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49 Dodge well darn, here we go again!

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  • #76
    The idea of a CD player was an unusual event for me, I don't often put a radio into a hot rod. Over the last 40 years, I've abused my hearing pretty bad, I've probably lost 40 -50 % of my hearing. On top of that, we usually drive around with the windows down, so air blowing into the hot rod makes hearing the radio a bit more of a challenge. I have learned to appreciate a more quite exhaust, so the exhaust usually doesn't add any issues. The past few years, my wife and I spend a lot of time in the coupe and we actually have conversations, so the radio tends to be an interruption to the conversation.

    With this truck, we are exploring the option of actually adding AC, if that happens, the windows will be up, there are times a few tunes would be a nice extra.

    I have here 3 or 4 old Mopar radios from various projects I've collected through the years. I was looking at a hole in the dash about the place a radio might fit, so I dug one out and did a trial fit. The old Mopar radios (think 80s - 90s) have pretty big housings (the wiring harness I'm using had the high $$ Mopar AM FM cassette player radio with the 6 speakers, which I also have) with the wire harness plugs at the upper rear of the housing. The only place one of those radios would come close to fitting, the one wire harness plug is tight against the defroster duct work and even the the radio would stick almost an inch out of the dash more then anything else. An aftermarket radio may fit better, but I don't have one here, but then again, I don't have a radio with a CD player here either.

    The radio may not be a complete loss at this point though, I'm going to install bucket seats with a storage box between the seats. A radio/CD player may end up inside that storage box. At this point, the radio is on hold, at least until I get to the seats and storage box.

    I'm moving slowly forward on the dash. I have created a rather large glove compartment out of sheet metal and have it mounted into position with screws. The dash itself is going to be a series of smaller pieces that will be held together with welds, brackets, and screws. The instrument cluster sits up pretty high and is mounted at an angle for better viewing from the seat. The top edge is about an inch higher then the defroster duct work. The unit is pretty square, so I have to make a 3 piece surround because I can't make what needs to be done in one piece. Between the front top of the instrument cluster and the windshield is about 10" of space that will need to have outlets cut into it for the defroster ducts, which are about 3" from the windshield. The defroster duct work is pretty much straight, but the windshield has a "V" shape. The center of the windshield is 5" more forward then each outer edge of the windshield, yea, its a pretty big "V". The top of the dash will have to be make in three pieces, two on the driver side, and one on the passenger side. On the left side of the instrument cluster is the headlight switch, a mirror adjuster (which may or may not get used), and a switch to turn off the transmission over drive. All 3 of those switches are mounted on a panel already in place, but that panel is very close to the windshield because Dodge elected to put the roll up door handle in that same area. That switch panel is about 2" away from the left edge of the windshield, and about 3" closer to the windshield then the instrument cluster is. The instrument cluster cover will also have to accommodate that step and enclose the side of the cluster. There will also need to be a filler piece made to enclose the area between the headlight switch panel and the inner edge of the driver door. The fuse panel sits below the switch panel, and is about even with the bottom of the steering column. I will need to cover that space as well.

    To the right of the instrument cluster, and just below it, is the only location for the heat control unit. That too was mounted earlier in the process. Above the heat control unit was originally where the radio and a pair of AC ducts were mounted, unfortunately, the radio is too deep to fit in that location. I will make a temporary fill panel to cover the hole. Moving towards the right, 1 3/4" from the right edge of the heat control unit is where the lever for the cowl vent is located. 2" to the right of that is the glove box. I have to make a panel to sit between the right side of the steering column, under the instrument cluster, and under the heat control unit and end at the left side of the cowl vent lever. I will also have to make a filler panel for between the right side of the cowl vent lever and the piece under the glove box. The glove box sits towards the seat from the wiper and vent linkage, so it is about 5" deep and 5" high on the left edge and tapers down to 4" deep and 4" high on the right side, but its 20" long! When I made the glove box, I added an extension to enclose the bottom end. To the right side of the glove box will need to be another filler piece to the passenger door side.

    Pic 1) sorry about the blur, didn't realize it was like that until I downloaded it. What you see here is the dash looking through the passenger door. The big red box is the glove box interior. The steel pieces (right and left side) that is clamped to the glove box is the dash top. The red piece around the instrument cluster is its 3 piece cover. I made a couple of the other pieces today, and I finished up the edges around the glove box. The dash top piece and the instrument cover will all be welded together. The dash top will be screwed to the top of the glove box, and there is going to have to be at least 2 screws between the defroster ducts and the windshield. The rest of the panels will also be secured in place with screws, I think.

    While I had the glove box out of the truck, I took a few pictures of the wiper linkage and the cowl vent linkage.

    Pic 2) This is with the glove box removed. The silver and black thing at the right side of the picture is the Dakota wiper motor. The back of the glove box sits about 1/4" forward of electrical connection on the wiper motor, and that connection is about the center of the glove box. The rusty piece with the white box that runs up from the bottom of the pic is the bottom of the dash support. Moving along the bottom support towards the left, the 1st thing we see is the lower dash support piece. The silver part of that support piece goes up to a bracket welded to the windshield pinch weld. just left of that is the cowl vent operating lever. The cam I refereed to the other day is towards the seat edge, the bolt at the top and the rod going towards the firewall is the actuating rod. The cowl vent is closed in this position. The black tube that extends from the right side of the pic to the left side is the defrosted duct, you can see where it drops down (with the white band aid) and tucks in behind the next object, which is the heat control unit. Notice how far the heat control unit protrudes away from the dash? The back of that unit just barely clears the defroster duct work.Above this unit is the only place a radio will fit in the dash. The front of the radio would be another inch closer to the seat then the heat unit is. The red piece is the instrument cluster cover. The position of the instrument cluster to the steering column is exactly the same as it would be if it was still mounted in the Dakota.

