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JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
10/20/21 10:30 a.m.

Looks really good so far. 

B757Captain
B757Captain New Reader
10/24/21 8:46 a.m.

Thanks guys!

 

My very understanding neighbor let me borrow her driveway for a while so I could do some major relocation of various parts, chiefly to move the bed and remaining loose pieces into the garage and park the Dakota where the bed had been sitting.

 

Now Phase 2: Painting the bed. Not much drama here, just lots of sanding and blocking:

 

 

Since I'm using a full drop-in bedliner I decided not to go to the trouble of painting the inside of the bed so it got taped off. Next, primer added:

 

 

If you are wondering why the primer looks a little shiny, I - umm - accidently grabbed the can of clear instead of reducer when I was mixing the primer! Oops! No worries, I didn't get too much (!) in the primer so I pressed on. This was the first of several primer coats so I made sure not to repeat that screw-up.

 

Paint and clear on:

 

 

Now to let it dry and then on to Phase 3: Tailgate & bumper plus other bits & pieces.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

B757Captain
B757Captain New Reader
10/28/21 2:51 p.m.

Painting, Phase 3 was prepping the tailgate, rear bumper and all the smaller pieces like the fuel filler door and fender flares for paint:

 

 

Not much drama here except removing the PO-applied crappy bedliner from the tailgate. In hindsight I should have taken the tailgate from the salvage yard Dakota I got the bed from - it was in much better shape. I wound up spending way too much time on all the little dents & dings.

 

I tried an internet-inspired technique on the bumper. I couldn't find a painted bumper anywhere in good shape so I took the grinder with a flapwheel and roughed up the chrome on the bumper. Supposedly the chrome is too hard a surface for sanding to create enough "tooth" for paint to adhere long-term, so the trick is to grind the crap out of it and hit it with epoxy primer. Then start the sanding process. It turned out great and so far has held up. Time will tell.

 

Next came lots of reassembly! The bed went back on, bumper on, fender flares, etc. I sanded the mirrors and other external trim pieces and shot them with Duplicolor low-gloss engine paint. And finally, the tool box. Originally it was aluminum but I didn't think it would fit my vision for the truck. I also did not want to sand all that diamond-plate! So - internet to the rescue again! I checked a few paint&body websites and all the recommendations were to use oven cleaner! Seems the active ingredient in oven cleaner, sodium hydroxide, will acid-etch aluminum. It will also eat the aluminum if you leave it on long enough so it got a few quick squirts followed by a wash-down. I finished up by hitting the box with a spray of ospho to neutralize any residual acid then sprayed the box with some of the left over black from my wife's Acura.

 

And finally, the big reveal:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was also several days of wet-sanding and buffing involved but I'm pleased with the outcome.

 

Next, what's next? Still have some upgrades planned and maybe some performance goodies.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
10/28/21 5:30 p.m.

Wow, that turned out really nice. Great work. 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/28/21 6:14 p.m.

Dang, that's some transformation!

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
10/28/21 6:56 p.m.

Pretty truck!!!

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/29/21 7:05 a.m.

Amazing job!

StripesSA1
StripesSA1 New Reader
10/30/21 6:11 a.m.
B757Captain said:

Painting, Phase 3 was prepping the tailgate, rear bumper and all the smaller pieces like the fuel filler door and fender flares for paint:

 

 

Not much drama here except removing the PO-applied crappy bedliner from the tailgate. In hindsight I should have taken the tailgate from the salvage yard Dakota I got the bed from - it was in much better shape. I wound up spending way too much time on all the little dents & dings.

 

I tried an internet-inspired technique on the bumper. I couldn't find a painted bumper anywhere in good shape so I took the grinder with a flapwheel and roughed up the chrome on the bumper. Supposedly the chrome is too hard a surface for sanding to create enough "tooth" for paint to adhere long-term, so the trick is to grind the crap out of it and hit it with epoxy primer. Then start the sanding process. It turned out great and so far has held up. Time will tell.

 

Next came lots of reassembly! The bed went back on, bumper on, fender flares, etc. I sanded the mirrors and other external trim pieces and shot them with Duplicolor low-gloss engine paint. And finally, the tool box. Originally it was aluminum but I didn't think it would fit my vision for the truck. I also did not want to sand all that diamond-plate! So - internet to the rescue again! I checked a few paint&body websites and all the recommendations were to use oven cleaner! Seems the active ingredient in oven cleaner, sodium hydroxide, will acid-etch aluminum. It will also eat the aluminum if you leave it on long enough so it got a few quick squirts followed by a wash-down. I finished up by hitting the box with a spray of ospho to neutralize any residual acid then sprayed the box with some of the left over black from my wife's Acura.

 

And finally, the big reveal:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was also several days of wet-sanding and buffing involved but I'm pleased with the outcome.

 

Next, what's next? Still have some upgrades planned and maybe some performance goodies.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

Man, I really like the blue better than the white. Shape lends itself better to it

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/30/21 6:23 a.m.

looks fantastic!

neverdone
neverdone Reader
10/30/21 7:09 p.m.

That's gorgeous!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
10/31/21 10:12 p.m.

Truck looks fantastic! I had a 1997 Dakota Sport 2WD V6 before my Power Wagon. While I liked it, it was getting a little crusty and the V6 was a bit wheezy. But the truck was such a good size, and I enjoyed my time with it. This is pretty much everything I ever wanted to do to mine. Keep up the good work! 

