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possibly swapping tubs, can you offer some insight?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by mr_fujisawa, Feb 12, 2004.

  1. mr_fujisawa

    mr_fujisawa 1/2 ton status

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    ok, so i have the offer of a free tub from grendel. his is like an 86 or 82 or somethin. mine is an 88. here are the details: it appears that my tub's firewall, rockers and underpan are rotting. the firewall is a fairly small hole, and i'm not sure about the others. the other tub (the free one) is in pretty rust free shape. so i have a few questions.

    1. has anybody here done this before?
    2. if so, about how long to swap out those tubs?
    3. if i remember correctly, a lot of the 1st gens have some rot issues, and they just kind of patch up some of the spots. is that possible to do to mine? i am pretty attached to my truck. (not to pass up a free tub, but seems like a lot of work as well)
    4. are there then some dmv issues i need to work out with new vin #'s and stuff? do they just treat it like the one was sold to me? they would never know a tub was swapped.
    5. the motor i have now is tbi and the other truck was older, so does that create any electrical issues?

    and i guess anything else you might be able to share would be helpful.

    thanks
    sean
    /forums/images/graemlins/dunno.gif /forums/images/graemlins/woot.gif
     
  2. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    I have two 74' in my backyard that I have completely dissassembled down to a bare frame and re-assembled so I will share you a couple of my experiences. The first Blazer I bought I decided to sandblast my frame and POR-15 it (Project pics here: http://community.webshots.com/user/douglasgrant ) I got a bunch of 2x4 and 2x6's and built a wood frame for the body to rest on. I loosened the body mount bolts to the max but left the nuts on at the end of the bolt, lifted the body, and slid 2x6's between the body and frame. Then I undid the bolts and slowly raised the body inches at a time front and back until I could stand the 2x6's upright. I fastened 2 of them together as a 4x6 for the crossbeams. Before I did the raising, I had completely taken off everything from the firewall forward. I have a cherry picker and an engine stand so everything came out of the front. I disconnected anything that attached to the frame from the engine and elsewhere. You could probably leave the front end on, but I didn't. It helps to have two jacks. I had a floor jack and a motorcycle jack that I converted. I would buy another floor jack it if I was to do it again.

    Then I built A-frames out of 2x6's for the ends and raised the body up little by little until they rested in the A-frames. When I was done, it looked like the body sat on giant sawhorses. I slid the entire lower end out from under the body. I stripped down the lower end completely to just the frame, sandblasted it, welded it up, added a frame brace, and started putting it back together.

    Later, I stumbled on a really sweet deal on another 74 Blazer with a cleaner body but a blown engine for cheap. The first Blazer body was so so. So, I did the exact same thing with this one. However, I decided to swap the entire lower end from the second Blazer onto the first Blazer but swap in the good engine and tranny. An issue that I didn't have that you might is the serial number or VIN numbers not matching. On the early Blazers, there is a number on the frame, but it doesn't match the VIN that is on the body. My two serial numbers on my 74's have no relation to the VIN's numbers. My understanding is that in later years, they put the VIN on both so that swapping frames would be a no go. Ca. law says when you swap out a frame, you are technically supposed to go tell DMV. In my case, they were both 74's and the numbers were irrelevant anyway. Also, with DMV, when you swap in newer parts, that usually isn't an issue. You can put a newer engine in an old truck, you just can't do the reverse and put an old engine minus the smog stuff in a newer truck. I now have one Blazer that is completed and almost ready to sell. I bought a 76 that is going to be the keeper so I am assembling the other 74 to sell as well. The second 74 gets the clean body with the refurbished frame and upgraded 88 front end. I just got done putting a new Daystar body mount kit on and fastened the body to the frame. In about a month or two I will be selling this 74, absent an engine, tranny, or TC to someone looking for a project vehicle that they can drop their choice of engine, tranny, and TC into. I will leave the ORD shackle reversal on it and the welded in frame brace.

    Another thing I ended up doing that worked out great, I got big heavy duty casters and built them into the A-frame legs. I then put a 2x4 on each side fastening the front A-frame to the rear one for stability. I am able to push the body around the backyard on the rollers to keep it out of the way. I took these off last week when I got the body and frame back together so I will probably sell or give them away to somebody doing a similar project.
     
  3. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    To be honest, if you like your truck, and you are getting JUST a tub (thats what I got, no interior, etc) it will probably take some time.

    A lot of stuff can be taken out of one body and put in the other before removing the body off of the other, but that increases the weight. If you can build something that is tall enough to support the new body on, and still roll the frame underneath, it will make life a lot easier.

