Welcome back to our coverage of Project Power Laggin’! Follow along as we take a tired 1979 Dodge W150 Power Wagon we found in Central Maine and transform it from a derelict roadside attraction to a dependable, powerful weekend workhorse that lives up to it’s given name! In this installment, make a big decision on how to add more power while increasing reliability, and we end up choosing something unexpected: MSD Atomic EFI!
At the end of our last installment, we talked about our desire to add “power” while counteracting the “laggin'” to our old rig, especially to compliment the the excellent Hooker headers and exhaust we installed. One thing we knew right away is that this solution would also not only need to increase performance, we also wanted to increase reliability and efficiency as well. Originally, our thoughts were to grab a Weiand intake and a Holley 4bbl carb like the Truck Avenger to help the old 318 breathe better with the headers and exhaust, but after talking to our friends at Holley Performance and MSD, they clued us in on something new: their MSD Atomic 2 Fuel Injection system. Fuel injection? On this old thing? That has us both scared AND excited! It didn’t take much convincing…
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE’RE GOING ATOMIC!
Longtime BangShift readers may remember that back in 2014, our own Brian Lohnes installed an original MSD Atomic EFI kit onto Project Buford T Justice, his old Caprice. He liked the results, and Holley said the new Atomic 2, which released earlier this year, is an improved design that can do even more. Paired with a new Hyperspark EFI ignition box, coil, and distributor, as well as the previously mentioned Weiand intake, this promised to drastically increase performance, reliability, and fuel efficiency, all things which we need more of. And on top of that, we haven’t seen anyone install one of these setups on one of these trucks, making this a unique and cool opportunity to do something different than your typical intake and carb swap. Seeing that we’ve been struggling for years with keeping the stock stuff working properly, the decision was made to drag this old truck’s fuel and ignition systems into the 21st Century. Remember, this is an old rig from 40+ years ago that weighs 5000lbs with full time 4wd and 4:10 gears, and just recently, we were getting as low as 5mpg. FIVE. And that was unloaded! I’ve seen full sized motorhomes do better than that. That’s just gross.
So, without further ado, let’s see what we’re getting ourselves into!
So, there you have it: we will be retrofitting this old rig with new tech that should help solve all sorts of issues that have plagued the truck since we dragged it home. We are beyond excited to get wrenching! The hardest part about the whole thing is that we are pretty much writing the book on how to do this swap to one of these trucks. To our knowledge, we may be the first ones to attempt swapping an Atomic 2 and full Hyperspark ignition onto a 1979 Dodge W150 Power Wagon, so we’ll have to use our wits paired with Holley and MSD’s instructions to make it happen. And we’ll be sure to detail all the triumphs and pitfalls as we bolt this stuff to the truck.
We want to hear what you think! Let us know what your thoughts on this swap are below in the comments section!