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Dakota Frame/running gear under C Cab truck

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  • Frame/Springs: Dakota Frame/running gear under C Cab truck

    I understand someone has done this before, so I'd like to get the information.

    What Dakota to use to start with, and what was done to the frame to get it to fit.

    I'm thinking to use the entire Running gear from the Dakota (essentially removing the body and sticking the Stude on there).

    Has anyone done this before?

  • #2
    There are some videos on-line if you do a search. There is one particularly good one that follows the build all the way through. The builder was making a "rat" rod, so I didn't like everything, but it as an interesting vehicle.
    One of our chapter members put a 2R body on a Dakota frame a few years back. He didn't want to cut the floor out of the bed and raise it, so he set the whole thing higher. I didn't like that part of it, but it drove well after he got the Chevy engine and transmission sorted out. I did not understand putting a Chevy engine in the Dodge frame.
    Last edited by 52-fan; 10-19-2018, 08:42 AM.
    sigpic

    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
    1952 2R pickup

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    • #3
      Industrial Chassis Inc. does a lot of Dakota swaps. If you look over on the H.A.M.B. website there is a lot of information.

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      • #4
        I realize this thread is getting old but I put my '55 C-cab on an '87 Dakota frame. I raised the bed floor, that someone had already cut out and replaced with cedar wood, 1 1/2 inches so the cab and bed could sit at the level I wanted. I used a 4.3 Chevy V6 and automatic transmission and I drive it daily.
        Attached Files
        thom

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        • #5
          thom Why the 4.3 chev and not a dodge 318? Although a 4.3 is a good little engine.

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          • #6
            The Dakota that I got for a chassis donor had a 3.9 V6 in it that had issues I didn't want to deal with and I like Chevy 4.3s.
            thom

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            • #7
              yeah, I was thinking of using a 98 Dakota with a V8 if i could find one.

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              • #8
                If you can find a regular cab, short bed, I believe the length is perfect for the C-cab cab and bed. You will have to saw off 6-8 inches (IIRC) of the rear frame rails so the Studebaker bed will sit down over the Dodge frame. Quick work with a Sawz-all, and then the front can be modified to attach a piece of the Studebaker frame to the front so the original Studebaker front bumper can be reused. That's what I did. I love the way mine rides and drives. The Dakota had power rack & pinion steering and of course disc brakes in front. I did find that reusing the Dakota gas tank was a problem as it had a big hump built in it and I would have either had to drop it lower in the chassis, so it would have hung down lower than I liked, or raise the bed floor to clear it. So I switched to a 90s Ford Ranger plastic tank. They are flat on top and it worked great. I still raise the bed floor 1 1/2 inches just to get the cab and bed to sir where I wanted them, but it is not noticeable unless you look at the rear of the bed floor when the tailgate is open. One other thing I did was make two "wedges" to change the angle at which the steering rack mounted to the frame crossmember. I reused the original steering column an steering wheel in mine by sawing the column off above the worn out steering box and then putting a bearing in the tube where the shaft came through. In order to connect the shaft to the steering rack I need to adjust the angle so the wedges kicked the rack down a few degrees so the two lined up better and the u-joint could do it's job. My chassis came with 2.90:1 gears in the rear diff and they are working out great with my 4.3 and 400 TH automatic. Plenty of power and averaging 18 MPG. I would recommend the Dakota chassis swap to anyone with an old truck cab and bed and a chassis that is too far gone to be saved. I have seen Dodges, Internationals, Fords, Hudsons, Chevrolets, GMCs, Studebakers, you name it, on them, all work well. Personally, I would use an S10 under a Chevy or GMC though. Good luck with yours. If you have any questions that I might can answer or want to see some pics, let me know. Good day.
                thom

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                • #9
                  I have a 2002 Dakota quad cab with the V6 engine. I have now 195,000 miles on engine and it is still running strong. Treated right and oil changes every 3-4,000. Problem with the engine is it has poor power when accelerating with AC on. It may have trouble pulling with the heavy Stude body on it. Lacks power under strain.

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                  • #10
                    The quad cab is too long, and the V6 is not what you need.

                    AND Dont even think about putting a Dakota under that Automatic Transtar of yours.
                    The Transtar with Automatic is too Rare IMHO>

                    I'm thinking of Doing it to a 6cy Standard truck.

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                    • #11
                      All of my hands-on experience has been with '87-mid 90s Dakota frames so I can't say about ones as new as a 2002 but I don't imagine they changed much. The newer ones with anti-lock brakes might be a pain in the butt unless you really want anti-lock or four wheel disc brakes. The ones I am familiar with are made in two major sections then welded together under the cab. And the factory welds I have seen are not very impressive, probably done by robots. If the length needs to be changed, like it did on my '87, simply grind the factory welds, slide the frame apart, cut the amount needed off of the REAR section, slide the frame back together(keeping it straight) and reweld it. The welds on mine look a lot better than the factory welds did! I believe Dodge had one front section for all their 2wd trucks and then used whatever rear section was needed for the cab style and bed length truck they were building. If you shorten a frame at least most driveshaft shops can shorten a driveshaft but if you need a longer driveshaft they have to make you a new one, which costs more, I'm sure. I DON'T want to encourage anyone with a car to do a full frame swap though. Trucks seem to work out well but I have seen very few, if any car frame swaps that I thought looked good. I have seen several fixable cars end up being parted out or scrapped after a frame swap went bad.
                      thom

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by doublepaddle View Post
                        It may have trouble pulling with the heavy Stude body on it.
                        FWIW, that's not going to be a problem; the Stude body is quite light, as is the basic sheet metal for the Dakota. What makes the Dakota heavier is all the stuff the Stude doesn't have; side guard door beams, seat belts, jump seats, sound deadening insulation, power windows, AC, PS, radio, tilt wheel, carpeting, et al.

                        jack vines
                        PackardV8

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                        • #13
                          Thinking back on it I remember the Dakota cab being a lot heavier when we removed it than the Studebaker cab was when we moved it from the original frame to the Dakota. Same with the Dakota bed and the Studebaker bed but the Dakota was a long bed. Three of us lifted and carried the Studebaker cab, minus the seat, with no problem. I think we had four when we did the bed. I sold a solid '50 IHC half-ton pick up a couple of years before I got my Studebaker. I wish I had it back, I would find another Dakota chassis and swap one under it.
                          thom

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by thom View Post
                            I sold a solid '50 IHC half-ton pick up a couple of years before I got my Studebaker. I wish I had it back, I would find another Dakota chassis and swap one under it.
                            Just goes to show someone likes them. I owned a couple of those early '50s L110 Cornbinders and could never fall in love with they way they looked or the way they drove; but solid, I'd give them that.



                            jack vines
                            PackardV8

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                            • #15
                              Mine looked pretty much like the one in the above picture except it was a darker green. It had the 240 Black Diamond six and three speed column shifted transmission. It was geared stump puller low so I avoided interstate highway travel. I should have updated to a later model 9 inch Ford rearend with higher gears. The current owner has it on a late model 2wd Chevy or GMC full size truck chassis with a Chevy V8 and automatic. It is now dark green with black fenders and looks great, except it sits a little tall for my taste.
                              I like the split rear windows on these and the hood latches that can be released from either side or release both sides at once and set the hood off without turning a single bolt. Tough old trucks.
                              thom

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