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Thread: Dirty Turd, converting 83 2x diesel to 4x

  1. #1

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    Dirty Turd, converting 83 2x diesel to 4x

    I've got a small farm on top of a mountain down a long dirt road filled with potholes that is absolutely brutal on vehicles. I drive into town every day and in the evenings drag hay bales and sacks of feed back home in my ugly beige 83 royal 2x diesel. (beige is Japanese for "color of dried up dog turd in the yard") Sprinkle the daily dirt road dust on the sagging leaf springs dragging it's behind like a dog with worms and you get the chick magnet I call "Dirty Turd". I'll take a before pic when I get around to it.

    2 wheel drive is a misnomer, it's actually a one wheel drive as the inside tire just spins in the red clay mud, gets sideways, and drops me into the ditch if I don't get a running head start when it's raining. Snow? Fuggedaboudit. Gotta park down the hill and call the homestead for a 4x4 taxi ride. That chews up an hour both ways.

    After the 2x front suspension broke twice in 2 years, I hotrodded it with custom coil springs and Rancho 5000's. That put me on the upper bumpstops up front and abused the lower arm bushings even worse. But now I can catch air over bumps other people don't notice.

    And I love the way the rear drums lock up in the rain on a windy asphalt mountain freeway when everybody is panic stopping in front of you. Pucker power times 10, sideways...

    So I've got a plethora of engineering goals to achieve to continue enjoying my 31 mpg without killing myself.

    Let's start with limited slip so I can achieve actual 2 wheel drive. That's number one, right there.
    4x would be nice, but not a requirement yet.

    And rear discs so I can unclench and not fear mister wall or getting sideways in the rain. Ooh, an adjustable prop valve for empty...

    Leafs and lift in the rear so 500 pounds of hay and feed or 1000 lbs of wet patch won't drag the rear bumper.
    I'm thinking Spring Over Axle SOA for hero status.

    And how bout a real front suspension with real front and rear bushings, top and bottom, that'll survive more than 12 months of pothole bashing. With replaceable ball joints since they're not going to live more than a year anyway.

    And some real truck tires and rims while I'm at it. Because 14's are for wimmen and chiddren.

    And a cab lift, cuz the tires still aren't big enough, even on paper.

    And air conditioning, because sweat drenched shirts are so socially acceptable.

    On a budget.

    With all OEM or junkyard parts. In fact, all junkyard parts except consumables as needed.

    I'll keep my cab and bed and whatever mechanicals apply.

    Time to go junkyardin' and see what exists...

  2. #2

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    Turd sunset pic (magazine quality)

    Here's the dirty turd backdropped scenically against scotch broom and fox tails.
    Note the exaggerated front fender gap vs. the de-arched leaf spring rear fender gap.
    I can picture her a foot in the air, can you?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3

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    Junkyard parts! Yummy!

    Did somebody say 4.56 posi with discs! Eff yeah! With SpOA perches factory welded on. From the junkyard, less than 2 bills. Eyeballs on this, then you can cry.

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    Credit to mightyram50.net, somebody mentioned the 91 Isuzu Rodeo Sport having this combo of features, confirmed!

    So we see disc brakes requiring a minimum of 15" wheels, cable actuated parking brake (not a clue just yet), a claimed limited slip spinning 4.56's, and various other parts to prove the point.

    We'll get to all that...

    So turns out, Isuzu has something called a "corporate 12 bolt" that has nothing to do with a chevy 12 bolt. But it does have everything to do with a whole bunch of Isuzu commercial trucks. Leaf spring perches plus coil spring perches plus 4 link brackets, all from the factory. Nice. Multiple shock mounts, 4.56 LSD, and they bolted these things under 91 Rodeo Sports! And I found one in the yards!

    Yes, it's substantially wider than a D50. (4 inches give or take) Cry me a river. And then kludge up some rubber fender flares to stop the rocks from chipping your paint. Get over it. And forget about slamming, not gonna happen. Reach for the sky and go for broke!

    No, it doesn't accept anything other than Isuzu factory parts, for $180 I'm good with that.

    Let's mock that B!tch up on a frame with some rims and see what happens...

  4. #4

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    SpOA, 16" rims, 30" inch rubber

    Here's a picture:

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    Those are junkyard 16x7 alum rims of unknown origin. Got lucky they fit, paid 2 bills for 4.
    They are wearing 215/85-16s Westlake SL-309 cheap chinese dually tires, 30.4" diameter, $140/ea from the tijuana tire store.
    That's the back half of a 2x D50 frame with leafs, sitting on the factory SpOA perches of the Isuzu corporate 12 bolt axle, bed mounts mostly level.

