ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Fitting oversize tires, raising and lowering, suspension modifications...

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ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby MlePatron » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:47 pm

So...this is an adventure I've been dreaming up for a while now. I have the front 4' of a ZR2 pickup frame that I parted out last year. What I REALLY want to know is if anyone out there has tried swapping/welding in the front cross member and lower CA mounts from a ZR2 into a CC???? I've been giving the two a good look-over and yes, there are a few differences in the two frames, but I haven't spotted anything glaring yet that I don't think I can overcome with some creative cutting and welding. YET that is...I've researched the frames and have found GM measurements of both frames for comparison. But...has anyone ever tried this???

If I can pull it off I'm looking at another 2"+ in the front end, as well as the wider stance (in which case ill have some 1.25" spacers for sale cuz I'm running a ZR2 rear end). I still have the CVs, IRON front diff :D , center steering link and sway bar, and control arms, as all of these will be needed to accommodate the wider stance provided by the newly welded in mounts. Im pretty sure ill need the front skid plate too but ill be getting a rolled over BlaZeR2 soon to part out. I'm REALLY wanting to do this and potentially avoid doing a BL as I've already put in the 2.5" RCL.

Anyone???
'02 S-10 CCMods include:
ZR2 rear axle, 31" shoes, 2" rear lift shackles w/ front torsion tweak, 2.5" RCL, 1.25" front spacers, Rocker guard, Tow Package, Roof Rack, light bar, heated leather seats, front tow shackles, trip data computer upgrade, 5-speed transmission swap, fuel tank skid plate, carbon fibre skid plate package, K&N CAI
Upcoming are fender flares, iron front diff swap, possible 2" body lift
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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby HenryJ » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:57 pm

Better to swap the cab to the ZR2 frame. The frame rails are narrower to allow room for the 31" tires. Might want the front fenders too. They have a larger wheel well.
If you were to cut the frame and join the two , the cut would need to be under the cab. You would also want the back half for the spring mounts. By the time you do all that , it would be better to just use the ZR2 chassis. More than one has done just that.

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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby MlePatron » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:22 pm

Yeah I know that guys have just used the ZR2 chassis. I've seen a few of them around online. Sweet trucks! I don't have quite enough of the Z Frame to join under the cab, that's far more work than I care to do. I'm interested in just swapping mounts. I'll keep measuring and eyeballing for a long time before I brandish the cutter and fire up the welder. There's a lot of planning to do here and it would be quite fulfilling if I could pull it off. I'll measure the frame rail width to see how big of a difference there really is and how difficult it would be to overcome.

As for the rear mounts, I have them. It'll be the easiest part of the swap and there are plenty of easy ways to get height in the rear end anyways. It's the front I'm most interested in. As for front fenders, I used to have a pair but sold them since I needed $$ more than I needed more projects at the time. But I might have another set lined up (even if they are black) right away.

I know this is a big job, but with my limited resources, I can pull it off if its close enough. I don't, however, have the resources or time to do a full chassis swap. Nor do I have a chassis since I decided to cut it up into a trailer to match the Crew.

Any other issues you guys can think of out there that I need to look into?
'02 S-10 CCMods include:
ZR2 rear axle, 31" shoes, 2" rear lift shackles w/ front torsion tweak, 2.5" RCL, 1.25" front spacers, Rocker guard, Tow Package, Roof Rack, light bar, heated leather seats, front tow shackles, trip data computer upgrade, 5-speed transmission swap, fuel tank skid plate, carbon fibre skid plate package, K&N CAI
Upcoming are fender flares, iron front diff swap, possible 2" body lift
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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby MlePatron » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:25 pm

Just double checked the diagrams I found, they show frame rail widths to be identical. Here:
http://www.s10extremist.org/tech_articl ... arison.htm
'02 S-10 CCMods include:
ZR2 rear axle, 31" shoes, 2" rear lift shackles w/ front torsion tweak, 2.5" RCL, 1.25" front spacers, Rocker guard, Tow Package, Roof Rack, light bar, heated leather seats, front tow shackles, trip data computer upgrade, 5-speed transmission swap, fuel tank skid plate, carbon fibre skid plate package, K&N CAI
Upcoming are fender flares, iron front diff swap, possible 2" body lift
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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby HenryJ » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:35 pm

Look at the Upfitter manuals we have linked. It has detailed frame specifications. You can also find them in the factory GM (Helm publishing) service manual.
While the frame horn at the bumper are the same, the differences are in the wheel well where the tire rubs on our truck.

