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73 Blazer in NC needs to be in TX -- How to tackle this?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by ithinkican, Dec 2, 2003.

  1. ithinkican

    ithinkican Registered Member

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    The vehicle: 1973 K5 Blazer (the same truck I drove as a senior in high school in 1973-74). It's been in (mostly) continuous service over the past 30 years; my dad used it as a daily driver for puttering around the NC mountains during the past 10 years, and, as far as I know, kept it in decent condition. He replaced the motor in 2000, and suffered a series of strokes shortly after that -- he's now residing in a nursing home, and sometimes is tuned in to "present time" but often is not, so getting reliably correct info isn't a guarantee. Dad's wife is giving the truck to my 16-year-old son (he's thrilled!), but I have to figure out how to get the truck from NC mountains to D/FW area of Texas for minimal cost (shipping is out of the question).

    My options are (1) drive to NC and flat-tow it back, or (2) fly to NC and drive it back. I say flat-tow because I can't find anywhere (Uhaul, etc.) that has a front-end dolly or flatbed trailer that will handle the full-size K5. I'm assuming it weighs 4,000-4,500 lbs. Even for flat-towing, I'll have to find some sort of towbar assembly to use. And driving there, and back, will be a 5-day undertaking, a fairly large chunk of time. (2 days there, one day of prep/paperwork, 2 days back)

    Flying in and driving it back could cut the time to 3 days, but the prospect of taking off for a 1200-mile trip in a truck with so many unknown maintenance issues is downright scary. I know the oil has been changed regularly, and it starts and runs, but... I have no idea whether the diffs have been cleaned in the past 20 years, how long the transmission fluid's been congealing, whether the transfer case fluid's been changed/checked, what sort of shape the brakes might be in...? I would assume that the belts and hoses were all new when the new motor was installed, but that could be a bad assumption. Heck, I don't even know if it was a "NEW" motor or a rebuilt/reman'd or used motor. The last time I asked dad about it, he swore he had a 454 dropped in to replace the 350. (He was also muttering about buying a new Lincoln for $3500.) I don't really think he did.... but, hey, I guess it's possible./forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

    Ideally, it would be a better if I could drive it back. If I can find someone to check it over thoroughly and change out the fluids before I leave (oil, tranny, diffs, transfer case), check brakes, hoses and belts, are my chances of making to back to Texas without a breakdown worth a gamble? (It has a new battery and new tires, less than 6 months old.)

    I would be comfortable towing the beast back with a towbar, I routinely hitch up and drag a 30' 7,000-lb. travel trailer and/or a 20' boat. However, I'd have to find someone in NC to disconnect the drive train and secure it for the trip. The prospect of a 2,400-mile round trip at ~8 mpg is almost as scary as driving the Blazer solo, tho. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif


    And, you know, this is just the beginning. Once I get it to Texas, it'll need a rollbar/cage and an upgrade to the lapbelts-only. $$cha-ching$$

    I am truly in need of some opinions/words of wisdom. I know just enough to be terrified. /forums/images/graemlins/1zhelp.gif
     
  2. CaveBlazin

    CaveBlazin 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Where in NC might be able to help on the disconnect. I drove about 800 miles on one of those tow dollys from Uhaul and I was being pulled by a 75 TransAm (no laughing). You could fly in and the cheapest Uhaul truck and dolly that might be safe but I dont know how cheap?? Hope this helps
    Spence
     
  3. ithinkican

    ithinkican Registered Member

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    The Blazer is in Blowing Rock, NC, near Boone.

    I've called U-Haul a couple of times, they SWEAR they don't have anything that's rated to handle a K5. Figured the first time my chances of having reached a complete idiot were probably 50/50, so tried again, but the results were the same -- no go.

    I appreciate the offer of possible help. This is a daunting undertaking if I end up having to drive to NC and haul it back on a flat tow.
     
  4. skratch

    skratch 1/2 ton status

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    I know they say the tow dolly won't work to pull a K5 but I did it and had no problems what so ever.

    The only thing was that the front tires were really tight on the fenders and we had to air them down to get the straps over them, but they were also 32/11.5R15's.

    I use U-Haul all the time and I just tell them I'm hauling something different, that their computers will allow me to pull on the dollies and have never had a problem.

    What they don't know won't really hurt them as long as your tow rig can handle the weight.
     