    Wiper linkage.
    Pic 3) This would be the wiper motor in all its glory. The piece dropping to the bottom is the brace is connected to the bottom of the dash, but its more to the right then the bracket in pic2. There are also brackets to go up behind the defroster duct that attach to the windshield pinch weld. Notice I have an arrow showing me which direction the motor turns.
    Pic 4) This is the passenger side wiper post. The rusty looking rod is the linkage from the wiper motor to the pivot point (shown later). The black linkage comes from the same pivot point, and drives this wiper post. The wiper is in the full up position in this pic. As an added bonus, the bolt with all the washers on it is the right side cowl vent pivot. The gray side is attached to the vent door and the rusty part is the bracket welded to the bottom of the cowl.
    Pic 5) The same post, with the wipers in the park position. The wiper blades are at the outer edge of the windshield.
    Pic 6) This is the bottom 1/2 of the center pivot in the park position. The lower rusty linkage is the same linkage that runs to the motor. The black linkage is harder to see because it attaches to the same bolt, but on the back side of the bearing housing. The two round things on the bearing housing are the carrage bolts that hod it together. The large bolt is the pivot bolt and is attached to a bracket that is bolted to the windshield pinch weld. The top ear is behind the defroster duct. The distance between the bolts on the ears and the center bolt is the same length. the rod in the center of the picture is the cowl vent door linkage. The black bar to the right of the cowl vent linkage is the lower dash bracket shown in pic 2. A bracket to support the left edge of the glove box is attached to the stud with the red paint around it.
    Pic 7) This picture shows the wiper center pivot in the full up position, you can see just the base of the other ear on the pivot. This picture shows the vent door end of the cowl vent. At about the center of the pic is the adjustable rod from the cowl vent lever. It is attached to a rod that has an "S" bend and is welded to a flat 1/8" plate that is bent to almost 90 degrees. That plate is bolted to the vent door. The vent is locked closed. Gene


    • #77
      Hey Gene! Hope you and the family are well......all good here. First off....nice try trying to make us believe this is going to be your last build.... I don't believe it :o). If you stop building your gona have to stop typing as well. Never happen LOL. The new build is coming along've picked another with a boat load of work! I like the door latch deal. I've been looking a bear claws over the last few days. I have the passenger door lined up pretty nicley, new pins, no hang but you really have to slam that bugger. I'm back on it and working on the drivers side door which requires a lot less work than the passenger side.
      Keep plugging pal. Stay Well Couper


      • #78
        Originally posted by Couper View Post
        Hey Gene! Hope you and the family are well......all good here. First off....nice try trying to make us believe this is going to be your last build.... I don't believe it :o). If you stop building your gona have to stop typing as well. Never happen LOL. The new build is coming along've picked another with a boat load of work! I like the door latch deal. I've been looking a bear claws over the last few days. I have the passenger door lined up pretty nicley, new pins, no hang but you really have to slam that bugger. I'm back on it and working on the drivers side door which requires a lot less work than the passenger side.
        Keep plugging pal. Stay Well Couper
        You nailed that Couper! LMAO! Gene will stop doing this stuff about the same time line that Gene Winfield stops customizing cars! (I'm thinking about Bear Claws too) 1930 Chevy truck build link:


        • #79
          Hey Cooper & Old Stuff,
          Those bear claw latches are a patented name from the Hoffman automotive group of companies. The Hoffman group has a reputation for selling poor quality off shore stuff, and the latches they sell are no better then most of their other stuff. There are several outlets that sell the same poor quality stuff.

          There is a company in Ohio that sells made in the USA bear jaw latches that are a much better quality

          I looked at putting a set of those better quality (and cheaper) door latches in my truck, but those latches do not have a door lock mechanism, if you want locks, you either need to have locking door handles, or you have to add the electric door poppers. That is why I ended up installing the Dakota door latches in my truck. Gene


          • #80
            Hey Gene! Cool beans I'm gona call hot rod latches tomorrow....thanks. Old Stuff....I agree on that time line pal! Keep punching guys!


