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Posted: 5/14/2004 10:27:17 AM EST
1992 GMC Suburban. I have a desire for 4wd capability. It's currently 2wd stock. Is it possible to put 4wd under it or is it better to just buy something else? Or just sell my 2wd and buy a 4wd?
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 10:29:20 AM EST
Buy a 4wd. That is the ONLY option.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 10:32:05 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/14/2004 10:36:58 AM EST by DriftPunch]
You should look under a similar year 4wd and view the differences. Even the engine block is different. I've got a 1994 GMC k1500, and the filter is on the side of the block, set up for removal from the engine bay (you could probably do it from beneath if you had a pit or lifted the truck so you could stand underneath). If memory serves me correctly, yours is a vertical filter, set up to change from beneath. There's just too much running gear to use the 2wd block in a 4wd. This is just one example.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 10:37:32 AM EST
Buy a real Suburban with a solid axle front end.
Not that garbage IFS crap.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 10:38:33 AM EST

Originally Posted By SPECTRE:
Buy a real Suburban with a solid axle front end.
Not that garbage IFS crap.



Just out of curiosity, why not an IFS?
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 10:42:03 AM EST
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 10:42:34 AM EST
Independent Front Suspention...

Die hards believe that the old solid front axle is far superior to IFS on these trucks. The truth is that they are correct if you intend to lift it, or do serious off roading. Otherwise, IFS is fine. The gripe about IRS (rear), has more merit, because that's where your load will be, and the angle of your tires can change too much depending on load. A solid rear will never allow the tires to be anything but 90 degrees to the axle.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 10:42:46 AM EST

Originally Posted By DriftPunch:
Buy a 4wd. That is the ONLY option.



I was afraid of thet. Oh well, the search begins. Thanks.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 10:46:41 AM EST

Originally Posted By lokt:

Originally Posted By SPECTRE:
Buy a real Suburban with a solid axle front end.
Not that garbage IFS crap.



Just out of curiosity, why not an IFS?



Driftpunch said it pretty well.
IFS is ok for the soccer mom types who's idea of off road is when it rains or for the steep climb up the country club driveways. It limits ground clearance as well.
Many more parts that DO go bad and are just not as durable and nowhere near as strong as the solid axle.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 10:49:50 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/14/2004 10:50:16 AM EST by G-CODE]
The best option would be as Driftpunch said, buy a 4wd and sell yours.

The other option would be to find a wrecked (preferably rolled badly), low mile 4wd Suburban of the same vintage and specs. Buy it cheap, take the rolling chassis and put your body on it. Cut the hole for the 4wd shifter in the floor of your suburban. The older body style (91 and older) required you to cut out the entire area around the shifter and replace it with one giving more clearance for the 4wd components, I'm not sure about the 92 body style though. Then sell whatever parts you had left on E-bay. This option will probably cost more, but just think of it as building your own AR-15 instead of buying a preassembled one. You and your buddies could change the bodies over in a day and be driving by night with a little help.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 10:56:28 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/14/2004 10:58:41 AM EST by DriftPunch]

Originally Posted By SPECTRE:
Many more parts that DO go bad and are just not as durable and nowhere near as strong as the solid axle.

You're right, but there is a huge improvement in the ride, especially in GM trucks, as the front leaf springs were tossed with the solid front axle. Unless you are a die hard, you will welcome the difference. Tortion bars are used now, which is the big reason nobody lifts these, as thats not easy. CV joints are wearable items, and this is what many don't like. IFS has more ground clearance in the center as the front diff is lifted, but loses a little on the ends because of the A arms (or whatever they are called). If you want to see a horrible exampe of the loss of ground clearance, look at the current IRS on the current Ford Explorer. The clearance of my 1994 GMCs IFS is far greater than the geniuses at Ford gave that thing, there's no excuse for that...

It's true that they will not accept abuse like the old solid axle, but their limit is far higher than SPECTRE is indicating. Far above climing the steep country club driveway. If you want to go rock climbing or play off road racer, buy a RR Defender, or a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon...
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 11:11:50 AM EST
How much 4WD capability do you want/need?

If you just want a stock-ish 4WD Suburban then your best option is really to just go out and buy one. 92 was the first year of IFS 4WD on the Suburbans and I think it would be an expensive nightmare to try to retrofit the IFS 4x4 system onto a 2WD frame. We're talking about precisely locating and welding on the A arms mounts, crossmembers, etc. It just wouldn't be worth it as an entire stock-ish Sub could be purchased MUCH cheaper in the end.

If you are after serious offroad capabilty, if there is any such to be had from a Suburban (keeping in mind that I do own a 94 GMC K2500 4WD Suburban), then you'd be better off either buying an older model with the solid front axle and modifying it or converting your 2WD to a solid front axle. There are actually kits one can buy to convert the GM IFS trucks to SFA but I'm not sure how or if they would work on a 2WD truck. Any competent shop could perform this conversion for you but it will likely not be cheap. You'll obviously need a front axle, driveshaft, suspension system, transfer case, proper transmission, and likely need to have the rear driveshaft reworked. There would be a ton of other minor issues as well.

