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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Back in 2002 I bought a Chevy Avalanche Z71. All the bells and whistles and thought was a great rig for doing some exploring in moderate offroading plus truck camping. Having owned jeeps before I was just used to 4wheel driving working out of the box. Obviously the Avy (avalanche) needed some clearance adjustment. Well one thing rolled into another and living here in Southern California I got into the long travel scene more then the trail scene. Which meant that this truck needed a major overhaul. John Baker at Baker motorsports www.BakerMotorsports.net in Huntington Beach, CA helped me in this department. We started with a long travel A-arm build and kept the rear end very mild.

That worked well for several years but having always wanted more and John being a Ford guy and me being a Chevy guy we had some brainstorming to do. This is our build.

This was the truck before we started this build in Petersons Offroad Magazine

and a couple front end shots




A couple rear end shots of the mild build


 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
After several years of beating the hell out of my truck and the suspension standing up flawlessly, it was time for an upgrade to longer suspension travel and a better rear axle.

So the first step was a bed cage




with a little extra tranny cooling as well


Notice the stock rear hitch was cut and designed into the new rear bumper and bed cage. I had to have my hitch for various reason and this seemed like the easiest with the most eye appeal. I was very happy how this turned out.


Because the rear end was going to be 4 linked we needed to relocated the full cell. We couldnt find one we liked so John scratch built one to fit in under the spare tires.










The lower mounts for the fuel cell were designed to easily access it if necessary
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Time for the rear suspension
needed some lower link mounts


Some upper link mounts and a new crossmember




A 9 inch rear end




Keep in mind since the bed on this truck is short we had to mount the shocks to the rear end which limit us to roughly 20 inches of travel. Then again with the right valving and the fact that this is 4WD that is more then enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
John and I started addressing how the cab cage would go. I had put a stipulation on him against his will that I didnt want to go through the dash, other then a cage for safety and chassis stiffness I pretty much wanted my interior pretty untouched. Keep in mind the bed cage ties into the cab cage and the engine cage (engine cage and front suspension still to come).

Also one of the younger guys working for John was learning upholstery so I told him if he wanted to give it a try go ahead and wrap my cage. Which I ended up not caring for since the workmanship was only subpar (granted he was still learning and was a good experience for him) so ignore the wraps they are coming off and the cage is being painted with foam for safety where necessary.

This was the bend to avoid the dash.












John finally talked sense into me showing that the S bend at the dash would fold in a roll over and that to go through the firewall for the engine cage he needed to move that tube forward.



Through the dash. There will be more pics of this to come later since the bed cage isnt finished. Gussetting needs to be added as well as some cosmetic and strength issues addressed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Now for the major overhaul item and where my screen name comes in. Here is the old front suspension that served me well, but I wanted more travel. 16 inches wasnt cutting it for me.





Ford Bronco TTB on a Chevy Avalanche!

First we had to get the parts off the frame of the Avy




and prep the frame


Then TJ and John at Baker started the shock hoops and engine cage.


Notice the lower tube through the firewall



Then to take the TTB arms, cut, lengthen and turn each end.




Here is the passengar side cut lengthened and turned awaiting trussing and gusseting.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The passengar arm didnt require to much in the way of gusseting it was pretty straight forward but nonetheless the prep of these arms was extensive in labor and time.




First plating for both strength and cosmetic reasons

Then swap out the eye for a uniball


Add more strength to an otherwise weak section of the passengar side arm
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The front crossmember ended up being a bit of a nightmare.

It started out with what we thought would be simple. John and I snuck over and crawled under some poor unsuspecting persons Bronco to take some measurements. I think he thought we were trying to steal something off of it because later he moved it.

Here is what we started with.








Of course nothing this big is that easy. John and TJ spent a few days taking this thing on and off and on and off because of clearance issues, a chevy oil pan not liking ford suspension and other various reason. While John was building the original crossmember design TJ was building the Radius arms and Radius arm mounts.




RA Mounts, yes he built two for the same side. It was on purpose for another future project.





Ultimately they looked like this


 

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nice work.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Wow.

Im kinda jealous, but torn because you used Ford parts.:flipoff2:
Best of both worlds is the way I look at it, trust me I fought John tooth and nail on this forever until we started running a 7100 Ranger in the Best in the Desert series this year with TTB and its currently in first place points standing overall. Hard to argue with beating the heck out of a stock TTB system and having it live up to that abuse.
 

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Really bad ass!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Nearly a third if not more of the field still run I-Beams and TTB when racing, keep in mind manufacturers dont always abondon ideas because they were bad ideas but sometimes more cost effienct such as IFS. Cost efficient but really not reasonable for 4wd. A live axle would have been better for hardcore offroad but not at speed. This truck is a prerunner toy the race truck is currently in 1st so havnt had an issue with the tech yet. That is also why we turn the axles, to deal with the camber movement. Swing set style steering which we will be doing to this truck also plays a roll with bump steer (eliminating it.) Thanks for the question.
 
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