  5. ithinkican

    ithinkican Registered Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I know they say the tow dolly won't work to pull a K5 but I did it and had no problems what so ever.

    The only thing was that the front tires were really tight on the fenders and we had to air them down to get the straps over them, but they were also 32/11.5R15's.

    I use U-Haul all the time and I just tell them I'm hauling something different, that their computers will allow me to pull on the dollies and have never had a problem.

    What they don't know won't really hurt them as long as your tow rig can handle the weight.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Wait. You...you...LIE?!? To U-Haul?!? /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

    OK, I'm game, I've always been tempted to lead a racier life, this may be my start. Just wondering, what sort of legal ramifications might there be if some idiot manages to involve me in some sort of fenderific altercation? Well, yeah, I did sign up to tow a vehicle. What do you mean, 'This isn't an S10 Blazer'? Is there a difference?" /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif <-- innocent smile

    If I'm travelling solo, the 1/2-ton Suburban could handle this, but with it being winter + mountains, I'll probably take the 3/4-ton 4wd Suburban if I can work this out. Both have a Class IV hitch, electric brake controller, and tow packages. The 3/4-ton is really better suited to the job, I just hate the gas mileage.

    The tires on the Blazer are stock size, I believe. There are actually two full sets of wheels and tires; one for snow, one for summer. You think this would fit on a U-Haul dolly, eh?

    And no one thinks just driving it back would be prudent? /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  6. 4x4k20

    4x4k20 1/2 ton status

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  7. ithinkican

    ithinkican Registered Member

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  8. Lance

    Lance 1/2 ton status

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    there is a web-site that other's have posted on here, but unfortunately i can't remember the name of it for the life of me. i believe the web-site is either for farm implements or antique tractors.

    essentially what happens is when someone has room on their personal trailer from picking up a piece of equipment they have bought / traded for, they'll post up where they are leaving from and where they are heading to and if you are along their route, let 'em know what you want hauled and to where. they'll haul your equipment (vehicle) to save on their expenses. it's should be less than having it shipped by a pro or driving / flying to NC and bringing back the K5.

    i believe HarryH3 has posted this site, you may want to try searching this site under his username or vehicle shipping.

    good luck
     
  9. 4x4k20

    4x4k20 1/2 ton status

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    yea i know hes looking for something to bring back from tex. to nc. but he may be able to help if he makes that run alot. it wouldnt hurt to ask /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  10. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    If your going to tow it bring the 3/4 ton. It has more brakes then the half ton and unless you know somebody with a brake buddy you need all the brakes you can get.

    I'd say fly in and drive it back. you could pay for the airfair with the gas money you save running a burb there and back. Plan a prep day and check fluid and brakes. We can get a list of folks along the way like was done for Rene for help if you have problems. I'm in Atlanta so I'll volenteer and I am sure I can round up a Trailer if you have problems and I have enough truck to move it if we can't fix it on the spot.

    The run from Atl to DFW is 13.5 hours at 70 if you miss rush hours along the way and drive straight through.
     
  11. k20

    k20 3/4 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]

    The run from Atl to DFW is 13.5 hours at 70 if you miss rush hours along the way and drive straight through.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Just skip atlanta, everytime ive come through it, no matter what time i leave home goin to alabama, i get there at rush hour, be it mornin, lunch, or afternoon. Does rush hour ever stop in atlanta?
     
  12. K1Orion

    K1Orion 1/2 ton status

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    Drive it.
    Sorry to hear about your dad but give him some credit, the K5 may be in showroom quality. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif He did raise a kid with mechanical abilities so he probably had enough to keep this thing roadworthy. And if it is all stock, God forbid you have problems, parts will be easy to get.

    See if somebody here can check it out for you before you make your decision. /forums/images/graemlins/ears.gif /forums/images/graemlins/ears.gif

    Good luck and if you drive it through St. Louis, I'm more than willing to help! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  13. k5guyva

    k5guyva 1/2 ton status

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    In case someone hasn't mentioned it, there is a network of long-haul trucks to move things like this. I know that it's easy to get a boat hauled from coast to coast. Why not a truck? I don't think the costs would be radically different.
     
