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wedged 04-30-2011 05:09 PM

1941 Dodge truck
This started out as a dakota project and now is using a 1941 Dodge truck body. The following covers the last year up to today 4-30-11

begining spring of 2010:

I managed to knock the center out of the wheel. It took a bit more effort than I had anticipated. First I cut the four 4" long welds with a cut off wheel. Then i heated the joint and started smacking near the joint with a piece of 1/2" round bar and a BFH. It took a while but the weld seams finally split and the center popped out. I wanted to make sure not to over grind and cut into the rim. Next week I'll swing by the metal shop and have them make up two 16.5" ID rings about 8" wide.



The rims will end up right about 15" wide , which is what M/T specs for the tires. The aluminum wheels M/T offers have 5" of backspace, so I am going get as close to that as I can. Ironically, the center will end up almost exactly where it was in stock configuration. It needed to come out because where I am adding to the width starts right under the edge of the front surface of the center.

wedged 04-30-2011 05:11 PM

the 440 XFI EFI engine from the Dakota i cut up for this project :

The steel rings for widening the wheels have been ordered - 16.5" ID x 8" wide.

Here's a video i took with my phone.
engine video

wedged 04-30-2011 05:11 PM

Now I just need to cut the wheel in 1/2.


wedged 04-30-2011 05:12 PM

This is just mock up. Nothing is welded together yet.





wedged 04-30-2011 05:13 PM



wedged 04-30-2011 05:14 PM

over the last few months there has been some MAJOR changes in the Dakota project, some of which should make it a little more pro-touring oriented by potentially increasing the handling ability. Please keep in mind that this is being done with a tight budget and it's not being done to look like a show piece.

Behold :
Back when I was about 14, I had 1946 Dodge truck that never was on the road. This is a 1941, which is nearly identical. I was thinking of starting from scratch with it, then figured out a better idea. In this picture the wheels are just standing in the wells, there is no suspension or engine in the truck.

stripped Dakota frame

1941 Dodge truck cab on the frame

engine shot before setback

wedged 04-30-2011 05:14 PM

Had to cut out most of the floor and build a new one. It's not finished yet, because I have not finished with mounting the engine & trans.


Originally I set the engine back about 14", but I am going to move it back forward about 4"-5" inches to gain back some room in the cab. The engine set back should help with handling.

Here's how it looks right now. The cab mounts have not been built yet, but the cab is tack welded in place so it can't get bumped out of place. The rear half of the frame will get cut off. I am planing on using 2"x3" or 2"x4" box tube for the back half. Due to the current budget, It will be leaf springs in the back for now.

The original long term plan called for twin turbos, mounted in the engine compartment. Partially because it would look good and partially because packaging of the cold piping from remote turbos would have been difficult on the Dakota. While working on the '41, I came to realize that the running boards and the space between the cab and frame would allow for the cold pipes to run up to the front without too much trouble. The engine compartment on the '41 would make it difficult to mount the turbos, unless they hung over the fenders or stacked above the intake, and I don't want to do that. I'm fairly certain I'm going to have lots of room for mounting the turbos just behind the cab, to the outside of the 24" wide rear frame section.

I'm thinking the truck doesn't really fit into any single category- rat rod, pro street, street rod, hot rod, pro touring, etc. So how is this pro-touring ? Here's my answer:
•big block with modern EFi)
•engine setback improving weight distribution
•big sticky tires on all 4 corners
•big 4 wheel disc brakes (Mustang Cobra)
•over drive auto trans (518 auto)

From the begining, I wanted to build something that would be very unique, would be fun to drive, could be driven a long distance if needed. Putting the '41 body onto the Dakota chassis takes it from being an interesting Dakota that many people might overlook to something that people can't help but notice.

One thing I forgot to mention- aside from patching holes & potential leaks in the body, the body and paint work is done

wedged 04-30-2011 05:15 PM

The shipment from Moser arrived. Here's the axles, bearings, retainer plates, housing ends & T bolts. The Gleason Torsen diff was an ebay score. It's new but has some light surface rust.

Test fit of the ford mustang cobra brake rotor.


Donor Dana 60 full floater with ends torched off.


burnt ends


old rusty 4.10 peg leg guts


I was able to put most of the firewall back in place.




wedged 04-30-2011 05:17 PM

more progress- I cut the bottom off of the U shape front fender support after I made some mounts and welded them on.

Here's a side shot. You can see the engine is placed so that it's mostly behind the axle center line.


Here's the mount made from some pipe and urethane bushings. It's out of focus because I took the pic by holding the camera up inside the fender and it's a bit too close.


