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4x4 questions

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by The Mowerdude, Jan 22, 2003.

  1. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude Junior Member
    Messages: 22


    When I bought my first snowplow, it came with a truck attached. I say it this way, because I bought it to get the plow, not the truck. I moved the plow to my other truck, but this truck has been calling my name in the night. :D It's definately a project because it's so rusted that the body and bed have settled down over the frame in some pretty weird angles. It has no rocker panels, floorboards, etc. This truck was originally from Michigan and it's amazing to me the rust. We just NEVER see this kind of damage here in the South. But, the driveline seems to be in good shape and, if I'm willing to hold my feet up off the ground, I can drive it around the yard. ;) (hey, what more could a country boy want?)

    I forgot. It's a 1973 Chevy Half ton 4x4 w/350, th350, NP203 transfer case. It has a clear title. Now I also have a 1973 3/4 ton 2wd with a blown engine, questionable trans and a totally rust free body and bed. It does NOT have any title at all. It's been sitting in my neighbor's yard for 15+ years. I don't think anyone's going to fuss over it or mysteriously come up with a title and lay claim to it.

    Now here are my questions. Obviously, I'm going to use the 3/4 ton for parts, but I'd like to upgrade my 4x4 to 3/4ton specs, i.e. 8 lug wheels, heavier springs and brakes. The donor truck has a good 14 bolt floating 3/4 ton rear axle, but it's 2 wheel drive. My half has what I believe is a Dana 44 in the front. If I'm correct, didn't Chevrolet use the Dana 44 in both 1/2 ton AND 3/4 ton trucks? If I'm right, then shouldn't I just be able to scrounge the junk yards for the correct rotors, brake calipers and suchlike that I need to make the conversion?

    Also, I understand that if I use the rear axle from the 3/4 ton, I'll need to make the sure the gearing is the same as with the front.

    Finally, the front axle does not have any provision for locking or unlocking the hubs. Apparently, they must be "locked" all the time. Is this what they mean when the truck is described as "full time" 4 wheel drive? If this is a Dana 44, then there must be a way to convert this so that I can lock or unlock my hubs. I see old CJ5s and 7s with Dana 44s all the time. And they all have locking hubs.
  2. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I can't help you with the axle questions, but for the hubs you can get aftermarket locking hubs to install. Get yourself a copy of "4 Wheeler" magazine, there are a lot of sources listed in there for the parts you'll need, both for the hubs and the axle. Good luck!
  3. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    I've done this alot,it's not too hard.

    Use the 3/4 ton rear if the gearing is the same.On the front diff,the D44 was used in the 3/4 tons as well,but with different knuckes,spindles and rotors,etc.It is a bolt on swap.You just change everything over.

    As far as not being able to unlock the front hubs,you can put locking hubs on it,and get a part-time kit for the transfer case.I would keep it the way it is,unless you absolutly need 2WD.If your going to put locking hubs on it,I'll buy your old stuff for our plow trucks.I would also recommend staying away from the part-time kits as they lead to transfer case failure sometimes,I know,I've lost two of the last year.They do make a kit to replace the entire tailshaft in the TC,to eliminate this problem,but it is pricey.

    You must also overfill the TC after the conversion,as the chain is what lubes the upper parts,and it no longer turns in 2WD.You can either jack the back up and overfill it,or I have added a little 90 degree elbow to the fill hole to get more in.If you don't do this it will wipe out the case real quick in 2WD.

    Here are two excellent links to help you out.

    1 - 8 bolt conversion


    2 - part time kit


    If you need any more info or tips,drop me a line. wyldman@idirect.com
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2003
  4. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Pelican, Wyldman, Thanks to both of you for the fast answers. This is why these forums are so GREAT!!

    And Wyldman, that article on 6 to 8 bolt conversion is just exactly what I was looking for.

    To hear you describe it, I'd probably be just as well off not trying to gain any lock/unlock capability. However, if I do the change later, I'll contact you if you're still wanting the parts.

    There certainly seems to be a rather large difference in the way folks do things up where ya'll are compared to Southern folks. Down here, it's very rare that you can find anyone willing to even think about doing conversions like this. Most folks have the attitude that says: "Hell, just sell it and get a new truck." But I say: "Where's the fun in that?" By providing me with solid answers, you folks also give encouragement. Thanx again.
  5. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    People are like that up here too.They laugh when I tell them some of our trucks are old 70's Chevy's.They aren't laughing when their new $40,000 truck is in the shop waiting for parts,or the dealer doesn't know what's wrong with it.

    If your only going to use the truck for plowing,driving off road or in bad weather,then keep the solid front hubs.If you plan on much dry road driving then you may want to swap.I have blown a few hubs in the middle of the night,and would like to convert some of our trucks back to the solid hubs.