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Discussion Starter #321
Thanks - will know in a year or so if it'll hold up...'cause it's gonna get a workout! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #322
as my build progresses I will need to fab a new intermediate shaft between my '02 Dakota's steering column and a Scout II gearbox.

I have all the dimensions except for the Dakota's column output spline; I think I've narrowed it down to either 1) 3/4 DD or 2) 17mm DD, but I'm having a heckuva time confirming either one. I think it's 17mm...

As I understand, yer supposed to measure across the longest combined O.D. sides of a steering shaft, which in many cases is a DD or Double D, but my Dakota has a 'single D', meaning there are three flat sides and a convex D'd side...if that makes sense - and I think yer supposed to measure the OD from the D to the opposite flat side, which in the case of my '02 Dakota is exactly 17mm, which is why I'm near certain the Dakota's steering column output is 17mm DD.

The guys at Borgeson say the full-size Ram's are 3/4 DD...and I'm inclined to believe the Dakota's would share similar (if not identical) columns...but still I'd like to see if anyone knows for sure.

I'll likely just have to order the u-joints and just see what fits but I'd like to see if anyone can help me confirm the column spline in advance.

Thanks.
- Sam
 

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Discussion Starter #323 (Edited)
ok so I'm setting up the drivelines; I'm told by two reputable companies that I can comfortably cruise along at sustained highway speeds with a rear Double Cardan (DC) angle of 20* or less, and a third saying they'd recommend 10*-15* (no more than 15*).

Can anyone confirm the above claims with real-world feedback?
 

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I won't be able to confirm real world feed back since, 1) I have less driveline angle than 10* and 2) I do not have very many miles on my set-up.

What I do know is basic general info on drivetrains. When it comes to u-joints and CV joints, the ideal angle, is no angle at all. Of course that isn't always feasible on a lifted 4x4, so the next best answer is, as little as possible. This is to keep the swinging "hinge effect", each trunnion makes, as low as possible. The greater the angle, the wider and faster the swing occurs. At higher angles, the trunnions will get pretty hot and cause the tiny bit of grease in each cap to break down, lose it's ability to lubricate and…well you know how that ends up.

One of the advantages of CV's over U-joints, is that the drive line angle is divided by the two u-joints that make up a CV joint, so a 20* drive line angle puts only 10* on each joint. This is far better than a single U-joint having to operate at 20*.

It's hard to compare reputable shops with each other, as all three of these shops can be technically correct. The two shops that say you should be able to comfortably cruise with 20* of angle is correct because CVs can handle higher angles with less wear because the overall angle is divided in the CV and the other shop is correct because it follows the less angle is better idea (No angle=no heat=no lube failure)

I'd also suggest you try to keep the angle as low as possible to help increase durability and longevity in the joint. These are the typical techniques, such as angling the engine/trans/t-case downwards to produce a near zero rear driveline angle, or lowering the engine/trans/t-case in the frame, etc.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #325
yep thanks Ed - copy all. I am trying to keep the angle as small as possible, and I'm just looking for some confirmation that the claim of 20* or less is valid.
 

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Discussion Starter #326
...in retrospect...my question is probably unanswerable with any sort of real quantification, so disregard. So far my angle is just at 20* but I can make it less so I'll just try to make it as little as possible, but it will be no more than 20*.

As we were :biggrin:
 

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I tried to keep my angles (for the rear) as low as possible for the same reasons. In my case, I have the engine/trans/and t-case as low in the frame as possible and tipped to the back. It also helped that we stretched the wheelbase a few inches.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #328 (Edited)
...ok - been real busy crankin' on the Dak and time for an update; mostly descriptions (not many pics) but they'll be coming soon as I can get them -

Alternator. Okay so one of the future accessories on deck for this truck is a Premier Power Welder system, and after doing some digging I discovered I'd need to use one of their HD alternators, and I was able to returned the CVF Racing alternator and replaced it with the appropriate unit from PPW. It's a 170 amp unit and is specifically and permanently re-wired to use an external regulated (cannot be a 1-wire unit) and uses a heavy duty regulator, but because I'm not running the complete system 'yet' I just ordered the alternator and their bypass harness which allows the use of a standard voltage regulator, in this case a new solid state unit from a 70's Ford, available off the shelf at local parts stores. When time comes to get the remainder of the PPW kit I'll simply unplug the bypass harness, bolt up the PPW HD regulator, and plug it back up. Then I'll mount the welder unit in the bed, and I'll be ready to burn metal on the trail.

