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    1. #1
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States

      03 Dakota ext cab

      Finally, after two years of trying to find a shop to do the initial work to my truck, my project has begun! Putting this in under Projects instead of Trucks, since when this is done it'll be more of a 2-seater sports car with a huge trunk than a pickup truck. I won't bore you with pictures of every bolt being removed, I'll just put in pics at milestones and in places where I want to detail something.

      Initial pictures - truck is in my shop, before I began (aside from pulling the battery and starting on the air intake) working on it. I will be pulling the engine, transmission, tailgate and interior preparing this for the suspension shop. I wish I'd have had the skill set needed to do the suspension on my own, but I can't weld and want to make sure this is done right the first time. Better to pay a shop that does custom jobs for a living than try and figure it out as I go.




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    2. #2
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States
      Found the weight ticket I had done when I first bought the truck. No junk in the truck, no driver, full tank of fuel. That's a 58/42 forward weight bias, requiring a 320lb shift to get it to 50/50. Course, I have no idea how it'll end since the iron V6 is being replaced with an aluminum V8, stuff's being moved around, removed, lightened, ect.
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      Engine and trans are out.
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      This was something I really liked about the truck - The removable rad support. It made getting the engine and trans out VERY easy.
      Now you see it,
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      Now you don't.
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    3. #3
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States


      Stopped by the shop that is going to be doing the work. Shop's so backed up you can't park in his parking lot. This is both good and bad. The good is he does good work, but the bad is he pushed me back again and now can't give me a firm start date! All I know is I'm in line, but I don't know when he'll be ready to start. Looking at the work he has does, and seeing what he does to stand behind his work, I really don't want to go anywhere else.

      Since the suspension is being delayed, I have other work I'll be doing, then I'll see if there is anything I can go ahead and start on that doesn't depend on the suspension being done. There's not that much I can do along those lines, since my order of work is suspension, drivetrain, bodywork, paint, interior. Sucks, but what can you do?

    4. #4
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States
      Not much of an update. Builder is now saying 2 months. Probably for the best, as I'm going to get a little ticker tuning next week and will be on blood thinners for a month after. After that, I'll just be pulling bits off the truck making more room to work under there. I have, at least, stumbled across a way to get a 5x4.5 wheel pattern using 2013 Mustang GT brake parts. That and a set of 2 inch drop lower control arms will get the front just about where I want it, so I'm not totally out to sea on this.

      Probably be a month or two before I make a new update. Meanwhile, I'll be hanging my head in shame, watching the rest of you pick up new projects, tear them down, put them back together, drive them, sell them and do it all again while I sit here waiting on a shop just because I can't weld. Eventually I may decide I've had enough and go learn how, because I've been learning watching some of you build frames from scratch.

    5. #5
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States
      Minor update - ticker tuning went off without a hitch, and without the expected blood thinners. So, I've been able to remove more unneeded stuff from the truck, and it's just a rolling shell now. I still need to pull the front bumper, but beyond that it's ready for the shop.

      I've also decided to get a Vintage Air unit for this thing. I had a Vintage Air unit for a project some 25 years or so ago that was never used, and I've been discussing it with them. I sent the old unit back, and amazingly enough they gave me a fairly large credit for it. Next week I'll be finishing that deal with them in the form of a GEN II super H/C/D unit. It's much smaller than the factory HVAC unit, and about half the weight. Damn that huge factory box was heavy! I haven't decided which control unit I'll use yet but I'm thinking their small, thin 4 knob job will do the trick. That will also let me put a much larger stereo unit in the dash since I'll be able to use the existing control unit's space for the stereo. The new unit will have the same number of outlets for the dash that I have, and two outlets instead of one for the defrost, so it'll be more than adequate. Since I'm also going to add insulation, the smaller unit should still be strong enough to freeze me out in the summer and roast me alive in winter. Once this deal is complete I'll be posting something in the vendor area on how well they've done for me with this swap. I'm also gonna have a lot of holes to get welded up, but I think that's something I might be able to handle on my own since it won't be structural.
      2021 Durango R/T
      2008 Colorado beater
      2003 Dakota project-o-mobile

    6. #6
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States
      Got the word today, I can bring the truck to the shop next week. Finished stripping it down for the job last week. I am thrilled with this new development. It's been over 2 years in coming. Hopefully, once the suspension is done the rest of it will be fairly quick. I know MY part of it will move along fairly quickly.
      2021 Durango R/T
      2008 Colorado beater
      2003 Dakota project-o-mobile

    7. #7
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States
      Truck at home.

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      Truck at shop.

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      Been trying to get to this state for over 2 and a half years now.

