Chevy Spring swap onto Toyota PU

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#1
OK, my truck had nothing in the way of flex in the rear when I bought it. The goal I had in mind was to build a rig on a budget, so I didn't have any plans for Coilovers or anything like that. What my truck did have was a mix of the Stock sping pack and a set of NWOR lift springs, :rolleyes: ! Talk about stiff!! That combo allowed for about as much flex as a Shopping cart would have, it was BAD.
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#2
After some research, I learned about swapping in rear leafs from a 1988-1998 1/2 ton Chevy or GMC truck. These leafs are 63" Long and 2.5" wide. Heres some more specs-

*About $100 at a Wrecking Yard.
*You need new front and rear spring hangers. (I used 3" sq. Tube w/ 0.25 wall and cut as needed.)
*U-bolts, Shocks and Spring Plate all need to be altered from stock. I did a U-Bolt flip at the same time.
*Front Mount needs to be about 9.5" forward of stocker, in order to center the axle. Measure twice, weld once!! You can determine rear-mount shackle angle for your needs once the front mount is on.
*Leafs provide 3" of lift and are super soft.

Heres the new mounts-
 

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Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#3
We torched out the old mounts and welded on the new ones. The most difficult part about this swap was probably dropping the Gas Tank to get the mount welded on all sides. Here's Erik welding on the new front mount.
 

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Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#4
We got the mount on, gas tank back in and decided to try the Double Shackle setup for the rear mount. This involved a Jeep CJ lift shackle against the frame, and a Chevy shackle going from the CJ Shackle to the Chevy Spring. Using this setup, we didn't have to relocate the rear mount.
 

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Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#6
With it all together, we took it out for a test drive. The results were good for the springs, but the Double Shackle setup was questionable. The rearend was a bit too squirly on the road and if you hit a bump big enough to unseat the shackle, you heard and felt a pretty loud thump as the shackle hit the frame.

I swapped out the stock Chevy Shackle for a Chevy Lowering Shackle, it gave about 1" of additional lift. The Flex was amazing, but wasn't completely predictable. Heres one of the better flex shots-
 

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Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#7
FOLLOW UP:

The springs flex really good for a $100 set of leafs, but some of the things that are negative are....

*The lenght! They stickout pretty far and I usually drag the leaf and shackle over rocks.

*Double Shackles SUCK! They are long gone, since they caused horrible wheelhop when climbing steep slickrock.

I would not recommend these leafs for anyone with a Bobbed Bed. My shackles stick out past the bumper! They would tuck great under a 4Runner or PU with a stock bed. I am still running these leafs with a single shackle and they flex pretty good. My Shackle in the Rear uses the Shackle Hanger in the stock location, and I am running a 11" Shackle @ a 45 degree angle.

The Double Shackles created a Massive amount of Wheelhop during steep climbs, especially if I was on the Throttle. It was to the point that I didn't even have a chance at some obstacles. The truck was literally Handicapped! Also, if you drove down a steep dropoff, the shackles would unload and Invert. This got to be a PITA to fix.

I don't have wheelhop issues anymore and the springs have held up to quite the beating. Inorder to fit the 37's, I'm running a 2" Block and a long shackle. Total lift of about 6-7".

Any questions?
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#9
Originally posted by mbryson
Nice write up. If I'd done anything creative, I'd make one up. I've kind of got the standard build XJ---cheaply done...
You trimmed your sheetmetal and flares to fit bigger tires, didn't you? Thats a mod you could do a writeup about! How about building your Dana 44? ;)
 

mbryson

.......a few dollars more
Premium Member
#10
The trimming/hacking is pretty straightforward. Cut what you think will rub, cut a little extra off, go wheel it, come back and cut what rubbed.

