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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everybody!
I just recently perchased an 82 Rampage from the JY I work for at the low, low price of $200. 2.2L no turbo (yet), 60k original miles, light underbody rust and only a few minor shopping cart dings. Oh yeah, and a hideous/weird/cool camper shell, which might be totally custom, 'cuz it fits like a glove. It even has a little formed contour for the drip-rail. I haven't seen anything like it on the web. But... It was the first thing to come off. Really, the only reason I bought it was that my wife wanted a little garden tractor/lawn mower to haul stuff around the yard, but the Rampage was cheaper! Plus I've only owned Mopars, ( now have 5, lost 6). My reason for joining the forum was I need help with suspension mods, and would like to know if anyone could steer me towards other members, threads, or other resources that could give me some ideas. I'd like to make it more of a utility trucklet, maybe give it a lift or LSD or lower gearing (4x4??). Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
 

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I can't help you with the mechanical things. But I like the fact that the Dodge Rampages are low. It makes it much easier to use them as work trucks.

Being low I can put appliances in the Rampage myself. A stove for example. You have it on the hand truck. Tilt the hand truck back far enough and it raises the side of the stove so it will be above the tailgate. Then you just lower it until it touches and push it right in.

I put in refrigerators too by myself. Just by sliding them in on their side on cardboard, or some type of padding so no scratches. Then just upright the refrigerator for travel.

Also loading and unloading gravel with a shovel is easier with the low height.

The only reason I would want the truck to be higher would be to makes it easier for me to get in and out of it.
 

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Welcome to the forum! Glad to see another L-body truck saved from the crusher!!!:thumb:

A lot of guys have lowered them, but not many have raised them.

I do agree with Meek though, the lower height makes them easier to use in a lot of instances...:D
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the first reply I received in a forum ever! I too originally liked the fact that it was low enough for my wife to haul stuff around the yard, but it is a bit too low (already scraped the gas tank). I don't really want anything crazy, 3 inches or less. Just so I could fit some taller tires on it. I'm really hoping to find some stock Mopar suspension that might bolt in with minor fab work. I've already swapped the stock micro 175/80-13 tires for some 185/65-15s off a 90s Integra from the JY (only 'cuz they had new tires and the same bolt pattern and they were free). They rub a little but ... Cheap is good, Free is better.
 

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My guess is that the offset is different on the Integra wheels. I'm running 205/60/15 on '89 LeBaron 5X100 15's and have "0" rubbing issues but I've done the 5 lug 4 wheel disc conversion too. And yes free is way good, but theirs usually a bit more to fit then lug pattern or wheel diameter. Personally I'd reinforce to wifey to keep it in low and reinforce to her also that the round thing in front of her when she's in the little trucklet is to help her dodge the BIG ROCKS and not try to straddle them. BTW, Welcome to the Rampage/Scamp party:thumb:. We'z small but mighty, and our ranks are growing, Jer
 

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OOPS! Almost forgot. We even have our own:cool: thread in the Appearance, Exterior section, "The Rampage/Scamp" thread, that'll keep you reading for ah spell:dancing:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Did the 4 wheel disc conversion you are talking about come off the 89 LeBaron? There's one at the JY right now. I've been looking through some of the Suspension threads but it can be a little overwhelming, there is a HUGE amount of info to sift through. Could you or someone else point me in the right direction? I've always loved MOPARs for their interchangeability of parts, but occasionally you get back from the JY with a part you thought would fit.... And you get stuck in Fabrication Hell trying to make a muffler bearing bracket or a fender hinge.:bang head
 

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Raising the rear is actually fairly easy. You can flip the rear axle to put the offset down, and it would give you a quick 3-4"(maybe more). Kind of a butch way to do it, but it would work... The front is a different story. Mopar used to sell a pair of rally front springs for the L-body's. That would give you a couple of inches. But good luck finding them. They have been NS1 for years...
 

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You could check with some custom coil spring makers. There are lots of listings online. You could price coil and leaf springs to get probably one inch life in front and two inches in the rear.
 

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Well, this morning I decided to check the offset of the integra wheels, they have about a half inch deeper backspace, but only the driver side was rubbing. Odd. So I got to thinking... I looked at the tie rods... And the pass side was all the way in and the driver side all the way out. Huh. I crawled under and found this:
So off to the JY I went.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yup, the k-frame was totally smoked...bent enough that the right side lower control arm had what we in the salvage industry call a 'Non-Engineered, Impact Assisted, Single Wheel Alignment':cool:
bigbarneycars inspired me to look for brake parts while I was at the JY looking for a k-frame. No L-body's. BUT... By the Power of Greyskull! There was an 89 LeBaron GTC!... So I stripped it of all the brake components I think the Suspension threads say I would need.
Sorry for the long story to get to my question... The k-frame and lower control arms look different- can they be used on the Rampage?
This is what I grabbed: rear: hubs, calipers, rotors, brackets, lines and panhard bar. Front: entire front suspension from strut to strut, prop valve and master cyl. Anything else I need?
 

