Dismiss Notice

Welcome To CK5!

Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon.

Score a FREE t-shirt and membership sticker when you sign up for a Premium Membership and choose the recurring plan.

lowering a 4wd

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by thegreatwhiteheap, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. thegreatwhiteheap

    thegreatwhiteheap Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    southern florida
    i have a 74 k5 that i want to lower. i know almost anyone reading this is mad i would even consider doing this to such a vehicle, but i am. my problem lies in the front end. from what i understand my only option is de-arch the springs inorder to lower it without spending thousands of dollars on turning it into a 2wd style, independant front end. id like to keep the 4wd and therefore will end up just shotening the drive shaft to get past that binding issue.

    BUT that doesnt solve my problem caused by trying to cram the front diff. into the bottom of the engine does anyone have any tips on how to possibly lower the front end, lower than stock, and get past other clearance issues? there is room between where the spring plate bumper hits and where it appears the axles would hit. can i jsut raise the bumpers? any thoughts or advice would be appreciated even if only for an inch or two.
     
  2. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Posts:
    4,437
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dallas Baby!!!!
    umm...how about.....don't do it.
    IMO anything you do to lower a SFA truck will result in clearance issues with everything from steering to exhaust.
    I guess if you did a spring-under swap, it would drop 6" or so.
     
  3. dhcomp

    dhcomp 3/4 ton status Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2001
    Posts:
    9,862
    Likes Received:
    291
    Location:
    Truckee, CA
    Your main issue, like you said, is the front diff hitting things. Look under your truck and see how much clearance there is above teh diff...i don't have an SFA truck to look at.

    That will be your limiting factor. If there enough clearnace, you could convert to spring under, but i don't think it will clear.

    Is there a reason you don't just buy a 2wd truck? Seems like a better use of time/money.
     
  4. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2001
    Posts:
    16,217
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Mesa , Arizona USA
    Are you wanting to run the 4wd system at all ?

    Seems hard to avoid the crossmember . And then thers steering to attend to as well .

    Guys on here throw away c-10 to c30 donor 2wd's all the time .

    To eat their own I guess :dunno:
     
  5. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2001
    Posts:
    7,777
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Your right, I have no idea why you would do such a thing, but...

    Stock front springs are already negative arch. And lowering below stock is going to cause a world of clearance issues and no up travel so it's going to be worse than the typical awful buckboard ride on butt draggers.

    If I were attempting such a thing, I would either start with a 2WD, or graft on a 2WD front cradle. If you've got the fab skills to actually attack something like this with any hope of a decent, functional, and more importantly, *safe* end result, then you have the skills to graft on a 2WD front cradle. They are very modular and it's really not that hard at all...
     
  6. thegreatwhiteheap

    thegreatwhiteheap Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    southern florida
    cant do a flip kit and the reason i didnt jsut buy a 2wd is because i couldnt find one in the full convertable (73-75), at least with the amount of money im working with. guess im a baller on a budget. and im not worried about exhaust because it doesnt have one on it and im wating to lower it before i have one bent for it.
     
  7. thegreatwhiteheap

    thegreatwhiteheap Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    southern florida
    would grafting on a 2WD front cradle render teh 4wd obsolite? im not super knoledgable in this area could you give me a little more explantation? i appreciate all the feed back too. thank youguys!
     
  8. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2001
    Posts:
    7,777
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Have you thought of swapping the full top tub to a 2WD chassis? Then reassemble the 4WD with the steel top tub and sell it. Just make sure you get one before the switch to rear foot wells and it should work as far as I can see...
     
  9. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2001
    Posts:
    7,777
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Of course. You won't have a front drive axle, so no 4WD.

    Go to a JY and take a look at a 2WD frame from that era with the body off. IIRC, 7 bolts on each side (plus brake lines and steering and such) will drop out the entire front susp cradle off the frame, which is dimensionally the same (IIRC) as the 4WD frames. Remove the 4WD engine cross member (riveted) and mounts, install the 2WD cradle, and switch to 2WD steering box. Switch transmission to a 2WD model with new shaft and sell off the axle and 4WD trans+case and shafts. Other than incidentals, that's the main part of it...
     
  10. 2High4U

    2High4U 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2005
    Posts:
    542
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Felton Pennsylvania
  11. bear76

    bear76 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Posts:
    1,065
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    here
    I think you should go to the junk yard and get a 2wd frame from a short bed PU. modify the frame to fit your tub (its easier to cut-up and move around the rear-end bits than the front). Sell your 4wd frame, you'll probally break even when its all said and done. Or, look into geting 3" lift springs then do the spring under flip. Should net around 3" drop. But thats alot of work moveing around the front bits.
     
  12. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2001
    Posts:
    7,777
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    IIRC, the stock 4x4 suspension doesn't have but about 3" up travel anyway, so 3" drop would be pretty much solid mount. Or at best, very little up travel.
     
  13. Joshinator

    Joshinator Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Posts:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sulphur Louisiana
    It will bolt together

    The two frames are the same, 2wd and 4wd. The 2wd cross member and suspension parts will bolt in place of the 4wd cross member, and vis versa. You will lose 4wd, but you will gain a full size Blazer that you can lower.
     
