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Old 08-15-2011, 01:38 PM
Mudbull Mudbull is offline
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Mudbull-68 Gladiator diesel build-need help deciding things...

Hello everyone, This is my first post, but i have a feeling ill be on here a lot from now on! Over the past couple months ive been looking around for a unique, affordable truck that i can use as a daily driver, for offroading, and hauling stuff. A couple weeks ago i didnt even know that kaiser ever made jeeps-let alone a truck. From the beginning i knew i wanted to do a diesel swap, a Kaiser gladiator came up on craigslist at the right time so i bought it. Its a six cylinder, 4spd, 4x4 at the moment with basically no floors, no rocker panels, and no bed. But for $500 you cant lose rite!




Here you can see how nonexistant the rocker panels are. The picture of the interior is decieving- the floor is gone, what you are seeing is a thin sheet of aluminum, with sheet metal screws holding it in.


Now, i would love your guys' opinions, help, and expertise...
As far as the engine goes, im hoping to find a good cummins 5.9 for around $1000 or a GM 6.2 for less. Would i be able to (or want to) adapt the transmission and transfer case (T18? and dana 20 correct?) to either engine easily?

With either engine would it be O.K. to run the stock dana 44 in the front with light/medium duty offroading? I plan on adding a dana 60 in back no matter what.

I want to run ~37" tires, Ive seen the chevy 63" springs are a common swap on here for the rear. To get ~6" lift do they need to be lift springs or just stock? Also, what springs can i use for the front (63" chevys also?)-im not afraid of modifying the frame, extending the rails, etc...

Finally, i dont believe that truck bed is factory, and its so far gone, i dont think its worth patching...has anyone retrofitted a bed from a different truck without major resizing (like from an f150, silverado...)?

Thanks guys for looking and all of your help...maybe one day i can return the favor!

EDIT: Added better quality pictures. 8/21/11

Last edited by Mudbull : 08-21-2011 at 06:52 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-15-2011, 03:31 PM
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uglyjeep uglyjeep is offline
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I can tell you that a 6.2 can be dropped in front of a Jeep t-18 with minimal problems using an adapter that advance adapters sells. I can't say for sure on yours though - a 6 cyl. trans has a different length input shaft and adapter than a v-8 version. As far as engine choice, that's all based on personal choice and what you can find. Doubtless, this will turn into another Cummins vs. 6.2/6.5 debate.

BTW- that does apper to be a factory thriftside, which is very popular with many here (myself included). Not a common find.
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The eternal project -'88 6.2 diesel, '75 cherokee chassis, t-18 & dana 20, & WT dana 44's, front lock right, '67 j-3000 cab ('75 dash & pedals, '67 column, "leather" astro bench), '3? IH bed, 32" mtr's
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  #3  
Old 08-15-2011, 04:59 PM
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Gambler68 Gambler68 is offline
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If you want to see a 68 J3000 get transformed into something along what you're thinking of, click the link in my signature line.

The bed is factory. If the skirting (the fenders and panels that come off) aren't too beat up, you can sell them for rather good money. Now..that bed is SO simple, you may actually want to fix it..I was planning on lining the inside with 3/4" marine grade plywood, bolted through the metal. It is really flimsy. Or make a flatbed for it.

You are going to want to ditch the D44s front and rear. And think hard about those skinny 2" springs in the front with a heavy diesel motor. You're going to want to strengthen the frame..the 60s era ones are very very flexy. FSJ frames in general are considered flexy.

Basically you're looking at completely gutting the entire driveline, brake system, electronics, and stuffing in everything from a newer diesel truck. Go for it!

