Street Truck

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JeremyJ
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Street Truck

Post by JeremyJ » Mon Oct 12, 2020 11:19 am

So I found a unicorn. It's a 2003 Dodge Dakota. Black Sport. Regular cab, short bed, 2WD, 4.7 V8, and...a manual transmission. A five-speed stick with a V8! These are incredibly rare. This one isn't perfect, but it's an excellent platform to have fun with. I'll upload some photos when I get a chance. Here is a list of the known issues:
  • Cheap respray paint job
  • Mismatched tailgate and rear bumper
  • Dings in the front bumper
  • Hideous aftermarket tail lights
  • Noisy throwout bearing (needs a clutch)
  • 188,000 miles
And here are the pros:
  • Came with a new clutch, front bumper cover, and a lowering kit
  • Straight body
  • New brakes and ball joints
  • It was really cheap
  • Runs and drives perfectly
  • No leaks
  • $1200+ canopy
  • Spray-in bedliner
  • Did I mention the manual transmission?
My plans involve a steep suspension drop kit, a roll pan, some paint on the tailgate, and a new clutch. Eventually some exhaust so I can actually hear it. Maybe a short shifter (expensive and hard to find for these things) and some other go-fast bits. It's going to be my little hot rod pickup. I'll break the speed limit while doing dump runs...or something. I'd actually like to set it up to handle and brake well, so it feel less like a truck on the road. It's going to be a fun project.
Last edited by JeremyJ on Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
02 base -> 05 SRT ACR -> 96 sedan -> 99 R/T coupe -> 02 R/T -> 03 SRT

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Midnight_Rider
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Re: New Truck

Post by Midnight_Rider » Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:02 pm

Aare you going back with the OEM tail lights?
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occasional demons
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Re: New Truck

Post by occasional demons » Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:57 pm

My friend had a fullsize with the 4.7. He had well over 200,000 miles with no major issues, other than a water pump and radiator.

Until...

The killer was the way the PDC/PCM was set up, they get corrosion in there, and it killed the PCM. The cost was more than the truck was worth to fix it, because the PDC also needed replaced.

So it would have been a PCM, PDC, and wire harness. IIRC it was a 2010? Something about the only year they made like this in the Rams, so parts were tough to find.

The engine itself never gave any issues, other than stuff that normally wears out.
Bill
Probably shouldn't listen to anything your penis says, that guy's a dick.
Patience, of course, is a very powerful weapon, but sometimes I start to regret that it is not a firearm.
Too much time spent here is a sign of a bad case of Ownaneonvirus.

2000 Neon MTX swap with '02 R/T PCM
1999 neon coupe 2.4 swap

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JeremyJ
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Re: New Truck

Post by JeremyJ » Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:38 pm

Midnight_Rider wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:02 pm
Aare you going back with the OEM tail lights?
Heck yes. OEM red.

The 4.7 seems to be a good motor. I've been doing some research and the trans noise might actually be the input shaft bearing, instead of the throwout bearing. I might end up taking it to a trans shop, depending on the cost.
02 base -> 05 SRT ACR -> 96 sedan -> 99 R/T coupe -> 02 R/T -> 03 SRT

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JeremyJ
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Re: New Truck

Post by JeremyJ » Tue Oct 13, 2020 10:40 am

Here it is:

Image
Image
Image

I'm going to paint the tailgate to match and get rid of the eBay lighting. I'm unsure about the canopy. It was a $1500 piece and it can be useful, but I'm not a fan of it in general. I'll either keep it in case I want to use it and store it off the truck, or I'll sell it to buy more parts. Not sure yet.
02 base -> 05 SRT ACR -> 96 sedan -> 99 R/T coupe -> 02 R/T -> 03 SRT

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occasional demons
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Re: New Truck

Post by occasional demons » Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:43 pm

I had forgotten about the oddball 6 bolt wheel pattern. The one thing that annoyed me about Dakotas.

The canopy probably adds to the fuel mileage.

My dad had a hard cover, and it made a huge difference in fuel mileage. It was a V6 5 speed, and it got 21 mpg. If you had to do something that required taking the cover off, it dropped to around 14 mpg.

