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Bunch of Random Truck/Dakota questions.

Discussion in 'General Dodge Truck Discussions' started by Mopardude, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. Mopardude

    Mopardude Well-Known Member

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    I have a bunch of questions I need to start thinking about for my 42 Dodge pickup project. Looking for some insight or thoughts from others or maybe where I can go to find the answers I need. For this project I will be putting this 42 body onto the frame of a 94 Dakota.

    My main concern when I do this swap is I have a title for the 42 but not the Dakota. The 42 vin # is on the frame and the Dakota is in the dash, Is this going to cause me problems later, insurance wise or if it ever gets stolen? Can I solve this by making a home made vin plate and welding it to the truck somewhere?

    I have an extra A-body 8 3/4 laying around still from when I had my A-bodies. I have read many places that this is a common swap a lot of Dakota guys do anyways and seems better to me than trying to find a 9 1/4 rear for it. Anyone know if caltracs are a viable option for keeping traction back there or what is popular thing to do, to setup a dakota? All the Dakotas I have ever had have been the 3.9 and that engine can light them up pretty decent so I am curious how the v8 guys are dealing with traction.

    Currently the Dakota has the 3.9 in it with auto trans. I plan on putting my 360 that I originally built for my Dart into this truck along with some sort of manual trans. Assuming I don't have to move where the engine sits in the frame of Dakota, as I plan on clearancing the cab if I need to make room, I assume the engine mounts they use on the 3.9 are the same as they would use for a v8? Can anyone confirm?

    From what I been told the manual trans to get is the nv3500. Seems atleast around here that is a very hard trans to find from a Dakota. My question is did they ever use the nv3500 in a Ram or is there a manual trans from a Ram that would work in the Dakota frame?

    Since Dakotas would have come with magnum v8's and I am putting in a LA engine. Is there a difference in the exhaust ports of magnum and LA heads so I can use off the shelf headers for a Dakota?
     
  2. bear

    bear Well-Known Member

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    I have'nt done much with Dakotas but I can try and answere a couple of your question on your swap . First as far as insureing your 42 . That depends on your state laws . If you have an insurance agent , he should be able to help you with that . I live here in Mass and I've talked to my insurance agent about the 41 Willy's I'm picking up . Right now it sits on a 92 sonama ( cheby ) frame and it will have eather a 69 block 440 or a 68 block 383 in it . He told me I could register it as a 41 . So like I said I would check with yours and see if can answere your questions or at least point you in the right direction . And as for your last question about the headers . Yes the Magnum headers will fit your LA heads . Just make shure your LA heads don't have the little smog ports under the exhaust ports . If they do you'll have to plug them first or your gunna have 8 exhaust leaks .
     
  3. Mopardude

    Mopardude Well-Known Member

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    Yea I figure I will need to talk to WI DMV and my ins agent. I am kinda dreading this because I have a feeling neither will understand what I am trying to do. My heads are aluminum so I should be good to go for headers than!
     
  4. bear

    bear Well-Known Member

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    If your that worried about it then I would just reg. it as a 42 anyway's sence you have the title for that truck and that vin number is what they would look at first . Kinnda don't ask don't tell . lol I know it probably sounds a little shady but technicality thats the truck your driveing . You can allways take the numbers off the frame . But I never said that . lol As far as traction go's it would probably look cool if you ran a ladder bar set up . It would help alot with wheel hop and look period correct for the year truck . Just a thought . I was thinking of doing that to my Willys if I end up keeping the cheby frame .
     
  5. Mopardude

    Mopardude Well-Known Member

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    Yea it will prolly be one of those dammed if I tell them and damned if I don't situations. I wasn't even thinking ladder bars but now that you mention it, that would really make it look more like a hotrod!

    Something else that I have been wondering about is the cam I am running in my 360 was based on the specs of the engine along with the weight of the car, converter, gear ratio and rpm. Going to a heavier vehicle like the 42 how might that effect my setup and being heavier should I plan going up a gear size? The engine was built for 3.73 or 3.91 but thats was for A-Body in mind. Should I go up to a 4.10 to offset the weight difference or doesn't it work that way?
     
