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Many of you know of this truck from the TDR forums as this restoration has been well published there. I have finally found the time to retype this and post it here so hope you have a good data plan as there is a lot of pics here!:shock::hehe:


Well, as I have a 5.5 hour wait here in St Louis for my next flight, I thought I would so something to prevent boredom from taking over and making my brain mush. Although there is no WIFI here in this huge airport of like 18 gates, I will at least be able to post this later as will type this in Word. I will also try to keep this in detailed yet simple terms and will try to explain it in detail in the event someone is not fully versed in diesel terminology. (Edit: I will also say having just finished uploading the pics now a few days later, if you pay attention you can see the progression of digital camera imagery as this article progresses. In some cases, I even have some photos that I can’t find anymore as it was 3-4 computers ago and so low resolution the file may have been discarded. Fortunately I had them uploaded on TDR and was able to save and re-upload, hence the watermark on some of the early ones)


As many of you know, I have a thing for Dodge products, especially the first generation Cummins Rams. I have had many questions on the truck as well as its progress and I never seem to have time to actually get to uploading any info or pictures. I will see if I can provide a somewhat entertaining history of the truck, my obsessions, as well as an education on these older crew cabs. I will also add many pictures as they are worth 1000 words I am told so that should prevent this from getting too long (EDIT: Epic failure….Word says 59 pages….oops! :D). Where to start is really the question now.


Well let’s start at the beginning. I was a wee little boy of three years old when I finally comprehended how an internal combustion engine worked. That was not my first sign of interest in a car, but that was the time I finally understood it thanks to dad stopping his oil change and explaining to his very curious son on how it all works. Well, maybe that is a bit too far back for this one. Let’s skip ahead a couple decades.


My obsession with things Cummins started back in 2003 when my father suggested it was time to buy my first vehicle so I no longer needed to borrow his. Being a farm kid, my first thought was a pickup. This dad fully agreed on. After some bantering back and forth regarding various models of pickups (all Dodge ranging from Dakota R/Ts, SST Rams, Indy Edition Rams) dad suggested (read told me) I would buy a 1990 W250 Cummins Ram snow plow he knew of. It was a diesel, a 4x4, and it was simple to fix. (It was not until about 7 years later I found out the REAL reason he liked it….seems it was due to a engine redline at 2500 rpm and with the old three speed 727 auto that limited me to about 71 MPH wide open…but that is another story……back to this story).


The W250 when I got it in 2003:











First set of stacks that looked ugly…but they got me to like the truck.





And the truck today:













So I ended up with said truck although not impressed with it. Looking under the hood I could not find spark plugs and I could not fully understand why a 6,000 lbs truck could only have 160 HP and be considered good for towing. The freakin’ lawn mower almost had that much. Within a year I had my list of complains although I was very much starting to enjoy the truck as the stacks that were added had a nice sound. My three biggest issues were it was not a standard trans, it was not a dually, and the cab was too freakin’ short being a regular cab. But it was cheap, simple, and did the job for a year. Either way, these complaints were the formation of something bigger. During that year I did much research on the truck and found out that in the old Ram body style, full four door crew cabs were available. So were dually’s and 5-speeds.


So unofficially the search for a donor cab that I could install (with some modifications) onto the 1990 began. The search continued for a few months and I ended up finding more than I bargained for or could have imagined. Out in BC Canada, I found the truck my mind had come up with. Crew cab, Cummins, dually, 4x4 and what appeared to be decent shape. It was perfect and it should not exist!! Why should it not exist? See, the Cummins motor was first offered by Dodge in a Ram as of the 1989 model year. Issue is, the crew cab body stopped being offered by Dodge in 1985. What I was looking at literally should not exist as far as factory offers went. As I learn through research over the last few years, there was a shop doing these conversions in northern Alberta and did from what I can find, close to 20-25 of these trucks. Seems they would take a diesel truck as well as a V8 crew cab, swap the entire diesel driveline, cross members, interior, doors, box, as well as dash wiring and all other diesel specific items onto the crew cab frame. In the case of my truck, they took a 1993 W250 and mated it with a 1980 D350 360 cid dually. The extent that this company went to I would come to appreciate as I progressed with my trucks restoration. But I am getting ahead of myself as usual….
 

