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Discussion Starter #1
So I recently caught Strep, and therefore I have been sitting around on a sick day. This has given me a lot of time to think about where my project - my 1980 Pickup named Doris - shall go from here. Now I would assume that most of you know Doris and her history. If you know Doris already, scroll to Phase 4. But for those of you haven't been filled in, I will briefly recap so that you know where I am at:

PHASE 1

I originally purchased my '80 pickup completely stock in December of 2008. Initially the goal for this truck was just to be a daily driver while I brought my Tacoma back in to driving condition in order to sell it. After some rust repair and brake work it was good to hit the road:


On 29s with a 20R, it was a fairly good little commuter truck, except for the occasional roadside carburetor adjustment. The bed had to go when a transmission went through the side of it:


In came the start of a little tube bed. The shape is more or less a 5' x 6' box with trapezoid cutouts for the tires and a dove tail superimposed on to the cutouts. It seemed "different" and "unique" at the time:


Doris went through a bit of an awkward stage... At the time I was in high school and my parents requested that I paint the truck if I wanted to park it near the house:

I personally was kind of proud of the tail light design:

Doris did a little bit of stock wheeling:


But stock really left some to be desired. With the Tacoma sold it was time to start throwing some parts at what had become "Doris". A friend of mine in high school had suggested the name to me, and at first I absolutely hated it. But somehow it stuck, and I've come to embrace it.

PHASE 2
So I had found a great deal on craigslist for an IFS width rear axle with 5.29 detroit, '83 front axle with 5.29 lockrite, spacers and high steer, along with nearly new 37x12.5x15 Goodyear MTRs. As a package deal I think I got all of this for $2100 or something like that. It sounds expensive, but it saved me a lot of money over buying the parts individually. I originally built the suspension front and rear with some scrap steel, rear leafs for the front, and taco leafs for the rear for a total of about $150. So Doris quickly grew taller and wider, with gears and lockers. I also decided to upgrade to an 18 gallon 4Runner gas tank, and placed it behind the cab.


So on Doris' very first trip out it became apparent that Doris had become quite the off road machine. But on road driveability was WAY down.

I seem to recall stopping 3 or 4 different times on the highway home from that trip to replace a t-case drain plug, bolt my clutch slave cylinder back on, Reconnect the wiring on my starter, and replace a clutch line. Oh and I had sheared off the downtube from my exhaust manifold on the way there... Upon returning home it was clear that my motor and transmission mounts were completely broken. And a drivetrain flopping around in the engine bay is never good for keeping parts together.

PHASE 2.5

To prevent another trip like that one, Doris got new Trail Gear "bomb proof" motor mounts, Marlin dual case adapter, Marlin 4.7 gear set, and a Front Range Offroad 10 degree clocked dual case crossmember and skid plate. This really stiffened everything up, which really increased reliability from where it was. The dual ultimate transfer cases were awesome to counteract my low torque and carburetor that the 20R suffered from.

Meanwhile, Doris also had some changes to the bed to make it slightly more practical for the trail. It doesn't look that great, and it's still not enormously convenient, but we'll get to that later.
Tire carrier:

Swings out for easy access:

Tire can be flipped both ways:



Doris had a little "incident" on the highway. She survived, but she carries the scars from it to this day:


At some point I blew up a transfer case and installed a winch:



I parted out a Porsche, and this just kind of fit nicely here:


Doris had some good days wheeling Moab and various Colorado trails last summer:



Unfortunately, Doris was plagued by reliability issues that constantly had me on the side of the highway. I could almost always fix the problems, but it had gotten very stressful to go anywhere in the truck. One day, I couldn't fix the problem. I had a major electrical fire that melted my entire wiring harness on 285 just South of Conifer. Before that I had been extremely stressed out taking Doris anywhere. But being somewhat otimistic, I saw this as an opportunity. Doris needed a major overhaul.

PHASE 3

Initially because I was tired of the carburetor, I wanted a 22RE to swap in. But I ended up finding a '96 5VZ-FE 3.4L V6 and A340F out of a T100 for way cheaper than I could get a 22RE for. So that's what I bought. Granted, I probably spent waaay more money making the 3.4 work than I would have spent on a 22RE... but I've been happy with the results.





And the hood scoop worked out pretty well IMO:


This opened up a whole new world to Doris. I can now maintain highway speeds, pick up speed into traffic and commute daily with my truck very easily. The engine swap has certainly not been without its bugs. And I have quite a few more to work out... But so far even with the occasional bug, the truck is 10x more reliable, 10x more fun to drive, and 10x more capable on the trail. I'm at about 5300 miles on the swap so far and I wouldn't do it any different.

