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Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
Thomcat316 Offline
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#1
Smile  Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
I'm in the "getting information together" stages of a truck project:

Swap a diesel engine and manual transmission into a 97-04 2WD Dakota, convert the bed area to a flatbed fifth wheel, and build an ultralight fifth wheel trailer that is aero-matched to the Dakota. Aiming for a high fuel economy RV that has a reasonable level of amenities.

My preference would be to have an engine that is useable in close-to-stock condition (don't want to be changing turbo, rebuilding IP, etc.), with a torque peak at fairly low RPM so I'm not pulling at 4K up every mountain pass. Ideally the torque would match or exceed the stock V6's 220-235lb/ft of torque, and the peak power would be in the 150-170HP range.

I first looked at the 4BT (too heavy, too shaky, expensive), then the 4BD1/2T (too heavy, expensive), then I decided to browse Mercedes. Where I live I can buy two running cars with OM617.951/952 or about one-and-a-half with an OM606.961/962 for less than I'd pay for the Cummins or Isuzu. From a power standpoint I like the OM606, but I've not found a detailed walkthrough for "how to make it work in an alien body", whereas the OM617 seems to have ended up being put into everything larger than a motorcycle, with details about how-to.

Would anyone here happen to know if there's a guide out on the web somewhere that can point me to how to make the transplanted OM606 believe it's in a normal host body? The other problem inherent in this is that I don't think I will be able to find a donor car with a manual transmission, so I will also have to learn how to get the engine to play well without its native transmission.

Help? Smile
04-01-2015, 02:57 PM
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Petar Offline
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#2
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
The OM606 seems to be well suited to your power goals. 

There is no problem in making the 606 work in an allien body if you swap in a mechanical pump.  Big Grin
If there is no brain to think then there is no brain to believe  Tongue
Once you do that it is only a matter of making the motor fit.

If you want a manual transmission you could use one from a 190E or a 190D. It will bolt on to the 606.
If you want an automatic you could use the stock 722.6 that comes with the 606 with a standalone controller or an older full mechanical 722.3 from a 300D or 300SDL.

There has been some talk about a jeep 27 spline output flange that will fit on Benz transmissions and allow you to use a drive shaft with U joints.
(This post was last modified: 04-01-2015, 03:25 PM by Petar.)
04-01-2015, 03:20 PM
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Thomcat316 Offline
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#3
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
(04-01-2015, 03:20 PM)Petar Wrote: The OM606 seems to be well suited to your power goals. 
There is no problem in making the 606 work in an alien body if you swap in a mechanical pump.  Big Grin

I hadn't done that research just yet - is there a suggested US-market source for the mechanical pump in question? I'm guessing it's not so simple as taking the MW pump from the 617 and figuring out how to make it feed six cylinders? Wink Also, with the mechanical pump swap do I end up needing to instrument the engine (EGT, boost, etc.) to keep the engine safe?

An additional unstated goal is to get it working well and then be able to basically ignore it past simple maintenance. I like to tinker, but not every day.

Quote:If you want a manual transmission you could use one from a 190E or a 190D. It will bolt on to the 606. There has been some talk about a jeep 27 spline output flange that will fit on Benz transmissions and allow you to use a drive shaft with U joints.

That may be a better option than what I had in mind. I had planned on converting the shifting mess behind the motor to GM-compatible using the 4x4 Labs kit. I was thinking of a GM 5 or 6 speed manual transmission, custom driveshaft and the stock Dodge rear axle with a taller gearset to match the lower torque band of the engine. If I can find a 5-speed out of a 190 I'd be happy to make it work!
04-01-2015, 03:59 PM
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raysorenson Offline
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#4
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
You won't be towing with a little Mercedes 5 speed. They're not strong.

You could use a 606 with a mechanical pump from an om603 car. There's always one or more on ebay for too much money. Keep the 5 speed auto and use a standalone controller. No speedo cable with the 5 speed auto.

