I probably made a mistake trying to show the evolution of the Dodge from the beginning. After 15 years of ownership there are just too many photos to sort through/resize and too many modifications to catalog. So in the interest of brevity I’m going to pick up from where it is now and document the latest round of upgrades as these will be extensive.
The truck as it was at the finish of the Alaska trip.
As you may notice the truck is also stuck (for the first time ever!) and I had to winch myself out. Worn out tires, nasty slimy clay laden New Mexico mud and a lack of traction aids led to this predicament. It was almost impossible to walk and stay on two feet on this road it was so slick.
After 180+ thousand miles of highway and backcountry exploration, the poor Dodge is just worn out. Also needing to be addressed are a LOT of Dodge design flaws and shortcomings. I seriously considered (very seriously) selling it and starting from scratch. It’s only left me stranded on the side of the road once, and only been stuck once in 15 years so in the end I decided to keep it and breathe some new life into it.
Here’s where we are now: the 5.9 Cummins is stock except for a Supertuner reprogrammer and Magnaflow 4″ turbo back exhaust system and will stay that way. The 47RE transmissions in these trucks are notoriously inadequate. This one is stock and started acting up during the trip. It will need rebuilding and upgraded. The axles are stock 3.54 ratio with limited slip in the back (worn out) and open (no traction aids) in the front. These issues will be addressed. The biggest problem with these trucks, aside from the transmission, is the entire front end! The vacuum operated CAD front axle, track bar, ball joints, and just about everything else involving the front suspension and steering is…well…crap (to put it nicely)! A few years ago I threw quite a bit of money at the front end in the form of DT Profab products which helped some but didn’t address all the problems. All the front end and steering issues will be addressed in a big way. The truck has been running 35″ tires and aluminum wheels which will also be getting the boot.
All of this went under the truck a few years ago along with some custom rear leaves.
I will be keeping the DT Profab track bar and upgrading it with their new heavy duty ends. I will also be keeping the DT Profab 3.5″ lift coils, and DT Profab steering brace. I may keep the Fox steering damper but I’m not sure yet. The rest is going bye bye. Yes, that includes the ENTIRE front axle assembly and everything associated with the steering beyond the steering column (and even that is getting a modification)! Okay I may keep the pitman arm if I can get it off the steering box.