'99 Dodge Dakotas and Rams

Hi all,

I’m finally in a position to get my project truck (leaning towards truck rather than van now for ease of conversion) and have some quick questions. I’m finding a lot of 1999 vehicles in my area (Dakotas, 1500’s and 2500’s) and I wanted to check one last time to make sure the OBDII for this year was kosher for gasification. Also simply curious why there’s not much mention of Ram 1500’s- are the Dakotas far superior? The 1500s seem to not be too heavy, and have the same Magnum engines.

For reference, here are some of the vehicles I’m looking at:
1999 Ram 1500: https://sanmarcos.craigslist.org/cto/5417191576.html
1999 Dakota: https://sanantonio.craigslist.org/cto/5429318320.html

Thanks for the help! Ideally I’ll be picking up a vehicle in the next week or so.

And yes, after my house sale closes next week getting the premium membership is one of the first things I’m going to do :slightly_smiling:


Hello Wesley

My computer is going crazy . be right back with you .

Hello Wesley,
I drove right past your driveway yesterday afternoon. In 7 days, I believe Carl Zinn is going to be at the Mother Earth News Fair in Belton. He might be driving his Dakota down from AR, and if so, you might give it a right good examination. Martin will be there with his charcoal powered Honda, and Alex Taylor is going to have a charcoal powered lawnmower. Also, Richard Craig is driving down from AR, and I think he is bringing his wood gas powered Ford (Wood Hawg) and a wood gas powered Genset.

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While we are waiting for for Mr Wayne
With the full size RAMs or any full size truck you will be pushing more air due to the profile of the truck smaller truck smaller profile. If you want the larger truck get one with a big engine. Not only are you moving more weight you are also moving more air and it takes its toll. Will let someone else answer the OBDII issue
Glad to see your interest in woodgas and will be watching for you on the premium side

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Hello Wesley and welcome to the site sir .

I haven’t gasified any OBD11 vehicles yet so I can’t give any advise based on experience . Back in the summer I did buy a 99 dakota with the 5.9 motor that does have a distributor . ( as opposed to the coil packs ) On the 99 dakotas there is a shock absorber that is located to the front of the axle on the passenger side ( 96 and earlier the shock is already located to the rear ). This shock will have to be relocated to the to the rear of the axle to make room for the gasifier . Also it is a real nice clean truck so I decided to gasifie another mid 90s OBD1 I had on hand rather than the 99 ( maybe next year )

Also we have a member on the web site that gasified a OBD11 dakota with the 4.7L motor ( with coil packs ) and was not able to advance the timing . It never ran as good as he thought it should and the last word I had was he dismantled the gasifier.
I think the OBD11 will be OK if they have a distributor ???
I have two gasified dodge rams 4x4 . They work good for around the farm and short trips. On the open road running 50 -60 mph is about all they will do without heating up the gasifier. Both truck do hybrid very well and if I need to stay up with fast traffic I can let the computer add in the correct amount of gasoline . Last spring I drove my 94 ram to the woodgas event at Argos IN. It was about a 1300 mile round trip . The driving was all on the big road so I drove hybrid most of the miles. ( 60-75 mph )
For hyway driving the dakotas are hard to beat . They are light , have a big motor but most of all the profile is much less to help with wind resistance. . They seem to operate very well on flat roads 60-70 mph without heating the gasifier too muck. For a short distance they will run much faster ( 80-90 mph )
On the dodge rams ( mid 90s) the gasifier can go through the bed and mount on the frame . From the truck bed to the frame is 5 inches . On the dakotas this dimension is about 10-11 inches , This makes for less wind resistance for hyway traveling .
I think if I were doing a lot of hyway travailing I would use a dakota , if short trips and work around a farm or town I would use a ram . With that said Jim Goes has a 4x4 dakota he works like a mule :grin:


Thanks for the replies all, I greatly appreciate it.

Ray- that is great to hear! The friend that I built the FEMA gasifier with just came back in town and I wanted to reach out so we could all meet. Seeing wood gas and charcoal vehicles would be wonderful, I’m going to everything I can to make it up north for that. Expect a call or text from me in the next few days :slightly_smiling:

Wayne and Tom- Wind resistance makes a lot of sense, I suppose I’ll narrow my search to OBD1 V8 Dakotas or V10 Rams. I’d like to be able to do long trips on the highway so the Dakota makes a lot of sense, but I could put a V10 to work too so we’ll see what pops up in my area.

Really appreciate the input and the wonderful community here, I’m very excited to get the book and dig in and learn!


Good morning Wesley.

Below are some pictures of my , our ---- OK I should admit ( wife’s ) 99 dakota. She wants me to wait a while before I start cutting on it :confounded:


That is a fine looking truck Wayne! Just remind her that it’s in the name of science :smiley:


The search for viable 92-95 Dakotas and Rams has lead me to Colorado Springs, where there are three really great candidates, all Dakotas V8 and 4x4. Any opinions on which would be the best value or woodgas candidate for what will be my daily driver? One of them is just 100k miles, another is fully restored like new, and the third has higher miles but goodies that I would enjoy like performance upgrades, cool paint, new rims, etc.


