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69 k5 build in texas ..... Where to start

Heathkeyman

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Hey all, do I judt got transfered to austin tx, for my job and I tool my blazer with me. I've had it for 15 years and now I'm ready to get her to where I want her...... it has a nice 383 stroker motor and a th350 and dana 44 front axle and 12 bolt rear all with drum brakes...... I drove it for the first time in years and every time I applied the brakes it pulled really bad to either side...... I believe changing out the front drums to disk brakes is a safe and good idea, it also has a heavy doubt wall top that held on by a giant strap, I don't have the hardware for that and need it, it's also missing the shocks and the existing lift (6") is sketchy amd I would like to replace that as well....... The issue is that I am renting space at a "do it yourself garage " and I really dont know where to start? I would like to have a nice daily driver with 6" of suspension lift and a th400 and go mudding from time to time mostly will be driving in town......... What do you all suggest on a good starting point? I'm paying a monthly fee ti use these folks tools and storage and would like to get it driving safely on the road so I can drive it back and forth to the shop when needed, as opposed to renting it monthly and not having a clue where to start....... Is swapping the disk brakes up front a good start? If so any suggestions on where to get the conversion kit? Thanks all for ANY good opinions and recommendations..... I will post lots of photos and I am reading many other post of what to do and not to do...... Happy to be here

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Heathkeyman

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I also found a local fella with w th400 /np205 dana 60 front and 14 bolt rear end that will sell all for 1000, the dana 60 has quite a bit of exterior rust hopefully its judt surface rust..... What do ya think?

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sponsoredbydad

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My quick short 2 cents is totally fix the brakes you have so it is safe to drive then get it out of that shop. Unless you don't have anywhere to park it. Changing those axles is going to take a while and money because there is a ton of other things that go with it. The TH400 is a nice upgrade but it is longer than the TH350 which means moving the cross member shorting rear driveshaft and lengthening the front/matching yokes to the new or old axles. I would look for a front D44 out of a 71 or 72 those have disc . but then you will need to upgrade the brake system of which you need anyways (master cylinder, booster and prop valve). I would start a wish list and see what you want to do and where you hope to end up then see what overlaps (As in if I change this, what else changes). Just food for thought from a 1st gen owner who has spent a grip and did not see all the peripherals in the beginning. OK that's 3 cents worth
 

Heathkeyman

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My quick short 2 cents is totally fix the brakes you have so it is safe to drive then get it out of that shop. Unless you don't have anywhere to park it. Changing those axles is going to take a while and money because there is a ton of other things that go with it. The TH400 is a nice upgrade but it is longer than the TH350 which means moving the cross member shorting rear driveshaft and lengthening the front/matching yokes to the new or old axles. I would look for a front D44 out of a 71 or 72 those have disc . but then you will need to upgrade the brake system of which you need anyways (master cylinder, booster and prop valve). I would start a wish list and see what you want to do and where you hope to end up then see what overlaps (As in if I change this, what else changes). Just food for thought from a 1st gen owner who has spent a grip and did not see all the peripherals in the beginning. OK that's 3 cents worth


Outstanding! That makes a ton of sense! And thank you very very much! I had no clue I had to shorten anything to install the th400..... I will consider all of this, the shop in finishing thr brakes tomorrow on the d44! Thank you for the awesome advice man!
 

bigjbear

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Personally I would not bother with the trans swap unless the current one is bad. As far as the axles & brakes, go the easy answer is leave the rear alone and swap in a disc brake front with the same gears from a '73& up.

However, I would still buy those parts. Go through them; new seals, check/replace the bearings, decide on a gear ratio and traction devices. Then once you have them set up the way you want, install them, as well as the matching master cylinder. You will also need to do something about the rear drive shaft.

Hope that helps.
 

WyOSteve

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I do believe the way it works here is u break a rear view mirror off first and that leads to 4 link w/coils truggy build...

Would be nice to be able to rent a place to work inside.....
 

