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Restomods to a 72? (dash, drivetrain, pansy stuff)

Discussion in '1969-1972 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by CarnivoreMan, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. CarnivoreMan

    CarnivoreMan Registered Member

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    Ok, hey all. I recently bought a 72 K5. My driver is a 98 C1500..... Needless to say, there is a bit of difference in drivablity and comfort...

    Here is my goal. I want to get my K5 as nice on the inside as my 98 is.

    1: The Dash. Does anybody have any info about cramming a late 90's or newer dash into a 69-72? I think the newer ones are a bit deeper so it'd probably take some trimming of the depth or the seats may need to move back a few inches.


    2: The Steering. I have power steering but it seems to take more steering wheel travel than my 98. can I gear it up to require fewer revolutions at my hands for the same distance of travel at the tires? And maybe a similar feel as my 98. Also, I like the thicker grip of my 98 steerin wheel.. I need to get rid of that old one and maybe find some aftermarket thick grip wheel.


    3: The Tranny... bleh... I hear these 4 speeds are bullet proof.. but crap man. The range jump between gears sucks.. plus the inability to shift back down to 2nd when going over like 2mph... I was rompin around in our corn field and the engine was screamin.. if I went up a gear though, it'd be too high.. soooo.. I'm thinkin either gettin a 5spd like my truck, or going to a Th400.. having an auto would definatly be nice.. I got bad knees and its getting sore from that freaking stiff clutch.. if I stay manual, I'm thinkin of somehow swapping to a hydrolic clutch.

    4: Brakes.. I've noticed braking is a bit hard sometimes.. Its power withs discs in front but stopping power is still its lacking. Solutions? .. bigger disks, disc conversion in rear? something else maybe?

    5: Leaks... It seems everyone has this problem.. so apparently there's a reason. Is it just a matter of seals getting old? So if I get new weather stripping will the leak at the roof/windshield/sidewindow area go away?

    6: Insulation for noise and temp. I want to reduce road noise and keep the truck warm on the inside in winter. I'm figuring adding some padding, then heavy cardboard panelling and maybe some carpet or vinyl on all the metal interior sides. .. my roof.. can I split the layers apart and pack insulation in the center? The previous owner put a small 6"x6" or so skylight in the rear passenger side of the roof.. strange spot. Leaks only a little little bit.. dont know what I'll do with that. .. maybe leave it for kicks.

    7: Roll.. even with stock springs and 31" tires it rolls bad on turns.. is there something I can do to reduce this? I'm not a big rock crawler.. more just gettin though the muddy holes is my goal. However, I may be looking into a quick front swaybar disconnect. ... Is there suck a thing as a front IFS conversion on these rigs? Custom, I'm sure, but has it been done?.... successfully?

    8: Suspension/Tire Plan... 2-3" lift and 33" BFG tires.. MT or AT I'm not sure yet... probably some classic alloy rims of some kind..

    .. though some fender opening elongating has come to mind.. I'm not afraid of body work... maye I can get away with less lift.. that would definatly be better to sooth my body roll whinings.

    Do people ever drop these bodies on a newer IFS frame? Is it possible to get as good of street handling with a SFA as an IFS rig? I'm going to be driving this rig a bit on the road so thats my reason for consern..

    9: Defrost/Heater.. crap man the Defrost works, but its pathetic.... as is the heater. If I manage to cram in a new dash I'll cram in a newer vent system... otherwise, I may have to figure out to put my current pansy little dash vents on steroids.




    so that is my current list of things to research.. there's probably more that I've forgotten. I love this year of Blazer and have wanted one for years. Now that I finally have it, I just need to mold it to myself. I hope it actually happens. :D

    If you can give me any tips or point my into directions of where to look for any of these things I would really appreciate it. For example, I know I've seen a pic of a same body style truck put on a new truck frame.. cant remember what dash it had, but it was all nice and pretty.. and it was on Ebay somewhere.

    note.. the VIN is: CKE182S131151

    I'll have to get some better pictures up soon, but this is what I took with my Cell after giving her an initiation with some friends in our cornfield/soppy peat ground.





    Thanks!

    Nov13_003.jpg
     
  2. CarnivoreMan

    CarnivoreMan Registered Member

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    Oh thats right.. I want to put in nicer seats.. front most importantly.. I would like a bench with a fold down console center seat so my girl can sit next to me when the situation calls for it. :D

    Would the best bet be to just find a used one from a moderatly recent Chev?

    Leather would be nice :waytogo:
     
  3. Ryan B.

    Ryan B. 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    First off, welcome to ck5 dude. Rock on, another first gen guy.
    The search button can be your friend when doing research for your blazer. Do an advanced search just in the first gen forum, then if you can't find it there expand your search.

