No announcement yet.

39 Dodge on a Dakota frame

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 39 Dodge on a Dakota frame

    I bought this 39-47 Dodge truck sheet metal at the Jefferson WI swap meet 2 or 3 years ago. It was one of those whim buys, my son and I was walking past, the cab was on the cart, the grill pieces were propped up, with the hood sort of holding everything together, and the box sides were propped up behind the cab. It sort of looked like a truck burred to the cab on dirt. I walked around it twice. I've built nearly every era of Dodge trucks more modern then this, so I have sort of been looking for one as a cheap project. This one had no price on it, and I didn't have any money, so I was just looking at it. My son asked how much, and the guy gave us a price. Too much. As I was walking away, the guy dropped $100. Some other guy walked up, and I think they suckered me, but I bought it hook line and sinker. I was now the proud new owner of Dodge truck sheet metal.

    I got it home and stared at it for a few weeks then put the box sides along the side of the shop, stored the hood and grill, and set the cab on its cart on the edge of the driveway. The cab has been sitting on the edge of the drive, in front of my garage waiting for me to decide how and what I was going to do with it. Click image for larger version

Name:	001.JPG
Views:	2
Size:	100.2 KB
ID:	641417

    Time really flies when you don't have money, and your not sure how you want to build something. Fall, a year ago, my grandson bought a Dakota pickup. As one would expect with a 16 year old's first truck, it needed a few parts. He located a 91 Dakota standard cab, long box that had a few parts he needed, and it just happened to have a pretty decent chassis he didn't need. His mother and I bought the $150 Dakota and had it towed to my house (the rear axle was locked up). My grandson got the parts he needed, and I got the chassis I needed.

    We had a pretty mild winter last year, and the weather was pretty nice in Jan & Feb. so I started dissembling the Dakota and set the 39 cab on the frame to determine how much the wheelbase needed shortened. Click image for larger version

Name:	004.JPG
Views:	1
Size:	86.7 KB
ID:	641418Click image for larger version

Name:	002.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	149.2 KB
ID:	641419Click image for larger version

Name:	019.JPG
Views:	1
Size:	84.1 KB
ID:	641420
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Gene; 12-27-2017, 03:30 PM. Reason: Spelling corrections

  • #2
    So, I ended up removing 10" between the wheel base, and I knew the rear frame rails would need to be trimmed off and the front frame definitely had to be modified.

    That was about the time my project got preempted.

    The red & white wagon (its a 57 Dodge) belongs to my son. He had pulled the drivetrain out of it last fall because the car was suppose to go into the local college body shop to get repainted. They over booked and didn't get to it.
    Rather then reinstall the drive train that was in it, he decided he wanted to install a modern Hemi. He found a motor & trans in a wrecked truck and he could buy the whole truck pretty cheap. The motor, trans, computer and all the other needed parts were still good, the truck had been rear ended. We drove the truck 45 miles home, but the rear axle locked up just 3 miles short of the destination. Can we give a shout out to AAA?
    So the now non-moving truck is parked on my driveway, in the only place I can reach with my air tools. My son decided he can sell a bunch of parts off the truck in a pretty short time and wondered if that would be OK. Well, you know how that story goes, a couple weeks turned into a couple of months, and I told him he better remove that truck or I would. He did.

    The drive train pulled from the wagon was a 97 5.9 (360) EFI gas motor with an OD auto trans. It had the Hot Wire engine harness and used the efi. The new motor was a 2003 5.7 Hemi with an automatic trans. We discovered the hard way that there is nothing interchangeable between the 2 motors. We had to build new motor mounts, modify the trans mount, redo the exhaust, and we had to modify the power steering pump. The 57 power steering is unusual, we modified the 5.9 power steering pump to work with the 57's power steering gear box, but the 5.9 pump does not fit the Hemi, and the modifications we did on the 5.9 pump can not be done to the Hemi pump. We also had to order a new Hot Wire engine harness and adapt it to the car harness. Are we having fun yet?

