4x4Wire TrailTalk

My 63" Chevy Spring Swap

Posted By: TheBandit

My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/01/05 12:59 AM

I did my 63" Chevy spring swap this weekend. Thanks to Pirate4x4's spring swap FAQ everything went smoothly.

Here are some pics: <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

I made the front hangers out of 3.5" box. I used a plasma cutter. I notched the top to put the spring closer to the frame. The hangers are about 8" long. I used plug welds on the passenger side to avoid dropping the gas tank.

The shackles are 6" long. They started as 1 3/4 x 3/16 strap. I welded 1 inch long 1.5dia x 0.095 tubing at both holes, then split a piece of 1.5in tubing longways and notched it to go in between. For the top, I drilled one of the shackles to 3/4" diameter and welded the original 19mm shoulder bolt from the original Toyota shackles (after pressing them out in a vise). This allowed me to use the stock Toyota bushings and stock Toyota rear hanger that I torched off of another truck. NOTE: A 5" long 3/4 inch bolt also works for this, but it fits very tightly in the bushings and doesn't have a proper shoulder. I tried this first and didn't like how it worked, so I remade the shackles using the original shoulder bolts.

I did some articulation tests (sorry no pics) and realized a few things. My 33" tires hit the body before the shocks or the original Toyota bumpstops bottom out, so appropriate bump stops are in order. Droop is limited by the shocks, which are currently in the stock location.

I was not able to use the stock Toyota u-bolts with the overload leaf in place. They are just barely too short. I think they would work if I took out the overload and the bumpstop. I bought a set of generic u-bolts from a Pep Boys lift kit that were a little too wide, but worked fine after notching the lower spring plates.

The ride is a bit stiff and it looks like they want to ride on the overload a lot. I'm going to cut off the back of the overload like the FAQ suggest and possibly trim the front. If that doesn't do it, I'll take out the overload and throw in the AAL from my Toy springs or maybe some combo of the two.

Despite seeming a bit stiffer, they flex much more than the Toy springs. Once the overload is out we'll see how it rides on the street.

Hope this info helps someone else doing a similar swap.
Posted By: BeaterToyota

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/01/05 02:05 AM

Looks good. The truck looks level. I guess it matches the height of the IFS lift pretty well?
Posted By: Dok

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/01/05 02:29 AM

Nice job! I like the spring hangers, good work <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: jcssurf

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/01/05 03:33 AM

Your swap looks factory from what I see...good job.

But I still don't quite get what is so great about this setup. It seems to be a lot of work for not a lot of lift or a great ride. Longer springs would flex better I suppose, but you have to change the shock posistioning, which would help stock springs flex better too.

Are you pleased with the results? Does it ride better than stock?

And I've always liked your 4runner by the way...nice build-up.
Posted By: OOP'S

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/01/05 04:24 AM

Quote
But I still don't quite get what is so great about this setup. It seems to be a lot of work for not a lot of lift or a great ride. Longer springs would flex better I suppose, but you have to change the shock posistioning, which would help stock springs flex better too.
For rockcrawling lift is overated, you want flex and that is what the Chevy springs do, flex. Us extreme rockcrawlers take a lesson from the lo-riders, low and slow. High lifts are for posers!!! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/nana.gif" alt="" />

Nice clean job, I like the front hangers!!!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/01/05 04:26 AM

I think the Chevy's ride great, at least mine do. I run 5150's with them though. Why did you not flip the u-bolts while you were at it?
Posted By: toydoctor2

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/01/05 07:11 AM

hey,..at least he did what most people havnt,....cut off the stock front hangers...lol...

wait,..my stock ones are still on <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/ignore.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: TheBandit

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/01/05 08:04 AM

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I guess it matches the height of the IFS lift pretty well?


Pretty dang good. The t-bars are cranked only a little bit, but that's how I had them before with the stock Toy springs and Trailmaster blocks.

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Nice job! I like the spring hangers, good work


Thanks! Erik B deserves credit for this design. I saw his on the internet and decided to try something similar.

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Your swap looks factory from what I see...good job.

But I still don't quite get what is so great about this setup. It seems to be a lot of work for not a lot of lift or a great ride. Longer springs would flex better I suppose, but you have to change the shock posistioning, which would help stock springs flex better too.

Are you pleased with the results? Does it ride better than stock?

And I've always liked your 4runner by the way...nice build-up.


Thanks for the complements. I am definitely pleased with the results. The articulation is quite a bit better. To give you an idea, with the old springs I put the truck on jackstands (at the frame) and was able to take the tires off with about 1" under the tires. After I swapped to the Chevys, the rearend itself set only a couple inches off the ground and I had to jack way up to put the tires back on. There is definitely a lot more droop!

