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'67-'72 GM 4x4 parts


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#1 Gluhead

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 10:33 PM

Hey guys,

I'm putting this in the Resin section kind of to gauge if there's any interest in them as replacement/conversion parts. I didn't start out intending for them to be cast, but the '67-'72 GM trucks are pretty popular, the kits are still pretty easy to get, there seems to be a bunch of 4x4 builders, and mostly...the kit parts available really blow chunks! :P

It was the AMT '72 Blazer that spurred me to make these, but from what I can tell they'd be right for any '67-'72 (correct me if I'm wrong), and there's no doubt that this stuff found it's way into tons of other trucks. With the Blazer kit, the frame and springs were fine, but the engine was far short of impressive and the transmission, transfer case, and axles were simply terrible. Better axles and a transfer case can be kitbashed from later trucks, but lets face it those aren't all that hot, either. Plus, I've never been a big fan of the lack of steering knuckle detail that we're stuck with from almost every 4x4 kits front drive axle. It'd be one thing if they were tucked way under the truck, but they're pretty visible.

Anyway, here's what I've made. An SM465 transmission, NP205 transfer case, Dana 44 front drive axle, and GM Heavy Duty 4x4 steering knuckles. The Dana 44 uses a kit center section, and there are two heavily modified kit parts on the transfer case. The bellhousing is a kit piece, and the big block is just something I mashed together out of leftover parts. Everything else you see here is whittled out of raw plastic or metal. There's more work to do, but I figured I would find out if they are candidates for casting before I continued.

So, is there any interest? Casters, is this something people ask for? If there is, I can go back to work on these parts with that in mind, with input on how to do them in a way that makes for better cast parts. If not, that's cool too...but I'm curious to know.

72Blazer_SM465NP205_01-vi.jpg

72Blazer_SM465NP205_02-vi.jpg

72Blazer_SM465NP205_06-vi.jpg

72Blazer_SM465NP205_07-vi.jpg

72Blazer_Dana44_HDknuckle_01-vi.jpg

72Blazer_Dana44_HDknuckle_02-vi.jpg


Edited by Gluhead, 07 January 2013 - 03:23 AM.


#2 misternemo

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 11:06 PM

if these parts were available right now,i would take a couple of sets.they are something that needs to be done.

#3 ChrisR

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 12:45 AM

Same here!

#4 mikemodeler

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 01:24 AM

This is a good start but the other big piece is the crappy chassis plate that comes in those AMT pickup kits of those years. I have looked at them and tried to figure out if it would be easier to start from scratch or try to modify what came in the kit.

To answer your question, yes, I would be interested!

#5 Greg Wann

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 01:24 AM

I am impressed with your work, GOOD JOB!

#6 Casey

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 06:41 AM

I would say no on the BBC, as those are easy to find. You can pick up a Revell '67 Vette kits for $10.00 and the included BBC engine is very nice. Maybe if you just offered the truck specific exhaust manifolds and 2- and 4-bbl intake manifolds and air cleaners?

Correct/accurate rearends/axles are definitely needed, but my only concern would be the great variety of Dana axles available. If you can make the most popular ones, great, and I think they would sell. Even if you just supplied the center section, and had the end used supply styrene or aluminum tubing for the axle tubes, they would be good upgrade parts to have. I can't think of any kits with axles which made me think "Wow, that Dana 44 is really accurate!", so it's definitely an untapped market so to speak, but I suspect it's all the modification which has prevented others from doing what you have done.

A set which would work for the just-reissued Revell (ex-Monogram ) 1/24 '77 GMC kit would be great, too, but I think 1/25 knuckles and a center section would work fine, allowing the buyer to make the axles tubes the correct width.

That brings us to the next kit parts which always need a visual upgrade- leaf springs. ^_^

#7 Fat Brian

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 08:25 AM

These parts were used under various Chevy trucks up until the early eighties when they switched to the GM 10 bolt front axle and NP 208 tranfer case. I agree that while the engine may not be needed having the correctmanifolds, transmission, transfer case, and axle would be nice. As for the frame in the 67-72 trucks, a better chassis could be made from the 60 Chevy truck, they shared rear end designs so with a little scratch work it probably could be done.

#8 Gluhead

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 08:55 AM

Thanks for the feedback so far.

Casey, you're right on the big block. I should have been more clear, but I hadn't intended that to be one of the cast subjects. For all intents and purposes here, lets just consider from the bellhousing back. Stock, they came with small blocks, but it's not uncommon to swap in a BB. I wanted mine to have one, so there it sits. The only engine parts that needed any modification to fit within the Blazer frame were the exhaust manifolds. They could certainly be offered as an option.

I'm far from an expert on this, but in digging around for what to use it looks like these trucks came with the Dana 44. The pumpkin I have here is a pretty close match to the reference images I was able to locate for the stock Blazer. However, they were often replaced as time went on with Dana 60's and GM 10 bolts, not to mention the plethora of non-stock offerings available in the market today. But, I've seen several Dana 60's out there in resin. Not so much for the 44.

