Author Topic: Dodge Chassis - Tips, Parts Sources & Technical Advice & Info  (Read 92668 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline k94536

  • Test Driver
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Year: 1978
  • Model: Pioneer
  • Chassis: Dodge M-400 (MB400)
  • Engine: 440-3

2017 - Admin edit: that website no longer exists.  Good thing it was shared here because... we are still here!

Compiled Dodge Chassis Tips from old newsletters

Some of these tips and sources may be obsolete, but I am going to put them out there anyway hoping that they will help someone in the restoration and upkeep of their Classic Dodge.

James Gary "Andy" Anderson


Garden Spot Frame and Alignment, 108 Garden Spot Road, Ephrata, PA 17522, 1-717-738-2461.  Also does engine driveline and balancing, brakes?.  When having the alignment checked, set the caster one degree more than factory specs say.



If you want to increase the amperage output of your Chrysler alternator you can get the parts from J. C. Whitney. The item is called Quick Start Alternator Conversion Kit. This will increase your alternator output from 40-65 amp         61-69 73SB7540P,

70-80 73SB7541Y to

    80-105 amp        61-69 71SB0649Y,

70-80 71SB0650W.

Cost is between $29.00 and $38.00 PLUS SHIPPING. This is better than buying a new more expensive alternator. If you can’t do it yourself you can get the parts and take it to a shop to have it done. The shops do not carry these types of parts. You will have to supply them. But make sure that you know that after the conversion, when idling the alternator will not be charging very well, you gain charging AMPS at highway speeds but lose charging AMPS at idle speeds.


Brackets to install high amperage alternator (POLICE)  Lestex type 135A. To mount this alternator you need to have an extra bracket extension welded on the long adjustable arm because this alternator is larger. Lestex Mfg. Dual output alternator, 9135DG-1 14VX Regulator, 135Amp. NEED DISTRIBUTOR



Rear-Axle bearings must be greased only during regular maintenance, make sure axle grease is full to lubricate these properly.  3 different Spicer axles for the M series (300, 400, 500) motorhomes. Rockwell axles in the M600. Only Rockwell required hand packing the rear axle bearings.

****Front wheels need to be up in the air before greasing the front end fittings.****




440-3           Dayco #15450 0699:2 fan/alternator belts

440-3                  Dayco #15475 1599:4 powersteering.

440-4                  On M300 without air conditioning, the fan and steering belts are the same.


So far I have been able to buy most of the stuff I needed from my local NAPA. I would try there first if you have a good one located close buy. If you come up fruitelss there. I would try Alretta Truck Parts. They seem to have a LOT of items that just plain will not be found anywhere else:


White Post Restorations in NC? can rebuild your old wheel and cylinders, and not as expensive as you may think. They install a brass sleeve which means the cylinder is good for the rest of the life of the coach! I think they reline brake shoes there also as well:


You might also want to check in with Bob Sweeting at Power Brake services in Long Beach, CA: or 562-436-4111. Seems like a knowledgeable fella if you want to rebuild or upgrade your braking system.

If you don’t have the Dodge Motor Home Chassis Parts Catalog, you can get one on CD from They have pictorials and some exploded views of all of the chassis parts, along with the original Mopar 7 digit part numbers. No OEM numbers unfortunately. This is always a help in explaining what you need - since you are buying parts for a vehicle that is usually not listed in the database for typical passenger car auto parts stores - being a 1 ton or heavier chassis and antique too. I have had luck locally at places which supply commercial vehicles and delivery trucks. They typically are located in the commercial/industrial parks near metropolitan areas. I got my first leads by asking a Truck Stop where they got their parts.

I was able to find most of the parts I needed to do the brakes on my rig at a large NAPA distribution center. You will need to find an old parts man that knows how to use a paper parts catalog though. There are a few Dodge dealers that can order parts for these too. Again you will need a part number or find an old pro that will take the time to use a old parts catalog. Truck brake shops can still get rebuild kits or rebuilt hydrovacs but they are starting to get pretty expensive.

I have some important information for owners of vintage Dodge chassis motorhomes. If you have owners looking for brake rotors, calipers, drums and other parts, they are all available from Auto Specialty through their retail outlets. Kelsy Hayes acquired Auto Specialty and gave them all the original molds. Auto Specialty will continue to make castings so the parts will not dry up. Auto Specialty will provide you with the number of your nearest retailer by calling 310-513-2060. Auto Specialty's tech department can give you the part number you need so when you contact your retailer, you will have it to give to them. As an example:

M500 5 bolt rotors #AR8710

M400 6 bolt rotors #AR8712

M600 8 bolt rotors #AR8711

All list around $225 each NEW!!

M300 rotors #AR8703 list around $80 NEW!!


I find in my area the Chrysler dealer in Owego NY is very helpful and all their dealers have a computer that will locate anything that is available in the U.S. I had brake problem last month and NAPA came up with a caliper and pads but no rubber hose and Chrysler located the right one in Detroit. Also Mitchels in Columbus Ohio often has older Mopar parts.

The booster can be purchased from a rebuilder in Cleveland OH,  for $175.00 exchange.


ATP Brake Division

ATP Automotive WHSE
207 A Street
Boston, MA 02210


BigJohn booster-Vacuum booster assisted brake mechanical,  FUTURE-CROSS REFERENCE THIS TYPE OF HARDWARE IN A MODERN TRUCK JOURNAL. 

Electric vacuum pumps are also available from
Master Power brakes, 110 Crosslake Park Rd., Morresville, NC 28117, 704-664-8866,, 888-356-7291

Valvoline Synthetic brake fluid part number 057 boiling point 502F, Exceeds DOT3& DOT4.

Most trade journals recommend the FORD truck fluid for it’s high boiling point.

Stainless steel brake lines-
Classic Tube manufacturing, 80 Rotech Drive, Lancaster, NY 14086, 1-800-882-3711.

To flush out brake lines/master cylinder use a denatured alcohol that doesn’t attack the rubber seals.  If rusty liquid is encountered, you should replace the rear brake lines due to internal rust accumulation.

