By on November 26, 2018

1984 Dodge Ram pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsCan 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.

1984 Dodge Ram pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, Slant-6 engine - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe 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.

1984 Dodge Ram pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, gearshift - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsReal 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.

1984 Dodge Ram pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, Royal SE badge - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Royal SE package (which also went into Ramchargers) included a chrome grille, power steering, fake wood trim in the cab, and so on.

1984 Dodge Ram pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, door pull - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThese door pulls are pretty classy.

1984 Dodge Ram pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, RH rear view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWork trucks tend to stay in service for decades longer than ordinary cars, but this one finally reached the end of the line in Colorado.

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34 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1984 Dodge Ram 150 Royal SE with Slant-Six engine...”

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Surprised that such a solid-bodied truck got junked. Wonder what caused its demise?

    • 0 avatar

      Just because it appears to be in relatively good shape doesn’t suddenly make it a hugely desirable easy to sell car. Owner probably died or did not want it anymore. Junking it is the quick and easy route for some cash for a 35 year old vehicle.

      • 0 avatar

        Such a shame that it was a Slant Six too. I was thinking to myself that I’d love to add something with a Slant Six and a TorqueFlite 3 speed to my stable (no manual for me, I’ve never driven one) but I don’t have the room.

    • 0 avatar

      Totally agree on the body…here in the Great Lakes you see ones with 20-30 percent of the sheet metal corroded away but limping along…at least in the areas that don’t have vehicle inspection.

    • 0 avatar

      Someone’s life situation changed, for better or worse, and they simply didn’t have the time or inclination to keep the old girl running, despite still having a solid body. Anything that gets old and is driven regularly is going to start nickle-and-diming the owner to death, and it takes a certain amount of dedication and love as it gets increasingly harder to source the parts and make the repairs as the years go by.

      I’m going to guess something major finally let go (even a slant-six has its limits and will need to be rebuilt at some point), and she was finally put out to pasture.

  • avatar

    Worth mentioning that this truck weighs only about 5/8 as much as the new top of the line Ram 1500.

  • avatar

    It had no options, but it did have A/C

    • 0 avatar

      What kind of compressor? It’s not an RV-2, and looking at the dash controls it appears to be factory installed. Chrysler was using some Sanden compressors by the ’90s (the SD-5), but that doesn’t look like a Sanden.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Mine was an 82, with an automatic, purchased at a muni fleet auction. Though it was slow, I always liked driving it. The Leaning Tower of Power was so smooth, and emitted such a reassuring tone, that the leisurely pace was more of a feature, not a bug.

    My truck was stolen while I was at work, was found three days later, torched.

    • 0 avatar

      My father had an ’81 with the slant six auto. The guy who bought it from him in 1986 is still driving it. I know that he’s put a couple of transmissions in it and had some rust repair and upholstery redone over the years. Why not? The truck was paid for long ago and the odd rebuild or refresh is still cheaper than buying a new one.

    • 0 avatar

      My father had an ’83 with the Leaning Tower of Power™ and a stick and a complete stripper. Really kinda fun to drive in a slow-car-fast kind of way.

  • avatar

    Dodge trucks of that vintage around here would be completely consumed by rust. Amazing how far these trucks have evolved, from a beast of burden to the modern day family car. And to think, today you are “engine-shamed” for going with the V6 that “only” has 285-300 horsepower.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s because today’s truck “only” weighs a 1000lbs. more

    • 0 avatar

      Around here any brand truck would be consumed by rust. Fords would rust from the inside out leaving paint with no metal behind it. The other two and a half brands were no better.

      Come to think of it, most vehicles of that era were not very good at keeping rust at bay.

    • 0 avatar

      Today’s sixes in some trucks (EcoBoost) aren’t going to last nearly as long as a Slant Six though.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        It always bemused me that Mopar did not create a 4-banger out of the Slant Six the same way they lopped two cylinders off of the 318-5.2L to create the Magnum 3.9 V6.

        • 0 avatar

          I dunno… it would have made all of about 70hp but weighed almost as much as, well, a small V8. That is unless they made a lot of changes to the basic casting. Remember, the Slant Six was designed to be a rugged aluminum block “but we’ll just make it out of cast iron.” I love, love, love the Slant Six but all of the versions of it were very heavy engines!

          The 2.2 (and 2.5) inherited a few things from the leaning tower of power but I think they were a much better whole package than a chopped Slant Four would have been.

  • avatar

    I own a 1986 3/4 ton version that I still use in my business. These old Dodges lacked some of the refinement and as much as I hate to say it, “body quality” that the GM and Ford trucks had, but they’re still tough machines. Honestly, the old Dodge is probably the only truck we have that I’ve never had to take in for service other than tires.

    On a side note, this one is missing it already like a lot are, but if you see one of these in a junkyard, grab the leaping Ram hood ornament. You can eBay them for pretty good money

  • avatar

    In the style of Last Rides:

    Matt knew the gig economy well. He was part of it. Temps, Craigslist ads, Mechanical Turk… you name it, he was there. And nothing suited the life of a ragged-ass-broke ramblin’ man than a cheap truck that was reliable, good on gas and able to haul some stuff when duty called.

    But Matt did not need the truck as much as he needed money. Over the last month, the market wasn’t too good, and he had to choose between rent, medicine, food and transportation. He chose transportation. Sure, the Dodge was a well-spent $600, but some extra bucks to make rent would also be well-spent.

    And so the truck had been on Craigslist for a week. Despite having had the price lowered twice, now to $400, it still could not sell. Matt remembered the words of the Dodge’s previous owner, who couldn’t sell it for over three months, and came to the conclusion that such are the days of Laramies and King Ranches.

    He made the decision and executed it. The truck came up to a sign saying “U-Pull-&-Pay” and then to their business area. There it was valued, and finally given to the yard for $275 cash, where it would give parts for other Rams before feeding the Crusher.

    After walking out of the junkyard and while waiting for the bus, Matt heard his phone ring. He answered it and heard a teenager ask him:
    “Is your truck still for sale?”

    Matt hesitated for a while, and finally answered:
    “Well… I already sold it.”

  • avatar

    That truck looks like it fell apart. Similar to this website.

  • avatar

    Looking at the odometer (and the brake pedal pad), I have to believe that’s 205,112, or 305,112 miles. These weren’t very refined, but very durable.

  • avatar

    I remember these beasts well. My first real job I got to drive one. Working for a glass company in the midwest. Our old trucks were flat worn out. When I say worn I mean suspension worn out, seats worn down to the springs. The owner bought two of these Dodges. Both had a/c. What a revelation! A truck with a/c! He didn’t realize it at first as he signed the papers and had employees drive them to the company lot. Well, when he found out he quickly opened the hoods and cut the a/c belt off the compressor. Said it used too much gas..

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    There was a saving grace about those slant-sixes: they were very easy to work on them.

    • 0 avatar

      They were- although the distributor was a bit of a squeeze between the block and the right fender. (Which really just means you get a little more dirt on your hands and forearms from reaching down there.)

      I recognize the choke spring on top of the #4 exhaust runner. It’s a lot easier to see with the air cleaner and the carburetor (Holley 1945 or Carter BBS I think??) removed. Some not-so-fond memories of reaching in there to crack the choke open, after flooding the engine from too much enthusiasm, and saying “OK, crank it now!” Or alternately opening and closing that choke, searching for the sweet spot and hoping that the engine would fire, while a helper in the driver’s seat kept the engine cranking. Good times!

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

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