You could use a 603 motor. It comes with a mechanical pump and the 4 speed auto is also mechanical. There is no lockup torque converter in this trans, so fluid will get hot when towing. These are cheap and plentiful. Don't bother with the 3.5l om603. They have too many problems.

All teh IDI merc motors are very happy at 3000 rpm so plan on having the chassis geared for them to cruise at this engine speed. They typically make a little more torque (lb-ft) than HP but they are not low rpm grunt motors.
04-02-2015, 11:58 AM
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Thomcat316 Offline
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#5
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
(04-02-2015, 11:58 AM)raysorenson Wrote: You won't be towing with a little Mercedes 5 speed. They're not strong.

Heck, I've towed a slightly lighter trailer 35K miles behind a Sonoma with the 2.2L gas engine and NV1500 transmission...  That set me on the road to where I'm headed - my summer cross-country trip in 2014 netted 25.8MPG over ca. 9400 miles.

If the consensus is that the transmission from the 190D won't hold up long behind the 606 I guess I may do the simple/expensive thing and get the 617 and put the 4x4 Labs conversion kit on after all.  It mates to the NV3500 and 4500, both of which are quite available, and will cost ca. $1100 (plus gearbox) with the appropriate parts.  Alternately I'd make my own adapter for the 606 to the Dodge 5-speed from the truck and swap the pump from the 603 as suggested (unless this project comes through and I can make my own ECU).

I don't like automatics - I've killed a few of old age, and seen many others die, while the manual transmissions I've had have lasted like the Energizer bunny.  Add to that the fact that you can almost always limp a manual onward even when it's in trouble, and I'll stick with 'em...

I'll definitely be keeping your suggestion about gearing in mind, too.  I regeared the Sonoma from 4.10 to 3.42, gained good highway mileage, and also gained a useable first gear....  Big Grin  Used to start out in second with the original gearing.  I'll be planning on driving the conversion around a while on the original gearing to be sure of the ratio I want to change to.  One thing I saw about the MB engines is that with the 606 peak torque is at 1600RPM, with the 617 peaking at 2400RPM.  My thought is that I'd plan on engine RPM at highway cruising speed in fifth to sit right to the north side of the torque peak, 1800 and 2600 respectively - is there an issue with that theory?
04-02-2015, 01:37 PM
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Petar Offline
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#6
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
Yes the Mercedes 5 speed isn't very strong for a superturbodiesel but then again he will only run stock power,only 330 Nm of torque so IMHO it will do fine. But then again I could be wrong.

The 603 is an Ok engine but a 606 is better, the 603 has cylinder head issues in the early 3.0 engines, and the 3.5 is a terrible rod bender.
As far as the pump is concerned any older mechanical pump from a 603, doesn't matter if from 3.0 or 3.5 liter engine. Also you could use a pump from a W124 E300D with the 606 since those were mechanical.
Have a shop swap the elements from the electronic 606 pump into it and adjust for stock electronic fuel.
For gauges if you have it set up for stock fuel then you'll only need a boost gauge to adjust the boost to stock level. But having an EGT gauge can't hurt.
04-02-2015, 03:59 PM
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CRD4x4 Offline
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#7
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
Thomcat,
I'm really digging you're small diesel 5th wheel project but I wonder if a Dakota is the right truck for the job. I'm interested as to why you chose this dodge as you're base.

I've had similar thoughts in the past and settled on a Willys/Jeep FC170 dually as my ideal base for a small 5th wheel. They're not easy to find but they offer so many advantages with their 4wd cabover design over conventional truck layouts.
The OM606 is so much more powerful than the OM617 so I'd stick with that. 
Mating with a manual can be challenging  (where I'm currently stuck) or costly but can be done with bellhousing chop & weld.


Would you use a Sonoma again? I've inherited a low miles 03 with 2.2 auto & have been trying to sell or trade it locally for something more fun/diesel.

