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Change Gears/Install Lockers - How Hard

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by 79Guy, Sep 8, 2000.

  1. 79Guy

    79Guy 1/2 ton status

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    How much of a mechanic / how well equipped of a shop do I need to change the gear ratios and install lockers on my axles. I would like to get a D60 and 14bolt to replace my stock gear, but cant afford both axles, new gears and lockers all together. Wondering how bad it would be to change the gears and add the lockers later.

    Thanks,


    '79 Guy
    1 Blazer - 7 Children
    http://79guy.coloradok5.com
     
  2. Shawn

    Shawn 1/2 ton status Premium Member Author

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    I was debating this for awhile. Even though I'm mechanically inclined, I finally ended up taking to someone and watched him do it all. I'm glad I didn't attempt to do this myself. The tools I didn't have was a press, bearing pullers, mic, dial indicators and most important- a lift. Plus you have to know how to set gears. There would be no way I could set the crush sleeve on the 14 bolt since it requires a 5 foot breaker bar with a large socket on one end. This is where the lift was essential since it's almost impossible to do this on the ground. Here's some pics of the install:
    http://www.off-road.com/chevy/tech/gears/


    Shawn
    87 K5
    few mods
     
  3. MudFrog

    MudFrog 1/2 ton status

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    Why not keep your eye out for a D60 and 14 bolt that are already running the gear ratio you want?

    89 K5 Silverado
    http://mudfrog.coloradok5.com
     
  4. TX Mudder

    TX Mudder 1/2 ton status

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    Yeah, there are lots of Dana60s with matching 14-bolts for sale cheap............not
    Good luck even finding a d60 by itself. If you do find one, expect to get reamed when you ask how much.
    Where do y'all live that there are all these d60's? I think most wrecking yards know what these are and what people will pay for them.
    Oh, and if you do find a nice matching d60 and 14Bff, the 14bolt's spring perches will have to be cut off and rewelded.
    -- Mike
     
  5. What are you talking about on the 14 Bolt FF? I have swapped them in many times and have never touched the perches !!

    [​IMG]<font color=red>BigBurb[​IMG]
    <font color=purple>IF YOU'RE SCARED, SAY YOU'RE SCARED !!
     
  6. Shawn

    Shawn 1/2 ton status Premium Member Author

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    He may be talking about the K30's only. I've heard they have a different width on the perches of the rear axles but only on the K30 1 tons (single wheel or dually). I could be wrong on this.

    Shawn
    87 K5
    few mods
     
  7. Hmmm I have a 1987 K30 14b FF rear end in the Burb and had 82 K30 14b FF rear end in my last K5 and neither one had the wider perches. They may be on the older ones or specific types, ie. duallies, heck I think we have seen it all after the posts on here !!

    [​IMG]<font color=red>BigBurb[​IMG]
    <font color=purple>IF YOU'RE SCARED, SAY YOU'RE SCARED !!
     
  8. Shawn

    Shawn 1/2 ton status Premium Member Author

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    I think GM is the only one that knows the answer to the perch width dilema. To me, it makes sense the 14 bolt perches are all the same width except maybe dualies and new GM trucks (88+). Why would the frame width be wider in the back and not the front? I got mine out of a 80 GMC 3/4 and the perches matched exactly. My 79 Dana 60 also had the same width as my springs. I agree it is hard finding a Dana 60 these days. I still think you're better off finding a complete K30 (if you can find one), pay the price of $5k or whatever, swap the axles, then sell the K30 for the same price or a little less. I think the Fords are even hard to find since they seam to charge more.


    Shawn
    87 K5
    few mods
     
  9. I think I have come to the conclusion that unless I just come across a D60 for the right(CHEAP)price, I will just stay with my 3/4 ton 10 bolt. It has withstood 44's and 38's, and maybe 44's again !!! With my good ole 4:56.1 gears!!

    [​IMG]<font color=red>BigBurb[​IMG]
    <font color=purple>IF YOU'RE SCARED, SAY YOU'RE SCARED !!
     
  10. 79Guy

    79Guy 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for all the replies. Doesn't sound like a beginners job. A couple of follow-ups:

    1) Yes, where do you live that has all the d60s around. I've made a couple of calls around here w/ no luck.

    2) What about installing a locker if the gears are right. Is it as difficult.

    3)Burb, you really have run '44s with your 10bolt. From what I've read I would expect an axle explosion w/ a 35" or larger on a 10bolt. Tell me there is some hope for a 35" to "38" size.

    Thanks,


    '79 Guy
    1 Blazer - 7 Children
    http://79guy.coloradok5.com
     
  11. TX Mudder

    TX Mudder 1/2 ton status

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    The k30's I have seen have all had the wider sprong perches. I have not seen a k30 rear that had the narrow perches.
    The shackle on k30's is in a different place.
    Some k30's really have the narrow perches?
    -- Mike
     
  12. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    Yeah, if you can't afford a 14/60 swap, do what I did. I swapped in a 14Bolt/Dana 44 with 4.11 gears and added a Detroit locker in the rear. Whole thing with new bearings, seals, the locker, brakes, wheel cylinders, etc ran me about $1100. Then when I'm ready to upgrade to 5.13 gears or something, I already have a good base. At least I'll be keeping the rear axle and I didn't waste my money on a locker, gears, and parts for it.

    What I think my next axle mod would be in the future with this setup (when I'm rich of course), would be either a D60 front OR chromoly shafts/HD u joints, ect, 5.13 gears, and a front detroit.

    But I was in the same boat as you, I couldn't see myself fixing up marginal axles, heck a gear swap could easily cost $1100 with a rear locker in my 1/2 ton axles. Then if I was always breaking parts, I'd be stuck with crappy stock very expensive stuff. Do what you will, just letting you know what I did...

    btw, if you run mud very much, it's a fact that the D44 front axled trucks place higher in the standings than a D60 axle truck with the same mods due to nose dive and weight. That plays a factor in what I do also, I love to go rough it up in Tuff Truck competitions and I prefer a flatter landing.

    HTH, Bryan

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Durant, Ok
    '79 Blaze- 350/350/203, 14B w/detroit, D44, 4.11s, 4" susp, 36" TSL
     
  13. TX Mudder

    TX Mudder 1/2 ton status

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    I was thinking the same thing about my front axles. Maybe some chromoly axleshafts and a truetrac?
    I think they have the shafts available in 35-spline and if you get a locker made for 35 spline axleshafts, you'd have a pretty strong dana44 right? What would be the next weak link if you did these mods?
    -- Mike
     
  14. Chris Demartini

    Chris Demartini 1/2 ton status

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    <font color=blue>The next weak links would be the u-joints (still 297-x) and the ring and pinion gears. If you don't put in a locker in the front, there will be less stress on the components. Thats just my .02 [​IMG]</font color=blue>

    http://www.chrisd71k5.coloradok5.com <font color=blue></font color=blue>
     

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