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  1. #1

    Default Conversion 89 4X2 to 4x4 HELP

    I recently got my grandpa's 89 1500 Silverado when he passed away in October. Nothing wrong with the truck except it is 4x2 and where I live, I NEED 4x4 to get out in the winter as well as for hunting as where I hunt, the trail is only usable by tractor, ATV or 4x4.

    Now, with the number of donor trucks on the market, it shouldn't cost THAT much to do, and I can do most if not all of the work at my school's more than fully equipped auto shop.

    What I would like to know is which parts I would need and be specific please.
    (I know I will need both axles from the donor as well as the transfer case, and drive shafts)
    What years are compatible with my truck? What all needs to be done to do the conversion what all can just be swapped out, and what will I need to fab/buy?

    Any help is appreciated. This truck was his baby and in my opinion worth every minute I will put into the swap.

  2. #2


    88-94 ..and u dont need the rear end ..only need to match the front diffrential to the same gear u have !!

    also need the fron spindles with the 4X4 set up ..other then that, which tranny do u have now and so on ?

    to give u an exsact list of what u need, u need to provide an exsact info of your truck.

    I think it would be easyer to find a matching donor 4X4 and use the complete undercarage !!!!!! frame and so on..incl the tranny !!!
    just change the engine from yours if its in better condition ! IMO

    1996 Suburban K3500 SLT DUALLY
    1988 Camaro RS 383 stroker LT1
    1992 32' Aero-tek Race Boat, 600 CI BBC

  3. #3


    It is a very brave feat that you are daring my friend. I own a 90 and 91 1500. The 90 is 4x4 V8 5spd, and the 91 is a 4X2 V8 Auto. I would suggest getting a "donor" truck and transferring parts from your grandfathers truck to the 4x4 "donor" truck. I can understand the sentimental value that the 89 may hold for you so I will try to give you some insight. The 4x2 has a front cross-member welded to the frame under the engine, the entire front end is completely different in the fact that the 4x4 uses torsion bar suspension, and the 4x2 uses coil springs. The 4x2 also has independent suspension where as the 4x4 has a straight axle. The welded cross member though is something that I would highly recommend you shy away from. It will severly weaken your frame by cutting it and re welding the brackets for the torsion bars. It is really more of a headache and money pit then what you could probably fathom

  4. #4


    [QUOTE=chevyracingss;321085] the entire front end is completely different in the fact that the 4x4 uses torsion bar suspension where as the 4x4 has a straight axle.

    Welcome, but how can a straight axle have torsion bars ?? just asking . lol

  5. #5


    Straight axle uses leaf springs, independent uses Tbars.

  6. #6


    I know, but thats not what he posted ! mmhhhhh

    anyhow...u are better off using the complete frame from a 4X4 with everything !!

  7. #7


    Tranny is a 3spd auto + overdrive. It is an 89 long box. not sure of the diff, that's why I'd just use both from the donor.

  8. #8
    Jr. Mechanic pychokenny's Avatar
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    Parkin, Arkansas, United States
    "U call we haul U bitch we unhitch.''
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  9. #9


    Verry big job! i would suggest keeping grandpas truck intact, and buying an old 4x4 to hunt out of and bang around in the snow and ice.
    Keith Webb Sr.:mdr:
    1999 silverado 2500
    1989 k-5
    1982 c-10

  10. #10


    sorry, should've done more looking before posting. I guess this is a perfect situation of opening mouth and removing all doubt.

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