            • #81
              Cooper, you can get a pair of outside door handles with locks with matching keys (you need to tell them you want matching keys) for your truck at they are the people that actually have them made to spec, so the price and quality are better then you will find anywhere else. I had a pair of their outside locking handles on my 39. Gene


              • #82
                Still plugging away at the dash, I made the last fill piece that needed welding today. I still have to cut the piece of sheet metal to cover the hole in the center of the dash, above the heat control unit but its just a rectangle with 4 screw holes. I have decided to make the top cover of the dash removable separate from everything else. That means I will need to pull the top off, and the piece around the instrument cluster off. I have both pieces marked so I can clamp them together and drill the holes for the screws. I would rather have drilled the holes and ran in the screws while everything was still in the truck, but my drill wouldn't clear the windshield, I think the drilling process would have missed everything in the instrument cluster, but I'm not sure. By marking the two parts and pulling them to drill solves 2 problems at once. I can line up my marks, drill a hole, run in a screw, drill the next hole and run in that screw and keep doing it until I have all 4 screws in place. This process assures me all 4 screws will line up with the holes and everything will fit together when its all done. The first 4 holes drilled are the pilot size holes for the screws to cut threads into the sheet metal. Then everything is dissembled and the outside piece of metal has the pilot holes enlarged by 3-4 drill sizes (just smaller then the diameter of the screw head is good). That allows some adjustment and makes it much easier to screw together in the future. When the complete dash is completed, I will sand it all down with 320 grit, and prime it (out of the truck of course). If it looks OK in the primer, I'll paint it with a semi gloss paint, if it really needs some smoothing out, I will use body filler before the painting. Dash pieces in semi gloss paint don't give nearly as much reflection in the glass as gloss paint does, and is easier to clean up then a flat paint is.

                The next phase, after the dash is the seats and seat belts. My buddy bought a pair of bucket seats out of a late model mini van last fall for a project he was doing, but he sold that project with a bench seat in it. He gave me the bucket seats yesterday! They are in the shop right now, pretty nice seats, and free on top of it. That saved me a trip to the pick & pull and the 60 mile round trip to pull a pair out of a mini van myself, in the cold. I've decided to buy new seat belts (3 point), we have a place in town that make racing seat belts, I'm going to stop by and see if they can make a set of retractable belts for me before I order a set on line.
                No pictures today, maybe tomorrow. Gene


                • #83
                  Just a quick update with pictures to finish off the week.
                  I have the dash done except mounting the glove box door and painting the dash. I was able to use the glove box door off the Dakota, but the hinges will be at the very bottom of the door, mounted in the plastic part. I didn't want to drill holes there, so I picked up some 2 part epoxy and so I could bond the hinges to the door. Its suppose to be in the 30s next week, so maybe I will be able to paint the dash then.
                  Pic 1) This is the cover over the instrument cluster (the red part) and the top cover of the rest of the dash, showing the 5 screws that will hold it together. I've ordered some #8 trim screws and a bunch of #8 U nuts that will be fit into the under structure everyplace I currently have just sheet metal screws. Over time, and a few times of removing screws that are just in sheet metal, the holes tend to enlarge and the screws won't hold the metal tight which causes squeaks and rattles (I hate squeaks and rattles). The U nuts prevent this from happening. I will end up drilling the holes the screws are threaded through bigger and I will also have to trim the edges because the U nuts are only 7/16" from the edge to the hole center.

                  Pic 2) This is the driver side of the dash in its ready to sand finish.
                  Pic 3) This is the passenger side dash, as seen from sitting on the seat. When the glove box door is in place, the top of the door will cover the 5 screws above the box.
                  Pic 4) These are the seats my buddy gave me. They are the rear most bucket seats out of a Mopar minivan with the lock levers and rollers for the seat removal. I will need to cut the rollers and locks off the bottom.
                  Pics 5 & 6) This is one of the seats sitting on wood blocks in the truck. This seat is actually the passenger seat, the seat belt should be on the inside edge of the seat, not out towards the door. I did sit in the seat to be sure it was going to work. I did refrain from making the motor roaring noises though, I could have just started the motor and heard the real thing, but I didn't even do that.
                  Pic 7 & 8) This is what the floor looks like under the seats. Originally, the bench seat sat on adjusters that are bolted to the front edge and the rear edge of the sheet metal surround. I knew I was going to have to modify that seat support when it came time for the seat. After the modifications are complete, I will be adding the Naico insulation to that part of the floor pan as well. I ordered new adjusters for both seats last night. They are suppose to be here Monday.
                  As an interesting note, the round hole plug on the driver side floor was originally a heated seat option! Dodge wrapped a piece of sheet metal around the exhaust pipe and ducted the heat from the exhaust up through the hole in the floor and the surrounding sheet metal held the heat under the seat. There was a simple vent door closing off the hole in the summer. This will be a year around use truck, I have considered creating that heated seat option.

                  You guys be safe, and warm. Gene
                  Last edited by Gene; 02-19-2021, 11:21 PM.


                  • #84
                    Those seats look entirely too comfortable........... LMAO!

                    Funny that Dodge's design to heat the seat seems like something a fella might do down on the farm LOL. Simple but obviously effective.

                    Got any "loose" goals for finishing that rascal?
           1930 Chevy truck build link:


                    • #85
                      Loose goals? I'm retired, everything is a loose goal, finally! Unfortunately, my "loose goals" may not be as loose as some others.

                      Goal # 1) I will be driving this by this summer!
                      I will probably have to drive it next winter, or I'll have to put some money in my current beater Dakota I bought 2 years ago as a temporary winter ride.

                      Between now and then, the list really is getting smaller. The truck doesn't appear to be changing much, but a lot of stuff doesn't change the appearance much at first glance.

