Convertable??? - DodgeForum.com

Notices
2nd Gen Ram Tech 1994-2001 Rams: This section is for TECHNICAL discussions only, that involve the 1994 through 2001 Rams. For any non-tech discussions, please direct your attention to the "General discussion/NON-tech" sub sections.

Convertable???

Reply

 
 
 
  #1  
Old 09-11-2018, 01:35 PM
wrnchbndr
wrnchbndr is offline
Registered User
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 16
Default Convertable???

Hey everyone. My first post on this forum.
I acquired a 97 Ram 1500 2WD extended cab for the price of one dollar. A new pitman arm, coil, wires, cap, plugs, and several new brake lines have put it on the road. There is a small dent in the roof right above the window of the back seat but otherwise its clean with no rust.
This is what I want to do.
Part 1. Cut a large hole in the roof 3 inches behind the top of the windshield, 2 inches inside of the top of the doors leaving a 2 inch wide strip in the roof above the door opening, and straight across the roof generally in line with the back corners of the door windows.
Part 2. Cut off the rear section of the roof at the bottom of the rear window going around the corner to the side window opening. Leave the forward pillar of the back window in place and cut across the roof leaving a strip of original roof about 4 inches wide and ending up with a sort of convertible like you have on the early Geo Trackers.
I can easily fabricate a fiberglass cover for the front opening (like a sunroof) using the original roof as a mold. I intend to fabricate a fiberglass rear section that employs the back window sheet metal for a sort-of fastback rear cover. I'm going to MIG weld the openings of inner and outer sheet metal closed with just flat sheet metal.
The plan is to wait until next spring to begin and I'll be collecting parts and supplies until then.
The question is...
Does anyone have any experience with the resulting loss of structural strength I'll get. Back in the '80s I had a number of vehicles that I drove with front fenders and hoods removed -- a 68 Camaro and a ''73 Chevy pickup and it was quite obvious that the chassis' became quite a lot less rigid with these "bolt-on" parts missing especially the camaro (unibody). This Dodge truck has a fairly beefy frame but I don't want to end up with something that feels scary. Can anybody guess how much this will effect the integrity of this truck?
 
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-11-2018, 01:52 PM
MoparFanatic21
MoparFanatic21 is offline
Record Breaker
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 1,630
Default

Hey man if you have the nuts to cut your roof say go for it! You'd have the only convertible 2nd gen Ram. Now from what I understand you are going to reweld some where metal back on, correct?
 
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-11-2018, 03:08 PM
wrnchbndr
wrnchbndr is offline
Registered User
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 16
Default

For example, where there is dual sheet metal, inside and out, I plan to just MIG a flat bridge across in long continuous sections. I've seen some pictures of the headliner removed so I know that there is an inner structure. It doesn't need to be pretty. The cutting process will be done with great care to keep the inner and outer sheet metal aligned as best I can by taking my time and maybe employing a guide when possible. I'm a professional luthier (guitar maker) by trade and am used to dealing with accuracy. I'm not going to proceed until I have developed the plans and have the materials to likely be successful in fabricating a bad weather top. The major point of this is fun. Yes, I've searched many times on Google for "Convertible Ram" and I get zero results -- hard to believe. I once owned one of those early generation Blazers where the fiberglass roof was removable and open up to the windshield -- it was awesome. It doesn't seem like anyone manufactures a pickup with hardtop style door windows anymore. This is just something that needs to be done. I've done dumb stuff before

 
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-11-2018, 03:29 PM
HeyYou's Avatar
HeyYou
HeyYou is offline
Super Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Clayton MI
Posts: 52,769
Default

Love the trailer.

As these trucks are body-on-frame, structural integrity isn't too much of an issue..... Think I would drop the headliner, and take a look at the existing structure, and decide from there where to cut.
 
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-11-2018, 03:43 PM
HeikIlm
HeikIlm is online now
Professional
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Europe
Posts: 158
Default

Back in the days, first touch to American made truck was 24 years ago. 1972 Dodge D100, orange, stepside, and it was convertible! Every once in a while I remember that truck, and think about how cool it would be to have a convertible truck. I don't know is it possible to get it registered to road use, but now that I think about shortbed 2nd gen convertible, damn!

Go for it!
 
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-11-2018, 07:32 PM
Moparite's Avatar
Moparite
Moparite is offline
Champion
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,734
Default

Guess you never head of the Plymouth Trailduster. The back cap was made of fiberglass and could be taken off. What would interesting is one with "T" tops. The auto makers forgot all about them.

 
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-12-2018, 01:16 AM
MoparFanatic21
MoparFanatic21 is offline
Record Breaker
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 1,630
Default

Originally Posted by Moparite View Post
Guess you never head of the Plymouth Trailduster. The back cap was made of fiberglass and could be taken off. What would interesting is one with "T" tops. The auto makers forgot all about them.

That was the exact same as the RamCharger just with Plymouth badging. They were awesome!
 
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-12-2018, 07:38 AM
HeyYou's Avatar
HeyYou
HeyYou is offline
Super Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Clayton MI
Posts: 52,769
Default

Originally Posted by MoparFanatic21 View Post
That was the exact same as the RamCharger just with Plymouth badging. They were awesome!
Yeah, I would love to have one of that body style. I just can't afford it.
 
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-12-2018, 09:30 AM
wrnchbndr
wrnchbndr is offline
Registered User
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 16
Default

The front opening is an easy straight forward thing to do. Making the interior look sanitary might be a bit of a challenge but I think I'm up for it. Part of the problem is a discussion I had with an acquaintance who told me that the truck is going to be all wiggly without the structure. The dude is typically a "Nay Sayer" but it would totally suck if this guy was correct. I'm going to overhaul the entire front suspension within the next year. Chrysler products have always lacked a desired road feel for me and from what I've read, steering wander is a common problem with these trucks -- hopefully its just worn components -- the pitman arm was totally worn out and sloppy. I don't seem to have a problem with the steering column bushing as it seems to be a common issue. Tire and wheel selection is going to be focused on getting the best driving stability even if it means using the recommended tires. I also want to lower the truck but only slightly. Maybe one inch in the front and lower the back to be level. I'm in New Jersey and vehicle inspection is now just emissions only. My next inspection is in January and it'll be good for two years. The vehicle is already registered so I don't anticipate a problem unless some over zealous state trooper decides to be an automotive engineer and call it unsafe. I've been pulled over in my Geo Tracker with the doors removed and pulling my homemade trailer and had two troopers try to find a safety infraction and they gave up. All the while I knew the actual paragraph in the state vehicle code which addresses the issue and removing the doors on my Geo was actually an infraction. This is a body modification that could be interpreted as illegal if someone wanted to push the issue. I won't do this if it makes the vehicle unsafe to others. I don't care if it makes the vehicle unsafe to me in a roll-over -- it'll still be safer than riding my motorcycle.
Does anyone know if Dodge ever incorporated any type of bolt-on frame stiffener assembly as part of an option? I've got skills for welding sheet metal but not so much for structural components because I've never done it. A roll-bar to the frame would probably help and look good at the same time.
Are there any airbag sensors in the roof?
 
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-12-2018, 09:33 AM
wrnchbndr
wrnchbndr is offline
Registered User
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 16
Default


The victim
 
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: Convertable???


Featured Sponsors

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: