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Thread: Baby Ram

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ohio 4x4 Member
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    Baby Ram

    Edit: can you see the pics now?

    Well, since no one has posted in the Dodge forums since 2013, I thought I should spice things up. My roommate bought a house with a 4 car garage and we decided we needed a truck for all the projects and Lowe's trips. We also need it for harvesting firewood and transporting dirtbikes. Ya gotta have a truck! I couldn't find any solid Tacomas for a reasonable price so this is the new woods truck. Some highshooler in Point Pleasant WV built it, complete with a 318 from a 1979 D100, 5spd dakota transmission, I think. It guzzles gas and runs how you'd expect a 1979 truck to run. The body and frame are surprisingly rust-free (aside from the front driver fender, in pics) The 4Lo seriously CRAWLS, based on a test drive through his yard. I think it's got at least 4.10s, considering it'll chirp the tires in 4 gears... Not sure if that's a good thing, haha. IT's lifted with Spring Over Axle in the rear and torsion bars cranked up in the front. Am I going to break parts as soon as I hit the trail? I think maybe...

    My short term plan is to trim the front fenders and stuff some 33's on there. These are 31's in the pic, and they rub if you hit a bump through a turn. It needs some other small things as well. The throttle is a bish to push down, which makes for rough shifts and could be the biggest problem with driveability. Any insight is appreciated! I'm thinking some sort of carb adjustment and a hand throttle are in order. Anybody in Ohio 4x4 use hand throttles? The PO suggested it may run better if I swapped in 600 carb instead of the 750 Edlebrock that's on it. Is that a quick swap or does it require re-tuning carbs?

    IMG_5750.jpgIMG_5752.jpgIMG_5753.jpgIMG_5754.jpgIMG_5756.jpgIMG_5757.jpgIMG_5758.jpg

    I'm already deep into project mode, because a starter wire came loose, contacted the other terminal and fried the starter. By the time I could pull over, the issue had fried a battery cable terminal in half. I THINK that issue is resolved.

    If anyone has the know-how or proper tools to properly trim and fold the fenders, feel free to offer your advice. Even the correct terminology is a start for me. It doesn't need to be too pretty; I'm thinking this truck is a candidate for bedlining down the road. I'd rather not just go at it with a sawzall, though. Hopefully I can get this thing trail-ready and get to some Ohio 4x4 rides soon! Would it be/look stupid if I put a small body lift on the cab only to give the front tires more clearance?

    Hood not pictured, haha
    Last edited by SHAKEnBLAKE; 07-31-2017 at 09:39 AM.
    -Joe
    1996 Dakota 318



  2. #2
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    tef's Avatar
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    It sounds pretty neat but unfortunately the pix aren't loading lol. Be and picnic is coming up soon. Be good test run as garage is right there and alit of knowledge
    1988 Samurai Truggy: 37 stickies, yotas, locked & 5.29s, 6.5 sammy t case, 105" wheelbase, 4 link rear w/ air shocks, hydro assist, winch, lots tube, etc.
    1997 Tracker: Straight axled, 5.13s, on 33s
    2004 F350: Tow Rig, 6.0, 6 speed on 20s and 33" wildpeaks

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    Yeah, it's been a while since I posted pics on a forum. I guess now you have to pay photobucket to get 3rd party hosting. Can I upload directly to the site these days?
    -Joe
    1996 Dakota 318



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    Cool project. A guy that used to be in the club had that generation Dakota with a 318 (that was a factory option) with swapped in D60's and 37's.

    For the throttle linkage I would look at the return spring on the carb and the geometry of the throttle linkage.

    On the carb I would at least attempt to get the truck off camber side to side some, and nose up and nose down, to see how it will react on hills when on the trail. Can't count the number of people who build a carb'd truck that runs fine on the flat road but will stumble and die the first time it sees a little hill.
    Brad
    '90 Blazer - 6.2 diesel, 700r4, Dana 60, 14 bolt, locked, 39.5" Super Swamper TSLs, winch, rollcage, yada, yada, yada......

