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recommendations on lift?

Discussion in '1969-1972 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by 12B, Feb 20, 2003.

  1. 12B

    12B Registered Member

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    I've just purchased my first '70 Blazer and am looking to give a suspension lift. Who sells lifts for these old rigs? Which ones are better than others? Is it as simple as adding blocks to the spring packs, or do I need new shocks, relocating the radiator, driveline adjustments, etc? Perhaps someone out there has a used one they could part with, any size will work. I'd like to stick 35's under it if I can. Thanks.
     
  2. Topdown

    Topdown 1/2 ton status

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    I have a 72 (same body/suspension as the 70) and just put a Tuff Country lift on. I love it! it rides really nice and articulates well. if you go to http://www.offroaddesign.com/ they have them for sale, very well priced. with shipping they are priced within 1-2 of my local LesSchwab (who also carries the TC lifts) I have heard good things about the BDS lifts. http://www.bds-suspension.com/default.htm

    to run 35's I would go with a 4" lift. which is a 4" front spring and a 6" rear spring. (because the rear shackle is upside down the rears need to be taller) and to cure the "saggy butt" look I would add either a 1" block or even better, a 1" Zero Rate spring from ORD. for a total of 5" rear lift... it evens out the truck nicely, but doesnt make it sit raked forward.

    If you want to spend less $$ you can go with a front spring and a rear shackle flip. ORD and Echobit (and I think someone else) makes them for the 1st gens. They cost less and work well. I dont know what it will do to towing capacity if anything... or if thats even a concern.

    If you lift to 4" you will need to replace your shocks and very likely your front brake lines. 4wheelparts.com has the stainless steel brake lines for sale... as long as you are running disc brakes up front they are the same lines as the 73+ Blazers. You will also need to make sure that your rear drive shaft is long enough, I know with the lift I just put on I will need a longer rear driveshaft when I lift again.

    One last thing... you cant block the front end like you can the rear. for some reason the blocks pop out at undesireable times... go figure...

    Hope that helps.

    -Ryan /forums/images/graemlins/k5.gif
     
  3. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

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    Whatever you do don't buy Rancho stuff. It is way to stiff!
     
  4. bouncytruck

    bouncytruck 1/2 ton status

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    I'll second the Rancho Stuff. That's what is on my truck (how I bought it) and it is very stiff. Sometimes I feel like the only suspension travel I have is in the tires! I have heard good things about SuperLift.
     
  5. Stroked72Blazer

    Stroked72Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    That "saggy but look" is great for aproach angle. At least thats my oponion.
     
  6. Steve_Chin

    Steve_Chin 1/2 ton status

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    Yeah, but the "motorboat look" gives you a lousy departure angle. Being that the rear overhang is much greater than the front overhang, I'd prefer to have a little "stink bug" in my Blazer and have the back end just a tad higher than the front end.

    FWIW, I don't think that 35s would work with only 4"/6" of lift without rubbing. I'd go with 5"/7" or 6"/8" to make them work.
     
  7. Stroked72Blazer

    Stroked72Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    My ass end is usually airborn by departure so I dont worry about that much Plus the ass end is lighter to drag if your going to drag one.
     
  8. Steve_Chin

    Steve_Chin 1/2 ton status

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    Your back end isn't going to be airborn if you're going from a downhill surface to a level surface...

    Another flaw in your logic is the assumption that you're always going to be in 4WD. I drive around in 2WD most of the time, saving the gas-guzzling setup for when I just plain need it. If the rear hangs up, you lose some part of your tractive force at the rear tires, which could lead to spinning the rear tires and hanging up (of course, at this point you could always lock up the huns and pull the thing out in 4WD).
     
  9. Stroked72Blazer

    Stroked72Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    With my 33" tires and .307 gears I ALWAYS have it in 4wlow the second I go off road. The fool I bought the truck from had a high RPM motor in it and the body bushings are gone. The front crossmember was used as a tow hook and it got bent badly as well as breaking half the rivits. Also every busing in the front end has been worn out since I have had the truck. All this makes for a sherman tank ride so I keep it in low. All of the above problems are in the proscess of being fixed with a 383 stroker, energy susp. body bushings, and all new ball joints, tie rod ends, and drag links.

