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'Mad Max' 01-07-2018 09:07 AM

02 Dakota Quadcab Crawler
here's our new wheelin' machine - '02 Dakota Quad Cab 4x4, 5.9/auto -
found it locally early last year. For now it has the basic 3" lift and 33s, rear Aussie locker and R/T diff cover and I welded up some armor and bolted up a winch. We wheeled it all this past season and we really love it. Granted it isn't as uber-capable as our last truck was (on rockwells and 46s), but this truck is SO much more pleasant to be in during all-day events, it does 90% of the trails we want to do as-is, and it's easy to upgrade.

Plans are for a a SAS with a Ford 60 and newer GM 14 bolt, 5.38s and auto lockers in both (either Aussies or Grizzlys), and 40s. Driveline will remain a small block tho we did entertain a 440 swap.

more to come, and here are some of the pics from last season -





and here are a few cool comparison shots to the truck it replaced - interesting (and deceptive) is both trucks are nearly the same length while the Dakota (currently) has about a foot shorter wheelbase -






'Mad Max' 01-07-2018 09:11 AM

...and this is an 'artists rendition' of what the Dak will more or less look like when it gets all grow'd up; Props to another Pirate member who's truck this is - I've photoshopped the pic to extend the rear axle back and widened the wheel well a bit - and I think this truck now has a full exo, which I will likely also eventually do...


Homer n me parked at Rock Monkey Off Road during a decent winter storm - gotta say - having an off-road truck that is fully 'sealed' and warms itself up in a few minutes suuuuure is nice


out on in The Gulches



Homer enjoying his new 'accessory' :)


and with me spotting through a pretty decent v-notch my wife and the little Dak got some sweet air time ;D



'Mad Max' 01-07-2018 09:27 AM

My friend Alex at Rock Monkey Off Road installed a rear Aussie Locker. First I had to find an open differential (mine was an LSD) and had to find one with the tone ring, so found a good used complete 8.25 axle from a 99 Dakota on Craigslist - it happened to also have a 3.92 R&P...which was a nice perk but not essential as we re-used the ring gear that was on my LSD carrier. Pulled my LSD carrier out, pulled the open carrier from the donor axle, swapped ring gears, reinstalled the open carrier, then installed the Aussie Locker. Smooth and easy, and what a difference it made


and did Eagle Rock the next day - great local trail with plenty for everyone -








'Mad Max' 01-07-2018 09:30 AM

me n Homer n Ben and the rest of the club on Wheeler Lake - Ben was buzzin' around with his new drone and got some killer pics, and the Dak did real good although I did manage to put a decent dent in the D-rear door - but that's what I get for wheeling stuff without armor - which came next...







'Mad Max' 01-07-2018 09:33 AM

replaced the factory 16" aluminum wheels with steel Black Rock 15x8 wheels, and some 33x12.5 BFG KM2s. Then I took a page from Bud's portfolio and welded up some HD rock sliders, and installed a RT rear diff cover. With those done we took the truck to Spring Creek -








'Mad Max' 01-07-2018 09:40 AM

Spring Creek did a good job if trying to rip off the stock front bumper and associated tupperware...so I decided to go ahead and replace it with something a bit stronger and bolted in a winch -




...and some LEDs for the night runs -


...dragging myself through a v-notch -


And that's about it for now. Looking for the axles and some other hardware for the SAS and I'll work on those when time permits. Meanwhile we're really likeing the truck - in fact of all the trucks I've wheeled I like this Dakota the most. Once I get it up and on the bigger driveline I think I'll finally have my ideal wheeling machine :)

- Sam

pitbullcruiser 01-07-2018 05:09 PM

Nice build, how did you mount your side lights?

'Mad Max' 01-07-2018 05:24 PM

they're on big magnets and I just have them stuck to the top of the sliders, and there's about 5 feet of wire coiled up on both sides so I can cut the zip tie and stick them just about anywhere as needed - the p-side actually has a bit more wire coiled up so I can mount it under the hood if I need to do night time engine maintenance etc. Currently I have to move them in order to open the rear doors, but after the SAS and the lift is done I'll mount them to the frame rails, which is where I had them on the last truck - worked great.

Also, the sliders 'stick out' now - but they won't once the SAS and bigger rubber is bolted up. The sliders aren't finished yet - they're just 'framed in' for now - eventually I'll skin them with expanded metal and they will double as nice secure running boards so we can access the roof rack and canoe and whatever else we toss up there.