  14. chrisb420

    chrisb420 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2004
    Posts:
    652
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Binghamton, NY
    another thing to look into is possibly using front axle from a step van or p30 chassis truck you lose 4 wheel drive but it is a leaf sprung solid front axle without a pumpkin to deal with, but if your going for the bling bling crowd just put 24" rims and fill the wheel well with tire problem solved.
     
  15. thegreatwhiteheap

    thegreatwhiteheap Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Posts:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    southern florida
    all, right, so if i change it over to 2wd then i can slam the thing, i know that, and that is an option i am considering after reading all of this, but what about keeping the 4wd? it was said that there is about a 3" travel distance, so, if i dearch the spring an inch ive still got the 4wd and enough travel for normal driving.

    is there a way to get an inch or two more in travel distance out of the factory 4wd suspenssion so that i can de-arch the spring more, resulting in still having 2in. of travel distance but an over all lower ride?

    it just appeared to me that if i put on a shorter bumper, allowing the axles to go up further, then i have more travel distance to work with and therefore can dearch the sproing another inch or so. ALTHOUGH i dont know how GOOD of an idea putting a shorter bumper on, or shaving down the existing one is because of binding form all SORTS of places, but is there a leeway? if even a small one?.... i love the feed back guys, thank you so much for your help please keep it coming!
     
  16. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2001
    Posts:
    7,777
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Your getting way out of our range of knowledge and experience. Will it clear the diff, will the shaft get into exhaust, will the bump be too harsh, and dozens of other questions none of us have ever even thought about. Also, since the stock spring is already a negative arch, you are adding arch to get it lower, not de-arching.

    You've already been told what our best ideas are. The only thing we could do beyond what you've been told already, unless there is a closet butt dragger lurking among us, is by going out and looking at things, measuring, thinking about it, and maybe just trying it. And I'm afraid that is left in your camp as far as I'm concerned. I don't even have anything close to stock to look at, even if I were inclined to do so.

    To each their own, but in this, I'm afraid your on your own. Nobody here that I know of is going to have precanned answers for this one...
     
  17. fordfreak300

    fordfreak300 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2005
    Posts:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Palm Springs CA
    If you lower it and keep the front pumpkin in there you are going to have clearance issues. What you are wantign to do is accually not safe. You are better off putting a 2 wheel drive front suspension on and then lowering it. Just buy a donor truck that the engine is bad on and pull teh trany for yoru truck and all the front suspension parts including the engine and tranny mount. Put your 4x4 stuff onto the donor truck and sell it with a bad motor. You may break even if yu have to spend money on some new parts. I.E. bushings shocks and what not. Once you have a 2 wheewl drive you can safely lower your truck. If you lower it in 4x4 trim please stay out of my town. If you try to lower it and lose your up travel and hit a big enough bump you are goign to lose control and maybee kill someone.
     
  18. mikayak390

    mikayak390 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2005
    Posts:
    70
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NJ
    Hi I just read the first page or so of suggestions. From what I read I think you are going about it all wrong for the results you want. If you want a convertable pickup, why not start with a cheap 2w hard cab. They are only a few hundred bucks and the suspension drop is easy. Chopping the top is easy. Plenty of shops can do that, and if you are a welder with a little skill you can do it yourself. (don't forget to install temporary braces before cutting anything) Then just fabricate the frame or buy one. I would talk to fabric shop early in the process. They work with tops and customs all the time so they can help point you in the right direction.

    I have never done a ragtop truck, but I helped a friend make a hard top thunderbird into a soft top. It required some extra body braces and supports, but it was only about a month of spare weekend time before we had it complete. Lots of that was learning curve as well. It was not all that expensive either. Around 1000 in parts/ materials. Our time was of course free. oh and between our garrages we have lifts, welders, plasma cutters, and other custom fab toys as well as an upolstery shop.

    As for the 4x4 I don't think thats going to work so well when dropped. Best I can think of is serious fabrication and swapping of parts from a newer truck with independant front suspension. Lots of work and way too expensive.
     
  19. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2000
    Posts:
    7,385
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Only two ways I can see you doing this and still have something resembling ride quality. Cut the floors out and sink the body on the frame is one. Then it would ride stock.

    Other way is to hack the frame off at the fire wall and offset it up and reweled with bracing. Again stock ride retained.


    If it were me and I wanted a lowered 4x4 I might look at swapping frames from a late model IFS truck. They are boxed and shorter frame hight. you can get significant drop and still had some ride quality. Bigest problem is you will have issues with the rocker boxes.


    If it were me an 4x4 was not inportant and I was building a hot rod truck:

    I would loose about 500lb of transfer case front axle and bolt on a 80's saddle. 700R4 for tranny or better yet find a complete LT1 and 4L60e with computer and tranny.
     
  20. bear76

    bear76 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Posts:
    1,065
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    here
    Channeling the body is an excellent idea. An off the wall idea, you could flip a unimog or volvo axel upside down. I dont know if they are stong enough to run upside down, it would take alot of work regearing, and kinda expencive. But you would have somthing complely original.:rolleyes:
     

Share This Page