leaf spring pads are in a different spot. I almost have the rear out of the parts van this evening, Dang ole rusted nuts are a pain even with PBblaster:crazy: Friend of mine has a salvage so I got the rear cheap. It turned out to be a 3.55 like I was lookin for. have all the nuts on mine soakin, hopefully will go smoother.
     
  13. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Messages:
    2,367
    State:
    Louisburg,
    most of the time its easyer and better to just cut the old bolts and buy new esp the u bolts. PB is some good stuff. cutting tourch is better :tounge_out::wink: let us know haw it goes.
     
  14. Iowa_Josh

    Iowa_Josh New Member

    Messages:
    1,463
    State:
    Central Iowa
    Yeah I don't think those are bolts you want to reuse. I'd be using the blue wrench if it was me. If you swap the whole axle will the speedo work right? That's a major bonus in my mind.
     
  15. Little Mac

    Little Mac Active Member

    Messages:
    1,828
    State:
    NW Arkansa
    Probably cut mine, but on his he wants me to put mine back in so he can still move the van around the yard. I dunno about the speedo, I reckon it will throw it some, will have to hit the books on that. Seems Like I remember seeing that the cable has different settings on it. Im slow worker, bad back , bad knee. :smile2: might take me a week to do this LOL but time is on my side. Thanks Guys
     
  16. psychomekanik

    psychomekanik New Member

    Messages:
    2,534
    State:
    Illinois
    I bet you have a 727 trans. And a heavy boat! I think your about on the right track with the gear ratios. If it's a 727 it's a 3 speed. That's why they used such a low gear ratio. To get decent gas mileage on the highway. I have the same 727 in my 88 power ram 4x4. But it has 4:11 gears. The things a pulling machine, But it screams like a banshee on the highway. Changing gear ratios will help your pulling problem, But it will kill gas mileage. A locked up torque converter is the last thing you need when pulling up a hill. It should be unlocking. Since it's downshifting I'm assuming it's unlocking. Your gear ratio is too low. There's gotta be a comprimise between poor performance and gas mileage. I would'nt go higher than a 3:27-3:65 a 4:11 would be great to pull. But, you would kill your gas mileage on the highway. Unless you have all the special tools, and a lift. Change the whole rear end. Changing gears is not as simple as changing other parts. You have to make PRECISE measurements when assembling with special tools to shim it properly. If not done right it will howl, whine, and probably eventually blow apart.
     
  17. river scum

    river scum New Member

    Messages:
    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    i had a van like your with 355s, it pulled a box trailer just fine. you should be pleased with the power difference.
     
  18. Little Mac

    Little Mac Active Member

    Messages:
    1,828
    State:
    NW Arkansa
    Well, I got the other rear out, and installed in mine, all buttoned up nice a perty until i went to put the drive shaft back in, wouldnt ya know it, different size u joints. So, off to the drive line specialist to have a shaft made up. I knew somethin would be different. I got a rear that has the 3.55's. No, I had no plans of changing just the gears, I knew it took precise measurements best left to a professional, I cannot afford a professional :smile2: Maybe with the 3.55s my mileage wont suffer as bad. Wont be as good, but as long as it will pull I have no problem payin the difference. Thanks guys. :cool2: btw. The tranny is a 998/999 according to build sheet under the hood.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2009
  19. GMC FishHauler

    GMC FishHauler New Member

    Messages:
    1,335
    State:
    Waco, Texas, Un
    thats the bad thing about Dodge and Ford trucks. If they came out of the factory on different days then there will be a different part between them.
    Don't get me wrong, they still make a good product, just not as "easy" as a GM.
    For the gears, you have to be really really good to do them yourself. I think you have to be within .008" or something like that on the back lash. That is the one area I am scared to go into...I would rather rebuild an automatic tranny then try and mess with a differential.
     
  20. psychomekanik

    psychomekanik New Member

    Messages:
    2,534
    State:
    Illinois
    Look for a different yoke splined the same way, or a secialized u-joint before you spend the money to have a shaft machined. Napa, and similiar places can supply you with odd u-joints to match stuff up sometimes.