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Newbie needs front-end help!

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by chriskh, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. chriskh

    chriskh Registered Member

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    Hey guys, I'm new to the site and to the vehicle. I was given a '76 Blazer 4x4 but the front end is really loose. It's so bad, I wouldn't take it over 40mph or so. Anyway, I've got a feeling it's the tie rod ends. I'd like to do this myself but I have no idea how difficult this job is since I am not familliar with this vehicle. Can someone tell me how long it will take a somewhat mechanicly inclined person to do this? Also, can anyone tell me how much it would cost me if I took it to a shop and had someone do it for me? I really want to get it fixed but I don't want to drop a crap load of money into it. Thanks for the help!
     
  2. chriskh

    chriskh Registered Member

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    Anyone?
     
  3. captaininsano

    captaininsano 1/2 ton status

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    You can easily do this yourself. All you need is a TRE (tie rod end) pickle fork, can get these at Kragen or Autozone for like 10 bucks. A 4 pound sledge, and the parts.

    I would suggest if you are going to wheel this truck at all to replace the tie rod itself with the mid sized one from ORD. They also sell TREs. This setup is nice and strong. Rod and TREs will run you about 180 bucks.

    Disassembly and reassembly is cake. Do this with the truck on the ground and you will get real close on the alignment now. Remove the cotter pins, take off the castle nuts (1" socket I think), and use the pickle fork and sledge to pop them off. Thread the new TREs in the new rod, adjust it to where the tires are now, reassemble and torque the nuts. Done.

    I would suggest checking out your drag link ends and ball joints too. This all contributes to slop in the front end, even more so maybe than the tie rod. If you rebuild it all you are looking at a few hundred bucks for good parts. Ball joints are a PITA, but getting in there and learning all the different components makes you that much more prepared on the trail. Nothing worse than a guy out there broken on the trail that does not know anything about his rig...like my roommate.
    :doah:

    Good luck!
     
  4. chriskh

    chriskh Registered Member

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    So I do it with it siting on the ground? No need to have the wheels off or have it on stands or anything?
     
  5. captaininsano

    captaininsano 1/2 ton status

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    For just the tie rod I suggest yes. This will keep the tire from moving and make getting the alignment close easier. You'll still need to go to an alignment shop if this is a daily driver. I don't align mine at a shop because it is not a DD, and I don't let anyone work on my rig period.

    Are you sure it is your tie rod causing the steering slop?

    Get the tires off the ground in the front and see if you can feel play in and out on top of the tire. If so you have worn ball joints. Also wiggle front to back and watch your steering linkage, this gets worn too. It is pretty safe to say with all these old Chevys the front end needs attention if it is still stock.
     
  6. chriskh

    chriskh Registered Member

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    Yeah, she's all stock/original and the front end is sloppy as hell. To be honest, I really think it's the TRE but it could be everything though. I'm not going to bother with an alignment because it will be going off-road often and as soon as it's aligned, it'll need it again for sure. Needless to say, it won't be a DD. I really need to get it to my house to work on it but my house is 20 miles away. I can take back roads all the way there but I'm kind of afraid to drive it. It does run and drive but not well. Everything on it works including lights. What do you think the danger level of driving it slowly that far would be on a scale of 1-10, 10 being a total disaster/death wish?
     
  7. 79cheyenneblazer

    79cheyenneblazer Registered Member

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    I have a buddy who has a 77 k-20 8 inch lift and 3 inch body with 39's, had 42's on it. His steering was so bad that you could turn the steering wheel a whole time around before it would catch. LOL, That was the scariest truck to drive when he had the 42's on it, it would drift over into the other lane and everyone would be swervin out of his way. He ended up sticking $1500 worth of new parts into the steering to make it at least ok to drive. I know it doesn't help you but I wanted to share that.
     
  8. captaininsano

    captaininsano 1/2 ton status

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    I had to drive mine home about 120 miles with a bent and twisted tie rod, 35 mph the whole way. Wobbled horribly any speed above. It could be the tie rod. If it is a wheeler spring for the ORD beefy tie rod and ends. Hydro assist will take care of that wobble too. :D
     
  9. chriskh

    chriskh Registered Member

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    I'll probably just go oem since I won't be doing anything too extreme and I don't want to dump loads of money into it right now. So I guess I can drive it to my house ok without worrying about loosing control of the steering? I just don't want it to break halfway there and end up playing chicken with on coming traffic. :crazy:
     
  10. BigCountryx

    BigCountryx 1/2 ton status

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    May want to check the frame around the steering box for cracks. An ORD Steering brace is one of the best investments you can make.
     
  11. captaininsano

    captaininsano 1/2 ton status

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    If it is that bad play it safe and tow it.
     
  12. trialanderror

    trialanderror Registered Member

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    hey guys..im new also . i have a 77 k5 with the same problem. every few seconds it would seem like it would try to dart in the other lane, or go off the road. i just changed the wheelbearings and no luck yet..but i figure if i keep replacing stuff im bound to fix it one day. what would be the next thing i shoud replace:confused:
     
  13. trailblazer86

    trailblazer86 1/2 ton status

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    After spending the money on all new tie rod ends, ball joints etc.,
    I finally had to come out of denial and rapair my frame.
    This Blazer never had big tires or was really off-road driven.This just a week spot in the GM design of that era. GM even tried to fix this on the later frames.
    This is not a hard repair if you have a mig welder handy to fill in the frame cracks.
    Follow ORD's instructions closely.
    They even show you some tricks to stop the cracks from traveling any further.
    I did install the ORD frame brace and the weld in brace.
    What a difference.
    Unbelieveable the difference.

    I now have another (also newer) frame in the back yard and it will have the frame brace installed before the body goes on.

    Good luck and you may not have to go this deep with the repairs... just take a look to be sure.
     

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