I'd love to hear more about your trailer too!
'05 Jeep Liberty CRD - 160k
'06.5 VW Jetta TDI - 230k
'82 MB 300TD - 116k (motor going to raysorenson)
'81 MB 300TD - 195k (parting out)
'71 Jeep DJ5 - diesel conversion project
04-03-2015, 09:25 AM
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Thomcat316 Offline
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#8
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
(04-02-2015, 03:59 PM)Petar Wrote: Yes the Mercedes 5 speed isn't very strong for a superturbodiesel but then again he will only run stock power,only 330 Nm of torque so IMHO it will do fine. But then again I could be wrong.

Without a chorus of support for the 190D transmission idea, I think I'll stick with the Dodge 5spd I'll have already.  Can't be impossible to make an adapter plate....

Quote:Have a shop swap the elements from the electronic 606 pump into it and adjust for stock electronic fuel.

I think I'm missing something?  I am thinking the last words should be "adjust for stock fuel", though perhaps I don't know enough?
04-03-2015, 11:11 AM
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Petar Offline
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#9
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
(04-03-2015, 11:11 AM)Thomcat316 Wrote:
Quote:Have a shop swap the elements from the electronic 606 pump into it and adjust for stock electronic fuel.

I think I'm missing something?  I am thinking the last words should be "adjust for stock fuel", though perhaps I don't know enough?

Sorry if i were confusing, English is not my native langauge  Tongue I meant the adjust the mechanical pump to deliver the amount of fuel that the electronic pump would deliver with the stock map in the ECU. I think it is around ~64cc /1000 strokes on the 606 turbo.  Wink
04-03-2015, 04:33 PM
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Thomcat316 Offline
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#10
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
(04-03-2015, 09:25 AM)CRD4x4 Wrote: Thomcat,
I'm really digging your small diesel 5th wheel project but I wonder if a Dakota is the right truck for the job. I'm interested as to why you chose this dodge as you're base.

Why the Dakota? Four doors, seats five, good long-haul driveability, low donor cost, good chassis/body/interior parts availability, "midsize" allows easy parking when it's split from the trailer, very tight turning radius, available in 2WD. Other possibilities explored were: Dodge and Chevy 1500 crew cab (too big), S10 Crew Cab (too rare), Colorado crew cab (too costly), Tacoma crew cab (too rare, too costly).

Quote:I've had similar thoughts in the past and settled on a Willys/Jeep FC170 dually as my ideal base for a small 5th wheel. They're not easy to find but they offer so many advantages with their 4wd cabover design over conventional truck layouts.

Looks like a blast! I'd probably do an Isuzu NPR or Mitsubishi Fuso if I were heading to bigger/heavier. Actually did a set of comparison designs for a self-contained (Class A?) motorhome based on both the long-frame Isuzu and on a frame-stretched Tahoe. Turned out that neither met the needs I had in mind.

Quote:The OM606 is so much more powerful than the OM617 so I'd stick with that.
Mating with a manual can be challenging  (where I'm currently stuck) or costly but can be done with bellhousing chop & weld.

Looking forward to playing with it! I see where 4x4 Labs uses a Ford V10 starter for their adapter plate, so there's a lot of research I don't have to do right off the bat!

Quote:Would you use a Sonoma again? I've inherited a low miles 03 with 2.2 auto & have been trying to sell or trade it locally for something more fun/diesel.

My 1996 ExtCab 2.2 2WD Sonoma is my daily driver, and runs like a happy little watch. I'll be getting this Dakota to convert to a dedicated tow vehicle, but will be keeping the Sonoma. I like how simple it is to work on, and as a GM vehicle with over 200K miles this is a factor.... ;-)

Quote:I'd love to hear more about your trailer too!

