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June 2008 4x4 Truck Tech Questions -Tech Line

Willie Worthy | Writer
Posted June 1, 2008

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More On Chevy Throttle Bodies
Question: I couldn't help but notice that you said that 1995 was the last model year for the 305ci engine in Chevys ("TBI Engine Swap," Feb. '08). Well, that can't be because I own a '96 Chevy with a 305 from the factory. I also don't have any problems with towing because I towed a '52 3/4-ton Dodge Power Wagon on a dovetail trailer with my truck, and there was no bogging down or anything.
Tyler Dotson

Answer: I am sure you're right, as you actually own a truck with that engine. Yours must have been an early-production '96 as it still has the throttle body. I am no expert on Chevy engines-I just went by what my reference books show, and that was that in 1996, Chevy changed the motor quite a bit with what they called the Vortec 5000 block. This motor had 305 cubic inches with the same bore and stroke numbers, but they called it the 5000 due to the fact that it had a bore and stroke that works out to be 5,012 cc (if you multiply 0.061 by 5,012, you actually get 306 cubic inches). It was also code-named the L30. It had much better cylinder heads and sequential center-port fuel injection in place of the throttle-body setup. The pre-'96 version was considered a low-performance, fuel-mileage engine. In other words, a real dog when it comes to pulling a heavy load.

Now here is a piece of trivia for you. In 1980, because of new and unusual emissions regulations, the only motor offered in Corvettes that were sold in California was a 180hp 305! Go figure.

Anyway, thanks for bringing this up. Now I am sure to get experts writing me to say I am wrong, only half right, or don't have a clue to what I am talking about. Actually, I welcome them. As old as I am, I can still learn a thing or two.

Spare-Tire Adapter For Grand Cherokee
Question: I have a '95 Grand Cherokee Laredo and I was wondering where I could get an adapter to relocate the spare tire to the back of the vehicle like your '96 Grand Cherokee 75,000-mile project truck.
Doyle Daughtry
Monroe, MI

Answer: The first one we used was actually a Mopar accessory that came from a Jeep dealer. It rattled and moved around a lot, and we just were not impressed with it at all.

We finally changed it out for a Tomken (719/395-2526, rear bumper and tire carrier. The early production model had a latch that rattled and was hard to use, but the updated version is much better and we are very happy with its operation.

We did make a couple of modifications to it for our particular application later on that will be shown in our "Project Ain't It Grand-er" series in an upcoming issue.

F-250 4x2 To 4x4 Conversion Tips
Question: I have a '92 Ford F-250. It has the 7.5L 460 and 4.10:1 gears in the rear. She's only a 4x2, but I'm considering doing a 4x4 conversion. The truck has sentimental value, so that's why I am considering this. In other words, I will never sell this truck, ever. I figure the best thing to do is just to buy a 4x4 chassis of the same year and have the gears match and what not.

Should I just swap over my cab and box and everything else? Can you provide me with any insight here?
Scott Weeks
Prince George, B.C., Canada

Answer: I have touched on this subject many times before and I am sure it will come up many more times in the future. Over all, both time- and cost-wise, you are a lot better off trading in your 4x2 for a factory-built 4x4.

Now with that said, you're on the right track. However, that may be easier said than done. So let's say you buy a real beater 4x4-you know, one of those advertised as a "great firewood hauler"-because you're not really interested in the condition of the body. Now you find that the drivetrain is completely worn out. Just about every axleshaft, gear, bearing, seal, and U-joint has to be replaced. Maybe that is OK and maybe it's not, depending on just how much money you want to spend. The good thing is that when you're done, your truck may be relatively new drivetrain-wise. Or maybe you buy a rollover with what looks like only body damage. The only way to make sure that the axlehousing or the frame is not bent is by putting it on an alignment rack. You could get lucky, and only maybe a spring is bent-or it could be that everything is trash.

Whatever you do, I would advise against just buying an axle here, a transfer case someplace else, springs from another source, and so on unless you have lots of time and patience and are willing to have your truck apart for a considerable amount of time while you run down the little parts to make it all work. It's important to remember that even within a model series, there can be mechanical changes that may or may not allow a direct bolt-on, so be ready to cope with that.

I think that the most important thing to remember when taking on a project like this is to have all the parts and pieces on hand before you start, be able to recruit enough people to help you make the body transfer, and above all, don't set a deadline as to when it has to be finished.

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