The Nightmare project continues.....

Oct 4, 2018
139
40
28
Melville, Saskatchewan
#1
I have dubbed my 2000 Dodge Dakota Project Nightmare or more appropriately Nightmare Project. Not because it is black, which it is or fast, not like it should be. When the 3.9 Magnum went down for the count, I researched a 5.9 Magnum swap. The mechanical swap was easy as was the wiring. It sure sounded easy, well it still isn't right after a couple of years, I plan to change that. The biggest grief has been the ECM. It supposedly just needed a 5.9 ECM from the same year for a 5.9. Well the supposedly programmed ECM start and ran the truck for 5 seconds and never ran again. After contacting the seller who was no help, I went with the Chrysler ECM experts B+G Performance. Well they sent me there first attempt, did not even start the truck. I then sent them both ECM's. Well there was no fire codes on #7 and #8, check and they were not firing and TCC short circuit code, changed the TCC, all the solenoids and wiring with no change. After the truck sitting in the dead of winter for over a month, I improvised. I ran jumper wires from the two injectors just before #7 and #8 in the firing order. Other than some bucking at speed, a shaky idle and down on power due the timing retarding more I drove. I also you toggle switches, otherwise no TCC or overdrive. My Daughter took the truck out of town and way overheated it and blew a head gasket. I replaced both and all seemed well. An hour into the drive, obviously one of the famous for cracking Magnum heads, cracked. Rather than push it in the bush like I should have, I figured, let's spend money on this worthless truck. Since used Magnum heads are non existent, I bought Ram EQ heads. I also studied that the irons guides stick within minutes, a per a review on Jegs, a on the these otherwise much thicker and better flowing, 233 cfm intake heads. It was a smart move to buy the bronze guide heads from Hughes, at a higher price and bought the thick aluminum intake plenum plate to replace the thin steel plate that always eventually leak. Well it has sat in limbo and ordered a different ECM, they sent me a 6 cylinder ECM despite me explaining the whole situation. So I am returning that one, they can't go outside the license I guess. So I am trying a used one that is guaranteed. Here is the issue, any non factory security system ECM will start and run from the same year. Any factory security system ECM will not run more that 5 seconds. I had no idea that existed in 2000. Two good things was 2000 was the first year the 5.9 could be ordered on a non R/T Dakota and was the last year before the chipped key. I am bound and determined to get this "Super Easy" swap to run the way it should.
 

TexasT

New member
Oct 3, 2018
2
1
3
Texas
ihadav8.com
#2
Failure will never overtake you if your determination to succeed is strong enough.” ~Og Mandino

Keep at it. It ran before and with your hard work and determination it will again.
 
Oct 4, 2018
139
40
28
Melville, Saskatchewan
#3
It does run as is, just not up to it's full potential, there is another 5.9 ECM on the way, fingers crossed but has a 60 day return. I wish we could get iron heads as good as those Ram EQ heads for that cheap. Plus with the smaller 58cc Chambers and .028" Mr Gasket head gaskets the motor is now around 9.6 to 1 vs maybe 8.9 to 1 and now has better quench. Chrysler had horrible quench on their old LA motors, sometimes the pistons were .080" in the hole from the factory! The Magnum are more consistent but still around .040" in the hole factory. Here are their flow numbers, Hughes have even better out of box numbers. If you go down the page on the Hughes page, I can simply add a 2.02 intake valve, I assume with the bowl open and flow as well as stock Olds Procomp or Edelbrock heads. I have seriously considered a Magnum RPM intake and Street Demon carb. A cam swap would wake it up huge but would kill the 42RE plus it would need a controller. I need a truck but honestly with the AWD Challenger, it is less necessary and it gets double the mileage and way better to drive.
https://www.aamidwest.com/enginequest/cylinder-heads/flow-numbers/
http://www.hughesengines.com/TechArticles/1headflowchartscomparisons.php
 
Last edited:
Oct 4, 2018
139
40
28
Melville, Saskatchewan
#4
Well, I received the first ECM, it was programmed for Vin and it reads as a 6 cylinder and there license only allows them to match the VIN. So that one is on its way back, should be getting a refund. I bought a used factory 5.9 ECM, this time it started right up and ran. I also still have no 7 or 8 injector firing, it means my wiring must be off. I checked it four times over, still not right I guess. The saga continues....
 

