Posted on 26 Comments

The re-introduction of the Dakota IFS kit

Initiation: 05/27/2011

This is more of an open thread, I am considering a run at the kits again but this time I want to make some serious changes to the kit and it’s function. It has been over a year since the split and my former partners plan of manufacturing the old kits. He still may at this point and I encourage him to do so. I want to push the fourth generation of the kit since it’s introduction.


Here is an outline of what I plan on doing.

First off, I want to try and unitize the whole kit and make it a bolt in. I have never been a fan of the current crop of bolt in kits, however I do realize there are many people that were turned off of the old kit because they could not weld but still wanted to upgrade their front suspension.

I also want to make the base kit standard with tubular control arms set up for coil overs. You will still be able to use a stock (modified) upper control arm, spindles and rack and pinion. But one of the major issues we had was matching spring rates. There just were not enough choices for the guys trying to jam this IFS into stuff that was considerably lighter than the Dakotas were.

Your input is welcome!

Update: 06/27/20121

I have been measuring and brainstorming with this for a  month now. I have some ideas to start with but I am actually kind of disappointed in the response from this. I have been tracking my hits on this thread and others related to the Dakota IFS kit and  I will continue with my development in the next few months and see if I get any uptick in interest.

I hear you guys want cheap, well that frankly cannot happen unless the kit is very raw and on the level of some of the low end Mustang II kits already available. That is just not something I want to hang my hat on, so sorry guys it will not be sub $500.00. Bolt in IS going to happen and I have a few ideas firing from neuron to neuron with the occasional flash of brilliance. To make it a bolt in, the stock coil springs are gone. The problem I am having is adapting coil overs to stock control arms for you junkyard scroungers. I did however talk to a company over the Fathers Day weekend about aluminum castings. What I am going to have to do is render the entire kit in Alibre’ and start doing my FEAs and initiate a conversation about pricing.  My initial introduction with them is very encouraging and they are casting and machining right here in the USA and Anaheim CA no less!

My backup would be to produce a fabricated or tubular control arm. Considering the fixturing required to do a proper run of tube might put them on par with what the cast aluminum would cost. So I have to consider the fabricated steel units for the base kit. My next hurdle will be spindle, rack and brakes. I might have to introduce them sans those parts and tool up for the rest at a later date.


26 thoughts on “The re-introduction of the Dakota IFS kit

  1. I think this is a great idea. Bolt-in makes it easier for those w/o welding skills or poor skills. The tubular A-arms will make for a clean installation. It also helps out the dwindling supply of Dakota of 87-97 vintage. Spindles are easy to find as the D-150 spindles are identical. Spring rates might be an issue for me with my 938 pound 7.3l Powerstroke diesel. What can I do to help spread the word?

    1. Phil, The tube arms are going to be a necessity. Part of the problems I faced with using stock Dakota arms was the spring. The physical size of it, the location of it and the limited availability. Near the end of my Gen II run of kits, the junk yard arms were getting long in the tooth so to speak, rusty and accident damaged. When Daimler bought up Dodge they 86’d the aftermarket repair parts divisions of MOPAR and my supply ran out.

      In the initial introduction I would not supply a rack or spindles/brakes. However as popularity grows and it is cost effective for me to do, I will start in on new forged steel spindles and steering arms.

      1. Steve, on the forged steel spindle, the way Dodge makes their two-piece spindle makes for a simpler, less complex forging, which will have fewer stress risers. The combination steering arm/lower ball joint connection is very simple. The upper ball joint/spindle part is more complex. Good plan as you go forward.

  2. Steve: This is welcome news. I was about to order one of your kits when i found out you were no longer making them, so I diverted to a CV cross member. But, I have plenty of other projects (61-64 F100’s) that I can use your IFS kit. I too like the idea of the “bolt-in”. Not clear (from your reply to above post as to what I would have to buy in addition to your kit. Add me to your “update” mailing list if you can. Thanks.

    1. I haven’t worked out all the details yet. Still doing research and designing the new kit. But the base crossmember would be a one piece unit with bolt in boxing plates. For now I am trying to decide about the control arms. I am contemplating the ability to use stock arms with a coil over adapter for the lower and trimming necessary for the upper. Also researching forged aluminum control arms. In any regard, the spindles-brakes and rack and pinion would need to be sourced as well as a set of coil overs or shockwave type units.

  3. Hey steve… glad to hear you are going to be making these again… You certainly struck a cord with me… I want to update the suspension in my 65 f100… but, I dont want to go the route most are taking.. which is the CV front end swap or the old volare.. plus I can weld.. but, I cant ‘weld’ so, the Idea of a bolt in would be a selling point for me.

    speaking of selling… keeping it around 500 for a bare bones kit would be great..( that way the wife doesnt ask questions) with the understanding that I would have to do some parts grabbing on my own. I think I’ve seen some kits that sell cross member only and what not. Parts vehicles are fairly plentiful in arkansas.

    Either way, I look forward to seeing how the new kits come out. Thanks and add me to your update list.