The D44 was an XJ 44. Tough bolt in.....Works EXCELLENT, however! Ok, it drags a little more than the D35, but it's very worth it. I never worry about it and the ARB is CCCCCOOOOOOOLLLLL!
 

lackie

Registered User
Location
Bountiful, UT
#14
I really appriciate your write up, I have been reading a lot about this swap on Pirate, thanks for the heads up on the double shackle. I have a set of 63" chevies I'm waiting to put on my 85 4Runner and I was wondering If I could get the specs on the shackle your using now.
Thanks in advance

Mike Telford
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#15
Originally posted by lackie
I really appriciate your write up, I have been reading a lot about this swap on Pirate, thanks for the heads up on the double shackle. I have a set of 63" chevies I'm waiting to put on my 85 4Runner and I was wondering If I could get the specs on the shackle your using now.
Thanks in advance

Mike Telford
Mike,

Thanks!

Currently I'm running a huge, homemade shackle, about 11" from eye to eye. I kept the factory spring hanger in the stock location, and have the shackle sitting on a 45* angle, unloaded.

Here's the only decent pic I have of it-
 

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Klif01

Do I bother you?
Location
Denver, CO
#16
My swap:

What I did to get the lift I wanted was use the three spring pack. For the front mount I just collapsed and bought the budbuilt mount. Very clean. For the rear though I cut the old mount off and welded a 6-8" piece of 2" square tubing in. Then welded the old shackle mount onto that. I am running an 8" eye to eye shackle at a 45* angle loaded. Works out very nice. I have the shocks relocated in a /\ form to the crossmember, but plan on changing axels and cutting the stock crossmember off and making a new one that is perfectly verticle of the axel and made out of square to have many mounting holes for the shocks. Pics of my swap can be found Here
 
#17
question

:-\
FOLLOW UP:

The springs flex really good for a $100 set of leafs, but some of the things that are negative are....

*The lenght! They stickout pretty far and I usually drag the leaf and shackle over rocks.

*Double Shackles SUCK! They are long gone, since they caused horrible wheelhop when climbing steep slickrock.

I would not recommend these leafs for anyone with a Bobbed Bed. My shackles stick out past the bumper! They would tuck great under a 4Runner or PU with a stock bed. I am still running these leafs with a single shackle and they flex pretty good. My Shackle in the Rear uses the Shackle Hanger in the stock location, and I am running a 11" Shackle @ a 45 degree angle.

The Double Shackles created a Massive amount of Wheelhop during steep climbs, especially if I was on the Throttle. It was to the point that I didn't even have a chance at some obstacles. The truck was literally Handicapped! Also, if you drove down a steep dropoff, the shackles would unload and Invert. This got to be a PITA to fix.

I don't have wheelhop issues anymore and the springs have held up to quite the beating. Inorder to fit the 37's, I'm running a 2" Block and a long shackle. Total lift of about 6-7".

Any questions?
I have a 79 yota that has the exact or similar set you had before your swap. I wish to do the swap but I have already shortened the frame all the way up to the shackle mount in the rear. My question is what would happen if I put a regular shackle in the rear and moved the front mount forward enough. Would all I need to do is shorten the driveshaft?
 
#19
the tire will also be stuffed into the front of the wheel well and you'll need to cut out some wheel well. It can be done but probably a pita and not what you really want. Less wheel base, and the same long back end hanging out that you wanted to eliminate when you cut off the back of the frame. If I were you, I'd either extend the frame out until it's long enough for your shackle mount, or use different, shorter springs. I'm sure somebody else can chime in with the other options of shorter springs that are out there.....
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#20
:-\
I have a 79 yota that has the exact or similar set you had before your swap. I wish to do the swap but I have already shortened the frame all the way up to the shackle mount in the rear. My question is what would happen if I put a regular shackle in the rear and moved the front mount forward enough. Would all I need to do is shorten the driveshaft?

After I ditched the double shackle, I was using the shackle mount in the stock location. I had to use a long shackle, 11" long IIRC and it sat at a 45* angle. It worked, but stuck out there pretty far. The important thing about moving the spring location, if you do it, is not to move the axle location.

Like mentioned above, you could use a shorter spring. I think the GM 56" springs should be similar to the 63" springs.
 
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