PHASE 4: THE FUTURE OF DORIS

So somehow Doris has gone from this old truck intended only to be a beater, to something that I feel could have an enormous amount of potential. Doris has the right parts now to be a fantastic machine...mechanically... but she still looks like hell, and needs a few things addressed this winter. I have aspirations of going bigger on the trails, but I also want a more comfortable ride. So the way I see it is that I have two options to go forth from here. And I probably only have the time and money for one of them.

OPTION 1
Go big! Longfield 30 spline axle shafts, Hydro assist, exo cage, frame plating, maybe some bigger tires, etc. This is the stuff that I feel is finally going to get me on to Carnage, Prichett, Indy/Patriot, etc. On one hand I'm dying to get on these trails. On the other hand, I know I had better get a tow rig and trailer. While I understand it is necessary to get a tow rig and trailer for these trails, I personally feel like it is cheating. Deep down I don't want Doris to be a trailer princess. Also, going this route will keep Doris from becoming a comfortable, good looking trail rig.

OPTION 2
Finish her up right, wait on the big stuff. I'm thinking new body panels, an interior, new seats, new paint job, a finished bed with stock bedsides over the top of it, non broken trim pieces, air conditioning and some heat/sound insulation. With all of this, Doris will look and perform great, and driving her will be that much more of a pleasure.

On the flip side, I have been getting on some bigger lines on the trails... I have been getting in much more precarious situations where I wish I had the "go big" parts, especially the cage. I would seriously hate to destroy this truck, when I could have thrown a cage on it to protect it.

So I either need to cool it on the tougher wheeling and enjoy a little nicer Doris... OR I need to suffer through another year of driving a rough crawler that looks like hell but hits the trails hard. I'm personally leaning towards the Doris with a new paint job and AC. But this is a serious decision point for me right now. This fork in the road leads to two completely different versions of Doris. I would love to hear some opinions on where Doris should go from here.

Either way something is going to be done with the bed soon. My hate for it's looks and poor practicality grow by the day.
 

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How did you manage to blow up that case?
You want my flatbed? People keep flaking from craigslist.

FWIW if comfort is that big of a deal I say go with option 2. Get heat shielding/sound deadener, find some AC stuff and save for cage/Longs etc. In the meantime like you said, go easy on the trails to prevent any further f'd up stuff.

Suz and I have been talking about newer trucks versus older trucks for comfort/reliability etc. Me, I just want to start building something... but it'd be nice to have a very reliable truck that can drive around town as well as to/from trails. Whatever we build will get the 3.4 so that covers a lot of it; the A/C is currently AWOL but sound/heat shield is easy to get/do.

Personally I like seeing beat to crap trucks as DDs.

>>Dan n Suz
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think the transfer case had a bolt that fell out of the bearing retainer. Then the bolt fell between the gears, and blew out the bottom of the case in addition to destroying the gear teeth and the bearing retainer itself, allowing the remaining 3 bolts to fall in. So in general it was mass mayhem with shrapnel and metal shavings everywhere. I rebuilt it in the commons area of my dorm building. It was great. :D

No thanks on the flat bed. I need something enclosed.

Comfort and looks never were a big deal until I started driving to work/school every day in the truck. At that point, the quirks of a trail truck can get annoying.

As for you, by the time you go through suspension, engine, transmission, axles, etc. I think you won't have much to worry about in the reliablility department...except for your own mistakes... So older/newer gets to be a wash. You end up making it all new anyway.

And getting my rear diff done is priority 1, so don't worry, Doris won't be getting AC or a paint job before you get your diff back... :p
 

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I vote for exo, A/C, and hydro assist. Of course sound deadener and carpet would be nice.
My truck is quite comfortable and when it flopped on it's side it came out pretty unscathed (as you witnessed).
 

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So for what it's worth I think you can have your cake and eat it too! So here's my vote.

Do the nice things you want,seats,a/c, noise killing goodies. For your go big parts. Get the longs and hydro assist. Read about the hydro Assisi on the cheap. I have it and cant wait for it! Anyways you can do the bed sides with zuse clips like the guy on hc had. I go back and forth on this idea for myself.I think it's a great idea. Stick to 37s I honestly don't feel like you need more. Doug is a perfect example. He ran carnage and drove home. 37's did well for him and all that having the smaller tire will do is make you pick your lines with a bit more caution. Cage the cab either inside or outside and I think your good. My truck is a decent example. I ran up hc with my a/c on and besides me being a vag on the trail my truck worked well. Chinaman I pushed pretty hard on some stuff and drove home. My weak links are. No rear armor yet, steering with the locker is not an option so the hydo assist will help me there and the body. I care too much. If you threw a decent paint job on it and I can help you if need be... I even have leftover paint from past jobs. With armor got all the creature comforts inside and some removable bed sides maybe even fenders you could drop those at camp and hit carnage come back and roll home in style and comfort. Your truck works great and I don't see it needing much to wheel stuff like carnage and drive home.

