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Discussion Starter #41 (Edited)
Big progress yesterday, I go the engine installed... sort of. I got it lowered into place and amazingly I was able to get three bolts in each plate, and get the "custom" mounts into place. BUT the engine was skewed off slightly in one direction. I used a straightedge and a piece of angle iron against the crank pulley and one side was 1/16" closer than the other. It was enough to notice, so time for a plan B. It was also sitting lower than desired with the edge of the pan against the front axle.

I decided to try some aluminum LS plates that have countersunk holes. They come with bolts for $33 shipped. My plan is to install them, and then mark my existing holes to see if I can just tap & drill those once I have the engine where I want it.

The 4L80 is back together, it was a great feeling torquing the pan into place. :) Once the engine is off the cherry picker, I can use that to mount the trans onto the trans jack.

I finished the mounting of the Volvo XC90 PWM fan to my radiator. I used a few metal corner brackets from Lowes and some nylon spacers. I need to pick up a couple of 45mm bolts for the driver side. I have stacked washers under a bolt for now. I have a pic of it next to the home made Mark 8 fan & shroud I had been using. I'm working on updating my swap guide to incorporate this change. My plan for now is to use a Ford combo AC high pressure and fan switch in place of the Doge unit and this PWM controller from eBay. The fellow selling those is great, and has helped me with technical questions. His controller takes a 12V signal from a fan switch and this turns the fan on only as needed. Running the lead to the AC compressor is a less accurate means of running the fan. This will eliminate the need for the dual 70A relay box I built. It will also allow me to use the OEM Dodge wiring & PCM for AC. Getting the pressure/fan switch right is the challenge. The Ford one I'm looking at (4seasons #20924 and variants) is close to the Dodge one for pressure specs, and it has the same mounting thread. It was used commonly (means they can be had inexpensively) in mid-90's through 2000's cars and trucks.

Also on the radar, I am researching oil coolers & thermostats and the same for the transmission. I plan to bypass the radiator-mounted cooler and use the bracket from the OEM trans cooler to mount both coolers. Depending upon the room, I'll try to use an oil filter sandwich plate type unit for the oil, and a remote one for the trans. I want to add dual gauges to the A-pillar to monitor both temps.

Finally, I'm revising my trans crossmember. I'm keeping the plates on both sides that bolt into place of the OEM crossmember, and the heavy 3" wide L-brackets. The current plan is to use a 4" wide piece of .25" aluminum channel. I'll run the channel between the L-brackets and then use a piece of angle iron for the upright to hold the trans mount. That should leave plenty of room for the exhaust.

I'm attaching some pics of recent work.

Engine in place:

4L80 complete on the bench:

Fans old and new (to me):

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248 Posts
Discussion Starter #42
Engine is now bolted in place & the trans is bolted to it!! Was beginning to doubt this would ever happen. :p I used the LSX plates and marked & drilled them so I could get 3x bolts in each side. In hindsight, I think using .250" plate on the cut off Dodge mounts would be the best option. It would also help to mark & weld it with the assembly in place.

I installed my new bell housing bolts as well. That was not as bad a job as I thought it would be- I used a long 1/2" drive extension and a reducer and 3/8 universal. Since my trans is pre-LS, I don't have to worry about the top bolt. I also have an opening on the bell housing where there is no bolt for the block. Still 5x bolts holding it, plus I'm going to buy the aluminum flex plate cover that bolts to the oil pan for less driveline flex. I also got the 6x torque converter bolts started by rotating the crank and using the starter opening.

Next issue is my pre-LS trans dipstick won't bolt to the bell housing. I tried heating & bending the tube and only managed to kink it. Options are a new GM one ($40+ shipping), a Jegs aftermarket one (same cost, comes with dipstick), or a Lokar ($110+ shipping) flexible tube made to bolt to the firewall. Looking at the pics, I think I'll try the Jegs one.

On the oil cooler front, I'm leaning towards a pair of used Mazda RX-8 coolers. Apparently they have 194 degree thermostats in them vs the 150 degree one in the earlier (FC) coolers. I used one of those on my Challenger and the oil always stayed too cool. I have a small stacked plate cooler on my LT1Trans Am and despite the thermostatic filter adapter it runs too cold most of the time. I'm still looking over trans coolers. I'd like to find a decent size one with AN6 fittings at a decent price. I did see I'll need to use 90 degree hose ends at the trans since it is tight to the tunnel there. I'm also going to run a thermostat there and bypass the radiator cooler/warmer.

I test fit the shorty headers and no issues there I can see.