Engine mounts. Made a set of engine mounts using 1-3/4" steel encased rubber leaf spring bushings and 9/16" bolts. There also was a bunch of bolt hole 'slack' in the RV steel mounts to the block - the original 7/16" bolts were pretty loose and 1/2" bolts were too big, so I opted for metric bolts which fit perfectly and took out a lot of the slack. I first tried to use early Mopar spool engine mounts but they didn't work out very well - might have been poor quality, but the big leaf spring bushings work perfect. Even if the rubber deteriorates the engine can't flop around very much because of the steel case around everything, and they press in real nice and simple.







Belly Cradle. The main cradle frame is pretty much done - it's made from the same 2" x 0.25 wall steel square tube I used on Bud, and it has rear stringers to provide armor around the back end of the gas tanks. It bolts up to the bottom of the frame via eight 1/2" bolts and serves several functions: it protects the gas tanks, rear driveshaft, and exhaust, plus of course providing a rock-proof belly armor for those times I end up high-centering the whole truck on some very large rocks. I think I'll eventually also have a second section in front if the main to provide similar protection for the t-case and etc.



Axles. The diffs are done and pretty much ready for all the outer hardware to bolt back on (brakes, knuckles etc). As expected the front D60 was totally worn out and needed a full rebuild with fresh guts including Spicer 5.38 gears and a Grizzly locker, plus a bunch of upgrades: full kingpin rebuild, 1410 u-bolt yoke, Reid knuckles, Yukon spindles, SpeedHouse GM brake conversion, RCV shafts, and Warn premium hubs. The 14 bolt needed much less love and just got fresh guts including Nitro 5.38 gears and Grizzly locker, 1410 u-bolt yoke, and a HD pinion yoke guard from Barnes 4x4. I did 'shave' the bottom edge of the 14 bolt to basically match the profile of the cover, as well as smoothing off some edges to help the axle slide over stuff. Both axles are capped off with Crane diff covers and LubeLocker gaskets. All of the steering hardware came from Barnes 4wd including 1.5" x .250 wall DOM tubing and GM 1-ton TRE's for the tie rod and crossover linkage.



Drive shafts. Charlie at my local Driveline Service again built me a beefy set of driveshafts: the 2-piece rear begins with a 1410 yoke off the Atlas down to a carrier bearing ending with a Ford DC flange, then a 1350 DC joint and slip-shaft down to a 1410 u-bolt yoke. The front shaft is almost exactly identical to the rear shaft, the only difference being the front DC mating flange is drilled for 1/2 bolts (for the Atlas output flange) and the second half of the rear is drilled just slightly smaller for the required Ford metric bolts in to the flange just behind the carrier bearing. The cool part is in the event I grenade the rear shaft I can actually replace the entire second half with the entire front shaft to get off the trail and back home - a nice redundancy. All u-joints are 'greaseless' except for the center DC pivot ball, so no need to re-grease everything throughout the season - I'll just hit the pivot ball before each season, and pull the shafts every three years or so for inspection/re-balance, and ensure the joints are good.

Gas tanks. Both gas tanks are mocked up in place and ready for the plumbing. The d-side tank is the 'main' - the p-side tank is the 'auxiliary'. The Sniper EFI system will have its own small high-pressure tank in the engine bay from RobbMC, and the main tank will use 5/16 feed and return lines and a low-pressure fuel pump to circulate fresh fuel to the EFI tank. Then, with the flip of a switch a second identical low-pressure pump outside the aux tank can send some or all of its 24 gallons of fuel into the main tank, or, I can flip a manual lever on the output line and send that fuel into a 'refilling hose' held up under the bed which we can use to refill go-carts, ATVs, or another vehicle. An overflow return line will ensure the aux tank doesn't overfill the main tank. Another switch will let me monitor fuel levels in both tanks. Both tanks utilize their OEM vapor canisters, which are vented per factory spec up to the air filter housing based on throttle body vacuum and a GM pressure regulator.