Rebuilt emergency brake assemblies- Try
SMS Auto restorations, 1320 Route 9, Champlain, NY 12919,, 1-800-989-6660.  They should be able to rebuild yours.

Rear drums for your ??? ? CHASSIS ( BUDD #75747 ) are available from (MERIT TRUCK PARTS).They are in Chicago ILL, 1 800 621 4198, Ask for Don Rodridgez   PS: The drums are new and made in Canada.


Alternatively, if you can get to a junkyard, cables off dodge pickups are similar enough

There is a listing at NAPA online that crosses over from the Dodge Part Number 2960 213 List as cable for 69-73 w/ 413 or 440 engine - Balkamp Accelerator Cable Napa Number BK 6101 407 $ 47.99 . It is the same number for the 440 or 318 engine if chassis was completed after 1/3/72. - Should get you on the road again .

Call Hartland engine 330-238-2242 in Medina Ohio. 
Save your old cable for reference, prices are very reasonable.

All kinds of cables available from
 Catco, 651 636-4311. There are in a suburb of St. Paul MN.

SPEEDOMETER cabling -Also
D&D Speedometer Services, 651 631-0030 located in St. Paul.


TOMCO Carburetor Co. 1-800-858-3458 supplies most any Dodge carb.  You can call them for any part number and order it locally.

                      69-71           413    Holley #4-744

72-73           413    Carter #4-747 Coil choke

                      72-73           440    Holley #4-745 electric choke

                      72-81           440    Carter #4-581

Daytona Parts Co., 904-427-7108, 1911 Turnball Road, New Syrna Beach, FL 32168.  They can rebuilt/supply almost any carb also back there work and are very reliable.

Edelbrock Model 1905 Spread bore Model

NEED good vacuum gauge reading 1” increments and a tachometer that reads in 100-RPM increments.  Warm up engine with a short highway run.  There are two metering screws on the base of the carb front, seen with the air cleaner off.  Adjust metering screws using Edelbrock special tool, adjusting for maximum vacuum with engine hot at 1800 RPM.  Turn either way until vacuum goes up and levels out.  Try the other side, and keep readjusting both until are maxed out.

Edelbrock Model 1411

Spring controlled choke for 440’s 1968-1970 Carter AVS four barrels is available now just as originals.  Hoffman’s Winners Circle produces this available at your local reproduction parts dealer.


            Legato Squares, made by Milliken and available at Home Depot.


All chassis parts (shocks, brakes, etc) are available at your local NAPA Auto Parts Dealer.

Hard to find Dodge Chassis parts-contact West Coast Truck Parts. 160 E. Liberty, Anaheim. CA 92801. Phone (714) 526-3300. 


            NAPA 1C13 Stock replacement (440-3 & 318/360)

MSD #8222 epoxy filled, MSD recommends with their boxes.

MSD #8202 Used for both stock and MSD controls. The stock type coil is an oil filled model and mounted sideways, although MSD recommends neither for RV units.


            Gap at 0.035 with stock electronic distributor

Gap at 0.045 with stock plus MSD Stacker-MSD Stacker is an add on box that uses the stock type box to trigger a multiple spark discharge signal on top of the stock signal.  Only four wires to connect two for power and two to the coil.

            Gap at 0.050-0.055 for all other MSD Boxes

To set the timing, use an adjustable timing light, disconnect and plug up the vacuum line to the distributor, rev engine up to 1800-2000 RPM when taking a reading.  Some BB setups will use the balancer timing marks on the passenger side, this was very hard to see with the alternator in the way. Some BB setups will use a hole in the transmission bell housing for the timing marks.  I recommend just bringing the motor up to TDC 0 degrees and marking the vibration damper or a pulley with a baseline mark.  You must also mark something not movable as a reference. Most 1970 and UP SBM will use the timing cover marks on the DRIVER side.  Typical timing setup is 8 degrees at full advance?

NEW HEI style distributor available for Mopar, DUI.  Just send 12+ Volts KEY ON signal to it, totally self contained ignition and coil combination.  SEE TECH TIP IGNITION UPGRADES---JAN 2004.

Using the light vacuum advance springs will help performance, available from Mopar performance.

Ignitor performance ignition unit inside your distributor.  Pertronix, 1-800-827-3758,



            Call Darrin at HELP SMOG CA    1-800-544-4357.


If you have low voltage or dim lights on your mobile mansion, you can do a couple things. First, put in a headlight relay if one is not there. Part number, Signal Stat 192. This will give you 12 volts directly from the battery. It will also save your headlight switch. The switch gets very hot without a relay and will cause a resistance to the lights and will eventually burn out. If your tail and clearance lights are dim you can do the same thing for them. Only you put the relay at the back and run a 12-gauge wire from the battery to the relay. Put this relay in line with your harness. This will also help in your TOAD in the lighting department. There are several multipurpose relays out there. There are some that are the size of a ice cube that work real well. Get one for each of the 3 circuits there.

 Procedure for finding a short circuit:

My problem will drain my battery in the matter of overnight. I have been told to take the positive cable off of the post at night and check for spark. I do have this which indicates a current drain. I was then told to take the test light and attach it to the positive cable and the other end to the positive post. This makes the test light shine. This is not supposed to happen and indicates a power draw (Short circuit). I was then you to start pulling fuses one by one until the light goes out..This will tell us which circuit is shorting out. Then you have to locate the short and fix it.

No starting/no cranking/no light problems---Most likely the cause is in the fusable link from the starter relay to the fuse box.  This can also show up as intermittently stop running problems.  Mine was intermittently causing problems with no starter action. I bought a 50A circuit breaker and rewired a (#10) wiretap directly from the engine battery terminal right into the fuse box as a bypass. Have heard of this fuseable link wire shorting to ground intermittently somewhere and also causing batteries to go bad.  Could be the physical mounting location?  I ran mine inside the frame with everything else.


What does the "-3" stand for at the end of 440 engines?

