Time to do 4x4 swap?

Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby MD/astro\CL [OP] » June 21st 2018, 1:33pm

After having some issues with my 95 RWD van's transmission I've been contemplating a few options. Being as the trans has almost 150k miles on it and I never wanted 2wd only to begin with I was thinking now may be the time to do a 4X4 swap rather than waste more time and money on the 2wd set up. Looking for advice and info about doing this swap, about how much it should cost, what parts will be needed, and how involved is it for someone with decent mechanical ability and a large shop which basic tools. Pics of 4x4 van set ups would also be appreciated.

I was originally thinking of either fixing the leaks the trans has, getting the trans rebuilt, or replacing with a used low mileage trans but getting it rebuilt would be around $1100 and can't seem to find any low milage transmissions around. So will probably just try to fix the leaks in the existing trans, hope theres no overheating damage and start doing the 4x4 conversion.
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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby Mmusicman » June 21st 2018, 1:40pm

MD/astro\CL wrote:Pics of 4x4 van set ups would also be appreciated..

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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby markmitchmarkmitch is online! » June 21st 2018, 2:51pm

You will need: front frame with transfer, transmission, front differential all pertinent wiring from a Astro or Safari with AWD.
Then to convert from AWD to 4x4 you will need a transfer case with shifter from a 4x4 chevy S-10 or GMC S-15
or you can just find a van with AWD and swap the transfer case from one from a S-10 pr S-15. Let us know what road your taking on this adventure. markmitch
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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby Coaster » June 21st 2018, 2:58pm

do a solid axle swap and have a real 4x4
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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby Mmusicman » June 21st 2018, 5:01pm

Coaster wrote:do a solid axle swap and have a real 4x4


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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby WimpTech » June 21st 2018, 5:16pm

Well, IIRC the conversation was that it isn't just a cradle swap to go from RWD to AWD, but I could be mistaken since I've never tried.
In my conversations with Mike at JOR, he said I would still need to start with an AWD in order to do that solid axle swap (SAS). Might check in with him before getting too far along the planning process.

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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby CopperFiremistCopperFiremist is online! » June 21st 2018, 5:44pm

Level up! You will need an AWD sub frame to start with.

http://journeysoffroad.com/astro-axle-kit-build.html
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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby Leeann_93Leeann_93 is online! » June 21st 2018, 9:41pm

AWD subframe
AWD transmission crossmember
AWD transmission, or AWD tailshaft and extension housing installed in your trans, which requires a complete teardown
transfer case
wiring harness
TCCM


It's not a quickie swap. Much easier to find an AWD van.
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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby sixsix » June 24th 2018, 8:27pm

MD/astro\CL wrote:Would that work or is this idea completely crazy?

Oh, yeah - someone else on the forum here was working on just that.
But w/a big diesel.



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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby markmitchmarkmitch is online! » July 19th 2018, 11:41pm

I have an 89 Astro RS (pics in my gallery) I plan on a future 4x4 add on but this is how I plan on doing it: 1. Buy a junker AWD astro. 2. remove the front frame and all parts pertaining to the AWD. 3. Get pick n pull to come get the carcass. 4 take the complete front frame apart. 5. Clean/blast all hard parts. 6. Replace all soft parts ie ball joints, cv shafts. shocks, torsion bars. and whatever I missed lol. 7. put it all back together then get or make an oil pan for my V8. I do not plan on lifting this at this time because I have new non off road tires on my van so this will be a long term project while I am driving my van. I still need to do my research on transfer, transmission, exhaust, gear ratio's and so on. I like a challenge but I am sticking to a non computer controlled transmission and transfer. It is very doable but in my case my 89 never came with AWD so its worth it to me to make the swap. I hope to gather all parts while looking for the front frame assembly.
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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby astrometalvan » October 7th 2018, 1:44pm

For a project that big, I would start by purchasing a parts mule. This one seems ideal and is for sale 10 miles or so from you.

https://baltimore.craigslist.org/cto/d/1998-chevy-astro-van-awd/6716512578.html

There's most of what you will need for only $300
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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby J1973s » June 5th 2021, 4:10am

I know this is an old thread but here’s a question. What do I look for in a donor vehicle? I have a 1990 Provan Tiger with 80K and AWD that I’d like to convert to 4WD. The possible donor vehicle is a 1989 S-15 Jimmy with 210K and 4WD and an auto trans. According to the owner, 4wd was used very sparingly. Price is $950 so that’s a go unless the 210K is a red flag.
Thanks
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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby Mmusicman » June 5th 2021, 12:02pm

J1973s wrote:According to the owner, 4wd was used very sparingly. Price is $950 so that’s a go unless the 210K is a red flag.

I think you ONLY need the transfer case, not the whole truck.. unless your transmission isn't compatible.
I say that because I paid $175 for a Blazer transfer case online (included shipping).. and I've seen them for less.

210K is a lot of miles.. but I can't say for sure how much it affects the transfer case.
Ours are always turning, regardless engaged or not.

Unfortunately, I also can not tell you which unit is compatible with Gen 1 either.. mine is a 2000.
Sorry. But someone here knows.. or the info is already posted.

Good luck
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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby markmitchmarkmitch is online! » June 5th 2021, 3:02pm

All you will need is the transfer case, some form of a shifter to shift from 4 hi to 4 lo etc and both drive shafts from a 99 to 2005 AWD Astro or Safari or you can buy the kit from Journey's off road. Mark
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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby MI_GhostMI_Ghost is online! » June 5th 2021, 11:03pm

J1973s wrote:According to the owner, 4wd was used very sparingly. Price is $950 so that’s a go unless the 210K is a red flag.

The thing to remember is that these are chain/clutch driven transfer cases. It does not matter if the 4WD was ever used. It still saw all 210K miles. Don't be fooled just because GM labeled it 4WD and not AWD.

Start with The AWD Astro/Safari donor and work the upgrades in.
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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby AstroWill » June 6th 2021, 4:18am

J1973s wrote:I know this is an old thread but here’s a question. What do I look for in a donor vehicle? I have a 1990 Provan Tiger with 80K and AWD that I’d like to convert to 4WD. The possible donor vehicle is a 1989 S-15 Jimmy with 210K and 4WD and an auto trans. According to the owner, 4wd was used very sparingly. Price is $950 so that’s a go unless the 210K is a red flag.
Thanks


If your van is already AWD you really don't need an entire donor vehicle IMO. That is high mileage and way overpriced if all you need is a good TC. I would look at local and online junk yards.

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Re: Time to do 4x4 swap?

Postby J1973s » June 7th 2021, 12:48am

Thanks for all the help. I’ll move on from the Jimmy and start looking for parts.
The van is factory AWD.
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