    The measurement everybody wants to know, what's the bed mounting pad height?

    Right at 3 feet, (36" +/- 1) unloaded.

    No sag in these springs, obviously a bed would push them down some. I can only push them down 1 inch with my body weight.

    Notes:

    16" rims clear the Isuzu rear disc calipers with room to spare. The Rodeo probably wore 15's.

    215 85's look stock on a 7 wide rim, perfect fit. Rim has room to go both wider and taller.
    But I shouldn't need to, because Max4D55 already posted a gear ratio to diesel rpm chart elsewhere and 30 1/2 diameter tires against 4.56's should actually read correct on the speedo with no other changes and keep the diesel in the sweet spot on the freeway in 5th gear.

    Axle with rims/rubber are going to stick out 3 1/2 inches on each side of the bed, mandatory flares in the Peoples Republik of Kalifornica.

    Westlake SL309's have nice narrow footprint where the rubber touches the road, hope to minimize rolling resistance for best freeway mpg. Gonna take a hit on aero profile, so try to make it up anywhere possible.
    Another plus, 215's weight 38lbs, the 235's weight 50, less inertial mass to accelerate and brake. Not that braking will be any problem with those huge discs.

    Isuzu 12 bolt springs perches are the exact same spacing as D50 leafs. Amazing. Now I need to carve off all the 4 link stuff on the axle tube to make room for the leaf u-bolts.

    Need longer wheel studs in those axles flanges for the alum rims.

    What's that frame in front of the mock up? Sharp eyes already know the answer...

  5. #5



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    Need the personalized plates with that truck name, lol

    eewww wow! look a pink stingray bike...grab that for a needy kid maybe,

    Quote Originally Posted by 87octane View Post
    Here's the dirty turd backdropped scenically against scotch broom and fox tails.
    Note the exaggerated front fender gap vs. the de-arched leaf spring rear fender gap.
    I can picture her a foot in the air, can you?

  6. #6

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    My "hotrod" Geo Metro plates read "POS MINI". Check out "lil evil" over on teamswift.net
    The truck's not worth the extra $30/year.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 87octane View Post
    My "hotrod" Geo Metro plates read "POS MINI". Check out "lil evil" over on teamswift.net
    The truck's not worth the extra $30/year.
    Another metro owner? AND A D-50?! Weird. I'm not over on teamswift yet but I'm apart of geometroforum.com. SMALL WORLD!

  8. #8



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    There is a guy down the street from me that has 36 Geo Metro's in his back yard.
    Members come and members go, But the board keeps track of them.
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  9. #9



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    And Ibet all of them are dead or dying...
    Pennyman1
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    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  10. #10

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    Time to examine the front end

    Pictures:

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    bone stock 83 4x4 drivers front end. Full droop due to torsion bar. Missing swaybar but everything else is bolted together, including bump stops. Brakes look uninspiring on a good day.

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    Passenger side. Now we're talking.

    Shiny new black 95 Montero upper control arm. No bump stops, top or bottom. No torsion.

    2001 Montero Sport hub and brakes, donor had factory 16"s. 15's don't fit.

    No shock, no bar, no bumpstops. It's at full droop and binding on something, maybe the cv's, maybe balls, maybe lower control arm bushings, dunno. Tie rod boots ripped, obviously farther than they wanted to go.

    Close up of the new stuff:

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    Let's level the frame and shoot it head on:

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    Looks lower on the pass side to me. Wonder how much? Bolt on the tires and see what happens.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Frame is still level, wood 4x4 spanning both tire tops. Upper level stretches from rubber to rubber and needs one impact socket exactly 1.5" tall to level out. So the passenger tire got 1 1/2 inches of lift over stock. Not exactly earth shaking.

    Notes:
    Raybestos 502-1188 Professional Grade Control Arm and Ball Joint Assembly
    Raybestos 507-1372 Professional Grade Control Arm Assembly
    $115 shipped from Amazon. For both. Beats wasting 1/2 day at the yards.

  11. #11



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    But thats 1 1/2 inch more then it had before.
    Does this mean the wife will approve of it now?

    You need to hit up Hobo freight tools for the $18.00 jack stands.
    Them cinder block look like you stole them from Rio Linda.
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  12. #12



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    Those are $19.00 cinder blocks.

    aren't Geo metro's 3 cylinder? or is that just the sprints?