1bad79

New member
Oct 3, 2018
23
4
3
United States
#5
Have you tried just putting a noid light in 7&8 to see if it’s flashing maybe those injectors are bad
 
Oct 4, 2018
139
40
28
Melville, Saskatchewan
#6
Have you tried just putting a noid light in 7&8 to see if it’s flashing maybe those injectors are bad
Yes, I have, they fire. I actually have a removable pig tail running to #7 and #8 from the cylinders that fire just before 7 and 8 in the firing order, so all 8 injectors fire, all run off the same ground. I also the have all the factory wiring soldered and heat shrunk. It has to be my wiring job, the pins must be in the wrong spot. They are numbered in the connector, found mutiple wiring diagrams, all show the same pins for 7 and 8. I will have to do some probing with the multi meter to do some probing to see if I can find #7 and #8 injector that way. I also have a lock TCC code replaced every sensor and harness in the transmission. Supposedly the V8 uses a different pin there as well. I actually have toggle switches to command the TCC and overdrive. I will leave them in place, Dodge locks out the overdrive below -18C, which can be 3 or 4 months here. I will try next weekend to finally sort this Dodge Voodoo out.
 
Oct 4, 2018
139
40
28
Melville, Saskatchewan
#7
I am pretty sure the passenger front wheel bearing is the one that is dying but I am changing both. I am also throwing 75W140 in the front diff. Then even even if I have use a paper clip to probe the connector to figure out where #7 and #8 are so they actually fire where they are supposed to. Maybe I can figure out the lock up wiring difference as well. Should be doing this 2 weeks from now then the great 88 teardown.
 
Oct 4, 2018
139
40
28
Melville, Saskatchewan
#8
I just did both front hubs, it went easier than I thought. I changed the oil in the front diff, there was moisture in there, not good. Changed to a synthetic 75W140 oil. Well there is still a noise, thinking a bearing is going in the front diff, probably on the left side. The nearly new water pump is leaking but I think the 88 Cutlass is going in and I will start with removing the vinyl top.
 
Oct 4, 2018
139
40
28
Melville, Saskatchewan
#9
Took a closer look, I found two wasted U joints on the front driveshaft, it may be the sound, fingers crossed.
 
Oct 4, 2018
139
40
28
Melville, Saskatchewan
#10
Actually all three U joints are fine. It is the stupid Double Cardan ball joint in between the end U joints. What a stupid design, it looks like $100 for it alone, hopefully I can not destroy the U joints removing them and fixing this stupid ball. It does look hard to remove and install, I soaked everything in PB Blaster.
 
Oct 4, 2018
139
40
28
Melville, Saskatchewan
#11
I got the old Double Cardan ball joint out and the new one in. The dust cover was Mangled, so I left it out. I covered it with Mystik synthetic marine grease. I also filled the backside of the ball cavity. It is kind of a dumb design but must have it's merit. Hopefully that eliminates the awful noise.
 
Oct 4, 2018
139
40
28
Melville, Saskatchewan
#12
Well that sounds a ton better. I thought the jerking in the driveline at very low speeds was from my screwed up firing order. It must have been the driveshaft flopping around, it is so quiet now other than the exhaust, which sounds good, just not stock.
 
Oct 4, 2018
139
40
28
Melville, Saskatchewan
#14
No that is the only thing left. It is so tight to squeeze the front end of the truck in my shop and below freezing outside. I still plan on going through it. Running the second computer tells me B+G performance did their job. I am basically going to be running it and probing the harness to find where #7 and #8 injectors are actually firing. You would be surprised how well it runs as is. Replacing the rear U joints and the front Cardan ball joint made a massive difference and eliminated a lot of "misfires" from the driveline. When I do get the 5.9 running right, tires and the marginal 42RE might be the next to go.