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      That little 4cyl truck pulled that load almost 200 miles like a trooper, and got 15MPG doing it. Normally gets 21MPG.
      2021 Durango R/T
      2008 Colorado beater
      2003 Dakota project-o-mobile

    8. #8
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States
      Discussed the project with the shop doing the work. Changed it up, now they are doing a full 2x4 frame and I'll be putting a Corvette IRS suspension under it, front and back. I like this because it means the truck can be aligned as though it were a Corvette, and all suspension related parts will basically be from the same car so roadside repairs won't be an issue. The only non-stock part will be using coilovers in place of the monoleaf spring.

      It does mean I have to figure something else out on wheels though, since it's highly unlikely the Torq Thrust wheels I wanted to use will work anymore. They have a Corvette version of the Torq Thrust, but it weighs about 40lbs per wheel where the non-Corvette version in the same size comes in at 19lbs per wheel. I'm also going to run 20x10s now, to make it easier to find wheels that will fit under there. What makes this hard is I don't like complicated wheels, and that's almost all you can find in a 20 inch.

      Later on down the road, when EVs stalk the earth and gasoline is hard to find, an IRS will make it easier to convert the truck to an EV. If this never happens, it'll still be an IRS suspension.
      2021 Durango R/T
      2008 Colorado beater
      2003 Dakota project-o-mobile

    9. #9
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States
      Picked up a cheap set of Corvette wheels for the shop to use. New wheels, but cheaper than used ones off Fleabay. Probably Chinese knock-offs, but they'll work as shop wheels. I may even keep them around for use from December to March every year, although I doubt I'll be driving this much in the winter. 31lbs a wheel, so when the truck is done and painted I'll be looking for a lighter wheel more suited to the truck.





      https://www.bbwheelsonline.com/oe-wh...5-5475-54BM/##
      2021 Durango R/T
      2008 Colorado beater
      2003 Dakota project-o-mobile

    10. #10
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States
      New tires came in today. Got the cheapest tires I could find in the correct size, Atlas Force UHP P275/40R18. Since they're just going to be used to roll it around various shops, paint booths, ect, and never actually driven on, I didn't want to put any more into them than I had to. 587 bucks delivered to my door, but still cheaper than used tires on the web where they seem to think a 300 dollar tire with 2mm left to the wear band is worth 280 bucks. Used tire shops near me didn't have the correct size in a set of 4. I really didn't want to waste a good set of tires on shop use, especially these days when tires are hard to find in stock. I'll get them to the shop in the next week or two, then they can get the frame measurements started and I can get the suspension parts ordered. And, as it is a truck, I don't have to worry about the tires being the exact correct size. No matter what, I'll have a minimum of an inch of leeway all the way around with the wheels/tires I'm using.

      Strange, when you wait 2 years or more just to get a shop to say "bring it in", updating every once a week feels like time is flying.
      2021 Durango R/T
      2008 Colorado beater
      2003 Dakota project-o-mobile

    11. #11
      Join Date
      Sep 2013
      Location
      sw Kansas
      Posts
      1,295
      Country Flag: United States
      What's the shop's time estimate?

    12. #12
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States
      They haven't given me one yet. The plan of attack is, they get my wheels and tires this week as I taking them down Tuesday. From there they get the truck measured for the frame. Once the frame measurements are done, I order the suspension parts and get them modified depending on how wide the frame rails are under the bed. Mainly it's the cradle width for the rear end that this is important for. Dobberton's site said that if the cradle has to be narrowed I need the C5 cradle, if it doesn't need to be narrowed I can use the C6 cradle which I'd prefer. I'll get the suspension parts in, get the cradle to Dobberton and order the adapters, then the shop puts it all together. Barring any unforseen problems I'd say 3-4 months in all before I'm trailering my truck back home.
      2021 Durango R/T
      2008 Colorado beater
      2003 Dakota project-o-mobile

    13. #13
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States
      Wheels are at the shop. Plan was laid out. While I was there I found out that the car that is in front of mine had an issue that they have to fix before they can get mine in. Don't know the details, but it'll take 2-3 weeks to resolve that problem. Since it'll be easier to do with the frame off, they're also going to install stainless brake lines on the frame. We'll also be ditching the fiberglass transverse leaf springs the Corvette uses for coilovers. And, the rear cross span on the frame will be doubled up so as to act as a rear bumper since I'm putting a roll pan and trailer hitch back there.
      2021 Durango R/T
      2008 Colorado beater
      2003 Dakota project-o-mobile

    14. #14
      Join Date
      Nov 2006
      Location
      Mountain Springs, Texas
      Posts
      3,896
      Country Flag: United States
      Interesting that you chose to delete the transverse leafs. I’ll take the ride of those leaf springs over a Coilover any day. I retained them on my Dobbertin build. Lots of options with base, Z51 and Z06 springs plus adjustable ride height.

