GMT 400 front end rebuild + lift kit

Discussion in 'Full Custom Suspension / Cages / Fab' started by noabarron3, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. noabarron3

    noabarron3 Newbie

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    Hey Guys.
    I have a 1994 Blazer that I have had for about six months now, no a/c when I bought it and it rides like a brick with a little rust but other than that it’s in great shape. I just replaced the blower motor, fuel tank and fuel pump/sending unit, and I’m getting ready for this front end rebuild.

    Have any of you tackled a FER on your gmt400s? If so what advice or tips can y’all offer for getting it done right? I’m a young guy and still learning but I have good help. One thing that stands out to me are the upper ball joints, which are riveted as opposed to boltons, how would you recommend removing them? Also is it absolutely necessary to have it up on a lift for easy access to suspension components? Or will jack stands in my driveway be “good nuff”?

    secondly, I figured, while I’m repping apart the suspension I might as well throw a lift kit on there, I went with the super lift 4-6 kit and think the front part will be easy seeing as I’m tearing the whole suspension apart anyway, but as far as the rear is concerned, are there ways to avoid drilling into the frame? And can installing the rear lift blocks and shocks be a backyard job?

    anything y’all can offer would be greatly appreciated, thanks! 3666A363-2DBC-4510-B906-357EC892B346.jpeg
     
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  2. noabarron3

    noabarron3 Newbie

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    To clarify I am removing and replacing every single front end component (Including alignment cams) except for lower control arms, I will just do the LCA bushings.
     
  3. Dawson Barendregt

    Dawson Barendregt Newbie

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    There is a good thread with lots of info for the ball joints on this page:
    https://www.gmt400.com/threads/how-to-replace-ball-joints.8162/

    As far as the lift goes, I did mine (RCX, not superlift... but same concept) without the use of a lift. I did it in a shop with air tools, etc. but I managed to do it entirely on jack stands, and i would say it can be done without the use of power tools at all with the exception of a grinder and/or sawzall. A hoist would have made it much easier and quicker, but it is definitely do-able in a driveway - just don't count on it taking only an afternoon. Count on a couple of days full time work at the minimum.

    There is a very extensive lift guide on the RCX lift, which is a very similar concept to this lift on this thread:
    https://www.gmt400.com/threads/rough-country-4-6-kit-install-tips.14374/

    The biggest thing I struggled with on the lift was getting the torsion bars out of the keys... they were seized solid. no amount of penetrating fluid/air hammering would take them out. I ended up cutting the cross member below the keys and removing them as an assembly and then welding the cross member back together. note that if you don't have or can't borrow the torsion key puller tool, a c-clamp can work, but is fairly sketchy. try borrow one if you can.

    it is a little more work to do the lift than just re/re-ing the suspension components, especially since the diff needs to be dropped, but you're certainly right in thinking that it is best to do it at the same time.
     
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  4. noabarron3

    noabarron3 Newbie

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    Wow. Sounds l
    wow, sounds like the lift might be a little out of my league, not the remove and replace I thought it would be. Thanks for the quick response and helpful tips.
     
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  5. Dawson Barendregt

    Dawson Barendregt Newbie

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    It's definitely do-able by yourself. The key is to take it slow and just do it right. If it's not a panic to get it back on the road, it's a great learner project. It's mostly Re/Re job, but adding a couple brackets.

    When Doing your entire front end, including cam washers and LCA Bushings, you'll already have your control arms and your Torsion bars out. The only steps after that are to take your CV's and front driveshaft off the Diff, drop the diff, and grind off a bracket. after that, you start installing the lift drop brackets.

    The only other thing would be the steering drop. if you are planning on doing the Idler/Pitman arms, then that step is very simple (although i recommend new tie-rod ends at the same time. Very cheap and you're right there anyway.) if you aren't changing them, it is still fairly straight forward, just don't lose the little foam washers on the pitman/idler arms.

    It's not overly complicated as long as you keep fairly well organized. bag your bolts or keep them in cups and label them, it will help with re-assembly. Go along at your own pace and don't try to jimmy rig anything.

    If you are interested in starting to learn mechanical work, this is a good place to start. there's plenty of help online for you to consult once you start too!
     