This is part of the block casting # 440-3 (the full # being 3698830-440-3) which is cast on the side of the block. This number is for 73-78 440's. As far as the -1 or -3 designation, the-3 would mean heavy-duty applications (such as TRUCK/ RV) and the -1 meaning light duty. Distinguishable differences include the -3 has a heavy-duty forged crankshaft that is slightly longer than in other 440s, the coolant passages in the block are larger, the block is taller, and the heads are slightly further apart. It seems that although many parts do interchange, as many or more do not. The distributor may be slightly longer on the –3 (NEEDS TO BE CHECKED). Exhaust manifolds and headers may require some clearance room to interchange, and intake manifolds from the -1s can supposedly work on a -3 with a spacer (Most will work). Water pumps are slightly different although they will bolt up, (RV water pumps are heavier duty applications).  Head gaskets are slightly different, they have holes for the water routing into the head.  Heads have some extra water passages.

No difference in deck height. The difference between -1 and -3 motors is this_ 1) The block casting has cooling holes in the deck surface at @ 7 PM and 5PM when looking down on each cylinder 2) A corresponding head gasket is required to allow coolant flow through to the heads 3) The heads have peanut plugs(10)mm.  These are listed in the parts books as “J” engines? They also have matching holes to mate up with the block/head gasket. These holes are 1/4 inch.  All of this was to improve heat removal in severe load use. The -1 engines had none of these modifications. All of these pieces can be intermixed with non -3 or -1 engines, usually without consequence. I know folks who couldn't find a -3 head replacement and used a -1 head. It will usually be ok unless you are pulling a 9000 lb trailer.

Heat related gasket problems: First use valve cover part number: FelPro VS13379. This is a neoprene gasket. It should resist heat to some extent. The other is to use exhaust gasket, FelPro MS90425. This gasket has a heat shield to protect the valve covers.

Pulleys- Try Bouchillon Performance- 843-744-6559,, they stock all combinations and March serpentine belt kits.

Rebuilt engines and transmissions—Nationwide      Jasper 1-800-827-7455

Rebuilt engines—RECON Auto, 3250 S. 76 St., Phila., PA 19153, 1-800-817-3266,


Engine mounts—ESPO, 1-800-903-9019,


Ceramic coatings are being used a lot in racing engines. Pistons, exhaust mainfolds, valves, intakes.  This can possibly help with heat management issues.


Stock pan 413, 440-3 BBM needs 6 ½-7 quarts after an oil and filter change.

Stock pan 318/360 SBM needs 4 ½ quarts after an oil and filter change.

318 and 360 oil pans are not interchangeable.

Truck oil pans are usually rear sump models and use a different pickup than car oil pans.

An adjustable torque strap will help with cracked manifolds or iffy engine mounts.

Most motorhome oil pans can be taken off and cleaned out and then resealed while still on the chassis.  Crank windage trays are recommended and should already be installed in most trucks.  BBM engines need two oil pan gaskets if you have a windage tray installed. SBM windage trays need a set of different set of main crank bolts to install, these have machined surfaces and mounting holes drilled and tapped to attach the tray.

 Modern intake gaskets to use are called “TORQUE PLUS” and are available from JEGS/SUMMIT for both big and small blocks.—These have small screens imbedded into them to help with the atomization of the fuel going into the combustion chamber.  Also they are a safety shield if ever you have accidentally dropped something down into the carburetor.  Due to the covering screen it will never make it into the combustion chambers.

 Serpentine belt systems—March Performance pulleys (JEGS/SUMMIT/MANCINI) 1-800-230-3030.  Kit comes with alternator and bracket/Saginaw keyway pulley. Must specify engine size, power steering and/or air conditioning.

My 413s engine dipstick is 46.25 from the ferrule that rides on the end of the tube down to the filler mark, and another inch to the very-end.

Oil dipstick or dipstick tube broken?  Try to fix using a standard SBM tube and dipstick. Do this during an oil change and fill with exactly 6.5 quarts (BBM).  Just mark the tube where the oil level falls after restarting and running the engine.  One drawback is that you have to pop the dog house to check oil, but there is a lesser chance for oil leaks now because it is more direct and has less bending and length.  Try Moroso generic oil dipstick fix.

In 1972 Chrysler began using hardened valve seats in preparation for the coming of unleaded gasoline. Fully inductioned-hardened seats and valves did not appear until 1976.

Tricks to IDENTIFY which engine you have:

You can id the motor by looking on top of the motor just behind the water pump area passenger side it should have a flat space that will have 413-1, 440-3,or 318-3 stamped in it. These are the size motors found in superior motor homes. The block is a wedge but not a straight under bored 426 it has some cast differences and stroke changes. If you still have access to the body there is a plate in the front engine compartment that will give you a lot of information also on the drivers side below the window should be another. One other thing there will be some markings on the engine plate they are stamped into the engine a swastika cross and odd shapes that are code marks for over sizes or under cut shafts. If you can get all the info off of the engine compartment tag VIN and such Email them to me and I will try to Id some of the items I have a superior book from 71/72. I run a superior 2500 with a 440 and have a 413 and parts in a Winnebago. Hope this helps some.


Cater FUEL pump, model CRT-P5494, $60.00


This is one item we have had several requests for. If you need gas gauge units as well as fuel tanks and accessories contact: Transfer Flow Inc., 1444 Fortress St., Chico, CA 95926.

1-800-442-0056 and ask for their catalog.

Mr. Gasket has a pedal replacement kit available through JEG’s mail order that can be adapted for usage when your throttle cable freezes solid.  We checked at a local Dodge dealer and found the part unavailable.  You will need a carburater bushing to install the cabling into the carb linkages, available at Jeg’s. NEED TO CHECK A LOCAL TRUCK SERVICE CENTER.

Autometer Gas Gauge Model #3515 is interchangable with stock gauge SPECS     10 Ohms=Full and 73 Ohms=Empty.

When installing an electric fuel pump, make sure to use a block off plate on the mechanical pump mounting flange. If at all possible, do not use both pumps at the same time to reduce the risk of fires if the mechanical diaphragm breaks. A regulator is usually required unless the pump is self-regulating. Carter offers self-regulating electric pumps at an economical price $60. (JEGS/ SUMMIT). I wired mine in series with the key on output on the fuse box, it goes on with the keyswitch, and I used a self resetting circuitbreaker in place of a fuse.


Timing, ballast resistor or Coil, Cap and Rotor, Battery, relay, and Starter issues, or Carburator/Fuel issues.

Your problem is probably the ignition ballast resistor mounted near the coil. It is bypassed in the start mode to ensure a good spark, but in the run mode is used to drop the coil input voltage. It is probably open or has a very high resistance, thus no spark. Check with a voltmeter in the run position resistor should have 12volts on the switch side and approximately 8 volts on the coil side measured to ground good luck.


Found some headers for the 440-3. Thorley has them. Anyone that tells you that the 440-1 and 440-3 are the same headers doesn't know. The phone for California Performance (Dealer for Thorney) is 1-800-350-7110. Talk to Dennis. They also recommended boots for the spark plug wires and a cover for the starter. The headers are $334.00 and $39.99 for the boots. Doug Thorny headers offer a lifetime guarantee, worth the extra money it costs initially. Have heard stories of people who have received replacements several years later at no cost.

Use the copper exhaust gaskets if possible, they don’t burn out, and literally mold themselves to the mating surfaces after some usage.

Have your manifold/headers black satin ceramic coated on the outside to reduce the temperatures of inside the doghouse.

Both JEG’s/Summit/JC Whitney mail order books have the new copper type exhaust gaskets, these resist the heat and literally mold themselves to headers/heads/manifolds with each tightening.  Can be reused without problems.

STAGE 8 uses a bolt system to prevent the header bolts from backing out due to vibration/heating up.  They should be checked occasionally but will last indefinitely.   There is another type of header bolt style available now which is a two piece locking unit.

FOR SBM- the outside bolts, where the stock manifold uses a stud, should have silicone sealer installed at these bolts.  Because they intersect the cooling system and you will most likely have coolant leaks later on after warm up if you fail to use sealer on these.

 The usage of a Ministarter enables a main advantage of removing or replacing the starter without disassembly of most header combinations; otherwise you must pull off the DRIVER side header and exhaust to replace the stock starter. With stock exhaust???

The mini starter is smaller and more powerful torque wise.  Much easier to install but takes metric nuts?

TTI Exhaust headers are the hot item for street/strip cars right now. They have exceptional quality materials and workmanship, besides they look great.  Call Mancini Racing 1-800-843-2821

A crossover tube between the banks of cylinders exhaust less than 18” from the collectors will really help with balancing the exhaust/ and significantly decrease the output noise levels.  This also builds torque which is what a big heavy motorhome needs to start moving.

Some people recommended to either ceramic coat the headers or use the high temperature exhaust wrap to insulate the rest of the engine compartment from excessive heat.  Others are unsure of this being beneficial in the motorhome type application. The simple fact of these processes will cause the heat to flow out through the pipes, not to radiate in the engine compartment, take your pick which way you wish to manage the heat.

Hedmen Header now makes makes a heavy duty 440 header set called “Elite”. It is available from Jeg’s or Summits.

Schumacher Creative Services sells a high flow Tri-Y set for 440’s that is less intrusive space wise than any other type.  These are of the step-up type design which increases torque. Although they are designed for installation on tight fitting car engine bays, they should work fine in a motorhome application. 206-364-7151 Seattle, WA

 There are several styles of street rod headers available now (Center dump exhaust) which should work for motorhome applications.  The advantage with these pieces are more clearance when doing any work, easier starter access, header type performance, and less costly than full size headers.


Relay Signal Stat #192, use one for each circuit, Headlight, parking, and turn signals.  This can fix the dreaded dim lamps or slow blinking problems.  Also corrects the heating up of wires under the dashboard?  Since everything goes through the ignition/headlight switch this releases the load on this switch.


Some of these old Dodge RVs had special high velocity water pumps and high flow thermostats.  This was part of the differences between 440-3 and 440-1 engines.   If you buy a standard water pump or thermostat at the auto parts store for your 440-3, it won't be right (probably for a 440-1) and can make the engine run hot. My Travco even has a warning label still on the air cleaner that notes the correct Dodge part # for the thermostat. You can get the high performance water pumps and thermostats from some of the racing parts suppliers from manufacturers such as Edelbrock for these old Dodge engines, but they are pricey. Water Pump Edelbrock Victor Series EDL 8814 is interchangeable with the 440-3 high output pump.

A high technology antifreeze additive is available not that lowers the coolant temperature 15-30 degrees, usually only need 2 quarts to treat the entire system.

Use brass freeze out plugs if possible and available, they don’t rust or corrode so they last longer.

Two Dodge dealers had the water pumps, part ^ 3780196. One dealer wanted $130.00, one wanted $140.00. Members also found the part at local stores like NAPA for about $40/$80 including the gasket that Dodge dealer wanted an extra $1.95. If you are having heat problems, get the TRUCK TYPE 440-3 pump! The fins are substantially larger than the standard pump, ¼”+ at the diameter, so it will move more water to where you need it most.

Heavy-duty water pump for the 440-3 from Napa. Part # W 451 is listed for Dodge chassis of 6000 lbs or more. It is rebuilt and cost is $40. Good insurance!

FelPro head gasket 8519 PT-1 doesn’t have the holes punched into the top portion of the gasket? Stock hole dimensions-----------0.7960 (51/64) x 0.1180 (1/8)

Heat related gasket problems: First use valve cover part number: FelPro VS13379. This is a neoprene gasket. It should resist heat to some extent. The other is to use exhaust gasket, FelPro MS90425. This gasket has a heat shield to protect the valve covers.

Have your manifold/headers black satin ceramic coated on the outside to reduce the temperatures of inside the doghouse. Use the white exhaust tape wrapping to assist the hot gasses out of the exhaust pipes and to cool surrounding areas.  The addition of a crossover balance tube will help with performance.

