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Old 06-08-2008, 09:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile 91 W250 Alaskan Expedition/Hunting rig build up

I purchased a 91 W250 to build into Alaskan Expedition/Hunting rig and have a few initial questions to ask before I decide which path to take with the build.

How big a tire can a guy go before having to cut into the cab?

Option #1: I'd be willing to do a 2" body lift and a zero rate in the front.

I've been looking at getting 9.00R16 Michelin XZL but will likely have a very hard time finding any in Alaska for a reasonable price. I'd be willing to go with a 37" Swamper or similar, so long as its something extremely tough and not over 13" wide.

Option #2: I'd be willing to do a shackle flip in the rear, 4" spring lift up front with a zero rate, and 2" body lift. For this option I'd be looking at tires in the 38x14 to 40x16 size. I'm leaning away from this option due to increased costs over build option #1 taking away from the other modifications I want to make to increase its expedition/hunting rig attributes.


About the build.
The truck already has a Dana 60 front axle, but its only got ~3.50 gears. The original transmission was swapped out for a new NV4500. Disc Brakes on the rear axle which I assume is a Dana 70 but I haven't verified that yet. Both diffs have Mag-Hytec diff covers. The 12v has 396k on it but still runs great and has had maintenance second to none. (Actually the whole truck has.)

Plans are for front and rear multi-mount 8274 winches, gin poles, ladder rack plated in to provide dry sleeping and storage. Locking differentials of some sort (any input here?). OD Green paint.

Any suggestions? Engine mods to increase reliability? Bumpers you liked the looks of? etc, etc, etc?
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Old 06-08-2008, 09:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I live up here in fairbanks and down there in anchorage there is a dealer for the pitbull tires and a buddy of mine swears by them
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Old 06-08-2008, 09:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll take a look at them, but a couple years ago when they came out I couldn't get wrapped around their weird tread patterns or that they are still relatively unproven.


Here is the truck as it sits now...
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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http://alaska4x4network.com/index.php

Here is a site that might help... and it gives you an idea of what they use and run up there.

I have noticed that the norm is usually minimum of a 35" tire, you have a good platform to build on.

the biggest type of tire up there seems to be them AG Tires...look into a set of Wrangler MT/R's or the new KM2's from BF Goodrich, The MT/R's are proven tough and reliable. and run up t a 40" size and still a 12.50
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the tip. There are alot of AG tires running around in Alaska. I'd love to set the truck up to run 46" Michelins on the street then some of the 46" Ag tires like Speedo's wife runs for real back country work, but for now thats out of budget.
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Old 06-08-2008, 11:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm running a 3 inch lift on my 88 ram w100. with 9.00 16 xl's (springs front and rear) ive also done a shackle flip and eliminated the factory lift block.
the shackle flip made a huge improvement in the ride quality and flex.

btw, the freak is my favorite Chevy of all time.
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Old 06-08-2008, 11:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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For the winter I run 35 bfg at's and they perform remarkably and for the summer a lot of guys run the tsl's or your standard mt also the weekend of the 20-22 there is going to be the meet and greet there in anchorage just fyi

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Old 06-09-2008, 04:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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this should be a good build, seeing the detail that went into your last one was amazing
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Not to hi jack but you should seriously consider the Pitbull tires. I just got back from Top Truck Challenge where I was running the 44" Rockers. I was the smallest tire there and I was competing against 49" Irocks and 54" Boggers. My Pitbulls held there own against these monster truck tires. People came up to me all week and comented on how good the pitbulls were doing. They have a lot of traction in the mud and sand. They feel like a sticky compound on the rocks. I havent had them in the snow yet but the guy that won the Top Truck Challenge is also a Pitbull dealer. He said that he loves them in the snow. He would have been running the Pitbulls if the 47" tire was out. He was one of the guys running the 54" Boggers.

If you go on Fourwheeler.com there is a ton of pictures of the event and you can see the tires proving themselves. Let me know if you have any questions about them and good luck on the build!
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Old 06-09-2008, 07:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Does that body have 400k on it too? Looks like it's nearly showroom clean aside from the front bumper.
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I looked at the pitbull tires and the only thing they have close to what I need is a 37 but its a bit too wide for what I want to do.

