Howdy folks - name is Sam - live in colorful Colorado. Planning to build a clean 2000-2004 Dak Quad Cab with a SAS on 40s - will be our family 'wheeler. Nice to have this forum for some good R&D.
Some questions I'm going to be researching will be:
- Common problems/expected longevity from the 4.7 and 5.9 (was the 5.2 still available?) / when things start to give out / what to beware of when searching the ads for the truck, etc. IE - how many miles it 'too many'. Some I'm looking at have the 4.7 with ~130,000 miles on it - still plenty of life left in them? Easy to rebuild? I'm used to the Cummins 6bts and any old-school small blocks, but don't know much about the 4.7 - basically the same as 'any other engine'?
- Same for the available transmissions and t-cases - which ones to avoid, which might be the strongest, etc?
- Pro's and con's of the dash mounted electronic t-case 'shifter' vs the floor shifter. Floor shifter not offered in 01-up Dak's?
- Power steering issues (will be upgrading gearbox and adding ram-assist etc, not sure if the factory location of the gearbox is good for a crossover conversion, or get a different gearbox all together (one that is stronger and more suited for crossover etc)?
- Hydroboost brake conversion?, or factory hardware plenty for stopping 40" tires?
That aught to keep me busy for a while -
(my old truck was a 74 Diesel Power Wagon 950 on rock wells and 46's)
Nice seeing you here Sam
Considering your build (and knowing your previous builds) let me take you down a different perspective. The way you are asking sounds like you're trying to find a running truck to do a SAS. -I would suggest that too if you already have the truck, but if you want the perfect Dakota platform, you'd be better off looking for a decent body & chassis, and pick the engine and drivetrain from there.
Heres why. IMO, if you wanted a runner, to convert the best Dakota layout for such a build would be the 97-99 models. These came with the 318 and 360 V8, but they also came with either the A500, 46RE automatic or a manual (which were much harder to find) and the transfer case would be an NP231D. These aren't particularly that heavy duty
However, you don't have a quad cab option in those years. The quads came out in 2000 and by then there were two significant changes that will make a difference in your build, if you use whats there. First in 2001, Dodge began using a new rack and pinion steering system in the 4x4s which you're going to have to remove and retrofit a steering box to the frame (and Dodge managed to change details in the frame which will make installing a steering box to it a bit more difficult) The biggest difference is engines. 2000 was the end for the 318, replaced by the 4.7L V8. Personally I'm not a fan of this engine and I don't think it's Ma Mopar's best idea either. The 4.7 is not supported well in the performance market and there were a few "issues" (Do your research on this engine before you choose it) The downside is, most V8 quad cabs will have this engine. There was also the 360, but it too was discontinued by 2003 These are usually hard to find in a quad cab , but they are out there.
If it were me, I'd look for a decent body and chassis. It won't matter if it's a V6 or 2wd or something you wouldn't want to drive because all that wil come out. You'll have engine options. The 318 and 360 are some of the best engine Mopar made and they are still well supported and you can make all sort of energy out of them. You could also consider engines not available, such as a 5.7 Hemi or even a 4BT Cummins. This will also open up plenty of transmission options. You can do a built 47RH or RE or shove a standard transmission in there and you can use whichever t-case, be it 205, 203/205 doubler, Atlas, 241HD, you name it, and if you pick your own t-case, you can pick which side drop you want and even go with the cheaper passenger side Dana 60 king pin axles, rather than the "undesirable" new Dodge D60 driver's side pumpkin, or expensive hi pinion Ford D60 axle.
From experience, if you push the front axle forward so 40s will clear the fenders, when you steer, you'll probably need a steering box that has a pitman arm that is pointing forward. In my Dakota, I have a modified Dakota steering box that uses a (dropped) pitman arm thats facing rearward and the front axle is pushed forward a few inches. There is a clearance issue between the pitman arm and the top of the pumpkin. (there is about 6" of clearance) I'm probably going to put in bump stops to prevent contact and I'm going to run itů.my truck was built more for Florida mud, rather than rock crawling. I really don't have a need for tremendous axle articulation, I'm not even running coil-overs. But knowing what you put Bud thru, you'll need the clearance.