Lifted astro build.

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Lifted astro build.

Postby Lumpdog [OP] » May 31st 2017, 9:54pm

Ended up with a 1999 Astro van recently and out of no where a plan hatched to build an off road version. Also moved subframe forward one inch for tire clearance

Homebuilt 5" spacer lift, mismatch s10 rear springs with add a leaf and 1" block

2" engine/trans/tcase raise

33" Jeep Rubicon wheels and tires on 2" spacers

Engo 9000 winch, Factor 55 fairlead and pro link. Custom winch mount.
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby CopperFiremistCopperFiremist is online! » May 31st 2017, 10:52pm

Looks good! Though I am a bit skeptical of moving the sub-frame forward 1" and raising the engine/trans/tcase 2" Pics or didn't happen.
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby 1lowcab » May 31st 2017, 10:52pm

Looks real good, I like it!


More details on the lift.....
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby TurnNburn » May 31st 2017, 10:58pm

Welcome to the tall van club! Looks like you have quite the rig now.

Going to do the 233 swap next? Or even something beefier?

Did you do all of the work yourself? I would like to hear more information about the sub frame shift though. I have not heard of anyone doing that before and you have peaked my interest. Did you have your front drive shaft lengthened to accommodate the new length?

And did you lift the drive train up to get the oil pan out of harms way?
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby Lumpdog [OP] » May 31st 2017, 11:00pm

I used 3x5 box tube. Drilled one side to bolt to the body, drilled the subframe side an inch forward to give my 33's some room without hacking the body. Wish I would have went 1.5 forward now. I'm still working on removing each block to reinforce it, although it drives solid.

I'll get pics of it.
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby TurnNburn » May 31st 2017, 11:03pm

so bolts to the body through 1 set of holes and then nuts(welded in I assume?) and bolts for the subframe side? Pretty wild idea. Where did you come up with something like that?
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby Lumpdog [OP] » May 31st 2017, 11:08pm

TurnNburn wrote:Welcome to the van club! Looks like you have quite the rig now.

Did you do all of the work yourself? I would like to hear more information about the sub frame shift though. I have not heard of anyone doing that before and you have peaked my interest. Did you have your front drive shaft lengthened to accommodate the new length?

And did you lift the drive train up to get the oil pan out of harms way?


Moving subframe forward requires no front drivline mod as it all moves forward. Only reason I had to mod the driveline is because of the 246 swap. The rear drivline would have had to be longer, but the 246 is longer so it fits perfectly now.

I built engine mount spacers to lift the engine up and trans mount up in order to get the oil pan out of harms way.

And yes.. I've done it all myself.

I am a transmission guy and avid offroader.. this is my other play toy
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby Lumpdog [OP] » May 31st 2017, 11:10pm

TurnNburn wrote:so bolts to the body through 1 set of holes and then nuts(welded in I assume?) and bolts for the subframe side? Pretty wild idea. Where did you come up with something like that?


Because it's what I do... haha. I always think outside the box and do things a little different.

This is my page with a bunch of my projects. http://Www.facebook.com/bowmantrans
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby TurnNburn » May 31st 2017, 11:14pm

AHhhh now its starting to make sense. Right on! I never would have thought about that. And on top of all of that you got the 246 to bolt in with no mods(other then sliding the subframe forward)?

I think we are going to like having you around :thumbup:
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby Lumpdog [OP] » May 31st 2017, 11:21pm

TurnNburn wrote:AHhhh now its starting to make sense. Right on! I never would have thought about that. And on top of all of that you got the 246 to bolt in with no mods(other then sliding the subframe forward)?


I think we are going to like having you around :thumbup:


246 is bolt in as long as you have the 6 bolt tcase adapter too. Front drivline had to be redone to connect the 246 to the van diff.. turns out a 96 grand cherokee 4.0 rear drivline was a perfect fit. Just had to use an adapter joint at the transfer case. There are almost zero custom parts on this build really. Mostly just things I had laying around at the shop.
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby nosxjeep » May 31st 2017, 11:29pm

Keeping in mind that you moved the frontend forward (AWESOME JOB BTW!) hows the rubbing factor on those 33s AND spacers?
You seem like the type that has taken it out and flex'd it.
*all compliments*

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Did you perhaps take a pic of the engine mount spacers before jamming them up in there?

Ah heck... pics of everything please!
:lol:
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby Lumpdog [OP] » May 31st 2017, 11:41pm

nosxjeep wrote:Keeping in mind that you moved the frontend forward (AWESOME JOB BTW!) hows the rubbing factor on those 33s AND spacers?
You seem like the type that has taken it out and flex'd it.
*all compliments*

BOOKMARKED

Did you perhaps take a pic of the engine mount spacers before jamming them up in there?