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So on that Saturday morning, I made a call to the dealer in Campbell River BC and after many questions, some back and forth, and some funds being sent their way; I became the new owner of the truck. My plan was to use the truck as my daily driver and eventually part ways with the snow plow truck. The trucks history is a little unknown but from the receipts I found in the glove box, the truck had an eventful life traveling all over Alberta, and BC and even a trip up to Alaska. From my understandings, it was used as part of a fishing camp or something along those lines
So after a few weeks, the truck arrived by rail to me in Ontario. These pics were taken the first day I had the truck.







































For the next year and a half, the truck served as my daily transportation but not without its own list of issues, the biggest being a fried Getrag G360 tranny. The thought as to keep the old truck until I fixed the issues with the new truck.










 

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So on Dec 24, 2005; I made the first step in what would forever change the direction of my life: I pulled off the door panel to see why the window would not open. I had planned to work on it for the remainder of the winter working the little bugs out anyways, but little did I know that this would be a bit longer than a few weeks or months.








The issue list consisted of:

Fried tranny, door locks did not work (as I found, lock actuators were missing), power windows didn’t work (regulators seized), a few oil leaks, and rear end (rear had dually adapters bolted to a single rear wheel axle….issue was the axle to adapter lugs were never torque and the wobble damaged the adapters). Another item to look into was the fact the motor was gutless. It would take close to half a mile of wide open speed shifting to get it up to 90 MPH (as I learnt after, the speedo in the truck was out of a salvage yard and the 250,000 KM was actually closer to 600,000 miles….this was confirmed by what I found in other areas of the truck and therefore explained why the motor was so tired)


So work progressed and a rebuilt G360 was located for the truck. PW motors and PDL motors were also sourced. But this is where I got out of hand. See, when it comes to vehicles, I am picky. Add to that I am a perfectionist. Issue three is my love of horsepower (I can’t help that…I grew up around 60s Mopars, burnouts, and drag racing). Really, it all started with the tranny. See, after speaking with a family member who is a class 8 mechanic (as well as the original owner of a factory ordered 1989 W250 Cummins) he spent the time to explain why he had moved on from the G360 to a more robust tranny. After several hours of research after the conversation, it became apparent that if I wanted decent towing power and reliability for long distance hauling, the Getrag was not the right way to go. After a few weeks of research, it was determined that a NV5600 6 speed from a 99-05 truck was the way to go. So the search started, and a 4,000 mile tranny was found from a wrecked 2004. But then I had the next issue. The engine. The engine was a bit tired and also would be limited on top end power due to the Bosch VE injection pump. After looking into a Bosch P7100 injection pump swap, I determined it was better to go with a motor swap as it would give me a complete system that worked together, as well as the fact that it was not far off the same price as just swapping the pump and its related components needed for the install. So the search began for a late build mechanical 12V and a 1997 12V CPL 2174 Cummins motor was found in MA with 10K miles on it. Although it had the 180 HP pump (meaning was from an automatic) instead of the wanted 2175 CPL 215 pump (from a stick), the mileage was hard to pass up. That solved the engine question but then I had the next weak link of my system – the Dana 70 rear end. If I wanted power, the rear axle would need attention as the D70s did not hold up as well to higher tq numbers (not to mention the fact that the rear axle was a non dually axle). So a Dana 80 from the newer T-300 body (94+) second generation 3500 Ram was located and the 11,000 mile Sure Grip unit was located and shipped north from OK. Now that I had changed the rear axle, I had one more item that required attention: the front axle. See, with a DRW rim now being used on the rear but a single wheel rim on the front, I would have to carry two spares and would also still have a front end that did not look right. So the search started for a DRW hubbed Dana 60 front (as it was simpler and cheaper than just swapping hubs) and a 100,000 mile unit was located in OR. That was the basic components that I needed to get the truck reliable and get it into the 200 HP range I calculated as needed for what I wanted to do with the truck.


The truck with no door panels but with all the new driveline components having arrived:












So the prep of the truck began for the driveline swap. First was to remove the fenders and front end for the engine removal, followed by the tranny and rear.














Somewhere in this another issue came up. My father was assessing the truck and said if you are going to do the driveline, you should do a repaint. I said no way I was not going down that road. Conversation sounded like this:

Dad – Needs a repaint.
Me – No its just fine.
Dad – You have gone this far, should repaint it.
Me – No, its just fine.
Dad – There is a hold in the bed floor from a kingpin that missed the good neck hitch at some point, there is some rust on the body, there is scratches in a few places, the truck has stains on it; you should repaint it.
Me – Its just fine.
Dad – But you’ve gone so far…
Me – It’s just fine.
Dad – Well think about it.
Me – Sure. (In my head I was saying, it’s just fine. )

























I stood strong with my thoughts and opinions as this was just a daily driver. Issue was the seed was planted. Every time I looked at the body, I could hear dads voice like a little critter on my shoulder. “You should repaint it” the little irritating voice said. I would tell it to buzz off but it would keep nagging and nagging like Fran Dresher. But back to the story….
 
