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Thread: Project: Doitall Dodge

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Southwest Colorado
    Posts
    2,784

    Default Project: Doitall Dodge

    I guess everyone eventually falls into a project! I didn't really plan to ever build a full size truck for my expedition vehicle but that is what came my way. I would have much rather had a Unimog or an long wheelbase jeep in some respects, but all around I don't think I made a bad choice.

    This is also my first Dodge, and what a beast it is! I grew up a ford guy, then messed around with toyota, jeeps, etc. I have been off-roading for the past 15-20 years now. I still have my old 1942 Willys jeep, and that was probably the number one reason I got this truck. I need something to tow the old Willys around. Since we moved down to Southwest Colorado it is absolutely killing me that Moab is only 2.5 hours away, not to mention all the high mountain Colorado trails right out my back door, montrose, and farmington....all close enough for weekend trips!

    Now I didn't just run out and buy the first diesel truck I could find. I looked LONG AND HARD to find it. In the end it did fall into my lap being that it was local to me.

    The number one thing I wanted was a diesel. Since college I have had a thing for alternative fuels. Diesel engines 'can' burn about anything in an emergency, and can digest a solid diet of cheap alternative fuels if proper care is taken.

    The second thing I really wanted was a 'Rebuild-able' and 'Simple' truck. I didn't want a fluffy new truck that uses a lot of special tools and parts. I wanted something very simple that could be maintained and fixed with simple hand tools and no computers. The drivetrain needed to be very strong and also have serviceable wheel bearings, brakes, etc.

    After looking around at just about everything produced since the 70s I decided on the 1st generation Dodge truck. I feel they are the last of the truly rebuild-able trucks.

    Once I had decided on what I wanted to get....I had to find one. I looked locally in the paper, on bulletin boards, Craigslist, ebay, etc. I was pretty picky in what I wanted. I wanted a 1992 or 1993 since they came with the first of the Intercooled Turbocharged Cummins engines. I also wanted a manual transmission. I have gone back and forth over the years about transmissions......generally I always end up with a manual. The Getrag transmission in these trucks isn't the best, but I think it gets a bad rep most of the time. Its a decent all iron granny 5-speed. The transmission is backed by the last np205 transfer cases used in the dodge lineup. It also has 32 spline front and rear outputs. The front axle is the last of the King-pin Dana 60s with serviceable bearings. The rear axle is a 32 spline Dana 70 full floating axle. All in all I think its the best 'stock' drivetrain you can get in a pickup unless you want to start swapping stuff.

    Anyways. I am sure you are all bored by now so I will get on with it. I ended up finding a very well used 1992 W250 locally. It was the truck that I would have ordered off the showroom floor back in the day. The 92-93 W250s have the same 8" tall frame as the 1-ton trucks. The only difference between the 3/4ton and 1ton as far as I can tell is the rear spring packs and perhaps some rear brake parts. The truck was WELL used overall, but I purchased it for $2000. I don't care who you are....getting just the drive train for that was a good deal!

    Here are some pics of the truck the day I went and got it....





    Its a project for sure....

    Its a 1992 W250 manufactured in april of 92.
    Intercooled Cummins Turbo Diesel
    5-speed manual transmission
    4wd
    Regular cab longbed
    Tilt steering, intermittent wipers
    Air conditioning
    Cruise control
    Vinyl flooring
    Bench seat
    Manual window and locks

    It was owned by the same family for most of its life. It was recently passed down from father to son. The son was very artistic and decorated the truck with lots of tags and stickers! Those where the first things to come off!

    The truck also came with a nice reciever hitch, a gooseneck hitch, new front springs to level the truck, 16x8" aluminum rims, 315/75r16 worn out tires, 240K on the odometer, no front driveshaft, a very rough body covered in a thin coat of cheap bedliner, a cracked windshield, and no drivers side window in the door!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Southwest Colorado
    Posts
    2,784
    Since this truck has to earn a living it really needed a front driveshaft! Since it didn't come with one at all this opened the door to an improvement.....

    The stock rear driveshaft on a 1st gen dodge diesel is a nice beefy unit that has huge 1410 u-joints at both ends while the front is an oddball unit with a 1330ish flange mount CV joint and a dodge specific u-joint at the front dana 60 pinion.

