Modifying shock hangers on my 1996 C2500

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I know I’ve introduced the work I’ve done on my 1965 C-10; better known as the Futuramic Farm Truck (of which progress has been held captive searching for it’s Rocket heart). Now I’d like to introduce my daily driver*, a 1996 Chevrolet C2500. A unique vehicle, as only 5% of the C2500 trucks produced it’s year came with it’s powertrain: The underdog L30 5.0L Vortec mill. Rated at 230hp and 285ft lbs of torque, it wasn’t too far off from it’s vaunted big-brother, the L31 5.7L, rated at 250hp. Although it’s rather torque deficient compared to the 5.7L’s 330 ft lbs.

This fact is what makes my particular C2500 so special though. It’s optioned with a 4L60E (with a much deeper 3.06:1 first gear as opposed to the 5.7L C2500’s 2.48:1 with the 4L80E). It also comes with a 3.73:1 ratio ring and pinion stuffed into a tough SF 14-bolt with the factory G80 locker. It’s a potent combination.

The truck has some slight modifications, which include polyurethane bushings, 3″ drop springs in the front and 4″ shackles in the rear. I’m proud of how little body roll it has and how composed it is mid turn for a front-heavy, rear-drive vehicle. I’m so proud of it that I’ve been known to push it too far as you can see in the picture below.

The carnage you see was caused by making a ninety degree course adjustment at 40 mph. The axle mount was weakened from a previous incident while towing, and a hairline crack that wasn’t noticed was exploited by the force exerted by the truck placing so much strain on the rear tire on the inside of the turn. Although the damage wasn’t catastrophic, I didn’t care to have it happen again. So fellow editor Mike, my father and I set out to construct tougher axle mounts to prevent this from happening again.

We were able to weld the sheared axle mount back on, and then discovered that the fault was caused by direct downward force on the mount. It seems they were designed to fail downward like that and shear, as they had clearance behind the axle to move. So we took a steel stud and ground it down to fit between both the axle mount and the axle tube snug, and then welded it in. We also boxed the mount across the top, to work with the plate across the bottom, and then repeated for the other side.

Axle mount for shock welded back to it’s former location.

Here is one of the studs we made to fit between the mount and the axle tube.

Here is the stud now welded into place.

As you can see, the mount is boxed in such a way to use the old cross plate in the back and to not interfere with shock travel.

So far I’ve put about a thousand miles of rather hard driving on the repair and it’s held up rather well. Ultimately I’d like to rid myself of the leaf spring arrangement and install a trailing arm suspension from a 62-66 C10. For the moment, my other daily driver is currently disassembled and it’s kept me for diving too deep into any kind of serious modifications on this vehicle.

 

*This vehicle was actually first introduced, though not formally, in my bed swap article for the futuramic farm truck. – Cameron

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2 thoughts on “Modifying shock hangers on my 1996 C2500

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