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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a '92 Dakota (std cab, 2whl dr, 2.5/5sp) that I picked up cheaply that needs alot of work, but has a CLEAR Title (perfect for a project).

My basic plans are to yank out the little 4cyl/5sp & rear end and drop a V8 (w/ a carburetor)/automatic in there. Any wiring, components & whatever, that doesn't NEED to be there, WON'T BE! I'm building it as if the truck was made back in the 60's. It will basically have lights, wipers, stereo w/ CD & CD Changer and a heater (no A/C)(maybe power windows). It's going to be Black (either High Gloss OR Brilliant Black) with no chrome or bright aluminum, except for the rims of the wheels and with tinted windows. The interior is planned to be black with some silver (or gray) accent. I want to lower it properly (it WAS sitting low, when I bought it, but that was because the front springs were missing and the rear end was sitting on the frame as well). This is definitely going to be a LONG TERM project and may take quite awhile to finish.

Presently, I have the truck, the engine (which I'll have to rebuild and change out the cam, get the heads done right and finish getting the goodies for), the trans, which needs a rebuild as well and a shift kit (maybe a stall converter). I also have the intake I want to use, but have to complete the induction package. Have the stock exhaust manifolds for now, but will be adding headers, when I can and do up a nice exhaust system that will turn out in front of the rear wheels like the AAR Cuda & TA Challengers of the '70's.

I've wanted to do something like this for quite some time and am reminded everytime I see a Chevy S10 or Ford Ranger w/ a V8 and fixed up. I'm just tired of seeing those other brands out there and NO (or very few Dodges out there, ya know? I KNOW there are some in other parts of the country, as I have seen them here and on line, but in MY area, there are very few of them and I am going to try and put something out there to help do Dodge Proud!

Got some ideas, that I haven't talked about yet, but will disclose them as things go on.

Here's what I am starting with, and it ain't pretty! :rolleyes: It DOES look Tough Sitting LOW like that, but there NO suspension there! Gotta have SOME suspension. ;)



I'm NOT loaded with money, so it'll take time to do this up right.
 

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looking forward to the progress reports Bill, good luck with it!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
looking forward to the progress reports Bill, good luck with it!!

Thanks Jerry, I hope I can do it justice and represent the Dakota Forums well. ;) I'm sure I will have questions, as I go. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just thought I might add, that the engine and trans, that I have plans to drop into the Dakota, is a 440/727 combo. Still have to come up with a suitable differential though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, the disassembly has begun! Silly me, I didn't check the Chilton to see if it told about removing the grill and headlight covers and quickly found that the bumper had to come off. :rolleyes: I thought that surely I could get the lower screws out w/o taking the bumper off just yet. Wrong! Anyway, I am starting at the front and working my way back, to remove anything that is in the way, anything that isn't needed and anything that will be replaced because of damage. As soon as I reach a stopping place for the day, I will post pictures of the progress and will do so, all the way through. It's been many years since I tackled a project like this, so bear with me. This will also help me prepare for a few days from now, when I go over to the local wrecking yard and remove a pair of fenders (for my Club Cab) and I'll know mostly what tools I'll need and about how long it should take me to do that task. The Dakota I am getting the fenders off of, is scheduled to be crushed, so I'm hoping to get some hardware and what ever other small parts off of it that I can. Anyway, I now have the bumper, grille and all lights off of the front of the Dakota. Now, I'm working on taking all of the A/C & 4cylinder related parts off of there. Got to get me an "Cherry Picker" so I can get ready to pull the engine and trans as well. Got alot of work to do before I will be ready to even think about dropping the 440 in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Prepare yourselves, these ain't pretty!







 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
More NON Prettyness! :rolleyes:





Well, that's it for now.
 

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Sweet. FYI you dont have to remove the bumper to get the screws out for the grill. ive had mine out about 10 times and never removed the bumper. What are you going to do for a radiator. i used the factory one since its the same for the v8's. or get an aluminum one made. i had to use a push fan cause i had no room for a fan in between the water pump and radiator. I may request that you go with an electric water pump. alot cleaner look and gives you a little more room.
I have the factory corner lights that will fit yours. i see they are broke. let me know if your interested. we can make a deal to a fellow GEN I dakota builder. Its really a GEN II but others dont think so. haha
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sweet. FYI you dont have to remove the bumper to get the screws out for the grill. ive had mine out about 10 times and never removed the bumper. What are you going to do for a radiator. i used the factory one since its the same for the v8's. or get an aluminum one made. i had to use a push fan cause i had no room for a fan in between the water pump and radiator. I may request that you go with an electric water pump. alot cleaner look and gives you a little more room.
I have the factory corner lights that will fit yours. i see they are broke. let me know if your interested. we can make a deal to a fellow GEN I dakota builder. Its really a GEN II but others dont think so. haha
Maybe the bumper was moved upward somehow, on mine, because I couldn't even see those screws. Not sure about the radiator, this one had the 4cylinder engine (the Club Cab one I got, has the 3.9 engine). If this one or one from a V6 Dakota will work, I'll just go that route for now and keep my cost down some. I had planned on running an electric fan on the radiator and leaving the fan OFF of the engine (did this on my old '69 Plymouth road runner years ago and had no problem). Not sure I can swing an electric water pump. Need to see how much we are talking, money wise. I've seen those somewhere, but don't remember where.

I've picked up on some lights to see if I can tint them decently enough and still have enough light to be able to see (and be seen) at night. I really want to do the truck in black (with smoked light covers or do the lights themselves) I've seen Chargers with the lights themselves tinted and still have plenty of light. I need to find out how they did that. I need front signal lights and maybe the corner lights as well. So, what ya got on your mind, about those?