With my project, I did a 3/4 ton conversion, kept the burly old Kaiser 327, T18 and D20. Used a 73 Jeep Dana 60 and a 74.5 GM HD44. Ditching the front 2" post mount springs and going to put in 77 Wagoneer spring mounts and 2.5" FSJ springs SOA on the HD44 and figure out a shackle flip or blocks for the post mount rear.
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:31 PM
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lobie lobie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudbull


Now, i would love your guys' opinions, help, and expertise...
As far as the engine goes, im hoping to find a good cummins 5.9 for around $1000 or a GM 6.2 for less. Would i be able to (or want to) adapt the transmission and transfer case (T18? and dana 20 correct?) to either engine easily?

With either engine would it be O.K. to run the stock dana 44 in the front with light/medium duty offroading? I plan on adding a dana 60 in back no matter what.

I want to run ~37" tires, Ive seen the chevy 63" springs are a common swap on here for the rear. To get ~6" lift do they need to be lift springs or just stock? Also, what springs can i use for the front (63" chevys also?)-im not afraid of modifying the frame, extending the rails, etc...


Welcome to the board.

Don't take this the wrong way but the 6.2 and 5.9 cummins are not even comparable. I have nothing against the 6.2 but it is more comparable to a gas engine. Also you are going to have a hard time finding a good 5.9 for $1000. The 6.2 will cost a lot less to do the swap and less fab work. You may also want to consider a 4bt. They can be pricey too. Do some research and check out 4btswaps.com. There is lots of info on there and they have a whole section dedicated to different trannys on cummins engines. I say go for the cummins if you can afford it and do the work.
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  #5  
Old 08-16-2011, 01:19 AM
Mudbull Mudbull is offline
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Thanks guys for the welcome, and advice.

I hadnt seen any trucks with that bed as i browsed some pics, maybe im just not that attentive...Ill have to take a better look at the bed i guess, the fenders seem good, the floor is nonexistant though (previous owner just laid 1/8" steel plate over top the whole thing).

I know a heavy diesel's going to need more support then those little leaf springs, but i was assuming maybe some 3/4 ton GM spring may work? I am on pretty tight budget without cutting too many corners if there's an acceptable non-custom leaf that can take the fronts weight. I only paid $500 for the truck, I'd hate to pay that for springs if I didn't have to haha...

Ive been looking into different diesel engines for a bit now...im well aware comparing the cummins to the 6.2 GM is like comparing apples to oranges, but those two seem the most readily available, easy to retrofit, and affordable (kind of). Either engine would fit my needs, its mostly just going to be a daily driver. But for a bit more initial investment, i feel the cummins is the better route, and the way i want to go...I'll just have to see the deals that are out there when the time and money are rite. I have found a few cummins locally for $1000, $1200, and $1500. So now i need to figure out what transmission to use, buy everything and build it haha...

EDIT/UPDATE: Ive been going back and forth in my head the past few days about whether i need a cummins or not. I found a few donor 2 and 4wd cummins trucks for around $2000, with that should be the transmission, engine, and at least rear axle (thats cheaper than i was thinking even for the 6.2L setup plan). Im back at college now, so i will only have long weekends to work on the truck. Im hoping to get all the rust repair done in 2/3 months, and have a donor purchased shortly after to start building everything up...

Last edited by Mudbull : 08-20-2011 at 02:26 PM.
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  #6  
Old 08-23-2011, 10:37 PM
Mudbull Mudbull is offline
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Hey guys, I put up a few better pictures of the truck that my dad sent me now that its at our shop. I plan on heading down this weekend to either to take out the engine/trans/transfer case and work on the interior, or take off the bed/diff and start working on rust.

About twice a day ive been looking on craigslist for deals...doing this has only made my diesel choices worse, and ive become more indecisive:
I found a couple parts trucks with running 6bts/5spds for good prices, if those are there when im ready for them, ill jump on it...but if i cant find a decent cummins i started looking at alternatives...

Like i said before the GM 6.2/6.5 would suit me, but im getting scared away by the lack of aftermarket support for them-not that i need anything more than stock, but im sure some of you know, its never enough. I found a bunch of dirt cheap ford 6.9/7.3 diesels that have caught my attention. Ive done some searches, but why would this not be as popular of a swap as the GM 6.2/6.5?