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Well, this morning I decided to check the offset of the integra wheels, they have about a half inch deeper backspace, but only the driver side was rubbing. Odd. So I got to thinking... I looked at the tie rods... And the pass side was all the way in and the driver side all the way out. Huh. I crawled under and found this:
So off to the JY I went.
How could an alignment shop(or anyone else) adjust these tie rods for center, and then allow the previous owner to continue driving this vehicle?!?!?


As for your parts---
The K-Frame & Panhard bar are too wide for the L-Body.
How are you at cutting & welding??

If you can get the K-Frame narrowed, it will be a nice upgrade brakes & handling.

Keep us advised & Good Luck!
 

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L-body's run a unique K-frame compared to all the other Mopars of the era. You can use the GTC one if you are wiiling to narrow it. I believe you also have to move at least one of the mounting pads, but I may be all wet on that one. :D

Dual pivot A-arms like the GTC run are a definite upgrade, if you're willing to put in the work to make it happen...:thumb:
 

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Here's a useful thread on modifying the K member.
It's a fairly straight forward mod,
and gives you the opportunity to improve upon the rigidity of your L-body.

Modifying a Daytona k member for an l body

(Although the title says "Daytona K-member, it's the same for the Lebaron piece you've got)

And, welcome to the forum! :D
 

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1st. Leave the booster, the M/C, and portioning valve alone, what you have works fine. What you'll need are all 4 calipers for the core exchange "$". Keep the 4 rotors 'til you can match them to the new ones to make sure they're identical and you get the correct parking brake shoes for the rears. A few things you'll run into doing the swap: The portion of the LeBaron steering knuckle that sandwiches to the strut is .060 wider then the L-body knuckle and will not fit into the L-body strut. And the LeBaron strut is a 3 stud mount in the strut tower and the L-body is a 2 stud. Become good friends with your parts counter guy if you aren't already and if he's good and knows his job he will be able to find you the strut that will be what you need on both ends(2 stud on the top and .060 wider on the bottom) Buy "4" front rubber brake lines. 2 new ones for the front and 2 more for the rear and reverse them on the rear from left to right and right to left and install those lines AND the parking cables after you've disconnected the 2 steal lines to the old brake cylinders. Your new rubber lines will lay over the top of the rear springs and fit the brake line clamps on the axle. Once in place you can set the steal lines back in place and see how much to shorten them leaving enough to re-thread them into the block so you'll know where to cut 'n double flair. I'd also buy a new rear rubber line that's in there for the joust in the rear axle while you're doing the swap. The one that's there is 30 + years old and is sure to close up on the inside if it hasn't already.(cheap insurance) Theirs one or two other little things that you'll have to do for the swap too but no big deal. Oh, I went to Dot 5 when I did the swap , but it's your call on that tho',:thumb: Jer
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome and all the input. I have a feeling that the previous owner may have done the alignment work with a bubble level and a tape measure and just 'lived with it'. The rear bumper is homemade and I think maybe the 'wrought iron' A/C bracket too was made and installed on a hot afternoon under a shade tree with a few beers already taking their toll. While the hops/barley/shade combo is also my preferred method of installation lubrication, it may also have been a key factor in coping with the need to sit sidesaddle in order to drive the thing straight. XD
I'm definitely interested in using the LeBaron k-frame and suspension, but the struts seem a little short. Any ideas or part numbers? Since I'm still toying with the prospect of adding a little lift, maybe there are taller struts out there that might fit?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks bigbarneycars!
Now those are detailed instructions! I can't wait for the weekend...
In the meantime I kinda half-a**ed a lift block out of 1 1/2" square stock and put it between the frame and front leaf spring mount. Should only give 3/4", but I don't have to mess with the joust valve or shocks. I'll toss it once I come across longer U-bolts and a proper spacer to lift it at the beam axle, then I'll worry about modding the joust valve bracket and longer shocks.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well, over the weekend I found and installed the correct length and shape u-bolts and 2" lift blocks for the rear and took out the cheesy square tube stock. I do need to find longer shocks, I know the late 70's Aspen used a similar 'sea leg' style but I have been unable to locate dimensions for either Aspen or Rampage. I also mocked up a 2" spacer for the front struts, just to check suspension geometry changes. It is quite apparent that there is a very real possibility of axle bind on the passenger side!
Soooo, is there an intermediate type axle shaft that might fit? (Or be 'persuaded' to fit? There is a three hole mounting boss on the block that is already tapped, but I have no idea where to start looking for the bracket. If any one could give me a shove in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
 

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Turbo cars used an equal length half shaft setup that had a carrier bearing attached to the block. Unfortunately, they have long since been discontinued. In fact, even the turbo guys are mostly going back to the standard unequal length setup, because you can still get them, and it really doesn't make that much difference on our vehicles in torque steer...
 
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