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Hey guys!

I'm from South Carolina hence the name (South Dakota) just a little play on that. I crack myself up even if no one else appreciates it. I recently traded for a 1998 Dodge Dakota SLT standard cab. It has the 5.2L Magnum V8, NV3500 5 speed manual transmission, 9.25 rear end with 3.92 gearing. It's currently ugly as sin but runs really nice. It's gonna be a project so I'm sure I'll need all your combined knowledge to help me pull it off. The goal is to make it a nice little street/strip machine. Gotta get her all dolled up before taking her to the prom after all. I'm not trying to break into the 10s or anything and have to do all the safety modifications or get a NHRA license. Just quick and fun, maybe do some bracket racing when the mood strikes, but still keep it comfortable enough for the streets. I'm not new to the Mopar world though. I've had a 73 Satellite, 71 Road Runner, 95 YJ (still own it), 98 Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited (still own it), 02 Ram (still own it), and now my little Dakota. I'm a big guy and this is probably the smallest vehicle I can still fit in comfortably. Ergonomically it's almost perfect for me. I'll list what I'd like to do with this project in order that I plan to tackle it. Any advice, warnings or recommendation on parts to use would be greatly appreciated.

  • Wheels - I found some Unique 297 Soft 8 steelies that will fit this odd ball bolt pattern without spacers. (Going for that stockcar/truck look and couldn't find D windows)
  • Tires - Nitto NT421Q (These are for road use for the moment, I'll get a different wheel tire combo for track use in the future)
  • Lowering Kit for the suspension. (First time actually lowering something. What's a good amount to keep from dragging on anything? Any kit recommendations?)
  • Shocks (I'm sure the stock shocks won't work any longer after lowering it. Any recommendations for maybe some double adjustables? I was hoping QA1 had some but I've only seen single adjustables for the Dak, but maybe there are some that work after lowering that it)
  • Brake upgrade (Anyone know of good brake upgrades?)
  • LSD (Any recommendations? Should I also change gear ratio or does the 3.92 hit that sweet spot?)
  • Short shifter (I've found only 1 so far from Core Shifters and Hurst branded)
  • Sway Bars (Does anyone make upgraded sway bars?)
  • Line Lock
  • Roll Pan
  • Front Bumper (Currently has chrome steel front bumper. Is there any real weight saving finding a junkyard poly bumper, or would I be better off getting a bumper cover, or even drilling some speed holes and painting it?)
  • Fender Flares (Stock R/T type)
  • Cowl Hood
  • Update Lights (Headlights, fog lights, tail lights, third brake light)
  • Steering wheel (I've always used stock steering wheels before so I wanted to try something different. I know Momo, but any other recommended brands or anything I should know about swapping them?)
  • Seats (Gotta get some nice bolster, but not so high they're hard to get in and out of. No real experience here either.)
  • HVAC (Currently it appears to be stuck on floor/def setting and won't change. Do the Daks have the same blend door issues that some of my other Mopars do? Does anyone make a kit to fix it?)
  • Stereo (I'd like a double din, or a single with a decent sized touch screen so I can connect a camera. Does anyone know if a double can be fitted in a 98?)
  • Paint
  • Gen III Hemi swap ( I know Holley makes a kit for this and I plan on using that. Though I think they intend for people to be using an auto and I'd like to keep my 3 pedals. Anyone know of a flywheel that will work with it?)
  • Nitrous
 
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