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The Specifications of a 1979 Dodge Ram Power Wagon

by Marlin Quintana

For 1979, Dodge's Power Wagon pickup truck, later to be sold under the Ram moniker, continued as a versatile four-wheel-drive truck, available in a range of configurations. Dodge used the letter "W" in four-wheel-drive model designations: W150 was the 1/2-ton model, W200 the 3/4-ton and W300 the 1-ton. Dodge offered at least eight different configurations, including a choice of cabs, wheelbases and box styles.

Body Styles, Dimensions and Capacities

1979 saw significant styling changes to the front end of Dodge trucks, with quad rectangular headlamps appearing for the first time, but only on higher levels of trim: base trucks still featured dual round lamps. The 1/2-ton W150 was available in 115- and 131-inch wheelbases, as both a "Utiline" (step-side) and a "Sweptline" (straight-side) pickup. Curb weights varied from 4,125 to 4,250 lbs. with a six-cylinder engine. In addition, the extended-cab W150 Club Cab was sold in Sweptline form with either a 133-inch or 149-inch wheelbase. The 3/4-ton W200 was sold as both Utiline and Sweptline on a 131-inch wheelbase. In Sweptline form, the W200 could also be ordered with a Club Cab or with four doors as a Crew Cab, both riding on a wheelbase of 149 inches. The 1-ton W300 completed the Power Wagon lineup; it was offered as a chassis and cab only on a wheelbase of 135 inches.

The gross vehicle weight (GVW) capacity was rated at 5,400 lbs. for the W150, 6,500 lbs. for the W200 and 8,500 lbs. for the W300. The fuel tank capacity was 22 gallons for all three models.

Powertrain

The standard engine for most models was an overhead-valve inline six-cylinder displacing 225 cubic inches (3.7 liters) and producing 110 horsepower and 175 foot-pounds of torque. This engine is known as the "slant six" because its cylinders are slanted 30 degrees from vertical, allowing a lower engine height.

An optional engine, except on the Crew Cab and W150 Club Cab, which included it as standard, was a 318-cubic-inch (5.2-liter) overhead-valve V-8, which produced 145 horsepower and 250 foot-pounds of torque. Also available was a 360-cubic-inch (5.9-liter) V-8 making 160 horsepower and 280 foot-pounds of torque.

The standard transmission was a three-speed manual with column-mounted shifter. The W300 featured a four-speed transmission with floor-mounted shifter, a combination that was optional on certain other models. A three-speed automatic was also an option.

Other Specs

The '79 Power Wagons had full-time four-wheel-drive systems using transfer cases built by New Process. As part of Dodge's factory-customized "Macho" line, a special "Power Wagon" package could be ordered for the 1/2-ton pickup, which included custom striping, two-tone paint with the hood, roof and lower body in matte black, and the words "Power Wagon" in special lettering on the sides. Other options included power door locks and a stereo with either an 8-track cassette player or CB radio.

About the Author

Marlin Quintana began writing professionally in 2010. A programmer and web developer, he has worked for Motorola, IBM, FameCast and his own small company, which from 1999-2002 built custom, highly interactive websites. Marlin has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in studio art and a Bachelor of Science in computer sciences, both from the University of Texas at Austin.

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