    After some careful measuring I concluded that I could ditch the front CV joint and run a normal front drive shaft if I didn't lift the truck anymore. I don't have any plans to lift the suspension any more on this truck, if anything I might drop it an inch or two!

    After some more looking I concluded that the pinion yoke off the rear axle will work on the front AND the same is true with the front and rear 32 spline outputs on the NP205 transfer case. So with the right parts I could have matching 1410 driveshaft parts for the front and rear of the truck. This means that I can swap a lot of parts front to back if I ever needed to for a trail or road repair. I can also carry less spare parts because the front and rear driveshafts use the same u-joint at all 4 places.

    I looked long and hard for a used rear driveshaft and yokes to make a front shaft but didn't have any luck. With winter approaching I needed 4wd and needed it now! My driveway is just insane in the winter.

    So after giving up on finding used parts I ordered all the parts I would need to convert the front over to regular 1410 yokes and all the driveline parts I needed.

    After installing some new seals I bolted up the new yokes. Please excuse the oily mess I have under he truck!



    Since I had to get new yokes I decided to get yokes with u-bolts instead of straps. I will modify the rear yoke for u-bolts in the near future.

    Once I had the new yokes in I double checked all the measurements for compression, extension and static length. I built my own driveshaft to save some money. I felt it was short enough to not need balancing AND I can generally get the tolerance for runout much less than production shops at work. I ended up making the shaft with some 3" .120 DOM seamless tubing for a little extra beef. I didn't get too many shots but you can see it below on the table at work as I check the yokes to make sure they are in phase. The total run out on the shaft ended up being about .004-.006! Thats good enough for this old truck.



    I ended up playing with having the slip yoke at the transfer case for the first round. I think this will help everything clear the cross member better. I will change it around after I build the new belly skidplate and cross member.





    I have a few months on the shaft as I am writing this. It doesn't vibrate at all. I wouldn't suggest going 100mph in 4wd but I feel very comfortable going 60 mph in 4hi. In all reality this truck is heavy enough and has a long enough wheelbase that I don't use 4wd over about 30mph in most cases.

    I really like the fact that one spare 1410 u-joint will fit either the front or rear drive shaft at either the transfer case or the pinion. The slip yokes will also swap front to rear if I ever need to do that.

    Next.....Body work....ACK!!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Harford Co, MD
    Posts
    1,024
    We used one of these on the farm I worked on in college, loved the truck. Gobs of power. Welcome to the full size rig club! Look forward to seeing your build.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Nashville, TN.
    Posts
    213

    Thumbs up You're speaking my language!

    Awesome Metcalf... Heck'uva a find! Kind of like a stray puppy... It found you!

    I like to think of the Dodge/Cummins First Gens as being similar to a Ball-Peen Hammer: Simple, Functional & Robust... If you stare at one long enough from this perspective, you might even think sexy Also, back to the Ball-Peen Hammer analogy.... Somewhat difficult to tear up!

    The beauty of these trucks is that someone has already had all of the problems and knows the fix. No issues are original.... They're just happening to you for the first time! (That's what Google & the TDR are for)

    Hey, just one moment of unsolicited advice (my girlfriend sez I'm good at this sort of thing) regarding the Getrag G360. Good News - with as many miles as you have on yours, you probably have a good one! You can keep it alive longer by increasing oil level. The Getrag G360 uses regular 5W-30 motor oil as a lubricant.... Not Gear Oil. Here's the unsolicited tip: Change the oil in the Trans to Synthetic Oil (Mobil 1 5W-30 worked well for me when I still had the Getrag) and when done filling to the top plug on the Trans.... Pull the Shifter Boot (inside the truck) and top off with another Pint (16 oz.). The manual sez the G360 holds 3.5 U.S. Quarts, by adding more oil the Output Shaft Bearing isn't starved for lube causing it's early dimise.

    Here's the Getrag G360 ratios if interested:
    1st - 5.531:1
    2nd - 3.017:1
    3rd - 1.60:1
    4th - 1.00:1
    5th - 0.77:1
    Reverse - 5.029:1

    Note: I carried the decimals to 3 places in most cases, because precision matters!
    Besides, Decimals are easier... It's fact: "5 out of 4 people have difficulty with fractions"

    Feel free to give a shout or PM if you need anything out of the much used Service Manual.