    Since you are TBI, I would personally swap the entire wiring harness over, both in-cab and external, as I don't believe the fuse panel connector is the same.

    I can only speak about my state, but it sounds like ours is similar...WA wants you to have a bill of sale for ANY piece that has a VIN or partial VIN on it (tranny, engine, frame, body) PLUS any "major" body parts...doors, hood, tailgate, top, etc.

    Assuming you keep all your doors and everything, as long as the donor tub is legit, and you can get the title for it, going to the DMV shouldn't be a hassle at all. Chances of getting "busted" for not reporting a body swap are probably pretty small, but I wouldn't want to risk it.

    I was going to fix the rust in my '83, but the more I got into it, the more rust I realized there was, and the more body work that was going to be necessary. You have to cut the rotten panels out, then deal with putting the new ones in, and so on. It was cheaper/easier for me to just swap bodies. As it ended up, I built the "replacement" tub into a truck from the ground up from miscellaneous parts, so I never actually had to dismantle the '83, I just drove it until the '86 was done, and then sold the '83! /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    The absolute worst part was just getting the tub up high enough to roll the frame under.
     
  4. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    [ QUOTE ]
    The absolute worst part was just getting the tub up high enough to roll the frame under.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    I hear that. What I ended up doing was taking the tires off and putting a floor jack under the front pumpkin, and my motorcycle lift under the rear pumpkin and sliding it on the jack rollers under my braces. Even doing that I had to jack up one of the braces a bit to get the engine under it.
     
  5. bablazer73

    bablazer73 1/2 ton status

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    I guess i was lucky when i swapped tubs. I had access to 36,000 forklift. slid it in from the back( with nose clip removed) took out the body bolts, and up it went.

    Overall, there is a fair amount of work to do. It can be difficult to lift high enough. A friend of mine swapped his with 2 engine hoists. (barrowed mine)
    maybe you really need to look and see how bad yours is before you take this on. The rear floor section is almost a bolt in part. Yunit has done a couple (including the one in my 76, when he owned it) and has a write up in the tech section. Might be just as hard to fix yours.
     
  6. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I guess i was lucky when i swapped tubs. I had access to 36,000 forklift. slid it in from the back( with nose clip removed) took out the body bolts, and up it went.

    Overall, there is a fair amount of work to do. It can be difficult to lift high enough. A friend of mine swapped his with 2 engine hoists. (barrowed mine)
    maybe you really need to look and see how bad yours is before you take this on. The rear floor section is almost a bolt in part. Yunit has done a couple (including the one in my 76, when he owned it) and has a write up in the tech section. Might be just as hard to fix yours.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I had 6 healthy guys when I did mine, /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif we litteraly carried it up and on the frame.
    /forums/images/graemlins/yikes.gif
     
  7. hi pinion

    hi pinion 3/4 ton status

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    Darn,i thought you meant a bath tub.If that was the case i could have really helped you /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif....sorry.Jacob /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  8. clarkjw24

    clarkjw24 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Me and a friend swapped mine in a day. But this was my second swap. I've swapped a truck in a day the same way. We used 4 pipe jack stands and treated 4x4s. Its easier if your rig has no lift or some smaller tires (height and being able to turn the chassis to move it). Oh yeah I hope you've kept your body bolts lubbed up. I had to cut 4 out of the bed in the old tub and it took a 2 foot pry bar and a 5 foot cheater to break the donor trucks loose. And whats a vin#? /forums/images/graemlins/whistling.gif Is that the thing with 2 pop rivits in the dash?
     
  9. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    [ QUOTE ]
    And whats a vin#? Is that the thing with 2 pop rivits in the dash?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yep, Vehicle Identification Number
     
  10. mr_fujisawa

    mr_fujisawa 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]
    And whats a vin#? Is that the thing with 2 pop rivits in the dash?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yep, Vehicle Identification Number

    [/ QUOTE ]

    i get the feeling that the /forums/images/graemlins/whistling.gif denoted sarcasm

    but anyway. . .i am not going to swap tubs after all seems like a lot of work and i love my pos tub anyhow /forums/images/graemlins/woot.gif /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  11. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    [ QUOTE ]
    i get the feeling that the /forums/images/graemlins/whistling.gif denoted sarcasm

    [/ QUOTE ]

    [​IMG]

    Ooooooooooooops /forums/images/graemlins/doah.gif
     
  12. mr_fujisawa

    mr_fujisawa 1/2 ton status

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    that's a god one /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/histerical.gif /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif /forums/images/graemlins/histerical.gif
     

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