2WD to 4WD Conversions: 13 Things You Should Know

Can you turn a 2WD truck into 4WD? The answer is YES. But of course, to do that is definitely not as simple as you think.

Truck owners are often curious whether they can convert a two-wheel-drive truck to a four-wheel-drive truck. The good news is that you can upgrade the truck. Read the information below to know the important things to consider before converting a 2WD truck into a 4WD vehicle. 

2WD to 4WD Conversion Kits for GMC


Now, you know that it is possible to upgrade the truck. The thing you have to know before doing this project is that you need plenty of expertise, tools, time, patience, and even money. It is not a cheap project.

Truck owners with a good mechanical engineering background and often do DIY projects are suitable for this upgrading project. You have to commit to finishing the project by yourself. 

Find A Truck with the Exact Model 

Finding a truck with the exact model will make the upgrading process much easier. You can also limit the money to buy new parts.

A donor truck is a precious thing in the DIY project. It contains precious parts that boost the performance of your truck into a great 4WD truck. At the same time, it seems that you give a new life to the used 4WD truck.

Finding the exact 4WD truck means that it has to be the correct year model. It is the reason why turning a 2WD truck into a 4WD truck is not a cheap project.

A Used Modern or Old 4WD Truck

When you decide to buy a used 4WD truck for supporting the upgrading project, you may choose a used modern or old 4WD truck. A modern 4WD truck gives you a more sophisticated model. On the other hand, the parts follow user-friendly, greener, and safety standards.

You are about to get precious parts, including traction control systems, wheel sensors, electronic wiring, and braking system. An old 4WD truck often gives you some classic parts that you may not find at the dealership.

As a result, you will have a classy and comfortable 4WD truck to drive. So, which is one of the best options for upgrading your 2WD truck? The choice is yours. That’s why you need to decide first the kind of 4WD truck you want to have. 

A Used 4WD Truck with IFS or SFA System 

It is the same case with the way you choose a modern or old model. A truck with IFS or Independent Front Suspension is more complicated than an SFA or Solid Front Axle system.

You need to have good electrical engineering skills and knowledge if you choose to take a used 4WD truck with an IFS system. You are about to work with various customizations to ensure that the systems fit and work well on your 2WD truck.

Imagine that you have to deal with lower control arms, stabilizer arms, linkages, dampers and springs, ball joints, and many more. Choosing a used 4WD truck with an IFS system is an easier and cheaper option for this upgrading project.  

Learn More about Vehicle Diversification 

The more diverse the trucks, the easier for you to choose the old 4WD truck for your 2WD truck upgrading project. The best alternative is finding truck manufacturers that offer a variety of vehicles.

It is easy for you because these manufacturers often use the same components for their vehicles, such as chassis, drivetrain, etc. At the same time, the manufacturers give more models, types, and ranges to their products.

Truck manufacturers often use this strategy to achieve affordable costs when producing a 2WD and 4WD truck chassis. This strategy is also effective in producing a specific vehicle model by changing the wiring harness. As a result, you can find trucks with the same components. It is a good opportunity for people who love to make DIY truck improvements. 

Get All the Parts 

Indeed, you must get all the parts for the truck conversion project. You will get confused and postpone the project’s plan only because you can’t find a specific component. It is the reason for having a donor truck.

A donor truck often has all the necessary components, especially those you may not find in the dealerships anymore or smaller items. Luckily, big vehicle companies such as Toyota, Ford, Chevy, and Volkswagen have aftermarket packages or kits ( Read: 2WD to 4WD Conversion Kits). These packages help truck owners a lot if they want to do a DIY truck improvement project.

The upgrading process is simpler if you have a truck from a popular brand. It makes you don’t need to worry about finding the components for the improvement project. 

Crucial Components for the Upgrading Process

You need to know the crucial components you must have before doing a DIY 2WD truck transformation into a 4WD truck. It will be hard to continue the process if you can’t find these components first.

The components you need to support the upgrading process include a transfer case, transmission tail-shaft or output shaft, front and rear drive-shaft, front axle assembly, and transfer case gear shifter.

It would help if you also ensured that the wiring harness, new 4×4 compatible transmission, and new suspension are ready in your garage.

These components are the basic differences between a 2WD and a 4WD truck. So, you can’t transform a 2WD truck into a perfect 4WD truck if you don’t have all of the components. 

Know the Importance of a 4WD Transfer Box 

A 4WD transfer box is the heart and soul of a 4WD truck. The vehicle can’t move well without this component. You even can’t call the truck a 4WD truck if it doesn’t have a 4WD transfer box on it.

Another important thing is connecting the transfer box with the existing transmission on your 2WD truck. Advanced truck owners who often make a 2WD truck improvement choose to purchase or swap the entire transmission with the donor truck’s transfer case.

