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Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
Alright, update time!

1) I finished up rebuilding the VE injection pump. Krud Kutter on the rusty bits and bobs, some replacement screws, and some elbow grease, along with a new seal kit and installing the upgrades, and the pump looks great. Ready for action.

2) I completely disassembled the NP205 transfer case, cleaned all the parts and inspected for wear, took a grinder to the shift rails as part of the twin-stick mod, used Rustoleum Rust Reformer as a base coat and Rustoleum Hammered Black as a top coat, then reassembled everything with all new seals. It looks really nice!

3) I did finally finish busting out all the rivets from the front crossmember on the crew cab frame, and disassembled the frame completely. I attempted sandblasting myself, but after one crossmember with my 60 gallon compressor, I gave up and called the professional. Frame goes to be blasted as early as this weekend. I had previously ordered a body mount and bushing kit from Energy Suspension which replaces the rubber mounts and bushings with Prothane polyurethane. Only when looking over the front shackle hangers and then the rear hangers did I realize that a) all of the hangers have bushings which were not part of the kit, and b) nothing in the kit will fit the rear springs or shackles to begin with. So now I'm on the lookout for rear leaf spring and shackle polyurethane bushings.

4) I finished the tear-down of my 12v and took it, along with the pistons, crank, flex plate, rockers and head, new bearings, new rings, new cam bushing, and new valve springs, all to the local shop so that the engine can be hot tanked, crank balanced, head and valve seats checked, rockers milled for headstuds, and 60lb over valve springs put on. It's been there over a month and I haven't heard anything back yet, but I'm not rushing the guy because it isn't holding me up.

5) I have completely torn down the transmission and inspected everything. The rear band was worn to the point that flakes of clutch material were coming off. However, the frictions and steels and the front band actually looked decently new. I noticed several upgraded parts already in place, including two steel 5-pinion planetary and the high capacity direct drum (it has the two parallel lines on the outside indicating high capacity). I completely cleaned up the valve body and installed the Transgo shift kit, as the valve body appeared stock, along with new OD/Lockup solenoids. I plan to replace the accumulator, servo cover, apply lever, strut and anchor, and rear 4-pinion aluminum planetary, with the quad-seal Sonnax accumulator, Sonnax o-ringed servo cover, billet 4.2 ratio apply lever, billet strut and billet band anchor, and 6-pinion steel planetary. I'm also planning on upgrading all four clutch packs with Alto Red Eagles and kolene steels, and doing a complete re-gasket and reseal of the transmission. The case has already been cleaned and painted with self-etching primer and a coat of Rustoleum Hammered Black to match the NP205 transfer case. It also looks great, and I can't wait to get in the rest of the parts so I can begin reassembly. (Also in store for the transmission is a Goerend triple-disc torque converter and deep transmission pan. I really like their design. In the event I ever plan to eclipse 450hp, I'll install a billet input shaft. For now, however, that's an expense I can forego.

Pictures!




(This doesn't even look like the same pump anymore)


(Dropped the pan)


(Stamped the bottom of each rod to keep them in order)








(Transfer case teardown)




(twin-stick modification)
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Update time again!

1) Rebuilt the transmission, checking all parts for wear and replacing what needed replaced. All upgrades include: Transgo SK TFOD-Diesel in the valve body, Alto Red Eagle frictions & Kolene steels for all four clutch packs, new Hi-cap direct drum to fit maximum frictions/steels combo (what I thought was a hi-cap drum was not, in fact, a hi-cap drum), Alto high energy front and rear bands, new 6-pinion steel rear planetary with new teflon coated washer, quad-seal Sonnax accumulator, Sonnax o-ringed servo cover, billet 4.2 ratio apply lever, billet strut and billet band anchor, new OD/Lockup solenoids, new neutral safety switch, all new gaskets, seals and o-rings. I also lightly painted the front of the oil pump with a little rust reformer to make it look good, even though nobody will ever see it once it's installed. Again, I plan to put on a Goerend deep transmission pan and a Goerend triple-disc torque converter, and this will be done.

