Chevy van 4x4 conversion

jason77

Adventurer
So, I know that most people use Fords for 4x4 conversions, but does anyone make a kit or specialize in doing conversions on chevy vans? Why or why not? I know there's the AWD option, but the former hardcore wheeler in me needs a solid axle, and a transfer case w/ high and low range. I also like the idea of tossing a different LS engine in there if I want. Just wondering what, if anything, is out there for Chevys. I found a 2wd SMB w/ penthouse top locally for a pretty good price.
 

k9lestat

Expedition Leader
I've seen Picts of Chevy van on bolder offroads site. Sportsmobile does.

From what I've read and people I've talked to, Chevy is a body on frame design so people tend shy away from Chevy and dodge.

I have an 85 g20 Chevy with a pathfinder conversion.

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jason77

Adventurer
Did you mean that they're unibody? I know that's what the dodges are. Body on frame is what Ford vans are.
 

k9lestat

Expedition Leader
Looking under my van there are frame rails running front to rear the body is wielded to that

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Johny5

Adventurer
I'm working on a conversion on my savana right now . I am using 05 ford coil spring front end. I'll have some more pics up soon in my build thread .
 
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k9lestat

Expedition Leader
Yeah lol. I have had my van 2 years have driven it once. It's at a friend's house getting bumpers and stuff fabbed. Also four link with coils front and back.

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jason77

Adventurer
Yeah, k9lestat, if it's framerails with the body actually welded to it, that's unibody. I guess unibody doesn't make it impossible, just lots more fabbing and unibody strengthening required for a sound conversion, especially with the length and torsional forces there would be on a van body. That said, I've seen some pretty rad Cherokees in my day, and they're unibody.
 

k9lestat

Expedition Leader
I didn't believe it was unibody or what ever they're calling them this week. Cause the rails underneath looked normal size to me. Then I paid attention to to fact there was no gap between them.

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bdog1

Adventurer
Not what your wanting, but....
You can add a "real T case" to the AWD pretty easy.

The AWD was only in half ton though.


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justcuz

Explorer
Are the frame rail measurements the same in vans as the are in pickups? If so than anybody's SAS brackets should work for a van. I think the best place to check this is to see if there are frame crash/datum sheets posted on line for both and check the measurements. Front frame horn width and the area just behind the bell housing ahead of the trans crossmember are the most important ones. Depending on the GM trans adapters for transfer cases are available for about any application. Just need a front axle to match the t-case front output. (Driver or Passenger drop)
 

pfacdb

New member
Boulder Offroad--answering the original question

As someone noted in another reply, Boulder Offroad, just east of Boulder CO, does Chevy van conversions. While they also service many Ford vans, I'd say they are the specialist in Chevy Express 3500 vans. It is also my understanding that the Chevy Express 3500 vans for a number of years have been built on frames that are equally as durable as Ford Vans--perhaps a myth dating back to some of the much older frame designs of the Chevy vans.

They just finished a complete 4wd conversion of our Roadtrek 190 that is built on a Chevy 3500 express van. They did a fantastic job, and it drives very well--with none of the issues that I read about in this and the Sportsmobile Forum. 11796304_10205712582272601_2427191274050965603_n.jpg

Good luck.
 

SrPatron

New member
Unibody

All 1995 and older Chevy vans are Uni-body. There are large runners that look like a frame but is is all part of the spot welded body.

 

indecisivebrad

New member
Don't let unibody scare you. The fullsize van and truck unibody isn't quite the same as the old fiberglass vettes from back in the day. There are 4x4 Chevy and Dodge vans from the 70's and 80's out there and the few I've seen are holding up fine. It just takes a bit more work to get all the parts mounted securely.
 
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