    It took about 2 1/2 months to get the Hemi to work in the 57 wagon. It was worth the work.
    My son was able to drive the wagon about 100 miles, but he had a exhaust leak (we don't do exhaust here). He took the car to the exhaust shop to get fixed and the shop owner determined the exhaust was too small for the Hemi, so he replace the side with the leak, and scheduled the car to come back the next week to get the other side done. The shop was unable to get to the car that week, so my son was going to pick up the car the next morning. This is where things went down hill fast.

    There was a flash flood early Sat morning. At midnight the exhaust shop lot was dry. At 5 am, small puddles began to appear. By 7am, the water in the lot was 2' high and no one would pull any cars off the flooding lot. By 2pm that afternoon the car was up to the roof under water. It would be nearly a week before we could get the car out of the water. Fortunately, the car was insured by my son with an Agreed Value, and it was also covered by the shop's insurance. We got permission from both companies to get the car out of the water. The 1st stop was a nearby body shop that friends own. Them and my son pulled the interior out, and did the first 2 cleanups, then the car was brought to my shop. We pulled the front clip, and did in depth cleaning, drained the motor oil and pulled the plugs. turned the motor by hand, and WD40'd the cylinders 3 times.
    The shop insurance told my son he would probably get faster results filing a claim through his insurance then that company would reimburse his company. About a week into the clean up, we ran into an issue with my son's insurance. American Family Insurance, under the collector car agreed value policy, began all kinds of issues concerning this car. We ended up calling the IL Insurance Commissioner to get them to move. Then, when we thought it was going to be OK, they tried to pull another stunt. We had to call the IL Insurance Commissioner a 2nd time. it took nearly 3 months after the car went under water before my son got a check for an agreed value on his car, then his company got reimburse in less then a week after they paid my son!

    All this time my project sits along the dive, out of reach. I got to go now, I will update latter tonight, and bring this up to current status. Gene
    Last edited by Gene; 12-27-2017, 03:38 PM. Reason: Spelling correction


    • #3
      WOW! Talk about it going off the rails! Be very hard to keep a patient attitude on a deal like that. Sounds like things getting better though.


      • #4
        Its been a challenge for sure!

        I just lost an hour of typing that was suppose to bring this up to date. That sucks! Gene


        • #5
          So after my son finally got the money from the insurance company, we finished cleaning up the wagon. Its currently at the body shop getting painted. We saved the Hemi. We had the trans rebuilt. We will replace the rear axle assembly. We will replace the engine harness and the body wiring harness. We will replace all the electrical components. We will replace the interior, and We will replace all the brake parts.
          The bright side of all this wagon issue is I got the 360 Magnum, auto trans, and the Hot Wire harness that was pulled from the wagon last fall. I still needed a motor & trans, so this was a good deal for me.

          While i was waiting to get my truck back to where i could work on it, I was cruising Craig's list and found a 1947 Dodge pickup. It was complete, and even had a title. I just had to go and look. The cab was pretty good. It had floors in it yet, and both doors opened and closed with both the inside and the outside handles! I thought (that will be an important word later) it could save me several hours of work. I no longer have a trailer, or any other means of hauling cars, so I had to have a local guy go pick it up for me. Click image for larger version

Name:	083.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	199.7 KB
ID:	592775Click image for larger version

Name:	084.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	259.8 KB
ID:	592774

          After it got home and I had a chance to really look it over, I began questioning my decision. The front fenders were beat to death, it would take several hours time for each fender to make it look right. The rear fenders were just slightly better then junk, they would take longer to save then the front fenders. The cab looks solid, but somewhere along the way, someone ground off all the paint and let it sit outside for a long time. It was heavily rusted and pretty badly pitted.

          After staring at it, when I as finally able to do something I elected to use the "new" cab.

          The firewall on the original cab is flat with a vertical recess, top to bottom, about 12" wide so that the the firewall clears the flathead 6. To clear the 360, that 12" recess would have to expand to 30" to clear the width of the 360 and its exhaust manifolds. In this picture, you can see the original recess above the flathead, and you can see the cut out required to clear the motor & exhaust.Click image for larger version

Name:	085.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	136.0 KB
ID:	592776

          Once the notch was cut, the cab would sit down on the frame. The original floor pan had a toe board welded to the firewall and the sides of the cab. That toe board was solid to the bottom of the recess, but the sides came all the way to the flat floor. There was a bolt in panel that was bolted to the base of the recess and the side panels that was about 4" high and about 36" wide. That bolt in piece ended at the flat floor. There was a bolt in wood floorboard that covered the trans and extended to under the pedals on the driver side and over into the passenger side. The wood floorboard was the same width as the steel bolted floor pan above it and was 12" front to rear wide. The front body mounts were in the metal beside the wood on the flat part of the floor. The floor was flat from door to door and from the angled toe board to the seat riser.

