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Old 11-26-2012, 04:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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88 Jimmy, hacked up, tubed, with rockwells

I bought this 88 GMC jimmy 5 years ago basically stock with a 4" lift on it. Stage 1 of my build was to change the suspension up a bit. I added a 1" block to the front, and did teraflex revolver shackles in the rear. Crossover steering up front and a lockright out back. Put some 35" TSL SX's that I siped on there, a roll cage, painted it and took off the bumpers. Here are of couple of pics of it in that stage:









Then about a year and a half ago I got the hankerin to see if I could put rockwells under this thing. With virtually no fab experience and only a few threads to go off of I pulled the trigger and took out the tcase, driveshafts, axles, and steering and sold it to pay for the rear rockwell plus some goodies


I bought the rear for $700 to my door from boyce equipment who removed the rear drums, flipped the hubs in, and freighted it to me with 2 rims attached. The freight was to Arizona. They also drained the fluid for me. I was happy with them.


I hauled this monster in the back of my tahoe and the doors actually shut

I immediately started tearing it down


I had to move it with my cherry picker because I am all by myself


More posts to come
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The center chunk is pretty freakin heavy, these rockwells make 10 bolts look like pretzel sticks.








Bull gear, and my half A'd wire job


rockwell rear axle next to a 10 bolt front


rockwells are a big coarse 16 spline axle and in stock form the flanges are integrated


you can see the what's left of the original drum brake mount, some guys shave that down but I didn't care. The lug nuts on the driver side are reverse thread which seem to trick you no matter how many times you've done it.


Since I don't have a 220v hookup at my house, and am a Medical student with no money, all I have is a plug in harbor freight spackler, I use it to mock up my stuff and use a friend who is a welder by profession finish burn it in.


you can see how he turned my spiders in to almost a whole sphere. That's my cheap rear locker
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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On the bottom of rockwells is a drain for the gear oil, I decided to shave mine down and weld it inside and out, I wasn't crazy, just made sure it was enough to not leak


I wanted the rims so I could do a homemade rim, all I wanted them for was the centers. Which you will see how I did those.


All the seals and bearings looked great to me so I didn't even have to buy anything for this axle.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Nice Richard. You finally got your thread started. You have a lot more pics, get those suckers up here
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I went with diy4x pinion brake. Everything is made from 3/8" plate and grade 8 bolts. It's pretty beef stuff. All it takes is a 1/2 or 3/4 ton caliper to complete it.






one thing you have to notice is rockwells are 6.72:1 gearing so that rotor spins at like 300mph when you are going 50 down the highway and technically they are not dot approved, so using one makes it a trailer queen. I also wouldn't recommend one on an axle that doesn't have a locker because one wheel can still spin and have no brake.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I mounted a ballistic fab through bumper d ring mount to the rear of the axle


ruffstuff makes a chevy rockwell simple swap that I used for my perch, ubolts, and shock mounts. It was really easy to mock up. I decided to stay with the same style shock setup just for simplicity reasons. Maybe I'll inboard it later.


The axle painted, I am sure there are the green haters out there, but I like it.


Mounted under the truck

I did put it 1" towards the rear for a slightly better balance and departure angle.

Notice I have relocated the gas tank to the cab, you can still fit it with the stock tank there but you would have to put the brake on the drive shaft side of the axle, otherwise the brake would hit the tank.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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mounted, rear brake on, and d ring. The rockwells take over 2 gallons of 90 weight


The rims were a pain in the A$$ but I just couldn't bring myself to pay 1500$ for some custom beadlock rims, or even more for double beadlocks. So I used the centers from rockwell rims and put them in my 15x10 rockcrawler rims with some ballistic fab beadlocks.

yes these rims were in a fire








and yes I did that with a grinder. More time than brains I guess. Notice I left some material from the original center to be a guide so I didn't have to work as hard to get these to spin decently strait.


all my cuts I left a little extra material and then took the time to shave it down just right


They don't spin perfect, but pretty dang close. (and now that i've driven it, They run great up to 30mph, I don't know about faster because I've yet to go faster, you'll figure out why)
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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the hardware for a 32 bolt beadlock rim freaking adds up. I used the nuts with the plastic ring in them so they automatically lock and don't back out.

