318 Timing

Tech Question


Randy Russell, Hemet, CA, 1990 Dodge W150, 318 T.B.I.

First off, thanks for all the years of great info. andentertainment. Okay, my daily driver, a 1990, W150 sprang a coolant leak atthe timing cover gasket. When I fix it, I’m going to replace the timingchain and add the Mopar tensioner. What are your thoughts on advancing thestock cam a bit? Would it help or hurt performance/mpg? The truck is bonestock except for shorty headers, 3″ exhaust and a “performance” piggy backchip. I live in the People’s Republic of California, so tailpipe gases muststay at near-stock levels.

Thanks In advance.



First, on the timing cover: Be sure to have a large belt sander, or newcover, handy. Expect to see plenty of corrosion!

Chain and tensioner – of course.

Advancing valve timing? You might gain 5 ft./lbs at 1500 RPM, and maybe 0.1MPG, but you’ll lose at least that much over 3,000. I wouldn’t bother.

What I would do — and you probably saw this coming — is find a completeboneyard 92-93 pickup, and bolt in the entire 318 or 360 Magnum setup. Untilyou drive it, and see the reduced fuel bills, you’d never believe it is thesame displacement. And your headers / exhaust would bolt right up. You coulddo this in a weekend with a bit of planning.


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