          To set the cab on the frame, the back of the cab needed to be notched for frame clearance, and on the driver side to clear the Dakota gas tank. The driver side floor at the back of the cab had to be raised 3" to clear the gas tank, about 6" forward of the back of the cab, and from the center of the cab outward to about 6" from the driver side door edge. A raised trans tunnel would also need to be added.

          I ended up moving the front cab mounts towards the door edge 2" on each side, and the cab mount on the floor would have to be raised 1 1/2" above the frame for the front cab mounts.
          By the time I got the firewall notch in, and the trans tunnel in, and relocated both front cab mounts and relocated both rear cab mounts, most of the original floor was removed. Remember, this cab was going to save me all that time? Yea, right! Only a section behind the seat riser, about 16" wide, and from one door to the other was all that remained untouched.

          About Oct 1st, I realized I had a different problem. This truck will spend its life outside. I have a lot of new unprotected sheet metal, and winter is fast approaching. I come to the conclusion I needed to get some paint on the cab, at least the firewall and the back of the cab. I had to put the cab on the frame, install the motor, and get the motor covered, and if I wanted paint between the cab and the front of the box, it would have to be done before I moved much farther forward. The cab was off the frame and sitting on jack stands, so paint would be pretty easy, I've done this before!

          I had concluded that maybe I should use a rust converter on the cab in hopes of prolonging its life. All the rust converters I have seen require you to remove all the loose rust. The problem is, all the rust on this cab is loose. I hit it with a grinder and all it did was load up the grinding wheel and make rust dust. Next I tried my little spot sand blaster and it didn't even faze the rust. So then I get one of those Rust Buster course double disc things to put in your drill. That really worked pretty well. I could get down to actual metal in a few minutes. I spent 2 days with the disc on my drill removing the rust. It really did a pretty good job. Next up was the Rustoluem rust converter. Directions say: Two coats and let dry over night. Sand smooth, then prime with an oil base primer, DA smooth, then topcoat.
          So the next morning the rust converter was looking pretty good after the quick sand job. For some unknown dumb reason I decided to prime with an oil base primer using a brush. I spent the better part of the next day sanding with 400 wet to try to remove most of the brush strokes. Then I decided I needed to do a little filler work on some parts of the cab, since it was going to be painted. Two days of body work (I hate to do body work), and a coat of primer, this time sprayed on.
          The next day had to be paint day. The paint would have to dry overnight, and the cab would need to move outdoors, I had a job I had to get done.

          The next morning, the Omaha Orange paint was ready to go on. I got everything ready, mixed up a cup full of paint and painted the roof. It looked great. Then I got off the ladder and came across the back of the cab. The top paint nozzle on my gun quit feeding, and a big blob of paint came out the bottom nozzle huge run! I stopped, wiped down the run, cleaned the gun and tried again. About 10 minutes into the cup, and the top nozzle quit feeding and another big blob came out the bottom and more runs appeared. I didn't have time for that. I had to get the paint on the cab that day. I figured a lot of paint was better then no paint. I just needed the back of the cab and the firewall decent, the rest could be sanded down and get redone in the spring, with a new paint gun. The cab was moved outside the next morning. Lets just say there is plenty of paint on the cab. Gene
          Last edited by Gene; 12-27-2017, 03:58 PM. Reason: spelling corrections


          • #6
            After I got some work done, I was ably to get the cab bolted to the frame. I got the motor and trans bolted to the frame. I made a quick easy bracket to hold the grill in position so I could bolt the hood on and have it latch down. I will need to get a radiator so I can fabricate the radiator support and grill mount. Then I need to enclose the bottom of the grill shell. The original bottom of the grill curves forward and bolts to the front of the fenders. At this point, I'm not sure I'm using fenders. I have always wanted a fender less ride, this might be my last chance. If I don't like the fender less ride, I have a lot of work to do to use the fenders I do have. For now I'm going with the fender less look.

