View Full Version : my '95 2wd to 4wd dana 60/ 14 bolt FF divorced np205 project
12-30-2011, 01:58 PM
How's it going everyone, I haven't been on here in forever, last time I posted on here, haters started talking a bunch of nonsense and I just said to hell with it. Hahaha. Anyway, this is my 95 silverado extended cab 2WD chevy project that I've been working on after hours at a local shop. I think it took about a month and a half to get it to where it is now. I just turned 30 this year, and this is the only truck I've ever owned, and now the only 4wd vehicle I've ever owned. I had no experience with 4wd vehicles, no one I know has built anything like this either, and I was still was able to do all of this myself, by just thinking about it, picturing how it works, reading tech articles online, and by getting my hands dirty.
I definitely learned a lot doing this. Now I can look at any 4wd vehicle and understand how everything works, and usually critique it too. For example, I know if I see hugely arched springs with oem shackles, the axle is going to be able to move up and down less than with the factory springs before the shackles bind. Or if I see shocks mounted like an upside down V on the rear axle, I know that configuration will give the shocks a lot less control over the truck than if they were straight up and down. Or if I see a driveshaft with a CV on one end and a single cardan u joint on the other end, with the same angle at each end, I know that's going to create a bad vibration. Or if I see a D60 rotated up with angled shims, I cringe if I don't see any fresh welds, because I know the caster is then probably way off if they didn't correct for that.
I'd say the 2 most commonly recurring and frustrating themes of this build were 1, that the more thought/effort you put into something, the better it's going to be, virtually without limit, although you do encounter the law of diminishing returns and you have to draw the line somewhere. And 2, take the amount of $$$ you think it's going to cost, go way more than that, and you might be in the ballpark. I have about $9k in this conversion so far, and I still need a better powertrain, bodywork/paint, and wheels/tires. I also need a torque arm and a front driveshaft, but those are in the works currently.
12-30-2011, 02:14 PM
Here's a pic of the transfer case crossmember. 3x 3/16" wall thickness main piece, welded to 4x4x1/4" thick plates welded to the framerails. I didn't weld any of the structural pieces directly to the framerails, I welded plates onto the frame first, and then welded whatever to them. I even did the same for the front upper shock mounts, with little flat pieces welded to the top of the frame that the shock mounts attach to.
The transfer case is out of some 1970s dodge, I guess. Bought it on ebay (still wasn't cheap) and took the shift interlock rails out so I can shift it however I want with the twin stick setup.
12-30-2011, 03:38 PM
here's kind of a lousy pic of the front spring hanger for the front of the rear spring. These were actually the most difficult things for me to fab during the entire build! I don't know if I had a serious mental block there, or what, but these were a total pain. The reason I had to build these in the first place is that with a 4" shackle flip kit (thanks offroad design) and a 6" shackle (also thanks offroad design), the rear of the spring was 9.5" lower than it was from the factory. And since this was a 2WD truck, the front oem hangers were already higher than a 4wd truck, so I needed to drop them down. Dropping the oem hanger down or replacing it with the oem 4wd hangers was not enough, so I felt like I had no choice but to fab these up. What was especially difficult about this was these are what holds everything in place. If these are off, or too far forward or back, the axle won't be centered, and the shackle angles will be way off. It took a while to figure all of this out, also you don't know what the springs are going to do until you set the weight on them, to see where everything is going to end up. So I ended up tacking, setting the truck down, checking, getting pissed and cutting all my tack welds out, re positioning and clamping, more tacking, checking, and then finally welding, once everything looked good. It took most of a night to do this, I was probably up until 4 AM. (One of the many nights I was up until 4Am working on this thing.)