This truck is going to be our 'expedition machine' - our single or multi-day exploration truck - strong enough to tackle just about anything, powerful enough to cruise for hours at 70-80 mph on the highway, and also nice enough inside to be comfortable in any weather conditions for days on end. We're having as much fun with it as is prudent on 33's, but once the SAS is done and it's up on 40s it's really gonna be a fun machine - should take us just about anywhere we want to go - likely not the buggy-only trails - I'm pretty well cured of wanting to do those, but pretty close to just about everything else.

'Mad Max' 01-11-2018 10:55 AM

so this is cool...

- I've been trying to find a way to 'adjust' when torque converter lockup occurs in my 46RE transmission - as it is now the TCC lockup occurs right after the truck shifts into 3rd gear - right after, which lugs the engine way down out of the power - very annoying, and I'd love to put lockup on a switch so I can deactivate it as I want, but that just isn't possible like it is with the RH-series transmissions, so those of us with the 46RE transmission are simply stuck with it.

But the idea of an aftermarket programmer came to light, and I had a good conversation with Sean at Hemifevertuning, and bottom line is yes he thinks the TCC lockup is 'adjustable' via his stand-alone programmer - IIUC he is able to adjust TCC lockup by increasing the rpm value at which it locks up, plus a couple other parameters one of which I think was TPS, but essentially he can alter the lockup based on engine rpm, for which I will determine what rpm I want it to lockup at before I order the programmer, and can also be altered later via altered programming which I believe is available via e-mail (once I already have the programmer). So basically, during normal driving...if the truck shifts into 3rd at say 25 mph and ~1400 rpm, and then lockup also occurs at 1400 rpm, he can adjust that value to be 2000 rpm, which would be SO much better, especially if it remains unlocked if the TPS is registering a higher value (more throttle) - ie. will unlock 'sooner' when pressing on the pedal for downshifts etc. My real value will be at which rpm I want lockup to occur when on the highway in overdrive. Truth be told I doubt I'd really need lockup to occur at all, in any gear. Sure that means the converter will be able to 'flash stall'....just like every single 727 has in the last 50 years. The real cool part is...after loading the new program into the PCM (through the OBD port), if I want to adjust the values, Sean can e-mail me a new program, which I can then load over and over again until I get it just where I want it.

I'm going to purchase the programmer soonest. Here is what Sean sent me via e-mail reviewing what he handles:

"I offer three types of tuning packages. Price includes the tuner and tuning shipped to the US. Please b sure to include the pcm part number during the checkout process. The pcm part number is on a sticker on the pcm. It's 8 #'s and 2 letters. There may be 5 numbers and 3 more with 2 letters in bold lettering.

I recommend a 180 tstat and ensure your plenum gasket has been fixed or isn't leaking. The 180 stat will help reduce the chance of spark knock with the premium fuel tunes. It may not help mpg so to speak, but will aid in performance.

"can/as is" tuning will run $399. This is for stock trucks or those with bolt on modifications. I include 3 to 6 tunes depending on vehicle model and tuner model. I'll increase your speed limiter and reduce/remove tq mgmt where applicable. I change the timing and fuel curve but no extra improvement customizations for cam/heads are applied. I'll use a tune design that works really well for stock to bolt on configs. Where applicable, shift points are changed. If you choose this option and then need custom programming later there will be additional fee's. https://www.hemifevertuning.com/SCT_p/sct-can.htm

$520 is for custom programming stage 1. This is for cam/head/stroker motors or where applicable, 5.2 to 5.9 engine conversions. We will work with you to get your current configuration dialed in and running as optimum as it can. If future changes are made that require changes in your tuning, additional fees will be required. A wideband airfuel gauge is pretty much required for tuning with heads or cam installs. I carry those on my site. SCT | SCT 3200 | SCT DCX | SCT Dodge | SCT 7215 | BDX

$620 is for custom programming stage 2. This is for forced induction and includes unlimited updates on the current configuration. This also includes open loop tuning. We will work with you to get your current configuration dialed in and running as optimum as it can. If future changes are made that require changes in your tuning, additional fees will be required. A wideband airfuel gauge is required for tuning with forced induction. I carry those on my site. SCT | SCT 3200 | SCT DCX | SCT Dodge | BDX

Additional Fee Options
If you switch to another supported vehicle of mine and need a completely new tuning config, there will be a $125 fee. If you sell the vehicle and/or tuner, custom/can tuning and/or services do not follow the sale. The new owner will have to pay for tuning. SCT tunes are written for a specific pcm. Mixing tunes between trucks will result in pcm failure.
If you have purchased my Stage 1 or Stage 2 tuning option and require additional tuning due to mechanical changes once the original tune has been completed, there will be additional fee's."

Sean Powell


The War Wagon 01-11-2018 11:10 AM

Were those sliders fabbed, or PRE-fabbed? If PRE-fabbed, who made 'em?

Nice to see the old RC out there keeping up with you. :smokin:

Elwenil 01-11-2018 11:26 AM

Interesting stuff with the programmer. I would have never thought about the lockup, but it does happen at odd times with some vehicles.

Where are you getting your prefab bends at and what wall thickness are they?

'Mad Max' 01-11-2018 11:41 AM

I did the sliders and bumper in my shop - the corners are weldable plumbing ends - I think they're cast steel, about .125 wall - seem to be pretty durable - these are the 1.5" variety vs the 2" I had on Bud. A similar rear winch bumper is up next...

Yah that's Homer's 87 RC - it's a sweet machine with a 408 stroker, 46RH, NWF Black Box/208 doubler, D60/D70 with 5.86s and Grizzly up front and a Detroit in back, and Yukon outers up front. He drives it to work every single day and it'll wheel just about everything around here.

snowracer 01-11-2018 11:50 AM

very cool build and always liked your last rig, but damn those slider are huge and ugly :eek:

'Mad Max' 01-11-2018 11:52 AM

...they're intended to protect the doors from trees and rocks (so long as the truck is nearly upright) - they really don't stick out past the door edge more than a few inches. They'll 'look' a lot better when it's on 40's and the rest of the exo is on. Once the tons are under it the tires will be out past the sliders by a few inches - another page I took from Bud's portfolio

'Mad Max' 01-11-2018 12:08 PM

couple other cool pics from last year -




Camolicious 01-12-2018 06:51 PM

You should've bought my dakota. lol! I sold it for $5800 bucks to some sketchy guy near Mt Hood.

RSL 01-12-2018 09:21 PM

You may want to install a slider behind the wheel also. I didn't on my 02 and slid between a couple trees till they got past the tires and pinched the box panel in even with the tailgate.

'Mad Max' 01-13-2018 07:51 AM


Originally Posted by Camolicious (Post 42869553)

You should've bought my dakota. lol! I sold it for $5800 bucks to some sketchy guy near Mt Hood.

if it would have been listed in my local craigslist earlier last year I probably would have! :) - wait was your a 4-door? - a quadcab is a requirement for us ;)


Originally Posted by RSL (Post 42870665)

You may want to install a slider behind the wheel also. I didn't on my 02 and slid between a couple trees till they got past the tires and pinched the box panel in even with the tailgate.

yup good idea - I'm planning to do a full rear rock bumper similar to the front, which will hopefully be enough of a slider to protect it pretty well.

...I'm no photoshop ranger, but here's another pic of what I think the truck will look like on 40s -



Camolicious 01-15-2018 10:49 AM

No I didn't have a quad cab. I wish!

I'd highly recommend an internal roll cage. If you have the interior out, there's more room than you might think, and you could likely fit the headliner back in, hiding the cage.

'Mad Max' 01-15-2018 04:57 PM

good idea - if I can get a cage inside the headliner I'll definitely do that

Camolicious 01-15-2018 06:21 PM


Send me a PM if you want any further advice regarding the SAS. Or if you want to begin stockpiling parts :)

'Mad Max' 01-15-2018 06:36 PM

cool man - appreciate that

Ghostrunner 01-16-2018 02:07 AM

Just curious, why the choice for 5.38 gears? according to gear calculators I have found, only a 4.30ish would be needed to be similar to stock. Is it to get a lower crawl ratio?

'Mad Max' 01-16-2018 07:03 AM

As it is now with 3.92s and 33" tire, 70 mph = 1900 rpm, which is too low. With the 5.38s and 40s, 70mph = 2200 rpm, which is definitely better. I would even consider going higher but 5.38s are as high as I can find for a 14b.

Ghostrunner 01-16-2018 11:56 AM


Originally Posted by 'Mad Max' (Post 42896450)
As it is now with 3.92s and 33" tire, 70 mph = 1900 rpm, which is too low. With the 5.38s and 40s, 70mph = 2200 rpm, which is definitely better. I would even consider going higher but 5.38s are as high as I can find for a 14b.

Awesome information, thank you. I figured there was a reason for the higher gearing. I was just looking online and it was telling me 4.3. seemed like a small ratio

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