Author Topic: Dakota vs Durango expedition build  (Read 3897 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline RedneckInTraining

  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2966
  • Gender: Male
  • Don't believe what "THEY" tell you!
Dakota vs Durango expedition build
« on: January 5, 2018, 09:45:18 pm »
So I have this idea kicking around my head for a expedition/camping vehicle.It wouldn't be the most capable vehicle on the planet but it will still be very capable offroad. Plan is something that I could go on an expedition/camping trip for a week at a time, but still capable enough to deal with a 4 foot rock ledge or deep mud hole if its on the trail.The plan is either 3.9 or 5.2 with a stick,rubicon transfercase, beefed up D44 up front,9.25 out back,4 link front/rear,and 36-38" tires.However, I can't really decide if I want a 4 door dakota/short box or a durango to build off.Durango's are much cheaper but the spare tires/gas would need to be up on the roof raising the COG,They also don't come with a stick.They do however have much better weight balance,and more room for myself and gear that doesn't like to get wet.A dakota on the other hand comes with either a v6 or a v8 as well as a stick, but I would need a canopy for the bed,preferably a soft top to keep weight down.Gas/tools/spare tires could be in the bed for a lower COG.There is however the much steeper entry fee.Running condition durangos can be had for $500 or less because they are soccer mobiles so once the leather is torn or the trim starts falling off they are sold.Dakotas are used as a truck so cheap ones are beat to hell.So a good condition dakota is 2K+.
1994 Dodge Ram 2500 CTD
1987 Dodge Dakota 3.9 V6

                      RON PAUL- 2012
Governments control people. Who CONTROLS the GOVERNMENTS of the people?

RamChargerCentral

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Online Mad Max

    • certified 'Imagineer' - "...there is no box..."
    • RCC Nut
    • *******
    • Posts: 13186
    • Gender: Male
    • USAF Retired
    Re: Dakota vs Durango expedition build
    « Reply #1 on: January 6, 2018, 01:35:12 pm »
    I love my 4-door Dakota, and I got it for the kind of hard-core-capable weekend wheeling you've described.  Good solid truck - love the extra doors for accessing the rear, love the truck bed for 'whatever'.  I'm intending to do a SAS (solid axle swap) with a Ford D60 front and GM 14 bolt rear, and 40s.  I'd really recommend you do the heavier drivelines and 40s as well - you'll want the belly clearance and the resolute brute strength, and 40's are still available in a nice radial (I'm going with Toyo MTs).

    Mine has a 5.9, and I will probably do a full exo cage including over a topper, and I'll toss a canoe up on top of it all so we can go canoeing/fishing etc.

    Here's a pic of what my truck will look like once the SAS/40s are under it...only blue ;)  -



    « Last Edit: January 6, 2018, 01:37:39 pm by Mad Max »
    2002 Dakota Quad Cab 4x4 - 440/46rh/Atlas4/D60/14b/40s
    2007 Cummins Ram 3500 Megadually 4x4 "Big Mack" - 5.9/G56 6-speed
    2016 Durango Citadel AWD - 5.7 Hemi/8-spd auto
    1952 Willys M-38 "Poncho"

                    .there's always a way...

                           ...Molon Labe...

    Offline tv_larsen

    • Trail Rat
    • Global Moderator
    • Mopar Nut
    • *****
    • Posts: 8545
    • Gender: Male
    • Mud Sucks!
    Re: Dakota vs Durango expedition build
    « Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 03:17:00 pm »
    I'm not sure why you'd want the manual transmission, most offroad crawlers prefer the auto.  The manual works, but you definitely need more low gearing to make them work.  Also, I don't think the manual was available at all in the Durango or with the 5.9L in the Dakota.

    Speaking of engines, if you have a choice, the 5.9L is the engine you should look for.  It's powerful, reliable, easy to work on, and the parts are common and affordable.  The 3.9L is reliable and torquey, but it lacks power on the highway.  The 4.7L should be avoided, they run great, right until they don't.  They suffer from very common head and valve-train issues.  The 5.2 is a great engine, but the 5.9 is the same with more power.  I think 1999 was the last year of the 5.2, the 4.7 replaced it.  I don't know anything about the later 3.7L V6, but I believe it's similar to the 4.7 and would avoid it for many reasons. 

    The Dakotas that you are looking at were made 1997-2004 (Quad Cabs were made 2000-2004), and the Durangos were made 1998-2003.  There was a mid-generation update in 2001.  In 2001 they upgraded the interior, switched the transfercase from manual shift to electronic shift, changed the steering from a recirculating ball steering box to rack and pinion, and updated most of the electronics.