I might act on this soon so any insights would be greatly appreciated!

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Hello Wesley.

If the 95 dakota with the 99K miles were lactated in the state of Alabama I would drive to get it and I don’t need it with a yard full here already .

From 93 to 94 the dakotas changed to a returnless fuel supply to the motor . I find it works better than the return system .

If I were looking for a woodgas vehicle for hyway travel I would jump on this one. :grin:


Thank you Wayne! Do you think the higher mileage '95 with the performance upgrades is a decent vehicle too? Should I be worried at those high miles on a Dakota engine? (he says it is fine mechanically speaking and well kept) I know for sure that one is still available and haven’t heard back on the 99k miles one.

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Hello Wesley.

Maybe others with some high mileage dakotas will comment . For less money and 91K less miles the $3,000 OBO looks pretty good .


91K, 4x4, 95, for $3000 is a bargain in my book. If I lived closer, my wife would be worried!


Thank you so much for the input guys, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it! I still have not heard back from that one, but my fingers are crossed.

My last (I think?) question on my vehicle search has to do with Ram 1500s. Would a 93-95 Ram 1500 work well? I don’t see much talk about them on the forum, though I have noted from an earlier post that they will have more wind drag than the smaller Dakotas. I’ve seen them with 5.2 and 5.9 engines. Example close to me is this one: https://houston.craigslist.org/cto/5442386211.html

I close on my house sale tomorrow 9am and all I can do is look at trucks all day and imagine them with WK’s in the back :slight_smile:

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@Wayne built one of those trucks (with a 318/5.2) for his son, used it as an excuse to build a larger (but more expensive) gasifier for testing.

Found it here: http://forum.driveonwood.com/t/waynes-94-ram-1500-4x4-318/850

Wayne, do you have any updated info on that project? I haven’t seen anything on it for a while.

Hello Brian and Wesley.

Yes I have a 94 4x4 ram 318 , long bed single cab. I don’t drive it a lot because it is still kinda newish . It doesn’t have a dent or scratch on it ( yet ) … It is the ram I showed at Argos last spring .

Most of the heavy or nasty farm work is done with my 3/4 ton V-10 ram that is already nasty , dented and scratched . My hyway miles just for transportation is usually done with the little dakota.

Because of the weight difference but mainly the wind drag the dakota will run circles around the two rams.

Keep in mind the distributor needs to be manipulated and on the rams it is hard to even see the distributor.:confounded:

. Below is a thread on the 94 ram .


I don’t have a 318 ram but I do have a 318 Dakota that I use like a ram. they have the same motor and transmission so the Dakota will pull as much as the ram, but it wont hall as much weight and don’t have as much room…So the Dakota will work like a ram and pull like a mule.

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I have been a Dodge man my whole life. I have had many 318’s, never killed one. Killed plenty of GM’s and Fords. May be just luck, but I have even used a Chrysler 318 car engine out of the junk yard for industrial application in one of my payloaders.

We used to use it out in the woods logging and also at my sawmill. I have owned the loader 30 years and if I were to put a battery in it, I’m sure with a little coaxing, it would fire up pretty quickly. I plan to use it to feed big bales when I retire. Going to update the current junkyard 318 in the loader with a multiport 318 and WK system…much to do.

My 94 4X4 Dakota had 137,000 miles on it when I bought it, runs like a top. I bought it a year and three months ago to convert into a Wayne Keith Land Rover.

The only real concern I have is the transmission. It was a one owner and that may be the reason he traded. Shifts really well once it warms up. It pulled my boat right on down the road last summer without issue. It doesn’t want to shift from 1st to second when it’s cold. After 10 or 15 miles it’s fine. If I wind up having to change the tranny, so be it. It was only a $2500 truck. Took me a year to find it though, nice shape otherwise.

Good luck picking out your truck, they are still out there to be had. Finally starting my build this year!



Could she be the one? Might drive out to see her tomorrow, and potentially come home with her.

1995 Ram 1500 5.9 4x4
144,567 miles



The good: I have a new truck! Well, if over 20 years old is considered new. The 5.9 engine and auto transmission seem nice and solid after I put a few hundred miles on it. I feel good about the 5.9 1500 since I need the extra cab space (kiddos) and plan to haul occasionally. I do love the sound of that engine.

The bad: Leaking gas out of the vapor canister after topping it off last night! Hopefully it will be a pretty straightforward fix, currently troubleshooting.

The ugly: The guy selling it misrepresented the miles on the truck (over 200k), but as a result I talked him down to well over a thousand less than he was asking. Since the engine and tranny rode solid I figured it was worth the risk and have budgeted some funds for getting her in tip top shape. An older cheaper truck is probably best for a first go at gasification anyways, and I’ll learn a lot in the process of repairing and upgrading things. Shoot, I didn’t even know what a vapor canister was yesterday. Hands-on education, a good way to learn! :sunglasses: