I've really no idea when to forecast it running - the wiring is still being figured out and will likely be the long pole in the tent, but, I'm mildly optimistic it may be running in about a month and at our first planned trail run...maybe...
Hey so I know you're familiar with the trails in our area near the springs and based off of what I've seen from this build and your previous builds, what're your thoughts on a radius arm setup on a dakota? What about axles from a 2nd Gen dodge 1 ton? Not looking to build a rig as capable of yours, but replacing front end parts on the ifs is killing me in how much down time I have and how often it happens. Also, how do you determine what your pinion angles need to be? Trying to get a good game plan before I start accumulating the parts from our local upullandpay. Hoping for an end result of a 5-8" lift from factory and capable of running 37s down the highway. Mine is currently a daily driver and looking for the same reliability and user-friendly setup as you stated at the beginning of your build, something that can be driven an hour to two hours down the highway to reach some trails such as ten cup pass and others. From what I've researched, a radius setup would be the easiest and most feasible for me to fabricate but not sure if a 3 link is a drastic enough difference to make me sway that way. New to the off roading seen but already beating my truck up in the rocks with the re-indexed torsion keys cranked and 3" blocks ithe rear sitting on 285s. I live in Florissant near cripple creek. Would love to check out your rig, pick your brain, and maybe get some assistance when I actually tear into mine
...while I've never built a setup with radius arms, I think that type of setup would be as 'good' as either leafs or links, with the possible drawback of the caster angles changing in an 'arch' per se as the suspension articulates. Not sure if there's really any more pros to outweigh any cons. As far as fabrication involved, a leaf-spring setup is likely the least 'involved', and I like leafs because they're simple, cheap, and easy to replace. IMO, if you're not needing massive articulation up front I think you'd be just as please with a leaf-sprung setup as you would anything else.
37's will likely mandate 1-ton 8-lug axles, from whatever source. I specifically wanted a late 80's (wide perch) high-pinion kingpin axle so my search was simple (89 Ford F350) - just took a while (found it in Parker). I also wanted as much 'factory' hardware as possible (brakes, seals, etc.), plus as much bolt-on capability for armor as possible, and also wanted a disc-disc setup, so a newer 14 bolt (03 Chevy) was the natural choice, and it doesn't get much stronger or easier to build. I didn't bother with any shave kits - mine isn't 'that' kind of truck.
I didn't 'set' my pinion angle per se - it ended up being what it is based on the 6* of caster I wanted - wherever the leafs needed to 'be' in order to get 6* of caster is where I established the leaf mounts, and the pinion angle ended up being what it is as a result - not the other way around. I thought about cutting the C's and rotating the pinion up a big but I didn't want to starve the pinion bearing and left it as-is - it ended up being pretty good overall. I don't know what the pinion angle is compared to 'level' but it's maybe 5-10*?
Definitely weld on some armor - rock sliders/door guards are a must to keep the sheet metal and doors in nice shape, and with tons and decent tires you'll have tome tire out past the side of the truck and I'd weld up sliders to match. I actually do a main slider directly under the door edge and then weld running-boards/rock guards/sliders out to line up just shy of the overall track width, and that makes for nice side armor and running boards to get up to the roof rack, etc.
When I was still on the original driveline and 33s I had my truck up on Spring Creek, Grizzly, Chinaman, Wheeler Lake and many others, but I was losing more and more of the truck every time out dragging the belly and hammering on the sliders, so that's what prompted me to pony up and dig into the SAS and everything else - this version aught to suit me and the family pretty well, hopefully for many years.
Definitely cool on trails and tech - PM me with your e-mail and I'll beam you some info for our local club too - BigHorn 4x4s of Colorado Springs - great club
...needed a fan shroud, and wouldn't ya know nothing was available in the aftermarket for a 440-powered 02 Dakota using an OE 19" fan, so out game the 16g sheet metal, a section of a water tank cylinder, some air flaps, some high-temp peel-n-stick foam seals, and viola - instant (not) home-brew fan shroud
...also included the mounts for a 12" dual-pass in/out power steering cooler -
...Brake lines - done. Fuel lines - done. Transmission cooler lines - done. Radiator and heater hoses - done. Steering lines - 90% (waiting on two fittings). Engine and radiator are filled with 3.5 leak-free gallons of Zerex G05 50/50 coolant. Battery cables are 80% - getting close to powering things up.
Needed a very custom lower rad hose/tube - ordered the raw tubing, cut to fit, and Wayne glued it together, including a nice 1/8 npt drain plug -
5/16 steel fuel lines run the majority of the length of the truck, with rubber finishing the ends both at the tank and under the hood to the RobbMC EFI tank -
Vibrant Performance 22mm clamps keep the heater hoses from causing a fight with each other -
3/8 JIC(AN) x 5/8-18 bump tube/o-ring fittings and 6an x 3/8 hose barb ends for the OE trans cooler make fabbing flexible trans cooler lines a breeze, and I fabbed two brackets that attach to the oil pan and starter bolt with 1/2" double clamps to secure it all -
...this update is all about the one thing I'll be staring at a lot...the dash. I like analog gauges, and I was able to squeeze in 9 of my favorite Autometer Z-series gauges in the factory Dakota panel area.
The main panel is 16g steel - it took three attempts to get it 'just' right, and it the only thing so far in this build that I've had professionally powdercoated. Here it is, complete with an assortment of indicator LEDs for the various purposes, to include left/right turn, high beams, low oil pressure, alternator no-charge, aux battery engage, and aux fuel transfer -
and installed in the dash frame -
back side -
you may notice the speedo is cable-driven, which was a main source of lots of voodoo. See...the OE setup was all 'electric' - no cable...nor was there a way to route a cable to drive the speedo...and in order to get both a reasonable 120 mph top speed and trip odometer I really wanted...well mechanical was the only option...which meant...well I needed to get a speedo cable up to it. So...I ahhhh...modified a hole saw so it was a 'deep-well' style...aaaand yeah - drilled a hole clean through the whole steering column dash frame...and...the heater duct...and I even got it aimed pretty close to the previously unused firewall clutch panel. THIS...was fun
deep-well hole saw -
...never bored a tunnel through a dash frame before - it was pretty fun...but the drill was smoking by the time I got all the way through...
...cleaned up the jagged edges that I could reach, and then had fun playing with my new Harbor Freight plastic welding kit (pretty neat by the way) fabbing up a plastic liner, and shoved it in the hole to keep the cable happy -
...but...another small item that needed to be addressed...was the drivers side upper heater duct - yah it was right in the way so I hogged it out too, made another sleeve, and welded it back together -
back side -
then with everything in place the speedo cable comes right out behind the speedo...and it connects up just like it was built for it 😎
modified the clutch cover to accept a boot for all of the new wiring, and a tube for the speedo cable - all sealed up nicely -
So...now that the gauges are wired and in place, we are potentially within days of firing the engine. We're going to slowly and precisely wake up the newly re-wired main fuse panel, check all circuits one by one, then we'll shove in the key and check switched power, make sure it holds for at least a half hour, and when that's all good and nothing catches fire...well we'll be ready to prime the engine and fire that bitch up 👍
Big day yesterday - it's been almost 2-1/2 years since I tore it all apart, and yesterday we powered up the electrical system 👍 . We took small methodical steps plugging in more and more fuses and relays, and so far so good - only a very few minor glitches that were easily remedied. The Sniper powered up good, and today I poured 10 gallons of go-go juice in the main tank so we can test the pumps. Gettin' danger close 👍
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