    Durangos are very cheap and plentiful, their wheelbase is better suited for tight trail maneuverability.  The Quad Cab Dakotas are about double the price of the two door Dakotas, but the extra interior space is great.

    Since you are planing a solid axle swap you should examine the front suspension/steering differences between 1997-2000 vs 2001-2004.  Don't discount the option of converting a 2wd.  They are cheaper to buy initially, but obviously require the transmission to be updated to the 4wd output.  I think the 2wd front suspension may be more difficult to SAS because of the frame shape.  The rear suspension is also different.  All Durangos (2wd and 4wd) use a common spring-under configuration.  The 2wd Dakotas are also spring under with a shackle flip.  The 4wd Dakotas are spring-over with the spring mounted higher on the frame.  The spring-under suspension design is easier to lift with less spring arch.  You could start with a 4wd and replace rear spring and shackle mounts from a 2wd truck if you'd rather convert a 4wd.  My Dakota (factory 2wd) cleared 37" tires with a spring-over conversion, 2.5" blocks, and some fender trimming.  I have eliminated the lift block by installing stock 2wd F150 springs because they are arched about 2-3" deeper than the stock Dakota rear springs.

    Half ton axles are little undersized for 36-38" tires if you ever plan push it hard.  If you do use a Dana 44/9.25" axle set with those tires like you're thinking, they will be your weak link.

    For SAS swaps I can definitely recommend the Ford Sterling 10.25"/10.5" rear axle.  It is a very beefy axle with decent aftermarket support.  The Dakota uses a speed sensor in the rear axle to determine vehicle speed, many Ford Sterlings also use a similar sensor (my 10.25" is from a 1988 F350).  The stock Dodge Dakota speed sensor can be installed in the Sterling axle after cutting of one small rib from the axle housing - it's a bolt in deal.  With no speedometer correction my speedometer only reads 15% slow with 37" tires.
    « Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 03:36:09 pm by tv_larsen »
    2015 Ram 2500 - 6.4L Hemi, Crew Cab Outdoorsman
    2001 Dakota Quadcab - 5.9L, 46RE, 231/231 doubler, Dana 60/Sterling 10.25", ARB/Detroit, 5.38 gears, 37" KM2's
    1978 D100 Utiline - 225/NP445, 9.25"
    1975 W200 Club Cab - 440, 727, Dana 60's,  4.10 gears, Sniper EFI
    1969 Roadrunner - 383, 727, 8.75", 3.21 gears

    Online Mad Max

    • certified 'Imagineer' - "...there is no box..."
    • RCC Nut
    • *******
    • Posts: 13186
    • Gender: Male
    • USAF Retired
    Re: Dakota vs Durango expedition build
    « Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 04:09:15 pm »
    a buddy of mine here in my car club is selling an '00 Dakota 4x4 quad cab with a 5.9/auto for $3000, and there's a 2003 V6 quadcab 4x4 for $2900 on craigslist -

    https://cosprings.craigslist.org/ctd/d/2003-dodge-dakota-sxt/6422582672.html
    2002 Dakota Quad Cab 4x4 - 440/46rh/Atlas4/D60/14b/40s
    2007 Cummins Ram 3500 Megadually 4x4 "Big Mack" - 5.9/G56 6-speed
    2016 Durango Citadel AWD - 5.7 Hemi/8-spd auto
    1952 Willys M-38 "Poncho"

                    .there's always a way...

                           ...Molon Labe...

    Offline RedneckInTraining

    • Sr. Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 2966
    • Gender: Male
    • Don't believe what "THEY" tell you!
    Re: Dakota vs Durango expedition build
    « Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 06:08:19 am »
    I want a manual simply because I despise automatics, and from a reliability standpoint, I like dodges but I will admit that dodge can't seem to make an overdrive automatic that is actually worth a damn.Last thing I want is for an automatic to give up the ghost 50 miles off the beaten path without much warning.In my experience automatics die simply because they got a little to warm one to many times,With a manual they only tend to die if you run them without oil or just abuse the hell out of them by being rough with the clutch.Even then they tend to give a fair bit of warning before they fail.

    As for engine choice, I like the 3.9.Granted its not powerful but it weighs 100 lbs less than a stock V8, 50lbs less than one with aluminum heads.It is my belief that the less weight on the front of a 4x4 the better, within reason. In addition to weighing less than the V8's the v6 makes its power up higher in the rpm band so it may be a bit more forgiving on axles than the instant off idle torque of a v8.
    1994 Dodge Ram 2500 CTD
    1987 Dodge Dakota 3.9 V6

                          RON PAUL- 2012
    Governments control people. Who CONTROLS the GOVERNMENTS of the people?

