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My goodness you have fantastic skills my friend I'm truly blown away with your build and the attention to detail, even more impressive is the speed in which you get things done.
GREAT WORK
 

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Discussion Starter · #382 · (Edited)
thanks man - much appreciated (y)

So we're getting close to having all critical systems ready to fire up, and after scouring the FSM we think the truck will run and drive, but that the wipers and turn signals will still be 'controlled' by the TCM...and we're not sure how to get around that. Might need to develop a completely stand-along way to manage both, which I'm okay with, but we really won't know for sure until it's running.

Meanwhile: Brake lines - done. Fuel lines - done. Transmission cooler lines - done. Radiator and heater hoses - done. Steering lines - 90% (waiting on two fittings). Engine and radiator are filled with 3.5 leak-free gallons of Zerex G05 50/50 coolant. Battery cables are 80% - getting close to powering things up.

Needed a very custom lower rad hose/tube - ordered the raw tubing, cut to fit, and Wayne glued it together, including a nice 1/8 npt drain plug -





5/16 steel fuel lines run the majority of the length of the truck, with rubber finishing the ends both at the tank and under the hood to the RobbMC EFI tank -





Vibrant Performance 22mm clamps keep the heater hoses from causing a fight with each other -





3/8 JIC(AN) x 5/8-18 bump tube/o-ring fittings and 6an x 3/8 hose barb ends for the OE trans cooler make fabbing flexible trans cooler lines a breeze, and I fabbed two brackets that attach to the oil pan and starter bolt with 1/2" double clamps to secure it all -















and a birds-eye of the engine bay right now -

 

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Discussion Starter · #384 · (Edited)
...this update is all about the one thing I'll be staring at a lot...the dash. I like analog gauges, and I was able to squeeze in 9 of my favorite Autometer Z-series gauges in the factory Dakota panel area.

The main panel is 16g steel - it took three attempts to get it 'just' right, and it the only thing so far in this build that I've had professionally powdercoated. Here it is, complete with an assortment of indicator LEDs for the various purposes, to include left/right turn, high beams, low oil pressure, alternator no-charge, aux battery engage, and aux fuel transfer -


and installed in the dash frame -

back side -

you may notice the speedo is cable-driven, which was a main source of lots of voodoo. See...the OE setup was all 'electric' - no cable...nor was there a way to route a cable to drive the speedo...and in order to get both a reasonable 120 mph top speed and trip odometer I really wanted...well mechanical was the only option...which meant...well I needed to get a speedo cable up to it. So...I cut a hole saw in half and extended it about 6 inches so it was a 'deep-well' style...aaaand yeah - drilled a hole clean through the whole steering column dash frame...and...the heater duct...and I even got it aimed pretty close to the previously unused firewall clutch panel. THIS...was fun :)

deep-well hole saw -

...never bored a tunnel through a dash frame before - it was pretty fun...but the drill was smoking by the time I got all the way through...

...cleaned up the jagged edges that I could reach, and then had fun playing with my new Harbor Freight plastic welding kit (pretty neat by the way) fabbing up a plastic liner, and shoved it in the hole to keep the cable happy -





...but...another small item that needed to be addressed...was the drivers side upper heater duct - yah it was right in the way so I hogged it out too, made another sleeve, and welded it back together -



back side -

then with everything in place the speedo cable comes right out behind the speedo...and it connects up just like it was built for it 😎

modified the clutch cover to accept a boot for all of the new wiring, and a tube for the speedo cable - all sealed up nicely -

So...now that the gauges are wired and in place, we are potentially within days of firing the engine. We're going to slowly and precisely wake up the newly re-wired main fuse panel, check all circuits one by one, then we'll shove in the key and check switched power, make sure it holds for at least a half hour, and when that's all good and nothing catches fire...well we'll be ready to prime the engine and fire that bitch up 👍

Progress!
- Sam
 

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Discussion Starter · #385 ·
Big day yesterday - it's been almost 2-1/2 years since I tore it all apart, and yesterday we powered up the electrical system 👍 . We took small methodical steps plugging in more and more fuses and relays, and so far so good - only a very few minor glitches that were easily remedied. The Sniper powered up good, and today I poured 10 gallons of go-go juice in the main tank so we can test the pumps. Gettin' danger close 👍
 
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C'mon Dodge - NEW DAKOTA
2003 Dakota Club Cab Sport 4.7L
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The suspense is killing me!
 
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Discussion Starter · #387 · (Edited)
...yah me too! o_O:ROFLMAO:
 

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C'mon Dodge - NEW DAKOTA
2003 Dakota Club Cab Sport 4.7L
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Love your dashboard -- I built a nearly identical one for an industrial vehicle a couple decades back.

Regarding the speedo -- my question is why not go electronic? Even maybe GPS based?
 

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Discussion Starter · #389 ·
Love your dashboard -- I built a nearly identical one for an industrial vehicle a couple decades back.

