People often choose to sell their 2WD vehicle and buy 4WD if they want to change their vehicle from 2WD to 4WD. It is cheaper and convenient. However, some of us prefer to convert our 2WD to 4WD.
Before we go any further, I have previously reviewed the advantages and disadvantages and the step if you want to add a 4-wheel drive to your car. You can find the article titled: 2WD to 4WD Conversions: 13 Things You Should Know.
People have many reasons to keep their old 4×2 car. For example, that vehicle holds many memories. Or we feel stronger on it. For this reason, there is one method that we can use, which is the 4×2 to 4×4 conversion kits.
2WD to 4WD Conversion Kits
Nowadays, you can easily find the conversion kits that can change this drive system of the vehicle. Even though we call it the conversion kits, you still need extra components for the conversion process.
For example, you have to get steering linkage, front axle, rear block (OEM is much better), the transfer case, driveshafts, transmission, and other components. They will be the base of the 2WD to the 4WD conversion process.
Once you have all those components, you can buy the conversion kits that match your vehicle model. The prices are not that high. Some of the standard conversion kits are priced at around $2,000. Some are more expensive because of the complexity of the process.
On the other hand, you can also save more money if you can get the extra component included in the conversion kits. Mostly, you can save more if you can get the suspension part of the kits. You can get some of them are the Panhard bar, 4×4 brake lines, dual shock brackets, and many more.
This process might be difficult to do yourself, especially if you don’t have proper skill or knowledge about vehicle mechanical stuff. So, hire a professional mechanist to do that for you.
Ask them too, what kind of extra suspension or other components can you get to cut down the price for the conversion process. Once you do that, you are ready to turn your 2WD vehicle into a powerful 4WD beast.
Now, after you know, at least, the basics of what we called the 2WD to 4WD conversion kits, let’s see how to apply it to several models of car. We have the Chevrolet car as our first model for this conversion process.
2WD to 4WD Conversion Kit for Chevy
Chevrolet is not a new case in the conversion world. Many people have successfully turned their standard 4×2 Chevy into 4×4 without having any problem in the long run. In this case, we have acquired the information about the conversion of the 2006 Chevrolet LBZ 2500HD. You can get 4×4 conversion kits for the chevy model on the internet. Either you buy it in the store or ask for the component to the automotive community.
You also can use the component from the Chevrolet truck that released between 2001 and 2007. All of them are using the same component. At least, you will have a much easier hunting time with that.
As for the process, the conversion is mostly done by installing the front axle on your 2WD Chevy. You can do it after you cut the IFS, then add tail housing or shaft to transfer the power to the rear axle.
Another thing that you need to know the 2WD frame is different from than 4WD frame. Therefore, you have to make a bit of change to your truck frame.
Mostly, people will install the 4WD mounting bracket by cutting the top bracket of the 2WD frame. That way, you can put all the necessary parts that can turn its system into a 4WD system.
As you can see, this process is quite difficult to do. Moreover, until I wrote this article, there are no conversion kits that can you use to change the suspension parts. You have to find them yourself. Please consult with your mechanist to find more about it.
88-98 Chevy 2WD to 4WD Conversion
How about the older Chevrolet, like 88-89 Chevy? Can we convert it from the 2WD to 4WD? Yes, you can do it. The key here is the SAS (Solid Axle Swap). You have to swap the front axle to create the frame to install the new system and turn it into a 4WD system. Once you do that, your old vehicle will be ready to get the conversion.
What you will need next is the transfer case. You can get it from the store. Many of those stores also provide their service on the internet. That means you can save more time to find the part that you need.
You also will use the front part as the conversion part. In this case, you also need a proper front driveshaft that matches your Chevy model. Last but not least, the swap kit allows you to do that easily.
Those are the basic parts and components of this conversion process. The reality, you need more, like the new frame, suspension, and other parts, to finish the 2WD to 4WD conversion for your Chevy. It may difficult to do, as it is an old model. But, if you search for it in the right place, you will get the parts you need.
Silverado 2WD to 4WD Conversion Kit
Next, we have the conversion method for the Chevrolet Silverado. From our research, this model is the most popular vehicle model for 2WD to 4WD conversion. And, speaking about the process to convert this vehicle into 4WD, we have acquired some information about that. Here are the general explanations on how to do the conversion.
First of all, swap the 2WD transmission and replace it with the 4WD output shaft. You can get it from other Silverado that use the 4WD system. Besides the transmission, you also need to swap the housing for the extension and all control systems, including arms, springs, and cross.
