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Hello!

I recently bought my friends 2004 Dakota 3.7L RWD. my original idea was just fix it up, clean it up, and flip it for a 4x4, but having such a clean body and frame I don't really want to get rid of it. It has the potential to be a good project truck. I have been forum searching for peoples idea's and opinions on a solid axle swap. I have seen people use the dana 44 out of YJ's and such, but I was wondering if anyone else found a different way. Just looking for ideas and opinions at this point, thanks!

Julian
 

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From the perspective of experience with this, let me give you the pros and cons of this.

Converting a 2wd to 4wd isn't as simple as installing a front axle and a transfer case, theres a lot more work involved. It takes a ton of planning, and numerous details to work out. It will require lots of fabrication work which includes cutting out parts and welding in new parts. In a sense, it's much like a jigsaw puzzle where you have to modify the pieces to make fit. Typically, it's a big job with an equally big price tag to complete. If cost is a major concern, you'll be far better off selling the truck for something that is already equipped with 4wd..... Now I know someone is going to chime in and suggest doing a body swap where you simply drop your body onto a 4x4 chassis....well guess what? It's still going to be a big job with equally the same amount of planning and execution, and in reality, it's still going to be a big job, especially if the chassis in question isn't a Dakota.

Now if you're determined to have something a bit more unique and you can afford the cost, then it's possible. Going through something like this myself, I decided to do a solid axle swap, (And a Cummins swap) with my own Dakota because when I thought about it, very few brand new factory offered 4x4s come with the hardware combination I wanted. I will say, it did cost me a lot, but I got what I wanted.

Ed
 
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