The cosmetic benefit of a hard cover, is it doesn't look like an old man truck like the canopy does, but at the cost of needing to remove it, for a lot of things the canopy can stay put for.

But it is much easier to remove/install.
Bill
Probably shouldn't listen to anything your penis says, that guy's a dick.
Patience, of course, is a very powerful weapon, but sometimes I start to regret that it is not a firearm.
Too much time spent here is a sign of a bad case of Ownaneonvirus.

2000 Neon MTX swap with '02 R/T PCM
1999 neon coupe 2.4 swap

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JeremyJ
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Re: New Truck

Post by JeremyJ » Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:04 pm

This truck gets 19 mpg according to the overhead console. Not bad for a V8. I'm sure the canopy helps with that. But like you said...old man vibes. I put a hard tonneau cover on my old Hemi Ram and I easily gained two MPG. That was with a lead foot.

The one cool thing about the bolt pattern is that it's shared with the Viper. There have been a few guys who installed Viper wheels on their Dakotas and it looks pretty cool. They do require spacers to clear the suspension. Most do the four front wheels setup, but a few have managed to squeeze the 13" rears under them before. I think that would be overkill for this truck, though. I'd be happy with a set of stock R/T 17x9's and some sticky tires.
02 base -> 05 SRT ACR -> 96 sedan -> 99 R/T coupe -> 02 R/T -> 03 SRT

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occasional demons
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Re: New Truck

Post by occasional demons » Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:22 pm

JeremyJ wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:04 pm
This truck gets 19 mpg according to the overhead console. Not bad for a V8.
The sad part, (for Ford) is Dakotas in same era can smoke the Ranger in both power and fuel economy.

My nephew learned that the hard way. He had a 90's Dakota, and traded it for a Ranger, even after we told him it was going to be a mistake. A move he regretted. He just couldn't comprehend a smaller truck could get such horrible fuel economy, while being so lame to drive.

My brother and former brother in law both had Rangers, one being new, and the other pretty well beat. Both were lucky to hit 10 mpg, and the gas pedal was more of an ornament than something that functions. The beater actually made better power than the new one. :lol:

The beater was a 2.3 4 banger, the new one was a 3.0 V6. #-o
Bill
Probably shouldn't listen to anything your penis says, that guy's a dick.
Patience, of course, is a very powerful weapon, but sometimes I start to regret that it is not a firearm.
Too much time spent here is a sign of a bad case of Ownaneonvirus.

2000 Neon MTX swap with '02 R/T PCM
1999 neon coupe 2.4 swap

04rebel
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Re: New Truck

Post by 04rebel » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:07 pm

Nice looking mid size truck you found there JJ ! Hope you end up liking it much and for a long time. Myself, I'm not into pick ups at all, would rather have a van or suburban clas equivalent vehicle than a pick up. :)

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JeremyJ
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Re: New Truck

Post by JeremyJ » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:02 am

Image

I think it looks a lot better.
02 base -> 05 SRT ACR -> 96 sedan -> 99 R/T coupe -> 02 R/T -> 03 SRT

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occasional demons
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Re: New Truck

Post by occasional demons » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:24 am

Definitely!


Do you want this moved to a Project Log? or to your old one?
Bill
Probably shouldn't listen to anything your penis says, that guy's a dick.
Patience, of course, is a very powerful weapon, but sometimes I start to regret that it is not a firearm.
Too much time spent here is a sign of a bad case of Ownaneonvirus.

2000 Neon MTX swap with '02 R/T PCM
1999 neon coupe 2.4 swap

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JeremyJ
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Location: Kent, Washington

Re: New Truck

Post by JeremyJ » Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:41 pm

I thought about starting a project log, but this is a Neon site after all. I don't think people are going to be stoked to read about a Dakota. Seems more off-topic. What do you think? I'm open to what you suggest.
02 base -> 05 SRT ACR -> 96 sedan -> 99 R/T coupe -> 02 R/T -> 03 SRT

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occasional demons
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Re: New Truck

Post by occasional demons » Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:58 pm

Meh, a project log on a non neon isn't going to hurt anything. It's not like there are a ton of strict neon purist hanging out here. We're just lucky anyone interested in anything Mopar related are still using this site...

