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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys i have a 2000 dodge dakota with 4.7 manual trans and manual transfer case. it was rolled but it still drives fine. just looks like crap. so i found a cab from an 01 that has an automatic. what do i need to look out for when swapping my cabs. any help will be greatly appreciated.
 

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It's a big job…

If you go with an identical cab, you will not need to change the body mounts, but the basic job is the same.


*Edited* Um sorry, I had posted a link to another site showing my cab swap and didn't realize that it was against the rules to do so, I apologize for the discrepancy.

In my case I had a '99 club cab Dakota that ended up having severe rust. So much so, that if I wanted to keep the truck, the cab had to be replaced. There was just no repairing it. I could had just junked the truck, but the frame was still in good shape and it still ran great. I just couldn't come to junking the truck, so I decided to replace the cab.

I always liked the quad cab Dakotas, so I used this as an opportunity and found a rust free quad cab to replace my rusted out club cab. It wasn't an easy job. To do a cab swap, you basically have to disassemble the entire truck down to the frame. The engine and drivetrain doesn't have to be pulled, but you do have to completely disconnect everything between the engine and the cab, to include the wiring harnesses.

The cab was from a 2001 Dakota. There are some differences worth noting. In 2001, Dodge redesigned the interior. It came with a new dash and new door panels. My Dakota is a 99 4x4 with the 5.2 V8. The cab from the '01 was a 2wd and according to the VIN, had a 4.7L V8. I didn't know if the dash and the existing harness from the '01 would be compatible with my 99, especially anything engine related. So, what I did was, I swapped the dash and the harnesses from the 99 into the 01. I also cut out a hole for the t-case shifter. The only area I dropped the ball was the harness for the interior, which takes care of the interior lights, door chimes, third brake light, power features and the audible warning that tells you when you forgot to turn the headlights off. I had figured that the cab harnesses were identical, and all I would do is just plug in the 01's interior harness to the 99's main harness and call it a day. I was wrong. The 01 interior harness was very different. somewhere after 99, Dodge began using a control module that was located behind the driver's side kick panel, and the plugs between the harnesses and the module were completely different. Had I thought about it, or checked it more carefully, I would had kept the interior harness, from the 99, lengthen it for the longer cab and wire it in. Eventually, what I did was go thru the 01 interior harness and figure out which wires did what and wire it into the main harness from the 99.

Another difference, particular to my swap were the body mounts. Club cabs have 4 body mount points. Quad cabs have 6 body mount points. To do this swap, I had to have the rear body mounts cut off the frame and moved back about 14 inches, and rewelded on. Then, two more mounts had to be fabricated and welded to the frame for the center two body mounts. But if you're doing a swap, using the same cab configuration, you won't need to make body mount changes.

The last area worth noting, particular to my swap was the bed. Since the quad cab was longer than the club cab, I had to use a shorter bed. Instead of looking for a bed for a quad cab truck, and I didn't want a flat bed or utility bed, I decided to build my own bed. My bed is patterned after the old "Utiline" bed (Dodge speak for step side) I built a frame which contains aluminum diamond plate sides, front wall, and floor. I then added fenders to the outside, which gives it the appearance of a Utiline (step side) bed. I also added LED tail lights and called it a day.

All in all, it took a few weeks to do the club cab to quad cab swap. I'm pretty happy with the results

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Is that a few weeks of working after work and on weekends? How many straight hours do you think it took? I'm in college and after my semester is done I will have a little time before my work starts. So just trying to figure it out. They changed everything in 2000 so everything should be the exact same in my two trucks, which I hope will make it easier. But having a new truck for a couple grand, I couldn't pass up the offer.
 

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At the time I did this swap, I was going thru knee surgery and I knew that I would be off from work, recuperating, for about 6 weeks. So, I did this at that time. I don't remember how long it took, but I wasn't in a hurry. I just wanted to do it correctly.

Its a big job because you basically have to take the entire truck apart. Everything in a truck has something going in or coming out of the cab. And all of it has to be disconnected. My father-in-law used to say, "How do you eat an elephant?" and his answer was "One piece at a time" Taking a truck apart is certainly like that, one piece at a time. And thats how I approached it. Each day I worked on one system. One day I did nothing but remove the front end, and disconnected all of the harnesses under the hood. Another day, I disassembled the connections, such as brakes, steering, air conditioning system, transmission links, etc.
On another day, I removed everything from the firewall, including the steering wheel, and petal assembly. And I took plenty of breaks along the way.

There was also the issue of the replacement cab. I bought my cab from a regular salvage yard, not some pick-and-pull. They pulled the cab for me and delivered it, which saved me a lot of time. When it was delivered, I put the new cab on jack stands in my carport and stripped it down too. So at one point I was taking apart two cabs. Whenever I could, I would transfer parts from one cab to the other. And it was handy to have both cabs available so that if there was something different, I could see it and make the appropriate changes.

If you know what you're doing and you're not intimidated by hundreds of connections, miles of wiring and hours of frustrations, it's a doable swap, but I will be the first to tell you, it's not a swap for the faint of heart. How much time it takes? Well thats going to be your call. Only you know how much available time you have, and what your deadlines are, how fast you can work, how many problems you will come up against, along the way. Or, how much help you can get, etc, etc.

Other then the physical swap, I did most of the work myself. The parts I didn't do was, evacuating freon from the A/C. I had a friend in the A/C business do this. I also did not remove the cab from the frame or lay the new cab back onto the frame, and the welding. For that, I hired a shop. Cabs are very heavy and I wasn't about to try to lift and move them, especially with my knee, and the shop had a forklift. So, I rented a car hauler and had a friend help me get the Dakota to the shop for that part of the job.

For the reassembly part, once I got the truck back home, I took my time and put everything back together, in reverse order. I also took that opportunity to repair or replace things I had been putting off, such as my valve cover gaskets. They had been leaking for years. Now, without the fenders in the way, it was a breeze to replace. I also used the best parts for the swap. The seats out of the 99 were better than the seats from the 01 and they reclined, so I installed those seats. I replaced both front fenders with rust free units.

Some of the time saving steps I took were, I didn't take the engine and tranny out. Those stayed in the frame, along with any harness attached to those parts. I didn't break down the dash. All I did was disconnect the harness and unbolted the unit and left it all in one piece. The bed was pretty rusted and I was forced to cut all of the body bolts. I knew that I wasn't keeping the bed. So when I cut the bolts, I just tipped the bed off of the frame, not worrying about bending it up. If you are keeping your bed, you won't have to remove it from the frame. So the bed can stay. Everything was photographed many times from different directions. Even though each plug is unique, I marked every connection and took a picture of it. I put every nut bolt and screw from any given assembly I had took apart into a ziplock bag and marked it and where they came from.

I had a space to lay everything out on. Every assembly was laid out with it's bag of fasteners next to it. While the truck was in the shop, I worked on those parts I had. Anything that needed cleaning, repairing, painting or modifications, I did at that time.

If you get help make sure your help is dependable. The last thing you want or need is someone who bails out before they finish their task. That leaves you guessing to what they were doing and what they had done. Its always much more time consuming and extremely fustrating to put something back together when you didn't take it apart.

Ed
 

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$300 complete with doors, full interior, all the glass, dash and steering wheel.

Ed
 
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