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Tech Question

Dan Michalek, White Pigeon MI , 1987 dodge B-150 Van 318

Dr. E,

I have an 87 dodge B-150 109″ wb window van with 63kmiles, still looks and runs like brand new. My problem is, It has the904-based A-999 lockup in it. The tranny still works great actually, and Ihave added a 30,000 lb GVW cooler to it. My old B-300 that I’ve used foryears to tow my Road Runner to the track is down for the count (read: motortime). I know the owners manual and the FSM for the ’87 says max 2000 lbtowing capacity for the 999. Car and trailer weight is 4800 lb. Do you thinkthe addition of the cooler will make it safe to tow with the 87? I reallydont want to swap in a 727, because of the low gear set in the 999 and thefact that the 87 gets almost 19mpg with the 2.94 gears, on the highway.

Dan, I think you’re really looking for trouble. In fact, I’m 100% sure thatyou will find it, soon, if you go ahead with your plan.

No amount of cooling can actually increase a transmission’s torque capacity.With a combined rig weight of about 10,000 pounds, WOT will be required oneven the slightest hill. And the 2.94 gears are surely not helping thematter!

How about swapping in an A-518? As strong as a 727, plus an overdrive, forwhen you’re not towing. Available in non-lockup (recommended) and lockupversions. Then, if it were my van, I’d swap in either 3.55 or 3.90 gears.And, yes, a multipoint-injected 318 or 360. But…

Although you didn’t ask, I feel compelled (a safety thing) to point out thatproper towing is more – much more – than just ample torque. It’s things likeframe, suspension, brakes, wheels, tires, hubs, etc. And a 150 van isdeficient in all these areas. Used 250 or 350 vans aren’t hard to find, orterribly expensive (BTW, this [’03] is the last year for Dodge vans!) If youget a ’92-up MPI 250 or 350 with a 518, you’ll be ready for anything. Andthe mileage, when not towing, will exceed that of your ’87. And, here’s anadded incentive: you may actually live through the experience!



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