31st Aug 2005, 01:23

OK I am about to purchase a 1988 ram 50 and cannot find any info on the manufacturer. did Mitsubishi still make them for dodge or did dodge take over production. the motor in the one I am about to purchase is fried and I am trying to figure out what to replace it with.


6th Aug 2007, 22:15

Yes, the trucks were manufactured by Mitsubishi for dodge as were the engines.

I used to have an 88 4x4 lwb 2.6, it was very fun in the snow.

Had no real problems with it except for the starter and battery cables constantly corroded, killing the battery (another Mitsubishi quirk).

16th Jun 2008, 23:53

I had an '88 D50 2wd with the carbed 2.0 and a 5 speed. I'd suggest to anyone looking into these trucks, DON'T get the 2.0!! I never did get the 18/28 gas mileage they claimed it would get, it was more like 18/20. It couldn't get out of it's own way as far as accelerating. I had all kinds of trouble with the carb on that motor always getting out of adjustment, but a new one was always quoted as around $400. It had this really complicated vacuum hose plenum for emissions, and it always was leaking somewhere. Plus the alternator was mounted so low it would wear out prematurely from all the crud that got into it. Once, the gearshift came off in my hands, yes, OFF, and it was because of some dumb plastic bushing that connected into the trans top. The power steering system was a joke, too, I wished it was manual so I wouldn't have had to fix it every year; it was always either the pump shaft or the pittman arm seal spewing steering fluid everywhere. Seems like the 2.6 and the later 2.4 were better, but I replaced it with a Chevy S10 instead because the bodies didn't seem to rust away quite as fast as the import-metal D50's.

3rd Jul 2008, 15:58

I love my old 88 D-50 2.6 5 speed manual (208 thousand miles on it). My dad was the original owner.

It has been a great truck and it will go just about anywhere in mud or snow, even places that guys get stuck in bigger trucks.

The only problem I have had is that there is something with the carb or something, that makes me lose major power on hills, and the spark plugs keep getting fouled, and the distributor cap wears out every six months. It makes me wary of taking it on long road trips, but I wouldn't hesitate to pop it in 4wd and go out in the mud on a friends farm.

If anyone has any ideas or has similar trouble, I would love to hear from you.

4th Mar 2009, 00:29

I own a 88 Dodge Ram 50. It was my first ever car, and the problems I have had are a pain, but if you do it and do it right, it works proper.

I love my D-50, and I've got a strong 237580 miles on mine, and it pulls harder than ever, even harder than a 4wd.

I would suggest this to any low rider mini truck type person. It's easy to work on and worth it. The 2.6L is a good engine and will ride forever.

3rd Mar 2010, 18:11

I also have a 88' Dodge D50, which I got from my grandpa in mint condition, but it has a cracked head, which causes it to be real sluggish on hills. I have tried to find a new engine, but not for a reasonable price. If anyone knows of a different engine that would work good with this truck. please email me at joooe6@gmail.com. Any comments are appreciated.

20th May 2010, 05:26

Hello all,

I've had three of these trucks and loved them all. Currently have an 1988 Ram 50 Sport 4x4. Just junked the Mikuni carb and replaced with a Weber. Also replaced the head with a re-manufactured one. Truck running strong with 256,000. I prefer to drive this around town instead of my new Land Rover. Girlfriend hates it. :)

5th Jan 2011, 19:00

Hey I was just reading your guys comments and I to have an '88 Dodge D50 sport FWD and an automatic trans and 2.6 liter.

Believe it or not, I have had no problems with this truck other than the carb was bad and it had an electrical fire, yeah still can't figure out how that was started, but some of you said it was sluggish going up hills, well you may need to replace the fuel filter. No one seems to know about the fuel filter and when I replaced mine, it ran extremely well. It's located on top of the frame on the drivers side under where the front of the bed starts, I hope changing that will help.

4th Apr 2011, 19:39

I have the chance to buy a 1988 Dodge Ram D50 with a 5 speed manual transmission. I know it's a 4-cylinder, just don't know which one, would anybody know where I would look on the truck to find out its size?

Also, I am having trouble deciding to either buy this or a 1990 Nissan D21 with a 4-cylinder and a 5 speed manual.

Can somebody let me know which one is the better truck?

You can email me at n69Charger@yahoo.ca.


16th May 2011, 16:08

Buy the D50. I have had my since 1988, replaced a fuel pump, a water pump and a timing belt. I have a 2 liter stick.

I love this truck although it could use more get-up and go. This is a work horse.

7th Oct 2012, 15:49

So this truck seems to get a lot of good reviews. I'm looking at one on Craigslist, and the guy wants 2,350$ and comes with the following.

Motor 2.6 L Mitsubishi

134,660 miles


3" body lift

Tires are 31x10.50R15LT Wranglers - 2 Brand New

Extended Cab



Stereo - 250 watt Kenwood Amp

New wires, plugs, oil change, newer brakes

Excellent and reliable runner - perfect for hunting, ice fishing, or everyday driving

Extras: Spare tire, totally complete motor extra, set of front fenders, grill, seats, radiator, box of miscellaneous.

Does this price seem reasonable?


16th Oct 2012, 05:27

Sounds like a good deal. I just ran into one of those. Today I bought a 1988 Ford Ranger XLT 4wd 2.9L V6 in excellent original condition (even original stereo) with 90,000 original miles, owned by one family. For $1,000. Other than the paint being a little faded, it is pristine. And it came with a nice shell that has a sunroof.

But... I found an 88 Ram 50 Sport in just as good condition, better in fact, because the paint's not faded. 4wd with a 2 inch lift with new tires. It has a 2.2L in it though; did they even come with those that year?

No matter though, because it just so happens I have a 2.4L turbo diesel motor in my garage that came out of an 84 I believe. I'm hoping it'll just drop right in without costing an arm and a leg.

9th Dec 2014, 03:46

I have a '88 Ram 50 2.6 liter 5 speed. I have been through every nut and bolt on this truck, and it's damn solid. The only issue is the carb needs the Weber conversion still. The upper timing chain guide for the balance shaft chain wore to the point it snapped, so it's apart again till tomorrow, but I love it. Does anybody know if there is a company offering locking differentials for these trucks, or if not, what kind of axles I can put in it that I can easily upgrade?

10th Jan 2015, 12:18

I have a 1988 Power Ram 50 5 speed 2.6L, and I know exactly what you're talking about. Mine loses power on major hills, and sometime minor hills. I am soon to rebuild the carb., because it's the only thing I can think of that would make it lose power. If you or anyone have a solution to this, I would be glad to hear from you.

4th Jun 2015, 02:46

I have an 89 with a 2.6. It is gutless as all get up, but I have hauled more than 2500 pounds of gravel and it took it like a champ. Love it, but I definitely prefer a full size powerwagon. I miss the real Mopar.

8th Feb 2020, 17:03

I bought my 1988 Dodge Ram 50 brand new as a leftover in 88 for $10,400.00. I couldn’t afford a Toyota (that was $16,000 at the time), and good thing since they rotted away fast. It’s the sport package with roll bars and fog lights included. I had an undercoat treatment done and the body is amazingly sound (always worked in the collision industry). I last started it in 2003 by adding gas into the carburetor directly. It started in 20 min on an idle because the accelerator cable was rusted/frozen and the gas tank/gas line rotted. I replaced the hubs years ago.

My intention is to pull it out and do a complete off the frame restoration and keep it.