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1990 Chevy Suburban 4x4 & 1978 Ford F150 - Nuts & Bolts

Posted in News on December 1, 2001
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The Right Way to Mount a Steering StabilizerI have a spring-over suspension on my '81 CJ-5, which has quite a bit of bumpsteer. My drag link is angled about 15 degrees, so I'm going to purchase a dropped pitman arm to help reduce the angle. At the same time I want to mount a steering stabilizer. I have seen steering stabilizers on other Jeeps either mounted to the drag link or the tie rod. Which is preferred and why?Shannon Tefftby e-mail

We'd prefer you mount it on the tie-rod. It will do a better job of absorbing energy from the tires (and protecting the steering box) the closer it is to the source of the road shock. Some people choose to mount the stabilizer on the drag link because they either lack the space to mount it on the tie-rod or they think it will be less likely to get bashed on rocks there. We are getting in the habit of not running them at all, but that is mostly personal preference (OK, we're cheap too)! Either way it is not going to fix your bumpsteer, so focus on getting the dropped pitman arm before you even worry about where to mount the stabilizer.

Your Source for Secret GM Tech Info
In "101 Chevrolet Engine Upgrades" (Sept. '01), you list a book called GM Fuel Injection Diagnosis. Where can I get a copy of this book? I really need this book, as all my reference material says not to start the engine with terminals B and A shorted together!Herman A. NewmanBethune, SC

When you want the best insider info on all things GM you can go right to the source and order all kinds of GM training material right from GM. Call 800/393-4831 and ask for their free catalog. The GM Fuel Injection Diagnosis book is PN 16009.10-6.

Digital Speedo Fix
I have a '90 Chevy Suburban 4x4 with a 4-inch lift kit and 33x12.50-15 Cooper tires, and the front and rear gear ratios are 4.11s. I would like to know what I need to do to get the speedometer to read accurately.Steve AustinAromas, CA

The year 1990 marks GM's conversion to electronic speedometers in its fullsize line of trucks. The NP241 transfer case in your Sub has a vehicle speed sensor (VSS) instead of a physical cable to relay road speed to your speedometer. Take a trip down to your local GM parts department to ask them for the speedometer calibration chip that plugs in to the back of your speedometer.

Detroit Diesel Powered Ford
I bought a new military surplus GM 6.2L diesel for $300. I need help figuring out how to put a NV4500 and a transfer case behind it and slam it all into my '78 Ford F-150. I have a Ford NP205, but like the low-range gearing options I can get for the '78 International Dana 20, or International Dana 300 transfer cases that I also have. Where do I go? What do I do? Buy a new front axle? Buy yet another transfer case? Get a new hobby? Get a new life? I am cheap and would like to use what I have. Please help!Robert BowenDawsonville, GA

We think you're too cheap for this, but here goes! Your transfer case choice is simple: Use the NP205 and sell the other two cases to help finance the rest of this conversion. You'll have all the torque and gear reduction you will want with your engine and transmission choice anyway. So let's concentrate on the really tough part of your swap, and that's going to be getting the 6.2L diesel to run and bolt into your F-150.

A quick call to Advance Adapters (800/350-2223, told us you'll need an NV4500 bellhousing that was originally designed for 6.2L or 6.5L diesel engines because they use a larger starter motor "pocket." Advance has a plate (PN 712550) that will let you bolt this GM bellhousing to a Dodge version of the NV4500. You'll then use an 11-inch clutch (PN CF165552), an 11-inch disc (PN 383735), and the appropriate release bearing (PN N1714). Bolting your new hybrid NV4500 to your Ford NP205 transfer case will require Advance's kit (PN 50-0207). Keep in mind that your current transfer case crossmember will need to be relocated, and neither of your driveshafts will be the right length anymore. That still leaves fabbing up your own engine mounts, engine accessories, plumbing, and wiring in addition to making sure the radiator has enough cooling capacity and adding an oil cooler. This conversion will certainly challenge your cheapness on a whole new level!

Ford Tranny Envy
I would like to know your opinion of Ford's 4R70W automatic transmission. I've put 59,000 miles on one of these units in my '97 F-150 SuperCab 4x4 with a 4.6L V-8 and a 3.55 limited-slip axle. Now I'm having trouble with the 3-2 downshift when the engine is at low-to-mid rpm. The transmission seems to vibrate and stutter until it finally downshifts. I read in the July '01 issue of 4-Wheel & Off-Road that the E4OD transmission was thought of favorably ("A Trick Fix for Your Sick C6"). Just curious why I got the 4R70W and whether it's a car or truck transmission.Jerry Lawsonby e-mail

