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Glad to see this thread come back up. This truck has come a LONG way since the rat's nest. Lookin good. Been a very enjoyable story to follow. Dennis
 
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Discussion Starter · #125 ·
I finished the body work on the tailgate and painted it. Got a bit more orange peel than I'd like. It was difficult to see how the clear was laying down on the white paint.



I think I'm done with body work for a while. My body has had enough chemicals thrown at it.

I don't want to give the impression I like doing it, either. I hate body work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #126 ·
Put the tailgate back together and back on the truck. I think it turned out pretty well.



I bought some plastic bed rail caps for it. They're just sitting on it in the phots as its too hot to stick them down right now (its roughly 100F right now and just too hot for adhesive tape).



 

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Discussion Starter · #127 ·
Sprayed on a few coats of Duplicolor truck bed coating this afternoon. Half the damned state is on fire right now so I had to keep blowing ash off of it with compressed air while spraying. The orange hue these photos have is accurate.







Don't know how thrilled I am with this product. We'll see how it dries and how it holds up.
 

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I have tried many of the spray on bedliner products. We used to use it a lot when fabricating stuff for City vehicles. I still do at my "new" job. Duplicolor USED to be a good one, then they changed it. Currently, I find the best (from a rattle can) to be RAPTOR. It sprays on good, has a nice texture, and seems to hold up better. Currently, I have been using it on channel aluminum that I use to make risers for light bar installations. My light dump trucks need something to raise the bar enough so that it is visible above the front of the bed. I also recently used a rattle can of Raptor to spray the roof rails on my Subaru Baja. (15.99 from Autozone). Very pleased with the results.
I had previously used Raptor from a can on the roof of my Spacecab (way back). In spraying, something went wrong and I ended up rolling it. It came out looking like I had coated the roof of my truck with cottage cheese (I used white). I had a heck of a time getting the stuff stripped off my roof. Dennis
 
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Discussion Starter · #129 ·
DSUZU said:
I have tried many of the spray on bedliner products. We used to use it a lot when fabricating stuff for City vehicles. I still do at my "new" job. Duplicolor USED to be a good one, then they changed it. Currently, I find the best (from a rattle can) to be RAPTOR. It sprays on good, has a nice texture, and seems to hold up better. Currently, I have been using it on channel aluminum that I use to make risers for light bar installations. My light dump trucks need something to raise the bar enough so that it is visible above the front of the bed. I also recently used a rattle can of Raptor to spray the roof rails on my Subaru Baja. (15.99 from Autozone). Very pleased with the results.
I had previously used Raptor from a can on the roof of my Spacecab (way back). In spraying, something went wrong and I ended up rolling it. It came out looking like I had coated the roof of my truck with cottage cheese (I used white). I had a heck of a time getting the stuff stripped off my roof. Dennis
Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check it out. I need some more for the windshield reveal moldings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #130 ·
I put the new bumper on today. It came pretty beat up and missing the hardware and half of the brackets so I ended up reconditioning my original brackets and hardware.





And then spraying the crap out of everything with Cosmoline once it was all bolted together.



 

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Discussion Starter · #131 ·
Now that I have the tail gate looking a bit better on the Dakota, I wanted something that would offer some protection, similar to what the bed liner does. Or, more accurately, hide the crappy bedliner I sprayed on the tail gate

I bought a Rugged Liner [DD97TG] tail gate liner for it on Amazon. There isn't a lot out there in the way of tailgate liners for the Dakota. Really, this is pretty much it.

Whoever made this liner gave no ****s. Not a one. None of the edges are straight, or the same shape. It looks like they were cut out using a bread knife. The holes are drilled, wherever. Some more than once. Putting it on the gate, the top channel that sits over the tailgate didn't fit over the tailgate. Not even close. The Dakota tailgate has a curvature to the top of it. The liner, does not.

Now having said all that, I figured, "let's see what I can do with it". I spent some time with a heat gun and re-shaped the top side of it. I then masked off the edges in straight lines and used a belt sander to square them up. It took some time but honestly, it cleaned up nicely.

It came with several self-drilling screws that hold it to the tailgate.



It also uses one of the bolts for the latch handle to help hold it in place.



I used the self-drilling screws on the inner holes but the outer ones were drilled all wonky and they were too big for these screws, so I used some of the self-drilling torx bolts I had leftover from the Audi.



All-in-all, I'm pretty happy with it. I had to effectively finish the manufacturing process myself but that's fine.

 

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Discussion Starter · #133 ·
I had some conduit strut channel laying out behind the workshop that I'd been thinking about dragging off for scrap but then today I got an idea to use it to make a sort of modular tie-down system for the truck. I cut it down to 72 1/2" to fit the length of the bed rails and bolted it to the box in five or six places along its length. I then made some tie-downs to fit inside the channel. I cut some 1 1/2" stock to the right length and welded a captured nut to the backside of it. I then made a second piece and threaded in an eyelet. When the eyelet is tightened down, it creates a clamping force holding the tie-down firmly in position. This lets me move it anywhere I like along the length of the channel.

I made three tie-downs. I think I want to make three more. I need to go get some more eyelets.







This gives me somewhere to hook my tie-downs when, say, I make a cardboard run to the recycling center, for instance.

 

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That is very similar to the Nissan Frontier utili track. I had it in my frontier and ended up making extra tie downs like yours. They have factory made ones that should work with this track as well, but I always feared they would be easily stolen.

