Posted on 30 Comments

Making some progress

Just thought I would give you guys a little update

Rendered the frame rails, then placed all the suspension components where I needed them. Some math and a few pot of coffee later I have the basis of the new weld in kit. Enjoy the pictures.


Update: 2/12/2012

Been busy drawing and thinking hard to come up with solutions to manufacturing and user issues. I have tried to simplify the already simple installation to the point where it is idiot proof to install. There are slots and tabs to lock parts in place like a snap-together model car kit, no guess work and a more precise fit. Anyone with moderate welding skills and a 110V MIG welder should be able to pull this off.







30 thoughts on “Making some progress

  1. I have ben waiting for this kit for a long time.Now that I know the kit is coming I need to know what parts i need to be looking for.I would like you to send me a list so I can have them ready.
    thanks Steve

    1. Steve,

      The first kits available will be an update of the old weld in kit as seen above. They will still accept the 1987-1996 Dodge Dakota two wheel drive front ends. Four or Six cylinder trucks should be fine. V8 trucks will have stiffer springs and if you are running a heavy older V8 engine or have a large blower or want a taller ride height you will be fine.

  2. I have a few questions. First, will this kit be air ride friendly? Second, will this kit accept the Ford 300 L6 in a 1966 F100? Third, what is the projected estimated cost for this kit? I would also like a parts list too so I can start harvesting parts I need.


    1. Matt, these first kits are going to be an update of my old kit. I am including a few updates and improvements to make the kit easier to install and to be a bit easier to ship. They will accept the 1987-1996 Dodge Dakota two wheel drive front suspension in it’s entirety. Installing air springs to this would be the same as adding them to a stock Dakota.

      Engine clearance is best suited to rear sumped engines. The Dakota steered by a front mounted rack and pinion a few inches ahead of the axle centerline and just below the frame rails. You may be required to raise your engine up an inch or so to clear the steering components.

      1. Any projected date and price when they will be available?

        1. The initial 10 kits are going to be $750 and I should have the 61-64 F100 kits ready in a matter of weeks. My next kit will be for the 53-56 F100. As I progress with the stamping and forming dies and fixtures the price will come down. But that may take a year or so.

          1. So the ’61-’64 kits will work on the ’65 and ’66 with a twin I-beam setup?

            1. Sorry, different truck. Those first two year twin I beam trucks are no fun.

              1. So it won;t work on the ’65 and ’66?

                1. This kit is designed for the 61-64 only. The frames are completely different for the 65-66 so I will need to build one specifically for them. I will cover all the trucks from 48-74 and GM trucks from 47-59 eventually.

                  1. Well, you’d make a killing in the ’65-’66 market considering there’s a lot opf us out here that want a way to get these trucks ground lever. Only options I really have at the moment are TCI and No Limit, and both of their suspension swaps are pricey..

                  2. Or the 2003 and up, which is good and cheap, but it limits your wheel choices due to the fact it uses FWD style stock wheels and you have to use rims 16″ or bigger, which sucks for guys like me that are trying to retain some sort of traditional look.

                    1. Seems like you’re missing a bit of that post.

                      I want to stick to the 1996 and earlier Dakotas for several reasons. Brake interchange and bolt patterns are primary to those reasons.

  3. Any plans for a version to fit a ’54 chevy 3100?

    1. Eventually. Those trucks are lighter and narrower than the standard Dakota will work well with. My intent for those truck is for the time when I can supply tubular control arms with coil overs so I can match a proper spring rate and the narrowed brake kit to keep the wheels under the fenders.

      There will not be a kit available for those trucks that use the stock Dakota parts, they just don’t fit. I am not going just make kits for trucks indiscriminately like other manufacturers do. Other companies are perfectly happy to slap crap together to satisfy the demand with no regard to how it actually performs.

      My product will perform.

      1. I appreciate your candor.

  4. Steve, so excited that you will be working on the 53-56 F100 kits soon. What will the ride height be with stock spindles and 4-6 cyl springs? Thanks for building these kits I for one am looking forward to getting my hands on one.

    1. Rick, ride heights will be the same as before. I am making some improvements that should make spring choices, air bags and even coil overs easier to do this time around.

      My best way to describe the height is for you to measure from the top of your frame rail at the axle centerline down to the spindle center. The Dakota kit will be 5″ down with a stock spindle and 3″ down from the top with a dropped spindle.

  5. Steve, Will the 61-64 F100 kits work with a F250 frame? If so do you need a deposit to get on the list? Thanks, Jim

    1. It should, I don’t remember if the 100 and 250 frames are the same though.

  6. Steve, I too have a shortbed 65 chassis that I want to upgrade to an IFS. Thought about the CV setup,
    but considering a couple of my friends have upgraded their trucks with the Dakota Conversion, I too am
    considering going with it when the ones for the twin I trucks become available. Any idea when that kit
    will be available? My two friends have them in 63 and 64 F100s they own and drive and are really happy with them. The idea of a bolt in unit makes it all sound even better considering how much faster I could get my truck on the road. Any updates on this particular kit will be welcome news to me. I also have a few other
    trucks that would be candidates for an upgrade, all Fords.

    1. It is going to be a few months out, I am still finalizing the 61-64 kits, next up is the 53-56 and because of the clamor for the 65-66 they will be soon after.

      The bolt in kits are going to be a little bit farther down the road. But they will happen.

  7. Steve,

    Any thoughts of building the kits for the 57′-60′ F100’s?

    1. They will be in the pipeline soon. I want to cover all the Ford trucks from 53-70? with the weld in kits. The earlier trucks pose a little problem for me with the narrower track width and frame.

  8. Steve
    I just got my dakota front end and it has a 6 lug wheel what will i need to change to get 5 on 5.5 wheels I can hardly wait for the 53-56 kits.

    1. To get to the 5 1/2″ on 5 bolt pattern, you will need the rotors, calipers and brackets from a 1986 and earlier Dodge Ram 1500 truck. It should just bolt straight on, bearings and all.

  9. Steve
    I was in the wrecking yards all day with no luck finding the dodge truck. would the ram 200 van be the same brakes

    1. I’m not sure. I haven’t done any research to the interchanges between the vans and trucks.

  10. Steve
    did anyone write anything on installing the old Dakota front end? maybe custom trucks or custom classic trucks.

    thanks steve

    1. Most of what I got was phone conversations. I have a letter from a friend in Australia who bought a kit from me personally, bought a used Dakota front end and shipped it home. He drives it near daily and loves it to pieces. I need to find that letter and post it.

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