    1.) cant help you with that. the only thing guys are doing is putting white face gauges behind the stock gauge bezel. Looks pretty trick. stock when you look at first, but autometer gauges hidden within.
    2.) Your 72 is not your 98. swap the steering wheel.
    3.) A TH-350/NP205 is the exact same dimensions as a 10 spline SM465/NP205 like you probably have in there. If you swapped in a TH400 or 700r4, or a 5 speed you might be getting your driveshafts lengthened/shortened.
    4.) Since you have power brakes, with front disks already... Try swapping to a 1 Ton power brake booster. Order it for a '72 1 ton truck. The booster should be way bigger than your little stock half ton booster. Took me forever to figure this one out. You will be amazed. :saweet: Several guys have thanked me for this miracle fix for their brakes.
    5.) Driprail deflectors. Look in the LMC catalog.
    6.)Carpet. Maybe some dyna mat or whatever underneath.
    7.)IFS conversion!? Don't even go there. :eek1:
    8.)Cut the fenders. Lose the stiff springs. Add a swaybar. Last Refer to #7.
     
  4. 4bynut

    4bynut 1/2 ton status

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    Welcome to the board. It look's like you got a nice blazer to start with for your project. As for the lift and tires; I'd suggest a 4" soft ride lift and a set of 33" BFG MT tires. This will look real nice and you will not have to trim the fenders. Also you can adapt a sway bar off a newer chevy blazer or truck (73-87). Well this is just my $.02. So good luck and happy 4 wheelin. Jason
     
  5. Greg72

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

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    I'm not going to itemize my response to you.....but I will touch on a few subjects with some "food for thought":


    Late model dash in a 1st Gen: YUCK! Aesthetically, it makes no sense. A modern, plastic dash is never going to look right, even if you spend tons of hours on the conversion. Resale/Restoration value of your K5 becomes almost $0 once you do something like that also.

    General Comments: Try to embrace what the 1st Gen Blazer is already, instead of trying to make it into something it's NOT.

    You can make the steering quicker with a smaller diameter steering wheel, or a quick ratio steering box. The brake problems you describe could be as simple as replacing a collapsed brake booster hose, or using a larger power booster. With a careful restoration, you can remove (most) of the leaks and improve the comfort of the vehicle. Replacing worn suspension bushings and adding sway bars can dramatically improve the handling. Swapping in a slushbox will get rid of that SM465 with it's wide gear spacing and will probably add to your driving pleasure also.

    Be advised, a solid-axle truck will NEVER ride as smoothly as an IFS truck....that's just the reality of it. I suppose you could completely swap an IFS frame, engine, trans, dash, interior......but consider the number of hours (and dollars) involved. Then consider that what you'll end up with is a truck that will have very limited appeal and a VERY small market of buyers if you ever decided to sell it.

    1972 K5's are not THAT rare (around 20,000 were built) but IFS Chevys are a dime-a-dozen by comparison.....it sure seems like a shame to "cheapen" a classic Chevy by trying to turn it into something "newer".


    :eek1:
     
  6. RustyParts

    RustyParts 1/2 ton status

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    Ditto :confused:
     
  7. tiger9297

    tiger9297 1/2 ton status

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    I agree!!! Those old Chevy's are awesome. The reason why they are awesome is b/c they are NOT like the newer trucks. You can improve on what you have and make it a really nice truck without trying to make it something its not. Good luck.
     
  8. Ryan B.

    Ryan B. 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Thank you greg.
    Thats kinda what i was trying to say..
    But i didn't have a very positive way of saying it, so i just didn't. LOL
     
  9. CarnivoreMan

    CarnivoreMan Registered Member

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    I figured a few of those ideas wouldnt be overly popular :rolleyes:

    I'm a fan of custom work.. Restomod or flat out custom, I dont care. I just want things to work well, and having those things look nice is good too. I love my 72 for the body, not the leaks and rattles :wink1:

    So if bastardizing a rig to get a better end product is my option, I'd love it... well.. to a point. ... I think I'd feel funny dropping a 460 or somethin in a Blazer... plus I'd probably get shot. (not saying a 460 is superior to a chevy block or anything.. just an example.. really! .. ... please dont beat me :( )



    We'll see about the dash.. I'll probably do some measurements and maybe pull off the dash frame from my 98 and see how it looks in the 72... It may be a bit curvy though. .. If I dont put in a new dash, I'll probably be puttin the dremel to the current dash... wish is sad because its nice, but I'll try to make it look factory. I try to avoid making things look assy... ..usually. :D
    Then maybe cram some sort of late model heater unit fan doodly device in there to get some high volume flowin through the vents.