You can have both it may just take a bit longer but that's what this is all about.
 

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Im not sure what way to go. On one hand I can see the comforts of fixing her up and going easy. But on the other hand go big or go home is my favorite. Though I rushed it and now Im redoing it. I think your going to make the right call for you. I think exo hydro and bomb proof the hellout of it. Btw take pics of the exo. I need to see how to do it for felix. I can get you a bed for one cheap. I have a ton of stainless laying around if you want some to do some interior work. 10ft by 4ft. Or bed sides. Just my thoughts.
 

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Could you entertain the thought of a third option, like getting a nice more comfy stock ride for your daily driver, while still keeping Doris as your trail rig?

That was my train of thought when I got my 88. Build up my 88 and keep the Taco off the trails and looking nice and keeping it 90% stock.

This might be a more expensive route as far as insurance, gas, and maintence on two vehicles, but at least if my 88 breaks I have a another vehicle I can drive to work, or visa versa.

Anyway, that my :2cents:, take it for what its worth.
 

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I vote a compromise. Get the heat/AC and sound deadening, nicer interior and whatnot. but instead of shelling out the coin for a paint job and bedsides use that stuff for hydro and longs. That way you still have a truck that looks a little rough (but lets be honest, if you wheel it, it will look rough) but performs better and rides more comfortably. if youre worried too much about the appearance of a wheeling rig it might be time to buy a civic and start playing with ricers :D but seriously, do a little of both. some more comforts and some more wheeling mods would make doris one helluva truck.
 

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Best thing that happened to my truck was getting a reliable DD and leaving the 4Runner in the garage :D

Honestly, I'd say 30 spline Longs and cage route. I hate breaking wokring on rigs on the trail and wheeling with stocker or mildly upgraded birfields is a ticking time bomb IMO.
 

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. That way you still have a truck that looks a little rough (but lets be honest, if you wheel it, it will look rough)
What are you sayin here :flipoff4:
 

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Best thing that happened to my truck was getting a reliable DD and leaving the 4Runner in the garage :D

Honestly, I'd say 30 spline Longs and cage route. I hate breaking wokring on rigs on the trail and wheeling with stocker or mildly upgraded birfields is a ticking time bomb IMO.
Agree with this^. I miss my daily. Daily driving my truck sucks when it gets cranky. If it goes down I have to get on the bike. I hate cardio so its 100X worse. I have been on the hunt for a beater for a while and just cant find what im after. As you know trail runs are one thing but daily driving a trail rig is harder on it then beating on it for a weekend. You can still mod the truck to get the comforts your after...Heat is a must, Dontknow how i drove with out ac for a year and comfy seats are a must!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you everyone for your input. It sounds like most of you are for a combination of option 1 and 2. And I suppose that's probably a practical idea. I will just have to see what I can combine for option 3 that I will have the time and money for.

As for the daily driver thing, I just want to say that I used to have a pretty nice Subaru Legacy that I drove around in. But when my Dad started driving 140 miles round trip every day to work, he quit driving his '04 Ram with the Hemi and started taking my car. So technically I have access to the Ram if I really wanted. But it sucks because it gets 12.5 mpg with my lead foot, and its a MOFO to park on campus. Not to mention the parts for it are stupid expensive. And in general if I daily drive it, I have to pay for all of that. So if Doris is up and running, that's what I take. I can still have fun with my lead foot at 18-20 mpg, and my short wheel base makes parking easy. In addition, I know the truck inside and out, parts are relatively cheap and I don't have to worry about door dings. Somehow Doris is a WAY better DD than that damn Dodge is. So that's kind where I'm stuck at because I'm not buying another car.
 

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Well then you need the comforts of a/c and a heater that rocks. order up some rattle trap, carpet or the rubber mat, start cleaning up the interior and making it a lexus in side ;)
 

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fix up the interior make it look cleaner/comfy and just find a complete bed instead of the flat bed but armor it to protect it so it lasts and that will also make the truck look nicer from the outside. and then you can save the money for the bigger more expensive parts like cage, longs, & hydro
 

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window flashing from home depot will be your best friend. Its the exact same material as rattle trap/dynamat/ect at a fraction of the cost. it is a bit thinner. but putting in two layers gets the thickness back and you still save money if you decide to go with luxurious interior options.
 