Thermostat Mopar #3512998, #3514177–160, #3514774-185 for a 440-3 is slightly bigger in diameter than the stock car 440.  Dodge has discontinued this unit. STAT makes a replacement for this thermostat.  Mr Gasket part #4367 a direct replacement,  Don’t use Car Quest 30238, NAPA 532080 SLANT.  CHECK SLANT 13476.  13479 1977 440 car engine, NADA #THM532080, 180 degrees F, THM532060 for 160 degrees F, Robertshaw #370-180. Mr. Gasket #MRG4367 $9.95 from Summit.

USE a 7 PSI radiator cap.

 A standard car 440 thermostat is slightly smaller and will need a conversion ring/ adapter to work correctly, but is not recommended.  Use a 160F if running hot in the summer months.

Heater valve replacements ACME Radiator & Air Conditioner, 17103 State Road. 4EGoshen, IN , 46526, 219-534-1516 Area code has changed?  If you take the valve into a local auto parts store they should be able to cross-reference it but they need it to compare it against the pictures in the books.

Heater valve replacement, TRY Murry Model #277902, most auto parts dealers can find this listing.

JC Whitney offers an aluminum skinned heat reflective/coverage material similar to the standard insulation material called jute backing.  This material could be glued underneath the doghouse to provide additional insulation in order to keep the hot temperatures where they belong.

Some members have had success curing the over heating problems by relocating the engine input water neck to the left side of the radiator to improve coolant flow. FOR THE TOP HOSE use Gates #20983 for this conversion.    Others have installed diverters to redirect the flow to the other side forcing the coolant to utilize the radiator more efficiently.


          See TECHNICAL TIPS JAN 2004, JULY 2004, OCT 2004

Davis Unified Ignition (DUI)-HEI type kit available for BBM and SBM- Drops into the engine without the need for any external boxes, just add +12V and you are ready to fire.   Fits stock valve covers on BBM. 2699 Barris Dr., Memphis, TN, 38132, 901-396-5782.


Cracked exhaust manifolds?  Have your mechanic use a hacksaw to cut ¼” deep through the casting right between the mounting holes that are right next to each other.  This should allow for 1/16” of expansion of the manifold.  This has fixed at least one-coach owners’ problems.

I think the motorhome exhaust setup should have more exhaust hangers installed to counteract the weight of this system pulling down on the headers/manifolds/muffler. I’ve broken several hangers/mufflers already due to this.  Also to help correct this use an adjustable torque strap on the engine.

Have your manifold black satin ceramic coated on the outside to reduce the temperatures of inside the doghouse.

Both JEG’s/Summit/JCWhitney mail order books have the new copper type exhaust gaskets, these resist the heat and literally mold themselves to headers/heads/manifolds with each tightening.  Can be reused without problems. They should be retightened/ checked every year but will last indefinitely.

413 Exhaust manifolds (NEW!)

Just thought we would report that WELLER AUTO. 2525 Chicago Drive, Grand Rapids, MI 49509; (616) 538-5000, fax (616) 538-4159. supplied us with new manifolds for $200 each. Shipping was prompt and cheap

We have these new with the install kits at reasonable prices. 1-888-663-8400 or 620-663-7251

Cracked 440 manifold, try a replacement from
Bishop Engine Replacement Parts for $125
301 Corinth St.
Dallas, TX 75207
Fax 214-943-924


IRV Biskho Auto Literature, 445 So. College St., Piqua, OH 45356, 1-800-544-3312,, 203-237-4795

MOPAR Performance Parts. I suspect that there are items in it that you can use for your motor home. Catalog number is P5007601. I think the web site is:

David & Michelle Waller, 26 McKenzie Ave., Meridan, CT 06451-5231, 203-237-4795

*Member Ray Petersen has found a small 92 page binder on “Slideouts and Rooms-Mechanics Special and Structures” by Dave Galey (ISBN 1-890461-11-3)  This book is heavy on structural theory but has lots of pictures and simple actuation methods.  Also latching and electrical schemes, published by Winlock Galey, 26135 Murrieta Road, Sum City, CA 92585.

P.J.'s Auto Literature Phone: (319) 345-6760

Bob Johnson (The Auto Lit Man) Phone: (508) 872-9173


WestOaks Dodge, 3839 Auto Mall Dr. Thousand Oaks, CA 91362, 1-800-748-6118,  Dealership which sells all the Mopar Performance Catalog stuff.  Technical Information 1-805-373-1290.


Megaloc by HERCULES is available in plumbing supply stores, and is very useful for around those sending/sensor areas.  It doesn’t dry hard and is resistant to gas/oil/diesel.

Kano Laboratories, 1000 S. Thompson Lane, Nashville, TN 37211, 615-833-4101.  Makes KROIL OIL, used for loosing rusted bolts/nuts.

My 413s engine dipstick is 46.25 from the ferrule that rides on the end of the tube down to the filler mark, and another inch to the very-end.

If you change the filter with the oil , I think you need to add 7 quarts of oil and then run the engine and allow oil to drain down back into the pan for a while ( 1/2 hour or so ) then check the level and mark the stick .

Several years ago the engine started using oil. When changing oil, I use a More’s Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer.  This has prolonged the oil consumption.


Onan generator. Need fuel pump, members found one at a dealer for around $72 plus tax. The pump was made by A B C . An automotive pump manufacturer.   Searched at local parts store found him a "Purolator" brand universal electric fuel pump that puts out about 3 lbs. Pressure. (Onan calls for 2.5 lbs.) The Purolator part # is 42S. The cost was about $27.50. It took a small amount of modification to mount and hook up but it works fine. On that same Generator, need to buy a starter solenoid (relay.) (It looks like an old Ford starter solenoid.) We were told by an old time Onan generator mechanic that an automotive solenoid would not work as it is wired internally different. An Onan brand solenoid #307-1498. The model of this generator is 5-OCCK-3CR-1600U.

If the ONAN generator wants to hunt or cycle it means that it is running too lean.


