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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
well we picked up our 'new' off road machine...so time for a fresh thread ;D

Thankfully this one doesn't require two years of build time to use and just a few 'tune up' items that need to be addressed Not sure what it's name will be....so for now we're just calling it the 'Dak'.

It's a 2002 Dakota quad cab, with a 5.9/360 Magnum, auto (46re), AWD (full-time 4wd just like a NP203), 3.92 gears, a limited slip rear, and has just over 129k miles on the clock. Not a bad little machine and real nice inside.

We're gonna wheel the truck pretty much just as it is for a few years, but down the road the plans are to go decently big with it by doing a front solid axle swap (SAS), probably an Atlas t-case, Ford D60 front and GM 14 bolt rear, 5.38's, and 40" radials.

Some starter pics -









and here are a few cool comparison shots to the truck it's replacing ;) - interesting (and deceptive) is both trucks are nearly the same length while the Dakota (currently) has about a foot shorter wheelbase -









 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
the truck is about as 'rust free' as it could be {cool}











 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
...found this nice pic of a guy's Dakota on 40s - I edited it just a little to move the rear axle rearward a little, hence lending to my 'artists rendition' of what our little Dak wants to be like when he gets all grow'd up -

 

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That is sure a clean Dakota. Nice truck to start a project with. It will be interesting to see the transformation evolve...
 

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Subscribed!
 

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Nice lookin truck - Looking forward to watching it transform!  ;D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Gave the truck a real close inspection yesterday and found a couple items that need to be addressed.  First the trans dipstick tube was 'loose' and could wobbling around up at the handle end - the retainer tab to the block had broken the spot welds loose - so pulled the tab, drilled a hole in it, reinstalled it, and used a hose clamp to keep the dipstick rigid - primitive but effective.

Also noticed coolant oozing down the edge of the timing cover/block and a couple drips on the floor, so looks like the engine needs a water pump.  I just don't feel like doing it so called my local mechanic and a water pump R&R is only $350 soooo made an appointment for that {cool}

Other than that everything underneath looks to be in decent shape.  First trail run is in two weekends so we'll see how well the little dude does there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks to our own RCC member Ed 'RXT', he's done some fun photo-shopage and I've made a couple personal touches, and come up with the next evolution of our family trail machine - the lift may be a little tall but it's pretty close to what we're thinking -



...and a few more comparisons with the Dak on 40s -



 

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Soooo, cutting the top off of this one? ;D

I like the name Bud Lite, though with that color it should probably be "Bud Light".



{cool}
 

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Hey Sam, I'll pass off some interesting stuff I've found over the years for Dakotas. Seeing that you plan to push the rear axle back and plan to open up the rear fender wells, you maybe interested to know that there are pre runner bulge style fiberglass fenders and bedsides, offered by companies like Advanced Fiberglass Concepts. https://www.advfiberglass.com and others. If you look around, you can probably find a pair of regular fiberglass bedsides (f you don't care for the bulge style) that you can cut and hang onto the side of the cargo box, instead of having to go thru a ton of sheet metal work. You'll probably have to tub the bed when it comes to the inner fender wells, but it's not a huge deal, only that you might lose a little bed space in an already really tiny bed anyway.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Elwenil said:
Soooo, cutting the top off of this one? ;D
....as much fun as a true soft top is....I'm gonna have to go with "no" ;) ;D

Good info Ed. I've actually got a couple ideas for the bed floating around: 1) wheel well extension on the existing quad cab bed, 2) swap to a regular cab bed (more centered wheel wells to begin with...but doesn't exactly 'match' the quad cab back wall), modified M101 bed again, custom bed all together. We'll see - long way from either option ;)
 

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Mad Max said:
Good info Ed. I've actually got a couple ideas for the bed floating around: 1) wheel well extension on the existing quad cab bed, 2) swap to a regular cab bed (more centered wheel wells to begin with...but doesn't exactly 'match' the quad cab back wall), modified M101 bed again, custom bed all together. We'll see - long way from either option ;)
If you don't mind my opinions :D

#1) I'd do that with the glass sides, if it were me

#2) You'll hate life after you try cutting and adapting

#3) Ah! That one sounds just right



And what I love about that idea the most??? It kinda reminds me of another Dakota floating around here somewhere :D



:D Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
hey that looks pretty badass with the M101 bed....hmmmmm {think}........ ;D

RXT said:
If you don't mind my opinions :D

#1) I'd do that with the glass sides, if it were me

#2) You'll hate life after you try cutting and adapting

#3) Ah! That one sounds just right

And what I love about that idea the most??? It kinda reminds me of another Dakota floating around here somewhere :D
Copy that! that looks pretty killer with the bed shopped on {cool} ...and don't mind at all ;D
 

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You can easily make the bed look like that by chopping the skins off. Well i'm not sure what a dakotas guts look like but the 2nd gen rams look pretty cool with the skin off:

Here is a picture I found on the internet


I once saw a 2nd gen ram in a magazine that someone removed the skins and mounted an old square metal military gas can and an E tool. Look pretty good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
that's a cool idea too {cool}.  I'm really thinking hard about a fully custom tube-style bed - armored 'edges' yet fully skinned for hauling stuff etc.  Might be easier to do that than to modify an existing bed...and I wouldn't need a rear exo cage - the edges of the bed would 'be' the rear cage....hmmmmm - likin' that idea....  :)
 

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blaze_rt said:
You can easily make the bed look like that by chopping the skins off. Well i'm not sure what a dakotas guts look like but the 2nd gen rams look pretty cool with the skin off:

Here is a picture I found on the internet

I once saw a 2nd gen ram in a magazine that someone removed the skins and mounted an old square metal military gas can and an E tool. Look pretty good.
{puke}

Are you serious? It looks like a truck without fenders, i.e. not cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
so Homer n me mushed our way through a decent winter storm on our way over at our buddy Alex's place for a club event... - gotta say - having an off-road truck that is fully 'sealed' and warms itself up in a few minutes suuuuure is nice {cool}

 
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