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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Spent a lot of time thinking about what I have, what I need, and what I want.  As shown in my sigs, I have 5 dodges in various states of disrepair, and have been trying to think about where I'm going with all this mess.  I really want the 1979 to be the DD for a while (it's almost there), but I'm still wrestling with not turning it into another "project".

For a project, I see 4 basic areas that I have to consider:

1. Time - given enough time, I think I could make the project turn out however I wanted it to be (considering the other 3 as well).  But making a Ford motor work with a Chevy tranny on a Dodge transfer case wouldn't necessarily be a good use of my time.  So when considering a project I need to be realistically considering the time it would take to complete the project.  This board is replete with projects started and not finished, and we are in good company.  I first joined RCC under another login that I lost the email to, and my post from around 2009 has the RC I bought then.  That project 10 years later looks worse  than when I bought it.  Other boards would tell the same tale, and craigslist is replete with projects that are for sale that were started but not completed.  But time is a finite resource in our lives, and only so much of it can be invested in my project(s).  Something I'm wrestling with. 

2.  Resources - This would include money, tools, and even a location to do the work and store the vehicle during the project.  Money (at least in my situation) is not an endless supply, so realistically I can't do WHATEVER I want.  I have to prioritize this in consideration of the other 3 areas.  Tools cost money, and the ones I don't have need to be prioritized as well. Workspace, although I have 37 acres, is a huge consideration as I don't have a  place "currently" to work inside, nor do I have 220V for my welder, etc.  So, coordinating my resources is a challenge as well.

3.  Expertise - as much as I would like to consider myself a renaissance man, a jack of all trades if you will, at least some aspect of a project (sometimes several) is something I've NEVER done before.  With the help of many friends (both here and in real life) I could do a LOT of things, although it may be time-prohibitive.  There are also things I couldn't do or choose NOT to do, however.  Rattlecan paint job?  Sure.  Barrett-Jackson restoration?  Not so much...

4.  Form and Function - while working on projects may be fun, it has to be practical for me.  Functions I need are daily driver, mega fuel economy, hauling/towing, and people-mover.  They also have to have a degree of appeal to me.  1965 4 Door Dodge Dart?  Not so much.  1970 Challenger?  Don't temp me.

So I need a haul/tow rig.  The plan is for this 1978 to get 3/4 ton axles, a cummins 1st gen, cummins front springs, 5 speed (getrag would be cheaper I think), np241.  I have everything but the 5 speed.  This puts the "cab on RC frame" and the "RC build" on hold though.  Going to start with the axle swap, then get everything off for a frame blast and paint. 

Thanks for letting me talk myself through this project.  I'd hazard a guess that one our two of you have had to evaluate the "end game" and adjust accordingly? 
 

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tools : this is a lifestyle question , do you expect to turn wrenches for a living ? for a hobby ? or only untill you can afford to PAY someone else to do it ? the first two if either or both are yes , buy only top quality tools and care for them , last a lifetime ... if the last is yes , find a buddy who's answer was yes to 1 of the first two ,use his tools and help exchange for something you do have ....
work space : many of us started outside , in the dirt , on our backs , when we were young it wasn't too bad . Just work as safely as possible , ( never use cement blocks ,they suddenly collapse, use wood )
expertise : do it , its THE best way to learn stuff , KNOW/TRUST me when I tell ya that when your done after the 1st time , you'll THINK you KNOW how , years later you'll realize just how ignorant you really were on that subject, this will happen over and over all yer life .... (LOL )
form /function  : different strokes / different folks :  some "would not be caught dead " in a rattle can painted auto, some see it as all one color and not rusting , some see it as a FIRST paint job ... TO this day stuff like my log splitter , did not get the welds/torch cut stuff cleaned/ground unless it served a purpose  other than looks ,
( rough edge I may brush against did )  ... it did get painted ...
mix match auto brands :  I have all one brand , have for many years , also have space / make space for parts .
I have owned all 3 major brands as "trucks" stayed mostly with 1 for autos ( inc DD pick ups ) BUT I'VE been a fleet mechanic for a vast portion of my working life , and when working on ONE brand , you get to know the ins/outs of them well ...
tow haul rig : what are you towing hauling ? if you need a diesel power/torque TRUCK then START with a frame built for that capacity , a 1/2 ton that has gotten 3/4 ton axles , has 4 tires , should only be towing / hauling what you CAN do with a gas motor , 410's or lower and O.D. .  even between dodge p/up frames there IS a difference besides the axles/springs ...
 

