Posted By: TerenceandMary Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Fri Jun 25 2021 09:20 PM
I have a 1962 GMC with a pretty cobbled frame, the rear shock mounts have been replaced with a 1/4in thick tab of steel welded to the top of the frame. It also has the factory motor mounts cut out and others welded in that are not in use. The motor (a 61' 235) is mounted by the bottom front mount, the mount itself is attached to the cross member by only 2 bolts and its kinda crooked. the trans (sm420) mounts are non existent, about 1/4 of the back lip of the trans sits on top of a cross member that has been poorly relocated and interferes with the torsion bars when the suspension is compressed.

Seems like its alot of work to repair the frame issues it has. I'm thinking I want to modernize it a bit anyways that way my wife can drive it. I would really love to convert to 4x4 with a bit of a lift and have disc brakes.

I've looked at E-Z Chassis swap kits, they recommend a 1973-1991 suburban. is that the chassis I should use?

I also have some complicating factors, I cant spend much money at once and I am limited as far as space goes. I do however have nearly unlimited time to complete the project.

I don't have a chassis yet though I am talking to a guy who has a 91 suburban with no trans for $100 but i think is only 2wd.

I looked at trying to swap over the suspension to a more modern setup but then I still have to deal with the crossmember and motor mounts, also to convert to 4x4 i would have to do a pretty ridiculous lift to get clearance for the front axle (not to mention making room for a transfer case).

so as far as I can tell a frame swap would be a good option as the amount of work required for either swap or repair of "original" parts is pretty close as well as potential cost.

I want to hear your opinions though, and if anyone has done a swap or conversion this big I want to hear about it, I read just about every conversion (both successful and not) that I can find through the search on here.
Posted By: bartamos Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Fri Jun 25 2021 09:39 PM
You are going to create an ill fitting ugly mess. Tires sticking out, lost of modifications for cab and bed mounts, lift blocks, steering, bumpers won't fit, nothing will fit.


1. Buy a donor 2wd 60-62 frame and swap it to obtain a nice original undercarriage. Live with 2WD.
2. Buy a donor 4wd 60-66 chassis Chevy or GMC.
3. I would have to examine the cobble you speak of to decide if I could just fix it with EBay/Craigslist/junk yard donor pieces. Cut all the bad stuff off and put donor stuff on. The trans and motor mounts are the least difficult issue to fix.
4. Add newer 70's or 80's Chevy 4x4 axles, transmission and transfer case to the original frame. I have done that to a 1956 GMC suburban. I just sold a 1960 GMC 4x4 original.

It's ALWAYS much better to use an original frame. The 4x4's do not use torsion bar or coil suspension. No matter what you do, you are in for a lot of work and fab. You can't do it in an apartment parking space.

Consider no. 3 as your best option
Posted By: TerenceandMary Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Fri Jun 25 2021 10:26 PM
@bartamos: well I do live in a house not an apartment, I have space for 2 vehicles and some space for body panel storage. I do see what you mean, either way the body has to come off the frame. after looking through the assembly manual I have fount that the crossmember the trans is perched on is not from this truck. It also has 6 or 7 holes about 3 1/2 inches wide blown through the frame in various spots.

a combo of 3 and 4 would be nice but the other cross member that the motor sits on top of would interfere with the axle in front, even with more modern suspension it would need at least a 5 inch lift to get just a little bit of clearance.

I also must face the fact that the 235 in this truck never belonged and doesn't fit well, what i previously thought was a bad clutch turned out to be the whole motor/trans rolling around in there.

[EDIT] I suppose the truck already is an ill fitting ugly mess :P
Posted By: SNOYL Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Sat Jun 26 2021 04:59 AM
Exactly what I did with my 65, was an ugly mess when I got it. After I decided I wanted 4 wheel drive I got with ed at EZ Chassis Swap, got a running driving 85 suburban 4x4, 350, 700r4 for cheap, not easy to come by here, most are rusted beyond use. Took my time and now have a easy driving truck, power steering, disc brakes. It's the way to go. Ed is a joy to work with. I am not a fabricator by any means but I think it came out well.

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Posted By: TerenceandMary Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Sat Jun 26 2021 06:34 PM
I saw your truck on here before, it came out beautifully. that's basically what I'm hoping to achieve with mine.
Posted By: bartamos Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Sat Jun 26 2021 08:16 PM
That guy does look like an option. About $1100 plus the price of the donor. Minus the sale of the original chassis/axles, etc.
$100 for that 91 suburban seems really cheap. Can't hardly go wrong. Having SNOYL as a go-to testimonial/advisor is golden. You guys should establish email/text communication. When you get gong on the truck, we would like to see progress pics and your opinion of the process.

