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Thread: A few questions of longtime Chevy/GMC IFS 4wd owners.

  1. #31
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Farmington, NM
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    542
    Back on topic, I'll chime in an offer up three trucks I've owned that were all GM IFS: '98 Sonoma Highrider. Wheeled monthly and abused weekly for the 6 years I owned it. ZERO problems with the front end.

    '96 GMC Sierra K2500 with a 6.5L and a 5-speed... I was reasonably nice to this truck when I bought it with 200k on the clock. I did put balljoints in it, but the ones I removed appeared to be the originals. The underside was packed with mud and gravel, all the skidplates were mashed, and it had a straight pipe exhaust and smelled like a horse blanket inside. Pretty sure it was someone's farm truck. And it had been beat. Zero front end problems, including some heavy yanking I did in reverse low that likely wasn't so smart...

    '06 GMC K2500 SBCC Dmax: Bought from a grain company in ND with 110k on it. Tires were literally shredded. Gravel is still packed everywhere under the truck. Skidplates are mashed, along with the trans crossmember. It's been offroad. A lot. Front is all original still at 155k. (It came with service records!)

    Oh, and my dad has now been through two K1500 Chevys, one '90 with a 5-speed and a 350, and the current '97 with a 305 and an auto. My dad is hard on EVERYTHING. He uses his truck like a 1-ton. Both trucks have worn snow plows their whole life in Northern Michigan, and he plows a lot of drives. First truck only had a Western, but we were in need of a plow for the new truck and the only one we could find a good deal on was a Boss straight blade. It was NOT meant for a 1/2 ton, and it is HEAVY. And he loves it and won't get a lighter plow. No front end problems at all with either truck, other than needing balljoints on the first one at about 150k. (He put about 200k on it before he sold it.)

    I had plenty of friends in college wheeling 1st gen IFS chevys of all kinds, and I not once saw any issues with the IFS, excepting the occasional bent or broken tie rod, but even those were mostly due to hitting logs in mudholes, not weaknesses in the IFS itself.

    By my observation, the "weak IFS" is completely bogus. I've see LOTS of older solid axle dodges with severely bent front axles, wheel bearing issues, balljoint issues, etc... I'll not dispute the many disadvantages of IFS in an offroad environment, but I don't think those disadvantages are "weakness".
    Look at a 2500 GM truck. Cast lower arms, heavy welded or forged uppers, huge knuckles, and honestly, the front ring and pinion size is fairly huge. The tie-rods are small diameter, but they're short... Not really comparable to the 6' long 1" dia tie rods on a solid axle. I've yet to bend any, and I've been fairly rough on stuff... I'm sure satisfied with my trucks for what I use them for.
    C

    IFS has it's downsides, like flexability first and foremost for offroad use, but for the little bit of offroad that my truck is going to see, the IFS is exactly what I want. If I wanted to wheel a full size truck, I'd go find something with a solid axle, but I have a Jeep for wheeling.
    '06 GMC K2500 CCSB D/A w/ '94 Hallmark Ute 8.5'
    '86 Jeep Comanche
    '00ish Jeep TJ Scrambler
    '99 XR400R
    I'm my own boss now, I do what I want!!!
    KB9SCX

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Marshville, NC, USA
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    1stDeuce- did you modify the IFS, crank the bars, upsize tires, etc? I agree in that I wheel my Jeep, not the 'burb, but would like a little attitude. Thanks
    '14 F-150 CC 4x4
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  3. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Columbia Falls, MT
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    142
    My truck has been off road plenty of times, and with the winters we have here, most of it's miles are spent in 4WD during those months of the year. I have had to replace one ball joint and noticed a couple of weeks ago that I have a leaking CV axle. After almost 100K miles, I am actually surprised that is all that is wrong with it!

    I will attest though, the slip yoke on the rear drive shaft has been a major issue on most of the Chevy's I have seen. Mine in fact is starting to give me some issues, but it doesn't make it a bad truck. I have been extremely impressed the last couple of times I have taken the old girl out to see what she could do.
    2005 Chevy Silverado Base 4X4: 4.8L, Auto, 4 door ex cab, short box, AEM Brute Force CAI, Flowmaster 40 SI/DO, 285's on 17 inch Helo's Summer and 265's on 17 inch Devino's for winter, custom made center console, custom engine tunes, custom headache rack, Kobalt contractors tool box, color matched grille and sport mirrors, HD towing mirrors, no power options but I got A/C!

    1992 Ford Ranger XLT 4X4: Needs a lot more done to it!

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Santee, CA
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    2,160
    Why is it that IFS on a Ford Raptor is OK but on a GM it's junk?

    Sure a solid axle is stronger, but IFS is easier to live with on a daily basis. I've worked at a GMC dealership in SoCal for 8 years...exactly one issue with an HD front differential comes to mind...actuator on the diff didn't engage on an 08. Not saying they can't be broken, just saying that they will get you to 95% of the places that you'd want to take a truck that big/heavy to begin with.

    Pitman arm/idler arms are another story. Cognito kit fixes that issue for the most part.
    Crew dog, Dust Junkies Racing, Three time Baja 1000 Champions, Class 1700 (Jeepspeed)

  5. #35
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Farmington, NM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rovertrader View Post
    1stDeuce- did you modify the IFS, crank the bars, upsize tires, etc? I agree in that I wheel my Jeep, not the 'burb, but would like a little attitude. Thanks
    Cranked the bars about 1" on the Sonoma, which made it almost as tall as a new ZR2 of the time. (When I bought it, it was the lowest ZR2 I've ever seen) The '96 was cranked enough to get the nose back up after a winch bumper and 8274 went on, plus an inch or so. It was running H2's with 265/70R17's. My '06 is now cranked alittle more than 1", with 285's, also on H2's.

