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Of all the cars, trucks, and countless jeeps I've restored/modded/destroyed/swapped, I decided that this swap has pushed me to write up my experiences for the first time (I've watched countless others get blasted for not using the search button and I was wise enough not to become one of them). I use forums only when I've depleted all other options and I was kinda disappointed with the lack of information I could find on this swap. Not saying it's not there, I just can't stand wasting hours chasing my tail on the internet when I know if a project is in my hands long enough I'll figure it out.

The donor truck-
1996 ram 2500 Cummins w/nv4500hd 2wd 8' bed extended cab

The daily driver-
2000 ram 1500 v6 w/nv3500 2wd
8' bed
 

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The donor... I've won about $20 in scratch offs from the $1k I've spent on them my entire life. I'm just not a lucky person. I must've picked up a heads up penny I can't remember cause I got this truck stupid, stupid, stupid cheap. Cheap enough if I told you, youd probably find where I live and knock the wind out of me. Out here people love to use broken down vehicles as lawn ornaments. I'm not one to judge, in fact it makes my searches easier. The truck was in a field, I knocked, we both walked away with a smile. It was missing a tailgate and had been in a front end accident leaving the frame, drivers side fender, uca and lca mangled, and no key. Otherwise it was complete from nose to tail (minus the dash of course). The original plan was to repair the 2500 until I got down to the frame and was advised against it. Both lca mounts were completely folded back and the upper spring perch was pushed in along with the lower radiator support sporting a nice U shape. The tie rod wasn't even close to straight. 20180626_180141_1537782449388.jpg
 

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Forgot to mention how my buddie thought it would go a lot smoother if he backed it off my trailer as fast as he could, needless to say we found it had a full tank of old diesel when he high centered on the fuel tank, ripping a hole on his way down. So I decided to completely strip it of darn near every bolt, screw, everything. I was left unsure what to do at this point, I didn't want to be left without a vehicle since the only other one I've got is my daily and unknown circumstances and complications tend to multiply like rabbits. So I put everything up for sale and figured if I got a good enough offer I'd take it. That was until...
 

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The daily- I had bought the 1500 v6 for 500 bucks. It had a cracked block but I was lucky enough it cracked from the outside along a water jacket. That lasted about three months till I found myself swapping in another v6 I got for free. With everything already pulled from the Cummins, I was on my way home the v6 died on me. I'm pretty sure the plenum gasket went and I knew my #4 injector was leaking like a sieve, I figured it was a sign not to sell the dismantled 2500
 

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The swap- of course the very first thing I decided to work on would prove to be a pain. The research I did said everything should swap over with the exception of needing to shorten the driveshaft.
I started by pulling my front hubs, control arms, draining brake fluid, shocks and springs. As soon as I went to mount the first uca I knew I had a problem. First problem was the uppers pivot bar was a half inch longer for 00-02 models, and using my original uppers with the 2500s lowers wasn't an option since Chrysler also changed the ball joint setup. The diameter of the ball joint also became larger from 1500-2500/3500. To solve that I crossed my fingers that the 2500 ball joints would bolt into my control arms and they did. And lastly i needed the brake lines from the 2500. At the end of the 1500s stock brake line (at the caliper) is a different thread and is about two inches shorter.
 

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For whatever reason my alignment was thrown so far off I was left pigeon toed extremely bad on my passenger side when I centered my steering wheel. Everything was fine before the swap and I used the 1500s center link, steering box and tie rod ends
 

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I pulled the rear end next, since I'm working in my driveway I figured it would give me a bit of extra space to work while dropping the tank and I'd have a clear shot for pulling the old 5 speed out and rolling the new 5 speed in. I was able to sit the 4500 on the ground and lower the truck when it was time to pull the motor. I did this because I didn't want to add any unnecessary stress to my engine hoist having to already lift the 1100lb beast. With everything out I pulled all old wiring and fed in the new. The only problem I ran into was that the leafs coming off are 2.5" wide and the 2500s are 3". As a temporary fix I broke all four sets of leafs down, used the one 2.5" that mounted to the frame and stacked 3"s on top of it. Because of the .5 difference on each side, the spring perches are mounted closer together on the 2500s axel. With a heavy duty strap I was able to make it work, but in the near future I'll be going back to the donors frame and torching off the riveted leaf mounts and will throw them on the 1500 so I can get rid of the one 2.5. I'll also be cutting and fitting new leaf perches in the near future to be rid of the bowing problem. Hopefully I'll have my mind made up by then on weather or not I want to lift it so I can get the perches where theyll be perfect.
 

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(all of the following was done before the new axle was in, I got ahead of myself I guess) I ripped out the old fuel lines along with the vacuum canister and anything leading to/from it and pulled the exhaust from the manifolds all the way back. I dropped the tank, swapped fuel pumps, mounted the high pressure fuel lines knowing they're going to be too long so I just let them dangle underneath the front crossmember. I figured I'd trim them up after the diesel was in.
 

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I forgot to mention, while I was pulling the Cummins out of the donor truck the only way I found possible to get the motor over the crossmember while avoiding the valance containing the wiper armatures and motor was to lift the cab from the frame. What I actually did was raise everything as a single unit, dismount cab and prop it as high as possible, lower frame and motor halfway between the ground and cab, hook up engine hoist, unbolt and drop the frame to the ground, then lower the cab back to the frame after the motor was rolled out of the way. I didn't have anywhere near that sort of patience while putting the motor in, I said screw it and took out the wiper assembly and made two cuts with a Sawzall so I could fold the metal back to the windshield. The motor dropped in perfect and the metal folded right back into place. Wiring was simple, I'm not going to have to splice anything together since I'm switching the in-cab harness as well so I can use my new automatic windows and door locks, cruze control, bed light, and overhead console lighting.
 
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