Some of us has had problems with the gear box. In my case, I had too much play in the wheel. This can unnerve you going 70 mph down the highway. There is a nut on the side of the gearbox. Inside the nut is a slot for a hex wrench. Hold the hex head with an Allen wrench.. Using a wrench, loosen the nut. Now, gently tighten the screw clockwise. Once you feel it seat, back off half a turn. You do not want it seated too firm! This will lock up your steering. Now hold the screw head and tighten the nut. You'll notice the play has gone out of your steering. Of course, a good set of radial tires also helps. Bias tires will exaggerate any play in the wheel.

Power steering box brace modification---NEED PICTURE?

Make sure all of the mounting bolts are tight, one member found the bolts holding the steering box bracket to the frame was loose causing a steering wandering problem.

Gearbox part numbers Mopar # 483077, NAPA #277501

Power steering Performance Trans Enhancer Fluid #4212 by MotorSports PO Box 5854 Winston Salem, NC 27113 336-723-9404 surpasses the Mopar fluid for your power steering pump.

The M400/M500/ gearbox is the same one that is used on ½ ton 1970-1976 Chevy 2x2 trucks during the years of our motor homes. A regular GM truck shop manual may help on this. THIS NEEDS TO BE VERIFIED??

When flushing the power fluid out, disconnect the coil wire so the engine doesn’t start, or use your emergency starter relay with the key=OFF so the engine doesn’t start, otherwise there will be a mess of power steering fluid everywhere.

Hydraulic steering stabilizers sold by JC Whitney, Part #55SB5097N $45.95/each.  Stabilizer acts like a powerful shock absorber to protect steering systems from excessive and abrupt side to side motion.  Eliminates constantly fighting with the steering wheel during passing truck turbulence wash, or pothole wheel pulling issues.

Steer & Gear Power steering specialist, 1000 Barnett Rd. Columbus, OH 43227, 1-800-253-4327.  Remanufactured gears and pumps. Steering Boxes

Steer-n-Gear specializes in Mopar steering components. They offer complete rebuild services for manual and power steering boxes.

1000 Barnett Rd.
Columbus, OH 43227





One source of parts we have found [ Vander Haugs ] Souix City Iowa. (Sorry, no more info.)

Arizona RV Salvage Co, 2737 W. Lincoln Street, Phoenix, AZ Phone, (60 ) 272-0301.

Need a new door? Call ELIXIR INDUSTRIES. Northwest Division. 19527 Grim Roa P.O. Box 9, Aurora, OR. 97002. Phone. (503) 981-0181, Fax (503) 981-0708.

Huckaby RV Salvage
1293 N.W. 50 Highway
Holden, Missouri 64040

FOX RV, Middleberry IN


US 58 AUTO parts, Smithfield, VA 757-238-2567   



This may not be exactly what you are looking for but I installed front and rear air bags on my 77 Travco 270. Parts were about $460, did the installation myself as it wasn't to difficulot. Original leaf springs were left in place. The air bags just help take some of the load off the springs and give you a softer ride. You can run up to 100 psi in bags. Mine seems to give the best ride between 35 and 50 psi. Bags I installed were Firestone's from J.C. Whitney.

Mac’s Spring, CA 909-862-4811,

Full time -helper springs sold by JC Whitney, Part # 55SB4555T $196.95.

Air ride helper springs sold by JC Whitney for front and rear Dodge Chassis (M300,M400,M500) motorhomes, Part # Front 38SB3567A $227.98, Rear 38SB3566T $227.98.

Suspension items try —ESPO, 1-800-903-9019, might try they don't seem to stock the larger springs but, were able to get a set for my M300 chassis at a great price.

I replaced the standard shocks with the spring loaded kind. They were a challenge to install. It's not the shocks that's hard. It's squeezing those suckers long enough to install them. Using my floor jack, I located a ledge to work with. Place the shock on top of the jack and under the ledge. Jack it up to compress the shock. Using some strong rope, tie it off. Release the jack. You'll no quickly whether the rope worked. With it compressed, you should have no problem installing it. I used my floor jack again to move the body or axle up to make the bolt holes align. Once on and tightened, then just cut the rope. The springs added a lot of support to my rear. She doesn't sag much now. These also work like the stabilizer bars.


Ministarters were standard on late 1990’s 318 and 360 Dodge trucks, try a junkyard or go to the local NAPA dealer. Allows removal and replacement without removing drivers-side header (most models), also have a higher torque rating in a smaller package, it is more efficient than older boxes. Also it is a stock replacement parts for newer type Dodge trucks, so you can now use all the modern auto parts stores.

Chrysler Product HI-TORQUE STARTERS for Dodge M H chassis- Part no. R0171376 ($91.30) Get the 1.8 HP motor designed for 440, in motorhomes.

Heat shield Part No. 1934547 ($11.55.)

Run two wires from the relay to a push button switch to bypass the starter key switch, just like in a racecar. Ignition signal (KEY ON) must be active for ignition coil to start the engine.

Mini starter-    Mancini Racing POBOX 239 Roseville, MI 48066, 1-800-843-2821, INFO 586-294-6670, Uses metric nuts for wire connections but otherwise direct bolt on.

Hard starting issues, try installed a small electric fuel pump from JC whitney to fill up the carburator fuel bowl first before starting the unit.  MSD ignition system will help with starting problems, also check the timing.


Source for tires. TireNET has available 7.50x17 Michelin XCA radials load range D The last time I checked the price was $159.99 INCLUDING delivery. tubes extra. Contact John at TireNET 1-888-261-9566 E-mail Website

Difference between RADIAL/ BIAS type rims? DON’T TRY AND BUY RADIALS FOR YOUR M300 or M400 without first buying wheels.  The rims are different starting in 1975 the wheel is a one piece model designed for radial tires, the older rims can be spotted by looking at the back, there will be distinct rivet evidence with spot welds every 90 degrees.