    Contrary to popular belief, cranking the bars does NOT make the front stiffer. Its the associated reduction in droop travel that makes it feel stiff. To get the travel back, you can use longer shocks, extended shock mount brackets on the lower control arms, or just some 1/4" or 3/8" spacers under the OEM brackets (My solution on the '06) to get your travel back. Actually, my '06 rides better now that it's not sitting on the jounce bumpers all the time!

    Cranking the bars will put all the joints at a little more angle, and bigger tires ups the loads that they see when you're driving. Grease the truck at every oil change and you should be fine.

    I just realized that I led you all astray too... I forgot that i did indeed change the idler, pitman, and inner tie rods out last fall on my '06. At about 150k miles I noticed that I could twist the center link a ways (Idler stud isn't supposed to allow the center link to twist.) and one or both of the inner tie rods had a little play in it too. I'm still running OEM outer tie rod ends.
    Last edited by 1stDeuce; 05-03-2012 at 05:24 AM.
    '06 GMC K2500 CCSB D/A w/ '94 Hallmark Ute 8.5'
    '86 Jeep Comanche
    '00ish Jeep TJ Scrambler
    '99 XR400R
    I'm my own boss now, I do what I want!!!
    KB9SCX

  6. #36
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    Born in USA live in U.S.S.A.
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    584

    Default Lots of good info

    Well, as suspected lots of good info has come from this question hope to see more. Thanks!
    1999 GMC K2500 BURBAN, NAVISTAR enhanced 6.5 td aftercooled, dual alt's, PSC p/s pump w/HD cooler, redundant FSD's, HEATH program, turbine/downpipe wrapped, 4" SS exhaust, real time OBD2 data logging w/device controller, EVANS waterless coolant @ zero (0) psi & 135 gpm pump, 4L80e w/kevlar and premium steel w/cryo treated input/output shafts running @ 100 deg. F & 140 deg F towing, all synthetic fluids, AMSOIL bypass system, MileMarker hydro, dual fuel tanks, and on and on, questions PM me.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Marshville, NC, USA
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    2,315
    Thanks- I have the stock alum wheels 16" and a set of H2s, which I am strongly considering using the Toyo A/Ts in 285/75-17 which is just shy of 34"- about an inch taller than the 285/75-16s, but same width. Appreciate the feedback- definitely going longer shocks or spacers as everyone seems to agree on this component...
    '14 F-150 CC 4x4
    '06 Sprinter Navion
    '03 Canary yellow 8.1 'burb

    '98 D-I -For Sale
    D110 HCPU- For Sale
    '70 S-II-a 33k mi!! -For Sale
    '89 Honda Trans Alp -For Sale

    www.thervrbarn.com
    TreadLightly! Trainer

    The days are long, but the years are short...
    When one looks out the window, he has to decide- is the world all mud, or stars?!

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    roosevelt UT
    Posts
    170
    One common problem is the half shafts when the suspention is "cranked" or aftermarket torsion lift keys are used. It puts more angle in the CV's and when the CV's reach their max working angle they will pop appart. but when they reach their max working angle they are usually under power so the pop turns into an explosion. With that said your best bet is to keep the half shafts as level as you can. to do this the center diff needs to be dropped equil to the lift hight.
    -
    Below is an example of what NOT to do to an IFS. This was my truck and I DID know what I was doing and I DID know it was wrong and it did break CV's if I wasnt careful. However I did beat and abuse this truck. I wheeled it hard often. One of my favorite things to do in this truck was high speed desert style driving with jumps and whoops. I rebuilt and lifted the front suspention and steering when I bought the truck all new moog TRE's, ball joints, pitman and idler arms, all new bushings in upper and lower a-arms. It probably didnt need everything replaced and it drove fine when I got it but it was an oilfield truck, and at the time I had the money to spend. I lifted the front 4.5" from where it sat when I got it, but I do believe it was decranked at some point before I got it I guesstimate the lift at 3" above stock. I ran heavy 315x75x16 tires on 16x10 wheels. All told I went through 4 CV/half shafts.
    -
    Just after the lift with 265 tires

    Building the bumper this is with the lift and small tires notice the a-arm angles and halfshaft angles

    How I blew up CV #3


    Glory days



  9. #39
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    Jan 2011
    Location
    roosevelt UT
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    170
    Damn I kinda miss that truck now. It lost a lot of power at around 280K miles and I traded it off at 293K miles where it didn't have much oomph left at all. I bought it for $1000 and put about $3000 into it. LOL I had a lot of fun in that budget beater.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    United States
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    8
    As the proud owner of a 93 K1500 single cab, the ORIGINAL OWNER, I might add, after 108,000 miles of Missouri snowstorms, and mud, with not one problem...I believe that one must engage one's brain before charging off into equipment wreckage...

    The IFS on my truck has been bulletproof and rides a whole lot better than a solid axle... I may not be as strong, but I always engage my brain before turning the key...

    The truck will be restored, starting after the first of the year, because, as my wife said, "Why do you want to buy an old pickup to fix up, you already own one!!!"... Smarter than yours truly, that Lady...

    There will be a build thread with pictures when the build commences...

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