Next up is to install the 242 transfer case and see if the driveshafts are still OK for length.

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248 Posts
Discussion Starter #43
More good progress today. I was dreading putting the 242 in, but it went fairly easily using a trans scissor jack. A bonus was that the rear driveshaft fit into place OK, albeit fairly tight. I won't be able to check the front one until I get the crossmember done. I may need to trim the plate for it to clear the torsion bar on one side.

One other thing I found necessary was to clearance a couple of the fins on the front axle for oil pan clearance. I'll try to take a pic of all of this next time I'm in the shop.

I have also test fit the radiator and AC condenser. Should have plenty of room on the front of the engine. I'm laying out the front end so I can use a pair of Mazda RX-8 oil coolers since they have built-in 190 degree thermostats and an "FC" RX-7 oil cooler for the trans. It has a lower 150 degree thermostat. I may end up removing the fog lamps and mounting the oil coolers behind there. It looks like the long & narrow trans cooler will fit OK in front of the condenser. The OEM trans cooler mounted between the condenser and radiator.

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Discussion Starter #44 (Edited)
The heavy lifting is done, the engine, trans, and TC are all in place. I need to fab up a bracket to go between the crossmember and the 4L80 mount and it will be sitting on its own.

At this point to borrow a TV show title, it's now a million little things. The largest obstacles remaining at this point are the exhaust and plumbing the AC. The Ford binary switch I bought does not fit the wiring pigtail I got for it, so more shopping is needed. I'll likely just cut one off the next time I'm at a JY, since that switch was common in late 90's Fords and Mercuys.

I got the TC shifter installed and was amazed at how close my measurements were. I was able to hit all 5 positions from the interior. It shifts a lot easier then the 231 ever did.

I'm currently looking at the driveshafts. The rear is just too tight. While I have not lowered the truck to measure, it needs to be at least 1" shorter, and of course the front shaft needs to be 1" longer. For the rear, GM makes a number of affordable used shafts in the 44" range, but they all use the 3R U-Joint. Adapting that to the Dodge 7290 (they are nearly identical in size but do not interchange) on my slip yoke and diff is both problematic and costly (About $50 per joint if you can find them). Doing some reading & research, I found a new PST 3" steel driveshaft (same diameter as OEM) that is 44.125" (other sizes available) and uses common 1330 U-joints. It sells for around $145 shipped. Adapting these to the 7290 is easy, Moog makes a 458 combo joint that sells for under $15 shipped on eBay.

The front driveshaft specs out as being 26.125" u-joint to u-joint compressed, and about 27.75" expanded, and uses Moog 369 (Spicer 1310) joints for all 3 positions. I found a Jeep front shaft that uses the same joints as the Durango and has the same 3-joint setup (common to Mopar and Jeep), and it is supposed to be 27.25" compressed. It also uses the 369 joints. The problem is that it appaears to only have been used in 1982 and 1983 in 4 cylinder CJs with the T176/177 manual transmission. I'll do some proper measuring once I get the truck on the floor again.

On the cooler front, I don't think the RX-8 coolers will be a practical fit. I think the best path is a B&M stacked plate style that can be mounted between the condenser and radiator. I'll have to use a standalone thermostat, but there should be room for that on the driver side.

The FC RX-7 cooler for the trans will fit in front of the condenser, but I'll have to cut off and re-weld the mounting brackets.

Down the road, I have been looking at tune files in the HP Tuners repository. What I'd like to find is a unicorn, apparently in 2000 the 2500 Silverado had the 5.3 with the 4L80 as an option. It's relatively easy to change the trans over in software, and I found a 5.3 tune file where that had already been done (called a segment swap). Since I have a Summit truck cam inside, I'll plan on doing some tuning via a wideband to get it running as well as possible.

Pics are attached of the recent work. I'll try and add some info for them.
Here's the motor installed, and you can see the top of the new 4L80 dipstick tube. I found the tube made my old dipstick about 1/4" short of where it had been in relation to the old tube. I plan on dropping the pan and measuring/marking it since that is easy to do at this point. New dipsticks are over $40!!!:
Motor with intake 06-22-20.jpg

Here is the trans crossmember taken from the driver side. The trans and transfer case are still being help up by jacks:
Trans x member.jpg

242 shifter in my grimy interior, note the 2nd data link connector under the dash for the GM PCM:
242 shifter installed.jpg

Volvo fan test fit with core support in place:
Volvo fan 1.jpg

Volvo fan 2.jpg

Front diff clearance for oil pan:
Front diff clearance.jpg

4L80 tube at the trans (hard to see), the braided line is for now just connected to each of the AN cooler fittings to keep debris out:
4L80 dipstick tube installed.jpg

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248 Posts
Discussion Starter #45
The new rear driveshaft arrived & I installed the conversion joints. It's a good fit, either this one or a 44" one would put the yoke right at the same point it had been. I'm still looking for a front driveshaft that will work and not cost hundreds of bucks.