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So I continued to pull body panels and eventually decided it would be better to pull cab and box for ease of driveline removal. This way I could do it like they did on the assembly line and drop the components in from the top. So cab and box were pulled and then I got my next surprise.







The chassis was not in as solid shape as I though and although not known at this time, reflected the high mileage that was on this truck. The frame itself was good, but all the other components right down to two of the cab mounts being rotted off, scars from past repairs showing themselves, shocks being gone, springs being tired, bushings being fried, and more leaks than I could count, the body did have some issues. It was one of those moments of what have I done and what the heck was I sold! But being young and full of piss and vinegar, I jumped in with a modified plan. I would do a quick strip to the bare frame, repaint, and build it back up inspecting every component as I went. If deemed OK, I would install it. If it looked iffy, I would rebuild it. And so the restoration/modifications (rectification??) really began and the realization slowly set in that this was going to be a bit more than my future daily driver in salt and snow. I had always wanted to restore a vehicle, although this was not the 1970 Road Runner I had been envisioning.
























So the frame was stripped and out came the sandblaster. I sandblasted in the driveway at -28 for several hours strait (yeah, won’t do that again! Bloody hook kept freezing over due to the condensation from my breath). Little did I know that come spring I would have a two day cleanup of the white sand beaches that had located themselves to our driveway thanks to a lot of sand from the blasting.












With the driveline being done, and now the chassis being done, logically the paint was going to have to be done. Wonder why no one thought of that earlier. ;) So, a media (baking soda, not sand) blaster was located and the entire load of stripped body panels including box and cab were delivered to Master Blaster in Mississauga, Ontario and the body was blasted clean.
 
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Next was the locating of a painter for it and one was located in Bracebridge, Ontario (he did a lot of work on SEMA cars) and the body components were delivered there to be worked on.




























Pre-marking the new shifter location on the 6” longer transmission. You can see the original shifter, plus the long oval hole being the 4wd shifter.





During the time that it was at the painter, the chassis work continued. Once the frame was blasted clean and warmer weather came, support plates for strength were welded into the frame.




Also smaller parts like cross members and leaf springs were tackled.




 
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Next up on the list was the suspension. One of the things I hate is when the back end of a truck squats excessively due to a heavy load. To remedy that one could put in heavy springs. Downside to that approach is the fact that you then have a rough ride due to lack of spring flex. That was great for a daily driver but not the right idea for what was turning into a long haul highway truck. After some more research, I came to the conclusion that a semi truck style air bag rear end was what was needed! So after some further research, I found that Kelderman Manufacturing had not only a system to meet my needs, but could do a custom one off, full four link style air bag suspension for rear, and a custom system for the front. So a few weeks later the system arrived at my door and I could test fit and drill all the holes in the frame.









The front will use a few remaining leafs as the axle retainer, but the weight will be supported with the airbags. (Take note the front leafs have already been sandblasted and powdered)



After, it was delivered to a local powder coating facility where all 22 feet of frame would be powdered. The powder coating process is something that would be continued with all components that would be rebuilt or fabricated for the truck.




So with the driveline here, suspension here, and many smaller components located, the reassembly of the truck began. For the next year and a bit, the frame would slowly get assembled with all the air ride components, engine, trans, cleaned up t case, diffs, as well as electrical (both factory and Robert custom), brake lines, air lines, air tanks, custom 95 GPH FASS fuel pump and lines, and many smaller items. Another item that was added was a Gear Vendors system to further help split the gears for heavy towing. With the base 6 speed, GV splitter, and the transfer case being converted to a full 2 stage high and low, the truck was essentially set up as a 24 speed.




























NP205 before and after (the one shot with the original tranny attached…yes the one that started this all!):







 
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Next was clean up and paint for the engine and trans:








For ease of install, it was deemed easier to bolt the engine and tranny together first, then drop it into the frame. Little did I know I would need a tractor, 2 engine cranes, and a few people to guide the close to 1700 LBS combo into the frame. The engine would stay pretty much stock at the factory 180 HP level. Even stock exhaust manifold would remain although a few goodies did start to sneak in like the banks twin ram intake and ATS exhaust manifold.








