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Considering buying a K5

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Eric W, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. Eric W

    Eric W Registered Member

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    Hey all, I'm new here, and new to trucks and 4wd. But I'm not new to Chevy, I have a 98 C5 Corvette as a daily and think it would be a nice complement to add a K5 to the C5. I'm very hands on I do my own work on everything from clutch jobs to tranny rebuilds so this would be a secondary/beater around/fun vehicle.

    I've been doing research on 4 wheel drive vehicles in general. And I've come to the conclusion the K5 may be one of the good contenders here for my applications and for availability of parts, both OEM and aftermarket and ease of work. I live in the mid atlantic region (MD) and we dont have sand dunes or baja style places but mine will be most likely used for trails, blasting through mud and general off roading. It seems everyone and their mom has a Jeep of some sort so I wanted to shy away from that. And also a K5 is probably more useful then a jeep is for hauling stuff etc.

    Ive been reading all I can on this wonderful sight from the product reviews, tech specs, and this forum but need to know some more. Great to see the manuf's lit as well as year by year specs.

    My friend's dad has a 87 (I think) K5 that he is selling. It is stock. Unfortunately I don't have all the info about it cause I've only glanced at it once and I'm sitting at work. If I remember right it had low miles for its age, either 35K miles or 65K miles. Also, new General tires that are fairly new although they're only the stock 31" size. I think it has the 350 motor with an automatic transmission. The owner also says it needs new ball joints. I dont remember the other details.

    I plan to look at it in detail when I get home, so I'm posting here. What should I look out for? From what I've gathered so far, the GM 10 bolt differentials are weak and a cost effective upgrade is to the 14 bolt.

    I read through the product reviews and the "how to" sections here and my mouth started getting wet haha. I plan to do the standards- lift the truck, get larger tires, brush guard, skid plate, air compressor, larger lights etc. Then maybe the air locker, cross steering conversion, manual tranny swap, door removal kit, 89-91 front conversion etc.

    What can you all tell me to look for on such a vehicle?
    Any other hidden details? How's insurance (liability only)? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. 1977k5

    1977k5 3/4 ton status Vendor

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    An 87 Blazer would have 10 bolts front and rear (standard half ton axles, not expecially strong), a TH700R-4 transmission (the good updated version I believe), and TB fuel injection :D. Sounds pretty good to me, one of the things that is not considered not so good on a blazer of that era is that it has a slip yoke in the transfer case (this is considered weak and can get bad if you lift it, the solution is to swap transfer cases). Ball joints are cheap and easy to replace, if the price is right it sounds good to me. Oh yeah, don't get in over your head with modifications. You don't have to make every mod that everyone else does. Wheel it, enjoy it, and upgrade as you see fit.
     
  3. riggz

    riggz Registered Member

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    Definately check the tranny. I bought mine back in 2000 and within a year i ended up having the tranny rebuilt. It only had about 100,000 miles on it. The engine is still running like a champ. The cause was a faulty ECM not shifting it into overdrive. I also had to replace the right rear axle due to a crack from a previous owner that finally snapped when i was 4wheelin up a hill. Other then that, just use common sense. :)
     
  4. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    did you post the same question over on pirate recently? Anyway, answer is the same. There is only 1 feature that you really really wanna look for when buying a used K5. Fuel Injection. Almost everything else major (axles, tcases etc) will probably get swapped out as you get more and more into your rig. FI will always be a good thing to have. AFAIK, they started using it on k5s in 1987... could be wrong though. My 85 is carbed... and it sucks. ;)

    anyway, welcome to the site... this is the best place to learn about modifying your rig for offroad use and doing so in a cost-efficient manner. Believe me, just following the forums and doing searches will save you tons of cash, it has for me.

    j
     
  5. Eric W

    Eric W Registered Member

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    Thanks for the replys. I agree every hobby I get into I always find a discussion forum to chat with others about it. I didnt get a chance to look at the truck last night but I'm hoping it is at least an 87. Fuel injection is important to me and good to know it started in 87.

    What is pirate? -I dont think that was me hehe...

    Transfer case- whats the usual swap since it sounds like it may blow up?

    I saw the same era K5 driving last night that looked lifted. I thought ah yea that thing looks badass! I love 'project' vehicles where I go around trying to find salvaged/used parts and put together something myself and make it work, or try to make it work :D
     
  6. Z3PR

    Z3PR Banned

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    If you're going too swap the transmission to a sm465 (Manual) then a NP-205 transfer case would be my first choice.
     
  7. 350k5

    350k5 1/2 ton status

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    If I were you I would defiantly check to see how bad the rust is. Look at the rocker panel, where the tailgate meets the body, and underneath right in front of the rear fenders (just behind the front seats). All of those places are complete cancer on my 84. When I bought it that was something I overlooked and that has made it a much larger project. Good luck, these things are lots of fun.:waytogo:
     
  8. Eric W

    Eric W Registered Member

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    Well my friend's dad isnt home for the next few days so I still cant get details on the truck, but I did get a quote from my insurance company for 6 months. Liability only, but $50 deduct comprehensive (only $26 less for none) listed as a secondary "pleasure" vehicle is $367.20 (if driven more then 7500 mi) or $318 (if>7500 mi/6 mo). Does this sound good? I sure hope the $700+ more per year is worth it haha....thats more then my yearly sport bike insurance for full coverage!
     
  9. riggz

    riggz Registered Member

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    probably because its 4wheel drive. insurance co. love to jack the quotes on 4x4's :(
     
  10. Eric W

    Eric W Registered Member

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    OK I hope this can shed more light. I got the VIN of the truck and from the vin decoder, I found out this... bursted my bubble a little bit. The truck is a 1986, not an 87 and it has the 305 the "305 V8 2BBL (5.0L) Chevrolet LG9 " motor in it. That means no FI. The truck has low miles, maybe 25K miles or 30K miles although I still havent seen it, nor do I know what the asking price is.