I decided to pull the wiring harness and break it down since it was a mess. I've got to restore the Dodge AC wiring so I can wire in the Motorcraft high pressure and binary switch. Since I'm ditching the dual 70 amp relay box and amn now down to 1 add-on relay, I'm going to try and fit the 120 A relay, the fuel pump relay, and two 4-fuse panels in a larger box. I'll locate it by where the 120A relay was. Once I get some 100W (PCM) terminals, I can begin routing it and trimming it to length.

I'm also updating the overall document that's on the first post here to take the PWM fan & Dodge AC control into consideration. I found an error in the park/neutral wiring that will result in less wiring and one less relay needed. The tach remains a gray area.

I've gone through the shop manual for a 2000 Silverado with 5.3 and 4L80 and made a spreadsheet with pinouts for the engine and transmission. Even deleting the wiring I'm not using, there are over 90 wires going to the PCM! The truck is back on it's wheels for now, but I need to lift it again so as to measure/mock up the exhaust, install the 4L80 aluminum dust cover, pull the trans pan and mark the dipstick, fabricate a shifter cable bracket, and install my still missing front driveshaft. Probably about a half dozen other things as well.

On the exhaust, I'm planning on 2.5" pipes from the shorty headers into a 2 into 1 adapter that will connect to my 3" exhaust on the truck. I want to add a bung on the adapter so I can install a wideband O2 sensor. Since I have an aftermarket cam & exhaust I want to make sure it's tuned properly.

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248 Posts
Discussion Starter #46
More progress, I cut off the end of my old 3" exhaust and am ordering a flex coupler to use between it and the 2:1 Flowmaster junction. It looks like most of the piping can use standard OD to ID pipes, it will be a matter of cutting them to the right lengths. It will be tricky on the driver side as the header outlet is pointing more or less at the front driveshaft. I'll try a 60 degree bend to get around that and then either a couple of more bends or I may have to have a 2.5" pipe bent to clear the trans.

The front driveshaft issue has hopefully been solved. I thought used Jeep Cherokee shafts would be plentiful and cheap, but that is not the case. What the plan is now is to use the front shaft from a 2000-01 Ram 1500 with automatic transmission. It ius 27.5655" collapsed from outer u-joint to outer u-joint. It uses larger 1330 u-joints (The Durango is 1310) and has a different coupler on the t-case end, but that can be pressed off and a 1330:1310 conversion u-joint pressed in. Ditto the other end. I found a used driveshaft for $74 shipped at LKQ on eBay. Shopping note- it's cheaper to buy the same part from them there than it is on their site. It was over $135 on the LKQ site from the same junkyard.

Some more odds & ends- a lower rear engine mount bolt interfered with the dipstick tube, so I'm using a lower profile button head bolt there.

I got some rewiring started (it's a mess, but you eat an elephant one bite at a time) and am using some nylon braided wrap I got on Amazon. It's available in sizes form 1/8 up to 1". So far I have used the 1/4" size to wrap my injector harnesses and also one of the O2 sensor harnesses. I want to use some nylon tee fittings where there are wire junctions. The goal is to wrap everything including the Dodge wires and terminate the GM wires at the PCM on the passenger fender. I want to have one bundel with the wiring harness and another with the 6 gauge power wire. This stuff is supposed to work well in engine bays since it has a melting point of over 400 degrees. I have used it recently on another vehicle engine bay project and so far so good.

The AC compressor has been mocked up after I trimmed the GM bracket. In prior photos, it mounted at a slant. I cut off the top of that bracket level and plan to have a piece of 3/8" aluminum welded onto it, then add in a 2" high rectangular tube and attach the compressor mount to it. The trick is to get the rear of the compressor high enough to clear the coils but low enough to close the hood. It looks like I'll have to add a belt idler between it and the PS pulley to keep belt tension. Hopefully they make a belt long enough to do that! I did try and mount a smaller used compressor in the passenger side lower location, but due to the bracket for the steering it would not fit. Trucks with a rack & pinion setup could likely use it there, which would simplify the process- but that would make compressor access more difficult. I like the idea of having all the accessories accessible. Once the compressor is mounted, I can reuse my old metal hose fittings with new longer hoses.