To get these beadlocks to seal I had to take a flap wheel and smooth out the inside surface of the outer bead. Learn from my mistake and just do this before you mount your beadlocks for the first time because putting together and taking apart these rims blows.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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feel free to laugh at my 35's with rockwells, since tires are so insanely expensive right now, and I am a starving student, I am running these suckers until I upgrade to 44's or something
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, I had a np203 lying around from my old blazer, and picked up a np205 for pretty cheap, so naturally I made a doubler.

the 203 gear box, I drilled and tapped it for a 6 bolt round patter so it would just bolt right up to my 700r4 without adapters or spacers or anything. Plus I flipped it upside down for clearance.


Cut a hole in the floor of the cab to fit it


mocked up with no guts in it


I've read of people having leaking problems from the shift rails from the gear box when it's flipped, so I put some silicone on the outer shift rail that you don't use anymore and now that it's in with oil in it, she don't leak

I went with the northwestfab kit because It's infinitely clockable. Some of the other kits weren't as versatile in that way.



cha ching

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Old 11-26-2012, 08:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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205 exploded. Everything was pretty good enough except the seals, they were junk, but are cheap.


I ground down and modified the shift rails so I can have a triple stick with front wheel drive. I am not going to go through that because it's been done several times on pirate, but I just followed what they did and it works good.

sorry for the crappy pics, I put that mother in by myself, it's clocked up as high as she goes without having to hack more out of the floor




I used northwest fab's cable triple stick, they recently changed who supplies their cables and I can attest they are pretty good, or at least better than I've read on some forums. Only sucky thing is you get like 5 packages over 2 weeks span after ordering them.


I filled the stock shifter hole and cut a new one so I don't have to reach over to shift, plus this location seemed to work better with the cable arrangement.

some pics of how the shifter works. I had to modify their bracket for the 203 to get it to work since I flipped the 203, but no biggie, still works







notice the plugged holes on the front side of the 203 with the original bolts so oil doesn't leak out

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Old 11-26-2012, 08:42 PM   #12 (permalink)
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i like your green paint. roks and 35s look
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Nice build, i love those k5s.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Looks like a sweet build. What are your plans for the engine? Going to make those rockwells take a beatin?
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:13 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Looks like a sweet build. What are your plans for the engine? Going to make those rockwells take a beatin?
No plans for the motor. I am going to leave the tbi350 stock. I plan on this thing being a crawler, not a mud monster or anything. I made it as low as I possibly could and still fit that tall center chunk. I do plan to have the rockwells take a beating but on arizona rocks.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:44 PM   #16 (permalink)
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so while i was awaiting funds for the front axle I decided I wanted to bobb the front. I didn't want to do the minor job where guys narrow it about 7 inches, I wanted it down to the frame but after seeing some guys try and bend those fenders that far and have it look pretty crappy I settled on tubing it and sacrifice some blazer looks.



I cut down the core support and cut the fender back


here is a crappy mock up picture of plans for some tubes I did on microsoft paint.


I also hacked off the back quarterpanels but I wanted to still be able to seat 5 because I have a few kids, so I saved the back seat.


another crappy paint photo
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:14 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Looking good. Im in the middle of putting rocks under my 88 k5. The rear is done. I welded my spiders, put a mohawk on it, and used the Ruff Stuff kit too. It really is an awesome kit. Im using 56" springs in the rear, and 52" springs in the front. I have the front in the garage, I just havnt had time to tear it down to weld the spiders and weld the mohawk on. Mine is narrowed 10" each side in the front. It needs braced, but Ill prolly just tube it when I do the cage too.

I traded my one tons for this set of rockwells and came with 15x10 rockwell beadlock wheels. Which my 44" tsl's are 15's.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:41 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Looking good. Im in the middle of putting rocks under my 88 k5. The rear is done. I welded my spiders, put a mohawk on it, and used the Ruff Stuff kit too. It really is an awesome kit. Im using 56" springs in the rear, and 52" springs in the front. I have the front in the garage, I just havnt had time to tear it down to weld the spiders and weld the mohawk on. Mine is narrowed 10" each side in the front. It needs braced, but Ill prolly just tube it when I do the cage too.

I traded my one tons for this set of rockwells and came with 15x10 rockwell beadlock wheels. Which my 44" tsl's are 15's.
Yeah I would have rather done lockers front and rear but welded spiders were so dang cheap. The front does have a yukon grizzly in it. As you will see the front has 52's and the rear is 52's with revolver shackles. I considered the mohawk but I didn't because of over budget issues.. lame I know. If I ever tear these rockwells down again I will for sure do it, in the meantime I will slide that nice round pumpkin over the rocks.

