Power Wagon Registry FAQ

Are the wheels/rims made by Alcoa
Defective tires TSB
Greasing Front Drive Shaft
How many PWs were produced for each model year (MY)
Locker Bypass
Rock Rails
Sequential numbering
Slow lockers

Are the wheels/rims made by Alcoa

Various magazines who wrote articles about the Power Wagons stated that the wheels were made by Alcoa. We can only assume that this was part of the press release information provided by Dodge. I have been unable to verify this fact directly as Chrysler refuses to comment on it, and even Alcoa has failed to respond to e-mail from me.

However, we do know Alcoa made some one-off 22" wheels for the Dodge Nitro, so it doesn't seem so far fetched to believe at least the 2005 PW wheels were also produced by Alcoa.

Defective tires TSB

TSB 22-003-06 was put out by Chrysler to address issues in MY 2005 Power Wagons where there is a strong pull to the right. The TSB doesn't state what the defect in the BFG tires is, but a good number of folks have gotten their tires replaced under this TSB. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of them. The dealer stated that the tires were severely cupped (the word severely being highly debatable) due to the lack of rotating the tires according to schedule. While I admit I did not rotate my tires, I have to wonder whether the excessive cupping is the defect that the TSB adresses. I guess I'll never know.

To be elegible for replacement under the TSB, your truck must still be within the 3yr/36,000 mile warranty period. That means most MY 2005s are already past or soon will be.

Greasing Front Drive Shaft

If there's one maintenance piece that is tough to find, it's this. Unique to Power Wagons, many dealerships will argue that it just doesn't exist. Well, here it is, how to find it and what needle fitting you'll need.

First, jack the driver side front up so that you can spin the tire. Slowly turn it until you get the grease fitting into view. If your u-joints are dirty, this will be hard to see so you might want something to clean around in there. After you grease it up, you might want to use a Q-tip to clean up overspill so it doesn't collect more dirt and will be easier to find in the future. Some folks have even used nail polish to mark arrows on the u-joint to make it wasier to find.

How many PWs were produced for each model year (MY)

We received some information concerning the production numbers for the 3G MYs. We're not sure however, whether this information is U.S. only sales or also Canadian and other countries.

  • 2005: 2,427
  • 2006: 1,644
  • 2007: 853
  • 2008: 190
  • Total: 5,114

What's interesting to note it that in each subsequent MY, how sales dropped so dramatically. Based on this info, I have formed the opinion that there will not be any 4G PWs. That's a very depressing thought, because Chrysler finally decided to give the interior of the 4G trucks a really beautiful overhaul, or at least they did in the 1500 series. Well, it looks like there will indeed be a 4G PW with the 2010 model. More than happy to eat crow on this bad prediction!

Locker Bypass

What is the locker bypass, and what exactly does it do? Well, if you want the real meat, go to the locker bypass page here on the Power Wagon Registry. However, the short version is this:

A stock PW will only engage the lockers (rear or front and rear) in 4-lo. It will also only disengage the Smart-Bar (sway bar disconnect) in 4wd (either hi or lo). The locker bypass essentially bypasses the transfer case position sensor (TCPS) and tricks the computer into thinking it's in 4-lo when it really isn't. This is a simple modification with an in-line resistor and a SPDT switch.

RGory from the DodgeTalk Power Wagon forum took the plans and made it even simpler by designing a custom connector coupled with parts from Chrysler to make a plug-and-play version which doesn't involve cutting any wires.

So what does the locker bypass do for you. Well, because the computer thinks you're in 4-lo when engaged, you can engage the lockers in 4-hi, 4-lo, and even 2wd. Obviously, trying to engage the front locker in 2wd isn't going to work and could potentially damage something. You'll want to avoid doing that. Additionally, you can disengage the Smart-Bar in 2wd.

So why would you want to have rear lockers in 2wd? You'd be surprised at how well it works in the sand. Also being able to disengage the Smart-Bar in 2wd gives a softer ride in rutted and potholed backroads. You just have to remember that the Smart-Bar will re-engage at speeds greater than 18MPH regardless of having the locker bypass engaged or not.

Rock Rails

The Power Wagon rock rails (RRs) were manufactured under OEM contract with Algonquin Automotive. In an e-mail exchange with their Executive Assistant Maureen Jennings, she stated that both Chrysler and Algonquin were disappointed with the low manufacturing volume. The production of RRs was discontinued and the tooling to produce them has long since been dismantled.

Due to agreements with Chrysler, they were also unable to disclose any tech specs for the RRs. This means that whatever RRs are out on the market now are the only ones left. Get them while you can.

One thing to be cognizant of, is that you need to check with whoever you're buying the RRs from to make sure it comes with the mounting hardware. A number of us bought RRs with no or incomplete hardware. I solved this issue by taking my truck to a very knowledgable welder who did a fantastic job of welding them to the frame. I've heard that welding to hydroformed frames is a no-no, but the guy from Duke City Automotive here in Albuquerque told me it could be done carefully. I will say that I have put my RRs through quite a bit of punishment and they (and the frame) have held up perfectly.