    BTW: I forgot to mention in all of the First Gen excitement, that I definitely have a severe case of Front Drive Shaft Envy! Still on my list & spinning the Slip Yoke Unit after all of these years.

    KEENO
    Last edited by KEENO; 03-10-2009 at 01:28 AM.
    1992 Dodge W250 w/ 1998 5.9 Cummins 12V with Bosch P7100 Mech. Injector Pump, NVG4500HD 5spd. & stuff. WilderNest Expandable Camper (Summer) or 8 ft. Alaskan Camper (Winter)
    2002 Honda XR650L "Big Red Pig" & more stuff

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Tucson "It's a dry heat" AZ
    Posts
    350
    Wow, that's a humungus front driveshaft!

    Just can't beat the early Dodge diesels for bulletproof. Like KEENO said, everything that can go wrong (and there's not much) is a known fix. I kick myself everyday for selling mine...I just had to get something "newer and better"...ya, right.

    You know the old saying, "You don't know what you have until it's gone." Well, I learned that one.

    And I have to say "Hi' to KEENO...now there's a ghost from TDR threads past. KEENO- you'll remember me...I'm the one who found out a '93 won't start if you put the air filter in backwards...
    Scott
    Scott

    Member of:
    Blue Ribbon Coalition--protecting our access to public lands

    NRA--protecting our right to protect ourselves

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Nashville, TN.
    Posts
    213

    Talking Hey...

    Not to Hi-jack:

    Hey Overdrive... I do remember you from the TDR, but don't remember the Air Filter Issue! Not surprising, I'm over 40 now and seem to have selective memory retention. Is it true about the airfilter??? LOL

    I still love the Turbo Diesel Register and I'm a current member since January of 2000. But... How many questions can you ask/answer about First Gen's? It kind of becomes like watching reruns of "Leave it to Beaver"

    I bought an old Alaskan Camper for the First Gen and really digging ExPo! Great Gang here!

    KEENO

    PS: I even stole my Truck Signature from the TDR instead of retype. Lazy?
    1992 Dodge W250 w/ 1998 5.9 Cummins 12V with Bosch P7100 Mech. Injector Pump, NVG4500HD 5spd. & stuff. WilderNest Expandable Camper (Summer) or 8 ft. Alaskan Camper (Winter)
    2002 Honda XR650L "Big Red Pig" & more stuff

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Tucson "It's a dry heat" AZ
    Posts
    350
    Quote Originally Posted by KEENO View Post
    Not to Hi-jack:

    Is it true about the airfilter??? LOL



    I bought an old Alaskan Camper for the First Gen and really digging ExPo! Great Gang here!

    KEENO
    Oh yes it's true... the solid steel end has to go one way 'cause the air won't flow too well through the steel...of course, I managed to put it the other way.

    Definately a great gang here at ExPo. Put up some pics of your sweet ride!

    [Hi-jack off]
    Scott

    Member of:
    Blue Ribbon Coalition--protecting our access to public lands

    NRA--protecting our right to protect ourselves

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Southwest Colorado
    Posts
    2,784
    Overall I have been very impressed with this truck. I have had a fullsize ford since high school, but the big block and shortbox don't lend itself to my current needs. I had thought about installing a 4bt in the ol' girl but decided it was cheaper to just by a compete truck with the the diesel and one ton running gear already in it.

    My Getrag is a little finicky but doesn't make any 'bad' noises. Last week I drained out whatever was in it and pumped in 5 quarts of synthetic 5w-30. It made a world of difference in how it shifted both cold and warm. I know this transmission won't last forever and I have visions of a 6-speed install someday!

    The thing that surprises me the most is the mileage this truck archives. I have been getting a very consistent 20-21mpg with mixed driving. I don't drive it to the floor all the time, but I don't really baby it. This also includes towing a light trailer around and hauling 400 gallons of water to the house in the bed about twice a week. It doesn't really tend to care what I do. I have 3.54 gears with 315/75R16s on it now. The gearing works out pretty well. On the flats its great but on the climb out of Durango on the way home it fights 5th gear and 4th is just a little too low. A 3200 spring might fix this problem enough.

