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Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

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Old 04-21-2011, 05:46 PM   #1
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Exclamation Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

I have found one write up but it its old and the pics are almost all gone. Anyone have a current, pic extensive write up?


I'm referring to the removal of the vacuum actuator under the battery tray. Extending the cable to engage the 4x4 into the cab to be done manually.
Old 04-22-2011, 11:51 AM   #2
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

http://diamond.site90.com/html/actuator.html
Old 04-22-2011, 12:03 PM   #3
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

http://www.s10extremist.org/tech_articles/posilock.htm
Old 04-22-2011, 08:28 PM   #4
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Quote: Originally Posted by t01blaze

This is actually the one I have with half the pics missing. I think I can manage but I like verification.

Quote: Originally Posted by chasekerr23
This one is installing the $200 kit and for a 82-88 and its horrible. Thanks for searching though.
Old 04-23-2011, 01:16 AM   #5
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

I got a bicycle and ripped off the brake wiring and the front brakes bracket. I haven't quite figured out how to mount it, as I have more important things going on in my life, but it shouldn't bee too hard. I absolutely hate the instructions on the link I gave you, but I figured it would't hurt.
Old 05-13-2011, 06:48 PM   #6
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

I have the cable setup and have for a long time, but recently when in 4wd, it will pop out of 4wd and back into 2wd.
Old 06-09-2011, 11:29 PM   #7
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Quote: Originally Posted by t01blaze
Does that also apply to us who have floor shifters? Sry Yes I know its a dumb question but I just want to make sure.
Old 06-10-2011, 12:06 AM   #8
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

^^ yup same for manual T-case, all the floor shit does is engage the T-case, as opposed to an encoder motor.
Old 06-10-2011, 12:50 AM   #9
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Sweet, thx for the help man. It looks pretty damn easy to do.
Old 06-11-2011, 02:58 PM   #10
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

I have the Posi-Lok kit and I had it installed by a 4x4 shop. However, it is difficult to engage, especially if the t/c is in 4HI/4LO. If I do it in 2HI, it is a bit easier, but I hear it lock in. Hopefully I am not doing any damage. It seems to lock in better when I get up to 10 mph and stop while pulling the cable or move the truck backwards and forwards to let the gears align while I lightly pull on the cable. It MUST be at the end of it's travel (as in: I could fit my thumb on the metal mart completely between the handle and the part of the cable attached to the bracket) for it to be locked, or it will be a partial/no lock.
Old 06-11-2011, 07:18 PM   #11
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

I just put my posi lock cable in today and ComputernerdBD i know what you mean. 10mph is fast as hell imo to do it. I need to just let off the brake and it does it on it. Im not a huge fan of it because it time it will prob destroy the gears and fork but ill end up selling the kit and put a awd axle in the front
Old 06-11-2011, 07:21 PM   #12
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

I thought it was shift on the fly?!?! The gears and fork were destroyed when I got this truck at 58,000 miles. GMC dealer charged $$$$ to fix it. Works fine now. How do I prevent it from destroying the gears? I thought this was better for the gears than the vac actuator.
Old 06-11-2011, 10:07 PM   #13
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Quote: Originally Posted by ComputernerdBD
I thought it was shift on the fly?!?! The gears and fork were destroyed when I got this truck at 58,000 miles. GMC dealer charged $$$$ to fix it. Works fine now. How do I prevent it from destroying the gears? I thought this was better for the gears than the vac actuator.
Well the pull cable is better for the fact of the vacuum actuators are very prone to breaking alone with either the trasfer case switch or the vacuum lines. But what i mean is if its grinding and making the loud humming noise like a plane that means your going to fast. I personally used to shift my truck into 4wd when the truck was completely stopped and now i still do the same for the transfer case but to get the front engaged i have the truck barely even rolling to get it to engage. Theres nothing wrong with it im just not a big fan but going a couple mphs is too fast imo and thats when mine always grinded and wouldn't engage until i slowed down a lot of came to a stop then i learned. It needs just enough movement to move between the teeth of the gear to slid the axles in but moving faster makes it that much harder, Which is my reason of thinking that the fork and gears where destroyed at only 58k miles because of the excess grinding from the speed it was trying to engage
Old 06-12-2011, 12:43 AM   #14
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Oh ok. I never lock mine in at speed, but it seems that to get it to lock in, sometimes I have to get up to 10, hit the brakes while pulling the cable and once the car stops, it pulls all the way and locks. Other times, I try to go forwards and backwards slowly to try to get a lock if I can't move it far. That is if I put it into 4HI first (then it has to fight the driveshaft AND the opposite shaft to align). If I do the cable first, I just have it rolling fast enough just to lock it in, which is a crawl. I hear it lock in because it knocks or bangs, not grinding. That is probably from getting the still driveshaft moving while securing the axle halves together. Mine was grinding once with the cable and that was when it was in 2HI and I was trying to get it locked. I pushed it back in when I heard that and it stopped. Partial engagement.