                      I have the driver seat brackets finished and the seat is sitting in the truck. All I need to do with it is bolt the seat frame to the floor. I'm about 1/2 way done with the seat bracket for the passenger seat, it will also be sitting in place by the end of the day tomorrow. I am going to build a center consul (this will include the all important storage spaces for the wife) and I will mount the seat and shoulder belts before I bolt the seats to the floor. The goal is to have all that done by the end of next week. My dash screws and U nuts arrived yesterday. I need to blow the dash apart and insert the u nuts, then paint the dash matt slate (dark gray) on the top and gloss white on the bottom (the white really helps when you have to work on something under the dash). I'll probably paint any surface not yet painted inside of the cab the slate color as well. Once the painted dash has been installed, the interior will be finished, for now.

                      After the interior is done, the bed in the next item on the agenda. It is the last major part of the project. Currently the Dakota steel bed floor is bolted to the frame with the bed sided cut off right at the inside edge of the inner box sides. I did leave the Dakota front bed panel still attached to the floor. I have the 49 bed sides, and front bed panel, and I also have a newer Dodge step side tailgate here, but its wider then the 49 tailgate would have been. The Dakota bed had the bed sides outside of the rear wheels, but a Dakota bed was not 48" wide between the wheel wells. The 49 bed was a step side bed with fenders and the rear wheels outside of the bed. The 49 bed was 50" wide, so I had to cut tire clearance in the 49's bed sides to clear the rear tires on the Dakota axle. That has already been done.

                      I will need to trim about 4" off each side of the Dakota bed floor for the 49 bed sides to be properly located. The original 49 bed sides had angle iron welded to the sides and that angle sat on top of the wood floor. Those angles were in the wrong place and have been removed. I will weld new angles on the bed sides in the correct location (once I have decided that) and those angles will be bolted to the Dakota steel floor. I will need to determine if I'm going to use the Dakota front panel or the 49's front panel. The bed sides of the 49 have about a 6" wide edge that sits at a 45 degree angle (facing outward) that is raised up above the 49's front panel by about 4". At some point I would like to have a cover for this bed, the Dakota front panel is high and wide enough to accommodate that angle. If I use the 49's front panel, there will be a gap between the two angles at the top that will need filled for a bed cover.

                      There are just a few issues with the front bed panel. Because of where everything in the front of the truck had to be located, there is about 3" between the back of the cab and the front panel of the Dakota bed with the floor bolted in place. I mocked the truck up using the 49 bed sides, so the 49 bed sides have the correct spacing, so I need to address that, but I don't expect it to be a big issue. The battery will be placed in the left front corner of the bed, so I will be building a box around it. Moving the bed front panel 1 1/2" or 2" forward will give me space to run battery cables through.

                      Another issue is the gas fill neck and cap. On the Dakota, the gas fill was inside a gas door ( which I have along with about 2" of sheet metal). I'm using the Dakota gas tank in its original location, the problem is, where the gas fill would sit in the Dakota version is now about 8" outside of where the 49 bed side will be. I would much prefer that fill neck to be inside of the bed (I'd rather make a box around the fill neck on the inside rather then on the outside), but the Dakota neck doesn't appear to be able to be shortened enough to work. I think this will be the biggest challenge of the entire bed, and I don't picture it to be a huge issue.

                      One more thing I will need to address with the bed will be the area around the wheel wells. I've kept the Dakota wheel wells intact (they will need to be trimmed), but I would really like to be able to lay a full 48" width piece of material on the bed floor flat, if the need ever arises to need something. Its too hard to determine exactly how close the tire and wheel will be to the bed floor until things get trimmed and positioned into place. I'll do what ever I need to then.

                      After the bed is done (I'm thinking maybe a week or two at most), I'm going to build front and rear bumpers and bumper brackets. I have a plan, its just a matter of doing it. Then headlights and tail lights. I have everything for the headlights, but really have not given any thought to the tail lights. Once I get to that point, I think the truck will tell me what it wants.

                      Then its the dreaded body work. I'm not opposed to putting it in primmer and driving it that way for a while.

                      So how am I doing on my time line? I kind of expected to be starting body work by mid March. I believe I'm about a month behind. The problem is, once the weather gets nice, the truck project is probably screwed. Gene


                      • #86
                        Just a quick update.
                        I got the passenger seat brackets done Sat, and had both seats in the cab. I have the floor marked as to where the seat brackets will be located. I have decided that the original framing the bench seat sat on all has to come out of the cab. I could have installed the new seats with the original framework still present, but it would cause issues with the consul and the wife's storage space. I also have decided that I need to plug that 3" diameter hole that the original 49 seat heater was ducted through the floor. The inside bracket for the driver seat pretty much cuts directly across the center of the hole, and with removing all the original seat framing, the whole deal would be pretty useless. I also got all the old seat framework removed Sat.

                        Today was the start of the seat belt installation. I'm using a lap & shoulder belt setup from the 96 Dakota parts truck. Those belts only had 44,000 miles of use, and looked like they were brand new, they match the seat too. I think I'm going to do a "how to" on the seat belts in a different section on this site because I suspect it may be something that will be helpful to a lot of others. If I just posted it here, people might not be able to find it.

                        I thought I had the seat belt deal all locked up on the driver side of the truck. I made the brackets, and had everything except the last bracket bolted in place. I wanted top set the seat in position so I could get that last bolt in the correct location. Once the seat was in place, I sat on it and did a test fit on the belt. Where the shoulder belt attaches to the cab at the top of the seat is a pretty tight position. The truck has corner windows, and the best placement for that top belt mount would be about 2" below the center line of the glass (or about 3" above the bottom of the glass). We know that won't work, so in its best configuration, its going to be a bit lower then I would like it to be. I figure being a bit lower is much better then not being there at all, so lower it will be.

                        I added some reinforcing to the cab corner, below the glass and rubber, but the process ended up with the belt attachment point being about an inch lower then it could possibly be mounted. I thought that might be OK, but after the test fit, I decided I needed to raise it up that extra inch. More reinforcing will be added so I can move the mounting point up another inch, and closer to the back of the cab another inch. If I ever have to replace those corner windows, they will be a bigger pain then they were the 1st time. I'd probably consider removing the corner windows! The glass is new, and the rubber around the glass is new, so hopefully replacing anything there won't be a requirement for many years.

                        I'll do that how to when I have both belts mounted. Gene


                        • #87
                          OK, the seat belt interfering with the corner window really bothered me, I had to regroup and take another look.
                          I have here a 95 Dakota extended cab (my beater), my 48 Plymouth coupe, and an 04 PT Cruiser that all have lap and shoulder belts. I parked my butt in the driver and passenger seats of all 3 and looked really hard at the positioning of the shoulder belt top location in relationship to the top of the seat. In every one of them, the top mount is 3" - 4" above the seat back, and is just about perfectly aligned with the top corner of the seat, front to back. then I parked my butt in the 49 and checked where that 3" - 4" above the seat and in perfect alignment front to back would put the top seat belt location. Its got to be the best scientific equation possible, right? I mean 2 out of the 3 were designed by factory engineers.

                          That top belt location on the 49 is dead center on the door post, at about the height of the center of the corner window. That particular location on the 49 happens to be a pretty stout location on the truck cab (as stout as it could be). Pic 1 & 2. The area is boxed sheet metal formed from 4 pieces. The flat surface facing the passenger compartment is two of those pieces overlapping by about an inch. The concept of seat belt anchoring is to have the belt mount pull as much steel as possible. If you look under modern vehicles, the seat belt mounts under the sheet metal floor pan are simple 1/8" plates about 2" square with rounded and rolled up edges and a nut welded over the hole in the center. That plate is spot welded to the floor pan, probably to ease the assembly line belt installation.

                          I can slide a piece of 1 1/4" wide channel with 1/4" wall height into the door post from up on top. The piece I'm using is 16" long and actually reaches from just above the top of the cab structure to just below the rear corner window structure. The position of the nut for the seat belt bracket is 7" from the top. I'm using the original Dakota seat belt retaining bolts, which happen to be fine thread 7/16" bolts.
                          I positioned the bracket that holds the belt to the door post at the center location and drill a 29/64" hole. Then I dropped the 1 1/4" channel into the door post (flat side facing inward) and clamped it at the top and bottom, then I marked the drilled hole's location onto the channel and pulled it back out. There is some side to side movement of the channel inside the door post, so I wanted to get a height location. With the 1 1/4" channel, a 7/16" fine thread nut fits nicely between the raised walls, but the hole needs to be centered on the channel. With my height marked, I can center the hole and drill it with the same 29/64 bit. With the hole drilled in the channel, and both sides debured, I can weld the nut to the channel. Pic 3. Once that has cooled, I want to be sure the bolt threads all the way through the nut. Now I can screw the bolt through the nut, and hold the channel against the door post and mark the post. I will be drilling (4) 1/4" holes through the post about 4" apart and I want them centered on the channel as close as possible. The door post has two layers of metal at the center, the bolt hole passes through both layers. All 4 holes also pass through both layers of metal. I will insert the channel back into the post, and will run the belt bolt in tight so it holds the channel in place, then I will plug weld the channel and the door post together through the 4 holes. For that bolt in the post to move, it has to pull the entire door post along with it.
                          The other two shoulder belt mounts were pretty easy. The belt anchor below the door post mount has the belt locking mechanism, and it has to be mounted so it sits level in its designed location. In the case of the Dakota, the belt bracket has to be level at the floor, and sit at a 90 degree angle so the belt comes straight out of the top. I made an angle iron bracket out of 1/4" x 1 1/2" x 1 1/2 angle. I drilled a 29/64 hole in each flange, with a slight off set from each other. Each hole will have a grade 8 7/16" bolt and nut through it, and I want to be sure the bolts miss each other. I also had to round off the end of the flange pointing upward to so the belt bracket would sit flush. Pic 4. The angle is bolted to the floor so the belt is pretty straight to the door post bracket. Under the floor, I have welded a 7/16" nut to a 1/8" 3" x 3" flat plate. I've rounder the corners off on the plate so there were no sharp corners. I've drilled 4 holes through the floor so that nut plate can be welded to the floor pan. The last shoulder belt mount is positioned at the base of the seat. It needs to be slightly forward of where the seat back and the seat bottom intersect. It is mounted to the floor with the same angle iron bracket as the other bolt, and also has a 1/8" 3" x 3" nut plate welded under the floor. The process is repeated on the other side of the truck.
                          The buckle part of the seat belt is attached to the seat frame on the Minivan seats I used. If you need to mount it to your floor, you can use the same angle iron bracket as was used on the other belt floor mounts. I should be placed just forward of the seat back and the seat bottom intersection of the seat. If that buckle belt needs to be raised up more, you can safely add a 1" wide x 1/8" thick bar stock to the angle iron bracket and use 7/16" grade 8 nuts and bolts. Gene