    The overall plans for this truck are to be an all around truck that I can haul my Willys jeep to Moab on the weekends, camp out of the back, haul water to the house, haul whatever I want, and run mild long range expeditions like trips down Baja.

    I have had visions of spending WAY too much money on this truck. I am fighting a battle in my head about how far to take the buildup. Basically the buildup can fall into three categories....

    3- The most crazy and expensive. Nice and low on 42s, ARBs, 4.56s, 6 speed, Lowmax t-case, etc etc. I could spend 50K it seems!

    2- A more mild buildup on 37s, stretch the fenders, etc,

    1- Keep most everything stock with 315s, clean, stockish.

    The problem with going bigger than 315s is that it leads to this snowball effect where the truck ends up costing a fortune. I am trying to be very frugal on the truck by buying used parts, junkyard parts, and even building a lot of parts myself. I am also doing all the body work and paint myself.

    The basic plan as of today is...

    -Clean up the bodywork, fix what is needed, and paint it all a nice color.
    -Run some 315 tires so I can keep the 3.54 gears.
    -Find a camper shell for the back and build a nice sleeping/storage system.
    -Build a nice set of bumpers and rocker guards.
    -Install a winch in the front
    -Install some kind of on-board air system.
    -Install a 2nd fuel tank behind the rear axle

    I have a lot of other little stuff I can do as weekend projects....
    -Twin stick cable shifter for the NP205 for FWD and 2low
    -Hydroboost brakes
    -Crossover steering conversion
    -Spruce up the interior
    -Motor mods
    -and on and on.

    The biggest priority right now is the body work.

    I will work up my next post later tonight about the start of the bodywork.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    92
    I always loved the old bodystyle Dodges. Down here in the South if you mention the words dodge and Cummins in the same sentence you have a gold mine. You can almost get anything you want.
    W. Dennis Ely, Jr.

    2006 Dodge Ram 1500 2x4
    2002 Toyota 4-runner 2x4
    2000 Ford Excursion 4x4 (Mothership)(Burned to the Ground)
    1997 Ford F-150 4x4 (Sold with 350,000 miles)
    1946 CJ -2A

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Southwest Colorado
    Posts
    2,784
    Bodywork!!!

    I have to warn everyone that I am not the best body man at all! I am learning as I go. I am pretty use to working with metal so a lot of this is coming pretty easy. I am not really using any fancy tools yet....

    The biggest problem with this truck is that the body was pretty dang rough and coated lightly in some Durabak bedliner. This bedliner has been a total pain in the rear to remove. I have tried about everything and am resorting to borrowing a sandblaster in the near future.

    I figured I would start by doing some light welding. The bed on the truck is pretty hammered. Both front bedside seams are split on the front edge of the bed. I got everything back into place and starting welding them up with my little welder using some .025 wire and C25.



    These corners where pretty darn bad. I ended up with some low spots from the welding but those will be easy to fill with a light coat of lightweight filler.
    The key to welding sheet metal is to take your time. Remove all the paint, or bedliner and paint in my case, you want nice clean bare metal to weld. DO NOT try and run a bead, its just tack-move-tack-move-tack. The farther you can space out the tack welds and reduce the heat the better. Also the less gap the better in general unless you have some way to back the metal with some copper or something. Once I got the corners welded up I started cleaning them up with a sanding disc on the 4" grinder. If you go really slow and light this works great, just remember not to hit the sheet metal to much, its really easy to burn through. Its not perfect but it did clean up pretty well.



    Both sides of the bed had pretty good splits. I also had some pretty bad damage to the rear bed corners on the top near the tailgate.







    I did the same basic process. I bent all the metal back in place the best I could and welded everything back together followed by some more flap disc sanding to clean everything up. I still have a little more work to do but they came together pretty well. It is amazing the difference in rigidity that these repairs made.



    I was also able to start fixing the drivers side front fender. It has a nice little dent in the front corner. I was able to hammer and dolly it back into shape well enough that I can skim coat and sand it. I decided to leave the small crease in the metal. It was stretched a little too bad to pound out. I didn't want to heat shrink it. This dodge sheet metal doesn't strike me as the best.

    Before.



    After.





    I didn't bother to try and remove the paint for this area yet. This has that bedliner on it and its a pain. It also saves me from priming it while I drive the truck around during the week.

    Needed to break this up into two posts.....

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