Sequential Numbering

Wow. If there was ever a more confusing set of circumstances... When the PW was introduced, it was publicized that they would be sequentially numbered. This was further supported by the window sticker which appeared on all production models from 02/2005 to 06/2006.

Here's where things start getting weird. According to a source within Chrysler only the 2005 models were to be sequentially numbered. But the change to remove the "Sequentially Numbered POWER WAGON" text from the window sticker didn't happen until they were into the 2006 production year. There are some 2006 MY PWs with that text on the window sticker.

Pic of window sticker

To the best of my knowledge, the sequential numbering on the 2005 MY trucks read as 90XXXX, where the Xs represent the last four of the VIN and are the sequential number. The 90 in the 12th and 13th position of the VIN seems to be critical in identifying a sequentially numbered 2005 MY PW. I haven't found a 2005 MY production PW that did not have the '90' designator.

However, I have come across two trucks which are 2005 MY PWs but they do not carry the '90' designation. Further investigation into these two trucks has revealed that both of them were preproduction trucks used to showcase the new Power Wagon. One of these trucks has a '70' in the 12th and 13th position, and the other has a '71'. To the best of my knowledge, production models began in 02/2005 and the designation truck '71' was built 10/2004 while the '70' designation truck was built 04/2004. I've spoken quite a bit to both of the owners of these two trucks, and I believe the '71' designation truck was one of the ones used by magazines to test drive for their articles. The '70' designated truck could possibly be the very first one built off the assembly line and carted around to promote the new Power Wagons at shows.

So, given this information, that's why you see one 2005 MY truck registered here with a last four of 9392. That's the '71' designated truck.

If this story isn't strange enough for you, I won't disappoint. While technically every truck is sequentially numbered in the sense that truck A gets, let's say, 1000, and truck B (the one coming off the line right behind it) would get 1001, it appears that Chrysler threw them into the 900,000 range when they numbered them. So we could reasonably expect that the first production 2005 MY PW that came off the line would have the last six of 900001. The number would incrementally increase for each PW that came off the line. Under normal circumstances, you would expect a multi-plant operation to be assigned blocks of numbers so that say plant A has 900001 - 901000 and plant B to have 901001 - 902000. This way the truck could be mass produced via two locations without having a numbering collision. If we continue with this train of thought, then it would be expected that 900001 and 901001 could presumably roll off their respective assembly lines at the exact same time.

Given this, you could have a numerically higher last six with an earlier production date than another numerically lower truck. However, to the best of my knowledge, all PWs were assembled at the Saltillo plant in Mexico. If this is true, then you shouldn't have a numerically higher VIN with an earlier production date than a numerically lower VIN truck. However, this is indeed the case. I have tracked a number of 2005 PWs that display this discrepancy. The linked PDF is an export sorted first by MY, then manufacture date. You can clearly see that #0415 (sequential number) built in 03/2005 is lower than #1432 built in 02/2005.

How this happened, I really don't have any idea. It shouldn't have happened if all the PWs were indeed built at the Saltillo plant.

So, what does all this mean? Beats the heck out of me. Either Chrysler sorta fed us a story about the sequential numbering, or there is some other factor that I'm not aware of. If you have any ideas, I'm all ears.

Slow Lockers

I'll be the first to admit that while the lockers on the 3G Power Wagons are awesome, their achilles heel is the slowness in which they engage. I've heard stories of people more or less having driven back and forth hundreds of feet and taken over five minutes to get both sets of lockers to finally engage. The good news is that with the below tips, you can significantly reduce the time it takes. They are ordered top to bottom by most likely to help.

  1. Practice makes perfect - The more you use the lockers, the easier they engage in the future. I literally hit a patch of dirt near my house every day coming home from work to engage my lockers. After a couple weeks, my engage time dropped from about two minutes to about 30 seconds.
  2. Wheel spin - Let's say you're trying to lock up the front. If you can get in a position where one tire is in something loose like mud, ice, soft sand, while the other tire is on something a bit more hard packed, then a little gas to get the wheel in the loose stuff to spin just a bit faster than the other will lock them up pretty quick. I've even put one tire up against a rock and gave it just a little gas to get the other tire to turn and it locks up pretty quick. Remember, you don't want to gun it, just enough to get one tire turning while the other is stationary is all you need.
  3. Slow S-turns - You'd think this is only for the front lockers, but by doing tight s-turns, you force one rear wheel to move slower than the other and this will help lock up quicker. It's also good for the front lockers.
  4. Lastly, the rear locker must be engaged first (meaning it's locked) before the front will even attempt to lock. Some people have reported that moving the switch to just engage the rear first and then moving it to engage the front too seems to speed things up. However, I don't honestly think it will make that much of a difference.


Lots of new stuff in the FAQ

[+] more

Power Wagons Wheeling in Rio Puerco

[+] more

Locker Bypass How-To: Use your lockers in 4lo, 4hi, and even 2wd!

[+] more

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