Dodge Vancharger 1976-84
Dodge 4wd conversions were "full-time" from 1976-84 and "part-time" from 1985 to 90. There are substantial changes between the "full-time" and "part-time" models. However, before ordering parts, scrutinize the part in question and compare to details given in this FAQ and in the parts catalog. A few years on either side of the 1984/85 year split have revealed that some vans have steering and drive train that are not in harmony with what the parts catalogs say they should have. Order with care!
Dodge "Vancharger" Full-time 4wd 1976-84
The Vancharger used a Dana 44 front axle housing. With Dodge full-time W200 style wheel ends. This style of wheel end did not have locking hubs. The outer axle shaft was splined and attached directly to the wheel hub. The wheel bearings were pressed on to the back side of the wheel hub and held in place by a bearing retainer. The bearing retainer is held in place by 6 12 point 5/16 bolts. Access to these bolts is through the outer face of the wheel hub. The access hole is located between 2 of the 8 wheel mounting studs pressed into the wheel hub assembly. The assembled wheel bearings fit with a "slip fit" into the steering knuckle. Some vans have had part-time kits installed. The kits contained spindles/wheel hubs, locking hubs and a transfer case part-time conversion kits. The conversion kit continued to use the steering knuckles, brake rotors, wheel bearings and retainers.
Vancharger vans all had coil spring type front suspension. The coil springs were custom made and are approx. 15 inches tall. The Vancharger uses similar radius arms and track bars as used on the Ford Quadravan units. The track bars have a slight bend 6 inches from the center of the upper "eye" mount. The rear radius arm brackets on the Dodge F/T units are welded to the van sub frame
The front shocks attach to custom made upper shock mount at the top. The lower shock mount consists of a bolt and spacer that are mounted into the side of each radius arm.
The rear suspension retains the OEM 2wd leaf springs with a 3-3/8 tall lift blocks. The Maxi vans used an additional 1-1/2 lift block in conjunction with the std. 3-3/8 lift block.
The rear axle lower shock mount has a shock relocation bracket welded to it, in order to retain the stock 2wd
The How ever, used tie rod ends much like those used on W100 and W200 4wd trucks. They are both right hand thread. However, one has a coarse thread while the other is fine thread. The tie rod length is
56.62 inches from center to center.
The drag link is 46.0 inches long, from center to center. Both ends are 1.0-18 right hand thread with the small end of the taper at .675. The pitman arm end of the drag link is straight. The steering arm end of the drag link has approx. a 3/4 inch offset. The adjusting sleeve has two clamps which are centered over 1/8 wide slots at each end of the sleeve.
Full-time 4wd Vanchargers used a New Process 203 transfer case that had a left hand offset. The input gear may be either 21 or 31 spline. The transfer case mounts to a custom extension housing that was designed to fit the stock Dodge transmission 727 transmission. The extension housing has a foot cast into it. The foot attached to a large U shaped cross member via two half inch diameter bolts with four split bushings. The cross member is suspended from the underside of the van.
The 203 transfer case also had a torque mount attached to the left side of the transfer case. The inner bracket was bolted to the transfer case. The outer bracket was welded to the underside of the van. The brackets were connected via two bushings. One large male bushing and one small female bushing. The torque brackets are lightly built and usually found cracked or completely broken.
The shifter is a complicated collection of links and hiem joints and allen head shoulder bolts. All hand a machined aluminum "T" shaped shifter handle.
The speedometer cable has a extension cable approx. 24 inches long. The upper cable is stock 2wd.
There are several different driven gears. They can be identified by color and tooth count.
Full-time Dodge Vanchargers had Chrysler 727 automatic transmission.
The original main shaft wasÂ removed, and replaced with a custom shaft.. There were a few different lengths used and well as spline counts. The most common spline counts are 23 or 31 spline.
Dodge "Vancharger" 1985 & UP Part-time
The front axle housing is unchanged. The steering knuckles, hub and rotors, spindles, outer axle shafts, locking hubs and brake components are now the same as those used on the Pathfinder GM K-vans.
The radius arms and track bars remain unchanged. The coil spring and upper frame work is redesigned and now uses a coil spring that is approx. 11 inches tall.
The drag link is now 44-3/8 from center to center. The passenger side drag link end has 1.0-18 left hand thread end with approx. 3/4 joint offset. The taper is .675 on the small end of the taper. The pitman arm end is a straight 1.0-18 right hand thread with a .612 taper on the small end of the taper.
The transfer cases now used are the Borg Warner 1345 and the New Process 205.
The Borg Warner 1345 transfer case is chain driven with aluminum case halves. Nearly all the aluminum components have casting numbers that begin with 1345-...-... The shift pattern is 2 High- 4 High- Neutral- 4 Low. The BW1345 uses ATF (automatic transmission fluid) for lubrication.
The N.P. 205 is cast iron and is gear driven. The shift pattern is
4 Low- Neutral- 2 High- 4 High. The N.P.205 uses 80-90w for lubrication.
The shifter handle is now a simple black knob with and insert indicating shift pattern.
The speedo cable extension cable remains the same as the full-time.
The same transmission changes occur to part-time Vanchargers. But now there is only the 31 spline count is used on the modified transmission main shaft.
Pathfinder had custom "Y" pipes to relocate the exhaust system.
Small custom made towers connect the motor mount to the engine cross member.