Replace them all with the 4WD parts. The best of this conversion is the Silverado frame, mostly compatible with the 2001 and newer model. So, you have many choices here.
Similar to other conversion processes, you also need a new transfer case. It helps you to install the arms, cross members, and of course, the brackets. Add the new driveshaft for the front axles. Then, the last one is the tail shaft for 4WD. Install it on your Silverado.
It sounds simple to do. But, it requires skill in your car system. If you don’t have it, hire a professional to help you or bring your car to the workshop. However, if you can do it yourself, you can even save more money. Some car enthusiast even uses less than $2,000 for Silverado conversion.
2WD to 4WD Conversion Kits Ford F150
How about Ford’s car? Can we also convert it into 4WD? Of course, you also can do that. Here, we have the best example of the conversion process, the Ford F150.
Ford’s car is one of the easiest cars to modify into a 4WD system. Many of the models of this brand use the same frame. That means you don’t need to cut or change their structure. The older model even uses the same frame for the 4WD and 2WD models. So, you can replace the parts without any problem.
So, for the conversion process, you will need 4WD housing. This housing is necessary for installing the M5R2 transmission. And, similar to other cars, you also need a transfer case, a new driveshaft for the front axle, maybe some mono-beam, and of course, the replacement for the suspension component.
If you plan to convert your 1996 Ford F150, make sure you use the 4WD ECU. This part is the only part that is compatible with this model. This change doesn’t have a significant role in the new system. However, it gives you a smooth drive when you activate the 4WD mode. It is more like the optional convenience features.
Convert 4×2 to 4×4 Ford Ranger Conversion Kit
As for the Ford Ranger, you can use two different 4WD systems here: IFS (Independent Front Suspension) or SFA (Solid Front Axle). You can use the IFS system on the 2006 Ford Ranger Sport. This car front housing is suitable with the IFS front axle. Once you change its torsion bar with that, you are one step closer to change its system into 4WD. This method also works on Ford XL and XLT. These two already have the IFS part, so you need to tweak the suspension frame.
As for the SFA, you need to do some frame job to fit the new suspension and axle from other models. You can use the parts from Jeep products. Or, if you find the old F150, this part is also compatible with your Ford Ranger.
Why should you cut the frame? We mentioned that Ford uses the same frame on the old model. The Ford Ranger, however, is different. This model uses a different method and design for its 2WD series, making you modify it to change it into 4WD.
Therefore, this modification will cost you more than other Ford models. It would help if you considered this budget part before deciding to convert your Ford Ranger.
Convert 4×2 to 4×4 Dodge Ram
Lastly, we have the conversion kit for Dodge Ram. This one is similar to the other car we have mentioned above. You will need to change its suspension. Furthermore, system programming is also different, which you also need to change to match the new suspension you use.
Moreover, the frame also is different between 4WD and 2WD. For this reason, you may need to change its formation to provide the mounting area for the new parts. The part that you can keep is the driveshaft. However, you still need a new one if you use a bigger tail shaft.
As for the axle, you need the IFS axle type for Dodge Ram. Use the C205F type as it is compatible with this vehicle gear ratio. You can keep the CV half shaft, though. You still need a replacement if the spline didn’t work as it should be.
The drivetrain needs big changes. The front driveshaft and transfer case especially only work if you use the 4WD part from other models. In this case, we recommend you get it from the Chrysler series. It is compatible with the Dodge Ram mechanical system. However, if you use this part, you also must change the rear driveshaft to make it work.
This conversion process needs a lot of manual work. Unfortunately, you can’t find the conversion kit for its bolt job. You must know how to utilize all those parts and connect them to the Dodge Ram system.
Things to Remember
As we explained above, the conversion process is not an easy step to do. Other than skill and knowledge, you also must acquire access to many spare parts. These parts are necessary to change the 2WD system into a 4WD system. Best of all, you don’t have to buy new parts for this conversion. You can hunt the parts from the junkyard. Find the used parts, which is much cheaper than buying the new or OEM part.
Moreover, many of the conversions we talked about above use the older part. So, it isn’t easy to find it from the official store. For that reason, the source you can count on is only the junkyard. Having a good relationship and a strong connection with the owner would be giving you more benefits. You will get not only the parts that you need but also information.
That’s all that you need to know. The 2WD to 4WD conversion process might be challenging for people. Some of us even see it as a money-wasting activity. But, if you have passion and love for your truck, car, and the art of vehicle modification, this process will be your playground to expand your ideas. Try it now, but remember that it has some risk.