    Quote Originally Posted by camoit View Post
    But thats 1 1/2 inch more then it had before.
    Does this mean the wife will approve of it now?

    You need to hit up Hobo freight tools for the $18.00 jack stands.
    Them cinder block look like you stole them from Rio Linda.

  13. #13

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    Up until they lost the "guppy mouth", Geos were 3 cyl 1 liter. All 5 of mine are. I get 46 mpg and can still shove a bail of hay in the hatchback. My SCCA spec motor "only" gets 39 mpg with a 40% performance increase over stock. The smog nazi's can go f*#k themselves, but I digress.

    Located the lower binding, it's the inner CV joint running out of articulation. So I'm gonna need a bumpstop to save the half shalf from committing suicide. So minus a toyota IFS drop conversion, what we see in the previous photos is all there is to have. Good news is I already have a 2" cab lift set of delrin blocks and urethane bushings on the shelf for just such an eventuality. Bed's gonna look funny not lined up but I"m not proud.

  14. #14

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    My metro is basically stock. Header, 2 inch strait pipe to a fart can. I get 46 freeway and 38 in town I try to race people all the time its hilarious.

  15. #15

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    SpOA incompatibilities

    No pics this time, just discussion.
    Mocked up the SpOA diff on the 4x4 frame with 5sp+transfer case. Put the stock 4x 1 piece driveshaft into the trans and tried to get it to talk to the diff flange. No go.
    Driveshaft can't droop low enough, hangs up on the torsion cross member.

    New plan A: since the 2x rear frame moves the diff up 3" compared to the 4x frame, gonna weld the 2x rear to the 4x front in hopes of not needing to modify the torsion cross member, thus keeping with the "cheap is good, free is better" theme of this build up.

    Remember, all junkyard parts except where I grant exceptions.

  16. #16

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    How is it coming along now?

  17. #17

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    Got a date with the chassis welder next week. Stay tuned.

  18. #18

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    sounds cool

  19. #19

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    Welding shop called 3 weeks later, said frame's done. Pick up tomorrow.

  20. #20

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    Great build. I swapped my 1984 diesel engine into my 1982 4wd (2.6) and it was a simple bolt right up ..no differences except some sender wire extending/shortening! Ran great for another 100,000+ miles (an top of its original 435,000+! Got 46+ mpg hwy in 2wd, and 36-40 in 4wd! Towed a large 23 foor cabin cruiser (HEAVY Fglass STamas cabin cruiser type deep sea overnighter/fishing boat) and spent weekends on it at the beach, then back 220 miles for Monday AM construction work! Many, many weekends doing that 2wd and 4 wd. The 4wd was better towing the boat, as granny 1st was much better coming up steep boatramps with a 2wd tires smoking like hell!! hehe Got 12-16 mpg, punched in 4th, 65 + or - mph! Should have NEVER sold it....Have a 95 I just got, and a diesel (2.5 L 4d56, intercooled diesel on the way...a brand new one, with all new accessories mounted on it and ready to go (except a/c). As soon as its here and I verify costs Camoit and I are going to see about a GB for anyone interested. ANyway, GL with it! Well worth the small issues that may come up...

  21. #21

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    I need the discount code for my brake parts if you have a link...much appreciated, anyone...

  22. #22

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    FrankenFrame lives!

    Off to the chassis welder with the front half of a 4x4 and the back half of an RWD. It all fits in the little truck.

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    3 weeks and a wasted weekend later, it's back in one piece.

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    All this to get the factory RWD flush leaf spring mounts to eliminate the 3" lift of the 4x mounts.

    It took Big Daren in Campbell, CA 4 1/2 hours to mate the two in between the front bed mounts, set me back right at $4 bills. With 3/16 plate patches on both sides, should be stronger than stock.

    Next free time step to mock up rear axle and tranny and then check for one piece drive shaft interference. Lost an entire wrenching day this weekend to replacing the center bearing on my two piece RWD prop shafts and never want to see another 2 piece again.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by thillskier View Post
    I need the discount code for my brake parts if you have a link...much appreciated, anyone...
    RockAuto 5% off : 1727011314582935

    Enjoy.

  24. #24

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    U da MAN!! Thanks much! I first gotta get a new A/c compressor..ebay sent wrong one!! They sent an old r12 spec'ed one..new and nice, but won't fit anything!(on my truck)! Arrgh! So I'm testing it tonight!hehe

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