Danteneon had a PL on his Caliber, so I don't see how a truck is any different.
Bill
Probably shouldn't listen to anything your penis says, that guy's a dick.
Patience, of course, is a very powerful weapon, but sometimes I start to regret that it is not a firearm.
Too much time spent here is a sign of a bad case of Ownaneonvirus.

2000 Neon MTX swap with '02 R/T PCM
1999 neon coupe 2.4 swap

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JeremyJ
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Location: Kent, Washington

Re: New Truck

Post by JeremyJ » Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:17 pm

Then let's move it over and I'll keep a log on here. It will be nice to bounce some ideas off of you guys. You know...all three of you.
02 base -> 05 SRT ACR -> 96 sedan -> 99 R/T coupe -> 02 R/T -> 03 SRT

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Midnight_Rider
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Re: New Truck

Post by Midnight_Rider » Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:30 pm

occasional demons wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:58 pm
It's not like there are a ton of strict neon purist hanging out here.
WHAT? Wait a minute... Just kidding. :lol:
Official "I'm Going To Drive My Neon 'til It Dies" Club #10

04rebel
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Re: New Truck

Post by 04rebel » Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:42 pm

You guys are making me like "persona non grata" by letting the wife get a PONTIAC G6 gt and quitting on our 98 Avenger!
Son has the Journey now. His GF has Luna the 04 SXT. I've got the 04 Town&Country and the Avenger is HIBERNATING out in the back yard!! ;)

occasional demons
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Re: New Truck

Post by occasional demons » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:57 am

JeremyJ wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:17 pm
You know...all three of you.

:laughing3:
Bill
Probably shouldn't listen to anything your penis says, that guy's a dick.
Patience, of course, is a very powerful weapon, but sometimes I start to regret that it is not a firearm.
Too much time spent here is a sign of a bad case of Ownaneonvirus.

2000 Neon MTX swap with '02 R/T PCM
1999 neon coupe 2.4 swap

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JeremyJ
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Location: Kent, Washington

Re: Street Truck

Post by JeremyJ » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:37 am

Since this is officially a project log, I'm going to continue with tradition and add a post with all of the mods on the truck. I will update this post as I make changes to it:

Exterior:
eBay headlights
Debadged
Line-X bed liner
Leer canopy (removed)
eBay tail lights (removed)

Interior:
Bucket seat swap
Kenwood CD player
Kicker speakers

Suspension:
Stock

Wheels/Tires/Brakes:
Stock

Engine:
Stock

Transmission:
Stock
Last edited by JeremyJ on Fri Nov 13, 2020 3:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
02 base -> 05 SRT ACR -> 96 sedan -> 99 R/T coupe -> 02 R/T -> 03 SRT

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MyNeonSaysHi
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Re: Street Truck

Post by MyNeonSaysHi » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:24 pm

Looks like a nice little truck. Odd I was thinking about getting an old Dodge truck the other day b4 seeing this log... And to lower it too. Sick of seeing all these lifted trucks with UGLY wheels rolling all over the place out here. I think it would be fun to have a lowered Ram/Dakota. Has hell froze over?!? There is a local with a black Dakota R/T on the Viper wheels. It looks pretty good! My dad had a 02 V6 Dakota he bought brand new with a stick. Always liked Dodge trucks. Curious to see what you end up doing to it!
Last edited by MyNeonSaysHi on Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

08 Acura TL-S
05 Neon SRT-4

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JeremyJ
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Re: Street Truck

Post by JeremyJ » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:49 pm

I don't say this out loud very often, for fear of being stoned to death, but I actually really dislike lifted trucks. I think they look stupid. I love lowered trucks, though. Bagged trucks are cool, but I prefer static drops. I don't know why. I see regular cab trucks like two-seat muscle cars. Drop them and make them fast.
02 base -> 05 SRT ACR -> 96 sedan -> 99 R/T coupe -> 02 R/T -> 03 SRT

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MyNeonSaysHi
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Re: Street Truck

Post by MyNeonSaysHi » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:15 am

Agreed! I am sure not many will see your post here about that hahaha.

08 Acura TL-S
05 Neon SRT-4

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JeremyJ
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Re: Street Truck

Post by JeremyJ » Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:28 am

New tail lights! No more ricer garbage!

