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Arizona/new to K5/looking to buy a K5

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Arizcowboy, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. Arizcowboy

    Arizcowboy Registered Member

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    Hey all, I am new to the ColoradoK5 site and just signed up. I am looking to get into a 73-81 or so K5 or GMC Jimmy and thought I would jump into the site here for some suggestions from yall.

    I currently own a 1981 GMC K3500 crew cab 4x4. It has a 454 motor with a SM465/NP205 and Dana 60/GM 14bFF 4.56 gears. 6" Tuff Country lift. 35x12.50x16.5 BFG A/T tires. I love this truck! While I do off road it a bit, it is more for my business use and I dont really want to bang it up! So, I am searching for a 4x4 I can have some more fun with! Looking in the 73-81 range. I like this body style and the availability of parts and great aftermarket support. I dont want anything newer. I prefer a short bed truck or a K5/Jimmy. I am leaning toward a full size blazer mostly. I think the K5/Jimmys have a slightly shorter wheelbase yet than a short bed truck. ???

    Now, in regards to a K5 or a GMC Jimmy full size... what am I looking for? I need this vehicle for a daily driver. So want something that can be set up for road use with highway friendly gearing. I also want something that I can take for some 'semi serious' off roading. With all that said... what would be the perfect K5/Jimmy to seek out? Now, I know I probably will not find that perfect Blazer and I will have to add some stuff after a purchase... but if I have a choice of blazers, I want to make the right choice.

    I am looking at a couple now that have 350 motors, NP205 transfer case and automatic tranny. For off road use, is a manual transmission prefered over an automatic? I like a manual as I feel it gives me more control (not to mention it is more fun to drive!). But is an automatic plenty sufficient for serious off road use? Neither of these blazers I have seen have the full time 4wd and they both have front locking hubs, which is preferable.

    Things I would like to consider doing to this blazer after I buy it: add a Dana 60 front diff and a 14bFF rear diff/axle. I would also like to go with lockers, possibly ARB air lockers. Will these 1 ton axles bolt right up to a K5 or are there modifications to do to make them work? I am thinking 35" tires and a 6" lift on this blazer should be plenty. ???

    Gearing: I need gears that are good for highway mileage and yet still have some good low range for off road use. I think a 3.73 is rather common in the stock K5's??? That would seem like a good gearing for what I plan to use it for. My big truck has 4.56 gears and I dont drive that thing over 58-60 mph on the highway. I want to be able to drive faster than that with my daily driver on the highway and improve some on gas mileage.

    Curious to hear some comments/thoughts on my proposed K5/Jimmy above. Also, anyone from Arizona on here that is selling one?

    Thanks

    Arizcowboy
     
  2. BKinzey

    BKinzey 1/2 ton status

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    What you mention is very doable. Just start reading the forums and you'll find all the info you need.:D
     
  3. blazinzuk

    blazinzuk Buzzbox voodoo Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Hmmm well, If you want a good daily driver and good wheeler then just do a 4" lift in the front with a shackle flip in the back and cut the wheel wells to fit 35s. I had a rig that had a 6" lift 38" swamper radials 4.10 geared axles and a turbo 350 trans. I loved that setup. A 700r4 would be the way to go as far as autos go, that way you get your highway speed you are looking for. So many different ways you can go here. Read here on this board and you will learn alot. I think the majority here still use their trucks every day
     
  4. dbozman

    dbozman 1/2 ton status

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    Search on Craigslist. Always a bunch of K5s for sale on there.
     
  5. BulldogK5

    BulldogK5 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Welcome aboard.

    First off, thank you for taking the time to use paragraphs and making this much easier to read. You will have to watch out for the grammer police.

    Secondly, have you considered the 87-91 K5's. These trucks have TBI for better fuel economy as well as the 700R4 trans w/overdrive. They also have a NP241 case that you could put a Slip Yoke Eliminator on if you are worried about that (but that would likely come later when you do the axle swap). To answer your question about the auto., yes it is plenty sufficient for off-road use. If you like the control of a standard you could just make it a full maual valve body. The auto will hold up as long as your gearing is close to factory or lower, i.e. not much strain on the trans.

    The axle swap you speak of can be found in numerous threads so I won't go into detail other than yes, everything is a bolt in with minor mods depending on the 14ff model.

    35's will fit with a 4" lift and some minor trimming. Depends on how clean you want it to look. There is a thread at the top with many trucks and many lifts and many tire sizes.

    Look in the for sale forum if you can for some rather nice K5's some with the work already done to them. You might have to get a membership to view the pics though. If so spend the $25. It is well worth it just for the pics let alone the tech advice and search options available.

    Hope this helps and we need pics of the crew cab. It sounds like mine except for the year.
     
  6. Arizcowboy

    Arizcowboy Registered Member

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    Hey BulldogK5, I dont think I really want a 87-91. The fuel injection and the 700R4 would be good though. But there is just so much emissions BS under the hood on those models, not to mention just plain busy under there! I like a really simple truck. I want to look under the hood and see pavement (make that dirt!). I even ripped the A/C out of my truck because it stopped working and well, I dont really need it anyways here in Phoenix, AZ. :)) I figured if the truck doesnt need it to run, I dont want it under there. Keep it simple, I always say. So, with that... I like the older rigs. I am fond of the 73-91 body style though. But prefer no newer than 81. I know a carburated engine isnt going to do very good on mileage in these old 4x4's. Just looking to get it as good as I can. I have a 2wd 74' GMC 1/2 ton with a Oldsmobile 455 and it gets right at 11mpg. Not bad really. My big K3500 only gets 6mpg. I would like to improve some on that 11mpg though for my daily driver. I would be happy with say 14mpg in my next truck.

    That 2wd 1/2 ton is the truck I am looking to replace with a 4X4, preferably a K5 or a shortbed pickup.

    I will be happy to post a pic or two of my K3500. Where is the best place to post a pic?

    Arizcowboy
     
  7. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    I started out like that . Ended up buying another daily driver recently , and the Blazer is destined for bashing :thumb:
     

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