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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby curtisb » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:28 pm

I find it vet interesting that you would go through so much trouble to avoid the 2" BL. I want to adder the to my PA 2"body lift. But to each his own, keep us posted cause if the ZR2 front end swap its easier or cheaper then the RCL it'll be something to consider.

Just wondering, would the RCL interfere with the ZR2 swap? Wouldn't it interfere with any front end lift other then a body lift?
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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby MlePatron » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:53 am

It's not necessarily that I'm avoiding the 2"BL as much as its me avoiding the $$ attached to it. And, I'm super curious about this project. I have all the parts that I can think of that are wider/longer from the Z steering and suspension. I've had some long discussions with my brother who has been in the S series a lot longer than myself and, though there are some differences in the frames, I can't quite tell if its insurmountable or if some creative cutting and welding could figure it out. For me, this is cheaper than the RCL and/or BL and should provide more lift but that's only because I already have the parts.

As for interference with the RCL, the more we have discussed it, the more we have concluded that the Z swap and RCL will complement each other. The only component that provides "lift" in the RCL is the new TB keys which will be uninterrupted by what im doing except when i turn them up. Im running Z-torsion bars too, so there is still LOTS of room to turn them up. The rest of the parts are to allow for the new geometry in the steering, IFS and front driveline.

Now, I'm not just going to go hacking up my baby until I have measured and compared EVERYTHING forwards, backwards, sideways, upside down, and right side up fifth times over and am 200% positive that this is something that I actually want to tackle. The fact that I haven't found anyone who has tried makes me a bit wary of the project, but it also perks my curiosity even more. No harm, no foul until I start cutting welds right? I really appreciate the perspectives and knowledge that comes from all of you gents here on the forum and hope to keep hearing from you on this. And, rest assured, if I DO tackle this, I'll take my time and do my best to document and photograph everything so I can give back to this fine community something that hasn't been done yet.
'02 S-10 CCMods include:
ZR2 rear axle, 31" shoes, 2" rear lift shackles w/ front torsion tweak, 2.5" RCL, 1.25" front spacers, Rocker guard, Tow Package, Roof Rack, light bar, heated leather seats, front tow shackles, trip data computer upgrade, 5-speed transmission swap, fuel tank skid plate, carbon fibre skid plate package, K&N CAI
Upcoming are fender flares, iron front diff swap, possible 2" body lift
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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby AVTekk » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:24 pm

I would cut off the stock frame weld the ZR2 clip on, never in a million years would I bother trying to weld each tab and bracket onto the CC frame. Ive never done the mod but Ive done similar and I always splice the frames.
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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby MlePatron » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:19 pm

As mentioned in a previous post, I'm not at all equipped to pop the cab off and pull the engine to do that. Otherwise I would consider it first.
'02 S-10 CCMods include:
ZR2 rear axle, 31" shoes, 2" rear lift shackles w/ front torsion tweak, 2.5" RCL, 1.25" front spacers, Rocker guard, Tow Package, Roof Rack, light bar, heated leather seats, front tow shackles, trip data computer upgrade, 5-speed transmission swap, fuel tank skid plate, carbon fibre skid plate package, K&N CAI
Upcoming are fender flares, iron front diff swap, possible 2" body lift
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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby MlePatron » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:33 pm

So all I get is some deflections to other lift options? No words of advice or encouragement? I mean, I'm all for splicing in the front of a Z frame and I might just have another one coming my way via a rolled over BlaZ that I hope to pick up and part out soon. But that kind of endeavor is beyond my skills and resources I think and would cost pennies that I'm already squeezing hard enough to make my fingers bleed...I'm just looking at possible options within my means, resources and current skills.

