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Share What's New for G.M. Beam Front Axle 4x4 Build-ups!

Chevrolet truck GMC truck GMC 4x4 Chevrolet 4x4 Suburban Blazer Jimmy GMC forum Chevy truck forum

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#1 Moses Ludel

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 11:29 AM

From the time I first gazed at a NAPCO-converted '57 GMC short box, V-8 powered pickup to our last two Suburban K2500 beam front axle models, vintage G.M. beam front axle K-trucks have held my attention...I recall test driving an early press fleet '88 Chevrolet Silverado (GMC Sierra) 4WD IFS pickup in its first release to the media in the spring of 1987—wondering, "What is G.M. thinking here!"


G.M. hit stride in the 'sixties and 'seventies, setting a benchmark for 4x4 trucks. Our 1973 Chevrolet K10 short bed with a 350 V-8 and 465 Muncie truck box was among the best vehicles we've ever owned.  Even our Dodge Ram 3500 was purchased largely for its beam front axle—a design that G.M. trucks taught everyone to value.


I know what works for G.M. beam axle trucks...Do you have questions?  Want to share what today's "built" G.M. beam axle truck is all about?  Join the forums and get the conversation going!



#2 Rocket Doctor

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 11:53 AM

Well, perhaps I can pose a question or two.
I'm seriously considering swapping the entire drivetrain from my 1986 2500 GMC into a 1982 K5 Blazer.
The GMC has a 454/SM465/New Process case, with the 'semi-float 14 bolt rear, and 10 bolt front.
I know that I'll be moving spring pads to get the rearend from the pickup mounted into the K5 chassis. Any surprises with swapping the front in? I intend to move the entire brake and steering systems over to the K5 chassis, and the cooling system, as well.
I guess the biggest concern that I have concerns the 3/4 ton 'semi float' rear end. I've hauled some fairly substantial loads for fair distances with it in the pickup, it makes no noise, the brakes are good, the bearings, as well. Am I perhaps just a bit paranoid about this rearend, or would I be better off trying to source a 'full floater'?

#3 Moses Ludel

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 11:40 AM

This is a very straightforward swap.  The spring perches for 1/2 and 3/4 ton GM trucks are close if not identical during this vintage, and the K5 is like the 1/2-ton.  You will find that the rest of your '86 donor and the Blazer has essentially the same layout, too.  Each model has a chain drive transfer case, the 454 3/4-ton model should be a beefier transfer case.  The 454 will fit the Blazer engine bay, the SM465 was available in the Blazer, and since you're doing front and rear axles, the wheel bolt pattern will be identical (8-stud).  Shift linkage needs sorting and the steering column if automatic to stick.


You will need improved cooling, and the '86 radiator could be a bolt-in (core support pieces, too).  The steering linkage needs a close look, may be the same.  Motor mounts, driveshaft splines and such are a consideration, the driveline will need fabrication for length of the tube.  Frame should require no modifications, possibly a need to adjust the location of the rear cross member.


I've seen this setup under many Blazer K5s from the beam axle era.  It will be exceedingly rugged.  I've rebuilt the Corporate 14-bolt axles, the Gov-Loc is a somewhat worthless limited slip that may plague your '86 axle.  The semi-floating axle shafts are a non-issue with this weight vehicle, they should work very well if in good condition.


You're going carbureted to carbureted, so there's no fuel pump or delivery system issue.   ('86 is the last GM V-8 year with a carburetor and a mechanical fuel pump.)  The 454 should be an HEI with minimal emission constraints if a "Federal" engine and emission package.  You might need to sort out the EVAP system.  Sounds good to me!



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