The custom mount used for mounting a 2004 tranny to a 1993 cross member.





Next up was T case and Gear Vendors install:























Fuel tanks were also cleaned and painted. Also a secondary tank was added as I wanted to run long trips towing without having to stop every few hours for fuel. I looked into a Ramcharger SUV fuel tank as I did not want to lose bed space due to a tank; and the reason that is should be an easier install due to the fact that they were the same frame structure as a Ram and the tank mounted where the spare tire would normally mount. A 1988 tank was located in Arizona and shipped up to Ontario. Also added was the fuel pump and frame wiring.







 
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As the tank was never designed to go in this truck, I had to make a few new cross members as well as new straps. I then used a new pump, installed it, and determined I would activate the pump by a switch in the cab that would allow me to pump the rear tank to the front. Although this would require two live gauges to monitor the levels of both to prevent overflowing of the primary tank, it still seemed the right way to go. (Although I do not have pictures of it, I did explore the possibility of running both tanks live. Issue is the amount of reticulating fuel through the FASS system would require two six way Polack valves to run in parallel as they had a 5/16 line size. To allow the amount of fuel CFM the FASS system pumps to work with each tank without creating a backlog into the pump would therefore require two valves or a min 3/8 fuel line of done singularly.)















And some of the air tanks, lines and wiring:












And the test fit of the cab for the shifter hole (and a second shot already shown to show what was being done….):








By this point, the paint shop was finally ready to give my body back. After multiple trips and over a year, the paint job was finally done (or so I thought…..).
The frame with components were taken up to Bracebridge and the body and box, could be put on. It would then take a trip to MBRP performance exhaust in Huntsville for an inspection and measurement session for how the exhaust would fit.

















 
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The truck then returned to the painter for the remaining parts to be installed now that the down pipe and was able to be measured with zero obstruction from outer and inner fenders. It was found during the install of the doors and fenders that they did not match color wise though. It would then return home to so assembly could continue on the interior as well as under hood, and the remaining body parts would soon follow after a repaint.






















Assembly of the interior was the next main thing tackled. First part of the install was to put in the steering column:











Next was cutting the hole in the floor. Notice the old hole is welded shut:

















Now heater core box install.




 
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Next up was adding sound deadener into all the areas that could possibly take some. Two layers were added in main sections to help reduce drove as well as keep the echo of the engine out of the cab. Wiring was then added for the radio, gauges, and toggle switches (for all of the accessories).
























Another item that could be expanded on was the motor itself. Remember said comments about liking power? Yeah well…. For the 350 HP target I now had upgraded to in my head (remember I was at 200 or so?), I stayed with a stock HX35 turbo, but went with a Banks twin ram intake, DDP stage 2 injectors, 60 PSI valve springs, timing advance, Amsoil oil filter relocation kit, 3000 RPM GSK, taper cut 181 PDR delivery valves, and a #10 fuel plate. This was a simple and proven power combination for the times and this is what I felt would be good for what I would do with the truck.


















To ensure I did not have any head gasket issues, I decided to install a Cometic head gasket and ARP head studs.









 

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And so I don't kill anyones system, thats all I will do for now! LOL This page would take forever to load if I did more! ;)


I hope this at least gives some inspiration and some ideas of what cane be done to these trucks to help keep them on the road! :)
 

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WOW :drool2::drool2:

Beautiful
 

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The words that come to my mind is.......holy cow .......unbelievable ......ultimate .....awsome....i wish i had one like that...... what could he get outa that thing........... and many many more.

Dar
 

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I am beyond impressed.
Just how much will you have invested in this truck by the time you're completely done?
 

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Thanks for all the compliments. Its a labor of love, not logic. LOL

Chooch

I refuse to add it up till I am done as I will likely either die of a heart attack or sell it and not want to put another dime into it! LOL :D
 

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OK. We have started page two. Will upload some more!

Lets see....where did we leave off..... Oh yes.


Cylinder walls still looks good…


















Timing was also set at 16.5* at this point for a moderate advance (if my memory serves as to what I set it at 5 years ago!!).




