Blog Archive

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Dodge Truck Rebuild

Well here we go again, This will (I hope) chronicle the rebuild of a 1994 Dodge Ram 1500, 5.2L V-8 now owned by my stepson Nick Balsbaugh. This truck has come to us as a family "hand me down" and I have hopes that we can do the repairs justice and Nick can carry on a love with this truck just as its previous owner did.

Years ago my cousin Tricia White purchased this new 1994 Dodge Truck. At the time this thing was the vehicle to have! To Tricia this was her "baby" and it was a beloved member of her family. This was the first year that Dodge had produced this retro body style and she, along with allot of others, loved it. Unfortunately several years ago Tricia crashed her truck and was subsequently heart broken by the mishap. Due to other issues the truck had been sitting for quite sometime until recently her brother Bill White had some transportation issues. Tricia generously allowed Bill to take her child (broken bones and all) as a replacement means of transportation until a time as he could make a decision on other transportation... WELL..... The accident that Tricia had crunched the driver side front fender as shown to the left, Bill's accident unfortunately creamed the passenger side... Needless to say there was not much hope for the truck at this point without a real investment in either time or money. With that in mind I showed Nick the truck and asked if he was ready to tackle this challenge? He agreed he was up for it ready to hit it head on, he now owns the truck. Just after Christmas 2008 (December 28th to be exact) we started to work on the beast. On that day we were able to (in a matter of about three to four hours of tinkering) able to get all of the body panels removed. From that point I really felt like we were making progress. Since that time, Nick secured two fenders from a local junk yard at a reasonable price. The passenger fender has a small "ding" in the well, center line of the wheel arch and will require some minor body work. As for the drivers fender everything at the moment looks OK, even the color matches! As of January 6th 2009 we now have both left and right fenders installed and aligned. The passenger fender was white in color and we had to paint the interior before installing it.... So far so good. The new front bumper has arrived along with the new front billet grill assembly. We are still waiting on all the final hardware to finish assembling the truck. You can check out more pictures here.

Well its Friday January 9, 2009 and we made some nice progress tonight. The Headlight buckets, headlight assemblies, bottom bumper trim, and lower bumper inserts have still not arrived. Tonight the Front main bumper assembly was installed with only minor issues. On initial installation the main attach brackets appeared to "sag". After some inspection and a little brogan maintenance we found that there is quite a bit of adjustment in the attachment of the main bumper supports. The secondary side supports were mangled during both crashes but Terah and I were able to "make like new"! It did involve a torch, a hammer and some umph, but after some gentle persuasion it all came together. Bren stopped by for his two cents worth and he informed us that we had installed to bumper too high. So

again, Nick is ob his back with a wrench in his hand... Even after this discovery we have opted to wait on all the additional bumper trim until we receive the new light buckets. There is some minor concerns that when the headlights are installed that we may have some clearance issues. I think some is this is simply due to our inexperience.

The next part of the project to tackle was installing what on initial inspection is a cheeze piece of chromed plastic. The new grill was installed without any real problems. The original grill had certainly taken it toll during its mishaps but the new grill from LMC Trucks looks great! Luckily all the necessary hardware was still on the original grill support and it was undamaged! The installation took some time but after the process was over with it really wasn't that bad and it looks great. Nick has ordered new lower bumper inserts to replace the factory original grey plastic inserts. These new inserts will have the same look as the new grill. The ole girl is really starting to come together.

Here's Nick feeling pretty good about himself! Great job Nick!

Terah looks to be happy cleaning up 15 years of grime! Terah is a pretty good sport and great help around the shop!

She's coming together nicely! New Chrome bumper and grill. There will soon be some euro headlights, chrome top bumper cover and lower valance to complete the rebuilt front end!

This truck is over 14 years old and looks like new inside!

Notice the new Airtex intake - installed by Terah Cash (with some guidance from Mr. Miyagi...

Mr. Miyagi say "Make like new"! Thanks for the Shades Tricia they make a nice addition at no extra charge!

Again, thanks for stoppiong by and taking a look at our progress. We are hopeful that we could be complete with this project inside a week. Nick should be able to transfer tags and pay his taxes on this truck next week and he has contracted a local paint and body shop to do the final color matched factory colored pait job.

You can check out more pictures here.

Kirk Lewellen
Regional Sales Manager
Monterey Boats
1918 Cliffview Ct.
Murfreesboro, TN 37128
Cell - 615.207.1108
Fax - 615-896-6635