I just had the Posi-Lok put in at 98k. That 58k thing was with the original actuator. 2 weeks later the TCCM blew. Not a very reliable 4x4 system when I got the truck. Since then, all I have had to do with the 4wd were the CV axles and replace the fluids every 15-30k. I also have a front axle leak (dripping from above where the cable goes in), but I can't find where it is coming from. I tried putting epoxy around the triangular housing in the front, but I found it was coming from the back. For now, I just keep it topped up and I will reepoxy it at the next oil change.

With the cable, I would recommend it because the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but keep in mind that if you know you might get stuck soon but need it in 2HI for pavement or tight turns, I would recommend leaving the transfer case in 2HI (so you don't bind up the steering), but lock the cable so the axle is already locked. Then you just press the button and you have your 4x4. No fighting the cable AFTER you get stuck or when you reach a place where you need your 4WD and you can't move it to get it locked.
Old 06-12-2011, 01:59 AM   #15
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Yeah i hear ya. Anything but the stock actuators are all crap. I had 2 blazers and my first actuator went at 150k miles, Then i put the one in from my other truck that had 160k on it and it went another 15k miles before it broke because of a bad tcase input seal. So i replaced that and my switch and my brand new actuator blew within a day. Called up the company i got it from they send me a new one. Now my second one ended up splitting in half where behind the retaining spring is meal and it actually split in half breaking the boot. On a side note though the rubber for the boot isent even half as thick as the stock ones. Its honestly no thicker than a rubber glove and the metal that crumbled now is extremely thin too compared to stock but i guess thats what you get for $40 actuators when Chevy wanted $120 for theirs. And yeah i totally agree with pulling the cable before you think your getting stuck your absolutely right with that!
Old 06-12-2011, 06:27 AM   #16
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

So then should I not use the posi lock cable or that method to make your own? Right now my 4wd works fine but I dont want to rely on the factory actuators.
Old 06-12-2011, 12:50 PM   #17
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

The posi lock works yes but im just not the biggest fan of how you have to roll the truck up into speed to get it to work. Sometimes it works with the truck just rolling but theres other time it just takes the truck going a little faster and at that point mine grinds
Old 06-12-2011, 04:24 PM   #18
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Quote: Originally Posted by PaulO2288
The posi lock works yes but im just not the biggest fan of how you have to roll the truck up into speed to get it to work. Sometimes it works with the truck just rolling but theres other time it just takes the truck going a little faster and at that point mine grinds
If it grinds, check your fluid level, condition and metal particle content. If it is low, top it up. If it is dirty or has fine metal particles in it, change it. There is a drain plug on the bottom of the diff. I found fine particles in the transfer case and front diff the last time I changed it, but it still works fine. If there are larger pieces of metal, you have a problem.
Old 06-12-2011, 05:37 PM   #19
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Quote: Originally Posted by ComputernerdBD
If it grinds, check your fluid level, condition and metal particle content. If it is low, top it up. If it is dirty or has fine metal particles in it, change it. There is a drain plug on the bottom of the diff. I found fine particles in the transfer case and front diff the last time I changed it, but it still works fine. If there are larger pieces of metal, you have a problem.
No mines actually fine. Ive done that a few times drained everything, inspected everything, then refilled them and its all good
Old 06-13-2011, 05:00 AM   #20
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