I have decided to bypass the C106 connector in the power panel. It's in bad shape and does not look like it will make reliable connections. I need to reroute a few of the wires there. I found a 16 pin mixed (same as the Dodge Yazaki connector with 4 large, 12 small) Metripack that will do the same thing. The connector shells were like $2.50 each at Mouser Electronics, and terminals are around 50 cents each. Likewise, the starter relay (need to cut wires there for the park/neutral function) has a loose terminal so I'm adding a waterproof 30A relay outside the panel.

Wiring pigtails are certainly a racket. I spent hours looking for the AC pressure & cycling connectors to redo the harness. I found the 4-pin compressor cycling connector and the low pressure connector at a place called Corsa Technic for under $6 each WITH terminals. NONE of these are available via Mopar, not even as a repair connector. No such luck for the Ford binary switch pigtail- the best I could do was $25 for a new in wrapper one on eBay. These sell new for over $50!

I'm also ordering a larger project box to house dual 4 pole fuse panels (8 circuits total) as well as my 120A power relay and the remaining 30A fuel pump relay.

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248 Posts
Discussion Starter #47
This past week I've been working on mainly electrical & plumbing as well as the front driveshaft. Here are some highlights:
Air intake:
I'm using a 4" to 3.75" silicone elbow, the MAF fits into that, then a 3.75 to 3.5" silicone reducer so I can reuse the pipe and filter I had on the truck when it had the 5.9. It should sit in front of the passenger wheel well over the horns.

Power steering:
I got a pleasant surprise when I found the Corvette PS pressure hose has the same fitting as the Durango. It almost fit as-is, but I had to tweak the end with a pipe to get it to line up. For the cooler, I fabricated an aluminum bracket for a 2-point mount to the block. It sits in about the same place as OEM, and due to that I can reuse the return fitting and line from the gear. I have a couple of pictures of this part. When I test fit the hose, it has to run under the cooler bracket, so I'm installing some standoffs to give it room while still allowing for removal of the cooler if needed.
Bracket for cooler:

Cooler test fit

I got a relocation bracket kit and fabbed up a couple of brackets from the same piece of aluminum as the PS cooler mount. I only needed to move the driver side coils. I test fit them with a set of 10mm wires and it looks like all will clear. Moving the coils gives me enough room for the AC compressor to mount on the driver side, near where it originally was. I have a picture of these installed.
Coils relocated:

Front driveshaft:
The 2000 Ram 1500 shaft arrived & it is the right length. I didn't realize the yoke part had seals inside, so I'm making a hybrid using the 1500 yoke and the Durango inner piece. I used a 1310 (Durango) to 1330 (1500) conversion u-joint at the outer ends, and replaced the inner 1330 u-joint. I'm going to reseal this while it is apart. It was nasty, so I wire brushed it, sprayed it with Rustoleum rust killer, than painted it with some Rustoleum epoxy paint I had left over. I pained the rear shaft while I was at it.

I think I may still be working on wiring this time next year! :p I got a project box and managed to stuff in the 120A and fuel pump relays as well as the PWM fan controller and 2x 4 circuit fuse blocks. I plan on mounting it beside the PCMs, I need to fab up a bracket for it.
Here's a schematic:
Add on project box.jpg

I have taken the old harness apart and am going wire by wire to make sure the pattern is the same as 2000 Silverado with 4L80. I need to add/replace some wires since my harness is from a later model truck.

I found the connector for the starter relay and it's a funky Yazaki, so I can't match it. On that, I'll splice in the GM wire to the starter.

I also have 1/0 battery cables, and am planing on runing some 2 gauge wire from the alternator to the battery. The GM block has a 10mm threaded hole I can use for the negative cable. Since the starter is on the other side, the cable will be fairly long- I estimate almost 7 feet.

I cut off the old hoses at their beadlock fittings. It looks like I can use longer hoses and retain the fittings. With some help, I deciphered the Ford high pressure and fan switch. I found a source for the wedgelock terminals used on the pigtail and will make my own harness to avoid splices. I'm also replacing the condenser since it has likely picked up some debris due to the truck sitting. I have already replaced the evaporator core and heater core when I had the dash apart.

I got a number of 2.5" bends and straight pipes. I hooked up the 3" flex pipe to my existing pipe OK. Using a 45 degree bend and one extension, I can connect the passenger side to the 2:1 Flowmaster Y-pipe. The driver side is a different story. I placed the driveshaft in place, and if I can get a custom bent pipe, there should be enough room there for a 2.5" pipe. I ordered a flex pipe to see if I can hand bend it and then use that for a custom mandrel bend.

