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2nd Gen Dakota 1997 - 2004 Dakota's

SAS Prep

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Old 05-05-2013, 08:24 PM
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Default SAS Prep

So I've decided that my next major project will be to swap in a dana 44 in place of the stock IFS for pretty obvious reasons.
I've never messed with this but I've got plenty of time to get everything together and planned out. I have some idea of what all I'm going to need and have been researching the most I can. For the people on here who have done the swap it'd be great if you guys could give me all the information you can on it.
I'd like to do coil overs with a 4 link but leaf springs just seem easier and cheaper with less custom fab work and all.
Which one would be better in a sense? It's not like I do any hardcore wheelin' since there are no parks or trails by me. Just farm field after farm field with like 3 hills so the only off roading my truck see's really is mud.
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:59 PM
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Tom A has a SAS thread where he explains and shows a lot of the steps he took.

Its on here somewhere so just search it. I know I saw it mentioned in another recent post too.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:00 PM
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Yeah, check my thread out and you can see how I did it with leaf springs. Sorry, I don't have a link to it, but I think it was called "MY SAS thread", so it should be easy to search for.

Leaf springs were definitely easy, and I think it rides pretty well. But if you want something even easier, use a radius arm setup off a Ford Bronco. Basically, you just take the radius arm brackets off the Bronco frame and attach them to the Dakota frame. You'll need coil buckets on your frame or shock hoops with coilovers (if you have a lot more money than I do) and you're pretty much set.

The downside to the radius arm setup is that it doesn't flex as well as leaf springs or a 4-link, but it's pretty hard to screw up the front end geometry (which you can't say about a 4-link) and it's about the least expensive.

The biggest problem you're going to run into is that you have rack and pinion steering. You'll need to install a steering box. There's one from an F250 that fits perfectly on the outside of the frame rail with minimal modifications, but I don't remember which year.
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Last edited by Tom A; 05-05-2013 at 11:03 PM..
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:46 AM
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I'll probably go with the leaf springs, just seems easier and cheaper for what I want out of the suspension.
What parts of the swap did you find most difficult?
And how much lift did you get from the swap? I'm asking because I noticed in your pictures on your SAS write up that you don't have a body lift and I've decided not to do the body lift yet since I'll be saving up for an SAS and bigger tires.
Other than that what you have on your thread makes it pretty straight forward.
If you'd happen to have pictures of the rear mounts for the leaf springs so I could have a visual of how you mounted them.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01blackdak View Post
I'll probably go with the leaf springs, just seems easier and cheaper for what I want out of the suspension.
What parts of the swap did you find most difficult?
And how much lift did you get from the swap? I'm asking because I noticed in your pictures on your SAS write up that you don't have a body lift and I've decided not to do the body lift yet since I'll be saving up for an SAS and bigger tires.
Other than that what you have on your thread makes it pretty straight forward.
If you'd happen to have pictures of the rear mounts for the leaf springs so I could have a visual of how you mounted them.
The most complicated part, IMO, was the steering. There was some trial and error with the pitman arm and I had to piece together the drag link, etc. But it really wasn't that difficult. The leaf spring sliders are WAY better than shackles. I basically just welded them to the bottom of the frame and welded some braces on the inside because they were half on the frame and half off.

I'm using 2-1/2" lift springs for a Ramcharger that give me about 8" of total lift, with no body lift. The rear springs are stock Ramcharger springs with a shackle flip and 2-1/2" blocks. I'm not really a huge fan of blocks, but they work fine and don't cause any axle wrap or anything.

I'll try to get some better pictures of the sliders after work tomorrow night, but the installation is very straightforward. Basically, I assembled the whole front suspension and rolled it under the truck as a unit after I cut off the old stuff.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01blackdak View Post
It's not like I do any hardcore wheelin' since there are no parks or trails by me.
First of all I got to ask why do you want to do an SAS if it is not out of necessity of how you use your truck? Most people do a swap out of need the strength for larger tires and the abuse the truck will see offroad. Most people will kill their axles 2-3 times before deciding to do an SAS. I'm not discouraging you, just want to make sure you know what your getting into. It is 100% custom, no kits and not a 1 fits all type of job. Tons of cutting, welding and more welding.

Leaf springs will be easier to setup, but coils will be better with articulation in the rocks. Plan for more time and money and space then you think. I planned for 1 month and $1,000, it turned out to be 6 months and $2,000 and that is with doing all the custom work myself. You can see my swap in my signature.
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A View Post
Yeah, check my thread out and you can see how I did it with leaf springs. Sorry, I don't have a link to it, but I think it was called "MY SAS thread", so it should be easy to search for.

Leaf springs were definitely easy, and I think it rides pretty well. But if you want something even easier, use a radius arm setup off a Ford Bronco. Basically, you just take the radius arm brackets off the Bronco frame and attach them to the Dakota frame. You'll need coil buckets on your frame or shock hoops with coilovers (if you have a lot more money than I do) and you're pretty much set.

The downside to the radius arm setup is that it doesn't flex as well as leaf springs or a 4-link, but it's pretty hard to screw up the front end geometry (which you can't say about a 4-link) and it's about the least expensive.

The biggest problem you're going to run into is that you have rack and pinion steering. You'll need to install a steering box. There's one from an F250 that fits perfectly on the outside of the frame rail with minimal modifications, but I don't remember which year.
http://dodgeforum.com/forum/2nd-gen-...as-thread.html

plus i brought it back to the front of the class. great read by the way
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:01 AM
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Thanks for the link and the bump.

Like I was saying, I did a lot of the assembly, etc. before I started cutting anything apart. I started chopping on a Friday and I was able to drive it in and out of the garage by Sunday. It was 90% finished at that point, but the steering wasn't really right yet. In total, it was down for a week.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy4x4RT View Post
First of all I got to ask why do you want to do an SAS if it is not out of necessity of how you use your truck? Most people do a swap out of need the strength for larger tires and the abuse the truck will see offroad. Most people will kill their axles 2-3 times before deciding to do an SAS. I'm not discouraging you, just want to make sure you know what your getting into. It is 100% custom, no kits and not a 1 fits all type of job. Tons of cutting, welding and more welding.

Leaf springs will be easier to setup, but coils will be better with articulation in the rocks. Plan for more time and money and space then you think. I planned for 1 month and $1,000, it turned out to be 6 months and $2,000 and that is with doing all the custom work myself. You can see my swap in my signature.
Reasons for wanting to do this is just so I don't have to deal with broken pieces on my stock front suspension and axle. I do go wheeling on trails, I just have to drive an 1hr 30mins to get there so I don't go that often, maybe 2 or 3 times in the summer if I'm lucky. I also plan on getting bigger tires once the ones I just put on wear out which is roughly when I plan on doing the swap, so I have some time to collect all the parts and pieces I will need, hopefully. It's all just a matter of if I'll have all the money and time once it's time to start the project.

Quote:
I'm using 2-1/2" lift springs for a Ramcharger that give me about 8" of total lift, with no body lift. The rear springs are stock Ramcharger springs with a shackle flip and 2-1/2" blocks.
Okay, that math in that confuses me but I think I follow you.
But if I use lift springs for the rear end as well, would that potentially eliminate the blocks in the rear?
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:06 AM
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Don't try to make the math work in your head. Just trust me, lol.

Rear lift springs would eliminate the blocks, but you would probably have to have them custom made. The only rear lift springs I could find anywhere were 6" over stock, which would be way too high.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:06 AM
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