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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all, new to this forum.

I currently own a Dakota Quad Cab 2wd w/4.7L V8 16tooth. 143K miles. Ran into engine troubles about a month ago and finally figured out I had loss of compression in cylinder 2. I'm about to rip the engine out and rebuild it, but then I got to doing research and it seems that even if I rebuild or find out whats wrong, there's no real way to make the engine not have this exact same issue down the road, even if I buy a rebuilt motor with a warranty (Which is $2000+). Finding a low mileage 16 tooth used 4.7, if i'm lucky, is running me easily $1500, and thats for 140k+

I started seeing that people were dropping 5.7L HEMI's into the Dakota and that it has its challenges, but it also isn't that insurmountable. I've only had this truck for 3 months, but I want it to last me a while, mainly because I love this style body and look. I want to put in an engine that is going to give me a good long life and be repairable much easier than the 4.7.

At any rate, I figured it was time for someone else to do another HEMI swap, so here I am volunteering. My plan is to document this and answer ALOT of the questions that I have and probably others as well. I have been full on researching this for around 3 weeks now and finding ALL of the information in one concise spot is futile at best. There's a wealth of information, but you have to know where to find it. At any rate, i'm going to compile it here and I am open to correction and suggestions, in the hope that others can use this knowledge.

So here's where I am currently at. Please confirm or correct what I have below. Again, this is not just for me, but anyone.