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Projects typically fail because sometimes people get in over their head for one or a few of the many reasons you mentioned. I can tell you that I had my own project failure, and it happens.…My project was a Ramcharger that I was putting a Cummins into. I had the majority of resources necessary for that project, space to do it, and time. But I ran out of money and put it off to the side, thinking that once I had money available, I'd pick up where I left off and complete it. But I never really had the extra money because I ended up doing many home improvements which made our home a better place to live. About 13 yrs later, I was hauling the carcass to the scrap yard.

My next, and current project, my Cummins Dakota, was even more extensive that the Ramcharger project that failed and this time I didn't have some of the tools, fab, and welding skills this project required. And btw, we were planning to move. But this time I had a budget available to work with. So I made the decision to hire a shop to do the work I couldn't do. Some may say that it's cheating to have someone else build your rig, but I can assure you, I spent many years working overtime to pay for all, and I was very involved in how it was built and what was bought.

My suggestion to you is don't take on more than you can handle and be prepared for set backs and unforeseen situations. Keep in mind that a Cummins swap can be more difficult to pull off. These engines have a wide variety of options available and you'll pay a premium for Cummins parts. If you plan to haul, you should consider an entire one ton chassis as a platform to work with because you'll want the stronger frame as well as the axles. The 3/4 tons offer a good rear axle, but you'll be stuck using the weaker front axle which is not much better than the 1/2 ton axles.

Plan everything in advance. If you can start with a budget and stick to it, you'll be ahead. If you do not have certain skills, plan on hiring someone to complete that part of the project you can't do. Shop for the best deals every opportunity you can. If you can make due with less, do it.

Stay focused. One of the reasons projects stall and fail is due to becoming overwhelmed and losing interest. Do a little at a time and take plenty of breaks. Enjoy the work.

Ed

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks dodge82273 and Ed.  Amen to "enjoying the work".  I have done several projects so far (put a D150 on an RC frame, chopped bed, etc.) and put a cummins in a 95 Dodge 2500 that had a v10 in it, then shortened the frame for a short bed.  Loved both of them and wished I still had them.

Both of those projects happened while I had a separate DD and weren't "needed".  This project isn't needed right now, but I want to get some things that will help me work/develop our land better.  It will pull a M105 trailer I have (haul rock/scrap/trash), and I'd like to get a car hauler because I occasionally take my projects for work I can't do (sandblasting, etc.), as well as picking up a tractor that we have yet to identify.  I also am thinking about getting a trailer for live stock.  Even a bumper-pull trailer could be in the mix. 

I have a 1979 3/4 ton frame under the RC right now (shortened), and it looks like the same thickness, but I will do much more measuring/comparing.  I can gusset the frame if I need to...beefing up the frame may be a good idea - I will start looking at what mods I need to make since I'd like to get it done before blasting the frame.  Besides frame prep (including gusset/other mods), I thought the only difference was the axles and the master cylinder.  If I'm wrong please let me know?
 

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this is from an '84 book , but it shows differences are real , the rbm resisting bending moments ... is the "strength"
differences in not only the frame height / flange width , but material thickness as well .
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
dodge82273 said:
this is from an '84 book , but it shows differences are real , the rbm resisting bending moments ... is the "strength"
differences in not only the frame height / flange width , but material thickness as well .
Yeah looking at the GVWR, I'm thinking I'm going to move in a different direction with this and put the 318/fitech in it. I have a M105 trailer that I can pull with this once I swap axles and drop the front landing gear. Will be updating as I can!
 

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fenrir said:
Yeah looking at the GVWR, I'm thinking I'm going to move in a different direction with this and put the 318/fitech in it. I have a M105 trailer that I can pull with this once I swap axles and drop the front landing gear. Will be updating as I can!
Have you considered a roller Magnum with MPFI conversion? Cost wise, it will be about the same as the 318 with FITech, but you'll have a great block and factory reliability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'd prefer the Magnum just for the extra power, but I already have the 318/Fitech.  Loving your project - it's an inspiration!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Since the 1979 is a basket case, and the frame/GVWR of this won't really serve the function as a tow vehicle, I'm moving this to the daily driver status.  I plan on restoring it as best I can.

First thing to fix is the no-fuel issue.  I installed an electric fuel pump, then rebuilt the carb.  It runs, but it stalls/stumbles.  Waiting on parts for an air cleaner and the air cleaner stud/post.

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So I need to fill in some back story so the current status makes sense.

I bought this as a parts truck.  It had been sitting since 2008, but it had some things on it that I thought I could use and the price was well worth it.