ahh ok, where the factory actuator can engage 4wd from a dead stop the posi lock cable needs a bit of rolling to engage. Is this normal?
Old 06-13-2011, 01:35 PM   #21
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

The factory actuator probably can't either, but when you try to start moving the truck, the gears move probably just enough to lock then and there. The difference is that the pressure on the cable is constant with the actuator and the gears lock at the first opportunity when they can. With the Posi-Lok, that is different.
Old 06-14-2011, 07:19 AM   #22
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

So is the posi lock still a good investment then?
Old 06-14-2011, 01:44 PM   #23
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Yes.
Old 06-14-2011, 10:00 PM   #24
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Well i was talking to my brother and hes technically right. When you push the 4wd button and the vacuum actuator starts pulling the cable it doesn't fully engage either unless the gears are meshed perfectly and lock if not then its the same as pulling the cable and rolling the truck very slow a couple of inches and you will then be able to pull the cable an extra 1/4 inch when it fully engages and the actuator does the same thing but since it has constant vacuum when the 4x4 button is pushed and moves the 1/4 also when the gears mesh then it locks and its not felt but now this is 100% reliable and guaranteed 4x4 which i love and have already happily used! It just sucks being $200
Old 06-14-2011, 11:55 PM   #25
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Ahh ok kewl thx Paul, makes perfect sense now man. I will invest in the posi lock or follow that one site that allows you to make one.
Old 06-15-2011, 12:11 AM   #26
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

$200?! Try $163 from tal4x4.com or eBay.

Still alot cheaper than having your truck towed from the middle of nowhere from an actuator failure if you do alot of offroading. Probably more likely than encoder or shift fork failure since the rubber parts don't last. If I get another truck after this one is no longer economically repairable, I will probably install the same thing if it has a vacuum or thermal linear actuator since you can't really have a problem with it if you are directly activating the axle. However, I did pull a muscle in my right wrist trying to get it engaged when I first got it. I learned not to pull it so hard and do it at a crawl BEFORE putting the T-case in 4.
Old 06-15-2011, 07:16 AM   #27
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

so pull the cable in a slow roll then engage the t case?
Old 06-15-2011, 01:38 PM   #28
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Quote: Originally Posted by S10n00b
so pull the cable in a slow roll then engage the t case?
Yeah thats how i do it. But when i mean slow roll for me i mean the truck is creeping an inch at a time just enough to get the gears to mesh and lock
Old 06-15-2011, 01:53 PM   #29
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Is it possible to use an engaging/disengaging front differential like you guys are talking about here in combination with an AWD transfer case but then use the cable mod to be able to switch between 2wd and AWD?
Old 06-15-2011, 03:15 PM   #30
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Quote: Originally Posted by layinbody31
Is it possible to use an engaging/disengaging front differential like you guys are talking about here in combination with an AWD transfer case but then use the cable mod to be able to switch between 2wd and AWD?
If you have AWD, you don't even have a cable or an axle with an engagement system. It is permanently engaged, so the AWD is always AWD. A front axle without a cable is better than an axle with a cable because there is no engagement system that could break and leave you without AWD/4WD.
Old 06-15-2011, 03:26 PM   #31
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Quote: Originally Posted by ComputernerdBD
If you have AWD, you don't even have a cable or an axle with an engagement system. It is permanently engaged, so the AWD is always AWD. A front axle without a cable is better than an axle with a cable because there is no engagement system that could break and leave you without AWD/4WD.
Well, I'm putting together a 1st gen crew cab from a bunch of spare parts that I had and the front frame clip is from a 4wd Blazer, so it has the vacuum engagement mechanism right now. I'm debating putting an AWD transfer case in it but wasn't sure if I could keep the front diff that I have now in conjunction with the AWD Tcase to give me AWD and 2wd
Old 06-15-2011, 04:13 PM   #32
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

