If you're talking about '73 - '87 trucks, I believe that the steering boxes were the same all across the line (1/2 ton up to 1-ton) and that portion of the frame was the same as well - other areas on the 1-ton frames were different, such as the rear shock mounts. I would definitely go with the reinforcing, as it seems that's a weak point on these trucks.
Yes, I would definitely go with the rinforcement--my truck came with a bad welding job that I had redone by a family friend. I run 31 inch tires on my 1980 4X4 1/2 ton truck, and you can see the torque exerted on the frame just by having someone turn the steering wheel while you watch the PS gearbox and frame. I recently had to remove the gearbox and drill out a bolt that had broken off (one of those that hold the gearbox to the frame). Also, these bolts seem bad about loosening, so I added lockwashers on them. I am going to buy one of the reinforcing kits and have the same family friend weld them on my frame when I get the time.
Does anyone know why these trucks are so bad to break here? My uncle has a 1979 4x4 1/2 ton that has never broken and doesn't look like it ever will.
mstyles - what make of '79 truck is it you're referring to?
After taking a look at my "under construction" 4x4 frame, I think the reason these Chev/GMC frames crack here is the steering box being bolted to 4 small raised areas on the frame (1 at each bolt hole) with no backing plate. This concentrates all the stress in 4 small areas, cracking is bound to occur.
My uncle's truck is a 79 Chevy LB truck--basically my truck, just one year older and a little longer than my 80 Chevy SB. I have crawled under there and his frame looks fine, no cracks or anything. I was just wondering--all of the 4x4 magazines I read have reinforcement kits for this body style Chevy (73-80) but you never see them for any other style Chevy, or Ford or Dodge either.
Like I said, sometime when I am under there for something else, I am gonna weld in one of these kits--it can't hurt!