  14. k5guyva

    k5guyva 1/2 ton status

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  15. ithinkican

    ithinkican Registered Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    In case someone hasn't mentioned it, there is a network of long-haul trucks to move things like this. I know that it's easy to get a boat hauled from coast to coast. Why not a truck? I don't think the costs would be radically different.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    I re-checked the cost with the link, it's still $1000 to ship -- not feasible. Plus, that's from Pineville, NC (terminal point outside of Charlotte) to Dallas terminal, I'd still have to fly to NC to drive the truck from Blowing Rock to Pineville, a distance of about 100 miles. Spouse is adamant that costs must be kept to a minimum on this. /forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif Long story there, I won't bore you further, but suffice to say, he's not with the plan on this and is not going to make it easy.

    I can fly cheap/free with frequent flier mileage available, so no expense there.

    Ideally, I'd like to fly in, drive the truck back via US321 to I-40, thru Asheville to Knoxville, veer south on I-75 to I-59 and spend the night in Birmingham, AL. Second day, staight shot west on I-20 to home. I've driven thru Atlanta too many times, it's WORSE than Dallas!!! /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif Mapquest gives a drive time of 18 hours from Blowing Rock to Dallas, via Atlanta. I can tell you, it's considerably longer. The 40/75/59 route has more miles but actually takes less time. I always overnight in Birmingham; the I-20 stretch is easy, just long.

    Have done the I-40 to I-30 NC/TN/Arkansas/TX drive, it's bearable in the summer but won't attempt it during the winter.

    I am seriously intrigued by the prospect of renting the front-end dolly from U-Haul; has anyone with a comparable Blazer done a front-axle weight on scales? I'd SWAG that 2/3's of the weight is on the front axle, so the dolly would have to be rated for close to 3,000 lbs. Anybody know if this is close to accurate?

    I am so overwhelmed. /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
     
  16. Lance

    Lance 1/2 ton status

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    i found the link i was talking about, it's on Yesterday's Tractors Magazine web-site, under hauling schedule. here's a direct link: http://www.ytmag.com/cgi-bin/haulquery.pl .

    try it, you may have some luck.

    lance
     
  17. k5guyva

    k5guyva 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]

    I am seriously intrigued by the prospect of renting the front-end dolly from U-Haul; has anyone with a comparable Blazer done a front-axle weight on scales? I'd SWAG that 2/3's of the weight is on the front axle, so the dolly would have to be rated for close to 3,000 lbs. Anybody know if this is close to accurate?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I'd be really careful about doing that. The vehicle that you use to tow needs to be heavier than the towed vehicle. Otherwise in a panic stop, the towed vehicle can (and will) push you. The tow vehicle needs to have beefed up brakes and suspension. So, if you tow with one of the Suburbans, no problem. If you tow something like a S10, you're asking for trouble.

    You're also going to need to disconnect the driveshafts with tow dolly.
     
  18. fourwheelerjeff

    fourwheelerjeff 1/2 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    [ QUOTE ]
    And no one thinks just driving it back would be prudent? /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]

    i do, just fly in, if you are worried about fluids, take it to a jiffy-lube or the like and spend the money to get the full treatment and get everything changed or checked out
    post up your route before hand and maybe you can get some contact info along the way, then as you are driving back you get first hand knowledge of any quirks or problems with the blazer that need to be taken care of before you let your son take the wheel

    plus wouldn't it really be nice to take a road trip away from the spouse and everyone and just take a leisurely drive back to the dfw area; get some time to yourself

    i bought a blazer off ebay in virginia beach, flew in and drove it back not knowing if it would make it, put a little adventure into your life /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    heck, this is the kind of adventure i like, wanna co-driver? /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     
  19. Lance

    Lance 1/2 ton status

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    yeah, go for it. drive it back. you've got garage space and plenty of tools at my place if something were to happen near B'ham.

    there's a ton of members on all sides of ATL and i know of several other members scattered up and down I-85 and I-20 in SC, GA and AL. I'm not sure of any MS members along I-20, but if you can make it to Monroe, LA I think there are some there.

    Start a different post if you do decide to go for it and collect phone numbers of people along your route. Most people here would be glad to lend a helping hand if you were to need it.

    good luck.
     
  20. cybrfire

    cybrfire 1 ton status Vendor GMOTM Winner

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    I'd have to agree with flying in and driving it back. Heck, my brother just drove a serious POS dodge van from Mechanicsburg, PA all the way to Oklahoma. I wouldn't have trusted that thing to make it across a parking lot. I bet you'll be alright if you do like before mentioned. Take it to jiffy lube and settle in for the long drive.
     

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