    1. If you want to get updates, please register with my website. Thanks!

  4. I’m all for it! I have the weld-in unit in my ’50 Chevy Suburban and we’ve been super happy with it. Easy weld-in, smart instructions and great tech support when I had a question or 5. Go for the bolt~in deal Steve!

  5. Steve, i am still kicking myself for not buying one of the kits earlier,after a total rebuild for a twin I beam on a 66 F100 I could have just about paid for a Dakota kit. Bring it back!

  6. Hey Steve-

    I think reintroducing the Dakota IFS kit is a great idea. In fact, I was looking to put one in my ’64 a while back, but ended up going with the Jag IFS since you suggested it.

    But I’m definitely ready to try a new Dakota IFS on a future truck!

  7. Steve,
    I was quite interested in getting my hands on one of those kits for my 54 but they were no longer available so I went with the 03 CV option instead. The bolt in idea is great . Lots of people can’t weld. If you could keep the costs below the Mustang II choices ( $1500- 3000) I think you would have a winner. not everyone is inerested in totally custum parts for everything. being able to stop at any parts store to get that key piece makes life easy.

    On a side note have you considered the 03 CV cross member? It’s pretty much a bolt are easily accesible

    Good Luck

    1. I have seen the CV stuff, not impressed yet. Don’t like the track width and the high positive offset wheels. I suppose they are fine for the guy who only wants to lower the truck a few inches over stock and loves to junkyard scrounge.

      Keeping the cost of the kit under the Mustang II price point is probably not going to happen. Considering the quality of some of the kits already available, my intent is not to produce the cheapest on the market. I have always tried to produce a high quality product that delivers what you expect.

      1. Some people shop for price, some for quality. Which customer do you want?
        Keep on keepin’ on!

  8. Steve,
    I think if you can do this and the cost is lower than the kits out there right now you would have a winner. I myself have been going back and forth with several differant ideas of putting a IFS in my 55. The thing that scares me off of most of them is the cost, I can’t see spending 2k+ for something that these people are kicking out right and left. A basic IFS for these old trucks under the cost of a mustang II kit would be a giant killer and it help alot of us that don’t want to take out a second mortgage just to play around with our trucks…

  9. Steve,
    I think you have a good idea with the bolt in IFS. There are a lot of weekend builders with welders that use them for lots of purposes, but aren’t confident enough to weld something as important as suspension parts.

    I have your Dakota kit in a ’56 F100 and think it’s a nice piece.

    Another thing to maybe think about is an optional bolt in sway bar kit. Maybe something using bolt on tube and a splined sway bar with torsion arms. I know there are after market venders that sell Dakota sway bars but most are based on replacement for factory installed units.

  10. love the idea keep me posted on progress

  11. I would like to see a weld-in kit similar to the original except:
    1). Convert to coil-overs.
    2). Mount the upper A-arm with the cross-shaft bolts horizontal.
    3). Extend the rear boxing plates

    I recently sawed off the front of my 56 F100 frame to adapt a early C4 corvette cross member. Now I’m having second thoughts because I concern about strength issues of the vette suspension if I throw a load in the back of the truck. Please build it soon…

  12. Just read your post on the HAMB about the reintroduction of Dakota based ifs. Please do it if you can. I have wanted to upgrade my 54 F250 from its stock beam for a long time now. When IC was offering the crossmember before, Dakotas were unobtainium locally (or even not so locally). I stopped by the only remaining junk yard for the first time in a year and a half and found 3 trashed Dakotas with intact front ends. My first thought at this discovery was the crossmember is gone just when I can get the suspension. Dang.

    Soo… I realize the markets have changed as far as kitting up complete front suspension, but if it is possible to put at least the crossmember out there, I am a customer.

  13. I would love to see a bolt-in dakota IFS. I have a donor sitting in the bed of the 58 Chevy PU right now. I was really disappointed that the original kit went away, but I you make a bolt-in kit, I would be one of your first sales.

    Let me know


  14. I contacted you shortly after you discontinued selling them. I would still be interested. It is for my wife’s 54 f100, so the sooner the better.

  15. Steve, I will definitely be interested in one of your new kits. I was extremely disappointed when you discontinued the previous Dakota kit.

    Will be anxiously watching for the first ones to be available.


  16. Steve, hope to see you go through with this. My 64 would definitely like it. Caught wind of your dakota kit not long after you discontinued selling it. Settled for the old drop axle and mono’s route but going to go with some sort of ifs and i think your stuff would definitely be money well spent. . Keep us posted,Thanks

  17. steve,
    I have just started a 38 dodge pickup project, and i’m very interested in the Dakota IFS. Looking forward to seeing updates.

  18. I am starting a 40 D2 International pickup project and i have been looking for a ifs kit. The Dakota IFS sounds like a very interesting design to me. Weld in kit form would be fine for my needs.

  19. Is the Dakota IFS kit still available for the 56 and 66 f100? If yes what’s the price of each kit?

    1. Please read the posts on the front page of the website.

      We are moving and have not finished installation of the equipment. When production resumes, we will make announcements and have the web store back.

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