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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Been getting several PMs about this truck, so I'll compile everything and put it in this thread.


The goals for all of my vehicle builds are similar; Capability, Reliability and Usability are reoccurring themes. This truck is a unique platform to me, as it has about 3x the power and torque that I'm used to working with. Due to the performance aspect, I've spent a lot of time trying to come up with a design that wouldn't hinder/restrict the ability to put the power down.


Here is the spec list on the Engine/Drivetrain:

1998 12v 215hp P7100 Engine
63/68/13 ED Turbo
5x.014 ED Injectors
#100 Fuel Plate
Adjustable OHV
KDP Fix
4k GSK
60lb Intake/Exhaust Springs
18 Degrees
ARP Head Studs
5" Exhaust
Built NV4500
Valair 3650 Dual Disc Ceramic Clutch
Dana 60 Front
Dana 80 Rear
3.55 Gears


Haven't had it on a dyno yet, but I'd estimate it to be a 500hp/1000tq combo. Runs like a raped ape for a 7800lb truck.



When I first got the truck, it definitely looked pretty rough. Had some oil leaks, and a big trans leak. Here's a pic:






Can't see it from this angle, but the passenger fender was caved in pretty good as well.

First thing that I did was cut the rear exo off and remove the topper. Not a fan of the mid-top or high-top shells. Then fixed the big transmission leak. It ended up being a torn shift tower gasket. Filled it back up with the Mopar liquid gold, and it hasn't leaked since.
Also picked up a nice black toolbox to put all my junk in!

Pics:











After that, I took it to the local diesel gurus to work their magic on the injection pump timing/head studs/4k GSK/Springs.


The stock suspension was pretty well worn out at this point, which was fine as I knew I'd be replacing all of that anyway. I knew that I wanted something that wasn't too tall, very high quality, and would let me really open it up in the rough stuff. Not a lot of options out there for the 2nd gens...
Started looking at Thuren and Carli suspension setups, but Thuren told me that he was pretty much done making stuff for the 2nd gens, as the 3rd and 4th gen trucks were occupying all of his time. Understood.
Carli still has some options, but nothing that I was too impressed with. All of the kits that I saw either used the stock control arms, or replaced them with a stock length control arm...

Then I found Dodge Offroad (DOR), and found that they were local to me (3hr drive).
They offer a full long arm kit, which looked like it would fit the bill perfectly. After many back-forth emails and phone calls, I placed my order, and 3 weeks later, my kit was delivered. Delivered by Danny himself. Great service.


My setup isn't typical by any means, and I believe it's one of a kind at this point. However, after some trial and error during my install, I would say that it's now a ready-to-order combo and would make a LOT of 2nd gen guys happy.

Here's what I ended up with:


Full D.O.R. Long Arm Setup
2" x 0.25" DOM Control Arms - Bent for body mount AND tire clearance
2.5" Progressive Coil Springs
Drop Trackbar typically used on 6-7" lifts
Drop Pitman Arm
Front axle pushed 1.75" forward
Swaybar Links
Shackle Flip - Factory block removed - Nets 1.5" rear lift overall
U-Bolt Flip
Fox Shocks all around



The install requires cutting off all of the old control arm mounts on the frame, trimming some of the floor pan (lower skin, doesn't protrude into cabin), modifying a couple body mounts, cutting off old shackle mounts...ect.








So why spend all of that time/money for the same lift height as you get from the typical "leveling kit"?? :flipoff2:
Performance. This is the best driving truck that I have ever been in. From cruising around town, to interstate driving, to pounding dirt roads, to catching some air while ripping across a field at 70+mph.
No issues putting all the power down on any terrain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The drop trackbar and drop pitman arm make for near perfectly level steering angles, which gets combined with the 98-99 HD steering parts. It's impressive, as there is ZERO bump steer/wondering with this setup. Just what I was hoping for.






While I was waiting on the suspension setup to be built, I went ahead and picked up my wheels/tires.
Got the wheels from a pirate member, and the tires from a pirate vendor (4WS). Great service from 4WS, as they stayed late on a Friday evening while I made the 2.5hr drive up to get the tires!

37x12.50x17 Pitbull Rocker Radials - 10ply - 4060lb rated per tire
17x9.5 TR Beadlocks - 3.5" Backspacing





Getting the tires mounted up CORRECTLY was a bit of a chore with these tires, as they have a really thick bead. Since they were brand new, I had no idea how much the bead would compress over the next couple weeks, so that really left me with no way to "KNOW" what size spacers I would need between the beadlock ring and the inner ring to account the the bead thickness...
I picked up some longer bolts to run (5/16 x 1.5"), and grabbed some 3/8 nuts to use as spacers. The 3/8 nuts are all ~0.320" thick, which proved to work out fine, and the 5/16 bolts slip right through them!

The tires measure out to a true 37", even when mounted on the wheels. Very impressed with these! Before I take someone on a ride they always comment that they bet these tires are noisy due to their aggressive look/tread design. Once we get going, they comment on how smooth/quiet they are. :laughing:


So far, I've towed 10klbs with these tires, driven on dirt/mud/pavement/wet roads, and have even driven 500 miles (to OKC and back) at 75mph. No issues whatsoever.
They seem to be wearing well, and I'll have no problems buying these again when they wear out.


I found a guy parting out a ram on craigslist and snagged the front passenger fender and bed.






The entire truck is going to get repainted soon, but I couldn't drive around with that caved in fender, so I sprayed the new fender and tossed it on the truck.
Also added some tow mirrors at the same time.