I understand that the fords heavier than the GM, but from what ive seen theyre ~400lbs lighter than a cummins. From the initial searches, ive seen guys running 7.3 IDI's on ~20psi which is waay more than you could a GM...and unlike GM's you can also find "900hp" IDI's. the ford also seems to have cheaper transmission options (even the T-19) than a nv4500 or conversion plates for a cummins. Since the ford is a v8, it should also take up less lenght then the cummins (more rad/intercooler room). So what am i missing? I hate fords, but the way i see it rite now, the 6.9/7.3 non-powerstroke is hard to beat for a swap to get best bang for your buck...anyone mind setting me straight? haha
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  #7  
Old 08-24-2011, 06:50 AM
rocklaurence rocklaurence is offline
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Hey that Jeep looks like one on Florida CL? In regard to the Ford, they're FAT! My understanding is they're a lot wider than the others and are hard to fit.
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  #8  
Old 08-24-2011, 08:00 AM
Mudbull Mudbull is offline
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That would be the one on CL, i was fortunate enough for it to be local in Ft. Myers too. I would assume that it would be the width that would be the issue on the 7.3, but with slightly more than a 4" stroke, i cant imagine the deck hieght being much more than a sbc, the heads dont seem huge either...id be willing to modify the inner fenders if necessary.

But i guess i need more dimensions, and opinions on the engine before i committed...I found a ford website that said that BBF's are basically the same external dimension, the 7.3's also weight close to 1000lbs fully dressed btw

Last edited by Mudbull : 08-24-2011 at 09:43 AM.
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  #9  
Old 08-26-2011, 07:43 PM
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BGW BGW is offline
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The 7.3 weighs just shy of 1,100 pounds. Looks like the 6bt weighs around 1,200 pounds. This is fully dressed of course.
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Last edited by BGW : 08-26-2011 at 07:46 PM.
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  #10  
Old 08-27-2011, 09:49 PM
Mudbull Mudbull is offline
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Well, i got started tearing things apart..its a lot of fun when theres only a few things that you need to keep to sell/reuse. I tore out all the wiring, took the engine out, and almost gutted the interior. Thea heater is off and wont be going back on (didnt take a pic of firewall w/o it). Tomorrow im taking the bed out and stripping the dash. I was talking with my dad, and im going to wait for a good deal on a Cummins to show up, instead of going with a GM/Ford.



Is that rear diff a D60??? ill have to look into it more, i cant imagine it being a 60 w/ a straight six...It is a J2000. EDIT-nevermind, looked at some comparison pics.

Apparently the six cylinder had an aftermarket intake on it?:

Last edited by Mudbull : 08-27-2011 at 11:28 PM.
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  #11  
Old 08-28-2011, 09:19 PM
Mudbull Mudbull is offline
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...Well, my last day of this weekends thrash before i go back to school and work for a while (i dont know when ill be down next). I had the chance to cut the bed out of the thriftside, gut all the wiring out of the truck, basically leaving it a shell ready for replacement panels when i come down again. I may (its a stretch) have found a good donor dodge one ton for the swap.

Since i potentially found a good solid truck instead of piecing parts together, how much harder would it be to swap the body onto the dodge frame instead of beefing up the stock jeep frame to take the cummins, 1 ton running gear? ive seen a few threads w/ people doing this, just not much detail on what needs to be
(body mount wise and wheelbase difference). Thanks guys...