To keep from going too far off topic here in DieselLand, here's links:
Pondering: http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=42048
Build Journal: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=44293
04-06-2015, 10:10 AM
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Thomcat316 Offline
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#11
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
(04-03-2015, 04:33 PM)Petar Wrote: Sorry if i were confusing, English is not my native langauge  Tongue I meant the adjust the mechanical pump to deliver the amount of fuel that the electronic pump would deliver with the stock map in the ECU. I think it is around ~64cc /1000 strokes on the 606 turbo.  Wink

Very much clearer, and your English is far better than my (lack of) Serbian! I appreciate the time you're taking to help me learn!
04-06-2015, 10:13 AM
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raysorenson Offline
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#12
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
(04-02-2015, 01:37 PM)Thomcat316 Wrote: I'll definitely be keeping your suggestion about gearing in mind, too.  I regeared the Sonoma from 4.10 to 3.42, gained good highway mileage, and also gained a useable first gear....  Big Grin  Used to start out in second with the original gearing.  I'll be planning on driving the conversion around a while on the original gearing to be sure of the ratio I want to change to.  One thing I saw about the MB engines is that with the 606 peak torque is at 1600RPM, with the 617 peaking at 2400RPM.  My thought is that I'd plan on engine RPM at highway cruising speed in fifth to sit right to the north side of the torque peak, 1800 and 2600 respectively - is there an issue with that theory?

I don't know for sure what the 606 turbo torque peak is, but the NA OM606 torque peak is 2600 rpms
http://www.w124performance.com/docs/mb/O...606_NA.pdf

I daily drive a stock 606 turbo in a W210 and it doesn't drive anything like a 1600rpm torque peak. More like somewhere between 2500 and 3000. It does not push the heavy Mushmobile around very well at all at 1600 rpm.
04-07-2015, 01:00 PM
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Thomcat316 Offline
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#13
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
(04-07-2015, 01:00 PM)raysorenson Wrote: I don't know for sure what the 606 turbo torque peak is, but the NA OM606 torque peak is 2600 rpms
http://www.w124performance.com/docs/mb/O...606_NA.pdf

I daily drive a stock 606 turbo in a W210 and it doesn't drive anything like a 1600rpm torque peak. More like somewhere between 2500 and 3000. It does not push the heavy Mushmobile around very well at all at 1600 rpm.

My amazingly reliable and irrefutable source for the info at hand was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_OM606_engine

Ahem. That said, I'll definitely be putting the engine in the truck in front of the stock differential gearing and doing my own driveability testing before putting money and time into regearing for highway travel.
04-08-2015, 12:37 PM
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raysorenson Offline
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#14
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
That's interesting. The WIKI torque peak for the NA motor doesn't match the SAE doc by MB engineers. Too bad they didn't cite one single reference source for that page.
04-09-2015, 07:44 AM
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zeeman Offline
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#15
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
(04-01-2015, 02:57 PM)Thomcat316 Wrote: I'm in the "getting information together" stages of a truck project:

Swap a diesel engine and manual transmission into a 97-04 2WD Dakota, convert the bed area to a flatbed fifth wheel, and build an ultralight fifth wheel trailer that is aero-matched to the Dakota.  Aiming for a high fuel economy RV that has a reasonable level of amenities.

My preference would be to have an engine that is useable in close-to-stock condition (don't want to be changing turbo, rebuilding IP, etc.), with a torque peak at fairly low RPM so I'm not pulling at 4K up every mountain pass.  Ideally the torque would match or exceed the stock V6's 220-235lb/ft of torque, and the peak power would be in the 150-170HP range.

I first looked at the 4BT (too heavy, too shaky, expensive), then the 4BD1/2T (too heavy, expensive), then I decided to browse Mercedes.  Where I live I can buy two running cars with OM617.951/952 or about one-and-a-half with an OM606.961/962 for less than I'd pay for the Cummins or Isuzu.  From a power standpoint I like the OM606, but I've not found a detailed walkthrough for "how to make it work in an alien body", whereas the OM617 seems to have ended up being put into everything larger than a motorcycle, with details about how-to.