im sorry op but im gonna hijack this thread for a moment since we dont need another help me thread floating around. ok so i have a 91 s10 automtic tranny 4x4 4.3 shifter on floor. alright so im new to the 4x4 thing but i have no issue hitting 4hi but i get a small grinding noise when hitting N. it then says to engage my parking brake which i do. then i try to hit 4lo it get a louder grinding noise and it doesnt alway engage. but most of the time it lights up and it kicks in i have not actually tried driving it in 4lo on the highway. now am i doing somthing wrong i put the truck in N shift the 4x4 into N i then engage parking brake and put it in 4hi or 4lo is this wrong?
Old 06-15-2011, 06:22 PM   #33
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Well AWD is nice but useless offroad in sticky situations since the AWD t-case has no 4lo capability and second you should never drive in 4-lo on the highway. If your truck is hitting 4-lo it should drive dramatically different and you would tell that you cant drive it fast.

For me, I just simply come to a stop, put the truck in neutral and pull the handle down to 4-lo, and I creep for about half a foot and it engages.
Old 06-16-2011, 02:42 AM   #34
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Quote: Originally Posted by S10n00b
Well AWD is nice but useless offroad in sticky situations since the AWD t-case has no 4lo capability
I probably should've clarified a lil more with my post. The front clip is from a 4wd Blazer but I'm laying it out on air ride, and the truck will be bodydropped but maintain the 4wd. So I won't ever be in a sticky offroad situation, I will mostly always be on the roads, so thats even more why I was thinking that an engagable AWD would be pretty sweet. So I'm not wearing and tearing on the 4wd by being AWD all the time, but if it's wet out or I'm driving it in winter or something I can just engage the AWD and be good to go
Old 06-16-2011, 02:47 AM   #35
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Quote: Originally Posted by layinbody31
I probably should've clarified a lil more with my post. The front clip is from a 4wd Blazer but I'm laying it out on air ride, and the truck will be bodydropped but maintain the 4wd. So I won't ever be in a sticky offroad situation, I will mostly always be on the roads, so thats even more why I was thinking that an engagable AWD would be pretty sweet. So I'm not wearing and tearing on the 4wd by being AWD all the time, but if it's wet out or I'm driving it in winter or something I can just engage the AWD and be good to go
Ahh ok then yea thats a good idea. I've actually wanted to do an awd conversion to a single cab shortbed s10 and make a clone of a syclone using the bravada awd t case and front diff and crossmember. Your truck sounds like it will be a pretty sick ride.
Old 06-16-2011, 01:20 PM   #36
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Quote: Originally Posted by S10n00b
Ahh ok then yea thats a good idea. I've actually wanted to do an awd conversion to a single cab shortbed s10 and make a clone of a syclone using the bravada awd t case and front diff and crossmember. Your truck sounds like it will be a pretty sick ride.
Thanks man. There's a link to my build thread in my sig if you feel inclined to check it out
Old 06-16-2011, 10:43 PM   #37
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

and I just clicked it
Old 06-19-2011, 10:29 PM   #38
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

can i still use this if my 4wd is cable operated?
Old 06-20-2011, 02:20 AM   #39
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

^^ unless you already did it, yours is vacuum, well hybrid. vacuum from the T-case goes to a diaphragm, and the diaphragm compresses pulling a cable the cable slides a collar on the axle locking both halves together.
Old 10-31-2011, 12:23 AM   #40
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

I just did this conversion, works awesome!
Old 12-21-2011, 12:48 PM   #41
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

I just did this on my Blazer for about $45. I took the extra time to make it look like it was meant to be there and kept the actuator mount in the stock location to return to sock if every wanted or necessary. I have pics and can do a write up of supplies and instructions if anyones is interested. Mine works perfectly and besides the pull handle mounted under the dash you can't even tell its there. Let me know if you have questions.