2) Got my frame parts back from the sandblaster. First I used a 1/2" reamer on all the rivet holes to make sure that my flange bolts and serrated flange nuts would work with no issues, and then I put everything back together except the transmission crossmember. I welded those holes shut because the transmission crossmember will need to be relocated anyway (this frame originally had a crossmember for a 4-speed manual, but I'm going to a 47RH 4x4. In order to square everything up, I then reamed the frame holes to 9/16" to give enough play, and that worked out great. We were able to get the frame squared to within 1/64" before I tore it all back down and painted every part with gloss black Chassis Saver. I also tore down the fairly new Skyjacker Softride 4" overall lift springs that came with the crew cab truck, took a wire wheel to everything, and painted the individual leafs with Chassis Saver. Once everything had dried and cured, I put the frame back together and squared it again, and this time it came out perfect. All the frame bolts have been torqued down. I put the springs back together, installed new rubber bushings from Michigan Truck Spring in the rear springs and shackles, installed new polyurethane bushings from Energy Suspension in the front springs and shackles, and installed the springs before dropping the entire frame down onto the D60 front and D70 rear to get it rolling. I still plan to remove the axles at a later time to go through them, do a disc brake conversion on the rear D70, and paint them.

3) Got my engine back from the machine shop The head was checked, valve seats redone, and has new 60lb over valve springs installed. The block was hot-tanked, checked, and had the rotating assembly balanced. I need to build a heavy-duty rotating engine stand, and then I'll start on the engine rebuild. Note, finding replacement freeze plugs for the engine block wasn't as easy as one might think. You have to do your own homework, because what the parts store says will work won't actually work even if they insist that a 5.9L engine is a 5.9L engine. There's a big difference between a Dodge 360 (5.9L) gasser and a Cummins 12v (5.9L) diesel when it comes to freeze plugs. Right now, the engine and head are sitting on a pallet in my garage.

Pics!






(While the original frictions/steels didn't necessarily look all that old or worn, I don't think they were cleaned or soaked properly when installed)







 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
More updates:

Things have been a bit more slow, perhaps, but I have a feeling it's about to get moving at a quicker pace. Here's what's been done...

1) Removed the rear drums and started mocking up a disc brake conversion. I decided to make my own disc brake brackets. If I had to do it over, I might just buy them. Getting the correct dimensions was a pain, as that information is virtually nonexistent on the internet - or at least anyone that knows was pretty tight-lipped. But I wanted my brackets to be a two-piece design that bolted directly to the old drum backing plate and would allow me to get the spacing just right for the calipers. To make the brackets I used a Torchmate cnc plasma cutter after drawing the design. For the brakes I went with a set of the larger 1978 El Dorado calipers with 7.065" mounting pin spacing and a solid-faced piston, which I happened to find for pretty cheap on Rock Auto at just the right time. They didn't come with the e-brake brackets, though, so I ordered those from Lugnut4x4.com. I got a set of front rotors for a 1977 Chevy K20 pickup, and drilled out the wheel stud holes with a 45/64" drill bit (~0.703 in or 18mm). This was precautionary, because I didn't want the cast rotors to crack, and I went with the 77 Chevy K20 rotors because the main hole for the wheel hub was large enough and did not need machining. In hindsight, the full kit from Lugnut4x4.com might have been an overall quicker solution. But I believe I still saved a few bucks by going DIY on some of this and, heck, I'm learning along the way.

2) I ordered new springless crossover/high-steer arms from Offroad Designs, with a 7/8" heim steering kit and new studs from RuffStuff Specialties. Acquired some 1" i.d. 0.25" wall DOM tubing for the new drag link and tie rod. When I ge the rear axle done this is going to be a part of the front axle finishing (yes, I've already redone the wheel hubs when I got the donor truck, but the axle still needs painted and the ring & pinion bearings replaced and resealed anyway)

3) I removed the rear axle and gutted the thing. New races, bearings and seals are in order so that I know I'm starting fresh. Had to go with a combo of Timken and National due to availability. I'm at the point of replacing the rear pinion bearing but haven't gotten it done yet because I'm also in the middle of the disc brake conversion still. I see some people using pinion depth tools to check their pinion depth to the thousandth of an inch, but I can't find where to rent or borrow one and I don't want to spend $500 on a good one that I might use once or twice. So, my plan is to reuse all the shims that came out, and check the position and backlash with some gear marking compound. I also removed the antilock brake sensor and tapped the hole for a 7/8" bolt IIRC, which I'm inserting to the same depth with some red thread locker and then cutting off flush. I chased all the diff cover holes with a tap and replaced all the old, rusty bolts. I also took a wire wheel to the entire axle and painted the thing with Chassis Saver frame paint, followed by a top coat of Rustoleum gloss black. I still need to top coat the frame too.