Ah heck... pics of everything please!
:lol:


I didn't really take a lot of build pics. Just worked on it a little here and there over the past few weeks. I will try to upload some pics.
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby 1lowcab » June 1st 2017, 12:02am

:banana-gotpics: :banana-gotpics: :banana-gotpics:
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby Lumpdog [OP] » June 1st 2017, 12:52am

********DISCLAIMER.... THESE ARE IN PROOF OF CONCEPT PHASES. I STILL NEED TO REINFORCE THE BLOCKS/PAINT****

Here are a few pics. All I could get quickly. Most of it is hard to see.

With doing a 5" subframe drop and 2" engine raise the engine only dropped 3". It had gained a ton more oil pan clearance plus allows access to the front diff and steering linkage. So it is probably the best mod so far. When I dropped the subframe I did it wil 12" long pieces of metric threaded rod. I took each subframe bolt out one by one and then was able to use the rod to slowly drop the sub frame 1" at a time until I got to five inches and could install the spacers in the normal holes. Then I slid the subframe forward and rebolted it into the Only thing I had to lengthen was the power steering hose and relocated a few harness. But all the a/c and heater hoses were fine.


The 33's clear with only mild rubbing. But there was no way they would clear before moving the subframe forward. I have torsion keys and shock extenders for the front sitting on a shelf because I read that 33's wouldn't fit without major body reworking which I didn't want to do. Plus the wheel fits the wheelwell nicely now. I wish I had done a 1.5" move forward though.
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby Lumpdog [OP] » June 1st 2017, 1:06am

I used engine plates from Chassis Unlimited to build the motor mount spacers. Four of the plates and a 1" spacer in between them makes them 1.5" tall. Then offsest the mount plates 1.5" from eachother and when mounted on a 45 degree angle it lifts the motor 2.12". Then for the transmission mount I just used a piece of 2" box tube. Easy peasy.

http://www.chassisunlimited.com/product ... lates.html

I also extended the steering shaft 5" as well.

But the 5" drop and one inch move forward was easy. Rear is lifted with some s10 leafs, an add a leaf, a 1" block, and 2 longer ubolts and 4 1/2" bolts. It was easy too. I haven't done the shackles yet, but don't think I will need them. I think I have all of $100 into the whole lift plus my time.
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby TurnNburn » June 1st 2017, 1:08am

:clap:

That is not what I had imagined in my head, thanks for the pictures to clear that up. I understand what you meant by lifting the drive train means the engine relative to the body only came down 3 inches instead of the whole 5. But the steering box is bolted to the sub frame and that dropped 5 inches. Since you said you didn't cut or lengthen anything, did you use the gen 2 RWD steering shaft since its longer? I have a 3 inch body lift already, and had to use that steering shaft since its longer, I just didn't know it was long enough for a 5 inch body lift.

*EDIT* just saw you posted the answer to my question while I was typing this
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby CopperFiremistCopperFiremist is online! » June 1st 2017, 1:11am

WOW! Pics delivered! Nice work Lumpdog I so thought you were playing around about moving the sub frame forward but you sure weren't! Sure makes changing the plugs easy :rofl:
:ty:


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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby TurnNburn » June 1st 2017, 1:13am

Thanks for the link to the motor mount spacers. I have to lift my drive train an inch or 2 just like you did to fit the V8 I just got fit over the front diff. Those, setup like you described, seems like an easy way to tackle that lift.
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby Lumpdog [OP] » June 1st 2017, 1:30am

with the 2" back up the oil pan is higher than the crossmembers now. And everything is so easy to get to now. I have tons of room to access the oil pan, power steering pump, plugs, etc.

I used to be a gm tech for years and always dreaded doing any engine work on these vans. But now everything is so accessible. I also didn't have to mess with any steering or suspension geometry, so ride and steering are exactly as they were before.

I built this van as a total joke initially with plans to jump it/tuff truck it and have fun doing it. Then I lifted it and fell in love with it.


I saw the 3" plastic body lift spacer lift and that was way too sketchy for me. There was no way I was going to lift it that way. too little surface area, too long of a bolt in my opinion. My way retains the factory bolt and adds way more strength and resistance to movement than the plastic body lift. The same thing could be done with 3"x3" box tube, or even 3"x4" box tube. both could be offset drilled and the subframe slid forward. The subframe move for tire clearance kicks ***. I would recommend it.
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Re: Lifted astro build.

Postby nosxjeep » June 1st 2017, 2:09am

That truly is awesome stuff there!
How much more forward do you think you could have gone with the subframe?
Would 1.5" be about the max before running out of space in the engine bay?
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