  6. bear

    bear Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I did'nt get back to you sooner "mopardude" , but I tried to do some research on how much a short bed 42 truck waigh's and I probably got five diferent answere's . Plus thats kinnda a tricky question because everybodies got a diferent theory on what to do to a motor combo for diferent application's . For instance me . For a lighter car like a Dart I try to build more higher end power and torque because of the lighter waight and when I build a motor for a heavier truck I try to build it to have more bottem end power and torque so I can get that waight moveing as quick as possable . So without knowing were you set up your power curve ( low end or high end ) I can't answere that . Were does your motor start makeing power ? Is it off idle ( around 1000 RPM's ) or does it start kicking in higher in the RPM range like 1500 / 2000 ?
     
  7. Mopardude

    Mopardude Well-Known Member

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    Well I built this engine about 8 years ago some of the stuff I still have the specs for and some of this we will have to go off my memory.

    360 block
    bored 30 over
    zero decked
    SRP flat top Forged pistons
    Eagle I Beam rods
    Crank reground, complete balanced, external balance of crank move internally
    Comp cams solid lift cam duration: .274/.280 lift: .502/.511
    Comp Cams Roller Rockers 1.5:1 ratio
    High volume oil/gas pumps
    Air Gap intake
    Aluminum Edelbrock Performer heads
    BG Mighty Demon 650CFM
    FBO Systems ignition system

    Than that fed a street/strip low gear set 903 from CRT with 2500 stall with was supposed to have either 3.73 or 3.91 gears but I never got around to changing that so i drove it many years with an open 2.76 gearing. So because of this I really don't know what rpm range is supposed to be. Apparently I did not write that down with my notes here or I just haven't found it yet. If I had to guess it seems from about 2000-3500 is where that engine pulled the hardest. Being that this was in a Dart it did pull fairly hard at take off all the way up to 4k.
     
  8. bear

    bear Well-Known Member

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    Sound's like a nice Motor build "Mopardude" ! Are you planning on running the 903 in your truck ? Eather way if I were to run that set up , I would definitly run some gear in it just so the motor would'nt have to work as hard to get moveing . I assume this is gunna be a duel purpose ride or a sick lil street truck ? Do you plan on hitting the high way much with it or is it gunna be more local ?
     
  9. Mopardude

    Mopardude Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately I sold the 903 With the Dart Sport. To be honest the only reason I kept the 360 was of the amount of money I have invested into it. In this economy it was hard enough to sell the Dart and get a decent price for it. I think a Cummins or newer hemi would have been cool to run in the 42 for braggin rights. Pull into a cruise-in and tell everyone your running either one of those 2 engines and everyone creams themselves. My 360 was built for fun in mind so its all good. For a transmission I would like to find a NV3500 because that is one of the trannies that belongs in a Dakota and it should fit right into place than. If anything, Duel purpose - sick lil street truck/ maybe the occasional trip to the strip. My Dart when i built that I was trying to keep it reasonal for highway use. Thats why I tried to be within the 3.73 -3.91 range for gearing. In the 10 years I owned that car I can probably count all the times i got on the freeway to drive a long ways on 1 hand. Normally when I did go long distance is was no more than an hour away and I took the back roads. So I think with this truck I am not even going to worry about that at all. I think for sure I am going to go with 4.10 gears. I will probably just run the engine as is for now to see what its like. If I feel the engine seems not as peppy as it did in the Dart I still can go a lot bigger with the cam or even go to 1.6:1 ratio rockers and not have to change much to adjust for that.
     
  10. bear

    bear Well-Known Member

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    Personaly I think you might be all right with the 4:10's and the 5 speed . I think it might be a happy medium . I know what your talking about with your Dart and the highway . I ran 4:30's and a 4 speed when I had my Charger and it realy was'nt highway freindly . lol
     
  11. bear

    bear Well-Known Member

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    It just dawned on me what you said about bragg'in rights "Mopardude" . You have bragg'in rights with your 42 . It's a Mopar , and it's all Mopar ! lol To many time's Ive gone to look at a truck like your's at a show or a cruise and it's got a mouse between the fenders . So be proud of what your building , you have every right to be .
     