            The steering column proved to be a challenge as well. My firewall notch on the driver side end plate just happened to be where the column needed to be. It took some time to get those goofy angles right, but I whipped it. After the paint, and bolting of the cab, the steering column still fit and works well. I also have the brake booster mounted to the firewall and the pedal is done. I ran the fuel and brake lines on the frame after it was painted a few months ago, I now have the brake lines connected to the master cylinder. I just got the front calipers and hoses for Christmas, the rear brakes were all done when the rear axle was bolted to the frame, before it was painted. I'm going to replace the front brake rotors as well, but I will wait until it gets closer to driving.

            The Hot Wire engine harness is free standing. It comes as a complete system, there are 4 wires to connect, a battery hot, an ignition hot, a fused fuel pump power, and a switched starter power wire. There are also connecting wires for gauge input and a few other options. I still need to have truck wiring to power those needed circuits, and lights, heater, and that sort of stuff. I am cutting down the 91 Dakota harness to do that, I believe I have it under control, I just need to get it under the dash.

            I have the old truck box sides. The Dakota had an 8' box and the old box sides are 6 1/2' I I cut both ends off the Dakota box floor (its steel and in great shape). I will use the Dakota box front, and then bolt the old box sides to the Dakota floor. I will probably make a tailgate, the box will only be about 10 " deep.

            I was progressing pretty well, but the weather beat me. I didn't get it running in time. We have gotten our first (and now 2nd) snowfall and I had to move the truck off the driveway. I can't get it back on the drive and in the garage by myself, or back outside if I need to move it. I'm probably screwed until spring or unless we get a stretch of nice weather and i can get it running and moving under its own power. Gene Pictures:
            Attached Files
            Last edited by Gene; 12-27-2017, 04:05 PM. Reason: spelling corrections


            • #7
              Looking very good!


              • #8
                The truck is still sitting outside, but I thought maybe I could get some stuff ready to install when I can work on the truck again.

                I want a heater/defroster in this truck. Nothing is worse then having a fogged windshield, or riding in an ice cold truck. OK, so I'm getting to be a wimp as I get older, I'm OK with that! The heater/AC assembly from the Dakota is too long and stands out too far from the firewall to fit in the 39 cab. I thought I was pretty smart when I bought a much smaller heating unit at a swap meet last fall. The smaller unit even came with a modern blower motor and a hot water shutoff valve. The heater core even tested good, such a deal! The only problem was, it didn't fit in the cab either. The cab has the vertical recess in the center of the firewall, and the smaller heater doesn't fit between the recess and the side of the can. it was 3"-4" too long. I also found out the new blower motor had a shaft that was too big for the blower fan blade mounting hole. At least I thought I could use the cable controlled water valve. I have about 15" wide, 10" high, and about 8" deep area I can put a heater/defroster in, shouldn't be that hard to mount up a heater core with a fan, right? After all, I'm a welder, and I have metal and metal working tools here. I can buy a really nice heater box with defroster duct work for this Dodge truck for just over $200, but I'm cheap and broke so I would rather not venture down that path.

                In my collection, I have heater boxes from a couple different vehicles, plus this "new" one, I have 3 heater core options, but only 2 fan options (remember the "new" one the fan doesn't fit the motor. I could buy a new motor, nah.
                I have quickly discovered the modern efficient blower motors have squirrel cages rather then fan blades, and they take up more room, the duct work is more difficult as well.
                The heater core from the "new" heater has the hose outlets on opposite corners and the nipples are about 4" long. It would need to stand upright with the hose connectors facing the firewall. The squirrel cage would not fit between the core and the firewall, so duct work would have to be made to direct the air flow through the core then up or down, it could move the air from either the front or the rear, but the height of the duct work would be a huge challenge, in addition to having the air turn at least 90 degrees in less that 2" of space. I made a cardboard box (its cheaper to cut up cardboard then it is to cut up steel).I had the squirrel cage on the passenger side of the core, with the duct work splitting between going up for the defroster and down for the heat. I could cut up one of the modern heaters plastic housing to mount the squirrel cage on the passenger side of the core, but the blower motor had enter the duct work from the passenger side of the truck and mount from the side so it would move the air in the right direction. When I got it together, it was a pretty neat little unit, but it didn't fit in the truck! It was too deep to fit between the bottom of the dash and the firewall, and I would not have been able to shrink it down enough to fit. Well, damn, back to the drawing board.