I am definitely pleased with the results. It rides very similar to before, but now I have better articulation.

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High lifts are for posers!!!

Nice clean job, I like the front hangers!!!


Thanks! I have to agree; I'd like my truck to stay at about the height is it now, not much taller. I'll trim fenders and lift drivetrain components to get more clearance and room for articulation.

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hey,..at least he did what most people havnt,....cut off the stock front hangers...lol...


Oh but wait... I didn't cut off the stock shackle hangers... doh! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shiner.gif" alt="" />


My favorite piece is still the shackles. They turned out really cool; the pictures don't do them justice. I tried to get a closer shot, but the lighting sucked.
<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/zombie.gif" alt="" />
[Linked Image]
Posted By: TheBandit

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/01/05 08:27 AM

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Why did you not flip the u-bolts while you were at it?


I would have liked to do it, but I had limited time. I was working at my cousin's house which is out of town. He was nice enough to let me use his tools (welder, plasma, etc) while he was gone for the weekend. I didn't have time to do a proper job of relocating the shocks; using the factory plates and available u-bolts made things a bit easier.

If I had more experience fabricating, I probably could have done the whole swap in a day. Unfortunately I was working by myself, had never used a plasma, and am still developing my welding skills; I really had to take my time to make sure things were right. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" /> It was a long drive home and I didn't want anything to go wrong for safety's sake.
Posted By: seaflea

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/01/05 02:51 PM

Nice job <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />
I really like the shackle hangers. Nice fab work.
Posted By: OOP'S

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/01/05 03:11 PM

Quote
Thanks! Erik B deserves credit for this design. I saw his on the internet and decided to try something similar.
I thought they had a familiar look, nice job on the shackles also. I sort of copied Erik's spring hanger design also!!!! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: jcssurf

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/01/05 03:31 PM

I totally agree that lift is overrated. I don't run any lift with my 32x11.50s and wouldn't run much more than an inch for 33x12.50s.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/03/05 07:30 AM

Looks like it turned out the way its supposed to! Those are sweet shackles by the way.

So, how 'bout some pictures of the flex??? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/03/05 04:07 PM

Nice looking swap!
on my '85 I'm thinkin of frenching the front hanger for chevy's, But I may have to steal your shackle design. looks Beefy, and I like the bolt protection...............Karl
Posted By: TheBandit

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/04/05 07:23 PM

You guys have a point; what kind of post is this without flex pictures? I have failed you all as a 4x4wire member.

I'll try to get some articulation pictures this weekend. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: TheBandit

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/04/05 08:36 PM

In case this is useful: <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cheers.gif" alt="" />[

[Linked Image]
Posted By: TheBandit

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/07/05 12:29 AM

Took it to an elementary school today to flex her a bit. This wasn't tall enough to completely stuff the tires or get one of four off the ground. As you can see, the rear works the most when the IFS is trying to flex. This demonstrates the obvious limitation of IFS.

[Linked Image]
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[Linked Image]
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[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
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<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cheers.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Esquire812

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/07/05 12:55 AM

Love the pictures Bandit. Gotta hijack-interrupt the articulation shots and ask....where in the hell did you get your door mirrors?? They aint stock, but dont look like the garbage aftermarket cheapies either. The POS mirrors I used on our 4Runner give that nice distorted image and cant be adjusted worth a chit. I'm really starting to hate them and am looking for good replacements without spending the hardearned on OEM replacements.

~Darin <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/baby.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: TheBandit

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/07/05 01:02 AM

Pictures are deceiving bud. Those ARE the cheap crap aftermarket ones. They work alright, I just need to tighten the passenger side so it stays adjusted. I got 'em at AutoZone. I would like to have some larger ones though; visibility in this truck isn't the best. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: JWHnAtl

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/07/05 06:17 AM

Looks great Bandit! I've just gotta remember envy is bad. It's added to my to do list. Now I just have to find someone to weld for me. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif" alt="" />

Do you have the ball joint spacers up front?
Posted By: TheBandit

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/07/05 08:53 AM

Thanks JWHnAtl. No I don't have ball joint spacers up front. It's a Trailmaster 4" lift, barely cranked up.
Posted By: dcg9381

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/07/05 11:59 PM

I've done the same swap...
A couple of comments:

1) Running 44044s up front - the truck doesn't sit level:
[Linked Image]

2) You'll need to modify the parking break to clear the springs a bit:
[Linked Image]


3) I'm running a soft-ride 1.5in add-a-leaf.. It's almost level. Long shackles in back are good, but they're not enough to correct your pinion angle, you'll need to shim.. I believe I used 3 deg shims.