Regarding the speedo -- my question is why not go electronic? Even maybe GPS based?
I tried to do an electric speedo - even tried to have Autometer build one custom for me, but the only Z-series 3-3/8 speedo they make went up to 160 mph, which meant I'll never use (waste) half of the gauge, and it only comes with a digital LED odometer which cannot be 'dimmed' - IOW it is always 'bright', which is especially frustrating at night. I tried to have them build me a custom unit - even modify another speedo they have in a different series to 'match' my Z-series, which due to COVID they could not do. Then I tried to use a 90* cable adapter but there was no way to get 'to' it to attach everything with the cable coming in from the side. I also didn't want to have to rely on 'signal' for my speedo and I didn't like the display on the GPS units.

"...if only there was a hole through the dash like older trucks..." kept floating through my head... :)

- Sam
 

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C'mon Dodge - NEW DAKOTA
2003 Dakota Club Cab Sport 4.7L
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My mind would have gone the other way. I'd probably have built up a PCB with a motor attached to drive the cable port on the back of the speedo. A little circuitry on each end, a pair of wires, and bam, instant hybrid speedometer. I know, it's not quite that simple....
 

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Discussion Starter · #391 · (Edited)
...a little circuitry on each end, a pair of wires, and bam, instant hybrid speedometer. I know, it's not quite that simple....
actually if I understand correctly that is basically what Autometer said they might just be able to do by starting with another series of speedo - very similar concept, but they just couldn't build one for me, but really, the one I'm using is exactly what I want from a visual standpoint - I wanted a 120mph speedo, and I wanted a manually resettable odometer so I can mark out trails - the only thing that would make it any better is if the whole thing were electrically driven vs mechanically, but that should be a non-issue...
 
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Discussion Starter · #392 · (Edited)
main fuel tank pump, EFI pump and the Sniper all woke up and tested out great.

Started oil priming the engine for fire-up and so far so good. I wanted to ensure the oil passages up to the rockers were clear and aligned correctly, but because I have the baffles under the oil-fill and breather openings I had to pull the valve covers to get visual confirmation. Then I pulled the dizzy, dumped in 8 quarts of Lucas SAE 30 break-in oil, and we spun r' up - got good pressure, but after a minute or so wasn't getting oil up to the rockers. Possible reasons: cam wasn't in the right orientation (most likely), after sitting for almost 3 years the break in grease/lube had gelled a bit and wasn't allowing oil through the small passageways (contributing factor), or the cam bearing was installed incorrectly (least likely).

So, pulled the rockers to confirm I had the oiling holes aligned correctly and to loosen up the assembly grease - they were good, but yah the grease was a bit 'thick' and rocking them a few times got them all happy again, and reinstalled the rockers. We decided to just spin up the engine and get everything moving, so reinstalled the dizzy, pulled the plugs, we sorted out a few starter and dash electrical gremlins, and hit the key! The engine spun up smooth and easy - cool seeing the big phat serpentine doin' its thing...and eureka - oil started flowing to the p-side rockers. Didn't want it to flood over and soak the manifolds so reinstalled the p-side v-cover, and today we'll spin it again to confirm the d-side.

So far so good 👍










 
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Discussion Starter · #393 ·
(vroom vvVROOOOOOOMMMmmmm) - IT'S ALIIIIVE!! 😃😎

...after about 5 hours of final checks (including realizing I had the dizzy 180* out 🤪), reading and re-reading the EFI instructions and trying to understand all of the small steps, and with 4 good friends over to provide several sets of extra eyes and wrenches, we fired up the 440; it lit up with authority and ran a full 20 minutes without even a hint of stalling, and nothing caught fire (y) .

The engine seems to run nice and smooth, and it idles just like I wanted - zero lope - slow and smooth - sounds like a locomotive. I was hoping to be able to have it hover at/near 2000 rpm for a full 20 minutes for the cam break-in, and it did just that. I took a lot of time to to try to ensure all of the other components would also last the 20 minutes, and everything cooperated nicely - not a drip of anything anywhere. Thermostat opened right at 180*, and the big fan pulls hard through the radiator, and despite not moving and revving at 2k for 20 minutes the temp only got to about 215*...maybe 220 - not bad. Power steering temp came up to about 140, forgot to hook up the trans temp until after but I think it was just a little higher.

About the only thing that needs attention is the exhaust - things did get a little toasty, and I will need to address some areas...and depending on how it turns out I may have to eliminate the second gas tank to provide more clearance, which in the big scheme isn't the worst thing that could happen because I wouldn't mind it being quieter, and I'd have plenty of room for more effective mufflers. We'll see - I have a couple options, including sending the middle sections of the exhaust to JetHot, which will help for sure, and layer in more heat reflective insulation under the cab - the floor was too hot to the touch...and that's pretty hot. The section that routes up and over the driveshaft got the shaft u-joint pretty hot - not sure that's gonna work out.