Rex
Old 12-21-2011, 05:46 PM   #42
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Yea i would like to see those pics an write up.
Old 12-22-2011, 02:02 PM   #43
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

With this application you will still use the 4x4 buttons to engage the t-case but the cable will be used to engage the gears in the t-case that the faulty vacuum would normally do. When you pull the handle and lock it in the pulled position the t-case will be in 4x4 and when you push it in an lock it it will disengage. You may have to roll the truck forward or backward a bit to get it to engage.

Here is a breif overview of parts used and the process of how it was completed.

Heres the parts:

Cable Clamps


Compression Fitting (This acts as more of a guide than anything)


Corner braces


Washers (I only used 2)


I ordered this locking cable Heavy-Duty T-Handle Locking Cables - 10 Feet*-*Buyers*RO9D3.5X10 because its heavy duty and blends in well rather than the silver cables I have seen. It was $24 shipped to my door and I ordered it on Thursday and it arrived on Saturday.



Basically you remove the battery and battery tray to access the 4x4 vaccum actuator under it. From there you disconnect the actuator and remove the bracket from the truck.


Next you mark a hole in line with where the cable from the transfer case snaps into place and drill a hole for the compresion fitting to be attached into. Sorry I don't remember what size bit I used.



From there loose fit the fitting into place like this

Next you will mark a hole in the center of one of the corner braces and drill it to fit the handle in for mounting inside the cab and loose fit it like this (this is where I used the washers)




Next find a suitable mounting location for the bracket inside the cab and mount the brace for the cable handle and then run your cable thru a hole in the fire wall. Make sure it is a sturdy mount as you will be pulling on this pretty hard. I chose to just run it thru an exsisting hole but you can drill a new hole if you want just be sure to use some sort of file of grommet to lessen the sharp edges. Then run you cable thru the engine compartment thru the openings inside the fender down to where the actuator bracket is mounted.





From there remount the bracket and trim your cable to length. The best way to trim the cable is to pull the handle out couple feet and cut the outer cable then push the handle back in and trim the inner wire so there is extra sticking out.

Now mount everything as shown and clamp it tight. When clamping the wire onto the cable running to the t-case make sure to pull the handle out about 1/4in so that when you push the handle in to disengage the t-case there is enough travel to fully disengage (this may take a few adjustments).


Once you are finished with that don't forget to plug the vaccum line that was connected to the actuator with a screw or bolt that fits snugly so there is no vaccum leak.



Reinstall the battery tray and battery and go have fun.

If anyone has questions feel free to ask and I will help in any way that I can.

Rex
Old 12-22-2011, 02:27 PM   #44
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

The cable connects to the front differential, not the transfer case. Other than that excellent write up
Old 12-22-2011, 02:37 PM   #45
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Oh yeah I knew that my bad! Thanks for the correction
Old 12-22-2011, 03:00 PM   #46
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

No problem
Old 12-24-2011, 02:09 PM   #47
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Thanks that's a great write up with great pics.
Old 12-24-2011, 02:48 PM   #48
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

That is nice I hope to be doing the same thing soon.
Old 12-27-2011, 12:34 PM   #49
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

Thanks guys its totally worth the couple hours and $50 investment. I also wanted to add that my wife who is 5'4" 140lbs and 8 months pregnant was able to fully engage and disengage my 4x4 without and issues so it is still an easy to use system. If you have any questions I will be glad to help in any way I can.
Old 12-29-2011, 08:03 AM   #50
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Re: Converting 4x4 vacuum to cable

I had the above set up but know I use the good ole vice grip set up.
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