I stuck with the 15's because there are still a few options up to a 44" with them, pitbull makes the rockers in a 40,42,and 44 in a 15" rim.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:18 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Well, when it came to the front rockwell boyce wanted way to much for a generic front axle so after some shopping I found a guy down in Tucson AZ that does govt surplus and he pulled a front rockwell from a Deuce and a half that was in a fire. Got it for $750.



The stock tie rod was bent, it was okay because the stock ones are pretty weak and I wanted to replace it anyways


a butt load of suit was on this thing, spent way too much time cleaning it


drum brakes removed, these things are crazy heavy, got some money for them from the scrap yard to pay for other crap. I ground off the steering arm from where it bolts to the knuckle since I am going with full hydro steering. I just reused the 4 bolt hole part.


flanges, hub, spindle and axles removed. Notice I have removed a few studs drom the knuckle, that's because I had to replace them to flip the front hubs.


Okay, this has been by far the most disappointing thing during the build, I take apart the front and they are bendix axles, not u-joint style. Every source I read (including 4-wheeler, Petersen's 4 wheel and offroad, jp magazine, and Boyce equipment) said that if the tag on the axle says "rockwell" and not "timkin" then they will be u-joint style... Um I learned first hand that isn't true. Oh well, I will run them til they break and replace them with some chromo's.


mocked up the suspension making sure to take into account where the pinion brake will be so it won't rub on the leaf spring.


another myth in a lot of articles is that you have to machine the rotor to flip it in to make it as narrow as the rear. Not true. You can replace the studs with these countersink bolts after drilling out the holes on the spindle for the counter sinks. You can also just grind down the back of the wheel studs because that's what rubs. You don't have to cut apart the housing and shorten the long side to narrow it.

Also if you are throwing this into a chevy, flipping the hubs will fit a lot better under the engine than narrowing the axle housing, plus it puts the wheel surface to wheel surface at 69 1/2"... 1/2" wider than stock.

it's close but doesn't rub, plus I torque'd those bolts down like a mother and put thread locker on them so they don't back out.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:20 PM   #20 (permalink)
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The only thing I had to replace after this thing being in a fire was the axle seal, the cheapest place I could find them was from rockwelloffroad.com. I also bought the knuckle boots from them. Super cheap.




the entire thing put back together


finish painted
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:14 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Really nice work Kay, subscribed.

That's a lot of work for being in school...great progress.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:24 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Curious to see how those pinion brakes clear the leaf springs and engine crossmember. I was gonna wait to order pinion brakes til i got my front in there so i know if i can use the DIY4x4 kit, or smaller Toyo rotors. With my 52's up front, I think my front axle is moved forward 3 or 4".

Im leaving my hubs flipped out. Figured id try it first before I do extra work incase I like it wide.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:55 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Nice build, sweet rig for a for a college student with kids and no money. Suscribed.
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:41 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Curious to see how those pinion brakes clear the leaf springs and engine crossmember. I was gonna wait to order pinion brakes til i got my front in there so i know if i can use the DIY4x4 kit, or smaller Toyo rotors. With my 52's up front, I think my front axle is moved forward 3 or 4".

Im leaving my hubs flipped out. Figured id try it first before I do extra work incase I like it wide.
Yeah I thought 10" wider was a bit much, and by cutting the housing and putting a passenger side inner shaft in there only cuts it down 7" leaving the front 3" wider than the rear. You know I originally wanted to do the toyo rotor thing because of a smaller rotor but after research it was going to be more expensive and in my opinion a weaker brake. I would have had to redo my brake lines which are brand new for me so I went with diy4x. The toyo's would fit a lot better for sure. You will see as I update this but I did have to trim some off of the rotor to fit it. If i really planned for the right size pinion brake I would have mounted the perches so it offset the front axle 1/2" to the driver so there would be no clearance issues. But it works.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:06 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Yeah I thought 10" wider was a bit much, and by cutting the housing and putting a passenger side inner shaft in there only cuts it down 7" leaving the front 3" wider than the rear. You know I originally wanted to do the toyo rotor thing because of a smaller rotor but after research it was going to be more expensive and in my opinion a weaker brake. I would have had to redo my brake lines which are brand new for me so I went with diy4x. The toyo's would fit a lot better for sure. You will see as I update this but I did have to trim some off of the rotor to fit it. If i really planned for the right size pinion brake I would have mounted the perches so it offset the front axle 1/2" to the driver so there would be no clearance issues. But it works.
Yes, def post up updated pics of front rotor clearance and engine xmember clearance please. That is a good idea on offsetting it just a tad to clear leaf springs.
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