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Montana 1980 K5 Jimmy Build


Let me just start by saying that this forum is absolutely top notch and you guys have been a fabulous resource for a first-timer. I figured it was time to give back to the community and post our story in case it helps someone else.

Earlier this year my two oldest sons (10 and 6) and I decided we wanted to restore an old Blazer/Jimmy as a family fun wagon and eventually a vehicle for the boys to drive when they are in high school. We found a 1980 K5 Jimmy in Roy Montana that was equipped with the typical 5.7L/TH350/NP05. Body and interior were pretty rough, but we were in it for the long game! In April we started the tear down for a full frame-off restoration. The progress and vision (thus far);
  • 5.3L LS swap from BD Turnkey (out of 2004 Yukon)
  • 4L60e - felt like we needed overdrive since it will see some highway miles
  • 4" Tough Country suspension lift
  • 35" BFGs
  • Rebuilt 10 bolt front / 12 bolt rear with 4:56 and Detroit TruTrac - I know some of you hardcore offroad guys will scoff at the 10/12 bolt, but this isn't intended to be an apocalypse rig. However, we did replace the rear axle shafts with Yukon chromoly since the old ones were pitted out.
  • New bushings, body mounts, etc.
  • SSBC rear disc brake upgrade
  • Replacing upgrading other assorted components (power steering box, MC/booster, combination valve, new brake lines, fuel lines, wiring harness, Vintage Air, etc.)
  • New hood, fenders, quarters, tailgate, bumpers, etc.
The cab and bed are currently off at the blasters this week. Next week I hope to lay down a coat of epoxy on the blasted parts, followed by welding in rockers, filler, etc. I suspect it may take a month or two of high-build primer and blocking sessions before getting some paint laid down before winter. This project has been a ton of fun. The boys and I are learning a lot, but I was a bit naive with regards to the time and cost involved with a project like this. The wife calls it my "mistress", but something tells me that an actual mistress would be much more expensive in the long run!





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Brandon Foster
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