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    That thing is rudder tough bub! Like a mullet and a tall boy natty ice riding a lawn mower on a beer run haha. Looks like you'll have some fun with it, I've had similar purchases in the past and kudos to you for taking a picture of it before pulling the stickers
    94 4runner SAS Elocked 35's
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    Senior Member Ohio 4x4 Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker4evr13 View Post
    That thing is rudder tough bub! Like a mullet and a tall boy natty ice riding a lawn mower on a beer run haha. Looks like you'll have some fun with it, I've had similar purchases in the past and kudos to you for taking a picture of it before pulling the stickers
    Haha yeah I had to document the stickers. I did remove the monster energy sticker right away. I can only un-hillbilly this truck so much. A new windshield (without the Baby Ram sticker) is on the short list. I plan to eventually get it all one color, and might put a stock hood on it, just because I saw one super cheap on craigslist. (Do you think that homemade hood is really venting much heat?) My biggest frustration with the thing so far is that he took the time to bend and weld those bumpers, but didn't make them sturdy enough to use for recovery. So, I need to find some heavier duty tow points.

    Brad, I had wondered about the carb on hills. This weekend I might be giving her a little shakedown run to see how she does. Ideally I'd have an automatic, fuel injected truck to be my long term trail rig, but Baby Ram is just too funny not to wheel. Keep an eye out for cheap automatic trail trucks for me guys!
    -Joe
    1996 Dakota 318



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    Little to no progress has been made, but I'm ready to make some moves on getting some 33's to fit. The fender design allows for minimal additional clearance via trimming because you get into the cab of the truck after about 1" of clearance. I'm going to trim the fenders anyway to get rid of some rust.

    I'm trying to think of the easiest way to stuff some 33's in there. If I just buy new torsion keys to lift the front, am I going to be breaking cv axles up front? Would it be better to do a body lift? Both? Would it look silly to only body lift the cab and not the bed? Ideally I'd do a straight axle swap but I have no experience there, and no welder (and very novcice welding skills).

    Tire size: my gut instinct is to go skinny to avoid breaking parts and fender rubbing. Are 33 x 9.50 TSLs too skinny?

    Let me know your thoughts, guys!
    -Joe
    1996 Dakota 318



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    For the torsion keys check to see how much adjustment is available on the stock keys first. If you can raise the front 2" by cranking the adjuster bolts on the stock keys it's exactly the same thing as installing new keys and getting 2" of lift. The more angle you put on the CV joints the more stress they have.........does that mean if you raise the front end up by that method the CV's will spontaneously explode? Maybe, maybe not. Also keep in mind that the down travel is limited by stops on the trucks and if you crank it up against those stops it will usually ride really rough.
    Brad
    '90 Blazer - 6.2 diesel, 700r4, Dana 60, 14 bolt, locked, 39.5" Super Swamper TSLs, winch, rollcage, yada, yada, yada......

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ohio 4x4 Member
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    Good advice.; thanks Brad. The truck has been in the shop getting some things done that I can't do, so I haven't been able to check it out. I'm assuming the stock torsion bars are already maxed out (since it has considerable rake and the PO would have lifted the front more, if possible) So I'll wait til I get it back to see!

    Oh, what did you think of the 33 x 9.50 TSL idea?
    Last edited by SHAKEnBLAKE; 09-05-2017 at 01:51 PM.
    -Joe
    1996 Dakota 318



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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad View Post
    Cool project. A guy that used to be in the club had that generation Dakota with a 318 (that was a factory option) with swapped in D60's and 37's.

    For the throttle linkage I would look at the return spring on the carb and the geometry of the throttle linkage.

    On the carb I would at least attempt to get the truck off camber side to side some, and nose up and nose down, to see how it will react on hills when on the trail. Can't count the number of people who build a carb'd truck that runs fine on the flat road but will stumble and die the first time it sees a little hill.
    Quarry02-09-02 030.jpg

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