The body on the truck is the original but the picture makes it look alot better than it really is. I'll post some pictures when I get home.
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I would double check that front axle. If the original transmission was an automatic, it's probably going to have a Dana 61. Not a huge deal, but it could be a concern for future gear and differential choices.
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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It was originally a manual trans, it just had an NV4500 swapped in after they ran it into the ground. It only lasted 347,000 miles!

I found some tires and rims today. A bit bigger than I really wanted but the price was right and I ended up with double bead-locks. (37x13 R16.5 Boggers with Hummer rims)
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Are those wheel spacers in those wheels? if so I would like some pics.
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:34 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Here is a picture of the worst body damage. Nothing major for an old beater, but enough that I wont have to worry about backing into a rock or scratching the paint. The drivers doors got a pretty good rusty dent too, but no actual holes.

Anyone know of a good place to get some 2" wheel spacers?
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:37 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Are those wheel spacers in those wheels? if so I would like some pics.
Ya, the tires and wheels came with two spacers. I can get you some pictures tomorrow.
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:45 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Anyone know of a good place to get some 2" wheel spacers?

http://www.wheeladapter.com/wheel_ad...el_spacers.asp
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:19 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Add a second fuel tank or enlarge yours. when i used to run into canada 100 gallons was nice for leaving the truck running all night. I had two tanks one 20 gallon with either #1 or a jet fuel in it depending on the conditions, the other under bed tank usually was running 50/50 in the winter and housed 35 gallongs and my in bed tank was 60 gallons setup for gravity feed. i had a small coolant heater that was propane fired (system is used by big rigs) came in handy a few times when fuel system gelled up, that propane tank was only 5 gallons and was mounted under the bed also. add some insulation to the door panels and roof. I fabbed a Bracket for a York compressor above the alternator and had a tank under the truck ordered the alternator pulley from kilby the rest i had to build. add a hand throttle, when letting the truck idle for long periods of time in sub -40 weather keep rpms over 1200 keeps oil pressure up and generates a little more heat. Add a second battery tray. For traction I ran a power lok front and rear, i liked the manners of the power lok on steep side hills and icy slopes vs lockers and ratcheting which would tend to lead to the rear end sliding out more on you especially in simple off camber icy spots it became a noticible irritation for me. I did at one time run a detroit in the rear and it worked great too, till it popped as well i ran a detroit for one winter in the front, it came out half way through the winter and the power loks went back in.... you can try an air locker if you feel bold but the P-loks were cheap i found everything in some old ford diesel pickups from 80-85 with dana 70s for the 35 spline side gears (which i used in the front dana 60 power lok)and then sourced a 60 power lok from another rig with 30 spline side gears, changed the side gears and the 60 was ready to go, the dodge had a d70 plok from the factory i ordered up dana 70HD clutch kits and setup the front and rear fairly tight. Watch which muffler you install, alot fo them are performance based and noisy as hell, donaldson or nelson both make some 40" and 51" mufflers that will quiet things down and still allow flow. headache rack with a small winch is handy for loading a dead moose.... ect or 4wheeler into the bed of the truck. I liked my PTO winch up front and my Ramsey electric in the rear. PTO's for the np205 are still available and work really well. otherwise go electric front and rear, I had problems witha multi mount winch system, angled pulls trying to move a 7500lbs truck back onto the road can twist things you would think would twist. id look at two seperate winches one for each end mounted in bumpers.. ruel shut off selenoid carry a spare or rig up a manual system that can be installed in a hurry. 9.00R16 Michelin XZL works well sipe them though, i liked AT's better because it was easier to put my tire chains on vs mud terrains. round up a set of drive flanges and upgrade to 35 spline outers.

each of us probably has different ideas how to do it doubt my infos is super helpful but take it as oyu will .
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:25 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Add a second fuel tank or enlarge yours. when i used to run into canada 100 gallons was nice for leaving the truck running all night. I had two tanks one 20 gallon with either #1 or a jet fuel in it depending on the conditions, the other under bed tank usually was running 50/50 in the winter and housed 35 gallongs and my in bed tank was 60 gallons setup for gravity feed.
I do need a second tank or a bigger single tank. I'll have to look around under the bed to see if there is room for a nice sized tank without having to build some funky 13 sided monster tank. If I don't end up building the sleeping space inside the rack I might just get one of those in bed tanks that doubles as a storage box.