 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Drove it around for a few days to get everything settled in, and then put it on the forklift to check for clearances. Everything clears great. If I wanted/needed more front flex, I could always disconnect the sway bar, but it will be attached 99% of the time.

The rear shackle flip works great. Allows the springs to work "easier", and smooths out the ride. I've towed with it, and have noticed no issues with sagging. What I did notice, was a big improvement with axle wrap! Removing that big ol factory lift block helped a LOT. Taking off with a 10k lb trailer is nice and smooth now.




















 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Picked up a 32" LED Bar for the front bumper.










Not crazy about the mounts that they come with, so I drew up some new mounts that will weld to the bumper and position the light bar a bit farther forward than I could get it with the included mounts.
The bar itself is ridiculous though. TONS of light from this thing.








Cut out on the waterjet:









.



Also found a good deal on an ARE DCU Topper (Tool Shell). These are really hard to find around here for a short bed, but I lucked out and found one on ebay that was within driving distance. It was also made for a short-bed ram, so that was good. It had, however, been through a hail storm or two, and the color doesn't match.
I plan to bedline the entire topper with some Al's in Black. That will cover up the little hail dings and make it look a lot better!






 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I've got pretty big plans for the topper. I intend to have a nice on-board air system, air hose reel, power inverter, extension cord reel, extra battery...ect. Also building a new roof rack for the shell that will have a bunch of features as well.


Picked up a used Oasis Compressor off craigslist. Turns out that the brushes in the motor were shot, so I had a local electric motor shop completely rebuild it for me. Put it all back together, and the compressor works great!
:flipoff2:



Before:














After a rebuild:









The guy who owned the ARE Topper had added an interior shelf at the front. I had thought about removing, but it's really solid, and will work well with what I have planned.

The compressor is going somewhere in this area, along with a custom built air tank and air hose reel (More on that stuff tomorrow).

I also traded my black tool box for a smaller box (made for a S10 I think) that fits perfectly in front of my wheel wells. I just removed the lid so that I could still access the gear with that shelf in place.

I keep the heavy stuff in the tool box:
Chains
Shackles
Bottle Jacks
Winch Extension Cables...ect

I've also mounted an extra battery inside there.





 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here it is with the shell on the truck. Going to pull it off soon to bedline it, and install my new bed.













Picked up some new headlights to replace the broken/yellowed stockers. Couldn't see anything out of them at night. I also picked up a set of STOCK tail lights to replace those damn euros that were on there... :laughing:










More updates tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Working on a rough design for the shell layout and roof rack. I know the equipment that I need to fit, just trying to do so in the most usable manor...
Custom air tank is being built this week, and my 2 gallons of Al's Liner will hopefully be here by weekend. As of right now, I'm planning to yank the shell off and get it lined on Saturday.

Here are some pics of what I'm planning:








You can see where the tank and compressor are going. I want to put the air hose up there as well, and just have a cutout in the side toolbox for the hose to come through. Putting the inverter on the front wall of the shell, and will have the rest of the electrical system up there as well.

Going to build a control panel to monitor air pressure and aux battery power. I'll be sending power back from the main batteries, but it will be isolated when the ignition is off.
Here's a closer look at the panel:








I've got a whole bunch of parts on the way, just waiting for everything to get here. More updates soon.
 

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Are you going to build some type of sleeping accommodations into this truck, or is it supposed to be some type of chase vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Cool project. Currently building another truck to replace our Cummins-powered Dodge, but like what you're doing with yours.

Got a thread on your dodge? I've seen the deuce build, good stuff.

Eventually when this truck wears out, I'll toss the drivetrain into something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Are you going to build some type of sleeping accommodations into this truck, or is it supposed to be some type of chase vehicle.
No sleeping in this truck. I've done the rooftop ten thing in the past, and have just gone back to ground tent camping when solo.
I'm eventually going to get a RV to pull behind for family camping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks!

The weather here is supposed to be perfect this weekend, so I'm hoping to get a lot done. Got a new battery for my digital camera, and I'm ready to go!
 

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This is an awesome build. You're doing very similar to what I want done to mine in the near future, but funds just don't allow me to move fast enough. I'll be living vicariously through you for a while :flipoff2:

Keep up the good work!

Oh, and how are those rockers on the highway? Do they howl as bad as boggers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This is an awesome build. You're doing very similar to what I want done to mine in the near future, but funds just don't allow me to move fast enough. I'll be living vicariously through you for a while :flipoff2:

Keep up the good work!

Oh, and how are those rockers on the highway? Do they howl as bad as boggers?
No problem, I'll be posting plenty of pics over the weekend!

The tires are surprisingly quiet on the highway. They have a very low pitched howl, vs the typical whine of an aggressive tire. A tiny bit louder than the Cooper STT, but much quieter than a Mudgrappler. And certainly quieter than a bigger!
They're also very smooth on pavement at low speed (under 5mph). This is where you can usually "feel the lugs" of a tire. Time will tell how they do as they wear, but at this point I'm pleased and will buy again when the time comes.


How much bump travel do you have up front?


Sent from AutoGuide.com App
There's a solid 4" of up travel there, maybe a bit more. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it's very progressive. I've marked the shocks to see how much travel I actually use, and I've only seen 2.5-3" used. The shocks are a perfect match for the springs, and they firm up tight when you hit big bumps, but are never harsh or jarring. Hard to explain, but they work well.
At some point over the winter, I plan to install some air bumps in the front. Just in case I hit something a little too hard.
 

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I have been looking at lowering my truck a bit. Right now I have about 4 inches of bump travel and I have been thinking about either running with less or changing cross members to keep the 4 or so inches. Just curious what's working for you it sounds like a great set up. I like the pitbulls btw.
 
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