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Posted: 6/18/2014 4:20:03 PM EST
Looks like my 03 ram is giving up the ghost. it just ticked over 200k and is getting really buggy. lots of codes I couldnt run down so I took it in this morning and had a shop assess it for me. Timing chain is stretched, valve springs, head gasket leak, PCM about done... its run its course. The issue is, its a great truck. It has a brand new rack, new rear end, new tires, new canopy... I love the rig so Im probably just going to go for a new engine. Soooooo heres the issue: if Im replacing the engine, why go stock? The newer 5.7s put out better power but in 03 the trans had a separate computer than the engine. That changed the next year so any newer engine would be more like a new engine, tranny and computer... probably. I dont know for sure. I know a 6.1 hemi would fit and Im pretty sure all the 5.7 accessories bolt right up, so thats an intriguing option. I just dont see the point in sourcing a used stock 5.7 with 130k miles when newer stock 5.7s have 50 more hp and better mileage.

I use this thing mostly just for truck duties. Towing a camp trailer, getting firewood, and generally being a fun newer truck that I dont mind using as a work horse - dont think id be throwing firewood in the bed of a new truck without wincing on every toss. Money is a big consideration but its going to cost one way or the other, whether I get a used, rebuilt, bigger, newer... or trade it in on a new truck then I have payments attached. Basically cant break the bank but know its not going to be cheap, but should stay cost effective.

Im really up in the air for what to do. Thoughts?
Link Posted: 6/18/2014 4:24:47 PM EST
If you have the ability to do all the work, you might try it. If not, just rebuild the existing engine with some upgraded parts. You could always stuff a blower on it once it's up to the task.
Link Posted: 6/18/2014 4:29:09 PM EST
Originally Posted By sefus:
Looks like my 03 ram is giving up the ghost. it just ticked over 200k and is getting really buggy. lots of codes I couldnt run down so I took it in this morning and had a shop assess it for me. Timing chain is stretched, valve springs, head gasket leak, PCM about done... its run its course. The issue is, its a great truck. It has a brand new rack, new rear end, new tires, new canopy... I love the rig so Im probably just going to go for a new engine. Soooooo heres the issue: if Im replacing the engine, why go stock? The newer 5.7s put out better power but in 03 the trans had a separate computer than the engine. That changed the next year so any newer engine would be more like a new engine, tranny and computer... probably. I dont know for sure. I know a 6.1 hemi would fit and Im pretty sure all the 5.7 accessories bolt right up, so thats an intriguing option. I just dont see the point in sourcing a used stock 5.7 with 130k miles when newer stock 5.7s have 50 more hp and better mileage.

I use this thing mostly just for truck duties. Towing a camp trailer, getting firewood, and generally being a fun newer truck that I dont mind using as a work horse - dont think id be throwing firewood in the bed of a new truck without wincing on every toss. Money is a big consideration but its going to cost one way or the other, whether I get a used, rebuilt, bigger, newer... or trade it in on a new truck then I have payments attached. Basically cant break the bank but know its not going to be cheap, but should stay cost effective.

Im really up in the air for what to do. Thoughts?
View Quote


LS swaps are more popular for your truck than you might ever imagine. I'm sure a big part of that is cost over the dodge hemi engines. You mention janky engine management and dodgy trans control. A 6.0 4L80 swap cures this. Throw a cam, longtubes and a custom tune in the mix and you're pounding out the best part of 450 ponies
Link Posted: 6/18/2014 4:29:22 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/18/2014 4:29:47 PM EST by RDTCU]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By usmcmp:
If you have the ability to do all the work, you might try it. If not, just rebuild the existing engine with some upgraded parts. You could always stuff a blower on it once it's up to the task.
View Quote


