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This is like a Soap Opera, you thought you knew where it was headed and then BAM, plot twist. I get where You're coming from though Sam, I've bought trucks and started into them over the years and then just hit a road block and always ended up back at one of the other trucks.....I wonder why some trucks insist on doing that to us...

A couple years ago I had I had an 85 built up for opening wheeling weekend in the spring (April 1), It was mid March and I had it just about ready to go....all that was left was bolting the winch on and putting a clutch in. I had spent all winter working on steering, locker install, wheels and tires, etc. I just hit a wall and couldn't work on it anymore....I yanked the axles out, swapped the bumpers over and put everything on my 91, been wheeling it since.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,325 ·
yah I was just havin' a little fun - I needed a way to reintroduce Bud back into the game and thought the story of it being a good candidate for a donor truck to upgrade the Dakota would be the perfect opportunity :) . The Dakota is just fine as-built, and it will serve us nicely for those times when we want to wheel as a family without all the thrashing around of transporting the 'monster truck'.

For now, the plan is to have Bud, Slim, and Gossamer as our family trail rigs and optional car show participants. And yes, now that Bud is back, the Dakota is now, I think, B.u.d.d. - Big Ugly Dodge Dakota, a.k.a. Bud Lite, or what I'm intending to call it, "Slim" 😄.

- Sam
 
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I don’t see anything ugly around here so I offer a couple alternative “U’s”
Ultimate
Utilitarian
Unstoppable
and of course sticking with the brand we have to include Unlimited…you could probably even get some factory badges, seems rather appropriate.
 
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Discussion Starter · #1,327 ·
...and I'll add "Uber" to the list 😄
 
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I knew I was missing something, probably the best one since it has double meaning
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,330 ·
our club had a UHF/VHR radio clinic at our place, and I took the opportunity to line up the hardware from tallest to smallest - some interesting comparisons :)





 

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This gives me inspiration to start on my 01 Dakota. It’s a green club cab just like yours. Factory 4x4 8-1/4 rear with limited slip, 3.55 gears and factory NV3500. I wanted it to be the daily and not draw as much attention as literally every other vehicle I have. 😂 I was looking at Jegs for a stock 318 to replace the tired 3.9L with and it’s the same price as a stock 360, so guess it’s getting a 5.9! I also have a donor 98 with a 9-1/4 rear 2wd NV3500 and 3.92s. I started off by ripping the injector wires out to convert my 6 cyl harness into a v8 harness. Also bought a reman R/T computer to run the 360. Super chips said they can flash the auto trans alarms out of it, so it should work good!
 
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Discussion Starter · #1,334 ·
oh very cool! - definitely start up a fresh thread so we can follow along (y)

- Sam
 

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I seen that too. Damn 360 is the same price lol
 

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(vroom vvVROOOOOOOMMMmmmm) - IT'S ALIIIIVE!! 😃😎

Huge day yesterday - after about 5 hours of final checks (including realizing I had the dizzy 180* out 🤪), reading and re-reading the EFI instructions and trying to understand all of the small steps, and with 4 good friends over to provide several sets of extra eyes and wrenches, we fired up the 440!!; it lit up with authority and ran a full 20 minutes without even a hint of stalling, and nothing caught fire (y) .

The engine seems to run nice and smooth, and it idles just like I wanted - zero lope - slow and smooth - sounds like a locomotive. I was hoping to be able to have it hover at/near 2000 rpm for a full 20 minutes for the cam break-in, and it did just that. I took a lot of time to to try to ensure all of the other components would also last the 20 minutes, and everything cooperated nicely - not a drip of anything anywhere. Thermostat opened right at 180*, and the big fan pulls hard through the radiator, and despite not moving and revving at 2k for 20 minutes the temp only got to about 215*...maybe 220 - not bad. Power steering temp came up to about 140, forgot to hook up the trans temp until after but I think it was just a little higher.

About the only thing that needs attention is the exhaust - things did get a little toasty, and I will need to address some areas...and depending on how it turns out I may have to eliminate the second gas tank to provide more clearance, which in the big scheme isn't the worst thing that could happen because I wouldn't mind it being quieter, and I'd have plenty of room for more effective mufflers. We'll see - I have a couple options, including sending the middle sections of the exhaust to JetHot, which will help for sure, and layer in more heat reflective insulation under the cab - the floor was too hot to the touch...and that's pretty hot. The section that routes up and over the driveshaft got the shaft u-joint pretty hot - not sure that's gonna work out.

Granted...2000 rpm for 20 minutes with no movement will get things pretty toasty, so we'll see hot it all does once it's rolling, which might be a while from now as there's several family events coming up and friends coming in for a visit, but like I've been I'll be chopping away at it when I can...but knowing it runs is a huge relief (y)

Huge thanks to my long-time friend Ben for all of his hard work, particularly with helping me decode the FSM and 'de-computerize' a majority of the truck's under-hood harness and re-purposing the under hood fuse panel to now power the new systems. Also thanks to Trevor and Matt for coming over to help last night and keep eyes on 'everything' and to Mike for getting the whole 20 minutes on video, which I'll post up soon as I can edit it. And for sure, huge thanks to my wife and best friend Tracy and the kiddo's for all of your support and help throughout...yet again...another crazy adventure!

Ok - need more coffee... 😄
- Sam
...holy cannoli - it's been a YEAR since we fired the Dakota's 440 - wow...that flew by fast... o_O
 

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A year?? dang, it went fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,338 ·
yup, June 18 - still feels like it 'just happened'... o_O ...
 

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okay - Bud is down waiting on leaf springs and having one of his wheels unbent, some other fab jobs have just completed, and the Dak is back in the shop for continued build time. I needed a break from it, and now I'm ready to dive back in. The truck 'runs and drives', and now I'm focusing on just getting it more and more dialed in. I think I know how dial in the Sniper to act just how I want, including a progressive linkage kit I'm about to install to separate the primaries and secondaries (should function a lot like a regular 4-bbl) with pre-planned software check boxes available to make it work perfectly. The aux gas tank plumbing will get finished and the bed will get massaged for tire clearance and bolted on. Lots of 'fine-tuning' and such and bolting things on, finishing more and more of the wiring, and taking it for longer and longer runs further and further away from the shop to make sure it won't all catch fire...and then maybe in a couple weeks or a month we'll take it out for a shake down run in the dirt.

- Sam
 
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