When I got it home, I knew the carb was shot but I put 2 new 5 gallon cans of fuel in the tank, put a battery on it, changed the oil,and poured some fuel down the gullet and it fired up!  It wouldn't keep running, and upon initial troubleshooting I discovered it wasn't getting any fuel.

I knew it needed the carb rebuilt, so while it was off I addressed the no-fuel situation.  I ran new fuel line since the existing was routed along the inside of the frame and was about 1" from one of the header tubes.  I also put on an electric fuel pump, and ran it to a 5 gallon can to make sure it was pulling properly.  Once the carb was done, I cranked it up and it ran.  It stalls under anything but SLOW throttle.  Timing light shows no advancement, even with 15 psi of vacuum from a hand pump, so I'll have to address that after I get the fuel squared away. 

This weekend I went to connect the supply side of the FP to the tank.  I started the truck after finishing the connection and it died after running for a minute or two.  I have a clear fuel filter next to the carb, and it was bone dry.

Got underneath and thumped the tank, sounded like it had a little fuel in it, but certainly not 10 gallons.  I wanted to pull the tank anyway to clean it out, but before I did I poured the rest of the 5 gallon can I was using for troubleshooting into the tank. 

I then figured out why it was getting no fuel - tank has a crack in it. 

I dropped the tank, and wirebrushed around the leak - you can see the crack/split really well when I had the tank upright so no fuel could leak, and you can see as soon as I set it down it starts leaking.  So 10 gallons of gas are soaked into the pasture next to the shed. =-(

I'm very happy I bought the plastic weld rods (and good welder) when the 79 front tank needed repairing.  I feel a lot more comfortable repairing these tanks now.  I'll get some pics after it's welded, but I want to power wash the tank, then fill it with water to check for any other leaks, then get it patched up and reinstalled.  Then I'll tackle the vacuum advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks, Kurt!  I doubt my rides will ever be near as nice as yours, but one can dream!

So I pressure washed the tank.  Once I got it dry I filled it up with water to check for leaks.  Good news is the only one that materialized was the one I knew about.

After draining the tank, I cut out some of the crack for the plastic weld (cuttank.jpg).  Then I sanded around it and widened the weld spot a little (preptank.jpg).  I made 3 passes with the rod (weldtank.jpg), then I cleaned it up by sanding again.  Finally, I filled it up about half way again just to verify the weld took (donetank.jpg). 

Good news is I was able to flush the tank (twice!) as well as remove a nut and a rock from the tank.  Tomorrow I hope to stuff it back in and be done with this part of it - one thing down, 99 to go!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
OK, got this running finally! It was stumbling something fierce so I put a timing light on it - no advance. Put vacuum on the distributor - no movement. Pulled the cap, put vacuum, same thing.

I had a new distributor that never got put into my 1978 on RC frame project ("Cletus" https://ramchargercentral.com/mopar-trucks/78-d150-conversion/). Once the new dizzy was on it ran great! I drove it around the farm - very happy! I'm surprised how much power this little 2 bbl has...

Next up will be axle swap or the A518 conversion - TBD!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Bad window regulator on the driver side - it's the 3 bolt kind.  Since it's starting to warm up during the days I need to repair this to get 55MPHAC.  Ordering a replacement from Summit - can't tell if it's the 4 bolt kind.  I can "mod" it if it doesn't fit...
 

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fenrir said:
Bad window regulator on the driver side - it's the 3 bolt kind. Since it's starting to warm up during the days I need to repair this to get 55MPHAC. Ordering a replacement from Summit - can't tell if it's the 4 bolt kind. I can "mod" it if it doesn't fit...
Mines going bad to.
Not bad for 45 years. I've tried to keep it lubed by spraying motorcycle chain lube in it. Must have worked for being that old.
I do have a spare laying around. I'm thinking of drilling out the rivets on it, cleaning it and lubing it real good with some synthetic wheel bearing grease. I might even put a zerk fitting on it so I can give it a squirt every few years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I saw on another post that the regulators could be different between 3 bolt and 4 bolt/rivet?  Let me know what you run across.  Sure would like to have the window go down so the temp doesn't go up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ordered the regulator - looks like there are two different kinds for this year.

This one is the 3 bolt regulator (Dorman 749-758), the one from my 1980 W150 had the 4 rivet kind (Dorman 740-854). 

Hopefully no issues - will keep all posted!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Got it in today (from the shipper) but didn't get it "in".

Gotta go get some big rivets since the original has screw holes and the new doesn't.  At least it's the right hole count.  The arms are the same length, too, which I guess from reading other posts can be an issue as well.
 

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1/4 " nuts/bolts
 
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