The process to connect the front and rear driveshafts to the front and rear axles will be simple and fast to do with the right transfer box. Make sure that the drive-shafts are balanced enough for a perfect 4WD truck. 

Consider Converting a 2WD drivetrain to a 4WD 

Check the configuration of the vehicle first. You will get a lot of precious components if the vehicle has a factory configuration. It makes the improvement project fast and easier.

You may use a used 4WD truck without a company configuration. The problem is that you need to spend more money, time, and expertise to accomplish this truck conversion project. 


You have to consider the suspension of your 2WD truck because of the additional weight once you improve the truck into a 4WD vehicle. It means that you have to upgrade the front and rear dampers and leaf packs.

Indeed, the upgrading process needs a lot of money. It is a costly process. You don’t have another choice except to upgrade the suspension to accommodate the additional weight of the transfer case, drive-shafts, and other things that must be improved due to the 4WD conversion project.

If you don’t improve the suspension, the suspension can’t hold the chassis’ weight and all truck parts. The process includes improving the load-bearing capacity to hold the stress maximally. 

Installing 4WD Differentials

It would be best if you focused on the front differential and the front driveshaft. Connect these components with the transfer case.

The transfer case will engage the front driveshaft to power the front wheels if you connect the 4WD well. It will be great if you have a rear-wheel drive with a rear axle in your 2WD truck.

The specification will make you don’t need a new rear axle anymore. You can still use the rear axle from the 2WD truck. 

The Changing After Converting The 2WD Truck into a 4WD Truck 

Converting your 2WD truck into a 4WD truck means increasing the weight of the truck. It is because you add a transfer case, diffs, and other components to your 2WD truck to become a 4WD truck.

One of the risks of this improvement is the increase in fuel consumption. On the other hand, the improvement can decrease the performance of the engine. The main cause is the 4WD drivetrain that has more rotational parts that increase weight significantly.

The best way is to boost the engine power to balance the extra weight once you convert a 2WD vehicle into a 4WD. You can boost the engine power by installing the exhaust, filters, and intake mods.

You even have to modify the piston if necessary—the idea is to ensure that you don’t lose the engine power after the improvement process. 

How much does it cost to convert 2WD into 4WD?

At least, you have to prepare around $3500 to start the project. The cost may increase depending on the components you need.

Indeed, a conversion project from a 2WD truck to a 4WD truck is costly. Make sure that you have a specific budget for this project. Imagine how much money you have to spend to buy a donor truck or a used 4WD truck.

You still have to buy several components that are also expensive enough for this project. Money is not only the thing you have to spend but also time and energy. You have to be ready to spend time doing the process step by step. The process may exhaust sometimes. That’s why you must have a converting plan before doing it.

The plan guides you to do the steps of the improvement project on target. As a result, you can finish the project on time and drive the truck like before with a new chassis. The cost depends on the make, model, and complexity of the electronics, the more sophisticated the electronics, the more expensive the improvement cost.  

Converst GMC 1500 2WD into 4WD


The information above explains that truck owners can convert their 2WD trucks into 4WD trucks. It answers the curiosity of people who doubt about the improvement.

Preparing a used 4WD truck for a donor truck is a good idea to make the process easier. The 4WD truck has to be older than the 1995 models, along with factory configuration.

This donor truck gives you many benefits, including supporting you with a variety of precious components. It is not only an expensive project but also sophisticated. It will be better if you have enough electrical skills and knowledge.

Then, you can set a plan to do the process. Indeed, it takes time and energy to complete the conversion project. One of the crucial improvements is on the rear-wheel drive.

This part requires a new front differential and axle to boost the power to the front wheels. A new driveshaft is another component you need for this project to send power to the axles from the new transfer case.

Ensure that the transfer case is compatible with the transmission because it is different from a 2WD transmission. Don’t forget to prepare a shifter to connect the 4WD systems. It doesn’t matter whether you want to use a manual, automatic, or electric shifter. 

So, the choice is yours! The process to convert a 2WD truck into a 4WD truck is so complex. It is okay to continue the project if you are a DIY lover. One thing is for sure that you are not allowed to stop in the middle of the project; otherwise, you will only see junk everywhere.

You even have a risk of losing your 2WD truck during the project if you stop it in the middle without any intention to continue it. You may do this project for an experiment, or you are expert enough in this field.

For a faster and easier option, you can buy a 4×4 truck. There are a lot of affordable 4WD trucks out there. You only need to know the specifications. It is a good alternative for those who need a 4WD truck right away. The most important thing is that you get a 4WD truck like what you want.

2WD to 4WD Conversions: 13 Things You Should Know Pictures

Converst GMC 1500 2WD into 4WD2WD to 4WD Conversions