TTB van pics please!

wyndsurfr

Observer
Had a possible eureka moment under there while poking/grunting/thinking..... I was concerned about where the driveshaft was going to the front and trying to do both the driveshaft angles and the suspension angles with nothing to actually visualize in person. If things get wonky, I can put a carrier bearing/block on the transmission cross member and that will allow me to change angles twice if I have to.... granted, a carrier bearing hanging down like that is asking for a big rock to mess it up, but, it's a solution and a skid/plate will help. Plus, bear in mind, this is not a rock crawler I'm building, but just basically a family SUV that you can sleep in.
 

wyndsurfr

Observer
what's this???? haha, had a pretty productive first day, I got the van taken apart and have half of the dana 44 just on stands here looking at it and poking things. You can see I have not removed the 2wd I beam mounts yet, was scared to commit, but after looking at some things.... I'm ready to dive into it head first monday for some serious fabrication.... I think I will be able to use the stock van springs and the van radius arms instead of the donor springs and radius arms.... The donor truck has a 4 inch lift kit package and I really don't like it. I think with stock stuff it is going to sit much more reasonably, I may add a block to the springs to raise it up a little bit, but.... so far, I really think everything is going to line up quite nicely. Right now I'm only having one real questionable issue and that is for the drivers side exhaust runner that goes back beside the transmission before crossing over behind the transmission... I may have to completely relocate it, but... that's not a concern right now, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. My goal for now is to get the TTB under the van and make it a running/driving 2 wheel drive van with a 4 wheel drive ttb under the front. I may be foolhardy but I think this is going to happen this week :ylsmoke: I could have it mounted tomorrow I am certain of it if I wanted to increase the ride height this much, but I do not, I don't want this van to look like a big monster van if I can avoid it.... anyhow, it is really looking good, I think the front differential is going to go up inside of the engine crossmember so I will only have to cut out a tiny bit of it if any to clear the hump on the front of the diff cover . Anyhow, all of that is for monday, I don't work on sundays if I can help it and I'll know more as I get into the whole thing





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depark

Observer
I have a 44 TTB under my 2006 E250 that was done by Sportsman 4x4 so I am just throwing some more picts for. you. It uses the stock springs with a spacer. The lift height is 3-4". I run 285/75R16 (32.4" tall) on factory rims in the winter with no rubbing at all. I also run 275/70R18 (33.2" tall) in the summer with very very slight rubbing at full lock and under full compression.
Cheers
Darryl

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wyndsurfr

Observer
didn't get nearly as much done today as I had hoped, just got the old brackets cut off and rivets removed. Had to do some running around and wasn't able to come back and start soon enough..... boy, I need a helper around here haha.... Anyhow, I'm just feeling my way through this with no real plan in place since I feel any real plan I made would be dashed all to pieces anyhow.... Right now though, the next step I think I will be doing is modifying the van's radius arms to use them instead of the truck radius arms. Not much work, just a little trimming and a little torching/bending to open them up maybe another 1/8 inch. I figure by using the van's radius arms it will remove one entire axis of adjustment, then I know it'll be front/back where it should be... If I use the truck radius arms, then I will be moving the radius arm bushing brackets back what looks like 13 3/8 inches. Really torn on this one and don't know which path I should take, so... just stopped for the day. And will make up my mind in the morning about whether I'm modifying the van's radius arms to fit the truck ttb or putting the truck radius arm bushing brackets on the van. It'll require moving some lines around (I think they're the rear ac lines) but no real biggie.... all I know for sure is drilling holes in the frame will be harder than plasma cutting and bending the stock radius arms....anyhow, that's where i've been for the last hour or three, back and forth on that one. I like the thought of leaving as much stock van components on as possible to make getting parts later on down the road less confusing.
 

Raul

Adventurer
Following with interest.

From a performance point of view, I'll prefer to use the longer components as possible. The longer the arm, the larger the arch, the closer you get to a vertical motion.
From a reliability point of view, cutting and bending the van's arms may affect its integrity.

If it were a direct bolt on, I'll try the van's arms. Since you will have to modify them, I'll go with the truck arms even though drilling, and doing it in the right place may be complicated.
 

bcaine

New member
Second to Raul's recommendation.

As you move the van up, relative to the axle, the radius becomes more vertical in its orientation. For extreme comparison, consider the radius arm totally vertical... If up drive over a bump, the radius arm transfers the full impact straight up into the frame. Every pothole would rattle out your dental work. If you can keep the radius arm horizontal the springs and shocks take care of all the vertical wheel travel.

Our of curiosity, are you planning the caster/camber in as you're determining where the axle pivots get placed? Or just planning a cut and turn?
 

wyndsurfr

Observer
my goal is to not raise the van. I want it to remain the same ride height it is at now or very close to it. I keep hearing that it won't work, but never heard a valid (to me) reason why. So, no change to camber other than an alignment. However, that is going to be the tricky bit, getting it set right so I don't run out of alignment adjustment before I get a proper angle. I could have had it done today if I wanted to put the 4 inch lift on it, but I'm trying to tuck everything in. I may have to build a custom transmission crossmember for the driveshaft to clear, but that seems minor compared to everything else that's going on here.

Once it is all under there, I'll see what kind of interference I have with the front pumpkin and the engine crossmember, that will dictate how high of a lift, if any, I put on it.