Beginning in 1994 Ford used the 4R70W transmission to replace the old AOD (Automatic Over Drive) transmission in both car and light-truck applications. Heavier-duty applications get the E4OD (now replaced by the new 4R100) in Excursions, Navigators, 31/44-, and other Super Duty trucks. Think of the 4R70W transmission as an electronically controlled version of the AOD. Like the AOD, the 4R70W uses a 14-bolt transmission pan and holds close to 14 quarts of Mercon ATF. The name "4R70W" means it's a four-speed, rear-wheel-drive transmission with a relative torque capacity of 70, and it uses a wide-ratio gearset. Gear ratios are 2.84, 1.55, 1.00, and 0.70, with a Reverse gear of 2.33. The only cars you will find this transmission in are the Crown Victoria (including the Police Interceptor package cars) and Mustangs. We don't think the 4R70W is light-duty, as Ford puts it behind the 260hp and 330-torque 5.4L engine in the 6,750-pound GVW F-150 SuperCrew. If yours is acting up you can try changing the filter (Ford PN F6AZ-7A098A) and fluid, but we recommend taking it in to have the trouble codes scanned to see if one of the sensors is goofing up.

Mopar Jeep Parts
I have an '81 CJ-7 Renegade and it's time to address the low performance of the bone-stock 258ci engine (with that beloved Carter two-barrel) butted-up to an SR4 transmission and a Dana 300 transfer case. It's got nearly 150,000 miles, but still seems to run strong and has good compression despite the oil leaks. The only time I have problems is on steep grades and off road. It seems that the problem is the carburetor. I'm considering the Mopar fuel injection kit for the benefits on steep grades and at higher elevations as well as the fuel economy (I'm only getting 8 mpg now) and increases in horsepower and torque. The obvious drawback is the cost. Would it be better to go with a whole new engine, and if so, which one? Seamus McDermottby e-mail

If you think the 258 is in good shape then we'd go after the Mopar MPI package for your Jeep (, or see your local DaimlerChrysler dealer) instead of an engine swap. Manual transmission Jeeps like yours use PN P5249610 (automatic transmissions use PN P5249686). The kit is expensive at $2,570, but it is truly complete and will make your engine run much better.

If you wanted significantly more horsepower (or your 258 was toast), then yes, the engine swap would be the way to go. But that means getting rid of the SR4, buying a new engine, fuel injecting it, and mating it all up to your Dana 300. The Mopar kit is 50-state-legal, and you can be back to driving the Jeep in a weekend.

Imitation Is the Highest Form of FlatteryIn your Sept. '01 issue I saw where you used an external hydraulic slave cylinder for your clutch setup on the Ultimate A1 Jeep. I have an '84 CJ with a Chevy 350, an SM465 transmission, and a NP205 transfer case. My Jeep uses an internal hydraulic throw-out bearing clutch setup from QuarterMaster. Two times in less than 500 miles I've managed to blow out the hydraulic throw-out bearing! What could be wrong and how can I change it over to exactly what the Ultimate A1 has?Ryan WallerAtlanta, GA

When you say "blow out" do you mean that the throw-out bearing will no longer hold pressure, or is it leaking fluid from the system? Or does the bearing simply stop disengaging the clutch? When assembling any type of hydraulic clutch system you want to make sure that the amount of fluid moved by the master cylinder meets (and does not exceed) the needs of the slave cylinder, or in your case, the hydraulic throw-out bearing. We are going to guess that you have a master cylinder that is moving way too much fluid for the throw-out bearing. To duplicate the hydraulic clutch setup on our A1 you will have to backtrack a little and use the clutch master cylinder that originally came with your four-cylinder '84 CJ (PN 5359822). An '80-'86 will also work.

The slave cylinder you want to use is also from an '84 CJ-7 (PN 3241867) and you'll connect it to the master with a hose (PN 5361469). To mount the clutch, you will need to fabricate a simple bracket out of 11/44-inch plate that will attach the slave cylinder to the bellhousing. And in our case we used a clutch fork from a '67 CJ-5 with a Buick V-6 (PN 1378486) that we lengthened to get enough clutch travel.

Show You the Door
I am shopping for an '89-'91 31/44-ton GMC or Chevrolet 4x4 Suburban. Sounds easy enough, right? However, I cannot stand the rear cargo doors that most Suburbans seem to have. I want one with a tailgate, and I know some do have this option. So far I have only seen one between the years '89 and '91 with a tailgate and t was on a 11/42-ton 4x4 Suburban.Gino ValdezSan Antonio, TX

We checked out every 31/44-ton Suburban that we could find to try and get you an answer to this question. We have seen a few '89-'91 Suburbans with tailgates and one of them was a V2500. We were under the impression that the tailgate was a no-cost option, and that Suburbans could be equipped either way. Perhaps the utilitarian nature of the 31/44-ton trucks dictated that most of them didn't come with the picnic table tailgate that you could get on the 11/42-tons. But if we had to put money on it we'd bet you'll eventually find a 31/44-ton out there with the tailgate you are after.

Submission information: Questions should be as brief and concise as possible. We will answer as many letters as possible each month, but due to the large volume of mail, we cannot send personal replies. Letters are subject to editing for length, as space permits. Always check state regulations before modifying a vehicle with pollution controls or one that will be driven on the street. Write to: Nuts & Bolts, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515, fax 323/782-2704, e-mail

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