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i had a small coolant heater that was propane fired (system is used by big rigs) came in handy a few times when fuel system gelled up, that propane tank was only 5 gallons and was mounted under the bed also. add some insulation to the door panels and roof.
Good call. I hadn't thought of that for this rig, but I agree, an auxiliary source of heat could be VERY important should the engine quit running for some reason. And it would really help with starting the engine in sub zero temperatures on late season hunts.

The inside of the cab is pretty well insulated as is, but some additional insulation on the floor of the bed would be a really good idea once the sleeping space is built. Good tip.

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I fabbed a Bracket for a York compressor above the alternator and had a tank under the truck ordered the alternator pulley from kilby the rest i had to build. add a hand throttle, when letting the truck idle for long periods of time in sub -40 weather keep rpms over 1200 keeps oil pressure up and generates a little more heat.
Another great point. I've used CO2 for the last several years but have never tried it in extreme cold. I'm betting at -25*F the York would work much better, and a guy wouldn't have to worry about running out on a long trip.

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Add a second battery tray.
That should probably be one of the first things on my list. I wonder why Dodge didn't install one from the factory? Is there something about the 12v that makes it not need one?

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For traction I ran a power lok front and rear, i liked the manners of the power lok on steep side hills and icy slopes vs lockers and ratcheting which would tend to lead to the rear end sliding out more on you especially in simple off camber icy spots it became a noticible irritation for me.
I did at one time run a detroit in the rear and it worked great too, till it popped as well i ran a detroit for one winter in the front, it came out half way through the winter and the power loks went back in.... you can try an air locker if you feel bold but the P-loks were cheap i found everything in some old ford diesel pickups from 80-85 with dana 70s for the 35 spline side gears (which i used in the front dana 60 power lok)and then sourced a 60 power lok from another rig with 30 spline side gears, changed the side gears and the 60 was ready to go, the dodge had a d70 plok from the factory i ordered up dana 70HD clutch kits and setup the front and rear fairly tight.
I will look back into a couple powerloks, I've run them in the past and wasn't impressed with the life of the clutches, but that was with 45" tractor tires. I'm sure this application would be much easier on it. I am leaning toward open front and ARB rear for increased highway safety in the winter, but ya never know. If I find a good enough deal on something then that is what I will likely go with.

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Watch which muffler you install, allot fo them are performance based and noisy as hell, donaldson or nelson both make some 40" and 51" mufflers that will quiet things down and still allow flow.
Good info. I definitely don't want any extra noise while hunting. I don't know what muffler is on it now, but it is a tad noisy. Sounds nice though.

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headache rack with a small winch is handy for loading a dead moose.... ect or 4wheeler into the bed of the truck. I liked my PTO winch up front and my Ramsey electric in the rear. PTO's for the np205 are still available and work really well. otherwise go electric front and rear, I had problems witha multi mount winch system, angled pulls trying to move a 7500lbs truck back onto the road can twist things you would think would twist. id look at two seperate winches one for each end mounted in bumpers..
I don't want the weight or complexity of a PTO, even though it would probably be worth it for pure pulling power. Due to limited budget I don't have a choice other than to make use of the winches I already own, so I'll be going multi-mount for sure. I have bent my mount slightly over the years but I haven't had any trouble since I added a small brace along the front plate. If I keep the truck long enough I'm sure it will end up with a permanent mount 8274 on the front and something lower profile on the back in a 9500lb variety.

One thing I have to consider is that I have a perfectly capable buggy for real serious off-road travel. I (and my wife) keep reminding myself that this truck does not need to be able to go the places the buggy can go, and if it did, I'd be missing out on all the cool places I cant legally take my buggy.

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ruel shut off selenoid carry a spare or rig up a manual system that can be installed in a hurry.
Fuel shut off solenoid? Is that for a runaway in case I find myself on my lid?