Would anyone here happen to know if there's a guide out on the web somewhere that can point me to how to make the transplanted OM606 believe it's in a normal host body?  The other problem inherent in this is that I don't think I will be able to find a donor car with a manual transmission, so I will also have to learn how to get the engine to play well without its native transmission.

Help?   Smile

Your easiest and most reasonable solution would be to go with the 617 motor. Change over to a Jeep bellhousing which will bolt up to your AX-15 transmission and use mercedesdiesel4x4.com adapter and your done. Just have to change to the shorter Jeep input shaft. The 606 will be a tight fit and would require a rear sump oil pan ect.......
04-25-2015, 06:02 PM
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Thomcat316 Offline
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#16
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
(04-25-2015, 06:02 PM)zeeman Wrote: Your easiest and most reasonable solution would be to go with the 617 motor. Change over to a Jeep bellhousing which will bolt up to your AX-15 transmission and use mercedesdiesel4x4.com adapter and your done. Just have to change to the shorter Jeep input shaft. The 606 will be a tight fit and would require a rear sump oil pan ect.......

Looks like this is happening sort of by default - I found a mechanic-owned, "pre-tuned" 617 (better turbo, higher pump volume, no smoke) complete with car for $800, which I can't beat with a stick. The plan for the 606 was to buy a parts car for $2500 and "reinvent the IP wheel", so to speak. I don't have the AX15 in this truck, but the better-built Dodge NV3500, which at 230K miles is smooooth - 4x4 Labs has a comprehensive kit for mating the 617 to GM NV3500 transmissions, so I'm looking about for one of those (*&%^&^ integral bellhousings!) to make it a simple bolt-up, otherwise I get to make an adapter plate all of my own for the Dodge!
05-05-2015, 12:18 PM
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Thomcat316 Offline
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#17
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
Adapter plate blues, maybe?

The folks that make the adapters for the OM617 do so for the Jeep 4.0L AX15 and the GM NV3500, though they don't specify which GM engine fitment they've developed for.  I don't have either of these transmissions, and would prefer to use the NV3500 (GM version is $700-1200 in junkyards) rather than the AX15 for smoothness and reputed longer service life.

Assuming I can't get an adapter plate and associated stuff ready-made for the OM617-to-Dodge-NV3500 mating, and that I am going from automatic flexplate to manual flywheel, are there things peculiar to the 617 that I need to know?

Is the 617 typically externally balanced at the flexplate/flywheel?
Can I get the Dodge flywheel balanced to match the balance of the MB flexplate?
Can I use a sheet of HDPE plastic to mock up the adapter plate and transfer the locations from there to the final material?
Is aluminum or steel the better material for the adapter?
Is there a minimum thickness for adapter plates?  In aluminum?  In steel?
I assume that I'll need to make a flywheel spacer and pilot bearing mount that match the thickness of the adapter plate - or do I?

If there's all this info in other parts of the forums - haven't really searched yet - please feel free to tell me to GO LOOK!  :-)
05-05-2015, 02:18 PM
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#18
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
(05-05-2015, 02:18 PM)Thomcat316 Wrote: Adapter plate blues, maybe?

The folks that make the adapters for the OM617 do so for the Jeep 4.0L AX15 and the GM NV3500, though they don't specify which GM engine fitment they've developed for.  I don't have either of these transmissions, and would prefer to use the NV3500 (GM version is $700-1200 in junkyards) rather than the AX15 for smoothness and reputed longer service life.

Assuming I can't get an adapter plate and associated stuff ready-made for the OM617-to-Dodge-NV3500 mating, and that I am going from automatic flexplate to manual flywheel, are there things peculiar to the 617 that I need to know?

Is the 617 typically externally balanced at the flexplate/flywheel?
Can I get the Dodge flywheel balanced to match the balance of the MB flexplate?
Can I use a sheet of HDPE plastic to mock up the adapter plate and transfer the locations from there to the final material?
Is aluminum or steel the better material for the adapter?
Is there a minimum thickness for adapter plates?  In aluminum?  In steel?
I assume that I'll need to make a flywheel spacer and pilot bearing mount that match the thickness of the adapter plate - or do I?

