Gallery Page 355
Danny Moore's 1978 Macho Power Wagon
I found my Macho Powerwagon in 1985, when I was working for an auto parts store in my home town.
I was making a part delivery to a garage on one of the side streets, that I normally never drove down.
As I was making the delivery, I passed this little used car lot, and there sat my Macho! It was love at first sight! When I had the time, I went over there with my Dad to look at it.
I was really surprised when I opened the hood, and there was a 440! They were only asking $1700 for it! My parents helped me get a loan, and the Macho was mine! It wasn't in perfect shape, as it had had a rough life! The 440 ran fine, but had low oil pressure, and not as much power as a 440 should have.
Someone had put a new exhaust system on it, using 1-1/8 inch pipe and glass packs! It was very choked down, with way too much back pressure from that tiny exhaust! So out came the hacksaw! I sliced off the exhaust, so the engine could breath a little better!
The front fenders looked like someone had put monster mudders on it without a lift kit. The tires had crumpled the bottoms of the front fenders. There was bondo in the front fenders as well. I later met the previous owner, who told me he indeed had had a wreck with it, and banged up the front end, which had been repaired. Unfortunately, it looked as though they replaced the front springs with small block springs or something, because the front springs were really sagging. I added a big heavy leaf to each of the front springs, which raised and leveled the front end nicely, and helped it drive better with a firmer ride.
Someone had installed a sunroof before I got it. It was ok, but unfortunately, it leaked badly! After trying unsuccessfully to get it to stop leaking, I finally just took some white silicone and sealed it shut! They had done a horrible job installing it! The inside roof looks like they cut the opening too big, and actually used a HACK SAW to cut the opening. I am planning to remove the sunroof altogether, and patching the opening on the roof and headliner sheetmetal.
The Macho became my daily driver. The first major problem came one day when I was going home from work. I was setting at the light, and when I pulled out, the front end felt really bad. I pulled over into a parking lot and got out, and the left/driver's front wheel was setting at a disturbing angle! After having the Macho towed home, I found out the wheel bearing was gone, and it had chewed up the hub and outer axle a bit. I replaced the wheel bearings, and had it back running in no time, (I do all my own work, as I am a mechanic.)
After I replaced the wheel bearing and was driving it trouble free for a few months, one day I pulled out and all of a sudden I heard this "POP", and the truck just sat there, not moving! I got out and looked and the front drive shaft was spinning and the front axle was making this grating noise! I knew what had happened as soon as I saw this, so I got back in and pulled the transfer case into high lock to get it to move again! I tore apart the front axle, and found that the axle and differential spider gear splines were worn completely out and had finally stripped! No doubt because of one of the previous owners had run the transfer case in "Lock" all the time on paved roads, instead of the normal full time mode! I simply removed the front drive shaft, and stripped out the front axle housing. I just left the outer axle stubs in place to hold the front hubs and bearings together. I had to drive it in high lock!
One rainy day, I was at work, and my Macho was parked on the street across from the auto parts where I worked, and my boss's car was parked right behind me. Next thing I knew, a fellow hydroplaned coming down the hill, and hits my Macho in the driver's side rear half of the front wheel with his left front bumper, crumpled the fender and went on down the bottom half of the driver's door. Then the rear end came around and the fellow's rear bumper took out my boss's car's driver's door! At first, I thought all it did was crumple my fender and door a little, but when I checked, the front wheel had been hit and spun so hard to the left when he hit the rear half of my tire, it busted the end out of the steering box! Power steering fluid was pouring out on the street! I just took the power steering belt off and drove it home without power steering! Driving a big 4X4 with T/A Radials and a 440 with no power steering is a real adventure! ;-) So the search was on for a new power steering box! Thankfully, I found one in a junkyard, and had the Macho back up and going again in no time!
I drove the Macho like this until the 440 gave out. Until I could afford to rebuild it, I dropped in a '77 400 to keep it going. About this time, the transmission decided to go the way of the 440, so I just pulled it and the engine and rebuilt the transmission when I installed the 400.
Then in the 1990's I was working at a garage, and a friend of mine stopped by and told me he had an old 1977-78 Dodge rock hauler body for sale. He said it had a pretty good cab and axles, and he would let me have it really cheap for parts for my Macho. When I got it home, I started checking it out, and indeed it was in really rough shape, just a wooden bed and a welded frame. The front fenders were shot, but the cab and axles were in good shape! Upon closer inspection, I found the cab was another MACHO! It had yellow and black paint under all the primer! As it turned out, the front and rear axles were in first class shape, with 3:54/3:55 gearing, and a sure grip in the rear axle! I cleaned and painted the axles and put them under my Macho. While I was at it, I decided to do some restoration work at the same time, so I pulled the bed, and cab, and cleaned and painted the frame and springs. When I put the new axles in, I pulled the engine so I could get to everything easier. With everything back together, it was running better than ever, and I had the replacement front and rear axles in and had my 4 wheel drive back!
Unfortunately, one day while working at the garage, the fellow I was working for told me he had just bought a old Chevy truck frame, cab and the old engine. He wanted me to help him haul it back to his garage with my Macho. But, when he loaded the truck frame, he put the HEAVY end on the REAR of the trailer. He said it would be OK. R-I-G-H-T!!! Well, I started off, thankfully, it was on a country road with no other traffic. When I reached 40 mph, the trailer started fish tailing and pushed my Macho side to side. I tried to correct it, but it was just too bad, and it finally jackknifed me and pushed me sideways into a driveway and ditch, and rolled my Macho on its driver's side! The trailer I was pulling stayed upright, and in doing so twisted my rear bumper into an "S" shape at the trailer hitch! It also busted my driver's side vent window and my windshield, and really crumpled the driver's side. After getting the trailer un-hitched, we rolled my Macho back upright. It started right up, and I DROVE IT HOME! Talk about Dodge RAM TOUGH! After that, I just didn't have the money to fix it, and other things took my attention. Now, I have decided it is time to completely restore my old friend, and get him back on the road! I have found a few replacement parts for it, including a replacement bed, a driver's door and front fender, as well as a windshield.
If you would like to know more about Danny's 1977 Macho Power Wagon Dodge truck, please email him at:
Are you proud of your Dodge truck or car? Want to show it off? Please email me a pic along with a description of your vehicle and I will add it to the Gallery.
Joe Leonard 2014-11-27