                          • #88
                            With the seat belts sorted out, it was time to move on to the next thing that bugged me.
                            this truck and been wrecked at one time it its life, and it had been laid over on the roof enough to bend the roof some. That was addressed early on so I could get the glass in place. Door fit was always a bit questionable, I had to repair the bottom of the doors and repair both hinge areas on both doors. When I added the Dakota latches, the doors opened and closed very nicely, one finger open, light push to latch tight, but the door gaps suck, and the body lines are off. Pic 1. This body line mismatch is nearly a 1/2" off, this is the side of the truck cab that received the roof damage. The troubling problem is, I can lift the door enough to line up the body lines, but I can't lift it and see what is moving. The hinges and the hinge mounts are tight with no slop. One day my son stopped by, and I had him lift the door while I looked for the problem. Found it! Pic 2. This seam is the factory pinch seam between the inner door frame and the outer door frame. the weight of the door hanging was enough to let the two side to shift up and down, and in and out for about 4" above the hinge, and nearly all the way between the two hinges. To fix it I put a block of wood under the opened door, and jacked to rear edge of the door up with my floor jack. Then I cleaned the area as much as possible, and put several tack welds between the two pieces of the door. Pic 4. Here is the dame door after the fix. This is without the striker post in place, so the door is hanging like that. Pic 5. Just for good measure, I added this weld to the outside between the outer door skin and the hinge. I also had to modify the striker post hole, there wasn't enough movement to accommodate a 1/2" rise in the door at the latch.

                            That one worked out so well, I went to the driver door. The mismatch on the one wasn't as bad. Pic 6, It was about a 1/4". now having an idea where to look, I found its problem as well. this one had a tear in the metal. Pic 7. It was also separating between the two hinges. I welded that up as well. Pic 8. And the result. Pic 9. I also had to modify the striker post hole to accommodate the upward shift of the striker post.

                            Next on the list was insulation and sound deadener on the floor. Pic 10 & 11. The holes in the black sound deadener are for the seat and seat belt bolts.
                            Then it was dissemble the dash for clips for the screws, sanding, and painting. I paint the underside white, and the outside is slate ultra matte. I painted the underside white, the moved the stuff outside (we had a very nice sunny day near 60 degrees today). Then I hand sanded the interior metal so I paint it the slate color as well. After lunch the white was dry enough I could paint the slate color.

                            After the painting I started installing the gray carpet. pics 12, 13, 14 & 15. I will glue the carpet to the insulation, but I need to get the spray glue tomorrow. I wish I would have remembered I needed to paint the seat brackets today, I could have installed the seats after the carpet was in tomorrow. Maybe if I paint the seat brackets first thing in the morning I can still install the seats tomorrow. The carpet is gray "automotive" carpet from Menard's. I comes in 6' wide and is .49 a square ft, that 6' x 6' carpet cost $21 with taxes. there is enough left to cover a pair of kick panels, when I get around to making them.
                            Do the final trim on the carpet and glue it down, install the dash. Bolt in the seat belts and the seats, clean up the insides a bit. should get the interior pretty close.

                            Next week is time to conquer the truck bed. Gene


                            • #89
                              A quick update, without pictures. The pickup bed is progressing along.
                              I trimmed the edges of the Dakota's steel bed floor to the proper width and cut the notch where the fuel fill tube will come up through the bed floor. I've chosen to keep the fill tube inside the bed, mainly because I can't find a source for a fill tube from a step side truck. When the bed sides are in place, I will build a box around the fill tube, and top it off with the Dakota's fuel door trimmed to fit the box. I did that with the 39 Dodge and it worked out pretty well. I am also installing the battery in the same corner of the bed, and I will build a separate box around it.

                              The fill tube from the Dakota has about a 45 degree bend about 8" below the gas cap where it bends towards the rubber grommet on the tank. I had to remove the 45 degree bend and replace it with a 90 degree bent, and I had to shorten the length of the fill tube between the bend and the rubber grommet by 11". Originally the Dakota was a fleet side truck (the bed side was outside the wheels) so there was an inner bed side, and a space before the outside beds side. The fuel fill tube came up between the inside and the outside pieces. The 49 is a step side (wheels outside of the bed sides) so the 49 bed side is about the same location as the inner bed side on the Dakota, so the fill tube would have been outside of the 49's bed side, not at all what i wanted. I'm also using the Dakota fuel tank in its original location on the Dakota frame I'm using, so the tube has to be modified to fit. The fill tube also has a vent tube attached to it, the vent tube will also have to be modified.

