Actually dropping in a 426 Hemi is fairly simple. Build a custom frame, I plan to use Corvette independent front suspension, a ford 9-inch rear (with limited slip diff. and four link) and just for fun I'll add an air ride system. Once the chassis is built fit the body over the frame, modifying it where needed. Of course this will need a high performance radiator (I like Ron Davis or BeCool radiators). Once all the other work such as linkage, wiring, etc is done you have a sweet rear-wheel drive sport truck that looks like a stock 2.2 Rampage, however, I may chop the to two inches for that lower look. Keep in mind I plan to drive this for at least 3 years so the engine swap is down the road.
I have owned an 82 Dodge Rampage Mini truck since 84 and have about 50,000 miles on the car. I do enjoy the truck very much. Lately it has become very hard to start and the engine runs too rough to drive. I do feel the problem is in the carburetor. I cannot find a Haynes book which covers the car. Does anyone know where I can find a repair book for the car and where and how much a new carburetor might cost.
About the carb problem, you may want to check your O2 sensor. The early 2.2 engines used a Holley carb (6520) with a solenoid valve internal to it, that was controlled by the computer based on inputs from the O2 sensor. If the sensor is bad, the car will run too rich. You can either replace the sensor or get different Holley carb (5220 used in Mexican cars, or try a Weber 38/38). Check this site for info on 2.2 engines http://www.allpar.com/mopar/22.html
I had an 82 that was doing the same thing. I tried to rock the carburetor around to see if it was loose and it wasn't. I took it off anyway and 3 of the 4 bolts had rattled and and that was causing the problem.
I am on my third Rampage. I owned an '82 and then an '83 back in the '80's and '90's and loved them. I recently bought another '82 which I am restoring. The two earlier ones had well over 175,000 miles. Both were destroyed by accidents, not wearing out.
They have several unique problems. The carburetors were junk and were mounted where they received all of the 2.2's engine vibration. I re manufactured many (beyond just putting a kit in - the body wore out). The CV joints (both inner and outer didn't last more than 75,000 miles.) All of the problems (like head gaskets) that all 2.2's had they shared. However, they really handle very well, (roadable and plenty of pep) cruise comfortably at 80 to 90 mph, and will carry an honest 1/2 ton, all while getting around 30 mpg. I live in the mountains of Western Montana and with the front wheel drive they get around great in the mountains and in the snow.
I have a 83 Rampage that I am half way to fully restoring. Parts are hard to come by, but it's worth it. It attracts massive attention.
I have an '83 Rampage that is actually the first car I've ever owned. I've driven it for the last 4 years, and it has always been reliable, it just runs a little rough. It only has 125k on it, but I am looking to replace the engine sometime in the near future. I want to find something that has a few more horses, but I'm not sure what engine to get for it. There is no compression left in the 2nd cylinder, because of a mechanic that stripped out the spark plug. (I didn't know much about cars before I got the vehicle. I was 16.) I've replaced the head gasket twice, and I just think it's time, since the clearances won't work if I try to replace the head gasket again. But I guess what I'm asking, is where can I find an engine and non-rod transmission for my Rampage?