After what felt like the slowest start in the history of the world to date, I began this new year with the exciting purchase of my '95 Dodge Dakota Sport 4x4 pick-up truck!
I bought it from a friend and got a good deal. I hope I am not too optomisitc in saying, this will be the year I build my wood-gas truck!
I am looking forward to the construction of the gasifier, but before I can get the truck on the road there are some welding repairs required for inspection.
At this point, I’m looking for tips on performing the repair to the rusted portion. I think accessability will be challenging if the repairs are completed from under the truck. Would any readers like to mention good techniques to perform this repair?
Hi Joe, welcome to the addiction. After just fixing all the rust on my 97 Dakota, the first thing I would do is either get it up on a lift or as high as you can with ramps or jack stands and go after all the rusty areas with an air descaler or pick hammer. You need to find out how bad it really is before you start welding. Look especially for rust that looks swollen. Once you do that it is just a matter of cutting plate pieces to fill in where needed.
I very recently received a compact pneumatic needle scaler as a present. I was planning to use it on the rust.
But, is there a way to carousel the truck so the work does not have to be preformed upside down?
Not that I am aware of. I took the box off since most of my repairs were in the back and that made it easier for those. The front cab mounts were the worst for me, even with a lift.
I did this when I needed the rear exhaust from my dads car for a lengthwise muffler on the old Fordson tractor
Forks on the tractor and lift, just remember to fold in the rear-view mirror on the side before flipping
It is amazing how easy things come to you when no care is needed
Well, jokes aside, the car was going to be scrapped, diesel pump was shot and a new one was more than double the value of the car.
Now my dad has ’borrowed’ one of my cars for a few years but that is ok with me.
The Pic looks good. I can lay hay and remove the ear mirror to prepare. But, what is the proper way to engage the “roll bar?” See pic of my truck with chrome roll bar attached
Nice truck Joe, looks like my truck except mine is a 1992. If some of the work is under the bed frame? Just remove it. When putting a WK Gasifier in it you will need to modify the frame for the gasifier to go through the bed and rest on the frame mount and secure it for a low profile look with the gasifier. This way you can clean up the whole frame coat it with anti rust coating. It is alot easier to check break lines put a new gas tank sender in. I installed air lift bags on the back springs of mine. It made a big difference in the ride.
Hard to understand how the body could be so nice and the frame so corroded. How good are your fabrication skills, because this is a tough job. I am not real familiar with that truck but that cross member is probably carrying the transfer case and it is carrying the back of those torsion bars. The front axle thrusts into it anytime you hit a bump or whatever. This cross member is under the cab probably about 10 inches from the back of it. A very hard place to work. Hard to believe it didn’t completely crumble. What I do know is that you will have to junk that whole section of frame and fabricate a new section welded into solid areas and that cross member has to be gusseted into it. Won’t be no patch plates for this job. It’s only one not great picture so hopefully my assessment is wrong. I’ve done my share of this kind of work and you can’t really cut any corners.
The truck is now for sale
Sorry to hear that, but it’s probably for the best. I hope you can at least break even on what you paid for it.
Have you looked for any other pickups like an S10 or a full size Chevy/Ford?
WERE you able to repair the frame at all- by the picture it looked to far gone to fix, my 99 dakota rear frame was too thin and rusty to repair-but the front stub was still solid as new or almost or close enough keep. i welded all new frame back on the rear frame on 99 with thick wall 2.5"square tube. way too many hours though. The salt seems to eat them dakota’s alive up here in michigan, I get another dakota this rusty, I will probley pull the motor, trans, and computor and harnis to install in a better body truck.
Man, that truck body is a beauty. Such a shame that the frame is so bad, selling it is probably a good move, I just hope you aren’t discouraged with gasification by this setback.
Are you looking around for another truck instead?
Yes, I’m torn between “beater” trucks:
And, more showy examples (this one is a stick shift):
If it was me I’d definately go for beater truck, it’s nicer to blend in and noone pays attention to you. Plus I would think a gasifier would fit better on a beater. Or on a nice truck as well but not on a showoff truck.
But that’s me and I don’t like attention.
Yeah, a compromise: My other truck is new, It’s kind of a hybrid it runs on diesel and DEF. It’s also a mix between beater and show-truck:
It’s just steel Joe. Any skills you would need to fix that Dakota would also be necessary to build a gasifier suitable to power it eg a WK. By the time you got the repairs done you would have gained a lot of new skills and knowledge. If you devised a way to get it up it the air high enough that you could comfortably sit on a stool to do the work It would not be too painful. If all the mechanical bits were in decent shape I wouldn’t give up on it. Anything you get to replace it will require some work.
I agree with Tom, but, if I had to do it over again I would have gone south and found a not so rusty truck to start with. I have spent over a year on my build and I am just now getting it going. I spent more time fixing all the rust and painting than I did building the gasifier. Not that I regret it, I have enjoyed doing all this, but if I had got a truck with no rust, I would have had it done months ago and would probably have my chunker done instead of having to saw all my wood.
Some input from me: the stupid way to do it, many years ago i got my old 1974 volvo 142 for free (the blue one posted somwhere here) it looked good enough, had been owned by an old lady (true, but she drove it like she had stolen it) with the young ones energy and entusiasm (and no money) i started woodgas converting it, rebuilt, test drive, rebuilt, test drive, experimenting, and so on… drove it a lot, un-inspected, on smaller roads, (even some bigger roads) many km, illegal.
I think about 7 years went on, and suddenly i felt: this works good- i need to get it inspected and road legal…first then i started to look underneat…rust, rust, a lot of bad repairs with no rust protection on the inside.
Like starting all over again… welding rust, covered in burnt body-coating and rust flakes. Cut up old washing machines to get the sheet metal…wherever i welded in a piece, it became a hole beside it, more patching.
Well, 7 remarks on the inspection, back to welding, some outdoor on the ground, getting glowing sputter in the ears, some on a friends car-hoist. Replaced the whole “cross-beam” front wheel carrier.
The moral of this story is: never woodgas convert a vehicle that is’nt road-legal, ready to go
If you wouldn’t have jumps through all the hoops to get that car roadworthy you would have cheated yourself out of the very thing that made you the man you are today my friend. Maybe you don’t need to repeat those lessons if you didn’t think they were any fun, but you needed that trial by fire. With out challenges growth is not possible.
I agree Tom, I had a lot of things to fix on my 92 that were not gasifier related. A old 1992 Dodge Dakota after a 100 thousand miles does have parts that need to be replaced. This is just a fact. Repairing a rusty frame is just one of the many things needed if the truck comes from a road salted area. What we need to realize is this. We can make it better than new and stronger if we are willing to do it. Just takes some work.
It is nothing like the work I have gone to keep fuel ready to go for my wood burner truck and others. But it has all been good healthy work, good for the soul, body, mind, and spirit.