Granted...2000 rpm for 20 minutes with no movement will get things pretty toasty, so we'll see hot it all does once it's rolling, which might be a while from now as there's several family events coming up and friends coming in for a visit, but like I've been I'll be chopping away at it when I can...but knowing it runs is a huge relief (y)

Huge thanks to my long-time friend Ben for all of his hard work, particularly with helping me decode the FSM and 'de-computerize' a majority of the truck's under-hood harness and re-purposing the under hood fuse panel to now power the new systems. Also thanks to Trevor and Matt for coming over to help last night and keep eyes on 'everything' and to Mike for getting the whole 20 minutes on video, which I'll post up soon as I can edit it. And for sure, huge thanks to my wife and best friend Tracy and the kiddo's for all of your support and help throughout...yet again...another crazy adventure!

Ok - need more coffee... 😄
- Sam
 

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Discussion Starter · #395 ·
very definitely! The exhaust got some things pretty hot so I've already packed up the middle sections and sent them to Jet-Hot, which will definitely help cool things off. Meanwhile, not really much to see, but here are both the start-up, and shut down vids -


 
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very definitely! The exhaust got some things pretty hot so I've already packed up the middle sections and sent them to Jet-Hot, which will definitely help cool things off. Meanwhile, not really much to see, but here are both the start-up, and shut down vids -


It says video is private and I'm very anxious to see it.
HUGE CONGRATS on the success it has come a long way and finally the big smiles emerge from all the uncertainty and grueling labor that has gone into this. kudos to the friends and family for helping and hanging in there.
It won't be long now for the outdoor adventure videos.
Fantastic work my friend
 

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Discussion Starter · #397 · (Edited)
thanks man - appreciate that (y)

so I'm not much of a Youtube ranger but I think I got the 'privacy' thing removed - should be able to see the vids now.

The main center sections of the exhaust are at Jet-Hot, and between that and additional heat shields and thermal reflective sheets I'm pretty confident the exhaust heat issue will be resolved.

So far so good, but we have friends in town for a week now and some big events planned for July, so I'll be nibbling on the rig when I can, but it sure is nice to know it runs and...from all accounts...seems to have survived the break-in. I'm thinking that...even though the break-in oil will likely go for the first 500 miles or so I may go ahead and drain the oil and put in fresh and a new filter, just because I can, plus it'll give me the opportunity to check for 'glitter', small debris, etc.
 
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Discussion Starter · #398 · (Edited)
...just a quick 'feeler' to toss out in the water...but does anyone know where I might find a good used Reflexxions 701840 steel cowl induction hood? I'd like to find a decent steel cowl induction hood (not fiberglas) for my 02 Dak - one with no surface vents or frontal openings - just a big centered rear 'vent' to let heat out. Looks like the Reflexxions hood would be ideal, and being steel I can modify it if necessary to function just as I'd like, but as usual they're discontinued, and while I'm not officially 'looking' if I were to find a good used hood for a good price I'd prolly snatch it.

My other option is to fabricate or weld on a steel cowl induction hood scoop, but I haven't yet found one that matches the Dakota's hood lines...and I'd like to avoid doing bodywork if at all possible - done plenty in the past and just not in the mood.

Here's the hood -



 

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Discussion Starter · #399 ·
...so one of the great debates about this build was whether or not the remaining nanny computers would 'cancel' power to this or that after 5 minutes of 'no engine running', and so far I am happy to report that so far everything under the hood seems to be completely unaffected by a lack of OEM crank or cam signal, which is exactly what we were hoping to achieve. Now, once I start dialing in the rest of the truck we'll reveal how much 'control' the TCM (under the dash next to the drivers left foot) has regarding all of the 'cab' features, like turn signals, wipers, door locks, etc., and we'll devise work-arounds as necessary to make everything work as it should, and hopefully enable the possibility of deleting the TCM from the harness all together. More to follow...
 
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The only suggestion for the hood is to keep checking back to Ebay or any of the forum classifieds for one that might pop up.......However as an FYI, the intended design of a cowl induction hood is not to vent hot air out the back, but to take advantage of the high pressure area (which develops at speed) at the base of the windshield, to feed the engine. Even if you do not route the air to the intake, I would speculate that at any road speed above 40 mph, the pressure above the hood, in the vicinity of the cowl opening will be greater than the under hood pressure, thus causing air from outside to flow in, rather than allow hot under hood air to flow out....Now at crawling speeds, yeah, I could see a cowl induction hood working to allow hot air to vent, but remember that if your truck is intended for all around use, you may want to look into an option that allows low speed venting as well has high speed venting.

In my case, all I did was cut in a couple of stainless steel marine vents above the location of the exhaust manifolds, when there was still a V8. The idea there was to create a straight line path from the hot exhaust manifolds up and out of the hood when driving at low speeds, but still be far enough ahead of the cowl area to be out of the high pressure which normally develops there at speed.

Theres a lot of other ideas for hood venting, such as vents located nearer the leading edge of the hood which allows the low pressure which develops there to help 'draw' out the hot air near the rad, or large side by side vents (near the fenders) to simply dump hot air out. If you want heat extractors, you might want to look into some kind of fender vents....Think Viper here.

As to the nanny computer features. It's always been my stance that anything not associated with engine management, isn't usually subject to cam or crank sensors, at least in vehicles built a decade ago.

Ed
 
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