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'85 1/2 ton chevy manual hub conversion

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by tony h, Feb 19, 2003.

  1. tony h

    tony h Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Brand new to the site. HELLO!

    Short story long.. Bought a 1985 1/2 ton Chevy Stepside NEW.

    I wanted the manual hubs but mid year they discontinued them. After 265000 miles I want to convert to manuals. The Auto locks are intermittant even after cleaning and soaking in Trani fluid as perscribed. I think I need the Warner 9790 hubs BUT I heard that I have to change out a gear in the transmission (T-205 manual). Has anyone heard of this? Can some one give me the name of the kit I have to buy. Anything that will get me closer to doing the changeover would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. 85w/350

    85w/350 Senior Member
    Messages: 190


    Welcome aboard! This is one of very few great sites on the net that helps us out with our adored classic chevy trucks. Others on this board probably don't recognize my name because its been that long since I registered here.

    A few things to help you out. To convert from sutomatic to manual hubs you shouldn't have to do anything more than buy some manual locking hubs and they should have everything you need to convert... Good brands of hubs are Warn (especially the premiums) Superwinch I believe makes some 1/4turn ones that are nice! Alot of people don't like MileMarker hubs but I have had mixed experiences with them.

    Buying that conversion kit for your truck is completely uneccessary....if your truck is indeed a 85 it came with a NP208 which has a 2Hi option.....

    Around 80 you would have still had a np205 that also needs no conversion....

    Now pre 76? you'd have had a np203 which was a fulltime case and would need conversion...hope this helps...

  3. tony h

    tony h Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Thanks. It is an '85 with the 305 V8 the transfer case shifter is from firewall back. 4WH 2WH N 4WL I guess I better crawl under and varify my Case. I hope it's as easy as sliding out the Auto's and putting these in.
  4. 85w/350

    85w/350 Senior Member
    Messages: 190

    I believe if you have a standard tranny in a K-10 it would be the 4 speed sm465 .... with the Np208 backing it...this would have been the only transfer case factory option.... The 208 should read from firewall back..... 2Hi, 4Hi, N, 4Lo

    The 208 is a aluminum case, the rear output is a slip yoke....there should be a tag on the case identifying it....but being that you have the original 305, and auto hubs(how did they last that long?) sounds like its all stock.
  5. tony h

    tony h Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Sorry you are correct on that shift pattern.

    My wife drives it exclusively. I put a 4" lift with 36" tires in it in 1986 and there she sits, Stock otherwise.

    Since new it burns about 1 qt every 3000 miles. Oil change time in my book. It has never seen a 'real mechanic. I do ALL the work on it.

    Just to confirm. The setup with the 465 trani (which I believe is the one I have) and the 208 transfer case, I do NOT need anything but slapping a set of manual hubs on?? I should have done it years ago.
    Yes on the Aluminum case and the Slip yoke rear shaft. I guess that's it I will eyeball the Tag tonight. It's there, I just changed the Fluid this past summer. I just never looked.

    The wife doesn't mind hopping out and locking them in just to know that she is definitely in 4WD.
    Thanks again!!
  6. 85w/350

    85w/350 Senior Member
    Messages: 190

    That'd be it! Buy some hubs, and swap them in...pretty self explanitory on the install...if need be I'm sure you have a Haynes manual or this like it will walk you through it....being that you have done all the work on your truck yourself it should be a small job in the least.

    I much like you do all of the work on my trucks myself...at one time i had 3...yes 3 a 82,84,and 85....fortunately i Only had to sell one the 82 (which i still miss) and still got the 84 its a blazer with the 465/208 combo and the 85 is a 2wd C-10..... These trucks are great! Hold on to what you've got, being orignal owner adds to the value of the truck believe it or not when you goto sell it....trust me...having bought all of these trucks, had i found someone who had bought the truck new in the model year i'd of paid a considerable amount more if they were still using it and knew its whole history.

    Sounds like a great truck!:drinkup:
  7. tony h

    tony h Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Great. A walk in the park. I've had the Auto Locks out several times to clean them. So to pull them out and just Torx in the manuals should be Cake.

    Love the Stepside shortbed. My wife (Terry) wouldn't trade it in for anything. She loves the view from up there and the intimidation factor when someone is " driving stupid". She can handle herself behind the wheel.

    One freakie problem with the 1985 distributors. They have an additional harness coming off. If for some reason you have No Spark. Try jumping 'A' with 'C' on that connector. Some 1 year vacuum advance thing that caused me a year of grief. One minute running like a champ next dead as a doornail. Just thought I'd mention it
  8. 85w/350

    85w/350 Senior Member
    Messages: 190

    i'll keep that in mind although I've had about everything under the sun happen to me one way or the other....

    Glad to hear that a woman has an appreciation for a big "SAFE" truck. Not a whole lot of them left out there....Its also paid for and owning the truck that long is a testament of its good service to you and your family.

    Hubs should be a cake walk. Let us know how it turns out....:D
  9. sschario

    sschario Member
    Messages: 44

    Hey guys,

    Can I add a question to this?

    Would this info concerning transfer cases hold true for 3/4 and 1 ton trucks of this vintage? I am going to be looking for a backup truck over the summer. I had an '87 C10 and I have been sorry ever since I sold it.

    On a side note, we got a '93 C2500 Sub as a boat puller about 7 years ago and it is my wife's daily driver. She wasn't so sure at first, but doesn't feel safe in anything smaller now.

  10. 85w/350

    85w/350 Senior Member
    Messages: 190

    pretty much....however, i did a little research because I wasn't exactly sure on the years that the 203 stopped and the 205 started.... here is what i came up with

    Starting in 73 Auto (A) Manual (M)


    73-79 M had the 205 A had the 203
    80 M 205 A 205
    81-88 M 208 A 208
    89-91 (blazers, subs) M 241 A 241

    All 3/4 ton trucks probably had the same options as the 1/2 tons as posted above....and as far as I know
    ALL 1 tons had the 205 starting in 77(when they started producing 1 ton 4x4's) through the early 90's? 99-00ish before they stopped using solid front axles in the 1 tons
  11. sschario

    sschario Member
    Messages: 44

    Thanks for the info. That will help.
  12. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

  13. tuna

    tuna Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    I believe 1980 was the last year for the 203.
  14. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    1979 was the last year for the 203. All 1980 models used the 205. The 208 made it's debut in 1981, replacing the 203. The 700 trans also made it's debut in 81, replacing the TH 350.