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Thread: F-250 2wd to 4wd Conversion

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    IDI Probbie FordCoalRoller's Avatar
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    Default F-250 2wd to 4wd Conversion


    Well this is my first post and my first week on oilburners and I can already tell this is a great place for resources and advice.

    So as I am sure you can guess I am looking for any info about anyone doing a 2wd to 4wd conversion on a f-250. Mine is a 92. I would like to say first that if your opinion is buy a different truck then I don't care to hear it. I just bought my 92 Ext Cab IDI it is my first diesel and I have craved one for quite some time the only down fall is that it is not 4x4 so if your only advice is to get a different truck it will fall upon deaf ears cause that wont happen.

    Anyway I have heard that the ifs systems that came on the 3/4 tons were garbage so the question is would a Dana 60 be the best bet and how complicated would this conversion be. Thanks alot for any help. Love the site and LOVE MY IDI. Hoorah
    1992 Ford F-250 Extended Cab, 7.3L IDI (turn 1.5 flats), 5-Speed 2WD

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    Super Moderator Dieselcrawler's Avatar
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    not to bad. find a 4x4 f350 parts truck that u can grab everything u need. takes me a weekend now to do this swap. have done it 3 times.
    Corey Z.
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    IDI Probbie FordCoalRoller's Avatar
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    I was lookin at the frame horns on mine and I looked at a 97 F-Super Duty and it looked like the frame was boxed were the shackles mount is that the case?
    1992 Ford F-250 Extended Cab, 7.3L IDI (turn 1.5 flats), 5-Speed 2WD

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    Yes, I have never done it before, but I have heard the front of the frame needs to be modified to fit the front shackles for the leaf springs, since yours has coil springs. Maybe DieselCrawler can elaborate, since he's done it 3 times. Of course you will need to find a tranny also. Your best cheapest bet is to find a donor truck.

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    IDI Probbie FordCoalRoller's Avatar
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    So the ZF-5's tail shaft(which from what I have seen isn't much of one) can't be changed out to accept they Transfer case.
    1992 Ford F-250 Extended Cab, 7.3L IDI (turn 1.5 flats), 5-Speed 2WD

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    IDI Probbie FordCoalRoller's Avatar
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    And i have been keeping an eye out for a donor 350!
    1992 Ford F-250 Extended Cab, 7.3L IDI (turn 1.5 flats), 5-Speed 2WD

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    The only 2wd zf that can accept a transfer case is one from a f450 that has the parking brake on the back of the tranny. All others require complete dis-assembly of the tranny to convert it over.

    Some people will suggest using a divorced transfer case with your tranny, but that will require more fab work. I don't know about you, but I like simple bolt in projects, with possibly a little fabbing here and there.

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    Burnin' Oil&Rubber Silver Burner's Avatar
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    Actually a HD D50 is not a bad axle at all. I have driven through all kinds of hell with one, and I mean some hard core stuff, and I have never ever seen one break or even go weak. The ball joints go out on them, but D60's mostly have ball joints (same part number even I think) so there is no difference. I think it's just harder to fab up to a 2WD, but it's a stout front end regardless.
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    Dana 50 rebuilder BrandonMag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FordCoalRoller View Post
    I would like to say first that if your opinion is buy a different truck then I don't care to hear it.
    Okay. My first piece of advice is out the window.

    Quote Originally Posted by FordCoalRoller View Post
    ...so the question is would a Dana 60 be the best bet and how complicated would this conversion be.
    Since you want to convert your truck to 4WD, the D60 is the way to go. There's a solid Dana 44 that would work too, but it isn't as strong as the D60.

    There is a couple of problems you're going to face. The first is money. A driver's side pumpkin D60 (kingpin 85.5 to 91, balljoint 92 to 97) is specific to Ford alone (Dodge and Chevy are both passenger side) and they are not cheap. If you're lucky, you'll be able to pick one up for less than $800. More realistically, you're probably looking at least $1K. If you find one at a junkyard or off of a parts truck, make sure to get the springs, the driveline and all associated parts. This is obvious but important: check the gear ratio before you install it. If it's not the same as your rear axle, it's not a big deal, but you'll have to buy a new ring and pinion set. This will add to the cost.