Truck is looking great!
 
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Discussion Starter · #135 ·
I have reverse lights!



These haven't worked since I've owned the truck. I did some testing a few days ago and found the switch was no longer working and also the connector and wiring to it were badly corroded.

I made a new connector and soldered it in, then replaced the switch. It took a lot longer than expected. The shift linkage and cooler line are both right in the way.



Now to figure out the cargo light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #136 ·
Latest update on the Dodge, if anyone is still reading this.

The steering box I put in, what, less than two years ago, failed. It started pulling more and more to the right and eventually stopped centering all together. I replaced it with another rebuilt Saginaw box.



The paint I'd put all over everything, was total crap, and failed within 6 months, rusting most of the undercarriage. F*&K VHT paint. Seriously. So while I had it up in the air, working on the steering box, I cleaned all of the parts with a wire brush, then cleaned everything up with phosphoric acid, coated with SEM self-etch and a topcoat of Rustoleum Professional. Installed new shocks at the same time. I didn't care much for the Monroe Reflex shocks I installed previously. They were both too soft and too harsh, if you can imagine such a thing.

 

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Discussion Starter · #137 ·
I've known about this rust since I bought the truck and I've ignored it since I know repairing it will suck balls. But I think I need to get on it as its getting worse. The back side is in even worse condition.





This is where the back half of the frame bolts to the front. It sits right in front of where the wheels splash road muck and its a riveted connection. I'm not sure what Dodge was thinking with putting a connection here. Maybe the shorter and longer wheelbase trucks use the same front frame section?

What do you guys think for repairing this? I'm thinking, remove the bed, remove the rear axle and leaf springs, remove the rear shock crossmember, then grind off the rivets, both sides, and separate the back frame from the front. Then cut out the rust, weld in patches, then weld on reinforcement panels on top of the patches. Then put the whole thing back together with bolts and a lot of Cosmoline.
 

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Discussion Starter · #138 ·
Also, I think it's time to replace the trucks transmission. It's had a problem with slipping in second gear and leaks fluid out of either the input shaft seal or the torque converter oil seal. I thought about having a shop do it but quotes were $3k plus.
 

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radare said:
I've known about this rust since I bought the truck and I've ignored it since I know repairing it will suck balls. But I think I need to get on it as its getting worse. The back side looks even worse.

This is where the back half of the frame bolts to the front. It sits right in front of where the wheels splash road muck and its a riveted connection. I'm not sure what Dodge was thinking with putting a connection here. Maybe the shorter and longer wheelbase trucks use the same front frame section?

What do you guys think for repairing this? I'm thinking, remove the bed, remove the rear axle and leaf springs, remove the rear shock crossmember, then grind off the rivets, both sides, and separate the back frame from the front. Then cut out the rust, weld in patches, then weld on reinforcement panels on top of the patches. Then put the whole thing back together with bolts and a lot of Cosmoline.
alot of trucks are built the same way...front section laminated and riveted to the back section...for different frame lengths... even the big highway trucks... after long years of salty cross country driving they rot out between the frame joints and cross-members....the aluminum frames corrode from the inside out, you dont notice it until the frame BREAKS ....the rivets are considered structural, but full welded joints are not... :roll: they can be corroded, but if all the rivets are there, its considered ''roadworthy'' :?

do some careful cross-section measurements, cut out the rust, install new bolts, then weld it up...it seems to me that your repairs are over the top as well, so it should not have any issues for the rest of its life!

i myself have had no luck with anything built by monroe, for shocks on my troopers....went to mush rather quickly, the ranchos were nice, but they failed as well.in a few short months... :evil:

''cardone'' rebuilt parts are junk. high failure rate on their rebuilt stuff. i swear its just repainted stuff with new seals installed :lol:

raptor liner is da bomb!! going to paint an entire car with that stuff...hides alot of my welding / bodywork imperfections... :oops:

truck looks 110% better than when you first got it. attention to detail pays off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #140 ·
93trooperpooper said:
alot of trucks are built the same way...front section laminated and riveted to the back section...for different frame lengths... even the big highway trucks... after long years of salty cross country driving they rot out between the frame joints and cross-members....the aluminum frames corrode from the inside out, you dont notice it until the frame BREAKS ....the rivets are considered structural, but full welded joints are not... :roll: they can be corroded, but if all the rivets are there, its considered ''roadworthy'' :?

do some careful cross-section measurements, cut out the rust, install new bolts, then weld it up...it seems to me that your repairs are over the top as well, so it should not have any issues for the rest of its life!
That's a good point. Would you think bolts would be sufficient to replace those rivets. I'd likely drill them out slightly and run a larger bolt; maybe 9/16" or 5/8" if there's room, and probably hold them in there with some red Loctite.

I will probably weld in a patch the same thickness of the frame, then have a couple reinforcement panels water-cut from, maybe 1/4" cold rolled, and weld those on over top of the repair, each side, for extra strength. The passenger side doesn't look near as bad, but if I'm doing the driver side, it'll probably be done to match.

i myself have had no luck with anything built by monroe, for shocks on my troopers....went to mush rather quickly, the ranchos were nice, but they failed as well.in a few short months... :evil:
I offered them up for free on Craigslist and someone took them. Maybe they'll be better than whatever they are replacing. These KYB shocks are night-and-day better.
 
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