Here's a pic of the front crossmember I fabbed to tie the front of the framerails together, and the front hangers. Since this was a 2WD truck, I had to cut a lot of the old crossmember under the motor out, to get clearance for everything and get rid of the old A arm mounts, and I didn't want my frame any weaker, so I welded in this 3x3x 3/16" piece. The front brackets are another thing I bought from offroad design, and they were supposed to bolt on, but did not. I had to hammer, pry, cut, grind, and weld to get those to fit, and they aren't the right width for my springs either. (3" wide, my 52" long 8" lift atlas springs are 2.5" wide) They also did not even fit my springs, since my springs have the double wrap (military wrap or whatever you call it) where the eye is 2 leaves thick, that didn't fit without grinding probably an inch off the front of the bracket. In retrospect, I should have just made my own, those brackets were $209.50! (to you guys saying to yourselves, "what, $9k on This truck??" Yeah, it adds up.) After I took this pic, I cut the front of the hangers up to where they don't touch the springs at all.
The crossover steering is also from offroad design, and not to bash offroad design overall, because I like a lot of other stuff they build, but I hate their entire crossover steering kit. First, I hate how one tie rod end is reverse thread, and the other is normal, so you can't tighten them against each other! You have to either grab the tube, potentially scarring and damaging it, or tighten both ends simultaneously the same direction against the tie rod ends internally bottoming out, which isn't easy on the ends. I told them about that, they said they do it like that so you can adjust it by rotating that tube, but you can't do that once the tube is bent for clearance, like mine! You have to pull off one (or both) of the ends from either the knuckle or the pitman arm, and turn them to get your steering wheel centered. (if you can get it centered at all) I also told them how the tie rod boots don't seal, I had to buy aftermarket ones on ebay. That crossover steering kit wasn't cheap, and they really should have put boots in there that actually fit. Then, they say that they build these kits so you'll have only a few threads showing on the rod ends. Well, there goes all your adjustability! (And for no reason!) This thing was way off, I had to cut both ends of the tubing and sections of the tie rod ends themselves, since the DOM tubing wasn't threaded in far enough. I still have enough thread length on the ends to not be a strength compromise at all, but overall, I'm pretty unhappy with this kit. I hope no one from offroad design reads this and gets pissed at me, but oh well, I'm just telling the truth.
However, the rear shackle flip kit and 6" shackles from offroad design are really nice. (except for the greasable bolts, both grease nipples popped out of the bolts when trying to pull the grease gun off them, the nipples looked like they're threaded but were just hammered in) But still, the shackles and flip kit get an overall A in my book.
12-30-2011, 03:50 PM
Looks like a good project..I am still trying to find the 9k there, and still no wheels/tires.
12-30-2011, 04:34 PM
Here's another thing I bought from offroad design, their twin stick shifter kit. This kit is sort of a generic setup, and I had to cut it up a little so it pivots at an angle, with the arms coming down adjacent to the tailshaft housing, otherwise there was no way it would clear my transmission. My truck has no body lift, and being that it was a 2WD, I think the body is even lower than the 4wd trucks. There is no room under the truck. The top of the t case is almost against the bottom of the cab, and there isn't enough room between the cab and the tranny to fit anything. Anyway, all in all, the shifter setup came out pretty clean, except for this annoying rattle noise that goes away when I put my hand on the front axle shift knob and lightly pull/push on it. It has rod ends on all 4 connections, and the shift handles swivel on poly bushings, I don't really know what the deal is with that noise. Maybe the rod ends are actually making it worse, maybe the noise is being created in the case and conducted back into the shifter throgh the rod ends. I tried to find some poly bushed rod ends, but haven't found any that are small enough to work yet.
12-30-2011, 05:01 PM
Looks like a good project..I am still trying to find the 9k there, and still no wheels/tires.