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Discussion Starter #48
More progress and a significant hurdle has been leapt- I now have the shifter connected to the 4L80!

All it took was yet another Rube Goldberg bracket. I did some reading and GM uses a 2-piece cable here that goes through the floor by the driver seat so it can attach to the shift lever from the rear. The Dodge is the opposite, going through the firewall and attaching from the front. One issue here is the hole for the cable is between 3/4 and 13/16- which is the range of my large bore Silver & Deming set. I split some 1/8 wall rectangular tube and used it as L brackets in 2 pieces and then attached what was left of the OEM Dodge bracket with proper hole. A picture is worth 1K words here:

4L80 cable bracket 1.jpg

Bracket installed:
4L80 cable bracket 2.jpg

I found it was still too far outboard, so I cut the inner L bracket down so the Dodge part could move closer to the transmission. It looks like I can hit all but low gear- the 4L80 has 7 positions and apparently the Dodge shifter is only ranged for 6. It seemed to hit the proper positions for Park-Drive running it through positions. The acid test will be once everything is together.

I assembled the 1/0 gauge battery cables today. I'll use some heat shield on the + side where it runs under the passenger side header. The ground side is a piece of cake since there is a 10mm bolt hole on the driver side of the block. I'm still working n the Power Distribution Center but the battery box is in position so I can size these with it in place.

Looking at the driver side exhaust, it looks like due to the shifter cable the best route will be under the front driveshaft. The front wheels are off the ground now, so it's at maximum lower limit for travel. I ordered a pair of Sanderson angled header outlets and have 45, 60, and 90 degree pipes to make it fit.

The standoffs for the PS cooler arrived and look to be a good fit. I had the water pump off, and here's a better pic showing how they layout:
PS cooler standoffs.jpg

Added a set of new coils since I had the bracket ready:
New coils.jpg

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248 Posts
Discussion Starter #49
Both driveshafts are bolted in with new u-joints. Most of the exhaust and the accessory bracket are at the weldor. Still many smaller parts here or on the way. I have laid out the wiring on each side of the motor, such as injectors, coils, MAP, MAF, alternator, etc. I have to wait to finalize this until the AC is in place.

My oil & trans temp gauges arrived from China and I'm also adding an AEM wideband into a triple pod on the A-pillar. I found that fuse #17 is hot in start & run and also powers the truck's gauges. I'm going to use an "add-a-fuse" that plugs into the socket. Since #16 is not used, it should fit well.

More odds & ends, I got a new PS pressure hose, and added studs for the pump to make it easier to install. I have cut to length the positive and negative battery cables as well as added a 12 gauge wire for the starter solenoid. I heat sleeved the crank sensor wiring and will wrap it with the passenger side coils & injectors. I have a mount for the dual mega fuse holders for the alternator and fan. These will locate on the edge of the battery tray. I have a set of NGK iridium plugs to install. I think my header studs are good for plug access and the copper nuts should clear OK.

I tightened the trans cooler fittings after I completed the PTFE AN6 hoses. I used some 3/8 aluminum tube to carry the fluid to the cooler. I heat sleeved these as well since they pass by the header. I put the OEM 4L80 heat shield back in place. Looks like good clearance for the exhaust with the y-pipe vertical.

Since the oil pressure sensor is so hard to access behind the intake, I added an AN4 to 1/8 pipe fitting and will make a short hose to mount the sensor.

I decoded another connector, that of the AC compressor. The pigtail for it was like $30 plus shipping. I used an Aptiv Apex 2.8 series (same series as the AC low temperature switch and the fuel pump connector) PN 54200213, which sells for a whopping $2.71 at Mouser. Those pigtails have to be like 500% profit.

Speaking of which, I did have to buy a Motorcraft pigtail for the binary high pressure switch, but am re-pinning it with wires that are the correct colors. I found the terminals for it are called Wedgelock. I got a set of oil-based paint markers so I can stripe my own wire. I had to add a resistor to the PWM fan controller so it would not run all the time.

I bought R13a and some PAG 100 oil, copied the recharge instructions and capacities, and tested my AC vacuum pump, so I'm good to go once it is all together. I also stocked up on ATF (4L80), ATF +4 (transfer case), and some 5W30 oil. I got some Dexcool coolant as well. I'm going to chage the diff lubricant also while it's off the ground.
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