    Offline u2slow

    • Full Member
    • ****
    • Posts: 1844
    • Gender: Male
    • Bilge rat
    Re: Dakota vs Durango expedition build
    « Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 02:31:48 pm »
    I don't know your camping style, but a Suburban is about as small as I could handle for two to sleep in. Otherwise I'd be looking at making a small camper a near-permanent fixture on a 4dr dakota.

    Either way... stick shift for sure. Convert as needed. If the Ram/Dakota 6 speeds drive anything like the one in my gf's Jeep, definitely get the 6 over the 5.
    DD: 90 D250 6BT|5spd|D60/3.54/Lockright
    Tow/haul: 93 W250 Club 6BTA|5spd|D60/80/3.54/Lockright|4" lift|35's|HX35|5x.012s|4" pipe
    Projects: '84 D250 Ramcharger (cummins); '90 W250 Ramcharger (360TBI)
    Hers: 2005 Jeep Liberty V6|6spd|3.73/Trac-lok |3" lift, 245/75R16E Nokians

    Offline RedneckInTraining

    • Sr. Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 2966
    • Gender: Male
    • Don't believe what "THEY" tell you!
    Re: Dakota vs Durango expedition build
    « Reply #6 on: April 4, 2019, 04:10:59 am »
    So I ended up getting a 93 dakota extended cab shortbox. 5.2 V8 4x4,and sadly an automatic, but its solid.Got it for $500 after the owner's son ran a stop sign and tboned a car at 25 mph...I put a new front clip on from a rusty parts truck and its back driving around.Got some dakota/durango 15x8 rims and some 32x11.5 mud tires.Currently the plan is to keep it on on 32's or 33's and just go camping and exploring the area.I need to repair the spare tire carrier under the bed, and fix most of the steering parts.After that its getting a LED bar up front and CB radio,and maybe some sort of auxiliary fuel tank, 200 miles of range before the low fuel light comes on sucks..It will grow big eventually but right now I need a reliable,smallish 4x4, alot more than I need a monster.
    « Last Edit: April 4, 2019, 04:19:52 am by RedneckInTraining »
    1994 Dodge Ram 2500 CTD
    1987 Dodge Dakota 3.9 V6

                          RON PAUL- 2012
    Governments control people. Who CONTROLS the GOVERNMENTS of the people?

    Online Mad Max

    • certified 'Imagineer' - "...there is no box..."
    • RCC Nut
    • *******
    • Posts: 13186
    • Gender: Male
    • USAF Retired
    Re: Dakota vs Durango expedition build
    « Reply #7 on: April 4, 2019, 08:41:59 am »
    nice score {cool}.  I'm adding an aux fuel tank to mine as well - stay tuned to my Dakota thread as I'll have some updates on that soon.

    Oh and if you ever decide to replace the auto with something else, lemme know 'cause I love those autos and I wouldn't mind having a spare for my own build :)

    - Sam
    « Last Edit: April 4, 2019, 08:45:05 am by Mad Max »
    2002 Dakota Quad Cab 4x4 - 440/46rh/Atlas4/D60/14b/40s
    2007 Cummins Ram 3500 Megadually 4x4 "Big Mack" - 5.9/G56 6-speed
    2016 Durango Citadel AWD - 5.7 Hemi/8-spd auto
    1952 Willys M-38 "Poncho"

                    .there's always a way...

                           ...Molon Labe...

    Offline RedneckInTraining

    • Sr. Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 2966
    • Gender: Male
    • Don't believe what "THEY" tell you!
    Re: Dakota vs Durango expedition build
    « Reply #8 on: April 4, 2019, 04:15:53 pm »
    I grabbed the manual pedal assembly from the parts truck so as soon as I find a transmission and ecm...
    1994 Dodge Ram 2500 CTD
    1987 Dodge Dakota 3.9 V6

                          RON PAUL- 2012
    Governments control people. Who CONTROLS the GOVERNMENTS of the people?

    Offline username408

    • Newbie
    • *
    • Posts: 125
    • RCC Rules!
    Re: Dakota vs Durango expedition build
    « Reply #9 on: May 1, 2019, 09:46:02 pm »
    In 93 you with have no issues with the auto PCM and a manual.  I've been running an Auto trans computer in my 95 since you could still buy a new Mopar Perfomance PCM(but not a 5.9 manual one). 

     

    email