Greg72

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Hey all, do I judt got transfered to austin tx, for my job and I tool my blazer with me. I've had it for 15 years and now I'm ready to get her to where I want her...... it has a nice 383 stroker motor and a th350 and dana 44 front axle and 12 bolt rear all with drum brakes...... I drove it for the first time in years and every time I applied the brakes it pulled really bad to either side...... I believe changing out the front drums to disk brakes is a safe and good idea, it also has a heavy doubt wall top that held on by a giant strap, I don't have the hardware for that and need it, it's also missing the shocks and the existing lift (6") is sketchy amd I would like to replace that as well....... The issue is that I am renting space at a "do it yourself garage " and I really dont know where to start? I would like to have a nice daily driver with 6" of suspension lift and a th400 and go mudding from time to time mostly will be driving in town......... What do you all suggest on a good starting point? I'm paying a monthly fee ti use these folks tools and storage and would like to get it driving safely on the road so I can drive it back and forth to the shop when needed, as opposed to renting it monthly and not having a clue where to start....... Is swapping the disk brakes up front a good start? If so any suggestions on where to get the conversion kit? Thanks all for ANY good opinions and recommendations..... I will post lots of photos and I am reading many other post of what to do and not to do...... Happy to be here

First off......WELCOME!!! :waytogo:

It's cool to see an honest-to-God 1969 Blazer around here!!! :bow: They made less than 5000 of those, and you don't see one very often.


Here's my take on how to "eat the elephant" (that's our codeword when it looks like someone is about to start a BIG project, usually more than they realize):


STEP 1:

Pick your final tire size now.

Seriously.

So much of what you will decide is based off that one seemingly simple answer. If your tire size is 37" (or less), there is NO need to pick up those 1-Ton axles. They are 8-Lug so you need to find new wheels right away also. I've never seen anyone go through and refresh a front D60 for less than $3000 either. It all adds up in a hurry.... seals, bearings, kingpins, new hubs, 35-spline outers, crossover steering, etc, etc. For a medium-duty wheeler / street truck, it's a serious waste of money and effort.

I can understand that the first temptation now that you have some shop space is to tear into the truck and make massive changes everywhere to it. I would suggest that you slow down and take a careful inventory of the things that are REALLY in need of attention and start chipping away at those FIRST. For example, the truck pulls hard under braking..... might be a good opportunity to learn about the front axle...do a nice disc-brake swap and clean up the rust and start detailing the undercarriage in the areas where you are taking things apart. Eastwood makes a nice rattlecan paint (Chassis Black) that's not too shiny and not too flat-looking. It will give you a nice factory appearance on chassis parts.

Take a few photos of the front springs for me.... especially the shackle area on both sides. There is a small bracket on a lot of these trucks about 2" behind the shackle hanger (bolted to the frame) that limits the spring and can cause the braking issues you've got.

The truck has what looks like a 2" body lift already. That's going to make it tough to install factory bumpers since there is going to be a big ugly gap. If you aren't in love with the body lift, you can remove it. And while you're at it you can install a fresh set of OEM Rubber body mounts in all positions. A truck that's almost 50 years old is going to have LOTS of dry-rotted rubber everywhere, so plan on replacing everything. Having a solid set of body mounts will help you a lot later on when you start trying to align panels or do any kind of rust repair. (YES, YOU WILL HAVE RUST...)

Depending on your tire size choice, you can figure out how much overall lift you will need to clear the fenders. We can help you figure that out once you give us some more background on the truck and your plans. :waytogo:


-G
 

bigjbear

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That is some really sound advice from Greg :waytogo: Reread what he wrote and take it to heart.

About the only place I'd disagree is on cost. I've seen them go in with nothing more than 3 new u-bolts, brake pads, seals, repacking the bearings, and having the rotors turned. (But you really should upgrade your master cylinder, too). I had mine in for around a grand, and would say that was pretty typical around here.

Also, something I forgot to mention regarding those 3 u bolts- make sure you get plates that go on top of the spring. They are not the same as what is on your D44. They are hard to find, and not cheap when you do.
 

70jimmy

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Welcome aboard the Crazy Train. Some sound advice from people that live the first gens already. I agree with pick tire size now. Along with that figure out what you want to use the vehicle for, gear ratio in axles you want, and what kind of a budget you have. After reading your initial post looks like you want an occasional mudder but mainly street driving. You have put that you want a 6 inch suspension lift which will allow up to 35's depending on how much flex you have. Best advice I have is before you tear the vehicle down do plenty of research to make sure you have all the parts you need and how the upgrade will affect other aspects of the vehicle. Keep the vehicle driving as much as you can. Tear it down for an upgrade and get it back to driving again then plan for the next one.