                              At the local auto parts store I bought a 1 7/8" 90 degree exhaust bend. The outer diameter is almost exactly the same diameter as the fill tube I'm using. The Dakota fill tube has a 6" long rubber hose that connects the fill tube with the part that goes into the tank. If I cut that hose short enough I can butt the shortened end of the exhaust 90 degree bend to the piece that goes into the tank and use the short hose to clamp them together, I have shortened the fill tube nearly as much as I needed. Then If I cut the fill tube at its bend, and weld it to the exhaust 90 degree bend in about the middle of the 90, I have removed enough of the length to make it work. After welding the two tubes together, and replacing a rather rough looking rubber grommet (had it the same day from the local parts store, one reason I like using modern stuff), the fill tube was ready for modifying the vent tube part of the fill tube. The vent tube connects to a rubber hose on the fuel pump/gas gauge unit. That hose is clamped to a long spacer tube that has another 6" long rubber hose on its other end. That rubber hose connects with the vent tube that is welded to the fill tube. The vent tube on the fill tube was in really bad shape, and after wire brushing it I did find several holes in the vent tube. As luck would have it, I found a chunk of 1/2" electrical conduit about 15" long that was about the same diameter as the vent tube was near the top of the fill tube (where the vent tube was solid). The problem was for it to fit in the required space, that conduit would need a pretty sharp 90 degree bend right at the top end, sharper that a conduit bender would bend. The good news is, there is nothing but air that passes through the vent tube, and the tube doesn't need to be that big for air to flow. If the hose and the fittings on the pump/gas gauge housings were a smaller diameter, I could easily have ran a 5/16" or a 3/8" steel line instead of the 1/2" conduit, but I didn't want to deal with changing stuff on the pump housing.

                              Using my vice, I could put a series of kinks into the conduit to make the sharp 90 degree bend I need as long as I don't crush the conduit flat or cause it to crack or split. It won't be pretty, but not many will ever see it, not that I'd care if they did. Rather then dealing with welding heavily galvanized conduit in an area that would be pretty tough to weld fully around, I chose to cut a small piece of hose and clamp the conduit to the remaining short piece of vent tubing on the fill tube. On the other end, by eliminating the spacer tube and the extra hose, I could trim off about an inch from the conduit and directly clamp it to the hose off the pump/gauge housing.

                              Its time to completely bolt the bed floor to the frame. The Dakota uses 8 metric bolts to do this. The bed floor has 5 cross members, the center cross member is not bolted. I have 6 of these 8 bolts I need. I'm going to hold off bolting the rear cross member because I think I may need to modify the rear end of the bed for the tailgate. It didn't take too long to figure out I was going to need to add a few spacers between the frame brackets and the bed cross members on the 2nd from the front cross member. with those spacers added, the bed floor is fairly flat.

                              When the truck was mocked up, I had the cab sitting on the frame and I had the 49 bed sides and front panel bolted to together and positioned them so I could determine the cab placement. After the cab and the drive train was mounted, I sat the Dakota bed floor on the frame and bolted it in place with a couple of bolts. With the floor bolted in place, there was a much larger space between the front of the box and the rear of the cab then I desired. Moving the bed floor forward would have required modifying all the bed cross members, and I really didn't know how much it would need to move. The decision was made at that time then when it was time to mount the bed sides, any adjustment would be made to the front of the bed at that time. Now that I can set the bed sides on the bed floor, I can determine what has to be done at the front, and the rear of the bed. I've decided against using the front panel of the Dakota bed on the 49 truck. I'd have to modify it to attach to the bed sides, it is too high, and may well be too far towards the rear. Modifying it while it was still attached to the floor would have been very difficult. I have the original front panel for the 49 bed, and at least its the correct width and will bolt onto the bed sides. I have removed the Dakota front bed panel from the floor.

                              The plan to attach the bed sides to the bed floor is to weld 1/8" x 1" x1" angle to the bed sides, then drill holes and bolt the angles to the floor. That was how the bed sides were originally attached to the wood floor on the 49 truck. On the 49 bed sides, that angle ran from the front to the rear, but it was too low to use with the Dakota floor and the angles were cut off a few months ago. At that same time, I determined that the 49 bed sides could be in contact with the rear tires, so the height at which I guessed the bed sides were going to be, I cut out a curved piece off the bed sides so they would clear the tires and wheels. Another minor issue is at the wheel wells, the Dakota bed floor is 2" narrower on each side where the 49 bed sides are basically flat. When I trimmed the bed floor, I left the Dakota inner fender wheel wells attached to the floor and trimmed those to the correct width along with the sides of the floor. I was concerned I might need to attach those wheel well pieces to the bed sides to cover the notches I'd cut for tire clearance.

                              All I have to do now is figure out how I'm going to hold my bed sides and front panel in place so I can match up the bed height to the cab and weld the angles in place so I can bolt everything together. Gene


                              • #90
                                The bed sides and front panel are bolted in place! I have to fill the gaps in the floor around where the Dakota whell wells were at, and I have to make the boxes for the battery and the fuel filer. I also need to figure out how I'm going to do the tailgate.

                                The last installment I was trying to figure out how to position the bed sides, so I thought I'd fill you in on that process.

                                The original 49 pickup had one piece running boards that went from the front fenders to the front edge of the rear fenders. The bottom of the cab and the bottom of the bed sides in front of the fenders was level with each other. I'm intending on making running boards, so it makes sense to maintain that level surface. That sure makse trying to figure out how high the bed sides should sit easy, run a straight edge across the bottom of the cab, and set the bed height at the front. Then all I needed to do was determine how high to set the rear of the bed. The body line on the cab door and the top edge of the front fenders form a level body line that happens to be about 3" above the top rail on the bed sides. All I needed to do was set the rear edge of the bed side rails at the same distance below the body line as it was at the front, and it should look great.

