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>> My Dakota R/T Thread

8554 Views 42 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  last_in
Well I'm on some other forums and I noticed they have their own build threads for their vehicles, thought about it, liked the idea, so I'm going to make my own. So here it is.

Back in 1998 when I first saw the Dodge Durango in a Car and Driver ad (I probably still have that mag here somewhere...) I showed my father. He was in the market to get a new truck. So we went and leased one, custom build from Newark. A 2000 Durango SLT Plus,, black exterior with agate leather and chrome door handles and burl. Always loved this truck, still have it to this day. It's gone through a lot and one day I will bring it back to all OEM. So a few years after I took over the Durango and it became mine. I found DakDur in 2003 and became a member and been learning these trucks ever since. Then I saw the Dakota R/T and I said holy shit. I thought wow, this motor in a truck that's 2wd and 1000lbs. lighter, wow. So I wanted one. Down the line I planned on getting one, then the day I started looking came.

My goal was to get either silver or amberfire, found a few and was either too late or it was a heap. It took me a little over a year to find "the right one" and it was a 2002 Dakota Club Cab R/T in Graphite Metallic with 17,136 miles. It was in Hawthorne NJ at O'Brien Nissan dealer, used car lot. I went and saw it, test drove it, and bought it on the spot. I went back a second time and picked it up.

She had a banged up passenger door, pop-able dent in the cab area behind the door, and a nice dent in the fender behind the driver headlight. The interior was a mess and FILTHY. a couple of cigarette burns and buds on the floor and loose change everywhere. Otherwise it was a very low mile truck that needed attention and I wasn't going to pass that up.

Here are the pics from the Cars.com ad.


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So the plan for this truck, was to make it "OEM plus". I want to make it as stock and clean looking as possible, but make it go like hell, as if it came outta the box that way.

The tires where shot when I first got the truck, so I had bought new tires for it along with a drop kit I got from a member on DakDur for cheap. I got Suspension max coils and 2" blocks with Nitto INVO tires (255/50-17). I eventually changed the blocks over to 3" blocks.

Within a month or two I went to non-stock suspension.


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Once the drop and tires were installed, then we started looking good. :D


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Shortly after I snatched up a full Hotchkis sway bar kit and installed those. Also got my friends Checkmate FX cover and threw that on. I red-ed out the taillights, and painted the trim around them. I also removed the stock exhaust from the main cat on and replaced it with some custom pipe out the side with a SLP Loudmouth I muffler and threw on some new badges on the tailgate, "SLP R/T".

I also ended up swapping to different roll pans. At first I had the MBRP rollpan, then the Lund pan and I molded it in, then I finally made it to the Grant Kustoms steel one, with a compound curve to match the tailgate.

-Candied taillights
-Painted trim on taillights
-Three different roll pans
-SLP badge
-Checkmate fx cover
-Hotchkis sway bar kit


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Within the first year of having it, had an idea and I wanted to throw some gauges in. It worked out well but ditched them soon enough. I still have the gauges in a box, barely used if anyone wants them. Autometer trans & oil temp.

Then i sprayed the headlights & corners with some spray tint, to match more with the graphite paint and put chrome door edge trim in the OEM black slits in the grille. I also put the stuff around the gauge bezel. It totally wakens up the instrument cluster to say the least, but I have a better idea i will do in the future. Looked amazing after.


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I also removed the OEM exhaust from the main cat back, and replaced it with 2.5" piping and an SLP Loudmouth I muffler. Again, at this point I just wanted it to sit low and sound good, but be different with the exhaust. I still run the same exhaust to this day but I swap out the side pipe with a turndown every now and then for fun.

You can listen to it by clicking here. And for an interior acceleration vid, click here.


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Here are the interior things I've done to the truck. My favorite look is OEM plus. I want to make it look like it came like that, nothing too fancy or out there. There are still some things that need to be done, and I will get to them hopefully soon.

So far this is what I have done:

-SRT front seats
-SRT window/lock buttons
-Black floormats
-Matching brushed aluminum door handles/locks
-Matching brushed aluminum vent buttons
-New OEM steering wheel
-Replaced column shifter boot
-Mopar Performance badge on pass. airbag cover
-Clarion headunit & Metra bezel
-Brushed aluminum race pedels
-Video AUX in to watch movies
-CF look door panels/console lid

In the future:

-Matching rear seat fabrics with front seats
-Matching carpet with headliner
-Brushed aluminum trim piece (one piece left)
-Floor shifter/custom center console
-Custom dash-top
-Custom dash bezel


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And on 8/5/10...

Big tiring day today.

And of course the before/after shots!

Can't wait to see how it'll sit once the coils settle! It will be 1" lower up front from before, it's already 11/16" lower. Once it settles it will be a 3.5" F/3" R drop. (4.5'/4" non-R/T)
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Did this that tonight..



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Well I never really cleaned under there since I bought the truck, didn't really care. I figured when I swap the motor I'll work on it. But anyway, for now I figure I'd give it some TLC.

New billet caps, handles and cover, cleaned any paint under there, polished most of the A/C lines, washed and cleaned rubber hoses, cleaned valve covers, cleaned the intake and also got a shot of my rad fan setup.

Tell me what you think. I just finished all the polishing on the caps/handles/cover and installed them now.

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Hardwired my GPS, rewired the O/D and added the final piece of polished trim to the interior :D

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-New 9.25 axle w/ 3.92s (11,000 miles)
-Rear slotted/drilled performance disc brakes
-Paint the calipers red (front and rear)
-Stainless brake lines rear
-New Hotchkis leaf springs with poly bushing in the rear and solid aluminum up front
-Western Chassis 2" shackle hangers
-Custom 1" steel blocks
-Notching the frame with Western Chassis notch

20.5hrs of work

Pics of this soon.
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Yumm...for the track


Went on Oct 17 and ran 14.89 @ 91.19mph with a 2.027 60ft.


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This is the best thread to kick off the new 'build' forum!
Mopar4life, I've never seen an R/T depreciate in value so fast!
Might just have to pop the e-brake and collect insurance on this one, then you can put more money towards that Porsche restoration of yours.
I like the dak, but you said you joined in 03 when you joined in 05.
I like the dak, but you said you joined in 03 when you joined in 05.
If you didn't know already, Mopar4life lies about basically everything.
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