Question about Dodge Ram Pickup 3500

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I have a 77 motorhome with a Dodge 440 4 barrel engine (7.2) There is a bolt missing on the passenger side exhaust manifold. It has a pretty good exhaust leak and cause the engine to idle unevenly and is a bit noisy. My question is this: Does the whole exhaust manifold gasket have to be replaced or is there some way to simply plug up the hole? I was told by someone at Meineke that plugging the hole runs the risk of "cracking the manifold". Is this true? Is it possible to find the bolt or whatever went in that hole and just put it back on? Thanks in advance for you advice.

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  • ElMartino Oct 10, 2010

    Thanks for your response. I crawled up in the wheel well with a flashlight and looked closer. Looks as if the bolt broke off half way into the hole unless there is some other kind of connector that would screw onto whatever that is inside the hole. I believe the exhaust is actually leaking from that little hole. The gasket looks great all around it. If it's a broken bolt then I suppose someone would have to remove the manifold and extract it, correct? I'm traveling in the RV right now. If I used something like Permatex to fill in the hole and hopefully stop the leak will this cause a huge problem later for whoever removes the manifold to extract the broken bolt?

  • ElMartino Oct 10, 2010

    That's what Meineke said they'd be doing to it, plus replacing the head gasket. When I asked the mechanic if there was some way to temporarily plug the hole he seemed a little defensive and told me that if that were done it could possibly make the manifold over heat and crack. But to my eye all I'd be doing when I put in some Permatex is filling the the hole that the bold used to fill.

    Here's another question please. I see that there are 4 bolts on the manifold. One is obviously missing. Will the other three keep the manifold tight enough to the engine so it doesn't blow the gasket?

    Yes, I am enjoying my travels in my RV. I'm not sure how to post pictures here though. If I can figure it out I'll put up a couple. It's a vintage 77 Fleetwood Southwind. It was previously owned by a Nascar racer guy who totally fixed it up. The inside is very nice with oak cabinets and all the goodies such as microwave, fridge, a.c., shower, etc. The outside has a real modern looking paint job with combinations of white, silver, black, and gray swirls. He put on Flowmaster straight pipes and an Eidelbrock 4 barrell carb so it sounds like a race car and has tons of power.

    Thanks in advance for answering my last question. Are you a mechanic?

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  • Dodge Master
  • 22,156 Answers

Just put a new bolt back in the hole provided the metal gasket hasnt burnt away it shouldnt break the manifold ,but if gasket has burnt away then yes it can crack and break the manifold

Posted on Oct 09, 2010

  • Colin Stickland
    Colin Stickland Oct 10, 2010

    sorry its a head off job and drill and tap the the hole only way ,but sticking a dollop of exhaust paste on wont hurt ,it will only stay on a while but it should long enough for you to enjoy your travels ,and i mean enjoy your travels and thats an order and please post some pics because i only wish i could be their as well to see the sights .Would love to travel around america in a camper and aussie and do the north to south africa tour as well but since the commonwealth was handed back they have un-prounounceable names and dictators which makes it unsafe to travel their ,but stateside is civilised so yes i would like to visit one day

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