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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone been hit or miss on this and other fellow dodge truck sites for a few years now with my other builds. You can find my other builds on my youtube. Most of my stuff is pretty slow to post/build due to having a full family of 3. Work is scattered around the year. The link can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/neil4224/videos?shelf_id=0&sort=dd&view=0

Ok now that I have introduced myself, I am currently in the process of building a lowered D150 autocross/strip machine.

I bought the truck in North Carolina for 800 bucks a few years back after my first project burned in a garage fire. Here are the picks of the truck after I got it to my house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The truck was in better shape than I thought when I picked it up in NC.  There was absolutely no rust on the frame of the truck anywhere and the floor boards were in dang near perfect condition minus a little paint flake.  In tearing apart 4 of these trucks this was the best cab and frame I had ever seen. 

My initial thoughts for this truck were to use the body for my old project that burnt up in the fire but the farther I looked into this pickup after returning from North Carolina I thought I better just hold onto it to make something even better. 

So the time finally came to start working on a 2wd. My first goal was to lower the truck.  After driving several different d's and w's on stock and lifted suspensions with big and average size tires I knew I had to make it get lower to the ground so I didn't feel like I was going to roll it doing 30 around a bend. 

I searched a few sites and found some posts on guys lowering the truck using van LCA's in the front and doing an axle flip in the rear.  Did my research and this seemed like the most cost effective and manageable way to do things.  (STUDENT LOANS STINK).

To rock auto I went and was able to pick up LCA's and new ball joints, tie-rods.  etc pretty cheap.  Replaced the whole front end with my Dad's help to where I knew it would be solid. Also removed the running boards cleaned the wheels and painted the rear end and brakes.  Here are a few picks of before and after





 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Truck came factory with slant 6 and automatic.  I have a built 318 from my other project that is pretty healthy.  Did a full rebuild with casting 302 swirl port heads, port and polish, 2.02/1.60 valves, minor planeing of the head surface, installed all new bearings, high volume oil pump, factory windage tray, weiand action plus manifold, headers, comp cam, and a four barrel, just to name a few things.  This motor was pretty potent above 2500 rpm, but with the automatic and np203 I had in my 4WD had to manual shift the auto to get her moving. 

I now have in possession a np435 2WD version to bolt up behind it in this project.  I know first gear is out because of the super low range, but I should be able to roast tires in third with no problem.  I picked this tranny up for 85 bucks bell housing included.  What burned me was finding an bolt on output yoke.  I had to cross reference and call a number of places to find a corresponding match.  They don't even make a factory output yoke for it to my knowledge anymore.  I had to buy the spicer replacement SDH-3-4-10941-1 (SUMMIT PART NUMBER) for $108 bucks.  It also has a 1410 u-joint.  Slid right on thank goodness with no slap or movement on the splines.  Most people just laughed when I asked them about finding a replacement end yoke for this tranny.  I know now I am going to need a two piece drive shaft that is custom made. 

Any thoughts on this combo?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My goals for this project was to make something that could handle half decent and also attack my local 8th mile that is about 2 miles from my house.  I am hoping to get into some autocross as well at some point.  I also wanted to build the truck for overkill if I get stupid later in life with big horsepower, possible 800-1000 dare say it.  I knew I needed strength in the frame.  From my experience in taking 3 trucks down to the bare frame, the frames seem very flexible.  I could pick up the frame at the back and nearly turn it vertical approximately 70-90 degrees before the front part of the frame would come of the ground/jack stands.

My answer to this was to box the frame from the engine cross member to the rear axle.  So about a year and a half ago I got started.  I striped the truck down with some home grown ingenuity in the garage to create and hoist the cab over the engine. Had to deflate the tires to get it to clear
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
After getting the cab elevated I went on to start trying to plate the frame for strength.  I had another first gen frame laying out back leftover due to some major rust holes near the spring hangers in the rear.  I figured why not use the steel that I could to save as much money as possible.  After looking this frame over I realized that contouring the metal to fit would be the hardest part. Then it came to me that the frame rails are already bent to what I need I just need to cut them down so out with the old liquid wrench I went. 

I also decided to cut 4 inch holes in the plates to save some weight due to the sheer mass of the steel frame I was using.  Here is what a piece looked like after cutting holes in it before mounting. 
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Being employed by a school system is nice, summers off.  I was able to make good progress on the boxing of the frame last year.  Was able to get all the way up to the trans cross member.  The interesting thing is I had to learn to weld (using 220 stick) and use the torches all in a few weeks.  Don't think my stuff turned out too bad.  Here are a couple pics:


 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As the summer progressed I realized I wouldn't have enough time to complete the entire boxing of the frame, so I finished everything up to the transmission crossmember and threw the truck back together to get it back in storage to save some garage space at my dad's. 

This summer I finally got started and decided to go full tilt on the project.  I knew I would need something stronger outback for a rearend.  Started doing some homework and looking at the pick and pulls to actually find something that would work.  I identified online the effectiveness of the ford 9" and the Chrysler 8.75, but trying to source one of those is nearly impossible in my area and if you are on a budget, especially when you are looking for positraction.  I had seen some posts about a ford 9.75 being a new version of the dana 60 with thinner axle tubes.  So more researching I did and came across that these are kind of the hidden axle that will hold a ton of power as long as you don't go jumping them. If you jump them the axle tubes bend so easily it is not even funny. These are also found under f150's, and the ford lightning. 