  • Target Dakota
    • 2001 Dakota Quad Cab 4.7 2WD
  • Donor Vehicle
    • 2005 Durango 5.7L
    • Need Engine
    • Need Accelerator pedal for DBW Conversion
  • Questions
    • What year engine is the best for swapping into the 2001 Dakota
      • 03-08 HEMI
  • Does it matter if I get a car engine or a truck engine?
    • Truck engine - the car engine seems to be tapped differently at the motor mounts, and will be problematic for the Dakota
    • Donor 04-05 Durango's seem to be the preferred source
    • Engine is confirmed to be in the truck configuration, which allows the use of the aftermarket motor mount conversion.
  • What model transmission do I have in the Dakota? How do I tell?
    • 45RFE
    • Durango comes with a 545RFE, which is supposedly identical to the 45RFE, but has a different programming. If you plug the 45RFE into a RAM ECM, it becomes a 545RFE
    • What Dakota transmissions mate up to the Hemi without issue?
      • 45RFE
      • manual?
  • What model ECM should be used
    • I have heard that people are using the Dakota ECM to run the HEMI. I am not going that route, but would like to collect that information for others
    • How does this mate up to a HEMI, or can this even mate up to run the HEMI (with programming).
      • TBD
  • Should I grab the Donor 05 Durango's ECM with the engine and use that instead?
    • No - problematic and also a 2 wire bus system, not 1 wire which is what Dakota needs
  • Is there a wiring harness I can buy that is prebuilt or can someone/some company build it for me?
    • Hotwires - expensive ~2300
    • Derek502 is building a kit that will be easy to mate to an existing dakota harness via two automotive grade connectors. He is currently working it out for the 01-02 Dakotas and the 03-04 are next. When he gets done he will be able to sell the harness, connector and ECM as well as program the ECM for your truck.
  • Need 04-05 RAM ECM
    • Removes need for separate TCM on the Dakota, ECM will run trans, which is why Ram Wiring harness is key.
    • Need to make sure you get one that does NOT have SKIM on it, which is the key fob security programming that shuts off the engine if you try to hotwire it.
      • Derek502 sells a kit and can find you an ECM and harness and will do the programming of it for you.
  • Need 04-05 Ram Wiring Harness
    • Minimal conversion necessary, especially for transmission, plugs mate right up.
    • Working on full wiring diagram and spreadsheet of connection mapping, using what Derek502 has and others.
  • Engine Questions
  • Engine mounts
  • Oil Pan and pickup replacement to fit Dakota
    • The following will work for a 2WD Dakota Only. Milodon Says it will work for the 4x4 but we have users here that report otherwise.
    • Milodon
  • Does the exhaust manifold mate up exactly or do I need to modify it to fit?
    • I was looking at getting the Schumaker Creative Services Hemi Package, and he was building Headers specifically for this, but it seems they may be out of business or not fulfilling orders. Is there another company that I could get a complete kit from? I haven't currently seen anyone else selling a complete Hemi Swap kit, Schumaker was the closest thing, and he didn’t handle any of the electrical.
    • Schumaker seems to be out of business, I also have seen posts on FB where others bought the Ceramic coated manifolds and the coating is already rusting off after less than a year.
    • Currently there is NO confirmed manifold that will work. I am looking at the Durango or Jeep Grand Cherokee manifolds to see if they will mate or get close to it. From there i am going to try and find a spacer online that will mate it up the rest of the way.
    • The O2 sensors MUST be changed, they will not work from the 4.7. Make sure to purchase 05 ram Sensors all around.
  • Is there a drive by wire conversion for the accelerator pedal? Id much rather not run the wire into a converter, but I am open to that if it’s the best way.
    • (Recommended) 2008 Dakota DBW pedal will work. You need to be sure and get it with the metal plate it mounts to, as that will literally bolt right in with no issues.
    • You can use 2005 Durango DBW pedal, but if so, you must drill the firewall for it to work
      • IMPORTANT!!!!!!! Mount Pedal BEFORE you install engine, holes need to be drilled for top mounting and it can't be done with engine installed
      • Test placement to be sure that it is in the right area with no obstructions.
    • Tony.vot tried the Ram 1500 Pedal and it is too large, mainly due to the size of the Ram Cab.
  • Fuel Rail Conversion
  • Flexplate, Flat Metal Dust cover, and Starter
    • It is recommended to use the flexplate, the flat metal dust cover (between the engine and transmission) and the starter off of the 4.7. The Durango Hemi has the starter mounted on the passenger side and there's no room for it in the Dakota engine bay. By using the 4.7 flexplate and dust cover plate, you can then use the 4.7 starter on the drivers side and it works perfectly.
    • The Flat metal dust Cover from the 4.7 MUST be modified slightly to work with the hemi. i have detailed how later in the post.
  • Bottom oil pan bell housing dust cover
    • If you want to re-use the stock bottom dust cover(thick aluminum) on the bell housing, you need to modify it to work with the milodon pan. I added pictures of what you need to do to make it fit. You also need to cut two of the bolts for it so that it doesnt rub a hole into the oil pan.
  • When I pull the Motor out of the Durango (it’s a running/driving Durango) is there anything I should do to the motor immediately (manufacturer defects, timing chain replacement, xyz replacement because the engine is out and its easy, etc)
    • Depends completely on target use case or engine condition at time it was acquired.
    • My engine is purring like a kitten and makes no strange sounds or noises and has no rough idle or anything.
  • Common Issues
    • Valve Springs
      • The Factory springs are supposedly a failure point and should be replaced regardless of what age or mileage the engine is.
    • Valve Seats
      • This is an issue due to overheating of the engine and the factory Seats can drop out of their home. According to my machinist they just need to be "Pinged" back in and will do fine or can also be replaced.
    • Lifters
      • They are notorious for going bad and should be replaced if original. some will even eat away the cam and destroy it. Best to replace while the engine is apart.
  • Here's my current plan
    • Water pump
    • Idler pulleys
    • Tensioner pulley and assembly
    • Pull valve covers and Inspect
    • Pulls heads and inspect
    • Milodon oil pan and above parts (required)
    • Intake manifold Bolts
    • Valve Cover Bolts
      • I went with DIYHEMI Billet Hold down's for the valve cover bolts. Way more cost effective and look nicer than the Holley ones I bought that were black allen bolts.
      • Billet Valve Cover Hardware | Mysite
    • Valve Springs
    • Valve Stem Seals
    • Valve Seats checked
    • Valves
    • Timing chain and sprockets
    • Iridium Spark Plugs
    • New plug wires
    • Lifters
    • Head Gasket
    • Front Timing Seal
    • Rear Main Seal
    • Rod Bearings
    • Main Cap Bearings
    • Piston Rings
    • Oil pump
As questions are answered and things progress I will be re-posting the completed answers as a reference for others going forward.

