2x4 to 4x4 conversion. Is this scenario possible?
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Author:  Dapper Dan [ Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:01 pm ]
Post subject:  2x4 to 4x4 conversion. Is this scenario possible?

As posted elsewhere on the forum, I know where there is a 79 M880 I could likely pick up for around $500.00. It's a long bed with 318 and auto transmission. The body is in poor condition but the owner says it is sound mechanically and drivable. There is no title so I couldn't (or shouldn't) drive it on the road if I bought it.

My regular truck is a plain old '91 2x4 Ram long bed with 318 auto. The body, cab and interior are in very good condition. Are the cabs and frames on these two truck interchangeable? If so, I thought it might be worth considering to pull the cab and bed off the 91 and set it onto the 79 M880 frame and drive train. Can this be done? Is it practical?

Author:  palomino [ Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2x4 to 4x4 conversion. Is this scenario possible?

anything can be done, but it will take some time to do, and it is not something for a novice to do. It will take some time, and you will have some $$$$ into the project, and probably almost as much as if you sold what you have and bought one that was already done....
that's my "2 cents", but it can be done....

Author:  swepty [ Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2x4 to 4x4 conversion. Is this scenario possible?

:!: Yes, it actually is easy. The difference is the cab in your 2x4 will have to have the center hump cut out and have the one from the 79 welded into it for clearance on the transfer case, and the shifter mechanism. Other than that the cab is good to go. The bed is a no brainer, unbolt the 79 bed and remove (don't forget about the ground straps) and do the same with your 2x4 and swap. Bulkhead connections are slightly different, so try to retain as much under dash and engine wiring as possible so as to make it much easier. But basically it costs nothing but some time, welding wire, and seam sealer and your good to go. I'm in the middle of a similar scenario right now. I am replacing the cab on my BB power wagon with a rust free 2x4 cab, all that's left is prime, paint and glass and I'm in like flynn. 8-)

Author:  Dapper Dan [ Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2x4 to 4x4 conversion. Is this scenario possible?

Hi swepty! Any pictures you could post for us of your project? I for one would love to see what you're doing! :)

I've been looking online for a '91 long bed 250 4x4 but so far haven't seen any that strike my fancy. There is a very professional rod shop in the area that has everything needed for such a conversion. I took my "concealed carry" class with the owner who seems a pretty straight up fellow. I'll ask him what he might charge for such a conversion. I'm thinking of doing either that or buying the 79 and making a Rick Simon clone out of it. Then, I could use it everyday and not worry about dinging it up since it wouldn't be a real Macho anyway... ;)

Author:  swepty [ Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2x4 to 4x4 conversion. Is this scenario possible?

I have some pics, but will get some more and try to post them when I get them taken. I have a 250 6" lift dedicated plow/salt truck. I have several BIG commercial accounts, and this is my main truck that I have run the last 5 years, and you can imagine what 5 years of plowing and salting have done to it! I have long gave up the bed, it has a custom flat bed (better suited for hauling skids of salt) with full LED lighting :shock: , 205 transfer case, 727 TF, did have mild built 360 (455 cam, etc), now has heavy built 400, that I just painted chrysler blue cuz lets face it, it's still a plow truck. :| The new motor has 509 lift cam, flat top pistons, deep oil pan, carter carb. The cab is currently all sealed, I disassembled the thing don to bare shell and have spent the last 6 days sanding and welding, and sealing up all cracks, seams, everything everywhere. I have a 91 250 cummns parts truck that I plasma cut the floor peice out and then welded it into my new cab. When complete the truck will be white and black macho style paint scheme with a black bed :mrgreen: .

I will try to get as many different pics that I can, don't know when, but I'll get em 8-)

Author:  Dapper Dan [ Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2x4 to 4x4 conversion. Is this scenario possible?

Looking forward to seeing them. Every ding, crack, dent, rust-out and cake of mud gained through hard work or play is a badge of hounour! :)

Author:  Dapper Dan [ Fri Oct 24, 2008 8:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2x4 to 4x4 conversion. Is this scenario possible?

Aside from transferring the center (hump) out of the 79 to the 91 to make room for the transmission and shifter, would another possible scenario be to just pull the rear, front, transmission and all m880 4X components from the 79 and transfer them over leaving the 91 cab, box, engine and chassis intact? Are the chassis of both pretty much the same so all said components would bolt right up to the right locations? Would this be a simpler way to go over the previously mentioned scenario?

Author:  swepty [ Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2x4 to 4x4 conversion. Is this scenario possible?

Would you be making the 91 into a 4x4, using the running gear from the 79? If so, you still would have to massage that floor. The frame on your 880 should be slightly taller than the 91, unless the 91 is 3/4 ton. Therefor, I would use the 880 frame for strength! Plus truely the cab swap is easy as pie. Just cut the 4x4 center out lay it in the 91 cab draw a line to trace it, cut just inside the line on the 91, tack weld the floor in, or drill and rivet it in. Then finish weld and seam seal the inside and outside paint and done. Takes about 2 hours then let seam sealer set over night and your eady to paint.

Author:  440shortbox [ Sat Oct 24, 2009 12:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2x4 to 4x4 conversion. Is this scenario possible?

The large floor hump in the 1970s trucks was bolted in place.On the early 80s and newer trucks it was all stamped into the floor panel and not a removable part. you could cut out the newer trucks hump and make it a removable part or weld it in-choice is yours.
Something to think about for anyone wanting a diesel or fuel injected truck :
The 1989- 93 trucks are plentiful,and if you change over the fenders,doors,and box from a 72-80 truck,you could make a vintage looking truck with modern driveline very easily and cheap too. The only thing is the 1981-93 regular cabs have a taller flatter roof skin,but most people never notice that anyway. Not an issue with the club cabs since they used the rounded roof only.
One consideration is the rad support.The 81-85 ,86-90 and 91-93 rad supports all have the headlights in different places and wont accept the round headlights. I have done this modification on one of my own trucks and it was not hard at all. I took the 72-78 type rad support and cut out the headlight mount areas,made them into simple headlight mount panels, and then cut out the same area smaller in the newer rad support and bolted it in place.Sounds harder than it is.
The rad supports from 72-93 will accept all the early grilles.
A 79-80 rad support has removable haedlight mount panels,so they are even easier to swap into the newer rad supports

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