    As far as going from a down hill to a level comon sense would dictate that you put it in 4wd if you think you are going into a situation that you might get hung up. Now, if you realy beleive that my ass end is airborne when I go over a hump then you missed my point entirely. So let me spell it out. If you like you ass end higher then the front end feel free to do so, but I will stick with my "saggy but" look.
     
  10. 12B

    12B Registered Member

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    I can't seem to find anyone who manufactures a spring for the front greater than 4". I'm thinking a 6/8 combo. Where can I find one? Also, can those rear shackle flips safely be combined with more heavily arched springs for added lift? And what about the blocks for the rear? Is this just a cheap alternative? Pros/cons compared to add-a-leafs?
     
  11. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Check with "RyanB"....he's got at least 6" up front, and I think 8" in rear.

    You can combine a shackle flip with a lift spring in the rear to get more lift and still maintain nice ride quality....the only downside is that it starts to get expensive.

    What size tires are you trying to provide clearance for?
     
  12. 12B

    12B Registered Member

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    Ok, get RyanB on the horn. Lets see what he has to say. I think 38's would look nice underneath, but that might be a little optimistic. Those shackle flips say they give 4", so that sounds good. Then some 4" front springs (not Rancho, from what I hear). Then add a add-a-leaf or two (or those zero offset blocks) for the "saggy butt." Combine this w/ a little fender trimming and I should be good to go. I checked out those homemade rear spring perches that someone made -- pretty sweet. Has anyone done that for the front? Who makes 5-6" front springs?
     
  13. Chris_T

    Chris_T 1/2 ton status

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    I have 6" front, 8" rear springs from Skyjacker. A little bit more expensive, but I like them. You don't need both a larger lift spring in the back and a block to cure the saggy-butt. With the 8" rear spring my back end still sits a bit higher than the front with the hard top on and about level if the truck is heavily loaded. If your pricing it out, keep in mind extended brake lines, steering correction, longer shocks and longer drivesafts (I needed both lengthened).

    I second the stiff rancho lift - the 4" setup my Blazer came with was terrible (but very little body roll /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif).

    I don't know about 38's with this amount of lift if you don't want to cut the fenders. I run 35's and don't think I could go much bigger without moving the axles and getting rid of the 'fender fangs'
     
  14. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Well, you CAN get 38's under a 1st Gen with 6" of lift (see my photo gallery) but there is some trimming involved.

    You might want to also consider a body lift to get you the rest of the lift you want. A 4" + 2" lift will give you nice soft springs (and lots of companies to choose from) and the body lift can really help out later for things like extended shock mounts, raising the gas tank, raising the t-case, firewall clearance for HEI or MSD, etc.....

    Just a few more things to think about. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  15. Stroked72Blazer

    Stroked72Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    super lift makes 6" front I think. You can also try Trail Master? but I think they are more into body lifts. One downside of combining shacle and lift springs is poor towing ability from what I've heard. Add a leafs sound like the way to go there.
     
  16. Steve_Chin

    Steve_Chin 1/2 ton status

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    Add-a-leaves function by increasing the spring load rating. In order to do this, they increase the rate (since the unladen height of the spring is changed very little). Makes for a stiff ride.

    A compression shackle setup can be used just fine for moderate towing, even with lift springs. Add air bags to the rear suspension in order to take some stress off of the rear shackles (changes the loading geometry slightly) and you can tow some pretty heavy loads without problem.
     
  17. 12B

    12B Registered Member

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    Hey Greg, what lift combo and brand did you do to fit those 38's? It looks like thats the way to go. I read the tech article on trimming and think I'll try it. Is there anything I should know that the article does not discuss? Also, what about shocks? Ranchos? RS5000 vs RS9000's or .... ??
     
  18. K5MONSTERCHEV

    K5MONSTERCHEV 1/2 ton status

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    If you want an 8" all spring Superlift let me know, I have one.
     
  19. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Hey Greg, what lift combo and brand did you do to fit those 38's? It looks like thats the way to go. I read the tech article on trimming and think I'll try it. Is there anything I should know that the article does not discuss? Also, what about shocks? Ranchos? RS5000 vs RS9000's or .... ??

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Wind,

    Do me a favor first, fill out the rest of your profile.

