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JB M715, I think I know exactly where you got this truck from, been eyeing it for the last year or so then I suddenly noticed it was gone. Good score! If its the same truck that I think it is, its what got me into Travelettes in the first place. Can't wait to see what you do with it!
Thanks for the link Eason. I'll see if I can get in touch with him.
TDTravelette, I see your in Chico... so you definitely know where this truck came from. He has hundreds of trucks and everything is for sale!! He is the same guy I bought the Kaiser M715 from years ago.
Just one fly in the ointment. What are the registration requirements where you live? Many states require that the vehicle be registered to the year OF THE FRAME. Potential for issues when registering and insuring to keep in mind. Also possible emission requirements to consider as well.
Yeah, there are several flies in the ointment with this project... I have plans to accommodate most of the registration/emission issues but there may be a fly or two left in the ointment when its all done.
The good news is it's a 96 Dodge, so it's pre-98, so no Diesel smog for it either anyway. Also, I have heard that some counties up there in Northern California (Chico I believe is one) have little to no smog checking in some zip codes.
I have started this exact project, My first attempt was with a 96 dodge chassis, the frame is weird and the motor set further back, I didn't want the motor that far into the cab so I punted that chassis. I found another gen 1 truck and everything lined up pretty good, I stretched the frame to the length I needed. Everything sits a little different so I can take the hump mostly out of the floor. The body mounts were really easy. I didn't make any mods to the firewall, but I did move the mounts on the radiator to set the shell a little further into the radiator support and then I ycked an intercooler in front of that that is totally custom. I used the motor out of the P pump truck because I don't like the VE pump as much. This same truck I swapped Chevy axles an PS into years ago on the stock frame and I prefer all the stock steering geometry over having to engineer all of that, making body mounts was easy, I lost interest for a while but just sold my 12 valve extra cab 5 speed Dodge to get back on this project.
That all sounds like the most work possible, doesn't it?..
I would think, putting the 12V, axles of choice, etc, into the original frame would be far easier.
Cutting out of the long bed, is not going to be easy. It's definitely not easier than going with a frame you can shorten. If you're paranoid, fish plate the seams.
I have talked with a guy that had a newer travelette (72) and used a mid 90's F250 chassis, with the 12V, and he says he wouldn't have it any other way. The swap was easy, the wheelbase was friendly, and he has room underneath to work on everything. If you throw the motor back into the firewall, besides being work, you're going to lose workability.
Besides, those dodge chassis aren't good ones. Front suspension every year whether you use it or not. The only 3 things good with them is axles, and the cummins.
Chris isn't overstating. There are aftermarket parts to fix the loose steering, vibration, and death wobble, but it gets insanely expensive. If you're lucky your donor has some of the upgrades already. Be real picky on what ball joints and unit bearings you go with.
I not dismissing the input and understand that the Dodge chassis has some known issues. This Dodge has a good combination of upgrades (KDP fixed, 5th gear nut addressed, Borgeson steering components, Moog ball joints, aftermarket panhard bar, engine hop ups, airbags, etc).
With that said, for me, buying a complete running driving truck was the best way to get all the parts needed, plus I know what works and what needs to get addressed.