I would agree with you about supplying tubes for the rest of the axle, but there's enough going on with the knuckle mount (not sure what that's called, but it's a necessary component to using the HD steering knuckle), spring mounts, and the bracket for the steering stabilizer that I think it'd be best to cast it with the tubes and mounts already in place. In making my own, it can be a pretty frustrating endeavor to make all these pieces and get them to line up correctly. My main concern here is with the knuckle mount, and whether or not resin would be up to the task to hold the weight of the model. I made mine out of pewter, so there's no problem there, but resin? I'm not so sure. But that's why I'm asking for casters input, to help address things like this.

You're also right on the leaf springs. For my own project, the Blazer already includes them. But for anyone wanting to do a conversion on a pickup kit or looking for a little lift via arched springs, they'd need them. That's easy enough to master, so no big deal there.

So, that takes us to the chassis issue, as was mentioned. The '60 and '64 Chevy frames are a perfectly viable swap for the trucks. The Blazer already has a nice frame so nothing needed there. The truck kits inner wheelwells are incorrect. The '66 and earlier slab wells should be replaced with the round ones that the Blazer uses.

This is where I start to wonder about the viability of offering this stuff. Sure, one could offer the transmission, transfer case, front end parts (knuckles, stabilizer)...but how far does one take it and how much do you leave up to the builder to do on his own?

#9 Casey

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 11:11 AM

I would agree with you about supplying tubes for the rest of the axle, but there's enough going on with the knuckle mount (not sure what that's called, but it's a necessary component to using the HD steering knuckle), spring mounts, and the bracket for the steering stabilizer that I think it'd be best to cast it with the tubes and mounts already in place. In making my own, it can be a pretty frustrating endeavor to make all these pieces and get them to line up correctly. My main concern here is with the knuckle mount, and whether or not resin would be up to the task to hold the weight of the model. I made mine out of pewter, so there's no problem there, but resin? I'm not so sure. But that's why I'm asking for casters input, to help address things like this.


The resin will be plenty strong, and good point about all the brackets and such which mount to the axle tubes.


This is where I start to wonder about the viability of offering this stuff. Sure, one could offer the transmission, transfer case, front end parts (knuckles, stabilizer)...but how far does one take it and how much do you leave up to the builder to do on his own?


Without saying too much, trust me, 4x4/off-road stuff will sell, especially a nicely detailed axle assembly. I wouldn't offer the knuckles, stabilizer, steering parts, etc. separately from the front axle, but rather as all one package.

Regarding the leaf springs, I want to say a company once offered some p/e leaf springs with separate/individual leaves, but I think a more "generic" kit which could be cut to length (at least the longest leaf) would be popular and would allow the buyer to fine tune and modify them as necessary for each project.

Also, yes on the granny gear first transmissions and matching BHs. :D

These off-road specific parts will not appeal to everyone, but in my experience, people who do want them will be willing to pay for them, and pay a little more if they are nicely done and a significant upgrade over the inaccurate kit parts. ^_^

#10 jeffs396

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 12:25 PM

Chris, if you have any reservations about making 4X4/offroad parts, please take a peek at our offroad model specific site:

http://www.offroadmo....proboards.com/

Us offroad builders have a substantial list of aftermarket parts we seek, and a few casters such as Alan @ Ma's resin, Casey himself, and Steve Perry (not the Journey singer :lol: ) have stepped up & provided us with some specific parts, but we need MORE!!! ;)

Not to discourage, but Steve already has some D44 stuff and a NP205 case:

http://hstrial-calna....com/Store.html


Let me know if you have any questions, we've done some polling on ORM to see what's wanted/needed from the aftermarket!

#11 Gluhead

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 01:54 PM

Good to know about the strength of the resin. I'll relax about that, then.

Hey Jeff, thanks. Steve's stuff looks great, but it's all geared for Fords. The Dana 44 center would be the only thing that crossed over. I'll head over to your forum and check it out soon. Hopefully we can fill some gaps.

With that in mind, the tranny and transfer case are a given, I think. The Blazer kit parts are complete garbage...AMT's version of the SM465 looks like it was made out of play-doh that's sat in the sun too long, and the tc is far too generic and toy-like. These two parts are what pushed this whole thing into motion in the first place. I cheated a little bit with the rear drive output housing on the transfer case and modeled more of an aftermarket style piece (hey, it was a lot easier. lol), but I think if I really put my mind to it I could muster up something more prototypically correct to stock form. Aside from this and some minor finishing touches like the PTO covers and some bolt detail, these two pieces are done.

Yep, someone did a PE leaf spring kit, but I'm not sure it would be all that applicable here. I've got an idea that I think would work pretty well for what we're talking, especially if you're giving me more confidence in the strength of resin for small parts. It would allow for adjustable main leaf length and arch, and make it easy to use PE shackles...which I think is kinda key to getting the right look. Were I putting together an ideal kit I'd want to see these included. Add in some shocks and boxes to mount the springs to, and I think it'd be relatively straight-forward to offer a complete suspension conversion.

