Renault Dodge 50 Horsebox

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  • Does anyone have any useful guidance about the Renault Dodge 50?

    There are a couple of them on eBay, some with and some without MOT.

    But before I invest time and effort in going to look at them, are there any areas of concern I should be warned of before I go?


  • Rust on the cab is what kills them quite often+ break bits are getting difficult to get.

    Round the windscreen like an Iveco? Or feet through the floor like the flintstones?

    Try get the Perkins engine, not the phaser engine, Rust on cab, especially floor level.

    OK, thinking Flintstones. Is it easy to weld flat sheet on to repair? Or does it need expensive arches like a Transit?

    You do know that the phaser is a Perkins engine? A good one as well.

    No, I didn't. Heard of Perkins, being a long lasting beast. What is the issue with the phaser?
    Do either of these have the dreaded immobiliser as standard?

    A set of arm muscles.

    For lots of pushing out of muddy fields?
    Too little power? Wrong gearing? Or always breaking down?


  • Parts are becoming increasingly rare and very difficult to find.
    When Renault took them over they renaged on the deal to continue to manufacture spares for (I think) 6 years after production ceased, they also destroyed all the blueprints so stopping anybody from making pattern parts, I think it was because they were just about to launch a new van at the time and was in direct competition with the 50.

  • They rust bad around the arches and steps+ around the windscreen. Some of the floors and arches is weirdly thin and double layered, I find them quite difficult to weld. Forget getting spare arches for them, there is very little spares around.

    The Perkins phaser is a quite indestructible engine, I mainly pointed that out because the poster before me mentioned to get the Perkins not the phaser and my little cleverdick brain felt the need to point out that the phaser is a Perkins engine.
    The Dodge 50 came with a variety of Perkins engines, usually the Perkins 4.236 or the Perkins 1004-4/ 1004-4T (known as the phaser 90 and phaser 110). The difference in between the two phasers is only a turbocharger, they develop 90 and 110 bhp respectively. The 4.236 develops some 67bhp and is often used in agricultural machinery. All three of these engines have great reputations.
    There was also some with the phaser 6.247, not particularly common and also not fitted to other vehicles so parts would be harder to get. I know little about these.
    There was also some petrol ones ( with a Chrysler engine I believe) and some 70 electric ones.

    Strong arms for the lack of power steering.

  • So, depending upon what I find, expect an agricultural rust bucket made of unobtanium!

    Which would explain the number of horsebox conversions on this chassis.
    Lower mileage means they have only just started to reach that stage in life, known as decrepitude!

    Not unlike an early Transit then?

    Thanks all,
    still looking

  • I used to have a 1983 non turbo phaser 90 model (round headlights) that had been an ambulance. Very low miles, no rust and manual. No power steering and drum was an excellent vehicle BUT too narrow to sleep across. So sold it and bought a 1987 ex bus with power steering, front discs and square headlights (series 2) it is also automatic. Phaser 110 engine.
    The pluses of the 1987 is you can sleep across it. Ally body with fibreglass front. The minuses are fuel consumption has with the auto box and vehicle shape gone down from 25 to 17 mpg..
    Havent found parts a problem except headlights (converted to land rover discovery with a bit of jiggery pokery). Mostly have bought parts thinking they were rare and difficult to get only to find they are easy and cheaper from a sensible factor.
    Rust at the front is a problem but have found no problem getting the necessary welding done, the vehicle is always by the sea that doesn't of course help.
    Yes the Perkins is slow but what is the rush. Usually find in the next town that all the faster cars are behind a problem comes when it is my turn to try to get past.
    The Dodge gets smiles and waves and envy from all those people in white yoghurt pots.
    Buying one now cannot be compared with driving one as a living, speed and roadholding are not actually that important ..character is

  • Yes I am a bit of a 50 series nerd (and very biased) but I can unicycle with a wheel on fire while juggling spoons :)

    The story is a bit confusing.... Chrysler in 1975 were bunged a few million to design and start production of a 3.5 to 7.5 ton range of trucks / vans by the UK gov of the time, chrysler owned the Karrier Motors Plant in Dunstable where the spacevan and 100 series were produced, in 1980 just after the year the 50 series came out, Chrysler sold off all of its european vehicle concerns to Peugeot, dodge 50's were badged at that time on the maker plate as Talbot but peugeot didn't want to make trucks and Renault france wanted a way into truck making in the UK so bought all the 50 & 100 series production line and continued to build them, now badged as Renault Dodge 50.

    In 1987 Renault redesigned the model, stopped using the 'Dodge' marque and continued to build them as the New 50 Series until late 1992, in 93 all production plant tools were sold via chinese adventures and moved to china (where they still make them now!!!!)
    Renault had to continue providing parts for ten years after end of manufacture, so in 2012 they pretty well stopped, though they had run out of most parts by then, they had a contract with the MOD till 2010 to supply parts so had to continue getting some made up.
    Renault trucks UK say it was a big mistake selling on the production gear, they thought they would be able to buy body parts and panels off the new owners BUT for many years no one knew where the production line had actually gone, Renault had no idea until I researched it, found the intermediary company and then told them but it was too late.

    As said earlier, 50 series are like Marmite
    I love em and i started the website only as a hobby for when i was at home during the winter, I semi retired from Circus Life in 2012 and swopped the websites around, now dodge50 is my earner and my circus site is my hobby / beer money.

    some people really hate them and some really love them BUT I have spent the last 17 years sourcing parts and getting some made up, now I can supply a lot of the parts people need or point them in the general direction.

    If you need any advice or help / info just contact me via dodge50 website :)

    This link is to the website explaining the move of the production line

  • Some of the 50's are a bit odd looking but thats what makes them appealing I think,plus they were nearly always cheap 2nd hand...I always faniced the big 4x4 van RB44 S75 though finding one that wasnt rusted or badly treated was another thing altogether...still love em though.

  • I too would like an S75 4x4 which is a good workhorse, my first was a 2WD S75, the military version which only 846 were made are only 5600kgs GVW and not as good IMO.
    Rust effects all vehicles, some mercs are worse than the 50 series and some 50's are worse than fords and fords i don't like anyway lol

  • Oh and the cabs (only the cabs) were basically an American Dodge B200 1975, the first of the 50's were adapted American cabs, the high screen vans and DAFE's were just a stretched cab with different doors and screen.

  • Im not an expert, although I have experience of Daisy. Our Perkins engine never gave us trouble. Unlike others, we never had problem with any rust on ours, and I always assumed it was because it French. As others have mentioned, the problem is going to be getting parts. This is the dodge 50 forum: where much knowledge is shared. It was a very reluctant sale, on account of getting parts was harder and harder. Oh yes, ours cruised nicely at 55ish.

  • I too am the very proud owner of a dodge 50 series MK2 , used to be a 26 seat bus, perkins phaser 4ltr turbo has never failed me and friends comment how quick it gets up hill with no smoke :D
    I got it with no MOT and change out of 2 grand , it failed on a wiper blade and dodgy indicater bulb , it has since passed 3 more test with NO big problems , main one was exhaust tailpipe was missing , easily sorted.
    I did have an issue with the wiper mount rusted out but a new bit of tin and some self tappers sorted it out , and yes the floor has started to rust out but nowhere as bad as a few mercs that i have seen , infact its near impossible to find a merc of comparable age that aint been heavily repaired !!
    I have done about 15k miles in her and the only problem with the engine was one occasion that I ran it out of fuel ,but then it started easily enough with 20 ltrs put in the tank , didnt even need bleeding .