Here's the basic look I'm going for, except I WILL find a way to give mine a Distinctive look. ;)




Also, I have a grille for my project, but it is chrome. Then I got to thinking about seeing a demonstration of doing a piece up in "Black Chrome" and wondered what my chrome grille would look like, done up in "Black Chrome"? I think Duplicolor has come out with this spray. Comments? OR has anybody got one I could paint black, that they would want to trade for my chrome one? I'm gonna check out Duplicolor site to see if they have that demo on there.

BTW, appreciate the input and suggestions. Keep em coming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Well, Got me a used pair of springs to put under the front end of the Dakota so I can get it up off of the ground. Looked pretty cool sitting low like that, but wasn't practical because of the lack of ground clearance AND virtually no suspension whatsoever. After I get the front springs (they are temp, as I will be getting the parts to drop the truck 3 - 4 " front and back) in place, then I will remove the lowering blocks that were installed in the rear (causing the frame to be sitting on the rear). So, I have gotten a deal on the (440 conversion) engine mounts, headers and mod that will be done to the oil pan and pickup that will be going to him and then all of it will come to me. I'm not doing anything to the suspension, as far as lowering it, until I can hang the 440/727 setup in there to see how low the truck will sit and how much the springs will compress. As I get this build progressing better, I am thinking of going back and set this up better, while also adding more pictures, to make it easier for others to go through it and set out to build one of their one, it that is their desire.

If There is ANYONE who knows of or runs across anything that might help on this, please post it and at the end of this thread, I will post a reference section and list all of the links that were used here. After all, some of you are alot better at searching this stuff out online, than I am. Thanks, Bill


BTW, if there is anybody who has a need for a 2.5 engine for parts and/or a 5spd trans, they ARE coming out of this truck and I Don't need them. So, IF anyone wants them, Let me know and come get them (or I might meet you somewhere, long as it's not too far away). I'll post, as soon as they are out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, I was needing a hefty Engine stand to hold the 440 and a "Cherry Picker" to remove the original engine and trans out of there AND to install the 440/727 combo. Yesterday, I picked up an engine stand, brought it home and assembled it. Tomorrow, my plans are to go and get the "Cherry Picker". Then I can proceed with cleaning out the engine compartment of this truck. Still have to get the engine vatted, checked and ready to go back together. Also, I have to get the trans rebuilt. So, with any luck, there should be some progress posted off and on now. Mind you, it won't be a speedy process, as that depends on cash flow. Got a set of chrome valve covers and timing cover, coming for the 440 and I want to get a deeper pan for the 727 too. Still not solid on my choice of paint colors for the truck. At 1st, I thought I was sure, but, as time goes on AND I see others, I'm not so sure. :rolleyes:
 

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cool! but you know there is only one real color you should paint your truck and i'm sure Ev would agree with me LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
cool! but you know there is only one real color you should paint your truck and i'm sure Ev would agree with me LOL

Yeah, I know, and don't forget Stacy! She's into Blue too! ;)

Have to admit that, after seeing some of the Blue ones, they ARE pretty cool. :cool:

Moparmadness might be leaning toward Red too. :)
 

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cool! but you know there is only one real color you should paint your truck and i'm sure Ev would agree with me LOL
While I have a hard time disagreeing with my Blue Brother, I'm thinking Brilliant Black would also look bada$$.

Ironically, I'm working (slowly) on my '69 Firebird which was originally going to be painted a Midnight Blue, I've almost completely decided to switch up to BB. However, I'm now considering Intense Blue (close to OEM color) with BB T/A stripes (painted). I still have a long time before I'll have to make that decision.:rolleyes: If you guys are interested in that project, I'll start a separate thread so as not to jack any more of Bill's.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
bill your still not done with this yet...............lol.............

LOL! No Jake, this is gonna be some time, coming around to be even close to being finished. Got so much to do. I AM getting to the point to where I should be starting on making some noticeable progress though. At this point, I have no idea when it will actually have the engine/trans in there and can be started, much less driven. Progress pictures and input, as I get it . ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
While I have a hard time disagreeing with my Blue Brother, I'm thinking Brilliant Black would also look bada$$.

Ironically, I'm working (slowly) on my '69 Firebird which was originally going to be painted a Midnight Blue, I've almost completely decided to switch up to BB. However, I'm now considering Intense Blue (close to OEM color) with BB T/A stripes (painted). I still have a long time before I'll have to make that decision.:rolleyes: If you guys are interested in that project, I'll start a separate thread so as not to jack any more of Bill's.:)
I hear ya Ev, that was my original intention. Solid black, with black wheel (except for the rim itself, polished rim of the wheels) smoked lights (or covers), tinted windows, chrome exhaust tips coming out in front of the rear wheels, at an angle (kinda like the AAR Cudas), hood w/ a scoop (for the 6 pack) and possibly a nice size double silver racing stripe from front to back.

I also like the Mopar B5 Blue and Torred though. :rolleyes:
 

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Well if i had my choice it would be the old mopar lime green. theres nothn better that color. some day mine will be lime green.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well if i had my choice it would be the old mopar lime green. theres nothn better that color. some day mine will be lime green.
I hear you too! Thing is, there is already a Lime Green 1st Generation Dakota with the 440 6 pack AND one with the 426 HEMI. To the best of my knowledge, there;s not any of the other colors I've mentioned. There IS the Magnum HP Dakota withe the 440 EFI, that i red. :)


But now, I hadn't thought about Purple! :) AND, to cover the bases, I don't want Banana Yellow either.
 

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