Exhaust. About 30% tacked together - I started with a good set of OE truck manifolds, then 1/2" plate steel flanges and 2-1/4 pipes route the exhaust into a single 3.5" tube with the O2 sensor. 18 inches later there's a flange for a 3" dump for 'fun time', then the exhaust routes back into a pair of 2-1/4" tubes around/past the t-case and tanks and into a Magnaflow muffler with dual 2.5" inlets and a single 3" outlet, which will exit somewhere out the back.

More to follow
 

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Discussion Starter #329
...just about have the exhaust figured out - maneuvered the chassis back under/up to the cab and there's a minor interference issue to sort out - few more hrs of tweaking and it'll fit perfect and be ready for final welding and such. Then I have to figure out exactly how to mount the bed and spare tire, and once that's done I can route the exhaust tail section. With that done I can finish the belly cradle, and with that done the chassis is pretty much ready to come back out for the last time to have the final welding and clean up/paint etc, then I can actually assemble things for the final time and fit the chassis back to the cab, and then start bolting up a bunch of stuff waiting in boxes :)
 

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Discussion Starter #330
...looks like my spare tire idea is gonna work...

I surgically removed a 42x42 section of the bed floor revealing the 40" Toyo underneath - the cover will be reinforced around the edges, the spare will have a cradle underneath positioning it at just the right height, and with the spare tire in place the cover will simply rest on top of the tire level with the floor...and the whole bed remains available for 'stuff' :eek:nethumb:

 

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Discussion Starter #332
thanks yah I'm really diggin' how it's working out. Got the two main spare tire cradle tubes in place - there's 11 inches of travel before the rear diff will contact the tire, and it'd be the sidewall at that, and the bump stops will hit beforehand anyway, and there's plenty of room to snake the single 3" tail pipe out the passenger side. The spare cradle will be reinforced and tied into the rear bumper too so plenty of tail armor.

There's a LOT of room under the bed of a truck to begin with, especially true on a lifted truck, and I'm glad I took advantage of it.

Here's some pics at my expected ride height -





 

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Discussion Starter #333
...so I thought that since the front leafs were rated as a 2.5" lifted spring (C125S) I'd have a small amount of arch, but after just a couple mockups the front leafs were nearly flat, so I called 4WP and they swapped them out for a set of the 4" lifted units, C140S, which look to be perfect -



The last 3 feet of the gas tanks was completely 'exposed' and vulnerable to rocks and debris so I fab'd up extensions from the main belly cradle and got them tacked in place, which completes the final stage of mockup, and the chassis now comes out for final welding, smoothing, cleaning, paint, and preps for final assembly. Here's pics of the rear tank extensions -

upper crossmember mount and spare tire 'bump stop' (protecting the tire from shifting forward into the tanks) -



everything is tack-welded for now - they will bolt up in the end -




plenty of room for the rear axle to dance around -

 

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Discussion Starter #334 (Edited)
...nice - I was trying to post a status update and ended up replying to my previous post...not loving the new format...difficult to edit anything...I can't even figure out how to delete this post...geeze....
 

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Discussion Starter #335 (Edited)
I decided I didn't like the angle out the front of the t-case (was 27* - now it's 22*) so I clocked it down one notch, which then caused the shaft to interfere with the OE crossmember, plus I really wanted a trans/t-case mount a bit further back that supported the end of the overdrive section and not the front. To resolve both issues I fab'd up a new mounting plate that captures both the bottom mounts and 4 of the 6-round tail section bolts of the OD housing, and it's all now resting on an uber stout 2 x 2 x .25-wall crossmember, which is also likely to be the first impact point for the belly. Still need to reinforce the frame mounts and such but this shows the basic idea. I'm also planning to connect the tranny crossmember to the belly cradle, and run forward to protect the trans pan and...if I can find a simply way, the oil pan. At full drop the driveshaft is right at the max point of binding, and a limit strap will prevent that.
With the trans crossmember figured out and in place this marks the last stage of mockup - now it's time to finish everything on the frame - all the gusseting and reinforcements etc, then clean, and finally, paint - and after that I can actually begin to assemble everything for good. :)


this is how it used to bolt up -



now with the bracket more towards the back I think there'll be a lot less 'stress' on the tail housing with the weight of the t-case hanging off of it, especially considering the bracket now captures some of the 6-round bolts which should definitely help...