Decide if you will be keeping the body original or if you will be doing fender trimming to help with your suspension lift height and ulitimate tire size. Also brand of tire affects overall tire size. Some vary well over an inch.

Switching to front disks when you can is a smart safety move. I completely went through my 4 wheel drum brakes, all new all adjusted and within 2 weeks it was pulling again. When going to disk, you do need to swap master cylinder. If you are going to do 4 wheel disk then you will also want to add an adjustable proportioning valve and a residual pressure valve. Again more searching.

Something that made a big difference in comfort and stability was replacing the worn body mounts., I would also look at your tranny / Tcase mounts, along with motor mounts. Do some searching on whether you want rubber or poly mounts and there is a lot of info on whether mixing the two works or not.

The 350 is a decent tranny, I ran one for about 6 years with 37 inch tires and no tranny cooler. It was rebuilt before I started and was still working fine when I took it out for the doubler and 400 turbo swap.

Learn from the experience of others here it will save you a great deal of time, money, and frustration. Well maybe not save a lot of money. It has saved me money at times but if you catch the fever you will end up like some of us with 25 grand into a $1000.00 truck. But I am still planning upgrades.

Search search search, and brace the doors.
 

nostomofo

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Ahhh, who's kidding who here. Pull the motor, set her up on jack stands, and join the rest of us with our first gens under construction.

No, seriously, drive her. Drive her. Don't fall victim to the "might as well" disease that is so rampant among us.
 

sponsoredbydad

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Ok so I was off a couple of years on the front disc's. Listen to Greg's advice Hell mine wasn't half bad. Brace the doors comes in when you remove the hard top and take the doors off to do rust repair . The fire wall moves like it's a linguini noodle
 

Greg72

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That is some really sound advice from Greg :waytogo: Reread what he wrote and take it to heart.

About the only place I'd disagree is on cost. I've seen them go in with nothing more than 3 new u-bolts, brake pads, seals, repacking the bearings, and having the rotors turned. (But you really should upgrade your master cylinder, too). I had mine in for around a grand, and would say that was pretty typical around here.

Also, something I forgot to mention regarding those 3 u bolts- make sure you get plates that go on top of the spring. They are not the same as what is on your D44. They are hard to find, and not cheap when you do.


Perhaps I overstated the costs a bit, but if you add a front locker to the refurbishment costs (and high-steer arms/ steering box / draglink / heims) your $$$ are certainly getting up there. :deal:


-G
 

bigjbear

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The "might as wells" will kill the budget every time :D. I'm pretty confident we've all been guilty of it at some point of our builds.
 

Greg72

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The "might as wells" will kill the budget every time :D. I'm pretty confident we've all been guilty of it at some point of our builds.


I know, right?? :haha:

Here's my 3" thick binder of receipts for the "Might As Well" Build...


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There's a total $$$ on the final page, but I don't want to talk about it. :yikes:


-G
 

ashman

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There's a total $$$ on the final page, but I don't want to talk about it. :yikes:
-G
I hope you keep that thing out in the garage. If the wife ever gets ahold of the total you are in deep trouble!
 

Greg72

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I hope you keep that thing out in the garage. If the wife ever gets ahold of the total you are in deep trouble!

She's very good with math.... I think she keeps a running total in her head. :)

Recently she made her best "educated" guess about the total build costs and she was pretty close.... I refuse to count TOOLS as part of the build cost so that let's me subtract just under $20,000 from the total. :deal:


-G




ps. Nobody realizes how expensive "eating the elephant" will be until the waiter comes by at the end of the meal with the final bill... !!!! :haha:
 

Snoozer

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I'll sell you the stock Dana 60 spring plates if you need some. I have too much lift on my truck to effectively use the stock swaybar, so if you need/want my stock spring plates, let me know.

I also have my stock swaybar that's no use to me. I have no idea if it'll bolt up to a 1st Gen K5. But if it can, and you're interested, PM me and we'll talk. It has new(er) ORD poly bushings and the ORD Quick Disconnect. :cool1:
 
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