SNOYL......Good Job!!!!! Looks like you had a great helper.
Posted By: SNOYL Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Sun Jun 27 2021 12:47 AM
Thank you! Really I had no clue what I was in for, but three years of Sunday's puttering, 15 minutes a day, lol. I read that here and it's the truth. Honestly my biggest problem was finding the doner truck. You would be surprised how everything fits, 65 to 85. I would be happy to help in any way I can. It's not a show truck but that's not what I wanted. It earns its keep.
Posted By: TerenceandMary Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Sun Jun 27 2021 09:23 PM
I'm in no rush to complete this project, it can take 10 years and that's ok with me. now the guy with the suburban isn't responding to me >.< but the search for the "right" chassis continues, luckily out here that stuff pops up all the time. I just have to wait for someone to roll one over on it's side and I'm golden grin I have about $1000 budget for a donor vehicle. so it shouldn't do too hard to dig one up, it's just a waiting game.

and I'm definitely not going for show truck, I'm only removing the dents I put there and I'm not sure if I'm even going to paint it or do some oil treatment or seal it or something.
Posted By: TerenceandMary Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Fri Jul 02 2021 07:29 PM
The guy got back to me, It's 2wd but I will settle for that price

The only issue is it's a 93

E-Z says 91 was the newest they went to

is it still a candidate?
Posted By: TerenceandMary Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Fri Jul 02 2021 07:42 PM
He will hold it for me for a couple days if I do $150

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Posted By: TerenceandMary Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Fri Jul 02 2021 07:48 PM
no trans and motor is missing intake manifold/some belt and hoses. Is it worth it?

also it's a GMC suburban and not Chevy does that matter?

Wheelbase is 131.5
Posted By: Justhorsenround Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Fri Jul 02 2021 08:30 PM
Stop and think a minute. Why are you settling for something entirely different than your original plan? EZ says they support to ‘91 so why buy a ‘93? You want 4wd why buy a 2wd? Set back, take a deep breath and keep looking until you find exactly what you want.
Posted By: TerenceandMary Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Fri Jul 02 2021 08:40 PM
that's very true, I'm only tempted by this one because of the price and the fact that he will haul it out here to me. I am worried that there is a reason I can't find any word of a chassis swap with a 93'
If I had more room I would buy it to fix it and drive it around for a bit seeing as it's in pretty good shape. but I may have to pass this one up, I have a week or possibly more to decide. It doesn't seem like this guys getting very many people asking about the thing.
Posted By: SNOYL Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Wed Jul 21 2021 12:29 AM
Let it go. Up to 91 is it due to frame shape. It took me a long time to find what I got and had to travel two and a half hours one way to pick it up. Was well worth it.
Posted By: Fatcat66 Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Wed Dec 15 2021 04:25 AM
Hello SNOYL,

I am planning a 4x4 conversion for a 1966 GMC. What series frame and 4x4 drivetrains are desirable? I have a line on an early 90's Tahoe 4x4 with a good frame, an engine and all of the drivetrain components in tack. Will that work well? I like your 66 red truck a lot. I want mine to be blue and white.

Thank you,

Posted By: Hotrod Lincoln Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Wed Dec 15 2021 07:54 PM
Somewhere in the mid-90's GM went to metric measurements and fasteners on most of their vehicles. That's probably why the cutoff on the conversion kit is 91. Give EZ a call instead of relying on "I think ******" from any internet forum members (including this one)!
Posted By: SNOYL Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Thu Dec 16 2021 01:18 AM
Fat cat
By no means am I an expert on this. I went with EZ Chassis Swap because I called and talked to Ed. I think any frame newer than 91 is completely different. Get with EZ Chassis and find what they recommend for a donor. I went that way for cost and it had what I wanted, easy driving truck. Still old school in my opinion, I used 95% of original wiring harness, entire cab, box, bumpers....everything ed said it was it was, now it's not a show truck but it drives very nice, power steering, power breaks, automatic, 4 wheel drive and 95% of everyone that sees it has no idea of the conversion. When I got it inspected for the state they went over it with a fine tooth comb. They were impressed with all the mounts and brackets from ed. I would recommend to follow his advice.
Posted By: Fatcat66 Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Tue Dec 21 2021 05:55 PM
Thank you both for the advice. I too want a good driver and not a show truck. I have owned and maintained a 2001 Silverado for 21 years now and I am somewhat familiar with the LS engine and drivetrain. How do I find Ed at EZ chassis swap?
Posted By: Fibonachu Re: Planning a 4x4 conversion. - Wed Dec 22 2021 05:12 AM
His website is kind of a mess, but this is the link to the kit that uses an LS:

I had some questions on it and did not have much success getting a response by email, but I called and Ed was very helpful on the phone. So maybe just skip straight to the phone call if you have questions.
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