Different angle


One of the front cab mounts.


from the front


looking out toward the rear cab mount


upward shot of the rear cab mount. I'm not finished welding the mounts. I'll do that once I make the back 1/2 of the frame and pull everything back off of the frame.


I've got a good amount of clearance in front of the engine.


wedged 04-30-2011 05:17 PM

Installing the main caps and bushings.


alignment bar in place


installing the pinion centerline tool


setting up the axle housing end.


passenger's side is tacked in place and now grinding the driver's side


welding between the tack welds


fully welded end


wedged 04-30-2011 05:18 PM

butchered first generation dakota rotors. yes, they were cut on a lathe.


poser shots




The truck already has a set of 2" drop spindles on it. I'm using the stock ones to build the front brake kit. It's mustang cobra based with 13" rotors in the front. If you go back through the thread, you can see the 11" rear rotors.





wedged 04-30-2011 05:19 PM

the pile of goodies. Laser cut tabs & brackets from Ballistic Fabrication, Creeper joints from Foothills Offroad and coil overs from S&W Racecars.


This bracket kit is pretty cool It is keyed to position the brackets on the bottom plate. I'll have to modify it because it maxes out at 40 degrees and I want at least 60 degrees between the bars.


This is about where the upper will sit.


After measuring the brackets, I altered my CAD drawing. It looks like I'll have an instant center at about 99.5" forward of the rear wheels. The wheel base is 116".


finally I was happy with CAD drawings of the frame, so I started cutting and welding.


I drew the full scale layout on the surface of the welding table and tacked the frame. Then flipped it over to tack some more.


Here's both arches side by side after tacking


I added the forward extensions. I'm leaving the rear portion for later, after the frame is welded together.


It's way off in the next to pictures, but I had to drop it in place to see what it would look like.



I did not make any cross members yet. I'm not sure where I want them.

wedged 04-30-2011 05:20 PM

made a bit of progress on the rear suspension. The angle of seperation between the upper link will be 45 degrees. I can't get more than that unless I make the upper links really short. I need to make some sort of bridge for the upper links on the housing. The lower links are about 23" c-c.




Here's the four link with most of the bracketry tacked in place. after i took these pics, I pulled it all apart. I've got a whole lot of welding to do now .









wedged 04-30-2011 05:21 PM

I welded the front half of the frame to the back half and mocked up the bed & cab again. I need to gusset where the frames connect to get rid of the flex that it has now.


This shot shows the angle of the upper links better


wedged 04-30-2011 05:22 PM

and now we are caught up to today, 4/30/11 :beer:

I rolled it outside for a few pics.








TrxR 04-30-2011 06:20 PM

Did you just mount the mustang rotors onto the centers of an old set of Dakota rotors? I would love to put a old truck body on one of my Dakota frame but I dont think I could fit comfortably in one of those cabs unless I extended into a extended cab :(


jackalope 04-30-2011 06:25 PM

I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

Beautiful truck. Top notch work as well. I absolutely love the body lines on that truck. The grill/radiator guard is a work of art in itself.

Keep it up and keep posting as you make progress.


wedged 04-30-2011 07:00 PM


Originally Posted by TrxR (Post 109316)
Did you just mount the mustang rotors onto the centers of an old set of Dakota rotors? I would love to put a old truck body on one of my Dakota frame but I dont think I could fit comfortably in one of those cabs unless I extended into a extended cab :(


The front brakes are still in the works. I probably will have the truck running and driving with the 6 lug rotors and 15" wheel for a while before I finish the Cobra brake set up. The hubs are made from a set of 5 on 4.5" dakota rotors, with the od sized for the hub area of the cobra rotor. The register hole on the rotor is larger than the register of the hub and the base of the studs are smaller than the holes in the rotor. I have to either make a centering ring, have some studs made with the proper size shoulder or maybe make some shims to fit around the studs. I suppose i could go up to 5/8" drive studs but i'd rather stick with common parts store studs if i can.

The cab narrows toward the front, but there's probably more head room than a standard cab dakota, and with no floor tunnel there's lots of leg room.

tommy_harrell 05-01-2011 03:26 PM

Huge fan of the 39-47 "job rated" Dodge trucks. Looking forward to seeing more of this project.



wedged 05-27-2011 04:42 PM

Boxed the small section of dakota frame that was not boxed. This made the entire frame a whole lot more rigid. I'll probably add some gussets to the corners where the rear half meets the cross member once I put the loop and the exhaust ports into the cross member. The piece of green box tube is just temporary. the trans tailshaft is resting on it and it also kept the rails the correct distance apart.




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