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2wd to 4wd conversion. Is it worth it?

 
  #1  
Old 05-09-2006, 07:53 AM
eod_rob
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2wd to 4wd conversion. Is it worth it?

I am returning home after two years of service in Korea and had planned on selling my truck to get a CUCV military Blazer. I ditched that idea when I decided I couldn't part with my 94 F150. It has been good to me and still runs great minus a small cooling problem I'll be asking you all about later. Anyway, I considered a conversion on return after one year but extended my tour. I am now revisiting that and trying to figure the amount of work/skill involved and part costs. It is a short bed, regular cab with no mods thus far. Manual tranny, with a 4.9L, 125,000 miles. I originally considered a front end lift to level and a locker in the rear but I know how ya'll feel about that. I REALLY don't want to buy a new truck. I am in love with this one and am scared to death of getting a piece of crap if I get rid of it. So please help with any dollar amounts or personal experience if you can. I am mechanically inclined just not a mechanic so if it doesn't require any exotic tools or techniques I can probably handle it. Any websites with pics of this type of work would be great too. Thanks.
 
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Old 05-09-2006, 09:16 AM
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1) You can buy a 92-96 4x4 with the option like a 351 (or....7.3?) ZF EC LB.
2) You can go Eaton LS if you don't do much off-road
3) You can buy a parts truck for all of the 4x4 parts.

All three options will be cheaper than purchasing new. I am building a new power train for my 94 150 RC LB 4x2. I almost signed a piece of paper for $19,000 but rebuilding this one gives me a truck that I built and I know like the back of my hand.

The choice is up to you. If you do all of your own work like some of us, then I would recommend restoring an oldie to your desires. If you are not comfortable with the PITA work, then a newer one will give you a few years with less service needs.

The best thing that you can do is keep asking questions.

Mike

P.S. Thanks for your hard work and dedication!
 
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Old 05-09-2006, 09:17 AM
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well build it into a prerunner. check into Fabtech i believe is the company. they deal in that sort of thing or could get you a conversion i am sure as well.
 
  #4  
Old 05-09-2006, 09:35 AM
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Find you a parts truck or a total/wreck so you'll have everything you need. You can do that for a quite reasonable cost. The work is more or less just bolt-on. Where in NC will you be?
 
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:16 AM
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You have several options here. Are you looking to just go 4x4 or something a little more exreme/capable? If you wanted to go lifted 4x4 with attitude, you could buy a transfer case/front driveshaft and then purchase a dana 44 solid front axle out of an older (pre-1980) f150 pickup. there is tons of info in the axle forum about this SAS (solid axle swap). Your cheapest option may be to find a wrecked 4x4 and start swaping font end parts, the problem there is you dont know what your getting into with parts being used.
Good luck and thank you for your service
 
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Old 05-09-2006, 02:47 PM
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Thank you for serving the greatest country on Earth!


As for the truck, heck-I'd look for a 4 by you could drop your stuff in rather than trying to mod yours.
 
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Old 05-09-2006, 03:29 PM
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Im going to be doing the swap to my 93 f150. I just picked up a 94 4x4 for 700 bucks and it runs. So ill be taking the tranny and transfercase and front axle out of it and putting it in my truck. Like you I love my truck and considered selling it and buying a 4x4 but couldnt bring myself to it. But i belive the only way or the best way to do the swap is to do like i am and find a doner truck. And as for the money part you can almost break even depending on the shape of your doner truck by parting it out. I should be able to becuase the motor runs and the headlights and bumpers and all that are ok so i can sell that stuff. And you should be able to sell your 2wd transmission as well. But like Ford4x4-JD70AB said you dont know what you are getting when you buy parts used that is why I am goin to go through the axles and all before I do the swap. But good luck.
 
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Old 05-09-2006, 03:46 PM
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One thing you can be sure of though is if you buy a wreck it was running well enough to be transportation when it was wrecked. At 51 years old I've bought an fixed wrecks since before I was old enough to drive and have gotten very very few that turned out less than desirable. I don't do it to re-sell, rather to drive. Saved a pile of $$$$ ! I was just about to do the 4x2 to 4x4 conversion when I found a 4x4.
 