the t-case was tucked up before but now it hangs down a bit - the trans cross member will be connected to the belly cradle which will protect the t-case...









still have the reinforcements to weld in but these show the frame mounts, secured on both side by 1/2 bolts -



 

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Discussion Starter #336
searched all around and did not find anything definitive so here goes: does anyone know how if/how an aftermarket steering wheel can be fit to (in my case) a 2002 Dakota column? I don't think anyone makes one 'for that model' but I'm near certain it's doable with the correct adapter etc. I'm also near certain someone has done it or knows the thread that 'splains it but I can't find either. Ideally I'd like to put a nice Grant wheel on my 2002 Dakota column. Thoughts?

Thanks,
- Sam
 

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Discussion Starter #337
...well Photobucket took a crap, so Imgur it is - hopefully this photo-hosting site will last a long time 'cause I have more pics :)
Been slowly but surely finishing the main section of the under belly armor. Deciding to widen the frame was a good, but one of the cons was the cradle had to be wider, so the main frame is 2x2 by 3/16 wall square tube, and the skid shields are 3/16 plate steel. I Probably wouldn't have done the skid plates too but there are two long and vulnerable gas tanks right above them, so here they are. Sure it's heavy but that's just the nature of the beast, and I should be able to slide across 'anything' without care, and the structure also helps keep the frame square during all of the twisting. Painted with good ole' Rustoleum rusty metal primer and Rustoleum satin black - simple, effective, and cheap. I painted the areas that I wouldn't be able to get to once the plate was welded to the frame, and still need to weld/finish the rest, but this section of the belly armor is otherwise 'done'.
With the main section of the cradle essentially done I can finally begin to disassemble the rest of the truck and finish the frame for good, then, finally, "assembly"! :)


 

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Discussion Starter #338
...not sure what happened to this site but it sure seems more difficult to navigate - not sure I'm going to keep posting updates in here... (I have identical threads on RCC and Pirate)

meanwhile, finally over the hump - mockup is complete

After brushing on a healthy coat of Rustoleum rusty metal primer and Rustoleum Satin black, the frame is 'done'. The tail section under the bed still needs to be finished but I can't finish it (including welding) until most everything is bolted up, so that part still remains, but the main section is ready to go. Took a while to get all the welding nubbins cleaned off, do all the grinding/sanding, then cleaned with mineral spirits, but well worth it on the long run. I love that 'oil-based paint smell' - takes me back to when I was 7 helping dad paint his Jeep :) .

Now the shop gets a thorough clean up itself, and I can finally start bolting things up for the last time

primer -





plated the indentation where the upper front suspension used to be -



heavily gusseted the area where the front leaf spring rear hangers are - the frame narrowed down right here - I think it may have been designed as a crumple zone - not no moe -









and Satin black (I love this color for chassis hardware) -









 

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Discussion Starter #339
so I have a question for the 3rd gen Dakota and Durango owners out there who have done custom wiring upgrades to their trucks. Because I will have several new requirements for B+ and 12v switched power I intend to fab up two electrical 'sub-stations' - one under the hood and another where the passenger side air bag used to be - both again to be the power source(s) for all of my new electrical needs (engine bay: EFI, engine and trans terminals, fans, relays; Interior: Autometer gauges, toggle switch power, 12v power ports, relays, etc).

I haven't yet dug into the FSM to determine the best sources of 12v power (including 12v/start-run power - B+ power is pretty basic ;) ), and my question is simple - have any of you out there already been to this movie and found a solid 12v switched power source to tap for new switched power requirements like I am describing? B+ power is pretty standard - I'm really specifically looking for a 12v switched power signal, from which I will power a big 100% duty cycle mega-relay on the fender, which will be my main source of 12v switched power for both sub-stations.

Please advise :)

- Sam
 
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