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Dodge grill swap - 73-79 on an 81
#767949 November 29th 2020 5:16 pm
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Iyan Offline OP
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Hi everyone, just looking for some insight into this question here. I have an 81 B150 with a pretty hideous (but totally intact) plastic grille, rectangular headlights and turn signals, and so on. I'd really like to swap it for a 73-79 tradesman grille with the round headlights, but am not sure how involved of a project this would be. I can get some measurements up for the grille area on my van if that would be helpful, and if anybody happens to have measurements on hand for the 73-79 grille that would be great too. Thanks again, yall, can't wait to show off my van here!

Added some photos here, along with measurements:

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Side panel is 4" wide on top, 5" wide on bottom, about 14" high both vertically on the corner and on the diagonal end piece.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Front is 13 1/8" high all across and 76" wide.


[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
Re: Dodge grill swap - 73-79 on an 81
Iyan #768025 December 01st 2020 1:59 am
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old hand
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The front ends of these two year groups are so extremely different, it would be extremely involved nor really worth it. Your van is an early Ram Van and the good news is that the first few years of the Ram had a single round headlight option. They were the base model and never chromed but made for a good looking front end.

OR you can find a way to make the front end you have fit in better to the aesthetic you want. I saw an example of a grill on here I fell in love with and it became part of how I did my van. This is just some time and maybe $30-40 bucks in rattle can and I chose light covers but the result is good.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


1987 B250 - Painkiller
Re: Dodge grill swap - 73-79 on an 81
Iyan #768030 December 01st 2020 8:24 am
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I had an '85 with the quad-stacked headlamps. I wanted the single rounds so I bought a new aftermarket grille (79-85) and new turn signal assemblies. One of the members on here had an '84 with the parts I needed so we just swapped. The headlight buckets unbolt so it was a just a simple swap...even the wiring harness needed no mods!


Nate Breece
--------------
1993 Chevy G20
2012 Hyundai Santa Fe
Re: Dodge grill swap - 73-79 on an 81
Iyan #768031 December 01st 2020 8:26 am
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BTW, 79-85 is the range of parts that will easily fit your van...71-78 has a completely different front end.


Nate Breece
--------------
1993 Chevy G20
2012 Hyundai Santa Fe
Re: Dodge grill swap - 73-79 on an 81
Iyan #768046 December 01st 2020 1:31 pm
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pooh-bah
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Yep.... stick with 79-85 parts


Re: Dodge grill swap - 73-79 on an 81
Iyan #768059 December 01st 2020 3:30 pm
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old hand
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Best is to find a whole van that you can take all the parts off. My van that’s pictured is an 87, and I parted out an 83 for the whole thing, light buckets, wiring, everything.


1987 B250 - Painkiller
Re: Dodge grill swap - 73-79 on an 81
Iyan #768122 December 02nd 2020 2:34 am
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Iyan Offline OP
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Thanks for the recommendations everyone! I’ll keep an eye out for one of those round headlight grilles and assemblies. I don’t hate the stacked quad headlight thing so much, mainly just that the grille is plastic, looks and feels cheap (not that my paint job helps lol). One thing at a time though!


[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
Re: Dodge grill swap - 73-79 on an 81
Iyan #768137 December 02nd 2020 1:21 pm
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pooh-bah
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On my 77 I added quad lights off of a mid 80's Dodge....and then covered them up with a phantom grill. Still get an amazing amount of light through the grill.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]IMG-8376 by Lee Hatfield, on Flickr
[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]IMG-8377 (1) by Lee Hatfield, on Flickr
[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]IMG-8379 by Lee Hatfield, on Flickr


1 member likes this: Iyan
Re: Dodge grill swap - 73-79 on an 81
Iyan #768158 December 02nd 2020 6:19 pm
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Lee, you are very creative and do excellent work. Does Maryland have a vehicle inspection, I know here in PA that obstructing the headlights, the van wouldn't pass our yearly safety inspection. My daughter lives in Waldorf, MD, but I never paid attention to her vehicles for an inspection sticker on the windshield.

Re: Dodge grill swap - 73-79 on an 81
Meanmachine #768193 December 03rd 2020 3:13 pm
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pooh-bah
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Originally Posted by Meanmachine
Lee, you are very creative and do excellent work. Does Maryland have a vehicle inspection, I know here in PA that obstructing the headlights, the van wouldn't pass our yearly safety inspection. My daughter lives in Waldorf, MD, but I never paid attention to her vehicles for an inspection sticker on the windshield.

We don't have an annual inspection. Only when transferring title. However, if you run historic tags on the vehicle (over 25 years old) there are no inspections or annual emissions testing (I will be running historic tags on my van). However, back in the late 70's into early 80's I built a previous van with a similar grill and it was a daily driver and I never got stopped for the headlight obstruction. Even was stopped twice for speeding during that time but nothing was said of the headlights.


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