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What year K5 do you recommend?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by joeysworld, Oct 12, 2005.

  1. joeysworld

    joeysworld Registered Member

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    I am looking to buy a K5.
    I am looking for a used K5, one that has overdrive(for fuel economy, at least I'm trying), and I'm trying to find a year that has the best of both worlds, meaning:
    good gear ratio(transfer case-differentials)
    decent axle strength
    Transmission durability

    I live in California, and I really would like to avoid emissions, but I don't see to many early model(1970-1976) K5's around with 700r4's around.

    Does anyone have an opinion?
     
  2. sledheadak

    sledheadak 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    87-91 efi and overdrive
     
  3. muddybuddy

    muddybuddy 3/4 ton status

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    best bet would be 87-91 so you get fuel injection. axles for all years are basically all same strength.
     
  4. BigOrange90Jimmy

    BigOrange90Jimmy 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I would go 87-89 because in 90 they went to a different style FI (electronic speedo, VSS) and caused more headaches. Also, the 90+ axles utilize 30 spline axleshafts, which are stronger than the previous years, but the carrier is weaker than the 28 spline as they removed more material to fit the 30 spline shafts.
     
  5. CheyenneKid

    CheyenneKid Registered Member

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    well, considering the 4 speed auto, (th700) didn't debut until '82 or so, you prob'ly won't find many in the early trucks. :waytogo: The early od's were fer shizzle-dizzle, the later models ('87 on or so) were much more durable.

    Go with a 4-spd muncie in the early rigs or a NV4500 manual in the later models, both for the durability and the gearing, 1st in an SM465 is like 7.13 or something. Mine has a 1.96:1 NP205 transfercase and stock 3:73 axle gears, in a 12-bolt. I have an SM465 in my '79 and it kicks asphalt. :woot:

    I also highly recommend the TBI injection 350s. Good economy, long lasting, low (like 500 RPM) idle, snappy torque, stock. They practically run upside-down. I like them so much over the "yesterdays news" carbureted trucks, i put on into my '79, a '90 350 motor from a 2wd suburban my wife was kind enough to wreck for me. If you feel the need to twiddle around with perfection, you can diddle around with a tbi spacer or headers or whatever the kids are doing these days. They need nothing, however.

    Wrapup: Best looking tough old iron: Manual shift '73 to 80's Blazers. NP205/SM465, 12 bolts, good looking nose. Cool plaid low back seats. Chicks dig 'em. :pimp1:

    Polished end-of run: '89, 90, and '91s. Cool 1500-style grille, 5 speed stick, stronger th700, deeper geared np208, the TBI rocks in a 4x4.

    good luck.
     
  6. FRIZZLEFRY

    FRIZZLEFRY 1/2 ton status

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    Being that you are in Ca. ,get something pre smog and put an OD tranny and EFI in it.

    I spent alot of money every other year for a long time smogging my 81.I finaly got fed up and switched to a 74.
     
  7. k20

    k20 3/4 ton status

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    I dont think the nv4500 became available until 93 or 94. Aint gonna find one in a K5 unless its been swapped around. Just FYI also, sm465 is 6.55 first.

    As has been said before, OD's didnt come out till the early 80s so your not going to find one in a no-smog truck unless its been swapped. The later models (89-91) have what some say is a better looking grille, I prefer the 85-88 style myself. I think the 73-79 styles are the toughest looking ones, big squared off front ends, etc.

    Anyway, more creature comforts the newer you go, as well as fewer miles(duh). If its more of a DD Id go newer(87+, tbi for driveability), if its gonna be more of a trail rig, Id try to find something in the 70s, cause of more simplistic design.
     
  8. chevyin

    chevyin 1/2 ton status

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    yepper what you said cali smog sucks. :(
     
  9. 4xcrazy

    4xcrazy 3/4 ton status

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    89-91,,because they just look cool :p: :cool1: :deal: :thumb: :saweet: :burb: :xmas:
     
  10. CheyenneKid

    CheyenneKid Registered Member

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    My bad about the NV4500.
    Also, is it reverse that's 7.13:1? Either way, its low.

    Hey, it takes a big man to admit he made a mistake, and I'm a big man.

    Thanks for the correction, and welcome to the fold, K5 bro.
     
  11. muddybuddy

    muddybuddy 3/4 ton status

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    i love the 89-91 faces. im plannin on swapping to that face eventually.
     
  12. 74757685k5

    74757685k5 1/2 ton status

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    Get a 73-78''not 79 because of the wierd head light housings''with SM465/205 combo.i dont think they came with 305 but i could be wrong.so it'll have a 350 or 400.they will prolly cost less than a late 80s.
    IF you want a daily driver,light wheeler.go for 87-91.
     
  13. K5Chris

    K5Chris 1/2 ton status

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    its the same fuel injection. nothing really changed except the addition of the electroinc vss and rwabs. the electronic vss/drac/speedo is a whole lot easier to correct for gear/tire changes than the mechanical setup. i just flip a few switches, and its dead-on accurate. not really a headache at all. the rwabs is a joke, but it can be disabled by removing a fuse.
     
  14. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I'd stick with the '87 to '91 V-series.

    I just bought my first actual running TBI truck of the "old body style" vintage, an '87 V10 and love the fuel injection. It runs better than anything I've owned, that is, with a carb. Plus the newer grilles look cooler, too.

    I'm getting a '90 grille next weekend to put on this '87 V10 as the passenger fender is crumpled. The new replacement clip is also the same color as the '87, so I'm lucky here it all matches. Gonna be driving around in a SWB truck with a newer grille. Cool! :waytogo:
     
  15. CheyenneKid

    CheyenneKid Registered Member

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    for the price of lunch at the McDonalds and some eBay surfing you can swap out the "wierd" headlight housings.

    There's nothing wrong with the '79 headlight housings. Now, the square light '80 version was a little "wierd"...
     
  16. K5MONSTERCHEV

    K5MONSTERCHEV 1/2 ton status

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    73-75, smog exempt, full removable top. Put in some axles, a 700r4 and some TPI, its better then TBI.

    OR a Diesel, do whatever you want with it, gas engine, whatever.
     
  17. CheyenneKid

    CheyenneKid Registered Member

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    That is cool.

    Still waiting for the scratch for those body bushings, haven't forgotton about you. The town started hassleing me about my K-series strewn driveway and had to spend time and money to tidy it up a bit.

    Hot dogs again this week.
     
  18. CheyenneKid

    CheyenneKid Registered Member

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    TBI is better than TPI for a trail driven truck: lower idle speed, lower torque curve. TPI is great for a camaro, but TBI rules the trail.

    You do have a cool rig though. You prob'ly need the TPI power to spin those big meats...
     
  19. Jonny-K5

    Jonny-K5 1/2 ton status

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    89, best year ever. and no im not biased causs i own one.
     
  20. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    NV4500 never came in any of the k5 bodies or of the c/k pickups of that era. The newer (88+) was avaliable with the NV4500 only if it was behind the BBC or the 6.2 diesel, and was avaliable with the 6.31 (or was it 6.34) first gear and reverse.

    the k5's came with a 4 speed (sm465) tranny I believe. It was also the only manual avaliable until the nv4500 and some Getrag light duty 5 speed on the half ton trannies.

    I recommend possibly a 90/91- least miles, least rust (and they had galvanizing!)
     

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