Due to the head studs, the casting line in the top of the valve covers had to be removed:









Next was starting of the rad core/intercooler (charge air cooler) shenanigans. Back to the way I think, if I run more power (now at 350 ish), I will need more cooling (found that out after nearly overheating the 1990 after a uphill towing session and I was only at 250 HP). As a larger rad facilitated now needing a larger intercooler (read wider), I now needed to change that too. So I came up with the grand idea of a 2nd gen (94-02) rad and intercooler. Only issue is, they are about 70% bigger than what this truck came with. So out came the saws-all, grinder, die grinder, welder and many hours.

The before look:







 

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I have drawn out what needs to be removed for it to fit:












And the cutting begins:














Then the new mounts added:









And the new rad mounts:






Although I don’t seem to have pictures of it, the rad core was pulled off the truck and sent out for paint as the paint on the core support was sliced, diced, burnt, scrapped, and just plain mangled after all of the work.


Over the last four years, I had still been pondering what to do with the seating arrangements. I started off with doing two bench seats as original. I then decided front buckets with rear bench. Then moved to four bucket seats out of a Ramcharger. Then I got a set of SRT Ram seats but they did not fit. And then I came across these from a 2008 Charger SRT that had been totaled in OH with 2,000 miles on it:







As I found out after, the rear bench was too narrow for the rear of the truck. A second set of front buckets were found locally in a wrecked Magnum SRT.
 

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Next up was the assembly of the doors.










New door and window seals. My dealer loves me…;)











Now that door wiring was in, I installed the dash. I completely removed all wiring, had the shell painted, and then reassembled. Even the vents were hand painted.










Next under the hood it was time to reassess things again. See, I have plenty of fuel flow with the injection system. I have great breathing with the intake and exhaust. But I have one issue. The EGTs will likely be a bit high for towing as the HX35’s compressor will be operating outside its efficiency map. Also, as I would prefer little to no soot when laying on it, that further complicates it as I am at a calculated over fueling. Hmmm. What to do what to do what to do. I know what! Cool the intake charger air! Well wait. I cant do that. I already have an aftermarket PDR 2nd gen performance intercooler. What more can I do? Water/meth? Not really a drug fan as when the liquid is gone the fun is over. I have always been more of an all day horsepower guy vs a injection cooling system so that just won’t work. Next logical answer has to be the one: add a second turbo! And that’s what I did! After much research, a 26 cubic cm HT3B was chosen from PDR and it was fabricated in. Also take note of the Horton Fan Clutch on the first photo. The Horton clutches are a magnetic engagement used on semi trucks and you can control it from the cab. This allows for an engine pre-cool prior to a zesty grade. For ease of install, the fenders were eventually pulled off.














 

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As for the dash, due to running all Autometer Phantom series gauges, I wanted to have the dash match. As the factory fuel level, oil pressure, and coolant were now being replaced, I had an almost entirely dead instrument cluster. So it was time to go custom.





This started out as a solid square of aluminum:















This is the end result with the LED blinkers and warning lights installed, as well as the custom made 5” Phantom tach.










With the dash components getting finished I realized it was time to mount the mirrors as the wiring needed to also be run behind the door panels as well as the dash. This step as simple as it was, ended up delaying the project close to three years. See, part of the reason the truck took close to a year at the painter’s was they were having difficulties with the paint. Although they got it applied, as I found out it was anything but stable. When snuging the fasteners, the door skin flexed, and the pain flexed a bit too much and it cracked open all the way to primer! Seems it was a combination of the paint not being stable or matching, so they would re-apply. Apparently on the drivers door there was no less than 9 coats of paint! After 5 months of back and forth with the painter, the paint manufacturer’s rep, the manufacturers engineers, as well as a few specialists in the paint field, it was determined that the hardener in the paint was part of a batch that lacked a chemical for paint adhesion. This is what started it all and required the repaints. As a result, all the paint was deemed flawed and would all show signs of lack of adhesion. The end result would be that the vehicle would need to be stripped for repaint.












Now at this point, frustration, disappointment, plain anger, and brief questions of selling the truck came into play. In May, Sikkens Automotive finally deemed the solution to be a repaint of the entire truck (the crack happened in January), and I did not have the ability to fully face the situation until September. Up until this point, I had much enthusiasm for the project. The thought of having to strip the truck back to bare body crushed me like nothing else had to date. It literally took me 4-5 months to fully make my choice as to the fate of the project. During the month of September, I got back to what needed to be done and stripped all parts back off the truck (mirrors, wiring, etc) and prepped it for its second repaint. This time the body would also be left on the frame for ease of transportation and as I was finished on the frame, it would be illogical to remove the components.
 
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