                                Since the bed sides are loose, there is no easy way to hold them on place without them wanting to flop over. that was the point where it struck me that since I'd already cut the front panel off the Dakota bed, I should be able it use the 49 bed front panel, and it bolts to the 49 bed sides at the front. The front panel bends around the outside of the bed side, and the bolts pass through the front panel, then through the bed sides where w washer and nut are used. On the 49 bed, the front panel sat so the top of the front panel was at the bottom of the angle, but at some point I want to put a cover over the bed, so I wanted the front panel to be flush (or close to flush) with the top edge of the angle. This is going to require a filler piece to be made, but that won't be a problem. After some measurements I discovered the top bolt on the bed sides actually was a long rod that went through the bed sides and through the round tube on the front panel. If I lifted the front panel up the 2nd hole in the bed front panel was just about the correct height to position the top edge where I wanted it. Then I could use the holes in the front panel as a guide to drill holes through the sides. Pic 1) This picture is pretty much the entire bolted into position front corner, but the bolts referred to here are the 3 vertical bolts.
                                At this point, the bed front, when bolted to the sides was too long at the bottom, and also needed to have a 90 degree bend to sit on top of the bed floor. I cut about 3" off the bottom of the front panel. Now with the front panel bolted to both sides, the bed was stable enough I could jack the bed sides to the height to match the bottom edge of the sides to the bottom of the cab line and block them into position. Pic 2 This is what the bed side looks like where it meets the bed floor. This happens to be at the rear of the bed, but that body line on the bed side extends all the way to the front, except in the wheel well area. The piece on the right side of the picture is a piece of 1 1/2" steel tubing, but in the picture, the tubing is sitting on top of the already bolted on angle. A 2" tubing fits perfectly under the body line lip and when the tube is clamped to the bed side, it holds it in place nicely, at just the right height for the bottom front edge of the bed to match up with the bottom of the cab. I had enough pieces of the 2" tubing to clamp all 4 corners of the bed sides to the floor on all 4 corners. With the bed clamped into place, I made 4 pieces of 1/8" x 1" x1" angle and drilled 4 holes into each piece, (sorry, out of order, pic 5) Then the angles were bolted to the floor. With the bed sides clamped into position, I could use a straight edge and mark the line where the front panel needed to be bent at 90 degrees. Once the front panel was unbolted from the sides it could be bent at the line. That front panel is not flat, making the 90 degree bend was not easy, but once it was bent and the panel was bolted to the sides again, that front panel could pretty much support the front of the bed, which was good because with the panel bent, I could no longer clamp the tubing in place. To set the rear at the proper height, I really needed to back the truck out of the garage and get a good long distance look at it. The tubing got me pretty close, but I needed a little more adjustment. I came up this this idea. Pic 3) again, this picture was taken at the front, but I did the rear height first. The tubing across the bed that was clamped to the top bed rails about 6" forward of the rear of the bed. I replaced the jack stands with my floor jack at the center of the bed, so I could raise or lower the sides as I needed. The 2" tubing was removed, and once level as viewed from a distance, I cold clamp the bed side against the floor with long "C" clamps. I was going to take a picture, but with the truck sitting on the driveway, and the sun just coming over the roof of the house, all I got with the camera was glare. As you can see, Pic 4) a picture from inside the garage wasn't much better, guess your going to have to take my word on it being level.

                                With the front sitting on the bend in the front panel, and the rear held into position with the bar clamped to the bed sides, I needed to position the bed forward and backward. this is the distance I decided on. Now I can clamp the bed sides at the rear to the 1" angle and tack weld the angles to the bed sides on both sides. Then the bar clamps and jack was moved to the front position and the bottom edged were checked, and the front panel was welded to the floor. I was going to bolt it there, but I felt that welding it would be better, the bed sides can still be unbolted if I ever needed to remove them. It was much more difficult to weld the 1" angles to the bed sides at the front because my clamps were not long enough to reach over the sides of the bed and reach the floor. I got them pretty close, the put a 1/8" thick filler piece between the angle and the 1" angle. My problem was the bends on the front panel held the bed sides out about a 1/4" total width too much. If I could have clamped the angle directly to the bed sides I'm pretty sure I could have pulled them that extra 1/8", but my long clamps were about 4" too shore, The welds that are there will hold the bed sides good enough, when I'm done with all the bed welding, I'm going to seal all the seams anyway.

                                Pic 7) battery placement and fuel filler tube. both will be boxed around, separately. Pic 8 this is where the battery will sit, the battery cable will come up through the floor in the rectangle holeon the left side. A group 27 battery (the biggest automotive battery them make) fits in the area with clearance all around.
                                Pic 9) This shows the gap at the wheel well I need to fill, the pieces on the floor on the left side are the filler pieces. Those will be fit and bent into a 90 and will be screwed to the floor along the edge in the lower valley.
                                Pic 10, this is the right rear fender bolted into place, it needs to shift backwards about an inch, the mounting holes are elongated, but not quite enough. The running boards will bolt to the right side at the lower edge and I will be making those, so I have some adjustment I can make for its position.
                                Pic 11) OK maybe I have a better picture of the bed side's level. Gene