Heres a good shot of the rocker panels, and drivers side floors that need to be replaced.
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  #12  
Old 08-28-2011, 09:52 PM
twisted frame twisted frame is offline
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I know you've got a pickup there but member "gotmike" put a Cherokee body on a diesel Dodge chassis. See how he did it: http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=90702
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:37 PM
Mudbull Mudbull is offline
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Thanks, Ive seen his thread before, but had only glanced over it..i also didnt go to his photobucket account originally...
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:08 AM
Mudbull Mudbull is offline
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Well, the truck isnt in my possesion yet, but we struck a deal over the phone. As long as the guy honors his word, in a week this should be parked next to the gladiator:




I was looking for a manual, but for the deal i got on this, ill take an automatic! Its a 1996 ram 3500 4x4 cummins ex-dually. I am currently planning on still taking the gladiator fenders, cab, bed and dropping them onto the rams frame, well see what needs to be done to make that possible, but it seems the easiest/best route.
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Old 09-04-2011, 04:21 PM
Mudbull Mudbull is offline
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Well heres the 3500 at my appartment, it just needs to get home to our shop now.
I may be trading a friend some parts for his shorter wheelbase 2500 frame (~130") If we do, we'll swap everything on to the frame up here, then trailer it down to start the swap w/ the kaiser. If i go that route ill be extending the bed to make it work (so i guess it'd be a 'J3000' then). I plan to re-use the rams wiring, a/c ducting, heater controls..pretty much everything onto the shell of the gladiator. hopefully ill have some progress pics soon! thanks for looking.


(yes, the truck nuts are already off; theyre not my style sorry to say)



Last edited by Mudbull : 09-07-2011 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:14 PM
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The PIG Smith The PIG Smith is offline
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Wow...good looking donor!
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1981 J20: Commercial flat bed. Long term Project: RUST! No Cab Brow!

Quote:
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...but if it works, I wouldn't touch it.
Quote:
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Best laid plans, yada yada yada...
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:45 PM
Mudbull Mudbull is offline
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Thanks! the bodys a bit rough, but no dents, just missing the dually flares. the a/c controls are missing some vacuum lines but the power windows and locks even work. Its going to be really tough to tear into it because mostly everything still works...but I think the trans has something wrong with it. For an instant when i was test driving it, it began to shake real bad, but only once in the run (torque converter lockup or overdrive is probably bad). Even with that i couldnt have been more fortunate (or lucky) in finding it. It has 272,000 miles on it, but starts up pretty easily. The motor is all stock, no mods. The diffs have 3.54 gears, the rear is a posi D80...wish me luck down the road with all the wiring i have to do.

Last edited by Mudbull : 09-04-2011 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:04 PM
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The PIG Smith The PIG Smith is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudbull
...but I think the trans has something wrong with it.
From my reading on the 4BTSwaps.com's forum...most all automatics behind Diesels from the factory if left stock will fail.
Most everyone on 4BTSwaps that run automatics rebuild them to stronger specs.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayrodoh
...but if it works, I wouldn't touch it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindel
Best laid plans, yada yada yada...
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:07 PM
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The PIG Smith The PIG Smith is offline
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Also, I'll bet you if you cleanup that Clifford intake from your old I6, you could sell it here to help fund your Cummins project.
Those are desirable aftermarket intake for the folks running an I6

From the looks at the cab and bed on your truck, you are gonna need all the $$$ you can get!
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Bryan Smith
2005 Grand Cherokee Limited - HEMI! Current Daily Driver
1982 J10: Current Project, goal to be roadworthy in 2017: No Cab Brow!
1981 J20: Commercial flat bed. Long term Project: RUST! No Cab Brow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayrodoh
...but if it works, I wouldn't touch it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindel
Best laid plans, yada yada yada...
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  #20  
Old 09-05-2011, 12:23 PM
Mudbull Mudbull is offline
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Yea, Ive really only heard bad things about the automatics behind the Cummins. I think it has a new torque converter in its future, as well as a shift kit or valve body-those seem to be the two upgrades everyone does. Im not going to do too many changes to the cummins, maybe a bit more boost and turn up the pump.

I have the intake for sale on here..possibly a sale pending. This project is definatly on a tight budget. The ram (90% of everything works) was a great deal and I can re-use everything in it-down to the wiring harness. I think only need gauges, the trans upgrades, and floor pans. I am going to cut the bed floor out of the ram and weld it onto the thirftside, it should almost look stock when im done.
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