On my bronco, I have 2 fingers of clearance between the frame rail bump stop and the drivers side TTB, so they don't travel very much. Granted I have a big ol winch on the front, but I drive it all over on road and offroad and it drives like any other vehicle, so I don't think there is anything wrong other than age on the springs... That TTB is tucked way up into it. But... the crossmembers aren't even close to similar, so..... I dunno... I'm just feeling my way through this blindly with a little bit of an idea of what I would like it to be at the end. I think when it's all done, I'll have the closest van to factory ride height someone can get without building a custom engine crossmember.

When I started, I had every intention of using the 4 inch lift kit, but after I mocked it up, I really didn't like how high it was, so, that's why I'm doing all this weird custom stuff now.

I'm positive bending and modifying those radius arms aren't going to hurt anything on them, comparing them to the donor parts, it will be fine. I'm taking pics of the whole process so after it's done I'll maybe make a thread and show where I'm cutting and bending, but it's really not much.... the radius arm opening (where the TTB goes into it) needs to be about 1/8th inch wider to take the 4x4 setup over the 2wd one. that's about 1/16th on the top and 1/16th on the bottom. Then the tops and bottoms of the arms horizontal surfaces are just a little wide and are hitting the TTB body preventing the bolt hole from centering up, I can trim off what I need to and still have at least an inch more metal there than the donor arms have.

I did think long and hard about the longer arms having more travel, but at the end of it my thought was that it works fine as a 2wd, so there is no reason I can think of that it won't work fine as a 4x4....


I think the main thing to keep in mind is, I'm building a van with 4x4 capability, not a ************ 4x4 van like U-joint or any of the other companies are building. I won't be posting any pics of one tire on a forklift to show how much suspension travel I have, it would be pretty sad haha....

To better state it, if I could afford a chevy express awd, that's what I would do because that is all I need, but since I can't and I have all this stuff and a nice "extra" van, might as well play with it some.

Wish me luck, I hope to get the drivers side TTB mounted tomorrow.... At that point I'll know if I have to give up on my "vision" or not.
 

wyndsurfr

Observer
as is obvious by now, I'm going into this blind.... I have plenty of experience cutting/hacking up vehicles, but I've never done much with 4 wheel drives other than buy them, drive them and repair them. My "vision" and plan is evolving each day :) but, it all hinges (pun intended) on getting these TTB mounts in, we'll see what happens tomorrow though. That is going to determine all. Once I get those arms mounted, bolted back up with bushings on them and the ttb mounts tacked in place ( right now I am planning on using grade 8 hardware to bolt them on as well as welding to give me some redundancy for safety) it will be what it will be and I'll have it as close as I think I can.
 

UHAULER

Explorer
Look forward to your progress. I just bought my first van and like the TTB setup, but for now I'm going to leave it 2wd for a while to see if I even like it after it is set up for camping. I have even thought of doing an IFS conversion just to be different.
 

wyndsurfr

Observer
honestly a 2wd van will do 99% of the things I will be doing. This is just to see if I can :) The van I'm working on now has a limited slip rear end in it, so, even better if I just left it alone, it would have done fine. This is just a tinker toy, I might just f it all up and put it back to 2wd, but I think it's going to be pretty cool and look like it was factory :)
 

bcaine

New member
I hope you don't perceive this as being overly critical of your ride height ambitions. It's just a set of measurements that I ran up against in the 50 that may throw off your factory ride height ambitions without some really heavy mods to existing components. I will gladly be wrong on this.

Measure and compare the vertical distance between the center of the hub assembly and spring mount on the 2wd beam and compare that to the equivalent measure on the ttb. The two points are obviously not aligned one-above-the-other but you can extend an imaginary line for purpose of estimating the measurement. On the 50, there is about a 3 inch height difference where the ttb is taller because and axle has to fit within the beam and then the spring mount can be placed on the beam. This creates a sort of minimum lift in the 4wd conversion process equal to the height difference at this point.

You could make a custom ECM, which pushes the pivots upwards equal to this amount to preserve some component of geometry, but your ECM would also require a custom oil pan since that's right above the ECM.

With enough patience and thinking you'll be satisfied with your outcome, I just know how many times I've wished someone could have pointed out some little detail to me. And since you were looking for an explanation as to why the lift was required that didn't focus on pumpkin clearance, I figured I'd throw out this perspective.

Keep us posted!
 

Raul

Adventurer
Please keep adding pictures. I am very interested in your development. I may take your approach.
 

wyndsurfr

Observer
That will be what I encounter tomorrow, I completely understand your explanation and thank you for it, and no, I have not measured that distance between the pivot point and the hub centerline. My plan is to put it as tight as it will go without modifying the ECM, while that really isn't too ambitious either considering all that is going into a 4x4 conversion, it is also straying from one of my other main goals which is to make this critter so as many of the wear items as possible are stock van items to ease parts purchase. So, even though the ECM isn't a wear item, the oil pan gasket is as are the motor mounts, so, I won't be changing those. I'll deal with the ride height increase if i have to, but right now this is just my goal. When I had it mocked up and on jacks (picture a couple pages back) it really looks like it will tuck right up in there and be very close to stock height, but I won't know until I get it all tack/welded into place and then put a tire and some weight on it.

***edit***

I realized that I never uploaded a picture of the van itself, which would explain my obsession with keeping it as low as possible.... I have a very tall fiberglass top on this van, I think it adds 14 or 15 inches as it is, I plan on putting a big platform rack on the top of it as well, possibly aluminium, possibly steel frame with cedar planks.... anyhow, with the platform I'm likely to have 18 inches of height over a "normal" van as is. I will have to drive it out of my shop on flat tires if I put 6 inches of lift on this van haha.

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