  12. Mopardude

    Mopardude Well-Known Member

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    Very true plus a 42 being fairly rare is going to draw a lot of attention. I wasn't really bashing the fact I only had a 360, its just when your talking to other truck guys 360 is a common engine. Doesn't draw to much excitement like the cummins or hemi names do. Same with A-bodies, tell someone you have a 360 and no excitement. Tell someone you have a 340 and its like telling someone you met jesus! LOL
     
  13. bear

    bear Well-Known Member

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    I know exactly what your talking about there . When people ask me if I've got a 360 in my 79 and I tell them no it's a 318 , they look disapointed . Yet I'd put my lil 318 up against most 4x4's with a 360 and run circle's around them . Hell , I've got freind's with big block brand X truck's that can't out run or out perform my lil old 318 . You get the same thing with big block's . Try runnin a 383 and they say , what , not a 440 ? Thats one of the reason's why I'm thinking about running my 383 in the Willy's I'm getting instead of doing my 440 . When I blow the door's off of them , I can say " but it's only a lil 383" . lol So be proud of your 360 and leave them in a cloud of smoke ! Tire smoke that is ! lol
     
  14. Mopardude

    Mopardude Well-Known Member

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    I have a funny story to tell you. When I took that 360 out of the Dart I built up a 318 that I took out of a Ramcharger that I parted out. I had never owned a 318 before. All my Rams I have ever had were 360. All the Dakotas I have ever had were the 6 cyl. I just did a real basic rebuild to keep it cheap. I bought a 500cfm carter carb and edel intake on Craig's list for real cheap than I bought a cheap summit racing cam that was slightly better than stock. I swear that 318 seemed just as quick in that car as the 360. I mean it didn't have the put you back in the seat torque that the 360 did and it wasn't strong enough to roast the tires all the way down the block either so it actually got traction right away. Also it seemed like the 318 spooled up faster (Is that the right term?), than any 360 I have ever had. I thought it was funny.
     
  15. bear

    bear Well-Known Member

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    I'm not surprized . The 318 is a dam good motor . It's a shame some motos just do'nt get the respect of others . Like I said before , you tell them it's a 318 and they say " what not a 360" and you tell them it's a 360 and they say "what not a 340" and it's the same way with big block's to . That's one of the reason's why I'm leaning towards the 383 in the Willy's . When I blow the door's off of them , I'm gunna say "but it's only a lil 383" . lol
     
  16. bear

    bear Well-Known Member

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    I've got a good 318 story to tell yah . My first Mopar was a 70 plymouth with a 318 . The second day I owned it the timeing chain let go . I was working after school at a garage that the owner was a gear head . So I brought the car in to do my first timeing chain I decided to add a cam , a set of heads , headers , intake , ect. ( You get the picture ) and I wanted everything to look as stock as posable . Right down to the home made fresh air? ram air I fabed up as well as I painted ever thing the factory colors . OK now fast forward about a couple of month's after I did all this work on it . I'm sitting at a light one late night and a yellow 69 Camaro pull's up next to me with a big snorkle scoop , big tire's sticking out the back rumbleing from the cam and glass pack's . He started to goose is gas to show off to some kid's on the corner and then glance's over at me and goose the gas some more . I just look at him , put one foot on the brake and steped down on the go peddle and smoked the crap out of the tire's . Now he want's to go for it . The light turned green and I dusted him not once not twice but three time's . Now the guy is following me around and telling me to pull over . So I ended up pulling into a parking lot and he pulled in and asked me what I had onder that hood . I told him it's just an all stock 318 ? He said NO BLEEP'IN WAY ! You got to have a 440 or something ! I'm like "nope !" It's a lil 318 . He said pop the hood ! So I did and showed him the motor , which I gotta admit did look stock at night . He just walked away scratching his head and got into his car and the next time I saw him he had a big for sale sign in the back window with the price and " will trade for Mopar" in the bottom . lol
     
  17. Mopardude

    Mopardude Well-Known Member

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    LOL That's funny!
     
  18. Scoots

    Scoots Active Member

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    "I have an extra A-body 8 3/4 laying around still from when I had my A-bodies. I have read many places that this is a common swap a lot of Dakota guys do anyways and seems better to me than trying to find a 9 1/4 rear for it. Anyone know if caltracs are a viable option for keeping traction back there or what is popular thing to do, to setup a dakota? All the Dakotas I have ever had have been the 3.9 and that engine can light them up pretty decent so I am curious how the v8 guys are dealing with traction."