    I'm now thinking of getting an even older one, so it would be 1) cheaper to insure and 2) qualify for historic tags and 3) have the fully removeable top. Thoughts on either of these?
     
  11. Ruthven13

    Ruthven13 1/2 ton status

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    Well, to qualify here in Nj for historic tags it has to be t least 25 years old. To get the full convertable top, you would have to get a '75 or earlier model. If I had to get a carb'd model, I would go as old as possible. The earlier ones are harder to find though.
     
  12. down4thakrown

    down4thakrown 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    i would go mid 70's or older so you dont have to deal with as much emission requirements, you can always swap the c5 vett motor later :weld: :grind: :hack: :k5: :woot:
     
  13. Eric W

    Eric W Registered Member

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    Yeah I thought about an older one but I think a 75 in decent shape might be hard to find. Guess I'll keep my eyes open. Sort of bums me out this truck had the smaller motor and no FI though. How much would something like this be worth?

    How was the 305? Maybe its time to start doing a engine build in swap :xmas: but money is always a factor haha...
     
  14. txfiremank5

    txfiremank5 1/2 ton status

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    My advice would be to get the best vehicle for the money... reguardless of year. For the most part, all K5's are pretty much the same animal. As long as you have a good platform to build off of, then anything else can be added. Now, as for fully removable tops, & FI etc.. if there is something that you really want such as FI, then find the best K5 in that year range, for the best money, and snag it. I had a 84 K5 for years that had a 305.. and I made due with it. Last year when I got the itch to get another K5, I was not going to settle for anything less than a fuel injected 350... so, I found one that was very clean, for a respectable price, and got it. Getting one that already has some of the things you want just puts you ahead, so that you won't have to spend moeny later on, adding it.
     
  15. 76R4JIMMY

    76R4JIMMY Registered Member

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    i agree with the older blazer idea , then get a tbi intake from lopers with no emission crap & painless wiring kit.
     
  16. Jonny-K5

    Jonny-K5 1/2 ton status

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    welcome to ck5. if the truck is real cheap(2k or under)+rust free then you might still consider it.anything under 60k miles is really low. personally i think if you want FI, get it factory. the best year for EFI K5's is 89-91, with 89 being the best.

    if your going carbed, get something pre smog 75' or under. you will pay alot more for one that in decent shape. you will most likely dump alot of money into it if it isnt in really good condition. they are fairly hard to find as well.

    i'd say either look for a decent 73-75 or an 89-91 truck.











    swapping cases is a solution, but not the best one IMO. they make what is called a SYE(slip yoke eliminator). replaces the slip yoke for a fixed yoke, plus shortens the case quite a bit so you can have a longer driveshaft. for mild to moderate wheeling the stock slip yoke is fine tho.

    as for the removable top, personally i dont care for them. most people around here love em tho. i get plenty of airflow with the door and tailgate windows down,to me it feels like a full conv. with a soft top.but when it gets dusty on the trail i can hit the power window button and turn the AC on, cant do that w/o a top.
     
  17. Eric W

    Eric W Registered Member

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    OK I talked to the owner of it, got more details although I still haven't seen the thing in person. It has 34K original miles on it, was his neighbor's truck that was used for a back up for his business for snow, so it barely got used and I trust that the mileage is correct.
    He said it will need a battery and a headlight but otherwise it passed MD state inspection 3 years ago when he bought it, put maybe 30 miles since when he bought it. He spent $900 or so on parts and repairs to get it to pass inspection, it was mostly suspension parts like tie rod ends, bearings etc. Passed emissions recently with "flying colors". No exhaust leaks.

    He said there is some rust on it, on the right fender about a fist sized hole. Other problems he said that if its below 40 degrees it has a hard time starting up. He did a mild tune up (plugs and dist. cap only) a few years ago. He also says there is a shimmy at times which he believes is one of the front universal joints that goes away if you spray oil on the joint.

    He wasnt sure of the exact year but believes it is an 84 although I ran the VIN checker and it comes out to an 86 with a 305.

    He'll sell it to me for around $1000. Thoughts?
     
  18. 350k5

    350k5 1/2 ton status

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    I would say that sounds like a pretty good deal. Just want to drive it, make sure you like how it rides and everything. If it's a Silverado then I would jump on it, sounds like a nice deal to me.
     
  19. Eric W

    Eric W Registered Member

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    What is the Silverado package? This truck is the silverado cause I saw it on the dash. Oh yeah, too bad it was at night I couldnt see much but the interior was in immaculate shape. Really good condition. A few rust spots here and there, nothing huge.


    Any other options I should be aware of when looking at this thing?
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2005
  20. Eric W

    Eric W Registered Member

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    Dang I'm confused now. I'm basically going in 3 directions- the 86 which has low miles, great interior shape, "pretty good" outside shape and I personally know the previous owners, but it doesn't have the 350 nor Fuel Injection. It would still need to be emissions and inspection and still have "regular" (not historic) tags which cost about 4x as much here in MD, as well as insurance.

    The second option is to hold out for a later model 87-91 which has the 350/FI, but then it would probably be more expensive then the 86.

    The 3rd option, is to try to find a 73-75 which is what I'd really like to do. No inspection, no emissions, cheap tags and insurance. Unfortuantely I don't think I'll be that "lucky" to find one optioned out the way I want in fair-good condition at a cheap price.

    I also heard that fuel injection on American Vehicles from the late 80's is something to be avoided and its better to just go with a carb on something that is that old. Decisions decisions.... at least I narrowed it down to a certain make/model of vehicle. Help!
     

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