My husband had a mental breakdown and bought the truck of his dreams, a dodge
ram, 1985. only problem is that it won't pass emissions. it doesn't even
have a cat on it or half of the exhaust pipe. its a dual exhaust and so far
i've only seen one muffler. its needs spark plugs and the timing adjusted.
he's a very smart man (besides this impulse buy) and i think he and a buddy
of his could do the work. but, i am in desperate need of advice. should we
have a mechanic do some, then do the rest ourselves? please help! thanks
ps. i know how to do most of the easy stuff on cars (change oil, lights,
brakes, what certain problems sound like, etc.) but he knows less than i.
An '85 model and emissions problems, what a mess. Your best bet, IMHO, is
to sell it to the next sucker. Failing in that, find an unmolested junkyard
denizen and snag all your missing parts from that truck. Most likely this
truck was originally a 2 barrel carb, you'll need that, the single exhaust
system in lieu of the current dual "system", a catalytic converter if yours
is missing, probably have to be new, I don't think you can buy a used one.
Most likely your smog pump is MIA, be sure to get that as well and all the
associated plumbing. With luck, most of your EGR system is intact, if not,
many more parts to get.
Getting past the visual portion of the inspection is a start. After a
fresh tune-up and oil change retard the timing from the factory specs a few
degrees and see where you're at. Good luck to you.
First things first. Where are you? Go to your local emissions
center - not testing station. Find out exactly what the emissions requirements
Once you know exactly what they are, you'll have a game plan for meeting them.
Smog limits for older vehicles are often pretty lax (depending on where you
live). If the vehicle can't meet the sniffer test, then it's running so poorly
don't want to drive it anyway.
Get a factory service manual from a local Dodge dealership. Best $100
ever spend on that truck.
Most vehicles fail emissions because certain required items are
or nonexistent. A good tune up, air filter, oil change, and component function
is the best place to start. The service manual will tell you how to test each
In an old truck, the fuel system will need to be thoroughly cleaned, and
gasoline run through it. If it's been sitting unused, the fuel is bad and needs
be drained and refill with the proper vintage (fresh).
Federal smog regs require the cat to be in the original location and
configuration. Easiest thing to do is go to a local muffler shop and have them
you a new legal exhaust. Exhaust system work in your driver is doable, but a
pain and I prefer not to do it.
we're in conyers, GA. if the truck was three years older, it wouldn't need
the emissions test. i do have the factory manual for the truck (one good
thing that came with it). the guy we bought it from did a lot of work (new
drive shaft, tranny, water pump, front brakes rotors and celanoids) on it.
the truck is surprisingly quiet when it gets up to speed. if i take it to a
muffler shop, anyone have a estimate on how much it'll be for muffler, cat,
and exhaust? most mechanics around here are sleazy and i really don't want
to get ripped off. thanks for all the advice thus far. :)
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