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Old 05-10-2006, 06:47 AM
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Thanks and keep the ideas coming

I will be in the Fayetteville area stationed at Bragg. My big debate here is "Do I REALLY need 4wd?" Is it worth it to me to do the swap? I know only I can answer that but your opinions help. On one hand I've had the truck for 10 years and only gotten stuck once or twice. I've been able to get myself out of some pretty bad SC sand on my own. Crazy enough though is the problem of almost getting stuck in wet grass. I've had this happen a number of times. Will a locker and front end lift for larger tires (bigger footprint) give me what I need? I'm just not sure. It certainly would make my job easier. I'm not looking at putting 35's or anything under it just something between a 31 and 33. Right now I have the largest I can without rubbing the frame in a turn with a 30x9.50. I would like to go at least 31x10.50. Do you think it would work with a 2" front end lift or should I go bigger all around? Do you think it would be cost effective to get a locker and if I didn't like it to do the swap then? I also am looking at getting some body work done to realign the metal in the front from where my ex wrecked it and a new paint job. New bumpers, tint, sliding rear window, new OEM grill (I just really like the original), Rhinolining in the back and cab, exhaust, and a new headliner. I might just post some picks if y'all are interested. Thanks again guys for your help. If any of you are in the Bragg area let me know maybe we can get together.
 
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Old 05-10-2006, 07:46 AM
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Locker choice

I started looking at lockers after my last post and think I know what I want IF I go that direction. I definitely want to be able to control the locker and not have a noisy rear end. It seems that to fit this bill the Eaton Elocker or Auburn ECTED Locker should work. I couldn't find the Detroit Electrac in Ford 8.8. I was smart enough to bring my Haynes manual with me and found my notes that I have an 8.8, I think. Someone please confirm this for me. There is a big price difference between the Eaton and Auburn so if ya'll can let me know what you have heard it would help. Thanks again.
 
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Old 05-10-2006, 09:52 PM
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For the the tire size i have 31x10.50 on my stock 93 2wd f150 with no rubbing at all and a buddy of mine has 33x12.50 on his stock 80 something 4x4 f150 with a little rubbing i belive. But a bigger foot print will deffently help out a lot and may be all you need but like you said only you can determine that. But i think 4 smaller tires will give u more than 2 bigger tires. But also if you are goin to do all that other stuff that you said you are you should add bigger tires to the list anyhow 4x4 or no 4x4 just makes the truck look a lot better. When i first got my truck it had 270x70 or sumthing like that on it and i put the 31s on it and made it look a lot better. As for the rear end i cant help u there but i belive it is a 8.8 thats what i have i think but thats just it i think. And the locker should help too and if you find out that is not enough it will help even more with the 4x4 so it probly woudnt hurt to try that out first. Good luck!
 
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Old 11-14-2009, 01:51 PM
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I have a 250,00 mile 95 F-150. It started as a 6cyl 5spd 2wd ext cab. It was alot chearer to convert to 4x4 rather than buy a different truck. it was a complete botl on process to buy a used dana 44 ifs ford front end and transmission and transfer case. just had to have a driveshaft made for the front and change the length for the rear. I do not regret it at all. The big thing is to make sure the gear ratio is the same in the front and rear axles. have fun.
 
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Old 11-24-2009, 05:59 PM
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I've got a 96 that has a 300-6 5 speed and was 2wd. I started small and added a stock ford trac-lock as they are fairly reliable and easy to rebuild. that alone was a great upgrade but for what I need the truck for, I needed to go further. the 4x4 was done this summer over a couple of weekends in my driveway - simple (but heavy) bolt on install and I haven't regretted since. I used an 89 donor so there were a few small differences so be sure to get a donor as close to your year as possible. Also make sure the axle codes on the vin tags match and the boxes are the same length so you don't have to regear or find a rear driveshaft (can be a PITA depending on the t-case - mine has a rear fixed yoke but most are slipyokes). Another thing to consider are the rear springs - 4x4 are 1/2" wider than 2wd so if you want to lift the rear, be sure to keep that in mind. Good luck!
 
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Old 11-24-2009, 06:59 PM
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Im impressed with how many others have done this swap!

Im in the same predicament as you eod_rob. Im actually turning my regular cab regular bed 2 wheel drive into a short bed reg cab 4x4. I got pretty much everything I need for about 700 bucks, (minus a 5 speed but have that lined up for 200 bucks with transfer case) and I havent even started selling the parts I dont need yet. And I figure im gonna actually make a few bucks off the parts.

I vote go for it!
 
 
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