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Lowlands Dodge -> general progress

86375 Views 336 Replies 59 Participants Last post by  Gerhart
Since the original post (Dutch Dodge) got lost during the last forum crash, here's another -updated- one.
I'm still in the progress of restoring her, but first some details about her history.
From her birth in 1977 till her retirement in 1994, she served as an M880 under the U.S. flag in Germany. 1994 is the year that I bought her.
I've been improving her ever since:
-4" suspension lift
-bucket seats instead of couch
-stainless steel exhaust (custom, dual)
-stainless steel fuel tank (custom, 120 litres)

But then, after enjoying to ride this wonderful truck for five years, I made the decision to overhaul her completely. The other choice was to keep on using her and watch her slowly rotting away. As this was no real option to me, I decided to start an overhaul.

Luckily, I found a great place to do this overhaul in a barn nearby my home.
The chassis has now been blasted and painted (3 layers of primer and 6 layers of chassis coating), so I can start rebuilding her.
And I have made several improvements:
-suspension lift back to 2" above original
-custom 3 point cab suspension instead of 4 point (to improve chassis flex)
-2.5" body lift as result to 3 point cab suspension
-new rear spring hanger (4" higher)
-shackle inversion on rear spring (4" higher)
-due to rear suspension, no blocks necessary
-custom step side bed
-custom rear disc brake conversion (same callipers and discs as on front axle)
-new front cross member (custom)
-new rear cross member (custom)
-transfer case converted from one stick to two sticks
-airco compressor converted to provide onboard air
-small improvements on engine (bigger intake and carb)

Some minor changes on the sheet work:
-cut-back front fender for 35" tires
-mix from '76 and '77 fronts ('77 grill, driving lights instead of turn signals, '76 turn signals below grill)
-custom "scoop" on hood

But, pictures tell more....

Greetings from the Netherlands.
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Picture of the (new) front cab mount.


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Rear (pivoting) cab mount


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The new rear spring hanger.


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Rear shackleflip.
Rear axle disc conversion (same callipers and discs as on front axle).


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Another (rear)disc picture.


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The chassis with three layers of primer.


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This is how she look right now; with six layers of chassis coating (very, very dark grey, or "light black").
On to the build-up.


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Once I was off-road and saw how the other Dodges were flexing (or trying to).
On another point, my Dodge was all flexed-out. I was able to open my door, but couldn't close it anymore because of cab flex.
I looked further and found out that the body was preventing the chassis from full flex. Solution was a three-point cab mounting and a flexible bed mounting.
The bed will be mounted on four points: two pivots (one front centre, one rear centre) and two fixed points (mid of bed, sideways with some minor flexibility).
This way the chassis can flex at its maximum (I hope).
And finally................. some pics of the e-brake set-up at the rear of the transfer case. This was because of the rear disc set-up. The original e-brake was scrapped together with the original drums, so the new disc brakes needed another e-brake.
I opted for a custom system at the rear of the transfer case to keep it as clean and safe as possible from dirt and damage.

Well, see pics for more details.
Body looked O.K. with the paint still, right now, the body is at the specialist for some major steel implants.
Axles are almost finished now, engine, tranny and TC only need some new seals and fresh paint; drivetrain has only 30,000 miles on it, so no need for complete overhaul.

Another point of improvement was the rear cabin mount with pivot. Initially, the lower beam was straight (see previous pics), but this would interfere with the new position of the rear driveshaft. So the lower beam had to be curved. See picture for the final result.

Rear crossmember was allso point for improvement (there was none). So I made one that would hold my towing device.
Pic of complete towing set-up will follow shortly.
so what is the pivot for the do?
If you scroll-up to the mesage of july 9 2002, this will explain why I changed to a three-point cab mount set-up with a rear pivot.

Anyway, hereby the pics of the towing device.
It's a 4(metric) tons Ringfeder automatic hook coupling. Is a standard military coupling, used on many vehicles, like Unimog.
I'm not sure about the stepside bed though...
Stepside bed is exit....... A friend came up with a custom built set (two!) of beds with quick change system for cheap. So now I have a flatbed with removable sides and rear and a basic flat frame which was used as base for a camper by the previous owner.
Pictures will follow.....

Going to have any cushion or springs under it to control pitch and roll during regular driving, or you think it will be ok where it is?
Think it's o.k., but it's very easy to place springs or so.

One day I will rebuild my M880 from the ground up and would like to use a couple of your ideas if you do not mind.
That's the reason for posting them.
Last update: cabin is at the cosmetic surgeon for some major steel implants.
Roof is completely removed, blasted, repaired, painted and will be put back soon.
But pictures say more........
You know somebody ho passed yearly inspection with an RCC hanger lift front and back? I lifted the truck using a hanger lift but don't know if its legal.
Don't know 100%, but I asked the local garage guys (who also perform the anual inspection) and they said "no problem, as long as it looks strong enough and is strong enough with a professional look".
Cabin is finished (metalwork, anyway)!!!!
First picture is of the customized floor. Left and right side were lowered to make room for the seat suspensions; centersection was lifted to make more room for the lifted transmission and transfercase.
Second picture is of the (almost) finished cab. Floor is completely welded and re-inforced for the seats and suspensions. Also the beams under the floor had to be change in order to follow the floor.
Steering column mount also hat to be removed to replace some sheetmetal behind.
Roof of the cabin was also insulated for noise reduction.
Last picture is of the doors. These were not too bad; the lower outer shell was rusted for about one inch, but 6" were removed for better acces for complete shotblasting. Innersides were also rusted for about one inch.
Next will be the fenders, front and hood. After this, final paintwork will be applied.
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So, finally, metalwork on cab and doors is finished!
All coated with 2K primer and waiting for the final paintjob.


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ProjectM880 said:
i just did a 3/4 elliptical rear suspension on my M880 you can check it out if your interested in the fab board.
Thanks, projectM880.
Allready have been following your work closely. Very interesting!!!! Learned a lot from your project.
I think you have a very capable truck when all is finished.
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