    Really, what are the downfalls of IFS? You cant lift'm as high correct?... then what?.. probably a little weaker? More wear points?
    .. but better handling right?.. and no low pumpkin to hit things... those things can be saved for the rear pumpkin I guess..:doah:

    hmm... what about Independent rear?... :eek1: :wink1:


    Thanks for the info on brakes.. That'll probably go into my todo list.:bow:




    wait, I need another smiley... :laugh: ... and another ;)

    ok, I'm good.

    Thanks guys!
     
  10. Greg72

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

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    CVMan,


    Of course you can do whatever you'd like... I think most people here just take your ideas personally because we happen to LIKE what the Blazer is already. (you wouldn't add cowbells to Led Zep's "Stairway to Heaven" right?? :D) .

    Take a look at what a builder like Chip Foose does... he may alter the body lines or interior of a vehicle, but the original "feel" of the car remains afterwards. Maybe that's what people here were trying to convey.


    Here's another example: The dash... if you want to get new functionality in the dash (better gauges, more modern features) consider something like this...

    [​IMG]


    It's the stock cluster with a whole slew of modern Autometer gauges installed from the back side, so that they look almost "stock". They certainly look like they belong there...but still let me get the information I need about the engine /trans vitals.

    There are 2WD early Blazers out there. If you're dying to convert the suspension to IFS, it might be more interesting and "period correct" to cannibalize the front suspension from an early Chevy....heck, you could even try to use the long rear trailing arms and coil springs off a GMC truck, or Chevy Suburban from the same time period!!! Now that might be cool to see...!!! :thumb:

    The last comment has to do with a sad reality of people who've started these "full custom" projects. More often than not, the people starting these projects have NO idea how much it's going to cost, or how much time it will take. Invariably, they get maybe 1/3 of the way into the project and realize they're out of money, and can't afford to finish it. They lose interest and put the whole bastardized thing up for sale.....OR.....they try to cut costs (and corners) to get it done within their budget and the results end up looking like crap. Unfortunately this is where most of the projects I've seen end up....and probably is why I cringe when I hear someone wants to start a project like this.

    These days, a competent, frame-off stock restoration will probably cost you $30,000 to $35,000... rust repair, bodywork, paint, replacement parts, etc.... as you add more "tricks" you add even more $$$. These are the steps that ANY restoration goes through...so it's not really a unique price tag for a Blazer project. We could just as easily be talking about a Camaro, or Impala...

    Something else to consider (with regards to the heater/defroster)... you are starting with a vehicle that is almost 35 years old!!! What you described as an inadequate heating system may actually be nothing more than a broken heater plenum and lever system...!!! Most of the time, fixing what you have or replacing it with new OEM parts will give you plenty of functionality. So much of what we blame as being inadequate design actually works fine "as designed"...we just need to make sure that we're not blaming broken parts for not working well....
     
  11. 3 on the tree

    3 on the tree 1/2 ton status

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    Years ago, my platoon sergeant replace his dash cluster with one made out of solid oak. Same size and shape as the original, just drilled the holes in different places to install the gauges he wanted. He also made a matching glove box door. It was really nice looking when he was done.
     
  12. Yukon Jack

    Yukon Jack 1/2 ton status

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    Here are a few pics of a 67-72 with a newer dash and IFS for you to review.

    rickspickuppartfriendssubtruck4.jpg

    rickspickuppartfriendssubtruck2.jpg
     
  13. botboy

    botboy 1/2 ton status

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    I'm not a naysayer, I know how you feel. My maxima has me spoiled, but I still love the look and feel of my '71 K5...once she gets converted (8 lugs) and a new motor, I'm going to be going after a lot of the same goals as you are. I've set up a website www.speedyoldtruck.com that details my adventures and ideas for my K5.

    My first question here would be what exactly do you find so appealing about the late 90's dash? As mentioned above, a plastic dash would look a bit out of place in one of our trucks, and beyond that I think it's just a waste of money to fab/glass in a plastic dash when you'd get more accurate gauges with less headache by going with a set of autometers or similar.

    You're looking at a major pain-in-the-ass by going with the late-90's gauges, as they are integrated into the OBD-II system with the computer (and I'll assume your truck is still carbed), the crew cab post above this one had the entire drivetrain swapped from a 2000+ chevy IIRC, so adding the dash wasn't a difficult swap since all the sensors and computer integration went along with it. The newer trucks dashes are nothing like the old ones, where it was real easy to figure out which wires went where and there wasn't any computers or digital sensors to mess with.

    Several sellers on ebay and otherwise sell billet/chrome dash inserts to replace the faux chrome plastic ones in our truck, that look and fit very nice, might want to look into one of those.

    Also, I'm working on converting a nissan maxima TCU (time control unit) to do digital dimming for the dash lights, fade to black for interior lights and run delay on wipers to give a more modern feel...watch my website for updates...