If there's all this info in other parts of the forums - haven't really searched yet - please feel free to tell me to GO LOOK!  :-)

I think the primary reason there are no Dodge to OM617 adapters, is the fact that the Dodge Starter Location interferes with the bottom of the oil filter on the Merc engine.

I checked that out myself when I started my Diesel Dakota project, hoping that I could run an A833 4-Speed, NP435 4-Speed or NV4500 5-Speed.  It could probably be done with a Remote Filter setup.

Most 617's are Externally Balanced and the Flywheel is usually specific to the exact engine it came from. You could get the Dodge Flywheel balanced to match the Merc Flywheel, though I've never had any luck in finding a machine shop (even ones that build hi-po motors) that would match-balance a flywheel to another flywheel. None of them would even touch the job unless I brought them the whole rotating assembly to be balanced as well.


Here's a little FYI though.  The Mitsubishi KM145, KM145-D and V5MT1 5-Speed Transmissions used in the 4-Cylinder (and 4 Cylinder Turbo Diesel) Dodge D50's pretty much bolt right up to the OM617.  Almost every bolt hole is in the exact same spot too, save for 1 or 2 that don't exist on the 617.  The only problem is that the starter is in the exact same spot as the Oil Filter on the 617
'92 Dakota 4x4 : OM617/Auto/205
'84 D50 4x4 : 273/727/100/203 (former turbo diesel truck)
'73 Duster : Roots 6-71 Blown 340/833
(This post was last modified: 06-10-2015, 11:33 AM by 74Dusted.)
06-10-2015, 11:33 AM
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raysorenson Offline
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#19
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
617's are internally balanced
06-10-2015, 12:33 PM
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#20
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
(04-03-2015, 11:11 AM)Thomcat316 Wrote:
(04-02-2015, 03:59 PM)Petar Wrote: Yes the Mercedes 5 speed isn't very strong for a superturbodiesel but then again he will only run stock power,only 330 Nm of torque so IMHO it will do fine. But then again I could be wrong.

Without a chorus of support for the 190D transmission idea, I think I'll stick with the Dodge 5spd I'll have already.  Can't be impossible to make an adapter plate....


Quote:Have a shop swap the elements from the electronic 606 pump into it and adjust for stock electronic fuel.

I think I'm missing something?  I am thinking the last words should be "adjust for stock fuel", though perhaps I don't know enough?

There are drawings for both the 617 and 606 transmission bolt patterns in the sticky, fyi
Newbie-read this: Cheap Tricks
617.952-220k-Getting built up
larsalan Wrote:I guess I need to look at this stupid ass drip shit. What you have to like mess with those elements on the pump? What a fucking hassle. then use some wire to hold the throttle open or some shit?
06-11-2015, 06:55 AM
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Austincarnut Offline
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#21
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
(06-10-2015, 12:33 PM)raysorenson Wrote: 617's are internally balanced

no they aren't, only rebuilt engines are... if you look in the FSM, you'll find instructions on the line markings for D&A
(This post was last modified: 06-11-2015, 07:55 PM by Austincarnut.)
06-11-2015, 07:53 PM
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#22
RE: Planning a swap into a 2nd Gen Dakota....
When I did my swap, I tried and tried to do the whole FW balancing thing. Everyone I talked to looked at me like I had horns growing out of my head. Talked to an old machinist and he said he couldn't see any obvious things to show that it wasn't a neutral balanced FW. Even though that was contrary to everything that I had been told/read about the 617s.

Decided to put a neutrally balanced Jeep FW on the back of the 617 and waited to see what would happen. So far, everything has held together and the vibes aren't bad. Slight/medium vibes below 1000ish RPMs, but so much rattles on that Jeep it isn't hardly noticed and I've gotten used to it.

Take that for what it's worth
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06-17-2015, 05:18 PM
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