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3/4 ton to 1/2 ton Conversion on a 73 Chevy

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  • 3/4 ton to 1/2 ton Conversion on a 73 Chevy

    I'm looking at a 1973 Chevy Pickup that is just about perfect (for what I want) except that it is a 3/4 ton. It is a 2WD, 350, TH350, truck with working AC, power steering and power brakes. Anyone know what it takes to convert to 1/2 ton? My goals are a better ride, 5 bolt wheels and lowering the stock ride height a bit (based on a 1/2 ton ride height). This is the truck in question:

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    Chris - HRPT Long Haul 03, 04, 05, 13, 14, 15,16 & 18
    74 Nova Project
    66 Mustang GT Project

    92 Camaro RS Convertible Project
    79 Chevy Truck Project
    1956 Cadillac Project

  • #2
    I honestly dont think it will change for a better ride if you convert. Prolly stay the same.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by chevybuytroy View Post
      I honestly dont think it will change for a better ride if you convert. Prolly stay the same.

      +1. Seems expensive and time consuming when you can just find a half ton. I'd leave it alone...they all ride like crap.
      If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower. - Mark Donohue

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JOES66FURY View Post
        +1. Seems expensive and time consuming when you can just find a half ton.
        This is our criteria for the truck:
        • 73-78 Chevy or GMC - Earlier is better, although I believe they are fairly interchangeable (we want this grill style)
        • 2 tone with the color separation trim in good condition
        • An attractive 2 colors for the 2 tone (this one fits) there was a pale yellow and white one that did not (that one was a 1/2 ton and even had the right wheels)
        • Rust free body and paint/patina nice enough so that paint could be years down the road if ever
        • 2 Wheel Drive
        • V8 with an Automatic - 350 preferred though a 454 would be cool.
        • 1/2 ton running gear
        • $2,500 or less
        • Runs and drives well enough to drive home. Coupled with the rust free and budget requirements this is probably 600-1500 miles.
        The truck pictured above only falls short on the 1/2 ton item. Currently listed for $2,200. I'm regularly checking craigslist from Dallas to Phoenix to Denver to Minneapolis and most points in between.

        Chris - HRPT Long Haul 03, 04, 05, 13, 14, 15,16 & 18
        74 Nova Project
        66 Mustang GT Project

        92 Camaro RS Convertible Project
        79 Chevy Truck Project
        1956 Cadillac Project

        Comment


        • #5
          conversion is easy, and you get to upgrade the ubolts to modern 90 foot pounds..genuine 9/16ths.

          the sporty half tons came with 1425 pound springs
          the heavy half ton (rides nice) is 2000 pound.
          you could get away with removing a leaf.

          there are sites like general spring that have these as new, very cheap.

          you also want to keep the tougher rear end.
          3/4 ton is guessing games on the front. It does not sit up crazy stiff, looking at the photo.

          now heavy half and the wimpiest 3/4 ton are the same, except front suspension.
          the photo guessing...you already got the soft front. (only guessing)
          if the back has four leafs and 1 main, I'd leave it alone. That is already damn good.
          Last edited by Barry Donovan; November 6, 2015, 03:21 PM.
          Previously boxer3main
          the death rate and fairy tales cannot kill the nature left behind.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JOES66FURY View Post


            +1. Seems expensive and time consuming when you can just find a half ton. I'd leave it alone...they all ride like crap.
            Man, I don't know. My 86 drove and rode like a leather sprung stage coach compared to the '80 3/4 ton Scottsdale I drove which rode like a Conestoga Wagon.
            Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.

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            • #7
              If that's what you're waning and you have the resources to do it, go for it I guess. Nice looking truck no matter what the suspension is.
              I'm probably wrong

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              • #8
                The big items that I can think of in the front are the springs, spindles, brakes, rotors, calipers, control arms, and ball joints. They all appear to have different part numbers between the C10 and C20. The 3/4 ton had a 10.5" rear so the axles would have to be redrilled for 5 lugs. The 3/4 parts are heavier and all unsprung weight which changes the way they drive. The "easy" way to a better ride would probably be to call a supplier like Eaton springs and chat with them about spring rates.

                At least the parts appear to be dirt cheap on Rockauto, which is what I would use to compare part numbers. Some parts appear to interchange between the 1/2 truck and 3/4 van, but the 3/4 truck appears to be largely it's own animal. Looks like it has the standard "What, me worry about oil on the hood hinge" hood bend, but they're cheap too. Makes me kind of want one.

                Last edited by Beagle; November 6, 2015, 04:55 PM.
                Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.

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                • #9
                  Unless you are going to DD it I would leave it alone. I love my current truck is a chevy 2500hd. After having a 95 F150 a 98 dodge 2500. I don't even look at 1/2 ton trucks any more
                  http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...-consolidation

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                  • #10
                    it won't ride better. Before you spend a lot of money - talk to Ridetech (really I shouldn't be recommending them because I didn't win a sign, but they are a bunch of nice guys so that moves the bar back from the abyss a bit). 4 bar in the back with bags, airbag/shocks for the front springs. As for 6 lug, why? it's a lot of work for no real gain, however, if you insist - a 12 bolt and you simply have to change the front rotors to 5 lug.

                    Again, airbags good, save back and kidney(s)
                    Doing it all wrong since 1966

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                    • #11
                      with the bigger brakes on the HD truck, are the brake lines different? Lots of stuff to look into before attempting to do it piece meal.

                      I'm of two ideas/ opinions.
                      - leave it alone and drive it for what it is.
                      -find a donor truck and swap over that body. The problem with this is if you find a donor truck that isn't completely wore-out, it won't be cheap.

                      ...so, on further thought, wait for the truck you want rather than buying one and rebuilding it into something else.
                      Last edited by yellomalibu; November 6, 2015, 07:03 PM.

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                      • #12
                        You guys must have already had your kidneys removed if you can't feel the difference in ride quality between a 1/2 ton and a 3/4 ton!
                        Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.

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                        • #13
                          Got 3/4 ton springs on the back of my half ton Suburban.. Did not make THAT much difference.. Little better trailering ability..not too noticeable.

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                          • #14
                            I would look into lighter coils and leaves... other than that, keep the 3/4 ton gear as the 16 inch rims have a better tire selection, bigger brakes, and use a set of air bag helper springs for when you need to haul the heavy stuff... the standard coils should fit the front, and the rears are interchangeable... check with a decent spring shop and they can verify your options... It looks like a very cool ride if done right...while you are at it, shock tech has improved vastly in recent years... run what you want for power train, only has to have a PCV valve... could be a very cool e-rod LS swap if you ever want to do it... better selection in the eight lug steelies when running top hat hub covers and duplex lug nuts for the old timey trucker look! almost missed the full floater rear end at first glance! BONUS SCORE!!


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                            Last edited by silver_bullet; November 6, 2015, 07:57 PM.
                            Patrick & Tammy
                            - Long Haulin' 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014...Addicting isn't it...??

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                            • #15
                              Short of finding a C10 to rob the parts from at a yard (or a Caigslist donor) I think you're going to be a fair bit of money into trying to swap the parts over. Buy it, swap the rear leafs (or do SBG's suggestions for bags or in combo with the most basic of leaf pack) and front coils out for C10 parts and drive it. If its still too stiff, go whole hog out of the Rock Auto catalog and find a donor axle (or get shafts made for the existing rear to use 5 lug parts and get the brakes from Rock Auto).
                              Central TEXAS Sleeper
                              USAF Physicist

                              ROA# 9790

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