With my dad being a part time mechanic fixing everyone's stuff, I came across one sitting in my parents driveway under a late 90's expedition.  Since it was sitting there I started to do some measuring and found that the length of the rearend was only off by about 2 inches compared to the 8.25 that was already under the dodge.  I knew where to look for a rearend now.  The next weekend off to the pick and pull I went.  Luckily they had some kind of special going on where you got everything half off.  Snagged a ford 9.75 for $75 bucks out of a 2000 expedition.  Has 3.73 gears, posi, sway bar w/ endlinks, and disc brakes all for 75 dollars.

Funny story is we had to bend a wheel barrel to get it out the yard though.  Dang thing was heavy! Sorry no pics of the action or rearend before I started cleaning it up.  This rearend was mounted using coils and a panhard bar so had to take the torches and grinder to cut and clean up all of the perches.

Here are a couple picks of the truck before I finished the frame and mounted the ford 9.75. 

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So got the frame finished up a couple of weeks ago finally, fabrication really takes the time out of you. Grinding/welding/ checking for fitment etc. 

Started on the ford 9.75 next.  Took the original leaf spring perches off the 8.25 and had to clearance them slightly to make them fit around the larger diameter tubes of the ford.  Then slid the heavy sucker up in there on the springs.  Measured the angle for appropriate driveshaft angle and marked where to weld perches.  The sway bar was the tricky part.  It fits but had to cut and weld the end links back together, we will see if they hold.  I also purchased a set of slapper bars to help hold the wheels to the ground when launching.  The sway bar will probably need to be disconnected when doing any launches looks like it may keep the springs in check without the bars.

Does anybody have any thoughts on this type of set up and its effectiveness? 

Here are the pics of the finished project frame and where I am currently at in regards to its progress. Oh yeah forgot added the chrome diff cover as well.   

Will keep updating as the summer progresses. 

 

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nice work so far. it'll be interesting to see what your 318 is capable of doing at the strip when you are done
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well been a long time since the last update, between work and kids.  Taking pictures hasn't been on my list to update you guys. 

Motor is now in, running with the ol points distributor.  Took forever to get the timing right to get it to fire.  Have also been body working the inside of the cab.  Those dang self-tapping screws from Dodge to attach the trim are a nightmare to fill.  Learned how to mig weld though and do some bondo smoothing. Here are a few shots of the progress.


What are everyone's thoughts, I think I have to go with a custom two piece drive shaft because of the ford 9.75 rearend and the dodge 2wd np435.  Does anyone have a guess as to how much one would cost?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quick Update, interior is coming along nicely, doors painted and installed.  Body lines were a pain getting those doors to match up.  Custom driveshaft also installed.  U-joints are now 1410's front and back. 
 

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I like your project.  Looks very sharp.  I do have a question though.  Why are you using the NP435 as your transmission?  They shift slow and don't have real desirable gearing in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Couldn't afford anything else, plus the transmission is indestructible for the most part.  Reliability is the key, put it in gear an do circles that is the plan.  Got the thing for 75 bucks couldn't beat the deal! I wish I could have afforded a Tremec but with 2 kids don't have 3 grand laying around for the full conversion.  Maybe in the future.
 

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You might look into a used ax15 from the junkyard.  I love mine! I think they are only good for 350 ft/lbs though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok really long time since an update, excuses aint good for much!  Interior I got wrapped up in October here are some pics. Really turned out nice I thought.  Problem I have been having though is the speedometer cable not staying connected on the back of the instrument cluster, acts like the clip on the cable doesn't want to stay located on the back of the housing. Anybody have any fixes for this?

Seats still need adjusted over, just an FYI if anybody attempts to use the summit brackets for the summit racing buckets, the factory bolt holes for the bench will work for two holes, but it locates the seats about 3 inches off center.  I had some steel replacements made but haven’t had time to install them yet.  This will center the steering wheel to the center of the seat. 

Enjoy! And more updates to come.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Another update, around Thanksgiving time got the points distributor switched out for the standard ignition system.  I had compiled three wiring harnesses from a junkyard.  Two interior and one engine harness.  I had a 79 interior harness that I should have used but it was hacked beyond hacked.  So I went with the second harness from a 74.
The engine harness was out of a 78.  Who knew how much a 74 to 78 wiring harness can change.  The truck did finally start after it took nearly a week to iron out all of the frayed ends of wires the previous owner had tried to bush fix with electrical tape.  After using three sets of vice grips it would start, but not stay running. Here is how I come to find out the differences in the harnesses.  They may look similar and for the most part they are, but the harnesses differed in their constant ignition wire at the fire wall.  This is what killed the motor after letting off the start and returning the key to the on position.  The run position wire was one "node" lower in the engine harnesses versus the node in the firewall block.  Moved the wire up and voila, motor started and has ran ever since.  I finally got the harness all soldered at the correct places as well to lose the vice grips! Wish I would have taken a picture of all those things hanging off the starter relay. 
 

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Love it!  {cool}
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Back at a reply finally, been so side tracked and been doing body work that I haven't had time to do anything. 

30 years of mother nature had taken its toll on the old dodge short bed.  Starting stripping the bed early this year and ran into all kinds of rust and what appears to be a previous minor accident.  When I started with the wire wheel the bondo just kept going deeper and deeper.  Here are some pics. 

It was time to start cutting and then to try my first shot a butt welding sheet metal before I did any additional grinding.

More updates to come
 

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