                Plan C. Heater core #2. This one was short lived. This core has the 2 hose fittings coming out the end of the core and they were pretty cheesy looking crimp style aluminum ends on a brass looking core. Both fittings had bend in the center, and the ends could be moved! with the ends moved to the shortest distance, the core would have had to mount pointing straight in at a 90 degree angle to the firewall, and wo0uld have just cleared the bottom of the dash. Yea, no.

                Plan D. Last heater core. This one has the hose connections at a 90 degree angle to the core, and the nipples are 2" long. It is a nice heavy duty looking core, but with those short nipples at that angle, a different process will need to be done. I cut up some more cardboard and made a box with the core standing vertical, flat face facing the firewall. The plan was to mount the squirrel cage at the far end of the core (away from the nipples) with the motor down, and the duct work standing on its side. I was pushing the air through a duct that covered the whole back side between the firewall and the core and would push the air out towards the passenger compartment where I would duct the defrost and heat. Man, it looked promising, but it did not fit in the truck either. The blower made contact with the top of the cowl and I couldn't move it any lower.

                i'm goin to post this for now, I will come back later to finish this installment. Gene


                • #9
                  Heater, plan D modified. At this point I was pretty frustrated. I kept looking at what I had, and where it all had to fit. The area of the firewall around the motor is set back the same distance as the recess in the firewall. Up until now, I was trying to put the heater above the set back firewall in a rather limited space.
                  What if I laid the heater core flat with the hose connections facing up. I could then set the core closer to the dash, and below the firewall step. Then I could use some copper tubing with 90 and 45 degree elbows attached to the core nipples with a short hose and clamps. That would even lower the height the radiator fill would have to be. Then I had room above the core to mount the blower, and I could run my duct work for the heat & defrost out the bottom of the assembly to where it needed to go. Much more careful measurements were made (I already had 2 strikes) and it was determined it would work. I could mount the squirrel cage on top of the heater core, with the motor pointing towards the passenger side. I could offset the blower towards the passenger side which would allow me to run the copper hose connections just above the core and along side of the blower. I could make a light weight 1" x 1" angle frame to hold the blower, and mount the unit to the firewall, then I could build a light weight box to hold the heater core and the duct work mounted below the core. I built an upside down "T" angle frame, the horizontal part will set on the motor setback step on the firewall and the vertical leg running up would support the front edge of the blower motor housing. It would only need to be as long as the heater core, and high enough for the top of the blower to clear the top of the cowl. Below the firewall step only needs to be the height of the thickness of the core and whatever duct work was below it. If the "T" fit, it should work. Attached to the bottom of the "T" is the offset box that holds the core (about 2" thick), attached to the top of the "T" is the blower housing for the squirrel cage with the motor on the passenger side. Time for that test fit, and it worked! Not a lot of clearance at the top of the blower housing, but I can get my fingers between the blower top and the insulation. I have at least 3" to shift the unit side to side before the top clearance goes away.

                  With this success, I thought it would be nice to have the hot water shut off valve mounted in this area too if I could do it. So, this is the 1st time I actually looked at the shutoff valve. It has a brass hose fitting inlet, the shutoff is a plunger the moves in the center of the brass tube, and that plunger is controlled by a cable operated lever inside a box on the back side of the valve.The valve is an aged nice and clean, showing no signs of having ever leaked, maybe it will be OK...
                  Now the dumb part. That brass tube with the plunger in it makes a curve after it gets past the plunger, but that curve (really it is a U bend) brings the other end of the brass for the hose connection out facing the same direction as the other end, about 2" apart. The inlet and the outlet both face the same direction. The coolant entered the valve, went past the plunger, made a U turn and exited the same direction it had just come from. Then, there is a 3" x 5" box on the back side, offset to one side. There are two screws that mounted the box into whatever, the screws come from the same direction as the hoses. For this to be useful, it would have to mount inside the firewall, the coolant would enter into the valve inlet, make the U turn to exit the valve outlet, make another U turn, to enter the inlet copper tubing, make a 90 to enter the heater core, make the U turn to pass through the core, make another 90 degree bend before it could leave the copper tubing and return to the motor.

