Part 2: Dodge

June 2014 Feature Michael Deulley

First Generation Dodge Diesels: 1989-1993

The first generation of Dodge diesel pickups were powered by a 12-valve, 5.9L engine that was built to last through the years. You've probably heard that cars aren't built like they used to. This statement is just as true for early Dodge diesels as it is for any other older car or truck. But like any vehicle, with time, parts wear out and need to be replaced. Aside from the normal repairs, however, Lind has found a few seemingly faulty designs in the first gens that cause so many problems, they needed to be addressed.

The first issue on the list is found with the steering shaft. According to Lind, the shafts were constructed using a less-than-satisfactory design and fail regularly. Luckily, companies have created updated units that remedy the issue, and Lind recommends installing one as soon as possible. The next problem that Lind often sees deals with the automatic transmission. Used with stock power, the transmission holds its own, but if they are used heavily, an owner can expect a tranny rebuild every 100K miles or so. This situation is even more prevalent for trucks that have had extensive power modifications. The message here is that unless the transmission is built for power, it's best to keep a close eye on how much power you’re sending through it.

Up next in the list is the steering box mounting. The frames for the mounting have shown a lot of flex, which can fatigue the areas where the box is mounted, causing cracks. Lind suggests that owners inspect the mounting area before buying a first gen Dodge. The last common discrepancy Lind regularly encounters is the injection pump. Over time, the pump can develop leaks, which will require a complete replacement of the pump. While pump rebuilds are feasible, buying and installing a new pump is less expensive and less time-consuming than rebuilding the old pump.

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