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02 base -> 05 SRT ACR -> 96 sedan -> 99 R/T coupe -> 02 R/T -> 03 SRT

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occasional demons
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Re: Street Truck

Post by occasional demons » Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:43 am

:D
Bill
Probably shouldn't listen to anything your penis says, that guy's a dick.
Patience, of course, is a very powerful weapon, but sometimes I start to regret that it is not a firearm.
Too much time spent here is a sign of a bad case of Ownaneonvirus.

2000 Neon MTX swap with '02 R/T PCM
1999 neon coupe 2.4 swap

Midnight_Rider
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Re: Street Truck

Post by Midnight_Rider » Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:06 pm

That looks so much better.
Official "I'm Going To Drive My Neon 'til It Dies" Club #10

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JeremyJ
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Re: Street Truck

Post by JeremyJ » Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:19 pm

Well, I dropped the truck off at the shop last night. It's going to get a new clutch kit, flywheel, and rear main seal replaced. Let's hope I can afford to pick it up when they're done! It's a good shop that's really close to home. They quoted me half what another shop quoted me and they're much friendlier. Great reviews. I think it's in good hands. We'll see.
02 base -> 05 SRT ACR -> 96 sedan -> 99 R/T coupe -> 02 R/T -> 03 SRT

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occasional demons
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Re: Street Truck

Post by occasional demons » Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:20 pm

Labor shouldn't be too bad, we did the clutch in my Dad's '93, 2wd, and it was a fairly simple job, even without a lift/transmission jack.

I think back then, there were still machine shops around that would re surface a flywheel. So I think it was just a disc and pressure plate for the "major expense" pieces.

When my brother needed a clutch in his fox body Mustang, he was going to do it himself, but he checked around for shits and grins, and the local Ford dealer only wanted $125 for labor and parts.

He didn't hesitate to drop it off. :lol:
Bill
Probably shouldn't listen to anything your penis says, that guy's a dick.
Patience, of course, is a very powerful weapon, but sometimes I start to regret that it is not a firearm.
Too much time spent here is a sign of a bad case of Ownaneonvirus.

2000 Neon MTX swap with '02 R/T PCM
1999 neon coupe 2.4 swap

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MyNeonSaysHi
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Re: Street Truck

Post by MyNeonSaysHi » Tue Oct 27, 2020 5:09 pm

Hopefully all goes well withj the clutch job and it shifts like new. Its nice having a shop take care of a jjob like that,. Don't have to lift a finger and since the price is right, might as well! Eveyrone seems to be buying new cars like crazy I noticed! I think car market prices or going to tank next year. /offtopic

08 Acura TL-S
05 Neon SRT-4

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JeremyJ
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Re: Street Truck

Post by JeremyJ » Tue Oct 27, 2020 6:14 pm

Soooooo I guess the transmission needs a rebuild. I'm not surprised, since the sound it was making didn't sound like a throwout bearing at all. Bad internal bearings. I can't wait until they quote me a price for the rebuild. Fun times.
02 base -> 05 SRT ACR -> 96 sedan -> 99 R/T coupe -> 02 R/T -> 03 SRT

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occasional demons
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Re: Street Truck

Post by occasional demons » Wed Oct 28, 2020 8:40 am

I wonder if they used ATF in those also?

And someone put gear oil in...

Just because it is a bigger vehicle doesn't exclude it from ATF from the factory.

My Jeep XJ used ATF in the transfer case. Dexron IIE.

I drained it, and put in Redline's version in both the AW4 and the 242 transfer case. Never had any issues with wear, or the fluid turning dark. My buddies Jeep used the same, but he just changed it every 30,000 miles with conventional. His was always black coming out. :shock:
Bill
Probably shouldn't listen to anything your penis says, that guy's a dick.
Patience, of course, is a very powerful weapon, but sometimes I start to regret that it is not a firearm.
Too much time spent here is a sign of a bad case of Ownaneonvirus.

2000 Neon MTX swap with '02 R/T PCM
1999 neon coupe 2.4 swap

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MyNeonSaysHi
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Location: Kansas

Re: Street Truck

Post by MyNeonSaysHi » Sun Nov 01, 2020 3:02 am

yikes sorry to hear that :(

08 Acura TL-S
05 Neon SRT-4

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