    Chances are, since you've just bought a used frontend, it's going to need some work. Depending on what it needs, you could be looking at less than $100 to a whole lot more.

    Secondly, there's the issue of your transmission. Since your truck is a factory 2WD, you don't have the married transfer case that the factory 4X4 trucks had. You've got two options: either find a factory 4X4 transmission or run a divorced t-case. For the least amount of work, you'd be best off finding a factory 4X4 ZF-5 speed tranny. If you decide to run a divorced t-case with the tranny you've got, you'll need to have a custom front driveline made as well as an output shaft from your tranny to your t-case.

    Lastly, once you've got your frontend in reasonable condition, you've got to mod the frame to accept the axle.

    As you can see, this conversion is a whole pile of work and a chunk of $$$. If you decide to do this, in the end it'll be worth it 'cause you'll be the one to have done the work. And that's why we're all here.

    Good luck!
    He who knows best knows how little he knows.
    Thomas Jefferson

    1989 F250 7.3 ZF

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    IDI Probbie FordCoalRoller's Avatar
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    I would imagine it is a little harder since unfortunately they used leafs in the 4wd thanks for the input though
    1992 Ford F-250 Extended Cab, 7.3L IDI (turn 1.5 flats), 5-Speed 2WD

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    Diesel junky BigRigTech's Avatar
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    I did it to a 91 F250 using a 2wd ZF and a divorced NP205 t-case....Killer rig to say the least - damn near bulletproof....I'm sorry I sold it this spring but the new owner loves it something awful so it makes it easier......Do a search on here and you will find 2 or 3 threads on my swap....FYI - even with a donor truck it's a lot of work (drilling holes for hours) and there is still some minor fabrication involved when you mount the front end of the leaf springs. A F450 ZF is just a 4wd ZF - you bolt on an e-brake instead of a t-case.
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    IDI Probbie FordCoalRoller's Avatar
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    Thats what I figured with the frame is just boxing in where the front shackles mount. To Brandonmag you hit it on the head i could just as easily sell my truck and get a 4wd but at the end of the day I wouldn't have the satisfaction of knowing that I took something that wasn't and made it into something it will be. BigRig what is you have to do to slap that 205 up under yours.
    1992 Ford F-250 Extended Cab, 7.3L IDI (turn 1.5 flats), 5-Speed 2WD

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    Mojo mabc926's Avatar
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    A company should really think about making a 2wd to 4wd convert kit.



    There's been a lot of people doing them lately.

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    IDI Probbie FordCoalRoller's Avatar
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    Maybe I can perfect it in my garage and sell it to the world
    1992 Ford F-250 Extended Cab, 7.3L IDI (turn 1.5 flats), 5-Speed 2WD

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    Senior Member lotzagoodstuff's Avatar
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    Just an FYI, some of the older early models had D60 front ends. Do some searching and I think you'll find that in many cases you can buy a whole older truck, especially if it's not all there mechanically. I will also warn you that the D60s are pretty expensive. I just rebuilt my twin traction beam, but I considered the D60 conversion very seriously prior to rebuilding my TTB. Expect to pay about a grand for a D60 that needs work, more for one that's gone thru. Now keep in mind that you need to find one that has the same rear end gears as your current truck, which isn't that easy as there aren't that many D60s for sale out there. If you aren't going to seriously off road, I would consider a TTB as they are practically free, and if you set one up right, they ride ok and don't wear tires that poorly (mine wears tires almost perfect, and I aligned it myself). If you are on a budget and have some time, don't be afraid to put a new front axle under your truck, and then drive it around while you are looking for a ZF5 and transfer case.

    Just my .02, good luck no matter what direction you end up going.
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