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Thread: 97 Chevy 1/2 ton to 1 ton conversion

  1. #1
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    97 Chevy 1/2 ton to 1 ton conversion

    I have a very nice 97 Chevy 1/2 4x4 pickup that I would like to convert to have 1 ton running gear. I've done a lot of work with old 80s solid axle truck but never anything with IFS, so I have a lot of questions for anyone that knows. First, is there even a difference between the 6 and 8 lug 4x4 IFS other than the lug hub, half shafts, spindel, or A arms. Is the differential itself the same between 1/2 3/4 and one ton (same carrior, ring size) or is it altogether different. Second, is the only difference between the dually 4x4 and single wheel 4x4 front end that 5 inch spacer behind the wheel. Can that spacer be removed to be like a single wheel front end. Third, I know that a dual rearend is narrower than a single rearend, but does anyone know if there are wheel spacers available to cover the distance so a dual rearend can be used as a single.(I ask because I found a dually parts truck for a great price) These are probably dumb questions, but this is the first truck like this that I've delt with and I just don't know much about it, plus its kind of hard to find any info on it. If anyone can answer any of these questions or send me a link to another site that may have more information I would really appreceate it.
    Thanks
    a lot.

  2. #2
    Senior Member 03chevy's Avatar
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    for your first q. that is almost everything but you have to include bigger brakes. and the diff's have differant gears for each 1/2, 3/4 and 1 ton trucks because of the differance what the trucks are able to do and pull or carrie
    A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste!

  3. #3
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    WOW that alot of work! just finda wrecked one ton with all the running gear and swap your good body, you must have alot oftime on your hands, what do you intend to do with this truck that requires the one ton stuff? you could swap the body in a weekend, and sell the good 1/2 ton stuff for good cash, WAY less hassle, just my 2 and half cents though
    Gone.

  4. #4
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    I've just found it to be difficult to find a wrecked one ton 4x4 that doesn't have some frame damage too.

  5. #5
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    I would suggest this is not a feasible option at all. The brakes are bigger, including the power brake booster, the master cyclinder, brake lines, calipers and all. The ring and pinion in the rear is bigger, the axles are bigger, the IFS has bigger ball joints, stronger A arms, larger upper and lower bushings, not to mention the frame is even bigger. Just guessing, the 1/2 ton chassis is 4 in rails, the 3/4 and 1 ton is like 6 and even 8in in some spots. It would only be worth considering from a 3/4 to a one ton, and that is only consideration. I would not even consider 1/2 to 3/4 or 1 ton. Just my opinion of course. Anyone can do anything if they have the time and funds to do so. I just think it would be cheaper to buy you a wore out 1 ton start there bebuilding the brakes, and installing new suspension parts and it will be cheaper and less headaches in the long run.

  6. #6
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    BTW, also forgot to mention, the auto and even manual trans are more heavy duty as well as the transfer case if going 4x4. The cooling system is much bigger too for both water and trans coolers. Sometimes engine oil cooler too. As stumpuller asked, what are your intentions of use? You may be able to just beef up the half ton a bit and serve your purpose well and maintain a bit of fuel mileage and not have all the headache.

  7. #7
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    Nothing is the same, and nothing is a direct bolt up.
    Since the control arms will not bolt up to the frame, you cant use the torsion bars, and the rear suspension is not a direct bolt in.
    There is really no advantage to performing this swap. The frame is the weak link and you will never have the same weight capacities as the 1 ton truck.

    With all of this fabrication involved, you would be much better of just s******** all of the running gear, and installing a solid front axle from a Ford, and using the correct 1 ton rear axle.
    You will have far less work invested, and the money will be about the same.
    Kits are available for this, and this is a very common upgrade, but sticking with an already weak design (front IFS), is really not worth the investment of time, or money.

  8. #8
    Senior Member brad4eva's Avatar
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    good luck, be better off to buy a new truck
    //B-rad

  9. #9
    Senior Member wild bill's Avatar
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    hd truck

    kind of like brad4eva said you would be better off finding a 1 ton to start with ,there are probably some out there now that most people are down sizing ,maybe some body will trade !!!

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