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Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread!

Posted By: SoCalDaji

Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 11th 2019 6:36 am

Hi all!

Have found some good, useful information here, and wanted to contribute by posting about my build.

I had been looking for a Dodge Ram van (B-series) for quite awhile, and back in January of this year, I came across a beautiful one-owner example. Loved it the moment I saw it - a 1996 B2500 with the 5.9 that had been well taken care of.


Here it is shortly after I brought it home -

[Linked Image]


Getting smogged -

[Linked Image]


Backseats were hardly used - the previous owner had used it mostly to take her custom frames to art shows and local markets.

[Linked Image]


Dash was so clean - had only 120k on the clock

[Linked Image]



Posted By: SoCalDaji

Re: Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 11th 2019 6:45 am

I did a few small things immediately, such as repairing the side mirror that would fold in at freeway speeds, swapped in some KYB shocks, changed the fluids and spark plugs, etc., and started looking up parts/info on it. Finally got around to modding it a few weeks ago and have learned a lot along the way through trial and error, so I hope the following information is helpful.

I was going for the Dajiban look, but found that there were not a whole lot of street/performance wheels in the 5x139.7 bolt patterns. Most wheels I found were the steelies look (which is cool in its own way), or off-road ones. Shot an email to a shop in Japan to inquire about the RS Watanabe's that they run over there, but never heard back. But I finally came across some that I thought would look good, so did some fitment calculations and took the plunge and ordered them up.

[Linked Image]


I wanted to do a wider wheel in the rear, but unfortunately this wheel only came in one width for the 16" diameter. I will keep on the lookout for a more aggressive fitment, but in the meantime I went ahead and had these mounted up before lowering the van so I could see how exactly how much of a drop I needed.


[Linked Image]


Here are the specs of this fitment:

16x8 ET+0 up front
16x8 ET-25 rear
Center hub bore is 108.1mm
245/50/16 (I went with Hankook V2 Concept 2's)


I also went to my muffler shop and had them install a Flowmaster with a side exit in front of the rear wheel. I went with dual oval slanted tips, and shot it with some high-temp black paint for a stealthy look. The sound is intoxicating - nice, throaty rumble that roars when it is opened up.

[Linked Image]


Also installed some aluminum lugs - the thread pitch on this van is 1/2" x 20


[Linked Image]





Posted By: SoCalDaji

Re: Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 11th 2019 7:10 am

Front 3/4 view with wheels installed at stock height. Filling up as it is thirsty driving around town!

[Linked Image]


Now to lowering it - took out the tape measure and figured out I'd ideally need 3.5-4" to fill the wheel gap, but decided to go a little conservative in case I end up running a tire with a little more sidewall in the future. Scoured the forums and got some information on options of cut springs/spindles for the front and flip kit/shackles for the rear. I found a local shop that specializes in manufacturing leaf springs, and talked to the gracious owner there and figured out a game plan to lower it.


View of the shop -

[Linked Image]


Ended up cutting a coil off the front springs, and trimmed the bump stops. While the front suspension was apart, I went ahead and replaced the ball joints as well as the control arm bushings with new Moog parts as they were pretty worn. The shocks were still fairly new, so I didn't change those out. The front end is smooth and tight - what a difference replacing those worn parts made!

For the rears, the leaf springs were disassembled and de-arched. Overall, I got a 3" drop all around, with the rear sitting just a touch higher than the front for a proper stance. The ride is similar to stock - I was expecting it to be pretty horrendous, but was wowed by the smoothness and control it exhibits over bumps.


After an alignment, took it over to my local wrap place to have them install some film on the sidemarkers. Hard to see in that pic, but I ordered a front lower valance for a Dodge Ram. It was a bit tricky to get it to fit properly, but with some trimming on the edges and screws in the right locations, it worked out fairly well. Here it is sitting pretty with the new stance!

[Linked Image]



Posted By: SoCalDaji

Re: Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 11th 2019 7:21 am

Now onto the interior, which is still a work in progress. I wanted to change out the steering wheel, front seats, and redo the headliner. I was able to tackle the steering wheel over this past weekend, and will hopefully get to the other stuff soon.

I used a NRG short hub to mount an aftermarket steering wheel. Removing the stock steering wheel took quite a bit of effort - I highly recommend using a steering wheel puller to remove it properly without potentially damaging anything. Using that particular hub required the removal of the clock spring, which was problematic as that would mean the horn wouldn't work. So I wired up a small push button to activate the horn and mounted it on the steering column, a little ways back so it is not accidentally bumped. I'm in the process of modifying a center horn button that will fit in the middle to cover up the unsightly hole, so please excuse the work in progress.

[Linked Image]


Here is the NRG short hub I used. (The part number is NRG SRK-170H)

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]
Posted By: SoCalDaji

Re: Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 11th 2019 7:25 am

That's pretty much it for now - I sprayed the front grille black, changed out the headlight/sidemarker bulbs for LED ones, and will be working on the headliner in the next week or two and starting to research seats. Other than that, I am enjoying this van and look forward to continuing learning and having fun with it!


Side view -

[Linked Image]


And a much-needed glamour shot of it!

[Linked Image]
Posted By: newkirkinc1

Re: Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 11th 2019 11:07 am

Looks great!
Posted By: tuner4life

Re: Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 11th 2019 12:38 pm

Hell yeah! I love a good dajiban build! That van was immaculate. Great score!
Posted By: NEmery

Re: Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 11th 2019 1:02 pm

very clean van. looks great so far.
Posted By: Dyno_Dave

Re: Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 11th 2019 1:56 pm

Yes, your patience was rewarded with a very clean van to start with. Love the mods and the look. Nice work!
Posted By: Wedgy

Re: Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 11th 2019 2:45 pm

welcome Wow
That's got to be the cleanest '96 on the planet

The mods are nicely done too. Great job Bud!
Posted By: 1959

Re: Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 11th 2019 3:48 pm

Very nice mods! I really like the window too.
Posted By: DontComeKnocken

Re: Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 11th 2019 7:22 pm

Looking really good, enjoyed reading thru the progress too. Wow what a clean ride to start off with too. Whats next in store for her
Posted By: MACE

Re: Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 11th 2019 7:42 pm

Nice!
Posted By: RichardB

Re: Dajiban in SoCal - my build thread! - June 16th 2019 3:10 pm

Super clean my man. Love how it looks and that what you have done really isn't crazy complicated, it just works. Bravo!

- Rich
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