2010 Dodge Dakota


So here I am. I am taking my previous 2003 Tundra (great truck) to a more trail oriented vehicle. No longer a DD. I needed someting for work, camper toting and long trips. Enter the 2010 Dodge Dakota. 4.7 V8, TRX package, which includes skid plates and a positraction rear end/ 135k miles when I bought it. Did not feel or seem like a truck. Sagged liuke a mofo when I added the camper. So. To start I added helper springs in the rear, Monroe Heavy Duty shocks and Timbren SES bumpstops to make this work. Worried about weight? Let me tell you that at this point Dodge was phasing out the Dakota. The frame, entire drivetrain and brakes all match the 2010 Dodge 1500. Yes there are small differences in frame distance from one rail to another or shock length, but all of that is irrelevant to my purpose.

Since bought, I I have added not just the rear suspension parts, but also rebuilt the entire front end including 1/2" spacers, which led to a full 1" lift. I then added some Cooper AT3's in a size 1" bigger than stock.

Final word at this point is that the truck should have come this way. There is zero aftermarket support for the truck, so creativity is key. Ann likes that part.
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So with the mods to the rear suspension, including some Monroe load bearing shocks, and the Timbren SES added, looks to me like I have this truck sorted out for camper duty. Liking it more than I thought I would as time goes on. On a much more calm note... I guess, I don't know how t say it, but this evening up in our hayfield was filled with beautiful light and colors even I could see. I am mostly color blind and often Ann and Joe can see rainbows that I cannot. This evening I was blessed to see a rainbow of pure white. Well, white to me, colors to them, but absolutely beautiful to me. Quite moving actually. Might actually be softening up after all these years... clearly God shows us if we pay attention.

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on our way back from our Missouri trip we stopped off & looked @ pop up campers in Midway Arkansas Northstar TC650. The base price was $26,295.00.
on our way back from our Missouri trip we stopped off & looked @ pop up campers in Midway Arkansas Northstar TC650. The base price was $26,295.00.
If you keep your eyes on craigslist you can find some lightly used models for a whole lot less. that's how we wound up in this Northstar MC600. Guy inherited it and just wanted to let it go. $2000. Over the years we have done every type of camping imaginable, except rooftop tent, and the truck camper is here to stay. So easy to drive, par, etc. Always have what we need with us. The dinette in this model is a little small for our now 13 year old, but he usually brings his hammock along anyway.
Trip to Harkers Island, NC last weekend. Camping in a cousin's yard. Towed our 14' Mckee craft and had an excellent trip to Cape Lookout. The boy did the boat driving, which made him happy. 13 mile run each way. I don't knwo for sure but the kid seems to be living a pretty damn good life.

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Seriously contemplating going to a full size truck. I want to go back in time to a land of solid front axles and easy to work on suspensions... grumble...

I'm with you. Brother is letting me borrow his 2013 crew max Tundra off-road to move.
Have to admit I have been looking... which is kinda always the case, as @BushHead can attest to... After one disappointment after another, I am going to move ahead and see what we can do with this Dakota. Virtually NO 2010 or 2011 Dakotas that I can find on line being built, so... this will not be ideal, since no aftermarket parts available. Here are some preliminary plans:
  • Lift front by another inch. Has to be done with spacers as no company makes a bolt in lift for this truck... and I do not have enough money to do custom.
  • Lift rear by one inch. This will be blocks. The weight carrying mods I have done have already lifted it some. I need to maintain somewhat of a "stinkbug" stance, so that when I put the camper in things level out. Currently I get about 1" of compression in the back so things should be level with the camper in if I follow this plan.
  • Custom front winch mount. My son Joe and i have investigated the front end. We feel like there is an opportunity to remove the stock bumper, weld in a winch plate between the frames, mount winch and button it all up with the stock bumper... creating a "hidden winch". Won't really know if that is viable until we pull it all apart.
  • Consider a rear locker. This truck has the Chrysler 9.25, so plenty of options out there, although for my usage I am likely to look at a lunchbox locker such as a lockright. Primary reason for that choice would be that I have done them before and it is easy enough for me to do in my garage.
  • With the lift I think I can move up in tire size, especially if I go with skinnies. Thinking 235/85/16 OR 255/85/16. Gives me the e-rated tire I need for the camper and the size I am looking for depending what will fit.
Will let you know and take pics as I proceed. uckily I have this work monkey... I mean 14 year old... who likes to wrench. I can give him some tasks while I am at work and then swing in for the glory when I get home... hahaha:wrench
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Hopefully starting this latest iteration this weekend, pending time, weather and parts arriving. No real support for this platform as mentioned, so I have sourced some 1" strut spacers (which result in a 2" lift) from Supreme suspensions, along with some leaf spring 1" blocks I had laying around. Also picked up some new assembled struts from Monroe. They are not technically for a 2010, but should fit. Plan is to assemble with the spacers before removing anything to be sure. Front bumper/winch mount design and work will have to wait until Joe and I can dedicate a whole day or weekend to it. Lot's of noodling is going to have to happen to get this one done.

Also going to look at fabbing up a better set of front camper tie downs, either frame mounted like Torklift or a modded Happijac frame mounted solution.

Will keep you updated.
Here we go again... after much searching and trying to figure this truck out, it is going on the block to be sold. Check the full size page for my next adventure...
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