4) Acquired some heavy-walled square tubing and a worm gear winch from Harbor Freight, drew up some plans, and my friend built a heavy duty engine stand with it (he needed to use it first, lol). After some slight height revisions it's ready to roll. And I'm that much closer to painting and building my engine.

5) Spending spree time. In anticipation of getting to work on the engine and getting this thing moving, I'm buying some parts. First, my friend swapped me his stock he351cw from his '06 since he's going to get a new turbo. It's in good shape but needs cleaned up. I was able to remove it from his manifold without snapping a stud or anything else. My plan is to re-clock the thing and replace the actuator with a spring wastegate, check the bore on the wastegate to make sure it's at 1", and then maybe even upgrade the wheel. Still need to research that one. I was lamenting the cost of everything and hesitating to order parts for this project. My wife overheard me and said "that truck isn't going to move unless you have the parts you need, so I don't see why you're not ordering them." :oops: So, other things ordered: DPS 3-piece exhaust manifold; Manton 7/16" wall series 310 pushrods; Beans Machine billet tappet cover; Tracktech head studs; Goerend billet flex plate, Goerend transmission pan, Goerend DA triple disc torque converter and Goerend economy billet input shaft; Victor Reinz head gasket of stock thickness since I have a new head (Victor Reinz has a plant local to me and makes gaskets for Mahle, which makes gaskets for Cummins); Gates upper and lower rad hoses, belt tensioner, water pump and heater hose elbows; Marmon Ride Control transmission mount; Anchor motor mounts; and other miscellaneous things. I hope to be able to work with all of that very soon...

Pics!






(this is not the final version, the final version is bolt-on)








(wire wheel helped find the BOM #)
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
So in the last 27 days I was able to finish up the disc brake conversion for the D70 rear. I had to revise my bracketry a few times to get it right. See the pictures for my cutoff wheel and polishing pad revisions. In the end, I'm still happy with the way it turned out and it was a learning experience for sure.

I put in new bearings and races for the carrier and the pinion, all the way around. I spoke with a mechanic friend of mine who said he's never had trouble with depth and contact when reusing the factory shims, so that's what I did. In the end the pinion preload torque was in spec, and the backlash was as well.

A little paint here and there, I used a 7/8" coarse-thread bolt into the hole for the ABS sensor, which I had tapped, along with some red permanent threadlocker. Cut off the bolt and polished it down, then hit it again with the Chassis Saver paint. Not pictured yet, but I refitted the axle shafts after a bit of cleaning, painting the ends. I replaced all of the tapered cone lock washers. Do not think that you have to pay over $6 per washer like I did at first, for part #QU40577. Instead, Dorman Part # 685-053 are listed as "engine cylinder head nut washers" and they are exactly the same according to my calipers, for much cheaper. I did use the nyloc spindle nuts with new locks for my hubs. I could have switched over to a D60 style locking nut/tabbed washer system, but prices are crazy on those right now.

Pics! (Note, I have started taking some short videos of my process, which I'm converting to animated gifs for here)


(mock-up of disc brake caliper brackets - this will need revising)


(at first I thought this might do... but it wasn't enough modifying)


(the e-brake bracket was still hitting my DIY backing plate bracket)






(this shape worked, really well)


(final mock-up)




(paint time! self-etching primer, then black engine paint and red Rustoleum caliper paint)


(when doing disassembly and reassembly of these 7.0625" Eldorado calipers, the piston dust covers will get damaged)

(backlash perfectly within spec)

(overview of nearly-complete rear axle)



(ABS delete - like it was never there)
 

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I started watching this build when you opened this thread and then it went cold. I thought maybe you abandoned the project or sold it off. Looking good though, keep the pictures and updates coming. I love those crew cabs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Thanks! Tear-down isn't quite as exciting as building everything back up. Once you start putting things together and seeing some actual progress it gets more exciting and more motivating, lol. Some of this stuff I've had to teach myself how to do as well. Time and money, time and money. If you have one, you likely don't have the other lol!
 
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