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Discussion Starter #1
Well I finally have a little time but unfortunately less money with 2 kids in travel sports. Doesnt matter though because Im going to beg, barrow and trade my way through it. Shes a 94 5.2 auto with about 180k. Plan is to make it handle well and be as fast as I can make it on a budget. Have a rebuilt 340 on a stand so soon as I blow the 5.2 will probably convert the 340 to Mag injection and run it. Also have an 8 3/4 I will be putting in before too long. Going to run RT's so Im debating redrilling/new axles to stay with 6 lug or staying with 5. Have RTs to run now so I'll cross that bridge later.

Here she is quite a few years back when it was my work truck. She is not that pretty now as the Dodge paint demon took over a few years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
For those who didnt know or didnt think 92 exhaust was an upgrade in performance Im here to tell you different.

Thought I was going to use 98 Pace Setter shorties with the 92 Y pipe, not. Btw, the Pace Setters will be in the for sale section today.

Here is a pic of my 94's Y pipe flange and the 92 I went with, and to top it all off the 92 was off a V6!

 

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What are your plans for suspension? And I hate to bring it up but you may be best to build a regular cab for a pro touring style truck. I am interested in this because its basically the path I am going with my Dakota. Its a bit outdated but most of my mods are in my sig for suspension. My biggest hurdle right now is front end springs and reduction in unsprung mass as well as the lack of suspension adjust ability on the front end.

I have been thinking of adding in cam bolts to the lower control arm perches and slotting the bolt hole accordingly as well as an SCP adjustable upper arm, but my snag there is the threaded sleeve for the OEM upper ball joint. I also found clearance issue sup front with my bump stop after the springs settled in, removingt he bump stops or replacing with a shorter unit gives a lot of space back but I find that the spring rate becomes unsuitable to hard driving (I was riding on the bump stop at full compression without knowing) So it needs stiffer front springs than are available the Belltech ones are 856lbs-in rate from what Belltech told me years ago, it almost feels like it could use 1000# since we have a pretty piss poor motion ratio. been thinking to measure some mustang front springs to see if they are close to Dakota spring dimensions.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
91dak239.. wow, you have way more info than I have even considered, thanks!

First off, you are so correct that for total performance a reg cab would be best but there are 2 main reasons that wont work for me. 1, I have 2 kids and like to take the family a lot of places I go, not to mention they almost always have to have friends so a 3 seater just wont work. 2, I happen to already have an Xcab Dak that I love and just want to take it to the next level for fun.

Your sig looks just about exactly like I was headed. Because Im on such a budget Ive cut the springs and am doing a little trick Ive done in the past to take the rate out of the springs, I put in some hard wedges. i know its ghetto but it really does stiffen the spring up. I did that on a V6 and really liked it, not real sure how itll feel on a V8. For the rear I was planning on building some leaf packs myself. Ive built leaf packs for off road and made them soft for maximum flex, of course this will be for the opposite affect. Eventually I want to go to a link rear setup but thats gonna take $ I just dont have right now.

Let me know any info you find on better coil springs, there has to be something out there that will work and do a better job. Thats always been my major beef with Dakoats and a lot of Dodge trucks, font springs just way too soft and shocks not spec'd to handle it.
 

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The stock leaf springs I feel are actually fairly adequate if your truck came with the HD suspension, if you clamp the front half of the reserve spring and make it part of the pack it will certainly stiffen up some and reduce wheel hop.

Be sure not to lower the rear with blocks, only lower it with lowered spring mounts, you'll need about 4-5 degree pinion angle shim after lowering about 4" to regain the stock pinion angle for good traction.

My truck does also feels like it has some pretty bad bump steer with the lowered spindle, though there is no off the shelf solution for that, so I may machine something up myself.

Poly bushings everywhere too will make a good improvement on feel and reduce slop in the suspension PITA to install but inexpensive overall.

What 8-3/4" are you using I've got an old one from i think an old a body I want to use in my truck since i broke the stock axle at the drag strip a few years back
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well its been a long hard winter and I just havent had the time or energy to work on the ole Dak. Recently we had a break in the weather so I decided to put the bed back on now that its primed. I lowered the Dak about 2/3". Still havent had enough $ to get some 275/40's for the RT wheels but I think that may change soon. Lost the pic of the Flowmaster 3" in to 2- 2.5"s out. It dumps right behind cab and sounds pretty cool.
 

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Sup 91Dak239, it's been a long time since I've been active in the community. That being said, I'd like to share what I did to stiffen up my front suspension on my 91. I ran a set of Hotchkiss spring in conjunction with modified DJM lower control arms, and adjustable shocks upfront. Out back I went with DJM drop shackles, and HD springs from an 04 Dakota. The DJM control arms upfront were modified with a custom ball press in balljoint retainer (I didn't do the work, Dragn 94 did. It was also redesigned for better support. This dramatically improved handling, and stiffness up front. I also went with full Engergy supsension bushings everywhere. Hopefully this information helps.
 

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Sup 91Dak239, it's been a long time since I've been active in the community. That being said, I'd like to share what I did to stiffen up my front suspension on my 91. I ran a set of Hotchkiss spring in conjunction with modified DJM lower control arms, and adjustable shocks upfront. Out back I went with DJM drop shackles, and HD springs from an 04 Dakota. The DJM control arms upfront were modified with a custom ball press in balljoint retainer (I didn't do the work, Dragn 94 did. It was also redesigned for better support. This dramatically improved handling, and stiffness up front. I also went with full Engergy supsension bushings everywhere. Hopefully this information helps.
I wasn't aware that 97+ parts fit 96 and older trucks!? What is the rate of the hotchkiss front springs are? I don't have any real issues with the rear suspension, its surprisingly pretty stiff as it is. As soon as I can get my Dakota back into the shop and away from workign on other projects I'll be doing some work on the front end that's for certain, its long over due.
 

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I'm really sure what the rate of the hotchkiss springs are honestly. The geometry for the Gen 3 and Gen II parts are very similar. Slight modification was done, but it fit's with no problem....
 

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I thought I'd share my experience since I built my 95 RC similar to what you are planning for your truck. I used Belltech 2" drop springs in the front along with their sway bar and Street Shocks. In the rear I have new factory HD springs on Western Chassis drop shackles set at a 3" drop along with a Belltech sway bar. All bushings are from Energy Suspension including the cab mounts.

I switched to the early 5 X 4.5 wheel bolt pattern to accommodate lightweight forged aluminum wheels from Weld Racing. I considered the RT wheels until I found out how heavy they are!

The handling of the truck compared to stock is like night and day, which of course makes the truck a lot of fun to drive. The Belltech coil springs are about as stiff as I would want to go on the street.

Cutting off the factory rear spring mounts is a tough job. An interesting alternative may be to use the Belltech 3" drop designed for the 97 up Dakotas. They use a larger shackle bolt so you would have to drill out the bolt holes in the factory spring mounts. I have them on my 2001 Club Cab The spring length and axle locating pins are dimensionally identical to the Gen 2 leaf springs. It would be interesting to know if anyone has tried this.

Good luck with your build!
 
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