Tire footprints                                                 Height

8R19.5                   Michelin X2A                     5 5/8

225 70R19.5          Michelin                            7 ½

225 70R19.5          Bridgestone                      7 ½

                                                  Michelin XRV


            Tire footprints

                      8 R 17.5                 Michelin

                                                  Yokohama              7 ½   

We know that a 19.5 " rim will fit the 17.5” chassis. The outside diameter is the same and you won't have to do anything to the speedometer gears. You can get a slightly wider tire for it. This rim is also hard to find. A truck salvage is the only place to get them.

Balancing powder/balls-Some tire shops will only do this to the larger tires now. When checking the tire pressure on a tire that has the balancing powder, first attach air can and blow out the valve stems.  Powder seems to collect at the stem giving bad pressure readings.

CJ Tires has the Yokohama 8R17.5 tires for around $130+tax, 610-587-1231.



Try also web site for additional information also try this one

727 Truck Rear mount- Part #3632984 Mopar

727 Filter Part #FT-1039 FRAM

Polyurethane Mount-Mancini Racing POBOX 239 Roseville, MI 48066, 1-800-843-2821, INFO 586-294-6670, Rebuild

 These mounts are also available at JEGS/SUMMIT

 Transmission mounts—Try ESPO, 1-800-903-9019,

Transmission mounts—Imperial Transmission Services 989-652-6309,

 Transmission lines—The right stuff, 1-800-405-2000, Ohio

 Addition of a small length of chain double wrapped around the tail shaft and rear cross member bolted together, this will provide some cheap safety insurance in case you break a tail shaft, housing, or mount.

Addition of a extra deep trans oil pan plus an external transmission oil cooler will significantly help with the oil’s cooling potential. It adds some volume to help dissipate the heat, also the usage of synthetic fluid can be very beneficial especially during the hot summer months.  If you have headers, get some exhaust heat-shielding wrap available to cover the collectors especially where they are close to the transmission/pan. Some deep pans will be very tight with cleanances depending on the header model. TCI, MOPAR, and B+M make good version deep pans at acceptable prices, make sure that you get a filter extension adapter when installing a deep pan.

 Also a “TOWING/RV” type converter should add gas mileage and significantly helps the overall driving ability of your rig.  These converters stall lower allowing for less slippage, you can pull out at 600-800 RPMS if you need to creep along without stalling.  On the highway there would be less slippage and therefore less net energy loss turning the transmission. The down side of this benefit is cold weather drivability-  In the cold these combinations need more RPMs at idle to stay running.

All 360’s and some 440’s were externally balanced assemblies, they all used a specially weighted converter and a special harmonic balancer.    B+M (Available through JEG’s/Summit) makes a weighted flexplate to use when replacing the converter with a non-weighted unit.   Failure to add required balancing assemblies would cause eventual loss of oil pressure and worn main bearings due to the gross misbalance inside.  Could also cause transmission problems.

Solid flexplates are worth their weight in GOLD, never reuse an older flexplate if possible.  I have seen at least two broken stock flexplates on SBM racing engines so far, but zero on solid ones.

1997 dodge dakota kickdown cable works fine. Find one in a junkyard or new, ask the counter guy to show you the parts catalog for the entire setup, buy the cable, standoff bracket that bolts to the cast boss on the tranny case, and the gear selector lever on the tranny. You will need to fabricate a bracket that holds it at the carb, I cut and welded the mopar stock one to my existing throttle bracket in the right location. Cheaper than a Lokar kit (which has terrible directions), and I can tell people that I made it myself. ADJUSTABILITY? ??? ??? ??? ??? ?

Bouchillon Performance, 937 Commerce Circle, Hanahan, SC 29406, 803-744-6559--offers an adjustable 727 transmission kickdown linkage kit #(3350) for usage when installing a Holley carb setup, or an aluminum intake.  This kit is very adjustable and makes kickdown cable installation very easy and convenient for automatic operations.  http://www.bouchillionperformance

 When reinstalling a converter, there are three distinct clunks to align splines between the converter and the input shaft.  Simply align one and push in, spin and push in for a total of three clunks.  There is a distinct technique to push/pulling/aligning the splines, slowing rotating the converter while pushing/pulling.  Spin around after each attempt, and keep at it until the converter is at least ¼” inside the machined housing, here it should be bottomed out.  When the transmission is bolted together in place with the engine make sure the converter spins freely and isn’t bound up.  You may have to pull it out slightly to tighten up the flexplate.

The trick to installing the flexplate/converter bolts is to paint or  mark one bolt/hole combination before removing the unit. These holes are indexed and will only align at one specific hole setup. When reinstalling, just make sure that the paint marks line up.  If you are installing a new converter, just align the flexplate/converter holes and mark one side before the unit gets into the vehicle.  When everything is bolted together just rotate the converter to align the paint marks and bolt it up.  You may have to snug a bolt or two up before torqued each one.  A little dab of Lock-tite on each bolt helps here.   Use only hardened bolts.

There is a difference between SBM and BBM transmission housings, they will NOT interchange.  727 Converters are usually interchangeable if they are zero balance items (no weights installed) but housings are not due to the difference between SBM and BBM engines bolting arrangements.

M300 transmissions will have a regular “CAR” style tail shaft yoke and driveshaft arrangement. Dodge chassis models M400?-M500-M600 will have a fixed yoke and a two piece driveshaft due to the length between the transmission and the rear.  This is called the pinion block arrangement.

Gear Venders OVERDRIVE-, 1-800-999-9555- External bolt on overdrive box which increases available gears and includes overdrive. Costly but nice when cruising over the interstates.


If your BBM right hand side valve cover leaks, try using shorter bolts, they may be bottoming out in the head before the gasket is totally sealed.

Heat related gasket problems: First use valve cover part number: FelPro VS13379. This is a neoprene gasket. It should resist heat to some extent.

Suggestion for BBM’s is to buy a set of aftermarket aluminum valve covers.  They are significantly more rigid than stock stamped steel ones and will hold the gasket in place longer. One side benefit is because they are aluminum, that they will dissipate any heat faster. This is important with exhaust heat management. Watch out for clearance issues around distributors and intakes, they are usually slightly taller than stock.


