1987 Dodge Dakota 5.9 swap with a NV3500

Manual Transmission & Clutch Discussions

  1. Magnum87

    Magnum87 Member

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    I have a 1987 Dodge Dakota that has a 3.9 in it and was a factory 5 speed truck. The truck originally came with a A535 aka NV2500 tranny. Tranny has been pulled but everything else is there. My question is would a NV3500 bolt in the Dakota behind a 5.9 Mag that’s being converted over to carb? Motor is stock except for the carb conversion. The NV3500 came out of a 99 Dakota RT where the guy had did a swap but he but a big block in the Dakota. I’m getting a new clutch and pressure plate etc... included in all the deal. Just want to make sure the tranny will work in the Dakota. Thanks
     
  2. 67Dart273

    67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    I think you have two issues. You need a flywheel weighted properly to balance the 5.9, so what was this all out of, and the 5.9 in my 3/4T ram ---the crank WAS NOT DRILLED AT ALL

    Now if you don't mind "improperly" doing it, you can just "rough" drill it and make sure it's large enough and deep enough to clear the crank, because the pilot bearing fits into the converter bore. So the deeper, smaller pilot hole would not HAVE to be precision, just as long as it "clears"

    What is not clear to me is "what" if any bellhousing do you get? You getting the matching one for the 3500? I don't know if the 2500 bell would fit or not
     
  3. Magnum87

    Magnum87 Member

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    Bellhousing is coming with the tranny and the flywheel. The flywheel is matched to a 5.9. And my 5.9 has a pilot bearing already installed in the crank.
     
  4. AJ/FormS

    AJ/FormS 68 B'cuda fb, Form S clone ... 367/A833/3.55s

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    On the 3500, the bellhouse is integral to the trans, which splits in half longitudinally. pretty slick. The Dakota ratios are
    3.49-2.14-1.38-1.00-.73od.
    But you gotta be careful not to run too much rear gear else low becomes a race gear. But if you don't, then you shoot yourself in the foot, cuz the first two splits are so far apart. The splits are
    .61-.645-.725-.73
    so you gotta put second gear where it does the most good, and let first be what it will be. It's made for a low-rpm tractor engine. It'll be Ok with a stock Magnum, but with a low-compression, cammed-up LA, it's gonna lay down in a hurry.
    With the stock 5.9, it will be fun. until it breaks; it's only rated 300ftlbs.
    I would want second to be ~3200 at about 32 mph. and that would take 3.73s... which would make the starter gear 13.02, and then 65mph cruises at 2200. That's pretty good as long as you don't mind revving first out a ways before grabbing second ...... like a Mustang do.
    That 13.02starter is nice if your 5.9 can pull itself at 550 cuz with 27s that makes 3.4 mph, walking speed, so you can parade the thing.
    You can't put third anywhere decent;on a streeter, it's just too far away; 60mph is only 3840 with 27s It's not even a good passing gear. But the 5.9 will help with that.

    Here's 5.2M, notice the 300ftlb peak at 3200. Sorry no 5.9 graph.But Ima thinking it'll be 350ish also at 3200 or perhaps a lil sooner, so you might want to make that 4bbl a small one. and no neutral drops, and no sticky tires or traction aides,lol.
    power-318.gif
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020 at 11:13 AM
  5. Magnum87

    Magnum87 Member

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    Thanks for the info AJ! It’s just a bone stock 5.9 I’m just gonna run a carb on it. Motor only had 50,000 miles on it. And is real clean. I’m thinking of running a 625 Street Demon. As far as the rear goes it has a 7.25 rear and I’m gonna swap in a 8.25 rear with either 3.55 gears or 3.90 gears. Gonna get one out of another Dakota. Some of these trannys came behind a 5.9 in a Ram from the factory I don’t know yet what this tranny came out of from the factory. I think the Ram has like a 4.01 first gear??? They were rated for the 5.9
     
  6. AJ/FormS

    AJ/FormS 68 B'cuda fb, Form S clone ... 367/A833/3.55s

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    Yeah the HD 3500, for full-size trucks had the deeper low and second,(4.02/2.32) making the splits worse, and 340ftlbs power handling.
    3.55s or 3.91s can either be used, they are only 5% in either direction from 3.73.
    I read that the weak point was the input bearings on the early models, and that you HAVE to use the original oil type and brand to help them survive.
    I'd like to run that trans with an HO318LA I got on the drawing board, in a first gen Dakota. I guess we'll see if I get to it. At 67, I'm not real excited to get to it.
     
  7. Magnum87

    Magnum87 Member

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    So this should pretty well be a direct swap then. I’m thinking the crossmember everything will work from the original tranny which was a A535/NV2500.
     
  8. AJ/FormS

    AJ/FormS 68 B'cuda fb, Form S clone ... 367/A833/3.55s

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    I can't say; I haven't done it.
    I rebuilt a couple and judging by the size of the components, I think my 367 would blow it up pretty easy.
    Back in the day,
    340s were rated at 340ftlbs@3200 and
    the early 318s were 340@2400
    Even NET that would likely be over 300 still.
    Butchakno, they only make those number over a narrow range at WOT. Not at idle,lol. So no neutral drops at peak-torque,lol.
     
  9. 93ragtop

    93ragtop Well-Known Member

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    I am in the middle of putting a 5.9 in my 87 dakota! But mine is 4wd
    So far I have done the following.
    1. Installed a carter rotary fuel pump and new line.
    2. Installed a 8.8 explorer rear with disc brakes
    3. Swapped radiator to a 26in
    4. Installed 2, 12 in spal pusher fans between the radiator and condenser
    5. Installed a NV3500 out of a 2002 dakota that had a 4.7 engine.
    6. I am still running the 3.9 using a magnum 5.2 flywheel, and clutch assy.......

    I can tell you the following from my experience and what I have read.....
    1. You need a NV3500 out of a dakota. The shifter location is different from the ram.
    2. In your case, consider if it has a speedometer hook up. Some dont....
    3. NV3500 were only in V8 (5.2) dakotas from 94 or 95 till 99. Starting in 2000 the NV3500 was put in the V6 version as well.
    4. You need a 5.9 ram flywheel for the correct engine balance. The 5.2 is wrong.
    5. The length of a NV3500 is actually about 3/4in shorter then the NV2500 (4wd)

    FWIW I dont believe the NV3500 was ever used with a 5.9. The only 5.9 dakotas were automatic's and my understanding, the ram, when equipped with a 5.9 got the nv4500 or a automatic.

    Look forward to following your build, and if you need to see any pictures or have questions of me, please ask!!
     
  10. C130 Chief

    C130 Chief Mechanical Genius

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    They also used the AX15 behind the 5.2 and later 3.9 plus the 4.7. The NV3500 and AX15 will bolt in place of each other and there's really no advantage to one over the other. They would both live fine behind the 5.2 but I wouldn't expect either one to put up with a lot of abuse behind a stout 360.
     
  11. Magnum87

    Magnum87 Member

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    It’s just going behind a stock 5.9 converted to carb
     
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