But on the line of a frame splice, what is needed other than a donor frame? How is it done, or can you link me to an existing write up?
'02 S-10 CCMods include:
ZR2 rear axle, 31" shoes, 2" rear lift shackles w/ front torsion tweak, 2.5" RCL, 1.25" front spacers, Rocker guard, Tow Package, Roof Rack, light bar, heated leather seats, front tow shackles, trip data computer upgrade, 5-speed transmission swap, fuel tank skid plate, carbon fibre skid plate package, K&N CAI
Upcoming are fender flares, iron front diff swap, possible 2" body lift
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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby AVTekk » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:59 am

I couldnt link to any definitive how-to because I dont think there is one, but I do it (chassis fab) for a living so its kind of 2nd nature to me. Lob off the ZR2 frame back under the driversdoor, then get it all cleaned up and then make your final splice cuts on the frame. You dont want straight vertical cuts, a Z cut or at least an angled cut would be fine. Take a million measurements and youll be fine. It is a ton of work but at least all your suspension points are perfect. If you try cutting them off and welding them back on and one is messed up, the truck will never drive right again.
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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby _STUCKY » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:18 am

Honestly, a solid axle swap would be easier. I'm not saying don't give it a try, but like AVTekk said, it may never drive the same again. An XJ high pinion Dana 30 front axle, with an explorer disk braked 31 spline 8.8 rear axle, would be a much better setup. Parts are ridiculously plentiful. Aftermarket to do any kind of locker option imaginable. Could either make or buy the brackets. Could go links or leaves, I personally see simplicity in leaves. I think that a low slung solid axle up front with around a 31-33 inch tall tire would be the cats meow. Keeping it low is the hard part, though.
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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby AVTekk » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:58 am

Agreed, and thats the exact setup im going to do on my crew, dana 30 front, spring under axle, 31s.
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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby ApproachMedium » Wed May 01, 2013 11:59 pm

I would agree with Stucky and AVTekk on this one. After seeing at the afterhours shop a highrider with a severely cracked frame from the design flaws of the ZR2 IFS suspension on a frame that cant handle it. I wouldn't think rewelding all of that to your CC frame is a good idea. Even if you somehow got it to drive straight, the stress may end up cracking the frame in the future. This could potentially destroy your truck for good. The SFA route would be the way to go if you are serious about bigger tires etc. As stucky said, the parts very plentiful for this kind of application and so many others have done it with good success. I wasnt crazy about even the body lift at first but now that I want to do the V8 swap and I have done more reading on it, the benefits outweigh the negatives to even add that into the mix as well. Just my two pennies.
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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby MlePatron » Sun May 05, 2013 7:40 am

Thanks all for the input and ideas!! SFA is a distant goal on a horizon that I can't yet see but it's where I ultimately would like to take the Crew. I'll just have to suck it up for a while. I really appreciate all the input though.
'02 S-10 CCMods include:
ZR2 rear axle, 31" shoes, 2" rear lift shackles w/ front torsion tweak, 2.5" RCL, 1.25" front spacers, Rocker guard, Tow Package, Roof Rack, light bar, heated leather seats, front tow shackles, trip data computer upgrade, 5-speed transmission swap, fuel tank skid plate, carbon fibre skid plate package, K&N CAI
Upcoming are fender flares, iron front diff swap, possible 2" body lift
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Re: ZR2 front suspension mount swap

Postby intimidator4x4 » Sun May 05, 2013 7:56 am

Forget that ZR2 frame swap, they are junk and weak suspensions. Do a SAS, easier to do, and cost less in long run IMO.
If all you want is an extra 2", just install a BL. My $.02
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