    Then I will tell you EVERYTHING you want to know!!! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif How's that for a good deal? /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif
     
  20. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Hey Greg, what lift combo and brand did you do to fit those 38's? It looks like thats the way to go. I read the tech article on trimming and think I'll try it. Is there anything I should know that the article does not discuss? Also, what about shocks? Ranchos? RS5000 vs RS9000's or .... ??

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Alright Ben!! We're onboard with a good profile! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif Let's begin:

    Front suspension:

    ORD 4" Custom Springs 9-Leaves 237 Lbs/in rate. 45" Long (1" longer than stock) and spring pin 1" forward from stock. VERY soft! Softer than the Tuff Country stuff and definitely gave me fits as far as bump steer and body roll were concerned. I added a 2nd Gen sway bar and removed the limiting plate on the driver's side framerail. That plate will cause the truck to dive right under hard braking with soft springs. The sway bar was setup with ORD quick-disconnects for the trail and gave a nice improvement in bumpsteer and roll, but still allowed good offroad performance.

    Rear Suspension:

    ORD Shackle Flip (4" is all you can get on 1st Gen) and stock leafpack from an '89 K5. The later style springpacks have the friction pads in them and are a softer overall rate too. It's a nice match to a soft front spring, and you can almost always find them for FREE! I lengthened my rear shackles by 2" to gain 1" of extra height. It is also believed by many that wtih a shackle flip, the spring could use a longer shackle to help it "flatten out" more when flexing....so the longer shackle is good for a couple of reasons. I also built my own spring mounts on the 14BFF...at that time I created an "offset mount" for the rear springs to move the axle back a full 2" over stock. One thing you will notice on the 1st Gens (and also on later K5's) is that with bigger tires, the front edge of the rear tires will come VERY close to the fender opening. Moving the axle back will stretch your wheelbase slightly and provide desperately needed clearance!

    Shocks:

    I am using the Rancho 9012s on all four corners. The front setup is the easiest to explain. It's done a lot like the 9012 Extended Shock mount article in the "Project UAV" section of this website. Just spend the $11 per side for the F*RD brackets and figure out your mounting position. On mine, I drilled out the factory rivets that held the upper shock tab...since THAT'S where the shock seemed to want to be located! /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif

    In the rear, you can start a great arguement on CK5 by asking what the best mounting method is (but PLEASE don't! /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif) The people I respect most for their engineering expertise tend to agree that a vertical mounting (or as close as possible) is the most effective....especially when you keep the shock close to the wheels. My rear setup is unique because the lower shock mount is on the OUTSIDE of the leaf-pack. I don't recall seeing many other K5s with the shocks that far out towards the wheels. The upper mount is a simple plate that takes advantage of the 2" body lift I've got, and allows me to raise the mounting point as high as possible before hitting the body tub. It seems to work well. BTW -> I mount my 9012s with the adjuster on TOP.....many people will tell you that is "upside down", but the 9000 series is designed to run in either orientation equally well. That is NOT true of the 5000 series....they will be very bad upside down, but then again there's no adjuster so I don't see much reason to flip them anyway.

    Fender trimming:

    If you want 38's....you WILL trim! The front is the worst. Even with my front axle 1" forward from stock, it still wants to hit in the REAR of the fender opening due to the shackle rotation as the spring flattens. It's hard to tell you how much to cut, but you can usually get a good idea by looking at the pics in the gallery. The 2nd Gen guys do similar trimming to what you will have to do on a 1st Gen. Someday, I will build custom-arched fenders to recreate the "stock look" of the 1st Gen fender but with enough of an opening that the 38's will clear.

    The rear fenders don't hit very much compared to the fronts (at least on mine!) The rearmost part is where the interference is...due to the axle being back 2", so that's where I trimmed. I am also using 1.5" wheel spacers to correct my rear track width relative to my front d60...so I don't have rubbing problems on the inner wheel tub. That MAY be an issue for you depending on your axle width and wheel offsets.


    How's that for a little "background" info for ya???

    There's a lot more to tell you I'm sure, but those are the main things I can think of for now. I'm not sure how much of that will "sink in" right away....I remember my first months on CK5 were a serious "sensory overload" of information..... eventually it all makes sense, you just need to take "small bites" at first.... /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
     

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