Swaping IFS for straight axel

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by 66Construction, Feb 21, 2001.

  1. 66Construction

    66Construction LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    I was wondering if anyone has swaped their IFS front end for a striaght axel. I've seen a few after market kits that go for aroud a $1000 with out the axel. I've been thinking about this for a while and was wondering if anyone had some experience with this. I've already replace just about every part in the front end of my 90 GMC 2500. Any information would be helpful
     
  2. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 992

    One important point to consider is axle ratio: You will have to get a front axle that matches your rear axle's gear ratio, or you will end up tearing up more (expensive!) driveline parts! I don't know what availability on axles is like for your generation of truck (I'm still back in the '70's!) or how difficult it will be to do the swap (will you end up having to get a front driveshaft custom fabbed, or is it part of the kit - you may want to check one of these kits out closely if you haven't already done so and see just what you get and how much work you will be required to do), it sounds like a big job but if it can solve your front end wear problem it might be worth it in the long run.
     
  3. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,555

    If this is a street driven truck,i dont know if its really worth it toswap,especially sicne you can replace all wear parts in the front end on the IFS for under 600.Although not ideal for plowing,the IFS is strong enough and for me it ahs held up well.A friend of mine had a converted truck,if iremember right,you have to replace the transfer case too,with one that has an ouptut on the Right side,not the left like iFS has.Axle ratio's are another problemGM's come with 3.42,3.73 or 4.10,the dana axle isnt available with a 3.42 ,you'd ahve to change rear gears too,a lot of work.
     
  4. 66Construction

    66Construction LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    This is starting to sound more complicated. I'll have to look into exactly what comes in this kit. This truck only has a usefull life to me of a few more years. After that I plan to turn it into a mud toy. Maybe I'll wait untill then to swap axels. I might as well not fix what isn't broken while it's making money still.
     
  5. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 611

    I have done it on trucks used for offroading. (Toyotas and S-10s) It will raise your front end. It will make a harsher ride. The upside is that solid front axles can be made a lot stronger than IFS. Once you get throught the initial setup you are looking at lower maintanence costs. If you plow with the truck this is a way to make the front end much stronger, but you will probably have to customize the plow mount as these swaps usually require cutting off everything hanging on the frame.(a-arms, spring mounts, shock mounts, crossbeams, etc) This is usually an attachment point for plow frames. If you have questions e-mail me or send me the add and I will try to help you more.
     
  6. MTCK

    MTCK LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Posts: 254

    I've seen a couple trucks set up like this. All were lifted significantly, with huge tires on them. The one that sticks in my mind specificallly was about a 91 1/2 ton step side with corporate 14 bolt rear, dana 60 front, with the differential on the driver's side, a huge lift and 39 inch boggers. If you can get a front end with the diff on the correct side, that'll save a headache at the transfer case. If you're planning on mudding with the truck after you use it up plowing, it'd already be set up good to make a tough off road rig for, so the money wouldn't be lost there. Good luck, let us know what you decide.
     
  7. 66Construction

    66Construction LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    I'm set on turning it into a mud truck after it's plowing is done. I like the idea of a front end with the diff on the correct side. I'd actualy like to see if I can get 44's on it. I know it will take a serious power plant to turn them and some serious gears but Hopefuly with the right planning I can get it right with some help!

    I was thinking a 383 stroker or maybe more with aluminum high flow heads and swaping to multiport injection. I'd leave the exhaust the way it is now...shorty headers y-pipe converter and out no mufler. Or would a big block be better.
     
  8. MTCK

    MTCK LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Posts: 254

    44's would be good. I'm sure you can lift it that high with springs once you get a straight axle up front, and do the same in the rear. I'd get the big block. Anything you can do to a small block for crazy power, you can do to a big block for stupid power. Be ready to replace everything between your flywheel and rubber at some time or another. If you're serious about building this thing, you'd probably save money in the long run by throwing 1 ton axels under front and rear right off the bat, and getting a tough transmission and transfer case. If you go that big, driveline angles will be an issue also. Sounds like fun.
     
  9. wyldman

    wyldman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    If your going to go 44's you'll definatly need to beef things up.I would look at using a range doubler t-case,such as a NP203 and an NP205 bolted together.This gives a 4:1 low reduction for crawling,2:1 low for mud,and 1:1 for highway.You can get away with much less horsepower,better engine drivabilty and better gas mileage by using a higher gear,as you only use the lower ranges when needed.A nice 350,with a cam,or even better a diesel :),and newer 700R4 (lower 1st gear,and OD) would work well.All the adapters are readily available,you just supply the parts.One ton axles would also be recommended.A rear shackle flip kit,and a solid front axle, would give you plenty of height without blocks.If you know how to weld and have the place to do it it can be done cheap.Knowing a good source of used parts (engine,trans,t-case,diff's,etc) also helps.
     
  10. 66Construction

    66Construction LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    Thanks

    You guys have me ready to tear the truck apart already. I might get crazy this summer and just have to do it.
     

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