If your current Suburban is a half ton I probably wouldn't bother with either of those options as you'd end up spending a ton of money chasing down weak links.

The oil filter issue really isn't all that bad. Should just be an adapter that turns the filter sideways for front driveshaft clearance. No difference in the engine blocks themselves, that's just a bunch of hooey.

Another option could be to just lift your 2WD truck a little (there are kits for this), run some bigger tires, and perhaps swap in some lower gears and a locking differential in the rear end. It can sometimes be surprising just how much a 2WD can get through. But my rigs will always be 4WD.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 11:16:49 AM EST
If you have to ask, you're not ready.

That being said, I have seen some VERY cool solid-axle conversion of these rigs.


-Z
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 11:18:31 AM EST

Originally Posted By DriftPunch:
IFS has more ground clearance in the center as the front diff is lifted, but loses a little on the ends because of the A arms (or whatever they are called).



What a lot of people fail to realize is that with IFS as the suspension compresses it actually LOSES ground clearance, bringing the frame, differential, and other associated components that much closer to contacting or hanging up on the obstacle.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 11:28:13 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/14/2004 11:33:13 AM EST by DriftPunch]

Originally Posted By Boomer:

Originally Posted By DriftPunch:
IFS has more ground clearance in the center as the front diff is lifted, but loses a little on the ends because of the A arms (or whatever they are called).



What a lot of people fail to realize is that with IFS as the suspension compresses it actually LOSES ground clearance, bringing the frame, differential, and other associated components that much closer to contacting or hanging up on the obstacle.



Now that is true, since I don't go hard, I generally thing of gound clearance in terms of avoiding stumps etc... However, will it compress to the point that it actually sinks below where the bottom of the bell of a solid would have remained (given the same size tire, of course)? Note that the frame will come down on a solid as well given the same spring strength.

I didn't know about the oil filter adapter thing. Are you saying that mine and yours are preadapted to a side mount, or that there is an adapter for those with the straight down style of fitting?
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 11:42:58 AM EST
Time, effort, parts quest, labor - better off selling what you have and buying an equivalent 4x.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 12:14:03 PM EST
Try here:

www.pirate4x4.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=43

You probably won't have your ass handed to you.

Merlin
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 1:59:45 PM EST
you need to have a 4X4 frame, but the engine is the same, the filter is different because the block has a different oil filter adapter, this is a cheap remedy
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 2:19:22 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 2:52:32 PM EST
88 and up were different, it can be done with the 2X4 frame, but it is not a bolt on, and is a lot of work, you could get a frame for cheap, and go that route, lifting the cab and bed off is no big deal, you can use a tow truck and a strap ot move the cab to the 4X4 chassis, really easy that way

if you go the 2X frame route you need to have a good welder, and some mechanical ability, and if you do not align things right it will never be right
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 3:06:21 PM EST

Originally Posted By Merlin:
Try here:

www.pirate4x4.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=43

You probably won't have your ass handed to you.

Merlin



If that forum is anything like the rest of Pirate Offroad, I wouldn't bother with it unless you enjoy being flamed, ridiculed, and scorned. Say IFS over there and you can expect a double helping of such. There is a tremendous amount of 4WD and offroad technical knowledge to be found throughout the forums there, but they don't take to amatuer level questions very well. Maybe try searching the Chevy forum, I've seen writeups on solid axle conversions there before.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 3:10:02 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/14/2004 3:12:11 PM EST by livefree]
2WD uses A-arms and coil springs and the frame is entirely different. 4WD uses leaf springs.
I just cut up one of each (pickups though) and saw how totally different they are.
I have an '87 Suburban 4x4 and love it. Scary on gas fill-ups but for the amount of miles my wife drives it, it is well worth the protection it provides for her and the boys. There are some fantastic deals on these bodystyles right now (around here anyway). I paid only $3200 for it and thats with a rebuilt tranny, completely new locking rearend from the dealer and a rust free, dent free body. Got rid of the mini-van for it so take that enviro-nazi's!

Oops, just saw that yours is a 92. Dunno about that conversion
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 3:52:14 PM EST

Originally Posted By Boomer:

Originally Posted By Merlin:
Try here:

www.pirate4x4.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=43

You probably won't have your ass handed to you.

Merlin



If that forum is anything like the rest of Pirate Offroad, I wouldn't bother with it unless you enjoy being flamed, ridiculed, and scorned. Say IFS over there and you can expect a double helping of such. There is a tremendous amount of 4WD and offroad technical knowledge to be found throughout the forums there, but they don't take to amatuer level questions very well. Maybe try searching the Chevy forum, I've seen writeups on solid axle conversions there before.



Where I sent the original poster was Pirate's "Newbie Discussion Forum". Forum rules are that newbies be given the benefit of the doubt, but as Boomer touches on, the rules aren't always followed.

Basically, the questioner has to ask himself this question: What do I expect to get from a great amount of work (and it is, there is no doubt about that) that he couldn't get by buying a 4x4 in the first place.

As one person already stated, if you have to ask the question, you probably shouldn't be doing it.

My .02.

Merlin
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 5:03:18 PM EST
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