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New member, please give me the good, bad, and ugly on the K5

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by trbon8r, Jun 11, 2005.

  1. trbon8r

    trbon8r Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I'm a new member here. I've been thinking hard about picking up an 89-91 K5 or Jimmy. Can you guys steer me in the right direction of what to look for and the problem areas with these trucks that I should be aware of?

    From what I can see, the toughest thing is finding one that hasn't been beat to death or overly modded. Thanks.

    Ben
     
  2. PhoenixZorn

    PhoenixZorn 1/2 ton status

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    My dad always used to tell me to buy a truck that's already done, because you can't build it for the same price... I wish I had listenned to him...

    Depending on where you are, you should be able to get a 89-91 blazer stock for between $500 (Pile of rust, but running -or- good body not running) to $2000 for a very nice stock rig. If you wantt o buy one with all the bells and whistles that you were going to put on it anyway, you are looking at between $4000 and the cost of a late model used car...

    When you are looking at Blazers, make sure you get underneath and check the area in front of the rear wheel wells... they are notorious for rotting and causing a full body cancer. Same for the rocker panels due to the front wheels throwing mud at them all the time. Make sure the floor is solid, and make sure you hear it and see it run and drive before you even think about buying it... there's nothing worse than finding out after you bought it that the rear end was bad or that someone put sawdust in the tranny so it would shift for you while it was for sale... granted, that did NOT happen to me, but I've heard of it happening to others... Most importantly, if you are buying an air conditioned rig, make sure the system is charged and working... it's HELL to replace the A/C system in these trucks because of freon laws...

    As for the rest of the truck, check the oil, tranny fluid, coolant level, and make sure 4wd works in low and hi.... when I bought my Blazer, the stick didn't want to stay in 4HI, and while it was a simple fix, it should have been a cue for me to walk away... Basically, if you are looking at a truck and saying "This isn't bad, $1000 worth of work and it should be good as new" then you should be walking away... $1000 turns into $4000 really fast.

    Blazers and Jimmys are wonderfully awesome trucks... I wouldn't give mine up unless someone handed me a bigger one, or one with a diesel in it already. They can go anywhere the little trucks can for the most part, and in many cases can go further than the little ones... They are prone to wear and tear, but you must expect that when you buy a 20ish year old truck. The 305s are crap motors, the 400s in 1980 and before are decent but only 2 bolt mains, and the 350s are what everyone rebuilds into strokers or 355s. The 6.2 diesel will get you the best mileage, but seems a bit underpowered to me. Finding a Blazer with a Cummins swap already done with Dana 60 front and 14bFF rear will net you the best deal in my opinion... like I said, you can never build a truck for what you can buy it for.
     
  3. Storm Trooper

    Storm Trooper 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Location:
    Dillon Colorado, Hang'in in the mountains. Renting
    1st, you need to tell everyone what kind of driving you plan to do with it.
    what are you looking for, stock and clean, ready to rock etc.
    K5's can be priced at just about whatever you want to spend from a
    rust bucket to a fully built rock crawler.
    I know of one in my area that the guy wanted 10K for last year and I'll
    bet he's got alot more than that into it but he'll never get it.
     
  4. 1-ton

    1-ton 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Make sure you check the frame for cracking where the steering box bolts on. GM 4X4's are known for this.
     
  5. trbon8r

    trbon8r Registered Member

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    Thanks for the info. I'm looking for a nice clean specimen that has spent most of its time on the highway rather than on the rocks. If the truck came with a mild lift and some 33' or 35' tires that would be ok. Basically I want something that would be good for play in the sand dunes or as a camping vehicle where I can throw the dogs and some gear in the back and take off. Since I'm a bit of a lead foot I would like to do a few mods on the motor for some extra power. What are the most common engine mods for the TBI motors to get the most power out of them? I used to have a '90 Z-71 and am familiar with the TBI motors. They are awesome engines but could use a few more ponies.

    I agree with the comment about buying a truck that is already done. I learned this the hard with a Buick Grand National I recently sold. I put a ton of money in the car and was lucky to get as much as I did back. Thanks again. :)

    Ben
     
  6. FRIZZLEFRY

    FRIZZLEFRY 1/2 ton status

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    Being from Ca. ,your best bet would be to pick up a 74 or older.But I guess that depends on your plans for it :D

    But thats what I would do.
     
  7. trbon8r

    trbon8r Registered Member

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    Why would a '74 or older be better? Thanks. :)

    Ben
     
  8. Jagged

    Jagged 1 ton status

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    74 and older == no smog in CA

    as far as TBI performance... easiest is a TB spacer, hardest is an engine rebuild ;)
     
  9. FRIZZLEFRY

    FRIZZLEFRY 1/2 ton status

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    As was said,for smog issues.74 is smog on change of ownership only and 73 and older is exempt.

    I had an 81 K5,the engine was all stock and it ran great.But every other year it would fail by a tiny bit and I would end up spending $800- $1000 to get it to pass.After three smogs in a row like that,I decided to make some changes :D
     
  10. mxfireman

    mxfireman 1/2 ton status

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    Same for me when I lived in Cali. Smog will be your worst enemy. No smog in Mojave County :deal: :saweet:
     
  11. no1uknow

    no1uknow 1/2 ton status

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    I have an 85 Jimmy with a 454 out of a 72 chevelle. I have to take it to a "smog only" place so it is impossible to smog I don't even have a cat or anything. Now I have to register it in Mexico. By the way what dunes are you trying to head out to? Glamis?
     

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