All wheel drive - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 16th, 10, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Chris
 
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All wheel drive

hi there i was wanderin if anyone has done an all wheel drive conversion on a 2nd gen a body before. My thought was to install a astro van chassie and lower it. Any thoughts on this?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 10, 7:29 AM
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Re: All wheel drive

Are you planning some kind of high riding raised chassis thing ? This would be ugly in my opinion!!! and a waste of a Chevelle JMHO
But, if it would retain a stock ride height and not show it's suspension, that maybe cool

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 10, 8:19 AM
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Re: All wheel drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by bad66427 View Post
hi there i was wanderin if anyone has done an all wheel drive conversion on a 2nd gen a body before. My thought was to install a astro van chassie and lower it. Any thoughts on this?

Astro vans Are 1/2 Uni-Body - Kind of like a 1st gen Camaro / Nova with a front frame stub.

LK
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 10, 8:54 AM
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Re: All wheel drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alwhite00 View Post
Astro vans Are 1/2 Uni-Body - Kind of like a 1st gen Camaro / Nova with a front frame stub.

LK
I wonder if the Astro van front subframe could be mated to the chevelle frame???? Hmmmmm

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 10, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Chris
 
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Re: All wheel drive

oh yea they are front subs. hmmmm. I would have to get measurments to see if I could graft them together. I wander how hard it would be to just graft in the axle. Im not wanting a high rideing car I wanting it 3-4 inches off the ground.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 10, 1:34 PM
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Re: All wheel drive

Astro vans also have a 5 on 5" bolt pattern. They have a IFS like on a newer truck. Neat idea, Just not sure if a Chevelle has enough room for the transfer case and front IFS. (Especially if it's 3" off the ground.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 10, 5:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: All wheel drive

well darn i just found the numbers for the astro and the track width is 7 inches to wide. so ill have to scrap that idea for now.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 10, 5:21 PM
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Re: All wheel drive

i've pondered doing this very thing to my 74 Monte Carlo- the front track width of an AWD Astro is within 1/2" of my Monte.
i don't think i'd try it on a Chevelle, tho. the Monte has more room between the front suspension and firewall than a Chevelle does, which mean the motor/trans/transfer case could be set back relative to the front differential compared to a Chevelle without altering the firewall, which means more room to fit things together.
another issue with the Astro subframe is the angle that the steering box is mounted to the frame- it is almost straight up and down. you'd probably want to change the angle of the steering box to get a straighter linkage from the steering column, which also means reworking the steering center link.
you'll also need to put the same gear ratio in the rear end as the front axle has- 3.42 i think- and run the same size tires on all 4 corners.
then there is the wheel bolt pattern issue- i'd just make the rear end into a 5X5 bolt pattern to match the Astro front and throw some cheap stock car wheels on it.
if you did do it, what you'd have would be a Chevelle that would be unstoppable in sand, snow, ice, and mud but probably wouldn't handle much better than if you have just put on a few select bolt on aftermarket suspension pieces. and it would weigh a lot more, too.
i've also got this idea of putting my 97 Cavalier body on a 4X4 S series blazer chassis with that LT1 i have on the engine stand providing power to make the ultimate winter beater. the wheelbase and track width measurements are close to identical, and the crazy part of my brain won't let the idea go..

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 22nd, 17, 8:35 AM
 
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Re: All wheel drive

Hi,
I have an '03 Astro AWD, and I've been researching the idea of using it to convert my Camaro. Not a Chevelle, but at least a RWD chevy car.
That's how / why I found this thread.
The topic comes up once or twice per year on thirdgen dot org, but noone ever follows through.
I think bad66427 is mistaken, as a '66 Chevelle is at least as wide as my '86 Camaro. My rear axle width, including drums, is right around 62", while my Astro front end is right around 62.5" between the front wheels.
There are different ways of measuring track width, and who is to say which is correct?
But because of the brakes on my '03, a 15" front wheel is not an option. You'd need an earlier Astro AWD. Only the '03-'05 got the big brake upgrade, so I call it a lucky score.
The 7.25" front ring gear came in 3.08:1, 3.42:1, 3.73:1 and 4.10:1, plus the aftermarket offers 4.56:1, but there are no traction differentials. Powertrax used to offer a LockRight, but it broke the aluminum housing when off-roaded and bound up. 5-speed ZR2s had an iron housing, but this discovery hasn't inspired Powertrax to re-issue the LockRight.
Some Astro AWDs have been converted by their owners to the 9.25" front from K1500 pickups, there are traction diffs for those. There might be 3.42:1 gears for those, but most are 3.73 or 4.10, some are 4.56. The 8.25 from K1500s has no traction diffs and I can't find any 3.08s for those either.
In case it inspires any of you, my own plan is as follows;
As both my Astro and my Camaro use the GM 7.625" rear axle, that lets me put the Astro rear gears in my rear axle. One problem solved. I plan to remove the Camaro steering except for the column/wheel, remove the Camaro IFS/front brakes, remove the Camaro crossmember under the engine. Next is removing the Astro body off the Astro front subframe which holds the engine, transmission, transfer case, front differential, IFS/brakes/steering. I call it a module.
Then I can remove the engine/trans/case off the module to make it easier to move around.
I plan to cut away only as much of the Camaro as is necessary to position the Astro front wheels in the Camaro location. I suspect this will put the transmission farther forward than the Camaro had it. I suspect I will have to cut the transmission tunnel to clear the transfer case. Keeping the Astro subframe prevents problems with suspension geometry, drivetrain angle, and lets me keep the Astro front driveshaft. Nevermind that mine came without the front driveshaft...Anyway, as long as the rear half of the subframe rails stay parallel to the road, no caster problem.
My Astro came on a set of aluminum 16x7s shared with K1500 pickups. I have a new pair of 225/55R16s to put on them. For the rear I have a pair of '92 Z28 aluminum 16x8s that can fit a pair of Nitto 555R drag radials in a 245/50R16 size. This keeps the tire diameter at 25.7" front and rear.
If I wanted 6 lug rear to match the front, I could raid a '92-ish Isuzu pup, which used a 6-lug 7.625" Gm axle. You guys can raid K1500s, in the '80s they were 28-spline, in the '90s they were 30-spline.
I don't care about mismatched wheels, I'll probably end up with a mixed set of Cragar 17x9s anyway.
The last concern is the transfer case. Most of the good choices are New Process / New Venture Gear. Their ID is simple. The first digit is how many forward speeds, 1 or 2. The second digit is strength, a bigger number is stronger. The third digit is what type of shifting. 1 is a manual lever, 3 is electric for pushbutton, 6 is electronic for computer control, and 9 is full-time. AFAIK.
The preferred unit for behavior and for holding 1000 HP is the 149. It often gets adapted to the 4L80E. That's my own plan.
Adapting the Astro module seems to be a case of cut what you must, but nothing more, to fit it, then weld it in as much as possible. As far as then fitting the 4.3 or a V8 under a hood, that remains to be seen. I'm hoping I can move the powertrain back on the subframe since mine needs a front driveshaft anyway.
I'm hunting an aluminum-block-5.3L version of the LS for my own build, I'll be faking the discontinued E-ROD 5.3 since I can't afford the E-ROD LS3.
I won't be starting the work until spring, so no pics until then, but if you're curious, put it on your calendar to check the third gen forum .

Last edited by wannalaunch; Dec 22nd, 17 at 9:12 AM.
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