    8 3/4 is a way better rear then the 9 1/4. Its damn near as strong and has the 3rd member so so you can keep a few members setup with different gears. I highly suggest an E body 8 3/4 because its only 1/2 inch different width than stock and with the 5 on 4.5 bolt pattern you can get 1990 Dak front rotors and have the same bolt pattern whereas the A body 4" can never match the front. I have one for sale thats ready to bolt in a Dak, shame your so far away. As far as traction, its a pickup.. forget about it! As far as wheel hop, get yourself a Mopar adjustable pinion snubber and weld some steel just over the snubber on a cross member, its only like 4" off. Then put your battery in the far rear of the bed and get a Ramcharger gas tank to go where the spare would be on the Dak frame.

    NV3500 never came in a Dak that Im aware of. Im pretty sure a Ram 2500/3500 is gonna be the only place to source that. The Dak and half tons will have the AX15 which is a decent trans. Dont forget about A833 & NP435's. Both rock solid options. If you must have OD you can get a gear vendor OD later.

    A few notes regarding a LA in a Mag equipped truck.. are you going to go carb or SMPI? If carb you'll need to convert your fuel system as the 94 didnt have return line style supply. 45+ psi will blow the seats right outa the carb. Pumps in the tank so it takes a bit of work to convert properly. You can get a pump and return lines from a 92 and have return style then all you need is a regulator. If you go Mag SMPI you have to get a Mag intake on your engine to support the injectors, TB and sensors. Mopar has one but its pricey. See, LA heads have sideways mounting holes for the intake while Mags are vertical.

    Then you have the issue of accessory drive. The Mag serpentine wont just bolt on the LA, there isnt enough bosses on the head.

    Also, if you go Mag SMPI on your LA you will need to hack and tape the 3.9 wiring harness for 2 more injectors and you will need a V8 PCM from the right year. Then you run into compatibility issues because the LA will have far less vacuum and the PCM will have a hard time adjusting. Oh and dont forget O2's.

    Hope this helps.
     
  19. Mopardude

    Mopardude Well-Known Member

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    Hey Scoots thanks for your input!

    Whats the difference in lengths between the A body an E do you happen to know off hand? The A body one I have needs to be rebuilt anyways so getting new axles with the correct lug spacing I really don't see as an issue. But I am always like to hear alternative ideas and balance time vs money spent. As far as its a pickup and don't count on ever having traction I don't really buy that. I have seen plenty of trucks either at the drag strip or on youtube that have done fairly well at dealing with that issue.

    Dakotas did come with the NV3500 but from my searching they are pretty rare, I dunno if they were only available certain years or RT package or what. The only real difference I guess between the Dakota and Ram NV3500 is the location of the shifter. On a Dakota version the shifter is 6in offset either forward or back of what the Ram version is. I may go with the AX15 on the dodge forums they are kinda outcasted but I know a few Jeep guys that speak wonders of them. NP435 is a nice trans for low end grunt but I have not found any reliable info if the mounts will line up right. I kinda want to keep it drop in and go instead of having to reengineer the trans support. There is going to be enough fabricating as it is when I put the 42 body on that frame.
     
  20. Scoots

    Scoots Active Member

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    No problem, I like to pass on what Ive learned.

    I dont know the exact difference. Just remember, after you get the custom axles that are about 300 you'll need to get all the big bolt pattern brakes and hardware. You may be better off starting with an e body axle. Just my .02.

    Your right about some pickups hooking up but in my experience any short bed pickup that ever hooked had a link rear suspension that was very adjustable. Those suspensions can distribute the power very far forward in the chassis. I know my sb reg cab Dak with a 3.9 on N2O could break 60 series tires loose hitting 3rd gear. I think the weight distribution on a Dak is like 70 front 30 rear and thats a V6.

    I stand corrected about the trans. I see that they did come through with the 3500. Ive only ever seen the 15. Pretty sure the RT never came with the 3500 tough, far as I know the 360 only came with an auto during the Dak RT production run.
     
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