Lets dig in!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Just an update, I reached out to Schumaker Creative Services, called the phone number on the website - It says it has been "Temporarily disconnected". That confirms what i have been reading online from others and from posts on his facebook page. Seems to have started just before COVID took us all down for the count, so i'm thinking hes not going to survive that. it's unfortunate since he seemed to have the most complete encompassing knowledge and insight on exactly what needed to be done.
 

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You should definitely look into swapping in a 6.1 cam. I'm still researching what all is necessary for that, like if you need new rods with that. Also, I've heard 6.1 valve springs are less likely to break. I'd also replace the lifters, as those are known to cause the biggest issues with Hemis. And finally the timing set since the motor will be out.
Other than that, I'll be following along with you since I'm in the process of doing this myself, as you know. (I'm the one you talked to on FB the other day about this)
 

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Also, your transmission should work just fine with the swap. Not sure if you have the 45rfe or the 545, but either way, with a retune, the 45rfe will gain the 5th gear. (From what I hear.)
If the Durango has the electric pedal, you can take that from the donor and swap it into the Dakota, but do that while the motor is out, I've heard that's easier.
If not, it should have the thing under the battery box that converts wire driven throttle to electric.
 

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Sounds like your 4.7 might have had a roller lifter fall off on #2. On the 5.7 I would suggest replacing the exh manifold bolts while the engine is out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Appreciate the information. So i'm adding to the "hemi upgrades/replacement list"

So far we Have:
-Upgrade to 6.1 Camshaft
-Replace all lifters
-upgrade to 6.1 valve springs
-Timing chain set

Any reason to replace oil pump? i know that was an issue with the 4.7's?
 

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also, is there a different tune needed for the 6.1 Cam?
I'm curious about that too. I don't think a tune is "necessary", but it'll run a lot better with it. I've been trying to figure out if 6.1 rods are required too. I can't seem to find a definitive answer to that.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
tracking, keep me apprised on that. lets use this post as a way to track those things. Once a week, I'll condense our info and repost it for future reference.
 

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I came across this article today. Looks like a REALLY good reference for rebuilding a 5.7 to something really strong and reliable with a parts list and everything.

 

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A tune is not required to run a 6.1 cam in the 5.7, only springs.(which I believe we both plan on replacing anyway) However, you won't see much of a difference using the 6.1 cam without a tune.
My thoughts on this is that I would be replacing the cam due to reliability and because why not if I can find one for cheap. So a tune for power is the least of my worries. But I imagine after all is said and done, I'll want a tune anyway just to get everything running as good/smooth as it can.
The question I have left, is it worth to put the 6.1 cam in (with the limited performance enhancement people are saying it provides), or spend some extra $$ and get a Crane cam like listed in the hotrod article? 🤷🏼‍♂️
 

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With the reputation he has for Dodge motor tunes, I looked at flyin Ryan's website. It looks like a custom tune from him will cost about $800 with the HP tuner ($500 without).
I think no matter what we do to the engines during rebuild, this is just a requirement to get everything out of this swap, have it run as well as it can and get the best fuel economy possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
A tune is not required to run a 6.1 cam in the 5.7, only springs.(which I believe we both plan on replacing anyway) However, you won't see much of a difference using the 6.1 cam without a tune.
My thoughts on this is that I would be replacing the cam due to reliability and because why not if I can find one for cheap. So a tune for power is the least of my worries. But I imagine after all is said and done, I'll want a tune anyway just to get everything running as good/smooth as it can.
The question I have left, is it worth to put the 6.1 cam in (with the limited performance enhancement people are saying it provides), or spend some extra $$ and get a Crane cam like listed in the hotrod article? 🤷🏼‍♂️
Agreed.

The discussion I literally had last night with my brother was what I should replace (as the engine is out). The 05 Durango donor I got is literally smooth like butter, purrs like a kitten. Why would I rip it apart and potentially mess that up?

