Bought a Power Wagon, Attempting to Document


Admittedly, I have been a habitual forum user for years. Years? Like well over a decade. I have never started a build thread and never contributed any tech.

Fortunately, with this thread, none of that will change. I'm not really much into some of the more erroneous aspects of a build, but more about the end result and performance. I am planning to document the life of this truck here, as it is one of the more lively forums that I keep track of. Here is my story:

I am an offroad addict with a camping problem. I'm not really embarking on expeditions, but I like to camp out of my truck. I also tow my trail rig and I need a tow rig that accommodates that. I like things to be robust. I don't like to do things twice. My start was a 1992 F350. This was not my first rig, it was however the first of its kind. This thing was hammered from the get go and I probably should have gone a different direction. The price was right, I learned a lot, and I suffered greatly.
Specs are a 1992 F350 IDI cclb with a 94 turbo system installed. Wicked wheel 2, 3" exhaust from the turbine wheel back, cowl induction, 35x12.5, sleep platform in the back etc. I put a lot of good parts onto this rig over the years. I ran it hard and got my money out of it. Unfortunately, I have a sticking lifter or an exhaust valve guide that is getting slack causing me to realize that it is time to send it down the road. Unfortunately the parts to repair the rig are more than it's worth, not counting the time.

Enter the new rig.

2016 Ram Power Wagon with 37x13.50 (I think?) tires, 33,000 miles, and a set of sliders. Truth be told, I love it. I found this thing on truck trader and flew out to Mt. Airy NC to buy it. Over the course of the last few weeks, I have really grown to love the platform.

I initially wanted to buy another diesel truck. The fact is that, even with my towing requirements, I can't justify the added expense and the maintenance implications. Every bit of math that I did, including a lot of research over on Pirate, led me to realize that I would need to drive like 280k miles before breaking even. That is assuming that I had no problems with the diesel along the way. So, when shopping for a gasoline truck, the Power Wagon just made sense.

We (my wife and I) will be using this truck for a variety of things. It is my DD, although I have an FJ62 that splits the job. Additionally, this is our tow rig and road trip car. Typical loads are whatever fits on my 7klb car hauler, my Samurai, a friend's ZJ, other built trail rigs and the like. More applicable to this site, this is also the long distance camping rig. Under the shell of the F350, we had a sleep platform that my wife and I have come to love. The plan is to build something quite similar in the back of the Ram. I am looking at an ARE topper, the one with the metal reinforcement structure, and building a low sleep platform with a set of drawers underneath. The F350's platform was crude and quick in an effort to see how we liked it, this version will be more refined. The ability to haul some mountain bikes and kayaks is also a requirement.

Simply put, I am stoked for the build. This will be slow paced as money allows (as they all are), but I am hoping to apply my knowledge over my past few builds to contribute some quality data. If you like it, cool. If not, whatever. I'm on instagram at drewstergram901. Let's get this party started

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Awesome platform to build! I have that ARE topper and love it. Id only consider swapping it for a gofast camper or an aluminum shell with barndoors.

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How's your mileage?
How's the MDS working on the motor?
Have you tried to turn the MSS off?


How's your mileage?
How's the MDS working on the motor?
Have you tried to turn the MSS off?

We just covered this on Pirate :flipoff2: For those who don't go there (you should), Mileage is looking like around 10 city and 14 highway according to the dash. That is with an uncorrected speedometer, which I really need to fix. After correcting, it should be slightly better which is more than satisfying. The MDS works, I don't like it. I shift in to 6 on the gearshift and leave it there to turn the MDS off. As soon as I can find a reasonably priced MDS cheater, I'm going to get one. Waiting on these guys, their system in a GM application works great:

So small update with no interesting news:

Since I bought this thing, I have identified a few things that I want to have looked at while I am still under warranty.

  1. All open recalls. It has a few involving the cruise control, trans shift solenoids, and drag link.
  2. Backup camera will glitch out after a big rain storm and go full static. Apparently that is not too uncommon, I'm reading everything from a bad connection to a bad camera
  3. An intermittent knock in the steering when coming into a right turn. Possibly the drag link recall (?).
So I dropped it off at the dealer this morning. As it turns out, my Ram warranty expires literally tomorrow. Awesome unintentional timing on my part. Hopefully they can get me squared away on those items, if not at least they are documented.

As for a topper, I am looking at an ARE CX HD model. Lead time is about 3 weeks, just waiting on some cash to order. There isn't any info on pricing that I have found, so here is the quote I got from my dealer in north Mississippi. Options are sliding front window, roof rack, headliner, tilt out side windows with built in sliding windows
$1995 base including paint
$55 install
$2720 after options.
Not looking forward to building my drawers etc, I hate carpentry.

Awesome platform to build! I have that ARE topper and love it. Id only consider swapping it for a gofast camper or an aluminum shell with barndoors.
Yeah a gofast camper would be awesome but that isn't in the budget at all. I looked at an aluminum shell specifically for the barn doors, they're not cheap either. It's also hard to shake that construction truck look. Next step will probably be a Four Wheel Camper but who knows.
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