                  The only place I could mount that valve would be between the recess in the firewall and the blower housing. If it was turned so the cable attachment would put the cable within reach of the driver, the offset box around the valve I would have to move the assemble to the right far enough it would have eliminated the clearance to the blower housing at the top. If I turned the valve 180 degrees, the operating cable would have been outside the reach of the driver. Ad to that, the concern about what if the valve started leaking, and that I would have to make a copper U bend for between the valve outlet and the heater core inlet. I will have to come up with a different way to control the hot water. I still have to add the mounting studs I'm going to use to attach the heater assembly to the firewall. I do have a cardboard template to determine the holes for the mounting studs and the hole for the hose inlet and outlet for the core. I also have to decide how I'm going to make the air duct work for the heat/defroster. I'm pretty happy I've dealt with this while the truck is sitting outside and I have the time to deal with it.

                  i'm having just about as much fun with the dash, and the truck body wiring! I may end up buying a wiring harness for the truck body.

                  I'm about $3000 into this truck right now, and I estimate there is another $2500-$3000 worth of parts yet to buy. So much for being cheap and easy, and I'm not doing so well at quick either! Gene


                  • #10
                    OK, so these posts are just not the same without pictures. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures as the process dragged on, so you get to see the finished product.

                    Lets start with a couple pictures of where the heater has to mount. From the outside was pretty easy.Click image for larger version

Name:	013.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	106.6 KB
ID:	592886 Notice all the holes in this section of the firewall? I added a few, and some were there before me. I will be adding a new piece to cover the existing holes because I will need to add new holes to mount this heater.

                    From the inside was a different story. I have that silver covered bubble wrap insulation glued to the firewall, and the dash is in the way. The pictures are looking through the glove box door.Click image for larger version

Name:	014.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	233.7 KB
ID:	592887Click image for larger version

Name:	015.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	178.7 KB
ID:	592888

                    A few measurements to give an idea of the area. The step has 3 1/4" between the two firewall surfaces. From the step to the underside of the cowl is 10 1/2". The width from the center recess (the far left of the picture) to the side of the cab is 14". The distance from the bottom lip of the dash to the farthest forward part of the firewall is 14".

                    Here are a couple of pictures of the hot water shutoff valve I ended up not using. Click image for larger version

Name:	008.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	158.4 KB
ID:	592889Click image for larger version

Name:	009.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	177.4 KB
ID:	592890

                    Side views of the nearly finished heater assembly, the 1st is from the driver side, the 2nd is from the passenger side. The black round looking thing is the squirrel cage housing, and the silver box at the bottom is where the heater core is. The duct work for the defrost and heater outlets still needs to be made, it will attach by screws to the bottom of the core box. Click image for larger version

Name:	001.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	136.2 KB
ID:	592891Click image for larger version

Name:	003.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	130.8 KB
ID:	592892 The cardboard is the template for the mounting holes and represents where the farthest forward section of the firewall will be. The setback of the core box is the depth of the firewall step.

                    I don't think I can add any more pictures to this reply, so I will make another reply to finish with the pictures I took this morning. Gene
                    Last edited by Gene; 02-02-2018, 09:39 AM.


                    • #11
                      Good thing this mess is going to be tucked up under the dash, its pretty ugly.

                      Just because, a view of the heater assembly from above, and then from the firewall side (without the cardboard). I intend to mount the assembly with 3 studs that will be welded to the assembly and will stick through the firewall to have nuts installed to hold it to the firewall. The bolt in the top of the vertical angle is where 1 stud will be, to the far passenger side of the angle is where the 2nd stud will be. The 3rd stud will probably be at the bottom of the vertical angle. The copper tube and fittings are not yet soldered, and I will be adding a piece to keep them aligned and a brace to hold them in position near the firewall.Click image for larger version

Name:	004.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	161.0 KB
ID:	592893Click image for larger version

Name:	005.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	128.2 KB
ID:	592894 Once installed, there will be 6" between the bottom of the dash and the core housing. The bottom of the heater assemble as is will be about even with the bottom of the dash, the lower duct work will be below the dash but tucked up against the firewall. Right now, the heater assembly will be easy to install or remove. I suspect things will be different when the wiring and fuse boxes, and all the other things that I think are necessary get installed.