I think I will hold off on the 6.1 Springs/Cam/etc for a higher mileage rebuild. I honestly don't need the extra horsepower, and who knows if that will hurt the trans.

My current plan is to replace the following:
Water pump
Idler and other pulleys
Main Seal
timing cover seal
Valve cover/Oil Pan/Timing Cover/Water pump Gaskets

And i'm going to paint the block/heads gloss black and Do red on the Valve Covers. Leave the replaced parts silver.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
With the reputation he has for Dodge motor tunes, I looked at flyin Ryan's website. It looks like a custom tune from him will cost about $800 with the HP tuner ($500 without).
I think no matter what we do to the engines during rebuild, this is just a requirement to get everything out of this swap, have it run as well as it can and get the best fuel economy possible.
Definitely interested in seeing how that goes for you. I am going down the path that Derek502 has done and Getting an 04-05 Ram ECM and Wiring Harness and will use the stock tune. He built a fantastic guide that i am now converting to a spreadsheet for mating up the dakota harness to the ram harness and Use the Ram ECM.
I'll post the info on that as it progresses.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
all, discussed the Fuel rail conversion specs with Derek502 since he's done it before and figured out what the fittings are called - feel free to correct any of this if it isn't right.

Dodge 4.7L Fuel Rail connection - 5/16" SAE Fitting
Dodge 5.7L Hemi Fuel Rail Fitting - 3/8" SAE Fitting

Derek502 ordered from amazon a 6AN Flare to 5/16 Hose Barb Fittings Adapter, a 6AN Female Swivel Coupler 90 Degree Hose Union, and a 6AN Male Flare To 3/8" SAE Quick-Disconnect Female
I am ordering the same and will confirm that these worked.

Here are the Amazon links for these:





Dumb question - what type of metal is the current fuel supply line made of? Is that an issue being mated to anodized aluminum, or could cause corrosion over time?
 

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Definitely interested in seeing how that goes for you. I am going down the path that Derek502 has done and Getting an 04-05 Ram ECM and Wiring Harness and will use the stock tune. He built a fantastic guide that i am now converting to a spreadsheet for mating up the dakota harness to the ram harness and Use the Ram ECM.
I'll post the info on that as it progresses.
I too am using an 05 PCM and wiring harness, that all came with the motor I bought, which is why I probably paid a bit too much for it. But the one I'm swapping in has 200k miles on it. Although the guy said it ran just fine, I still want to rebuild it for piece of mind, which is why a forged crank from a 6.1 (instead of the cast crank in the 5.7) and a new cam, as well as the tune is on my shopping list.
I should have the motor to my house on Wednesday and be able to start tearing it down and start the rebuild as money and parts permit.
I'm very excited about seeing your wiring write-up!
 

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Xeonix,
I can help with all your questions. I can’t reply to them all right now, but I’ll have more time tomorrow to type them all out on my laptop. There are several different options you can go, and it all really depends on what you end goal is. I’m wanted a street truck which is why I went with a 392 (6.4) Stoker Hemi, but you may just want a daily driver to tow a boat or trailer. I’ll dig into it all hopefully tomorrow. If you have something specific let me know too.
 
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-Don't forget, you'll need the milodon windage tray for the oil pan also.
-Wiring harness, so far I've only found Hotwire that makes them for $2300. I didn't look any further into other companies after finding out they would cost that much. (I'll be splicing my own wires)
-also, with the replacements you mentioned you were going to be doing, why not go ahead and replace the timing chain and guides while you're in there?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
All, I just heard from Richard at HI-Potek, he received my order for the motor mounts and he is fabricating them for me. I was worried he had possibly been affected by Covid as alot of others are but he is alive and well, so definitely hit him up for the Mounts. I'll be taking photos of them on the engine, installed, etc and posting them here for all to see. I saw his post on his facebook page and his fabrication process looks very professional to me, so i'm very excited to see the finished product.

Here's a link to the mounts.

110035
 
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