Ellis safewidewheels 18002310845
Stockton Wheels

Wheel & Rims Sales Co., South Bend IN, 219-287-6555

Boxer Wheels,
Wheel Now in Harrisburg, PA 717-xxx-xxxx

DO NOT Try and fix a tire that is on a SPLIT RIM, vary dangerous as the rims can come apart

Check on the radial/biased rims----There are different types and users are not allowed to mount radials on the bias rims unless warned of potential blowouts.  Designated as a split rims due to the construction method of using rivots to hold the pieces of the rim together.

Do you need a new wheel? CHECK OUT CENTURY WHEEL & RIM CO., 2035 American Avenue, Hayward, CA. Phone (510) 887-8703.

Known fact: That a 19.5 " rim will fit the 17.5” chassis. The outside diameter is the same and you won't have to do anything to the speedometer gears. You can get a wider tire for it. This rim is also hard to find.  A truck salvage yard is the only place to get them.


            318/360/413/440-       Try using         Taylor #002562 Fire sleeves

Accel makes a high temperature 900 degree wire for high temperature applications.

JACOBS IGNITION makes a ceramic terminal wire for high heat environments. 413/440-Jacobs 4430800 Ceramic ends

MSD makes a heat sheilding sleeve to cover the wires and or fuel lines inside the doghouse. 

If you have a HEI type distributor and need different wires installed,


*Member John Determan found some original windlacings, fuzz strips, and weep hole covers for a 1978 Winnebago Brave if interested call him at 602-938-7829.

D & D Custom, Elkhart Indiana (800) 551-9149 Glass Parts, Portland Oregon (503) 650-9655

Rosecity Glassparts, Inc.
Boring, OR
Curved Glass
Derby, CT

Those who risk nothing—do nothing, achieve nothing, become nothing!
"Light travels faster than sound.
That's why some people appear to be smart until you actually hear them speak."

Offline DaveVA78Chieftain

  • 16 year member
  • Top Post Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 3599
  • Member since: 2003
  • I own a: I don't own one but I'm a vintage RV enthusiast!
  • Year: 1978
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Dodge M400
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Dodge Chassis - Tips, Parts Sources & Technical Advice & Info
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2012, 09:01 AM »
Be careful with some of this or you will get very frustrated.  I have also used some of this info from this page however some of it needs "clarifications" because it is not all accurate or is out of date.  The author was associated with the motorhome industry for many years and these are "notes" from along the way.  If things settle down in my life I will try to provide updates for some of the information.

White Post Restorations in NC? can rebuild your old wheel and cylinders, and not as expensive as you may think. They install a brass sleeve which means the cylinder is good for the rest of the life of the coach! I think they reline brake shoes there also as well:

Is in VA just down the road from me.  Some day I need to stop by there and talk to them about what they can do for the Dodge, Chevy, and Oshkosh chassis.

M300 are avaialble at NAPA
M400 - Search EBAY using M350 instead of M400.  The aftermarket mfgs set their data up using M350 before Dodge did the RM350 roll back to M400 in 74.  Aftermarket did not update their data or did not understand what needed to be done.


Offline LJ-TJ

  • 18 year member
  • Top Post Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 2622
  • Member since: 2003
  • I own a: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1975
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Dodge-Chassis-Tips
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2012, 10:23 AM »
Hey Dave old buddy, the question that begs to be asked is should we print out the information and carry it  in the rigs for reference? Hm?

Offline DaveVA78Chieftain

  • 16 year member
  • Top Post Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 3599
  • Member since: 2003
  • I own a: I don't own one but I'm a vintage RV enthusiast!
  • Year: 1978
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Dodge M400
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Dodge-Chassis-Tips
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2012, 03:49 PM »
There is a lot of good tidbits of information on that web site.  This is list is only one of several pages there. All I am saying is some of it is out of date.  Does not mean all of it is.  I have used as a resource for info before.  It is a good starting point.
Here is the intro to his site which explains the backgound.


Offline Oz

  • Top Post Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 4053
  • Member since: 2002
  • I own a: Winnebago
  • Year: 1974
  • Model: D24 Indian
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Dodge Chassis - Tips, Parts Sources & Technical Advice & Info
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2012, 07:33 PM »
 As Dave said, this is a good starting point.  If you're reading about upgrades, testing, troubleshooting, or procedures, etc.  It would be a good idea to search our forum here as many of these topics have been adressed so you can read about it in greater detail.  If you don't, it would be good to post a question for a more thorough explanation and to see if more current info is available.

Offline plockit007

  • 10 year member
  • Post Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 70
  • Member since: 2010
  • I own a: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1975
  • Model: Chieftain D25CL
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Dodge Chassis - Tips, Parts Sources & Technical Advice & Info
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2014, 11:09 PM »
Hi Andy: Thanks so much for the info.  Phil

Offline MercuryCloud

  • Test Driver
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • I own a: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1975
  • Model: Brave
  • Chassis: Chrysler
  • Engine: 318
Re: Dodge Chassis - Tips, Parts Sources & Technical Advice & Info
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2020, 09:01 PM »

Offline Mrfremo

  • Test Driver
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Member since: 2021
  • I own a: Winnebago
  • Year: 1980
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Dodge M400
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Dodge Chassis - Tips, Parts Sources & Technical Advice & Info
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2021, 10:35 PM »
Well it's 2021 and I just ground my 1980, 17.5" tire, m400 chassis rotor down on one side to half it's original width.  I tried all the info I could find on line and couldn't find one.  Centric stopped making their 120.67011  version of the rotor.  I searched for an an rm350 rotor and something came up on eBay.  A DFC 604-40063.  I couldn't find the dims of this rotor anywhere till I found it was posted on  although it showed unavailable and didn't show any dims, it did reference the same dodge oem part no that Dave had listed on his brake compatability listing.  I found it on truckid and took a chance and ordered it.  Bingo.  Exact match.  So Dave, if you are still doing anything with that website, you could add a column for DFC or at least mention it somewhere to help anyone looking for a rotor for their older Winnie. It weren't cheap ($166 Canadian delivered to Canada) but when I unwrapped it today, I was a happy camper.