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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2001 Durango R/T frame on restore

Hello:
Noob to the group. I am about to complete a frame off restore of a 2001 Durango R/T "Black Beast". 1.jpg 2.jpg . I purchased ( also known as got ripped off) this for $3500. Since the moment I hit the highway with it, I have been fixing problems with it. First I could not steer without 2.5" of play!. Yes that is right I could not begin to steer with out turning the wheel 2.5". If you know Durangos, then you know this was an easy fix. So the first thing done was replacing the intermediate shaft.

After completing the steering fix, I moved to the brakes. The kid I bought it from said "I think you need to put another disc clip" on. Well this is what I found:
6.jpg Somehow the disc brake clips are on the calipers incorrectly, the rivet touching the hat on the rotor 7.jpg , which subsequently caused the rivet to gouge a 3mm annular groove around the rotor hat. This increased pressured pulled down the brake pads so hard on the steering knuckles that his happened: 8.jpg You can see in the circled part how the pads have grooved so deeply into the knuckles that the pad have dropped into and pulled through this gap. Now the pads are stuck at the top and float down to the center of the rotor. As each time the brakes are applied it effectively brakes less!. Notice on the rotor how the shiny part is at the bottom. The top is locked into those grooves on the steering knuckles. A couple of hot heat cycles in the city and these babies are ready to turn into exploding brakes. No thanks.
This is pretty much where my stomach starts turning. The whole underside of the car, dirt road queen.​
Surface rust from sand with that nice red rusty top coat from salt! My favorites:
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First one is a ball joint ready to snap, notice the rusty colored salts on rock chipped paint. Every dirt road queen in Michigan has it. Second one bad hub, bad half shaft, tie .... just fix it all. Third one is a shot of the grooves in the steering knuckles. Fourth one tie rod that came off easy. completely different size from the other side.



I've got lots more to the story so far. I'll update this as I move along.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Today I removed the rest of the front clip from my donor vehicle. A 2003 Durango R/T 5.9L. Engine, trans, transfercase,axles and cabin all slated to be used to turn the Black Beast into the Blue Dream. . IMAG0138.jpg IMAG0135.jpg IMAG0093.jpg IMAG0090.jpg IMAG0064.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #3
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First picture is a good example of rock chips with surface rust from salt. Dirt roads baby. Second is new half shaft in blown hub.. Why? Who does this?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Paint Prime, and new parts Frame painted

Applying parts, paint and patience.
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In the hub shot, I took a hub from my 1999 Durango, since it had less than 500 miles on it. You can see the new half shaft, new tie rod end, new upper ball joints going in. last two shots show frame painted as well. moving back to a-pillar. Well until I ran out of paint and wire brush.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sway bar front cross member paint

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Next thing was to fix the sway bar. Took it off cleaned, primed, painted, and put the bushings in. The ones I took off were backwards, so that the end of the sway bar was touching the under side of the a-arm. I also added new bump stops. Pretty easy to pop out and pop back in. In the painted front end pic, I had to fab up a band iron nut holder. A few minutes with a welder, never going to see that twist again.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
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How about one day doing U-joints. I had 6 bad caps out of 16 total on both propeller shafts. What the heck are those holding notches in there for really? What a pain in the ass to get past!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Blissfully unaware... Enjoying the ride

Yup we got her to haul wood. It worked better with the 5.9L than my old blue 1999 Durango. I love using and riding. It still smells like leather. Unbeknownst to the owner, more painful repairs lurk on the horizon...

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WOW OUTSTANDING JOB!
You are saving a Great Ride
STEVE
 

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Discussion Starter #11
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so one glorious morning I get a flat and a lesson from my son who works at Belle tire. The R/T's have a 17x6 rim. The kid that owned this went cheap and put 245/17r instead of the 275/17's Here's a shot of the 30mm difference. Well when I caught a nail and the tire was going down it cut the side wall cause the tire width. Grr. But hey, no dispair, the other 3 tires on the truck were new, so I bought only one tire. Good to go. Woot....

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Discussion Starter #12
Radiator Blew my Wad ( of cash)

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Well I would not be nicked named repoman if I didn't always have to spend my life getting in and out of intense situations. On the way home some 4 weeks ago I blew a water pump. You know it starts as a squeak, a little whimper in the cold morning. No you are gonna ride it out like Kramer to see how far you can go. So I limp it home the last 1/4 mile, as it just started to burp fluid from its belly. See that shot of the thermostat housing? The radiator fluid had gotten so caustic at one point that it leaked and rotted a 2mm deep groove into the intake manifold. They had it full of black RTV to take up the gap. I grabbed two gaskets and some permatex copper spray gasket Putting one coat on intake manifold, and a coat between each of the two gaskets, and outside, let it set for 30 sec, then tighted it down. it worked.

You can see the horrible rust color the water was. So I then find the upper rubber hose that has the anticollaspe wire in it? The​
wire was like crumbled potato chips. Well I grabbed one hose here, tried to reuse another hose there, Nope, broke the "T" at the radiator cap. So off to the parts store again.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Black Beast awaits

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Why would you put plastic piece thru my hose. These hoses have 4 holes in them and I want them with two. Who thinks of this. See the red thingy that allows the parts store to hand the tubes from their rack. I had to swap hose clamps and move them over the hole to stop the leaking.. yeah really. #facepalm.

The alternator, airconditioning pump and the huge bracket they ride on all must be removed to get to the water pump. Notice I am having a good "Monk" day with the bolts being organized for reassembly.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Radiator Blew my Wad ( of cash)

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Well time for hoses you say? Well not so fast, I set about the shop to collect the extra parts and I find that I have TWO water pump gaskets. I had to rip it all down again, clean all the goop off and add the gasket correctly. Well then it came time to see if I can save the radiator. Hey when I started two days ago I just opened the bottom. Lets try that. Hear water in the radiator. Nope nothing coming out of bottom drain. Even with a hose in the bottom there was so much crud, I opted for a new radiator. And this meant I had to hose the engine down good inside...
 

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Pulley above water pump mount is sheared off!
STEVE
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yeah so waterpump fixed, check
front end fixed check..
truck jumping and skipping on the wayhomeohnoesitnotsomething else.....
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The Black Beast threw cylinder #5. 50 psi intake valve stuck, p0305 and camshaft sensor code about to go. I barely get truck home turned around and in the garage for the engine swap. RU kidding me.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I bought a donor 2003 Durango r/t

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I didn't mention that the black beast has both of the axles shot. pinion noise, outer bearing noise up and down speed. it's a mess. So this truck has pristine axles, and engine and body. She hydroplaned into a 131 cement divider. Poof.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Pretty clean underneath

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For a Michigan vehicle it's pretty clean. I don't like water and oil on that pan. Any comments welcome. I only got to hear the engine run for about 45 sec cause we had a little water and no belt. That gap between bell housing and pan seems too wide. Hope the crash impact didn't wreck this. Even so just for the axles. You can see the front axle is pretty clean. The rack has its infamous leak. Donor only had 177k. Tranmission pan. Not a drop of oil.
 
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