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Older vs. Newer Blazer - Your Feedback Please

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by AZOffroad, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. AZOffroad

    AZOffroad Registered Member

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    I'm going to be purchasing a K5 Blazer here soon. I've owned two Blazers in the past (an '89 and a '90) - and they're still the greatest vehicles I've ever owned. I miss 'em, so I gotta get me another one.

    I am weighing the pros and cons between a '78 and a '91 Blazer. There are the obvious ones like:

    • The '78 has stronger axles/diffs than the '91
    • The '78 has a 400ci, so it will tow better than the 350ci in the '91
    • The '91 has overdrive (700R4) for better mileage and long distance driving
    What other factors should I consider when doing a compare/contrast between these two vehicles. Price and cosmetics aren't a huge deal, since both vehicles are priced decently and have straight bodies and nice interior/exterior.

    Lastly, is the TH350 ultimately considered to be a good tranny? How does it compare to a 700R4 in regard to durability and stoutness?

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  2. MTBLAZER89

    MTBLAZER89 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I like the 87 and up for the fuel injection. The axles in the 78 are only a hair better, and actually the 89 and up have 30 spline front so they would actually be a tiny bit stronger than the 28 spline D44 in the 78. The 400 is a good motor, but I like the TBI for reliability, and off road performance. The downside of the newer ones are the sensors and computer controlled stuff. It can be a PITA chasing codes sometimes. The TH350 and 700 are very similar from what I have read. The 700 has the overdrive which is nice if you do hi-ways a lot. If you are gonna run big tires neither tranny is "great" stock, but you can build 3 TH350's for the price of 1 700. I run a TH350 in place of the 700, and I like it. I never used the OD anyway, and I know if it blows up it will be cheaper to rebuild. Hope that helps some:D
     
  3. Zeus33rd

    Zeus33rd Smarter than you GMOTM Winner

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    That TBI 350 probably has more hp/tq than the 400.
     
  4. mrhoes

    mrhoes 1/2 ton status

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    I have a 86 and if I could have done it over again, I would have bought a 89-91 they are fuel injected and have 241 t-case in them. Just ditch the axles or at least the rear 10 bolt and put in a 14FF or a 6 lug 14SF.
     
  5. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    The 78 has axles about as strong as the newer ones .

    The 400 is a great motor , but so is a 350 . If stock the most important thing will be how does it run . Reliablity is important .

    The th350 is a great tranny . So is the 700r4 , although it gets a bad rap from misuse and not being maintained ( run a big ass cooler ) . The first years kinda sucked , and the factory worked the bugs out . Mine has many hard miles on it going strong with regular upkeep .

    What are you planning on doing ? Light to moderate , or extreme ?

    Either one would fill the light to moderate bill nicely , with the newer one being desirable for the fuel injection and amenities .

    If you want to go to the extreme , buy a beater and build it :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2006
  6. AZOffroad

    AZOffroad Registered Member

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    Thanks, guys, for all the input - and y'all responded so quickly too. My plans for the Blazer will be light to moderate. I have a CJ-7 that I've already built up for the extreme (Dynatrac ProRock 60s front and rear, ARBs, etc.). The Blazer will be primarily a DD, and occasionally the 2.0 to 3.0 trail vehicle when the rest of the family wants to go (the CJ only holds two people).

    Steve
    Gilbert, Arizona
     
  7. fireplug

    fireplug 1/2 ton status

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    Well it sounds like you have a couple of specific vehicles in mind. So make sure they are spec'd as you would expect. For example ensure that the drive train is what it was from the factory. And remember that 350's Hp ratings changed drastically through the years. You mentioned towing, is that going to be one of the rig's duties?
     
  8. AZOffroad

    AZOffroad Registered Member

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    Yes - I intend to use it to tow my CJ-7 to trailheads. It will be used to tow about once or twice a month - typically highway towing.
     
  9. mrk5

    mrk5 The Sticker Guy Moderator Vendor GMOTM Winner Author

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    I would go with the '91. It would have 30spline 10bolts, arguably as strong as the axles in the '78. But you gotta figure the '91 axles have less age and maybe wear.

    To me the TBI and 241 transfercase make the '91 preferable.
     
  10. K5er4Life

    K5er4Life 1/2 ton status

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    fuel injection is nice too, especially for those cold starts in the morning.
     
  11. Robert79K5

    Robert79K5 1/2 ton status

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    I own a 79 and a 90. I love my 79 because at least here in Georgia I can build any engine I want for it because anything 25 years or older dosnt have to get emissions.

    If I were in your shoes though I would get the new Blazer. I love the TBI on my 90. Yeah its got sensors and computers on it but as far as fuel injection systems go TBI is really simple and easy to diagnose when you do have a problem. The improved drivability over a carb is night and day too. Youll notice it towing and at the pump.

    If it came between a th350 and a 700r4 for a daily driver/moderate tow rig then I would take the 700r4 any day. Strength wise they are comparable but with the 700r4 you have overdrive that you can choose to not use if your towing something heavy, and still have OD when your just driving from point A to B. Plus the 700r4 has a lower 1st gear for when your crawling along a trail.
     
  12. cbbr

    cbbr 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I agree. For a DD/street/trail the 91 sounds perfect.
     
  13. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    Light to moderate , then get the newer one . You can have a/c and everything .

    I wouldn't hesitate to tow with it either , as long as the whole setup right . A CJ can't weigh that much , and I towed a whole Blazer tub with my little 305 :D
     
  14. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    one more for the 89-91

    BTW Forget about using the overdrive for towing.( you probably knew that) Also, unless you have 3.73 or better, you won't get to use OD much with 35s
     
  15. Fubeca

    Fubeca 1/2 ton status

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    I vote for the '91. I've had 3 k5s and a couple of trucks and I like the '91 I have now the best. The TBI is very easy to work on and it has the best creature comforts of any year blazer IMO.
     
  16. Seventy4Blazer

    Seventy4Blazer 3/4 ton status

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    the 91 prolly has less rust, the 400 could have been rebuilt and end up having cooling issues. in my eyes the axles are just as strong as each other. the SMALL differance does not count in my eyes. i think the 91 has a better looking front end clip.

    the interior is more creature friendly on the 91 most of the time as well. and the TBI on the 91 isnt a bad deal either.
    Grant
     
  17. steve_kibbe

    steve_kibbe 1/2 ton status

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    I'd go 91 aswell. You can find a 91 that hasn't seen a gravel road. Good luck finding a 78 like that.
     
  18. K5-newf

    K5-newf 1/2 ton status

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    personaly both are nice rigs but the 78 will have a lot more wear n tear and probly ruster . personaly i like the 78 's body stlye alot more. either way u will probly change things around on it anyway
     
  19. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    I doubt there would be rust , unless it came from elsewhere . I think I am the only Arizona guy who has a rusted tub in their yard :wink1:
     
  20. jimmer818

    jimmer818 Newbie

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    I have had a 73, 74, 81, 82, 87, and 89 Blazers the ones I like to beat the most were my older ones, someone already did it before in them (I guessed) my 87 and 89 I liked for the fuel injection it works great here in AZ with remote start for the AC to run.
    I still have a 74 with a 383 and 700R4 in it but it needs some TLC and has no A/C so I will drive it as little as possible in the summer with lots of rust.
     

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