Rob's K/35 Project - 4wd Conversion
Page 3 - Let's Back Up A Minute.....
This the GM truck that I'm converting to 4x4. Yes, it carries a plow in it's present 2wd
configuration but with 4wd it will be that much more capable.
A bit of background: You're probably wondering by now how I ended up
trying to make a dually out of all those SRW (Single Rear Wheel) parts. Fact is, I changed my
mind a few times before the project finally got rolling. The original idea
was to put that 3/4 ton "basket case" on the road. Not knowing much about
4x4's when I bought it - sure wish I'd had this site available back in
'97! - I didn't realize this unit wasn't as heavy-duty as I thought.
Besides, it was too rough to be worth putting back together, which if I was
smart I would have checked out BEFORE buying it...................
The crew cab I grabbed largely because of the axles - proper 1-ton units. Wasn't quite sure what I was going to build with them at the time, but 1-ton stuff is like gold - they were worth grabbing regardless!
I'm doing this project at the shop I rent, which I go "halves" with a friend of mine on. He's also "into" trucks, in particular '73 to '87 GM's. He had a set of dually axles out of an '87 but but didn't really want to use them - he preferred to use SRW ones. A convenient trade resulted in me getting dually axles, still didn't have a definite plan for them...............
.........................until I found myself getting more involved with plowing. Originally I hung the plow on my '75 2wd to clear the lot at the shop, this year I'm working as a sub for another contractor and while the 2wd does pretty good, 4wd is really what I need for plowing. Considered buying another 4x4 to put the plow on, however the cost of keeping two trucks going and the fact that I prefer to build my own convinced me to swap a 4x4 frame under the '75.
Didn't want the length of a crew cab so it was necessary to shorten the frame. Further complicating matters was the fact that, although it's not obvious in the photo, the rear axle area of the crew cab frame was in pretty bad shape. While a 4wd 1-ton frame could probably have been located if I put enough time and $$$ into it, I had a complete 2wd frame on hand anyway so I took measurements, started chopping and then "glued" the two halves together. Now, I work full-time in the welding/fabricating trade so that part of the job was fairly straightforward to me, VERY important - if you plan to do something similar yourself make sure that it's done properly!
OK, off my soapbox now - I was going to "fish-plate" the splices anyway with a layer of plate on the inside of the frame web. I decided to take it a step further and run that plate full-length, in effect "double-framing" it the way many dump trucks, mixers and other big trucks have their frames strengthened by another layer of channel bolted inside the frame. Since I only beefed up the web, not the flanges, mine isn't a true double frame but it IS a lot stronger than stock. 1-ton trucks aren't exactly weak so this operation really wasn't necessary, on the other hand I won't have to worry about frame problems in the future either. I have had the joy of working on frames that have cracked, often tow trucks. Much easier to beef up the frame now while there isn't a truck on it!
I have tried to keep a record of the various stages as the project goes along - I would like to thank Chuck for the opportunity to share them with you.
Truck Restoration Parts - Here
Northern Tool -
Hand tools, power tools, shop supplies, hoists, small engine parts,
& Supplies by Eastwood - This is the place the Pro's go. Too much to
If you are going to be doing body work or painting, they have everything you'll need.
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