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My vote is to make the interior comfy. Make it as you'd like. Add the hydro assist and longs as you can afford.

Check out this site for some less expensive options on rams:

https://www.surpluscenter.com/sort.asp?catname=hydraulic&keyword=HCS1

Lots of guys running rams from here in one form or another. You'll need to determine the throw you need, and how much volume your pump can handle. Also have double acting should you decide to go big and run full hydro.

I'd paint up the body, but not spend a TON of money on it. You can make it look nice with some elbow grease and some reasonable paint, without too much cost. That way, if it gets dented and scratched, fixing it won't be a large expense.

Lastly, you can get a second set of tires, if you want. That way, you can run smaller, DD tires when you need it to be a DD, and in 20 minutes have the big tires on for wheeling.
 

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I'd second the idea of a combination of the 2.. longs (minimum), hydro, then come comfort features (a/c, etc).

My thinking is make it reliable on the trail so you don't end up having to keep throwing money at replacing broken parts. Deal with the looks/comfort untill you can really trust your rig to go run what trails you want to and drive it home. THEN start to polish up the creature comforts.

I think 37's are the perfect size if you're going to drive on the street (to/from trails, DD, whatever). You CAN do that with bigger, but my opinion is with 37's and good driving, you don't NEED 40+ for most of the trails. When you decide to go trailer queen, all this changes as does the size of the trails (and your 'fun' budget). Also, IMHO, larger than 37's on toy axles drastically increases your chances of breakage.

I also need to do something about the heat in the cab. I'll be watching to see what you do. I like the rattle trap (and there's some debate as to if the Home depot flashing is actually the same stuff :2cents:).. but I've found that the butyl backing stuff is actually melting around where my exhaust runs under the driver pedals and generally making a mess (tho on a positive note, my floor mats are starting to stay in place :D.


EDIT: Of course, my opinion is based on my personal philosophy of function over (before) form. I'd rather have a very well built truck that looks like shit, than something pretty and comfortable that I'm constantly having to fix. Having both is tits, but those are my priorities. You need to figure out yours, go down that path, don't look back and tell everybody else to fuck off.
 

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My vote is to make the interior comfy. Make it as you'd like. Add the hydro assist and longs as you can afford.

Check out this site for some less expensive options on rams:

https://www.surpluscenter.com/sort.asp?catname=hydraulic&keyword=HCS1

Lots of guys running rams from here in one form or another. You'll need to determine the throw you need, and how much volume your pump can handle. Also have double acting should you decide to go big and run full hydro.

I'd paint up the body, but not spend a TON of money on it. You can make it look nice with some elbow grease and some reasonable paint, without too much cost. That way, if it gets dented and scratched, fixing it won't be a large expense.

Lastly, you can get a second set of tires, if you want. That way, you can run smaller, DD tires when you need it to be a DD, and in 20 minutes have the big tires on for wheeling.

I have all the part #s to fit it to the toy axle and have a streetable setup. You can order it all from surplus center for under 130 shipped. You will need a ps cooler and a bigger power steering res. The res. Can be modded for the added fluid. It runs on the stock pump with the restrictor drilled out.

For longs look in to nitro or even tg for the dirty 30s you may be able save some cash there too.

If the flashing works use it. Throw used carpet in cleaned up or make your own floor mat. Honda seats fit nice and Gsr seats are sporty. Make brackets and run the mk2 Vw recaros(gotta be power for removable bases) are nice too. A trip to the fabric store and some thin wood and you can make sweet door panels.

You will get it figured out I'm sure.
 

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OPTION 1
Finish her up right, Go big! Longfield 30 spline axle shafts, Hydro assist, exo cage, frame plating, maybe some bigger tires, etc. This is the stuff that I feel is finally going to get me on to Carnage, Prichett, Indy/Patriot, etc. On one hand I'm dying to get on these trails. On the other hand, I know I had better get a tow rig and trailer. While I understand it is necessary to get a tow rig and trailer for these trails, I personally feel like it is cheating. Deep down I don't want Doris to be a trailer princess. Also, going this route will keep Doris from becoming a comfortable, good looking trail rig.
I say #1, but i fixed the begining for you. :)

I understand the trailer Queen part, i went through that myself. But the first time you get busted and cant get home without one you'll change your mind a bit.

Sounds like you have access to a tow rig, and you could rent a trailer or find one cheap.

You should get another DD though. I am in the same boat as Volcom, my truck rarely leaves the garage, unless its getting put on a trailer ... lol

Im biased and dont like pretty trucks, they belong at the mall :D
 
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