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Full Convertable Conversion

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by BAJA_BLAZER, Aug 9, 2004.

  1. BAJA_BLAZER

    BAJA_BLAZER 1/2 ton status Author

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    Converting a post 1975 Chevrolet Full-size Blazer to Full Convertible Hardtop, like the 1973 through 1975 models is an easy afternoon project. I converted my fully loaded 1990 Blazer using parts from a donor 1973 Blazer. The 73 donated the hardtop, upper windshield frame and parts from the doors to the project. It took me and my friends, Josh Westwood and Mark Newhan about five hours to make the swap. Of course additional time and materials were needed to finish prep the Blazer for paint at the A and B-Pillars as well as the doors.

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    It should be noted that the 1973 through 1975 Blazers had additional support in the form of “Rocker Boxes” under the rocker panels that added to body rigidity. When a post 1975 Blazer has the steal cab removed some body flex will be noticed in the door openings, however the windshield frame, A-pillar and B-pillar are plenty strong, and with the Fiberglass Hardtop on I have noticed no significant flex. This modification does not really affect the strength significantly as the laddered chassis frame is what carries the weight of the vehicle. The flex problem is often fixed by simply replacing body mounts with firmer urethane mounts. Some people have fabricated rocker boxes or “sliders” to stiffen that area of the body. Perhaps the best and only correct solution after having removed the safety of a steal cab is to add a full safety cage that will protect you as well as control the body flex.

    1) Remove the windshield glass from both Blazers. Chances are you will crack the windshield.

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    2) Before cutting the windshield header from the donor Blazer and cutting the cab off of your project Blazer, make careful measurements and mark where your cuts will be made. The windshield frames are the same size and the glass is interchangeable. Measure up from the bottom of the windshield frame on both Blazers and make your marks at the same height. I made my cuts about two thirds up the A-pillar. At the B-pillar, cut flush with the top of the bed rail (in my pictures we cut below the bed rails because the steal cab and my half-top were being reused on a 1975, go figure!) and fill the holes with sheet metal. An easy way to do this is to cut off part of the bed rail from the donor and graft it in. Using the windshield glass as a pattern to confirm fit, tack on the windshield header and install the Hardtop to get the correct alignment with the header.

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    3) Modify your doors by cutting off the window frames. This can be tricky, so I used doors off a 1975 as a pattern to make templates from cardboard to get the correct angles. Take your time here as there several different compound angles on the upper part of the window frame that need to be cut. Cut long, and grind back to fit.

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    4) There are brackets in the 73 through 75 doors that need to be salvaged and welded in to your new doors to hold the window track in place and add strength at the top of the door where you cut. The small fiberglass cap also screws down to one of these brackets. If you don’t have them you can easily make something to weld in.

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    Remember to protect your windows, mirrors, paint and interior from welding splatter and grinding sparks. That’s about all there is to it. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy the drivability of a later model Blazer with TBI and Power everything and in the summer it’s always Fully Topless!
     
  2. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    wow! that was an awesome write-up /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif Good works, looks awesome /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  3. SF87K5

    SF87K5 1/2 ton status

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    Man that rocks. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    Do you have any leaks when it rains from doing this?
     
  4. BAJA_BLAZER

    BAJA_BLAZER 1/2 ton status Author

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Do you have any leaks when it rains from doing this?

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    I have a 73 and a 75 and it's just the same as them. They all have a little wind noise, mostly around the back of the doors.
     
  5. TruckNutzDude

    TruckNutzDude 1/2 ton status

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    It's about time!!! /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif Very nice write up... I'm much more comfortable doing my conversion now. Thanks /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  6. 75-K5

    75-K5 3/4 ton status

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    The main question is...what did you do with the '75 after raping the windshield frame? Is it now a permanent convertible? /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     
  7. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    If you read all the write up you'd see the full cab got swapped onto the 75...which probably isn't as desirable a write up.

    One thing to watch for regarding body flex is the wheeling. My body flexed pretty bad after losing the half cab that even with the full topper on I seperated part of the topper on a Forest service road. It's still together sorta, but that'll need fixing now. /forums/images/graemlins/doah.gif Now that the truck is fully caged it should be just fine with or without the topper.

    rene
     
  8. GRAYTEXK5

    GRAYTEXK5 1/2 ton status

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    since the full convertibles had the rocker boxes to stiffen them up...do you have to add sliders, or some other kind of reinforcement there...or will a roll cage alone stiffen everything up plenty? I'm gonna chop the top on mine, but am waiting til I can get a cage put in at the same time...just wanna be sure if I'll have to do anything else too.
     
  9. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I have 3x3 box tube sliders welded to the body under the doors, and without the cage the body sag was pretty bad in my case.

    A full cage will do the job, and make you feel safer with the topper off too.

    Rene
     
  10. GRAYTEXK5

    GRAYTEXK5 1/2 ton status

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    also, when you install the cage...do you need to tie it to the windshield frame in some way to support it, or is it pretty sturdy without doing that?
     
  11. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    It seems pretty sturdy without tying into the winshield frame. I may tie it into the upper cowl/firewall though which should be pretty straightforward.

    Rene
     
  12. BAJA_BLAZER

    BAJA_BLAZER 1/2 ton status Author

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    [​IMG]

    Yeah it's a Ford, but it illustrates how we tie the cage in to the body. The eyebrow tube is bent to conform to the windshield frame and is welded to it. The dash tube is bent to conform to the firewall and is welded to it. The main top side rail is bent to conform to the A-pillar and then turns down to the frame. Every thing is laid as close to the body as possible and welded in. The cage is welded to the frame. When it is all said and done, you don’t even need the body mounts and everything is very ridged.
     
  13. chevyfumes

    chevyfumes Court jester

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    Watch for the muzzleflash!
    Nice write up... /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  14. jekquistk5

    jekquistk5 Weld nekid Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Way to be man, and Nice Garage/shop by the way /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  15. TruckNutzDude

    TruckNutzDude 1/2 ton status

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    Is there any way to get those pictures loaded up again? I waited for the longest time to have a write up done about the swap and now there's just the words.. We all know how much a picture is worth. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
     
  16. BAJA_BLAZER

    BAJA_BLAZER 1/2 ton status Author

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    I lost all my pictures in the “Members Rides” albums when the server crashed a while back. I’ll download them again as soon as time allows. I also told Steve I would send him a more comprehensive write-up soon. Right now I’m swamped getting ready for the Primm 300 this Saturday. If anyone is headed to the race and wants to get involved with our effort, PM me. We are racing the Chevy Class 8 (#803) after a complete rebuild and redesign of the suspension. It’s working better than ever! Hit a Buck Twenty-five on the GPS during testing last Friday. This race is serving as a test of the new setup in preparation for the Baja 1000 to La Paz this November.
     
  17. ahx

    ahx Registered Member

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    yes i am very interested in the pictures also. I have started my planning and part gathering for this project. thanks.
     
  18. WARP1

    WARP1 Registered Member

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    I can't see the pictures, but an article like this should become a permanet fixture here on CK5. Maybe this could be put under the tech section or project vehicles.
     
  19. patches85

    patches85 Registered Member

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    Ever get those pix going again?
     

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