This is the answer. New aftermarket internals are cheaper than a factory crate motor. Use the leftovers on fueling/tuning and forced induction
Link Posted: 6/18/2014 5:15:18 PM EST
you can stroke the 5.7 and swap heads on it. Speaking of the ls1 swap...the hemi is just an ls with the best heads ever on it. Rebuild the trans and redo the valve body with a trans-go kit. 03s had a separate controller for the trans. There is a green and yellow wire I think in spot 31 on the connector...remove that wire and it removes all of the torque control. If you have no experience with the new hemi...I can tell you the service manual for the 03 has incorrect timing alignment pictured. I had an 03 I bought in 04. Regular cab shortbed. 13.20 in the quarter, better tires and traction device would have seen 12s. I no longer have the truck, judge suggested I sell it.
Link Posted: 6/18/2014 5:30:07 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/18/2014 5:31:23 PM EST by sefus]
starting to lean that way (just rebuild whats in there). Actually have the shop do it so it actually gets done. I have the ability but two other muscle car projects already taking up space in the garage and I need this truck done within this decade.

the ls idea is cool and i get it, but dollar for dollar and time being a factor Ill probably just stay with the hemi

so I guess the next question is, any 5.7 upgrades to look at? Probably want to keep it all motor unless I found a deal on a pro/super charger or STS rear mount turbo kit. Even then, its just a work truck... but I do love pulling passes at 90 so cam, long tubes...?
Link Posted: 6/18/2014 5:32:22 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Mudpie1313:
you can stroke the 5.7 and swap heads on it. Speaking of the ls1 swap...the hemi is just an ls with the best heads ever on it. Rebuild the trans and redo the valve body with a trans-go kit. 03s had a separate controller for the trans. There is a green and yellow wire I think in spot 31 on the connector...remove that wire and it removes all of the torque control. If you have no experience with the new hemi...I can tell you the service manual for the 03 has incorrect timing alignment pictured. I had an 03 I bought in 04. Regular cab shortbed. 13.20 in the quarter, better tires and traction device would have seen 12s. I no longer have the truck, judge suggested I sell it.
View Quote


lol, sweet. details on that setup?
Link Posted: 6/19/2014 3:41:18 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/19/2014 3:42:07 AM EST by usp4u]
Rebuild it.

Comp 268 cam, Manley has a pushrod/valve spring kit that you must use. 6.1 intake, 87mm throttle body, there are a lot of choices for heads out there limited only by your budget. See Inertia Motorsports. LT headers, 185degree thermostat. Check out Sharadon Performance for complete trans valve bodies, I had the Stage III and it was great.

Look up "HemiFever Tuning", he has a great handle on writing correct SCT-based tunes for the trucks with any mods available. The forced induction guys in general have a hard nailing down useful tunes.

Contact Edge or Circle-D for torque converters.
Link Posted: 6/19/2014 5:27:07 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By sefus:


lol, sweet. details on that setup?
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View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By sefus:
Originally Posted By Mudpie1313:
you can stroke the 5.7 and swap heads on it. Speaking of the ls1 swap...the hemi is just an ls with the best heads ever on it. Rebuild the trans and redo the valve body with a trans-go kit. 03s had a separate controller for the trans. There is a green and yellow wire I think in spot 31 on the connector...remove that wire and it removes all of the torque control. If you have no experience with the new hemi...I can tell you the service manual for the 03 has incorrect timing alignment pictured. I had an 03 I bought in 04. Regular cab shortbed. 13.20 in the quarter, better tires and traction device would have seen 12s. I no longer have the truck, judge suggested I sell it.


lol, sweet. details on that setup?

I used 6.1 camshaft, middy headers with 3" single exhaust(you lose some low end torque with the 6.1 cam) with a hi flow cat. Tru Flo air filter in custom air intake. Changed the rear gears from 3.91 to 4.56. Running aftermarket 20" rims because they are lighter and tires that came to final diameter of 29" to 30.5". Using superchips tuner to eliminate top end governor. This should make the shift points so you just shift into third by the end of the quarter mile. I still got 17mpg at 70mph turning 2200rpm on the highway. There are alot of things available now, that were not back then. We just used what was available. I would suggest a dodge truck forum because that is where I learned alot. Pick up a service manual it can be downloaded free off of the forums. I spin wrenches for a living so I have the tools and a buddy that works for dodge...
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