                      I hit the submit button instead of the add attachment button, oops!

                      Next on the set of fun stuff to do is wiring. I had the complete wiring harness out of the donor Dakota. It was pretty nice, wasn't even hacked up, before I started. The intent was to use everything from the Dakota, but the dash won't work, and the steering column won't work. Then i discovered this under dash wiring had a "control box", and everything inside the truck ran through that box. Oh Boy, this will be fun.... The motor is fuel injected, and the transmission is computer controlled, but it came with a Hot Wire harness that is a stand alone harness, it comes with the computer plug ins, its own fuse box and the needed relays. You only have 4 wires you need to connect to the vehicle harness to make it run, and then there are wires supplied for electrical gauges and other options. Here is a picture of the Hot Wire under dash wiring. I will need to mount the computer, the relays (4 of them) and the fuse box, and connect the 4 needed wires and whatever other wires I want to use.Click image for larger version

Name:	016.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	144.6 KB
ID:	592895.

                      I have sorted the under dash mess (really, it is sorted), I just need to figure out where everything will need to be and start splicing wires (a bunch of them).Click image for larger version

Name:	012.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	162.4 KB
ID:	592896 the entire firewall width is not as wide as the table top is..

                      Please excuse my portable table top. I'm working out of a 2 car garage that I use to earn a living. In that 2 car garage are 2 welders, a big air compressor, a cherry picker, my snow blower, 2 steel saw horses to hold heavy stuff, probably a ton of steel bar stock and several 4' x 8' sheets of steel & aluminum. There there is the tool box, the nut & bolt bin, the work bench and the vice and grinder bench, a touch & tanks, a small desk, a couple of chairs, and the usual assortment of stuff that always seems to collect in any open area. I still have room to get a full size pickup in there and can work on either side and on either the front or the back. The modified wood skid sits on 2 plastic saw horses and can be taken apart in a minute if I need the space it occupies. Gene
                      Last edited by Gene; 02-02-2018, 10:28 AM.


                      • #12
                        a Gen II Compac Vintage Air evaporator/heater box fits nice behind the dash. You will loose most of the glove box though. Sometimes it's better to buy something instead of fabbing.


                        • #13
                          I don't believe the Gen II Compac Vintage Air box would fit in my truck, the bottom 1/2 of my firewall has been modified. If you look at the outside view of the firewall, the large holes at the bottom left side and the large hole on the upper right side are the original heater mounting holes, the section of firewall to the right of the bottom hole is set back in the cab 3". On top of that, I still need to squeeze in 2 fuse boxes, a computer and wiring into the already crowded under dash. I believe the fuse box will already occupy a good portion of the glove box.

                          Then there is the cost factor, I would rather invest that money to move the project forward. There is a lot of stuff on this truck that would be easier and faster if I through money at it, but that is not the intent with this truck. I'm building it for me, if I were getting paid to build it for someone else, I would install the aftermarket stuff, it would be less costly for them then it would be to pay me for the time it would take to build something. For me on my projects, its all about doing it myself, its the challenge. If everyone used what was currently available, how would anything new or different ever get built?

                          It would only take a little time and a little more material to build a container around my heater assembly and make it pretty, and that is something that may, or may not get done, but honestly, its not something that is a high priority for me at this point. I prefer to get the truck functioning, then go back and make things pretty. Far too often, things have to be modified because of unforeseen issues the come up later in a build. Gene


                          • #14
                            based on your comments, it's seems like you have not looked through my build, in regards to re-purposing parts and materials on hand or firewall modifications. In my case, I need ac but i don't care about heat so aftermarket was the only way to go. I'm not even hooking up the heater hoses.
                            Last edited by wedged; 02-02-2018, 02:47 PM.


                            • #15
                              the cutout in my firewall is a little larger than yours.
                              Attached Files