Junkyard Find: 1984 Dodge Ram 150 Royal SE With Slant-Six Engine

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
Can you imagine buying a new full-size Detroit pickup truck with the top luxury trim package and less than 100 horsepower? In 2018, such a truck would be smashed to bits by angry mobs, were it to appear in a showroom, but this half-ton pickup with 95 Slant-Six horses, four-on-the-floor manual transmission, and the Royal SE package would have been considered pretty nice, 34 years back.
The Slant-Six would run just fine no matter how cruelly you treated it, making it a great truck engine (if you didn’t mind very leisurely acceleration). This is the 225-cubic-inch version, rated at 96 horsepower; Chrysler put this engine in U.S.-market trucks and vans through the 1987 model year, after which it was replaced by the Magnum 3.9 V6 (aka three-quarters of a 318 V8). While the Slant-Six was the base engine in the D-series Ram pickups and vans for the 1981-1987 period, nearly all of them were purchased with V8s.
Real trucks had three pedals back in the 1980s, and this one has the rugged New Process 435 four-speed. Perhaps this transmission was overkill for an engine that made a mere 170 lb-ft of torque, but nobody complained.
The Royal SE package (which also went into Ramchargers) included a chrome grille, power steering, fake wood trim in the cab, and so on.
These door pulls are pretty classy.
Work trucks tend to stay in service for decades longer than ordinary cars, but this one finally reached the end of the line in Colorado.
We. Are. Dodge. And. This. Is. How. We. Back. Our. Trucks.
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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Road_pizza Road_pizza on Nov 27, 2018

    Being a life long n.e. Ohioan it pains me so to such rust free sheetmetal on such an old vehicle :( . That truck would have been a pile of iron oxide by its tenth birthday in these parts.

  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Nov 29, 2018

    I about lost my mind with frustration over how slow my '77 Power Wagon was when I first had it. And it had the 2 barrel 360! I would have burned this thing, or gone looking for an engine to transplant. Everything was a pain to do in my truck, pass, merge, go uphill. I remember driving it to LA in June 1977 when it was a couple of months old and having it floored, and barely keeping up with traffic. I decided right then it had to be changed. First was an aluminum intake manifold and a Carter 4 barrel. Later on, it had a cam and lifters, headers, and ported heads. It was a lot of fun when it wasn't needing to be fixed. I lasted 4 years before I cracked and decided it had to go.

    • HotPotato HotPotato on Dec 02, 2018

      "Whatchu callin' a Power Wagon!? Gimme a 440 and a 4-barrel or go home!"

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.