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  6. alpinecrick

    alpinecrick I'm Awesome

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    I've been down this road, and am currently in the process of RE-REBUILDING parts of the steering/front suspension on my 96 K1500.
    You can do it. Invest in a ball joint press to get the bushings out (and the ball joints)--that way you can cut some of the spacers to the right depth, because most ball joint press kits are not really made for trucks. Astro Pneumatic makes a XL ball joint press that makes things easier, but not absolutely necessary. A pickle fork will generally be sufficient to separate tie rods, etc. Also, a torch of some sort is your friend when removing bushings and lower BJ's. You will need one of the larger pittman arm removers--not the dinky ones for Nissan Sentras.......

    My Prothane polyureathane bushings squeaked, drove me nuts, currently the control arms are sitting on the bench with AC Delco bushings in them.

    MevoTech TX upper and lower BJ's replaced the POS Moog BJ's that began wearing out at the 10k mark, and made one of the bigger improvements in steering. The rest of the steering components are Moog. A new (not rebuilt) BBB Vision/OE steering gear box is sitting on the floor of the shop to replace the three times warrantied Oreilly's steering gear (although this last Oreilly's gear is much better than the first two). There was also an Advance Auto steering gear in the mix at some point.

    The rag joint and hub bearing assemblies were replaced the first go-round, it still has the Prothane sway bar bushings. I had to cut off one of my relatively new HD AC Delco sway bar links:mad: cause it was already rusted tight, UPS just dropped off new ones this morning.

    My AC Delco CV axles were rebuilt by an outfit in Denver, but they used neoprene boots which are cracking, so I'm replacing the boots.

    -I highly recommend the MevoTech TX BJ's.

    -New Bilstein shocks helped the steering, seriously, it did.

    -Check your control arm bushings and differential carrier bushings. Removing the control arm bushings can be one of the bigger challenges--ball joint press and heat.

    -We shall see if the BBB Vision steering gear box makes things better--it's supposed to according to my alignment guy.

    -Odds are the hub bearing assemblies are getting close to needing replaced--I know, I know, they ain't cheap. My Timkens have worked well, including the ABS sensor that often screws up with cheaper replacement assemblies. Moogs are supposedly good too.

    If this is your first rodeo at this, don't plan on doing it all in a weekend--have alternate transportation at the ready to get to work on Monday.
     
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  7. Ben Burrage

    Ben Burrage Newbie

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    Replace everything. ☝️☝️. Mevo BJ's... I installed the bushings set from Energy suspension. They squeaked for a while but eventually the noise went away. Timken Hubs are a must. Use only the HD cv's. I recommend spending the $6 and get the poly tie rod bushings. If it has alot of miles, replace the torsion bars. Bilstein for shocks. Easy project, but like everyone else said just take your time and do it right. You will not regret the benefits. Napa steering box's are good. Your year model can benefit from the Jeep steering shaft as well. Great truck to build on for sure!! Good luck and let us know how it goes
     
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  8. noabarron3

    noabarron3 Newbie

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    Thanks guys so much for all the help and suggestions. I’m ready to get started! I’ll keep y’all updated with pictures and headaches along the way.
     
  9. bigredbikerMike

    bigredbikerMike Newbie

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    What a timely thread for me! We are working the same project on the same vehicle. Its got a newly built 392 Vortec, new A/C and new 4.11 with an Auburn ECTED rear end. We are putting a Skyjacker 3 inch lift on it and the back is done. We've started on the front end and have replaced the upper control arms with Skyjackers. All of the steering components will be changed out. So far the only thing that I have identified as bad were the lower control arm bushings, the idler arm assembly and the steering gear box.

    Replacing the lower control arm ball joints has been a bear. They are riveted in and the rivets must be drilled completely out before they let go.

    The torsion rods were tough to remove also. They were locked into their pockets on both the control arm end and the adjuster end. The approach that I recommend is to releasing all tension from the torsion rods, unbolt the adjuster cross member and drive it toward the rear of the truck with a block of wood and a large hammer. No, larger than that one.

    We will be converting to a 3/4 ton front diff with an Eaton TrueTrac.

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    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
  10. noabarron3

    noabarron3 Newbie

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    this is absolutely wild. This is the beauty of online forums! Did you have to deal with any rust or seized up hardware? Was it still manageable doing the job on jack stands or did you have a lift?
    I’m thinking of regearing to 4.10s as I’m sizing up to 35s...

    Really this a learning project for me so it helps to know what I’m getting into. I’m still waiting on my lift kit to be delivered so I can get started.

    What did you do for the rear end? I’m thinking about new leafs but that’s about it... as far as installing the lift on the rear end, how did you go about it? What obstacles did you encounter?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Anyway, that’s a badass ride!! You’ll be riding in style when it’s all said and done.
     
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