      Don
      1969 Camaro - LSA 6L90E AME sub/IRS
      1957 Buick Estate Wagon
      1959 El Camino - Ironworks frame
      1956 Cameo - full C5 suspension/drivetrain

    15. #15
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States
      Heh heh, the whole point of this exercise was to get rid of the leaf springs. I didn't want to put any back in. Dobberton also recommends removing them if the rear cradle has to be narrowed and I'm pretty certain it'll be required.
      2021 Durango R/T
      2008 Colorado beater
      2003 Dakota project-o-mobile

    16. #16
      Join Date
      Nov 2006
      Location
      Mountain Springs, Texas
      Posts
      3,896
      Country Flag: United States
      Quote Originally Posted by Vimes View Post
      Heh heh, the whole point of this exercise was to get rid of the leaf springs. I didn't want to put any back in. Dobberton also recommends removing them if the rear cradle has to be narrowed and I'm pretty certain it'll be required.
      Makes sense. I used full width front and rear cradles. Retained everything but the stock shocks which donít work with the Dobbertin adapters. Used ridetech shocks.

      Don
      1969 Camaro - LSA 6L90E AME sub/IRS
      1957 Buick Estate Wagon
      1959 El Camino - Ironworks frame
      1956 Cameo - full C5 suspension/drivetrain

    17. #17
      Join Date
      Sep 2009
      Posts
      2,082
      Country Flag: United States
      Just looked up the Dobbertin Adapters. That is really neat. Had no idea those existed.


      1968 Camaro 6.2 w/ LSA, TR6060-Magnum hybrid, Z51 brakes, 12 bolt, Speedtech, Hotchkis, DSE
      1976 T/A LS1, 6 Speed, C5 front brakes, and etc. SOLD

    18. #18
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States
      Quote Originally Posted by dhutton View Post
      Makes sense. I used full width front and rear cradles. Retained everything but the stock shocks which donít work with the Dobbertin adapters. Used ridetech shocks.

      Don
      I'll most likely go with the ridetech coilovers since that's what he built them to run with.

      Quote Originally Posted by ryeguy2006a View Post
      Just looked up the Dobbertin Adapters. That is really neat. Had no idea those existed.
      Yeah, and I'm glad he's making them. Gonna be a truck saver if they succeed in getting rid of gasoline before my time on the merry-go-round is up.
      2021 Durango R/T
      2008 Colorado beater
      2003 Dakota project-o-mobile

    19. #19
      Join Date
      Nov 2018
      Posts
      424
      Country Flag: United States
      Minor update - truck is still pending the previous project, no timeline now. Delay is because they found a mess at the end which they are making right, caused by the shop that had that car before them. Irritating to be delayed yet again, but I'd rather another delay when the delay is due to the shop won't let substandard work out the door regardless of the cause.

      Anyway, in my Vintage Air attaboy thread I said I'd post pictures and weights. There is a considerable size difference between the factory unit and the VA unit, which frees up a considerable amount of room under the dash. I'm hoping there will be enough to build a small soundproofed box for the fan motor that also has an air filter attached. The factory setup worked well enough but it was LOUD on max airflow. I'd like the airflow but not the racket. Not only that, but the factory box had holes through the firewall all over the place which I can now close up and condense to a much smaller area. If it's feasable, I also want to make little hatches that will allow me to replace the heater core and AC evaporator without pulling the dash and unit out down the road. My 75 year old arse will appreciate my 50 year old arse doing the extra work today .

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      There is also the weight savings of about 10lbs between the two, +/- crappy old scale inaccuracy. Not much, of course, but when you knock back 5lbs here and 10lbs there, eventually you knock back a noticeable amount of weight. I don't know how much I'll actually get it down though, since I'll be adding crap like soundproofing and whatnot. The truck weighed 4000lbs when I started, I'll be happy if I maintain that weight by swapping dead weight out for useful stuff.

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      2021 Durango R/T
      2008 Colorado beater
      2003 Dakota project-o-mobile

    20. #20
      Join Date
      Sep 2009
      Posts
      2,082
      Country Flag: United States
      Wow, that's a huge difference!


      1968 Camaro 6.2 w/ LSA, TR6060-Magnum hybrid, Z51 brakes, 12 bolt, Speedtech, Hotchkis, DSE
      1976 T/A LS1, 6 Speed, C5 front brakes, and etc. SOLD

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