Very flexible.. cheap springs.. ride great.. notice overall length increase - new mount point is in front of old spring:

http://lakebox.dnsalias.com/photos/1981%20toyota/fabrication/med/DSC03577.JPG

d_ginther@hotmail.com
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/08/05 12:15 AM

**cough** Bob your bed **cough** <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

How did you modify the parking brake?
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/08/05 12:21 AM

That's what we wanted to see. Nice work! It looks like you have the four leaf pack with the over load? If you take the over load off it'll ride a lot better, or at least mine did when I took the load spring out. Anyways, looks good, thanks for the pics.
Posted By: Greg_Canada

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/08/05 01:16 AM

Quote
I've done the same swap...
A couple of comments:

1) Running 44044s up front - the truck doesn't sit level:
[Linked Image]

2) You'll need to modify the parking break to clear the springs a bit:
[Linked Image]


3) I'm running a soft-ride 1.5in add-a-leaf.. It's almost level. Long shackles in back are good, but they're not enough to correct your pinion angle, you'll need to shim.. I believe I used 3 deg shims.


Very flexible.. cheap springs.. ride great.. notice overall length increase - new mount point is in front of old spring:

http://lakebox.dnsalias.com/photos/1981%20toyota/fabrication/med/DSC03577.JPG

d_ginther@hotmail.com

That;s a CLEAN truck, i like it.
Posted By: extremesolo

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/08/05 07:09 PM

I am planning on doing the swap on my 87 runner very soon. Do I need shims to correct the pinion angle or will I be okay without them? Also I was only planning a BJ spacer on the front with the IFS do you think I will be level or will the rear be too high with the 3 leaf chevy pack? Thanks, Andrew
Posted By: dcg9381

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/08/05 09:00 PM

I'm going to a flat bed, with some rear seats as soon as I can find the time and the motivation to do so.

The spring pack gets too tall, so the parking brake drags across it. It's not clear in the photo, but you need to extend the arm that is on the drum brake. I simply welded on to it and drilled a hole for the pin. I believe that someone actually makes an extension.


What you need to understand about doing ANY lift:

1) If you lift, you just changed your pinion angle. The rule that I've heard is for every inch up, you need to rotate the pinion by 1.5 degrees. The rear isn't as bad because the angles are not as extreme. A bad pinion angle in back will result in u-joints that wear more quickly and inefficient power transfer.. Not a big deal.

2) The front is more problematic because you can end up with a very bad (unusable) pinion angle. If you shim the front - you'll screw up your default caster, which is what keeps your truck stable on the road. Not enough caster and you'll "death wobble" - the truck will be highly unstable, not drivable, and dangerous on the road... To do the SAS right, you need to cut and rotate the ends of the axle (see pirate4x4) - to get your pinion angle correct.. you'll need to reweld the spring perches also. It's a pain...

I'd recommend not shimming the front - that way your pinion angle might be bad, but you're not going to death wobble. Jess (high angle driveline) can produce some driveshafts that work well, but they will vibrate quite a bit and not be smooth above about 20mph...

email me if you've got questions.

d_ginther@hotmail.com
Posted By: Runner-Man

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/08/05 10:52 PM

I did the Chevy spring swap using a 3 spring + overload pack and took the overload out so I have no problems with the e-brake cable. I didn't have to shim, my pinion angle was right on the money (about 2 degrees off in the rear, so while under power it should be perfectly parallel with the transfer case). There is no driveline vibration.

At first I used a double shackle setup, but after everyone got me worried about using double shackles I switched to a single shackle using the existing rear shackle hanger. The shackle is pretty laid back, but the truck rides fine and flexes good.
Posted By: TheBandit

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 03/09/05 02:44 AM

Careful... if people keep posting here we'll end up with the 4x4wire equivalent of the PBB FAQs <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/kewl.gif" alt="" />

My parking brake cable is at least 3/4" above the spring pack at flat ride height. I didn't take a close look at it while I was flex testing, but I'll go back and take a look soon.
Posted By: TheBandit

Re: My 63" Chevy Spring Swap - 05/17/05 01:18 AM

Still loving this Chevy springs:

[Linked Image]

Never seen the IFS flex that much <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/zombie.gif" alt="" /> In the back I am rubbing right tire on compression and the passenger droops until the shackle goes 90. Shocks barely have enough compression travel. Extension is okay.

[Linked Image]

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