B757Captain
B757Captain New Reader
11/6/21 4:43 p.m.
JeremyJ said:

Wow, that turned out really nice. Great work. 

Thanks Jeremy!

B757Captain
B757Captain New Reader
11/6/21 4:44 p.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

Dang, that's some transformation!

Thanks Angry!

B757Captain
B757Captain New Reader
11/6/21 4:44 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

Pretty truck!!!

Thanks Michael!

B757Captain
B757Captain New Reader
11/6/21 4:45 p.m.
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) said:

Amazing job!

Thanks DJ!

B757Captain
B757Captain New Reader
11/6/21 4:51 p.m.
StripesSA1 said:
 

Man, I really like the blue better than the white. Shape lends itself better to it

Thanks! When I was contemplating what color I wanted I kept coming back to the 2004 Corvette I had when I was in Dubai. Loved the color and I did not want a generic white, black or shade of gray which seems to be the only colors one sees anymore, especially where I live. I thought the factory blue on Dakotas was too light and the current Dodge dark blue has a brownish tint to it, just didn't look right to me. If anyone is interested, the color is GM 19U, 2004 Corvette Lemans Blue. 

 

At least my Dak is unique!

B757Captain
B757Captain New Reader
11/6/21 4:52 p.m.
Billy_Bottle_Caps said:

looks fantastic!

Thanks Billy!

B757Captain
B757Captain New Reader
11/6/21 4:52 p.m.
neverdone said:

That's gorgeous!

Thanks Neverdone!

B757Captain
B757Captain New Reader
11/6/21 4:54 p.m.
Tony Sestito said:

Truck looks fantastic! I had a 1997 Dakota Sport 2WD V6 before my Power Wagon. While I liked it, it was getting a little crusty and the V6 was a bit wheezy. But the truck was such a good size, and I enjoyed my time with it. This is pretty much everything I ever wanted to do to mine. Keep up the good work! 

Thanks Tony! I'm pretty happy overall with the truck too, it seems to fit my niche perfectly.

B757Captain
B757Captain New Reader
11/6/21 5:13 p.m.

My semi-local Pick-n-pull type yard runs monthly specials of various types and the notification comes via text. So a week or so ago I get a text saying anything you can carry out - $100. Engines, transmissions, rear ends, even the whole vehicle, but you have to be able to carry it 14 feet. 

 

Scratch head, can I still manhandle a complete auto transmission without needing an ambulance at the end of that 14'?

 

I figured, what the heck, I still need to replace the 42RE trans that was behind the V-6. It's doing ok but I know that if I hooked a trailer behind the Dakota its remaining life span would probably be minutes, not years! A little research showed no Dakotas or Durangos but a few Rams in the yard that might still have the transmission in them so off I go for yet another automotive archeology expedition. Armed with some internet-acquired information on what would or would not interchange (most of that info turned out to be wildly incorrect!) I started the hunt:

 

I found the first on the list and sure enough, red Dodge Ram - smashed front end, good sign that it's not there due to mechanical failure. Quick peek, engine and trans gone. Rats! But . . . laying right in front of the truck is the transmission, minus the engine. I scratched my head, looked around for who might have done my work for me, ran back to the office to find out that someone had pulled the engine/trans earlier that day but only needed the engine.

 

This is the very same yard that earlier this year some kind soul had pulled the 5.9 engine/trans from a Dakota and kindly left the engine for me. Same engine purring nicely right now in my Dak. Are the gods smiling upon me twice? Or is this just the prelude to a lightning strike?

 

Don't know yet, but it's a 46RE, compatible year so all the electronics match, and it's complete. I pulled the dipstick and checked/smelled the fluid - clean and smelled fresh/new/not burned. A further inspection and there's a Jasper sticker on the side of the transmission! So it's a reman. Things are looking good so far. I don't know if Jasper has a good or bad rep for their stuff but at least it's not the original 200,000+ mile trans!

 

Hardest part was getting it in the wheelbarrow:

 

 

It now sits in my garage enduring some exterior cleaning before I pull the pan to see what the internals look like. Maybe I'll get lucky twice?

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

B757Captain
B757Captain New Reader
11/19/21 8:31 p.m.

After getting home with the transmission I broke out the pressure washer and went to town, got it a little cleaner. Next step was to pull the pan:

 

 

Not bad! A little (very little) sludge - barely enough to wipe off with your finger and the magnet had a small amount of goo on it. No metal chunks, slivers, etc. Good so far. Next a peek at the internals:

 

 

This image is raw - no cleaning at all. Pretty good again. I figure based on the exterior and interior condition that the transmission might have ~50,000 miles on it, give or take. Next step after ordering parts was to pull the valve body, do a pressure check  and install a shift kit. Transgo makes a kit that's a combo shift kit/fix all the factory faults. Good thing because the first - and only - thing I found was a broken governor solenoid spring (very common failure in these transmissions). The shift kit comes with a replacement plus all the other goodies.

 

So, shift kit installed, new filter, case cleaned and painted and new front and rear seals:

 

 

 Time to install! No pics of that, but the test drive was yesterday and it runs, drives and shifts great! The only thing I might do is bump the line pressure up a bit - I went conservative on the shift kit just in case and the shifts, while better than stock, aren't quite as crisp as I'd like. Looks like I got lucky twice!

 

Next project planned? I will eventually have to address the exhaust - it's the factory V6 setup, and while identical to the V8s, it's pretty restrictive. Looking at a complete system, full-length headers all the way back but lots of research to do yet.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

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