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What to look for when buying a 87-91 Blazer

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by spigot, Feb 21, 2001.

  1. spigot

    spigot Newbie

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    Hi, I'm in the market for a 87-91 Blazer and would like to know what to look for when test driving/ inspecting. Are there any common problems that I should be aware of? Things that tend to break? Any suggestions of web sites and other sources of information to aid in my research? How long do the engines tend to last for before they need replacing/ rebuilding (my only other engine experiance is with rotary engines and they seem to average 75k miles)?

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  2. Mr Red

    Mr Red 1/2 ton status

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    My readings on rotary engines indicate the should last more the miles you mention; there's less friction for cry'n out loud.

    That said, look for rust that'll be expensive to fix: tailgate bottom/near hinges, crawl underneath & look for rust in decking, look for overspray that could be indicative of collisions, look down the side of each rig ( I almost forgot this on my last purchase) for dents then use a magnet to check for bondo w/ a magnet.

    We need more information to help you further due to differnces inyears (e.g. last few years of mfg. had galvanized body panels making rust less of an expected problem). Give us more details & we'll help you out.


    [​IMG]
    <font color=red>David, '86 & '91 K5</font color=red>
    Forever missing Dale Earnhardt, who drove over more Fords than we could ever dream of
     
  3. coopertwpk

    coopertwpk 1/2 ton status

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    Frame cracks at steering box,leaking rear main seals ,right upper radiator hose tube out of radiator rust under carpet(buy a california model if you can)also check rear gear ratios(3.73s are ok ith 33"tires,etc.)

    88k5 silverado w4"lift soon to have <font color=orange>d44 and corp14ff</font color=orange> with 4.56s
     
  4. spigot

    spigot Newbie

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    the rotaries I've had worked with are those out of turbo Rx-7's (turbos don't help engine longevity)

    you mentioned galvanized pannels on late model blazers, which years?

    I'm basically looking for info that will help me put together a checklist of things to look at when I go to testdrive. Also things that are really expensive to fix would be helpfull to know.

    The reason I asked about 87 - 91 is that 91's are just at the top of my price range (on average) and 87's were the first year with fuel injection( I think, please correct if wrong). If I recall the engines were all the 350's during this range( again please correct if im wrong).

    Matt
     
  5. CaptCrunch

    CaptCrunch 1/2 ton status

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    I guess my main concern has always been rust and making sure the tailgate and window work. Otherwise you can't haul anything. Most trucks have higher miles which means start looking mostly at the transmission. Tranny can go anywhere from 80k to 160k... when it goes it's roughly 1500 to fix. Obviously 120 k is where starter, alt, water pump like to puke. The motors seem to tire at the 150 mark, but can go well past 200k. Most rearends go out in the 200k range as well. Also make sure the frt suspension is good or you can start shelling out a good portion of bucks for ball jt's, tie rods, etc.

    1987 Chevy K5 Blazer- 350 TBI
     
  6. bigblue

    bigblue 1/2 ton status

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    rust is key. also like the captain said make sure the front end is tight. look for one that doesn't FEEL loose while driving. those front end components are a pretty penny if you are not doing it yourself. Tthe regular stuff will fail. i got mine at 107000 miles and i have replaced alot. the tranny blew at 165000 and the fuel pump/sending unit/gas tank went on me. teh engine has 170000 on it and is running pretty good. knock on wood! good luck. oh yeah maybe want to look for a blazer with MANUAL rear window. I am in the middle of fixing mine right now. MAN I LOVE MY TRUCK!

    good luck....

    87 blazer

    baja surf nazi -...A late storm NEVER comes...

    [​IMG]
     
  7. CaptCrunch

    CaptCrunch 1/2 ton status

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    HAHAHAA! You sound like me... It's a constant hasle and always fixing or upgrading it, but I love my truck [​IMG]

    1987 Chevy K5 Blazer- 350 TBI
    [​IMG]
     
  8. jarheadk5

    jarheadk5 1/2 ton status

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    87's came with a TBI 305 as well as the 350. I'm not sure what year, if at all, the 305 went away in the Blazer.
    On your test drive, leave the radio off. Drive with windows down AND up. Listen very carefully to all the noises the truck makes, with power on and power off, around corners, and while braking. These noises can tell you a LOT. Pay attention to shakes and vibrations too. Ask anyone around here, curing the shakes or a bad vibe can drive you to insanity AND the poor house.

    [​IMG] Semper Maintenance!
     
  9. lowlevell

    lowlevell 1/2 ton status

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    Like everyone else above has posted----&gt;Look for rust(actually you probably wont have to look hard). Mainly in/on the rear lower sill/hinges, and the area where the seatbelt connects to the body.Check the rear leafs for cracks.(Dont laugh, one of mine were cracked).Check front end/axles for slop.
    Yes 87' was the first year for TBI FI.And i "think" all 305's were manual (4spd no OD), and the 350's were auto (700r OD). Mine was 305/4spd w/granny.And try to get one with a manual rear window,this will save one hell of a headache later down the road.Later....

    One From None
     
  10. 90K5

    90K5 1/2 ton status

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    Maybw this will help you on things you will have to fix. I bought my '90 with 124k on it, and now it has 136K. So far I have replaced the alternator, power steering pump, starter, rebuilt the distributor twice(did it wrong the first time, but thats how you learn things) replaced the tie rods, A/C compressor, need to replace the balljoints. Hopefully you won't need to replace this stuff, but if and when you do, remember to get quality stuff and not crap from AutoZone. Rust wasn't really an issue when I was looking for them, I'm in Texas, but tis still a good idea to look. Make sure all the little things work, like the wipers, A/C (not so little in Texas) and the like, remember you can use that stuff as a bargaining chip.

    90K5

    See my truck at <A target="_blank" HREF=http://albums.photopoint.com/j/Albumindex?u=1329584&a=9886502>http://albums.photopoint.com/j/Albumindex?u=1329584&a=9886502</A>
     
  11. spigot

    spigot Newbie

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    thanks everyone for the info. I'm going to go out this weekend and see what I can find. Then I'm sure I'll have many more questions.

    Matt
     
  12. Mr Red

    Mr Red 1/2 ton status

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    1990-1991 for galvanized panels. Look for leaks @ mating between engine and tranny. Worry about Tranny fluid leaks and evidence of a lot of oil leaking. Edmunds.com, myclassiccar.com and some other web sites/magazines have good checklists of what to watch for when buying a used vehicle.

    Good Luck,
    [​IMG]
    <font color=red>David, '86 & '91 K5</font color=red>
    Forever missing Dale Earnhardt, who drove over more Fords than we could ever dream of
     
  13. MudRebel350

    MudRebel350 1/2 ton status

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    If u get an 87 stay away from the 305 engine, its a turd. 87 was the last year for the 305. Check for oil pressure on the gauges. If its around 30 plus while driving the motor is tight. Look under the truck, especially the rear wheel wells if theres carpet coming thru the floor pan walk awy from that one. Check the fluid while the truck is cold, especially coolant, if its up to the top, while its cold , u could bet the head gaskets are still good. Try to find a truck with original paint, that way there not hiding rust or bondo, stay away from modified stuff, u dont know what ur getting. While the truck is running take off the oil cap and check for "blow by" if air or air and oil blow out of the hole then the piston rings are worn and that motor is gonna puke. Also if the tranny fluid isnt red, but a brown color the trans is going to go soon. I think thats enough for now, Good luck.

    JD
    former owner of an 88 Jimmy and 2 87 K5's
     

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