It's probably also worth mentioning that I've also made some parts to do up the steering linkage, and modified a kit steering box to suit the application.

I guess I figured there would be enough niche interest in this stuff, or it wouldn't have been gnawing at me to post up for input. lol So, I guess my next question is - considering how many little parts a potential conversion kit with poseable steering could end up including, who's willing to take on the casting? I think the overall picture we're looking at is:

SM465 Tranny
NP205 transfer case (GM version)
a leaf spring kit, with resin main leafs and associated parts, including PE shackles
shocks (well, these are pretty easy to make, so maybe not)
front and rear axles (may as well have them match, right?)
steering knuckles and u-joints
steering linkage (or at least the ends)
steering stabilizer
steering box with separate arm

At this point, may as well throw in the wheel well tubs from the Blazer, and possibly even consider making the necessary modifications to a frame and pop that too, so it all just falls together.

This is where I run into my doubts. Not in people not being interested in buying it, but in finding a caster willing to reproduce it. It'd have to be a project of passion rather than profit, since it's anything but a wham-bam-there's-a-couple-parts-to-sell conversion. But if it were done, I think it'd also open up the door to quite a few variations on the theme...but that's a whole nudder ball o' worms. lol

#12 mikemodeler

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 02:01 PM

I might be in the minority on the subject, but if there was a choice between buying a resin 4x4 chassis kit (frame, axles, springs, transfer case) and having to locate a couple of kits and build some axles & springs, I would pop for the ready to use kit!

Either way, having some parts to create a kit not offered is better than nothing!

I would love to create a '66 & '67 Chevy shortbed 4x4, maybe even a couple of Suburbans of the '66-72 era too!

Edited by mikemodeler, 24 August 2012 - 02:04 PM.


#13 Gluhead

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 02:42 PM

That's kind of my thinking as well, Mike. It's one thing to offer a few pieces that along with a bunch of other scratchbuilding, you can eventually get there. It's another to have the whole package. Some kits and conversions can easily get away with just a few pieces just fine. The Ford 4x4 stuff of Steves that Jeff pointed out above is a great example of a minimalist conversion that works really well, because of how the stuff goes together with existing kit parts. That's just not the case with this Chevy stuff. It'd be great if it were, but it's not. lol.

Plus the fact that all this would certainly not be limited to just '67-'72 GM products opens up the viability quite a bit. It could easily be used to make '60-'66 4x4 conversions, because a lot of people put those bodies on the next gen chassis. And as Brian pointed out above, GM kept using a lot of these parts until the early (maybe even mid?) '80's. Not to mention all the backyard builders who robbed trucks of these parts to beef up their Jeeps, etc.

So lets say there's two ways to get the kit - with the GM specific frame and wheel tubs and with just the suspension hoodads...that can cover a lot of territory.

Edited by Gluhead, 24 August 2012 - 02:43 PM.


#14 mikemodeler

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 03:39 PM

That's kind of my thinking as well, Mike. It's one thing to offer a few pieces that along with a bunch of other scratchbuilding, you can eventually get there. It's another to have the whole package. Some kits and conversions can easily get away with just a few pieces just fine. The Ford 4x4 stuff of Steves that Jeff pointed out above is a great example of a minimalist conversion that works really well, because of how the stuff goes together with existing kit parts. That's just not the case with this Chevy stuff. It'd be great if it were, but it's not. lol.

Plus the fact that all this would certainly not be limited to just '67-'72 GM products opens up the viability quite a bit. It could easily be used to make '60-'66 4x4 conversions, because a lot of people put those bodies on the next gen chassis. And as Brian pointed out above, GM kept using a lot of these parts until the early (maybe even mid?) '80's. Not to mention all the backyard builders who robbed trucks of these parts to beef up their Jeeps, etc.

So lets say there's two ways to get the kit - with the GM specific frame and wheel tubs and with just the suspension hoodads...that can cover a lot of territory.


So how soon before I can order the kits from you? :D

In all seriousness, I would definitely be interested in whatever you offer to make a 4x4 for old Chevies!

#15 Gluhead

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 03:58 PM

If only it were that easy. lol. I need to find a caster willing to run with it.

#16 Randy D

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 02:55 AM

Hi Chris,
You do awesome work!!! Good luck on your project.

Randy

#17 Gluhead

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:37 AM

Thanks, Randy!

Hopefully I can get a little more insight from casters.

#18 jeffs396

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 03:21 PM

Chris, any input from willing casters yet??? :)

#19 steve7119

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 04:59 PM

If you can get them cast, count me in for a few sets!!! I am sititng on a couple projects now that need these parts. It will save me a lot of time

#20 Gluhead

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 06:37 PM

Chris, any input from willing casters yet??? :)

Nope, not even a nibble!