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9.00R16 Michelin XZL works well sipe them though, i liked AT's better because it was easier to put my tire chains on vs mud terrains. round up a set of drive flanges and upgrade to 35 spline outers.
Anyone know if Chevy 35 spline warn hubs will fit Dodge 35 spline applications?

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each of us probably has different ideas how to do it doubt my infos is super helpful but take it as oyu will .
For sure, but I appreciate the input!
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:18 PM   #20 (permalink)
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For the tank thing, swipe the 35Gal tank from a Ramcharger. It will fit perfectly under the back of the bed. If you can get the sheetmetal work done, you can do an install that looks factory. Bonus if you get the tank out of a Ramcharger with the fuel tank skidplate.

On the insulation, seriously consider more in the doors and the back wall of the cab. It makes an unbelievable difference.

On the battery tray, the D&W series CTDs came with a single 1100 CCA battery instead of a dual setup like most diesels have. You can easily add another by modifying another factory tray and putting it on the other side, or make a new one that will hold dual batteries in the same location. I put dual 1100 CCA batteries in my '74 W100 by making a battery tray that fit in the factory location, but had the batteries turned 90. Worked great, cut down on wiring and took up nothing but unused space. I made the tray out of old bed frame rails, worked very nicely.
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:50 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Are those wheel spacers in those wheels? if so I would like some pics.

Here ya go...
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:16 PM   #22 (permalink)
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For the tank thing, swipe the 35Gal tank from a Ramcharger. It will fit perfectly under the back of the bed. If you can get the sheetmetal work done, you can do an install that looks factory. Bonus if you get the tank out of a Ramcharger with the fuel tank skidplate.

On the insulation, seriously consider more in the doors and the back wall of the cab. It makes an unbelievable difference.

On the battery tray, the D&W series CTDs came with a single 1100 CCA battery instead of a dual setup like most diesels have. You can easily add another by modifying another factory tray and putting it on the other side, or make a new one that will hold dual batteries in the same location. I put dual 1100 CCA batteries in my '74 W100 by making a battery tray that fit in the factory location, but had the batteries turned 90. Worked great, cut down on wiring and took up nothing but unused space. I made the tray out of old bed frame rails, worked very nicely.
Thanks for the tip on the Ramcharger tank, sounds about like the chevy guys doing the suburban tank swap. I'll keep my eye out.

As far as insulation goes, has anyone had any direct experience with using bed liner for sound deadening? I really want a hose out interior.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:25 AM   #23 (permalink)
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There's a build in the Ford forum (a '56 on a '91 frame or something like that) who bedlined over something like dynamat. I like that idea a lot if it is durable. I have not gone straight bedliner due to the loss of insulation.

a fuel shutoff would not prevent runaway: you need to kill the air supply. it would be running off engine oil not diesel. that's what makes it a runaway.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:34 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Ya, thats why I dont understand the fuel shutoff valve recommended above.
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:31 PM   #25 (permalink)
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the fuel shut off selenoid cuts the fuel off when you turn the engine off. if it goes bad, say the selenoid burns out, fuse pops or a wire chaffs and burns ....then it automatically drops the valve into the closed position. carring a spare selenoid or having a manual shutoff is handy because it elimates trying to chase an eletrical gremlin or trying to pull the selenoid open with a bungee in sub zero weather. It's a real PITA when your fingers keep icing up and you are trying to screw a new selenoid into the pump but its nice having the part and getting back up and running. i wouldnt have mentioned it had i not had it happen a time or two, carry a spare


35 spline chevy hubs will fit IF you have the 91+ internal hub design, if you have the 89-90 external hub design they will not fit.

Power lok rear's are cheap.... look at an air dryer system if you run an Air locker. and if you do an Air locker id look seriously at it in the front. makes a world of difference with both front tires going WOT in a deep snow drift with chains flying around.

For tire chains ge the 3/8 chains that logging trucks run witht he carbide bits welded on. then cut them down to fit. i used to carry 5 chains and a chain repair tool as well as a handful of universal master links that i could screw on vs trying to repair a cross link in the snow
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