    I had a grant wheel on my previous '72 C10, that I really liked. The stock steering wheels on our trucks are really lacking in the ergonomics department, and most people won't crucify you over changing out the stock steering wheel.

    I've been curious if one could swap an 88-98 tilt column into our trucks easily, as the locking column would really add some security, the 88-98 tilts are very easy to find (including manual tilts) and the stock wheel has (I agree) a better feel.

    I can't answer (specifically) the rotations question, however for quite a few VW's I've seen "quick steer" or "quick reaction" adapters and gearboxes, that extend the pitman arm off the steering box (so that a smaller movement moves the tie rods more) or it changes the gear ratio in the steering box.

    You could probably swap the spring on the clutch pedal for a lighter one fairly easily. Chances are your transmission is an SM465 manual, and they're known for the entirely-too-deep first gear. You can find hydraulic clutch bellhousings (although a bit rare) from late-80's/early 90's chevy and GMC trucks, before they started putting the NV4500 5-speed in them.

    Speaking of, the NV4500 might not be a bad swap to consider. The OD in 5th gear would net you better mileage on the highway, they were only offered with hydraulic clutches (as far as I know) and there are several tutorials online about switching over the 67-72 chevy's to them.

    1-ton booster, (as noted above) and check to make sure your check valve is good and you don't have any vacuum leaks. If your motor is cammed it probably produces less vacuum which will effect braking power.

    Can't help you there, yes the seals/insulation are 30+ years old, but I can't imagine why anyone would keep that godawful top on their truck, mine will be topless all the time.

    Look into stuff called "fatmat" there are also quite a few good insulation sprays and sticky-mats that the car audio guys use to insulate their vehicles from road noise.

    Since I figure I'll be forced to don the top when temps get below freezing, I was seriously considering hacking a top and glassing in an electric sunroof module out of a prelude or something. Go figure...

    I've never seen an IFS 4x4 1st gen K5, but I'm sure it is doable with a lot of fab (and money). Most people shy away from IFS because lifting them costs 10x what lifting a solid axle does.

    For improving handling, think about stiffer springs in front, a larger swaybar, and urethane suspension pieces, should help eliminate roll.

    Since you like getting muddy, a 2WD K5 is probably out of the question, but the 2WD K5's were all IFS rigs.

    I have fantasies of H1 IRS in my rig though :eek1: Or better yet, 'vette IRS in a 2WD rig...

    For my K5 I'm planning on 8-lug american racing rims, no lift, and probably 31" or 33" tires, whatever I can get cheap.

    Lifting truck *probably* won't help smooth out the body roll problems.

    Again, sure it can be done but you're looking at shortening the frame (unless maybe you could score an early 90's 4x4 yukon frame? who knows) and changing body mount positions...just sounds like an expensive PITA for the amount of payoff you'd actually be getting.

    You didn't mention if you had an AC truck or not, but the AC trucks got a bigger blower motor, there's a post in the FAQ section over on www.67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard about swapping blower motors for more airflow. As noted above, make sure to check that nothing is actually busted before spending money on the wrong thing...though I've heard good things about the blower motor swap.

    (also, just in case you haven't checked, every one of these trucks I've seen has had badly deteriorated hoses under the dash, and most had rodent problems in the heater systems. Leaves also like to plug up the air entries under the cowl for the heater...something else to check)

    I know how you feel man, I've had 3 67-72 pickups but I've always wanted a K5, now that I finally have one it's driving me nuts that its at home and I'm here at school, unable to work on it. Check out my website, join the forums and keep us posted on your progress.
     
  14. CarnivoreMan

    CarnivoreMan Registered Member

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    Ah, Yukon Jack, thats the one I was talkin about earlier!.. Do you know where I could find some more images of that dash and the rest of the truck?... I'm curious how he went about it. Does anybody still have a link to the Ebay page for that rig?

    I dunna, I guess I may not do a dash like that, but I would like something different than stock.. to a greater extent than just different guages... I'm just not a big fan of the stock dash I guess.. plus cupholders would be great. :D

    Maybe I could make a fiberglass dash that has similar features to the stock one.. I dont know... We'll see.. its not a huge priority at the moment.


    BotBoy, ah, you have some good info in there. One thing I would love would be to get the wiper delays in my wiper switch... the stock two speed setup is just.. primitive... :wink1:

    Thanks for the other info too.. I'll be watching your progress(among many others I'm sure) for ideas, and inspiration....


    Thanks to all the other info everyone!

    First thing for the Blazer... some blingin 22" Spinners! .. know'wum'sayin?


    :D
     
  15. Yukon Jack

    Yukon Jack 1/2 ton status

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  16. Yukon Jack

    Yukon Jack 1/2 ton status

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  17. Ryan B.

    Ryan B. 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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