I’m currently busy with some home improvement projects that I hope will earn me enough kitchen credit for the 4x4 conversion and suspension upgrade this summer. I’ve continued to research my options and sources for parts. Trying to keep the conversion within a reasonable budget, I’ve compiled the following list.
Front Carrier Assembly Replacement
3.73 ratio (opt GT4)
Donor: 2002 Chevy Blazer S10/S15
Front Axle, w/o ZR2; 3.73 ratio (opt GT4)
$200 Marler Auto Supply, Idaho Falls
“Yes you can use the astro front axles. Simply pull out the Blazer units and stuff yours in. You will need to swap over the front prop shaft flange as well. They are not the same. ” – Capt’n Crunch
Transfer Case Assembly Replacement
NP233C: Electric shift 27 Spline input and the 32 Spline rear output rear slip yoke.
Donor: 2004 Chevy Blazer S10/S15
3 switch dash control (opt NP1)
$100 Marler Auto Supply, Idaho Falls
$274 Journeys Off Road 4x4 Conversion Kit
Installing the Journeys Off Road 4x4 Conversion Kit
https://www.journeysoffroad.com/swaping ... rcase.html
4WD Indicator Light
$9 Alpinetech PLB12MS 12mm 1/2" 12V LED Metal Signal Indicator Pilot Dash Light (4WD) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H8R9GC9/?c ... _lig_dp_it
Rear Differential Rebuild
3.73 (GT4), 10-bolt cover, 28 spline axle 7.6inch ring gear
$565 GM Chevy 7.5" / 7.625" Chevy 10-Bolt Rearend Posi - 28 Spline, Gear, Bearing Kit Package - 3.73 Ratio https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NT8EQJG/?c ... _lig_dp_it
Leaf Spring Replacement
Measures (A/B) = 26 x 28
1982-1994 Chevy / GMC S10, S15 Sonoma Pickup
“S10 leafs from SD Truck Springs bolt right up and will lift the rear about 4-4 1/2". You'll have to cut or grind about a 1/2" off the center bolt that holds the pack together but other than that it's a direct bolt on.” - H2OJoe
$100 Used Leaf Springs (4/1 Leaves)
Donor: 1993 Chevy Blazer S10/S15 (many other options)
Spring Capacity: 3,500 pounds?
Marler Auto Supply, Idaho Falls
$241 New #22-687 SD Leaf Spring (3/1 Leaves)
Spring Capacity: 2,700 pounds
https://www.sdtrucksprings.com/index.ph ... caf0cefd46
$348 New #22-687 HD Leaf Springs (5/1 Leaves)
Spring Capacity: 3,500 pounds
https://www.truckspring.com/products/tr ... 9fb213ae3e
$215 Front Hellwig Sway Bar (1 1/8" diameter)
https://www.sdtrucksprings.com/index.ph ... ts_id=3660
$232 Rear Hellwig Sway Bar (3/4" diameter)
https://www.sdtrucksprings.com/index.ph ... ts_id=3659
DHC Off Road Skid Plates
$316 Aluminum Sheet 1/4" x 65.0"x 20.0"
Extra ~2.75 inches to accommodate air dam/skid plate attachment for Jeep Wrangler bumper
“The Only other thing I would add to your plan, in order to keep it reliable and good steering, is an upper ball joint re-location. That’s where you take the upper ball joints off, and re-locate them to the bottom sides of the upper a-arms instead of the top sides of the upper A-arms.” - ASV Supporter
While I’ve been unable to find a local source for a cast iron front carrier case assembly, I have found most of the required parts at a salvage yard nearby in Idaho Falls. Please keep in mind my home mechanic skills are limited and my local auto shop will be doing most of the heavy lifting. So labor cost is an important consideration. My price estimates do include shipping.
I could use some advice on few items:
• S10 leaf springs: Can I get by with the less expensive used ones from the salvage yard or is it worth investing new leaf springs? I’m trending to HD (1/4 or 1/5). Currently I have a 4” Overland lift kit with shackles and an added leaf in the rear. However, it is starting to sag. When overlanding I have a lot of weight in the rear including 60 gallons (~500 pounds) of extra water and fuel.
• Sway bars: I’m also experiencing significant sway and planning to install a Hellwig sway bar in the rear. I’m wondering if it’s worth investing in a front Hellwig sway bar as well?
• Yukon Dura Grip: Thoughts? I would prefer to install a Detroit Truetrac but I’m having a hard time justifying the cost.
• If I do decide to install a front torsion later on will the front aluminum carrier assembly be adequate?
Our Astros are amazing little vans and I’m truly impressed by the AstroSafariVans community and what is possible. Thanks for the inspiration and advice!