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1988 K5 the "Big Blue" compromise

scouthead

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The "compromise" is partly me talking myself out of going crazy with this thing, and partly how all the parts on the blazer work together as a whole- and always being compared to the 4x4 toys i used to have, and what my friends are driving/building:

-Not the biggest tires, but affordable -and not breaking axles all the time
- A little more power than stock, but still meets emissions and isn't breaking all the parts in the drivetrain on a regular basis
-No overdrive on the highway, but gearing is a bit tall and keeps the RPMS down on the street -and the granny low gear in the transmission, and swapping to a transfer case with better gearing brings back everything needed to go low and slow.
-more ground clearance, but keep the overall height of the vehicle as low as possible
-AC doesn't work, but THE ROOF COMES OFF IN THE SUMMER ANYWAY
-etc...
-etc...

Page 1 - Back Story, Scout stuff, 10 bolt gov-loc sheared the carrier... cheapest spring lift ever (actually made money), modified crossmember, axles with 3.73 gears, semi float 14 bolt, new shock mounts, hood pins

Page 2 - Trail pics, starter/ clutch override switch, new stereo, center console, CB and custom antenna mount, NP241 install with custom crossmember, custom skid plate, broken engine, started building the new engine

PAGE 3 - Engine building, custom "most badass air cleaner ever", haulin landcruisers to the graveyard,
 
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scouthead

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UNWANTED BLAZER / BLAZER FOUND

First vehicle I ever really put a lot of miles on was a 2wd 1990 suburban. As for 4wd toys, I had been busy playing with my 1962 Scout, and then the 1976 FJ55 Landcruiser... i had a 1989 4wd Suburban briefly, and it was a rust bucket... so it got cut up and the drive train was getting implanted into another 1973 FJ55... I had several friends that had K5s with various versions of 700r4 transmissions and np208s, and they always had issues rebuilding transmissions and leaking transfer case problems. I had no intentions of buying or building a Chevy. I was happy with the Toyotas and thought the 4 door Landcruiser's were about perfect trail size vehicle.

Then, I was walking through a wrecking yard one day, when they put out a bunch of police impound vehicles to be sold complete and running -not to be parted out. A Big fat blue, completely stock k5 sitting there... late 1980s... I walked right by it, having no interest messing with a 700r4. Walked right by and got maybe 10 steps further and stopped -"was that a stick shift???"

A manual transmission with factory fuel injection in Californistan smog/emissions territory??? That's a rare bird in so cal. Im not Sure i had ever seen one with factory TBI and a manual transmission. I jumped on it. A couple hours and $1,800 bucks later it was mine. 56,000 miles on the odometer. I have had a few people tell me this may have been an Airforce yard truck, or maybe forest service, as the miles were very low, and the truck had never had a roll bar?? Apparently if this had been a "special order" as a base model in teh civilian market, GM would have put the roll bar in it? Or so I've been told.
 
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scouthead

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i had a few too many things going on, so i sold my S10 jimmy, and soon afterward sold the scout. Sometimes i miss the scout. fold down windshield... 86 horsepower, no seat belts, and 1st and reverse gears in the same shift gate... ahhhhhh

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scouthead

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vacuum windshield wipers...

anyway enough about the scout! the blazer came along, and all my toyota friends called it the "fat body".

Blazer came home with manual windows, manual tailgate, 350TBI, SM465 transmission, NP208 transfer case, 10 bolt front/rear with 3:08 gearing. bare bones-rubber floor mats front and back v belts on the motor- no serpentine. Bare bones. Factory fuel injection and the manual trans are an odd combination in Ca. The Smog ref makes it just about impossible to put a manual trans in a truck that came originally equipped with an auto, so finding one already set up was fantastic!

I was so excited the day i brought it home, that i got a little flustered leaving the gas station after i picked it up... with all of the paint numbers on the windows, and all my friends climbing in and under the truck, i forgot to put the filler back on the pump, and proceeded to full away, ripping the hose disconnect apart and causing a minor scene. Lets just move on.
 

scouthead

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I could lay down serious one wheel burnouts with the 30 inch tires and the tall gearing. that was a lot of fun until i found out i had a gov lock in the rear end...
took a friend for a ride, and the rear end grenaded. dragged the back tires to an unexpected stop in the middle of a busy street. we tried to rock the truck forward and back to free things up, and push it into a gas station driveway... didnt work so well. tow truck to the rescue.
 

scouthead

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Blazer sat for a few months while i thought about what i wanted to do- no point in another 10 bolt rear end if the truck was getting bigger tires and a lift...
went back to working on my FJ55 that was getting the v8 transplant.

then i found a truck frame for sale locally. rolling on 33 inch Bridgestone duelers, with 4 inch (i think 4 inch) skyjacker lift springs, a 350,sm465/203, and 10 bolt front and rear.
100 bucks!!! Score!!

