2×4 to 4×4 for ’80 to ’96 F-100/150′s

By: Dan MacDonald

The most asked question I get asked about the conversions is "Was is
hard to do?" Well, depends what you call hard. If you are pretty good with a
socket and ratchet, it should be no prob. I might add, if you do have access
to any pneumatic tools…that would greatly speed up the process with the
stubborn nuts and bolts. OK…the conversion in a nut shell.
To start, its all 100% bolt up. Except for the hole you have to cut in the
floor for the shifter. All you do is pull tires off, then the shocks, the
springs with a long extension and a (I think) 1 1/4 socket. Then you take off
the pivot bolt on one side and undo the radius arm nut (1 1/4 socket) and take
the one side off. Then do the same to the other. The new axle is a little
harder to manhandle because of the shear weight. The dang thing is heavy!
You will need 2 jacks and some good friends! I really can’t remember the way
I put it back in so you will have to see what works good for you. I would get
the radius arms in first and get the nut started. Don’t tighten it till you
get the pivot bolts in….gives you a little more movement. (On a side note I
would suggest getting eccentric radius arm bushings…makes aligning the thing
better….one major draw back to the TTB…you can pick em up at any NAPA or
other reputable parts store) But once you get it in you can drive on it till
you get your transfer case worked out. Steering will bolt right up and it
should give you about a 1 to 2 inch lift on the front.


On to the rear…..I am going to make a suggestion to you that I didn’t do
that will save you lots of headaches. You will need to get the factory blocks
that go between the axle and the springs to level the back end to the front.
But what I didn’t do is swap out the springs and spring brackets……bad
move…if you ever want to get a suspension lift it makes it complicated.
(The 4×4 springs are a little wider than the 2×4 springs in the rear. So that
is why you will have to knock off the rivets with a torch or an air
hamer….or even grind em if you are brave enough, and put the new ones on
with grade 8 bolts….should just bolt right up.)

The transfer case…the hardest part of the conversion. OK…well what I did
is that I liked my c-6 that I had and I wanted to still use it. So I pulled
the tranny and talked to a local tranny shop about it and he said that he
could swap out the output shaft to a shorter one and also put the adapter
(transfer case end cone that can be picked up at the dealer.) that the T-case
bolts up to on the tranny. OR you can find a tranny/T-case combo too. BUT I
would suggest that the shop do it, unless that you have experience rebuilding,
because you have to totally disassemble the tranny to swap the output shaft
and install the T-case adapter. Have em look at it to make sure that your
tranny is in good working order too while you have it out and apart. (IF you
don’t already..and if you even have a C-6…i would strongly suggest the B&M
Street and strip shift kit….really lights it up and its really easy to
install)

As for the hole in the floor….you will need to have another 4×4 near by to
measure…that is what i did…..go small and if you have to you can widen the
hole bigger….measure twice and cut once!!!!!!! You will need to take the
seat out and drill 4 holes to start the jig saw. Its really not as hard as it
sounds.

The linkage is pretty much straight forward. What else…… what I did and
further added that stock look, is that I got the 4×4 light to work in my dash!
Ford put the 4×4 dash light filter in there even in the 2×4′s, soo all you
have to do is get the wire and light socket out of a truck and pull the dash
and connect it to a positive and then hook it up to the T-cases terminal. All
the switch does it that is grounds out the terminal when you are in 4WD. Its
real simple and people will love it!!! Also lets you know exactly how many
axles you are using! Makes you look good.

Hum…well, all I guess that is left is to make sure that the t-case and the
axle are in good shape. You have 3 main bearings in the spindle of the Dana
44. The outer, the inner wheel bearings and then there is another on the
shaft its self by the u-joint…..that is the one that got me in trouble. I
blew that one and it started blowing my hubs out. It centers the shaft in the
hub and without that working right, it wobbles and goes to making spaghetti
out of an $80 pair of Warren premiums! BUT I have to complement Warren in
backing up their product because I have a bran spanking new pair they sent me
to replace the ones that broke…..Now that is customer service! Also make
sure you change the gear oil and other basic things like ball joints, and R &
P’s. ALSO….almost forgot a biggie! Make sure your axle ratios are the
same! If you have, lets say 3.08 (which I have and may make a
suggestion…..i would believe with the conversion you will be doing, a nice
new set of (at least) 4.10′s would be lots better!) gears in the rear…..the
front needs to be the same. Or you will really test the strength of your
drivetrain.

I might have left out some stuff but you should get the general picture. If
you do decide to do the conversion, you will be pleasantly surprised on the
performance you will gain. Get a good set of mud tires and you are on your
way to driving across those tricky ponds that have been laughing at you!

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