Dakota Project 2.0

JerryLSX

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After last year's failed project, I've decided to start a new Dakota project. I already had a bunch of leftover parts so I figured fuck it, why not?

I found a 1997 Dodge Dakota V8 Magnum 2WD for $2k down in East Peoria, IL

This truck has some weird quirks but it is 90% Rust free compared to the truck from last year. I went with 2WD vs. 4x4 because of the simplicity to work on. This truck runs decent, is registered and insured, and is a great platform to start with. Some Pics below...









For now, I'm doing some much needed tune-up and maintenance.
I'm trying to figure out some odd issues the truck has:

#1. The fuel gauge goes from empty to its current level over and over again.
#2. Oil pressure is at 0 upon startup and goes back up quickly.

First mods:

#1. Rear Axle Swap; The truck does some maaaad 1 wheel peels but has absolutely no traction. All it does is light up the rear passenger tire. Doesn't help that the tires are small either.

#2. New exhaust; since it is so rust free, this is the first Dakota I've bought with no holes in the tubing. It's a big 318 V8 with none of the sound. Needs to change.

After that, I want to put some new wheels and tires on it, take it to the strip and see what it can do.
 

Euro

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Nice! I like how you could get the 318 in that tiny Dakota back then.
 

JerryLSX

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Nice! I like how you could get the 318 in that tiny Dakota back then.
You could actually get a 360 in the RT version. I want to either swap in a 5.9L block onto my truck or maybe just go all out and LSX swap this thing.

I'm ready to swap in the axle, just gotta get the driveway prepped and ready to go. I'm not 100% sure but I think I have a Chrysler 8.25 10 bolt rear w/ 3.92:1 gears, Trac-lok, and 10inch brakes. This is as far as I could get identifying the axle with the power of google. This should bolt right up to the existing location on the truck.





 

SleeperLS

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I bet the fuel gauge issue has something to do with the sending unit. Completely different platform, but my old Monte had that issue and it was the fuel sending unit in the gas tank.
 

JerryLSX

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Luckily I have 2 extra fuel tanks complete with fuel pumps. Might just swap it out to see if that's the issue.
 

JerryLSX

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Progress made then halted

So far I've done some much needed maintenance on the truck.

-Oil changed
-Filters changed
-New rotors, and pads
-New front shocks
-Engine bay cleaned






Then it started raining.... So hopefully this weekend the truck will again be road worthy and driving, and be making 2 tire fires instead of 1 :burnout:
 

JerryLSX

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Truck back on the streets.

Back on the road with plates on.

All work done to this truck includes:
-Fuel pump swap
-New drums/shoes/hardware
-Axle swap
-New tank straps
-Replaced roll pan bumper with real bumper
-New shocks
-and more i'm sure I'm forgetting...





Some build pics...



Had to break out my welder for this one, didn't see that the spring perches were flipped on this axle so I had to cut them, flip them,measure, and weld them on.

Future Plans
-New Exhaust
-Upgrade the audio
-Repaint truck
-Redo Bedliner
-Viper brake conversion
-LS Swap with 4L60e trans

I'm dead set on LS swapping. The 5.2L and 5.9L engines are just not worth modifying. They are heavy iron block boat anchors IMO. To expensive to modify. Fell in love with the LS when I had my 2012 Caprice. We'll see what happens this summer...

Inspiration Pics...

 

LoveSpank

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I always have had a soft spot for the Dakotas especially the RT.
I'm looking forward to watching this come along.
 

JerryLSX

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I always have had a soft spot for the Dakotas especially the RT.
I'm looking forward to watching this come along.
I never had an RT, they're always hard to find and when they pop up on Craigslist the sellers always want too much. I'm lucky to have found a Regular Cab Dakota with a V8, they're kinda rare. I just have a thing for these trucks having been around them so long.
 

JerryLSX

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New Look

I haven't really done much to the truck as it's been my daily for a while now but after some junkyard finds the truck has a total new look.

What's been done:
-Chrome bumpers front and rear (borrowing the rear bumper from the old man because I want a new one, this one has some rust).
-Smaller profile non-folding mirrors, it really got rid of the DUMBO/Mickey Mouse look.
-Car is buffed with Ultimate Compound, but it really didn't do much. Still looking to get it repainted.
-New 16" wheels with larger tires, still can't grip for sh*t tho.
-New glasspack installed.
-All lights polished up in front.






I may put an end to the truck just for the remainder of the year, looking to buy a Chevy SS so won't do much other than maintenance (which it needs a lot of).

Still considering doing an LS swap and just may go all out on this truck as I'm falling in love with it. Just brings me joy for some reason.

Question is though: How should I go about doing the swap? (I plan to do it right when the Odometer hits 200k, it's at 171k now).

Should I just piece everything together or should I buy a donor car from Copart? I want to go with a 6.0L and use a 4L80 trans, I'm sure I'll need a better rear end too. One must have tho, it needs to be Flex-fuel.

Throw some ideas at me, if it was you, how would you go about doing the swap? And, no, I'm not going to do anything to the 5.2L V8 in it, it's so gutless.
 

JerryLSX

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Would be crazy, but I think a Hellcat drivetrain would twist the frame lol
 

JerryLSX

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SO.... I have 2 cars after this project and I think it's time to let this one go. I'm leaving it in a good spot (I actually found out this is a Hawaii/Cali truck) but before I take it apart and it's worth nothing, I'd like to sell it or send it to my folks ranch down in Mexico. Really it's only flaw is the paint fade/scratches. But It's up for sale for the cheap.

LINK
 

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