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scouthead

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At this point, things started changing on the Blazer... lift springs and tires swapped straight over. found out my "new style" hydro bellhousing 465 and the 465 in the truck frame were different, so the frame got recycled, the engine/trans/transfer case got sold separately. I ended up several hundred dollars ahead, with a free lift and 33 inch tires for my blazer. I think i couldnt use the front axle from the frame for some reason and kept the hubs and axle shafts for future spares- the rest was recycled.

the ten bolt rear on the truck frame was also a gov lock, and it was also destroyed, so i went searching for a new rear end. i found a great deal on a semi float 14 bolt with 3.73 gearing (also with gov lock). it came out of a 97 Z71 pick up with factory tow package. it was a little wider -think it pushed the rear wheels outward 3/4 inch on each side?? I checked with the forklift and the tires would still tuck into the wheel well without cutting on the fender lip.

friend of a friend has a Chevy wrecking yard, and sold me a complete 10 bolt front with 3.73 gearing for 200 bucks.

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scouthead

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Forklifts are fun to have around! needed to figure out new shock mounts. I found reference here on CK5 about the ford shock towers being easy to adapt 9 (and cheap). went down to ford, and sure enough they had them. went down to 4 wheel parts and bought a few different shocks. Ford towers cut and welded to frame at appropriate place.. had to add a crossbar in the back and inboard the upper shock mounts. I could get about 37 inches under a tire on any corner before other tires came off the ground.

sway bar went in the dumpster. i found even without it, the K5 is WAY more stable than any of my FJ55 landcruisers were (even with their sway bars connected!)

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scouthead

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I found i could lower the transmission crossmember 5/8 inch, and the rear driveshaft angles seemed tolerable, and the slip yoke on the 208 didnt seem to bind... i think i found a conversion u-joint that allowed the rear driveshaft to bolt up right to it- no flange change needed.

the front driveshaft was a little more involved. the additional lift, compounded with the crossmember dropping, made the front cv bind, and also made the shaft contact the crossmember. I took a die grinder, Dremel, and angle grinder, and massaged all the stops on the cv cage and the flanges. perfect!

well, now the driveshaft made contact with the crossmember when the front flexed. ok. cut/weld. this is what i came up with. notched the crossmember, and filled the hole. Then plated the bottom in that area to reinforce.

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scouthead

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the front driveshaft didnt hit anything now, but it extended out and would hit/ pull on the dust cap. i bought one of the steel spacers for the flange on the transfer case, and that pretty much fixed that.

I bought a raised steering arm from 4 wheel parts, and adjusted the drag link, rear parking brake, and then used the hell out of the truck for a while.
Daily driver, weekend camping, rocky desert trails... towing abandoned vehicles around for because, why the hell not?
 

scouthead

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Pretty much the K5 I always wanted, bare bones, TBI and a SM465. :saweet:
shouldn't be a hard or expensive option to build these days, but in CA... smog Nazis! have to start with a pre 1976 vehicle. basically no easy/affordable way to put manual trans into a truck that came auto. the local smog refs are NOT reasonable to deal with.
 

scouthead

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hood was split/ cracked in the middle when i got the truck. I got tired of watching the ends of the flap up on the freeway, so i welded the crack, kinda/sorta color matched a strip of blue over the raw steel, and then welded some studs to the core support. cut some aluminum discs to rivet to the hood, and made my own pins. kinda like the way it looks too, but i really just didnt want to see my hood flapping like a sea gull anymore!

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scouthead

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abandoned hulk of astro van = pull over for impromptu tractor pull!!

after my buddy got tired of crashing into it with his buggy, i spent 1/2 hour dragging it around -did a good job as a road drag until it started filling up with dirt and i caught a bush that was too big to shave off. I think i still have a video on you tube of this somewhere...

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scouthead

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My friends hung out in the desert, and my Mom and her husband lived in Wrightwood Ca up in the mountains... the blazer got a lot of miles between, and saw a lot of use 2008 (i think 2008??)

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