1500 for the rolling chassis I got the axles from
1825.84 fabworx, the atlas springs and shackles for the rear of the front springs
188.50 rear shackle flip kit
181.95 ruffstuff specialties.com 14 bolt swap kit and disc brake conversion brackets
487 ebay divorced np205
201.13 advance auto discs, calipers, pads for the 14 botl disc conversion
819.25 offroad design crossover steering kit and brake lines
209.50 offroad design front spring hangers
66.45 u bolts for the dana 60
246 twin stick shifter from offroad design
1300 for renting the shop to do this for over a month at night
25 steel for whatever
151 6" shackles from offroad design
63 more steel
33 more steel (I think the rear hangers)
319.80 shockwarehouse.com bilstein shocks
62.99 wilwood proportioning valve distribution block
46 more steel, this time for the front shock mounts
98.25 bump stops from offroad design
1652 driveshafts from tom wood's custom driveshafts (waiting for 680 back on returning the front shaft, slip travel was not enough)
13.96 ebay tie rod end boots
72.91 advance auto brake pads for the D60 and a new master cylinder (that still isn't right)
I laugh when I hear people say they're doing builds like mine for $3k, that's a joke. Jesse from high angle driveline just quoted me $1300 for a front driveshaft, double cv with a slip yoke that has enough travel, ouch.
12-30-2011, 05:05 PM
WOW! I guess i'm clueless on that stuff. My truck has 33"s lol
12-30-2011, 05:07 PM
What size tires will go on it?
12-30-2011, 05:10 PM
Here's how I did the front upper shock mounts, just went right through the top of the stupid spring buckets with a 3" hole saw, and welded these things in place. That is not hollow tube, btw, it is 1" solid. I went with the small size solid material to save room, and because it was the best option I had in front of me at the metal place. 1/4" thick tabs.
12-30-2011, 05:13 PM
What size tires will go on it?
I don't know yet, but I have to get some more money before I can even think about that, haha. I'm pretty much out of money for this currently. I was thinking maybe 38 x 15.5s though. ?
12-30-2011, 06:00 PM
I think I could have definitely saved some money if I had gotten a better deal with the axles, and if I could have bought more of this stuff all together, as a kit. I think I should have gotten a newer 14 bolt that already had disc brakes, too. I thought I was getting an okay deal with the rolling chassis I bought since it came with a 454, sm465 or whatever that p.o.s. 4 spd manual is, and an np205 connected to that, and that I could sell some of that stuff, but that wasn't all that realistic. The 454 had water in it and several pushrods that were so worn out there was no way they could open the valves, and the guy who sold it to me said it had just been rebuilt, he said the front dana had been "gone through" too, yeah, right.
Once I realized there was no way I could adapt that married style np205 to my tranny, I realized probably the best idea would be to go with a divorced np205 instead. Since my truck was 2wd, it had no transfer case and a factory transfer case that bolts up to a 4wd 4l60 does not bolt up to a 2wd 4l60, different tailshaft. To change the tailshaft requires completely disassembling the tranny, which I did not want to do, and I did not want to lose this tranny either, since it is built up and was like $1400 when I bought it a few years ago.
I could have saved some cash here if my truck was 4wd to start out. Then I wouldn't have had to buy that divorced np205, the extra little short driveshaft, make that crossmember, or any of that. But I don't care, the divorced setup is the way to go in my opinion anyway, because aside from that dumb spline wear issue with the married 205s,* you have way better front driveshaft angles, and no chance of breaking your tailshaft housing if anything goes wrong. You might think that is highly improbable, but even in the short amount of time I was in the shop working on my truck, I saw a truck in there that had that happen, the whole rear part of the tranny was broken right off. With all the mass of the transfer case hanging off the tranny very poorly supported, a slip yoke binding, getting ice in it, or the driveshafts hitting something, or high centering the truck on the t case, any of that could break the tailshaft housing on a married setup. I was amazed at how weak some of the designs I saw looked in the short amount of time I spent peeking around under vehicles in the shop where I was working on my truck.
*A little side note here on the np205s. The married np205 bolts on without dowel pins, at least the one I had did, so there is no way to line it up perfectly. So then the slight inevitable misalignment slowly chews away at the splined coupler, or the shaft going from the tranny into the t case. I may have been totally inexperienced when it came to 4wd trucks when I started this build a couple months ago, but I'm sure not when it comes to mechanical things, and when I saw that, I couldn't even believe it!
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