CK5 Network
Become a member of the largest online community for Chevy K5 Blazer, Suburban and C/K series truck owners!

'74 K5 build: Smurf

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
dremu submitted a new Build:

'74 K5 build: Smurf

from stock to smurf, in seventy-two easy (ha!) steps, plus some commentary on the life decisions I've made, often poor ones. Including four houses and three marriages. :doah:

There will be some storytelling and some photopimping. I don't discuss the basics -- you should know a grade 5 from a grade 8 bolt -- but I don't claim to be an expert fabricator either. I just like to weld, so I build things. Sometimes they even work!

Here on CK5 we have all kinds of builds: stock trucks, resto-mods, movie truck replicas, trucks turned into moon buggies, trucks with amazing fastidious work, trucks made entirely from junkyard parts, and insanely beautifully re-engineered things that vaguely resemble their original form.

TankGrrl is not any of those. She's just an old truck, kinda fixed up, mostly built not bought, suitable for wheeling or driving to the grocery store, as long as it's not boiling hot nor freezing cold. This truck sits right squat in the middle of the bell curve, and hopefully we'll have a bunch of fun there.

I'm hopeful that y'all will get some good ideas about what you want to do to your truck. Maybe you'll copy something here directly, maybe you'll just use it as a starting point ... but I'll deem it successful if we stimulate a little technical discussion, and suffer the occasional jibe for our shortcomings :D

-- A

View attachment 230265

Read more about this build here...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

pvfjr

1/2 ton status
Joined
Feb 10, 2004
Posts
2,425
Reaction score
1
Location
Oakridge, OR
Thought there'd be more when I came in here, but I guess that's just more to look forward to.:D I look forward to seeing how it's progressed.
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
pvfjr said:
Thought there'd be more when I came in here, but I guess that's just more to look forward to.:D I look forward to seeing how it's progressed.

Well, I've got it narrowed down to 202 pix, now to resize them and date-stamp them ... doh...

-- A
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
In the beginning

My then-wife and I bought this clean-looking '74 (had hidden rust, of course) for way too much money with a suspect motor. Caveat emptor.

ext5.jpg


She was stock (the truck, not the then-wife!) except for 31" x 10.5" tires, and these bizarre Recaro racing seats up front. Still, it was full convertible, and a blast to drive -- back when gas was relatively cheap. We had a crate motor put in when the one in it started to choke badly, and I took her on a trip along the coast to Canada in '97, had great fun.

I then started to do minor upgrades -- at the time, the extent of my mechanical skills was doing my own oil changes ... I paid to have my brakes done even :haha:

First up was new carpet:

front-carpet-new.jpg


And I found a guy willing to trade me the beat-up Recaros for a set of beat-up stock seats:

seats-left.jpg


This, right here, is what a 69-75 Blazer is all about:

topless.jpg


Also bought, from 4WPW, those Smitty nerf bars. Had a bad experience buying from 4WPW, go figure :haha:, and had even more fun installing those things. When drilling metal, drill successively larger holes ... don't try to drill a 1/2" hole from the getgo. (As I said, I'm learning!)


The guy we bought it from gave us a bikini top for it, allegedly from a Ramcharger:

bikini-1.jpg


bikini-2.jpg


I also replaced the seriously whacked rear interior panels with 1/4" marine plywood:

woodpanels.jpg


I covered them in matching blue vinyl, though I don't seem to have any pix of that. ::shrug::

Got a second factory roll bar and had a buddy cut and weld it to fit in the rear:

topless-1.jpg


topless-2.jpg


and this posed a problem, getting that heavy top on and off. I built a wooden a-frame to yank the top:

aframe11.jpg


out of 4x6" pressure treat. WAAAY overengineered.

Put in a new tailgate shell and power goodies -- thus the CUCV green shell -- and a receiver-hitch-mounted spare carrier.

More to come...
 
Last edited:

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
Then I got a Kayline soft-top.

soft-top1.jpg

soft-top3.jpg


and sometimes I went to the hassle of rolling the side windows up, with towels as prescribed to keep the windows from scratching.

safari-mode-2.jpg


Moved into our first house, and put a winch bumper on the truck (though I didn't have a winch, it was a nice step platform to get under the hood.)

winch-bumper-5.jpg


And now that we had a garage tall enough to fit the thing, I could just chain the top to the rafters and didn't need the A-frame any more.

top-storage-1.jpg



Just as well, as the city and neighbours would have pitched a fit. Got some trendy seatcovers for free at work:

tankie-seatcovers-4.jpg


and an aftermarket rollbar for the back that fit better:

tankie-with-new-rollbars-3.jpg


Now I was getting into slightly more complex modifications ... this is your basic Valley Industries-style rear gas can/tire carrier, modified to take three gas cans. I did all the bending and cutting and had a local member (thanks Nate!) do the welding.

tankie-33s-rear-shot-2.jpg


Also did the quick-disco door-pin mod, as I finally broke down and got my own welder.

And some nut on Craigslist traded me a set of 33"s with almost new tread for an old laptop I wasn't using. Gotta love Craigslist.

tankie-doorless.jpg


Scored a matching set of factory seats, ooh, blue...

new-seats-3.jpg


from a guy on Craigslist... from CK5, I got this rollcage. It's a Smittybilt, I think. Here it is being stored in the truck -- i.e. not mounted -- while I was living in an apartment after the divorce.

roll-cage-unmounted-3.jpg


more...
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
Once I got my new house squared away, one of the first orders of business was going topless on the truck... with my modified engine hoist. Oh yeah, and a new digicam ;)

cherry-picker-top-2.JPG



cherry-picker-top-3.JPG


Sometimes I miss that truck... so simple, such clean lines =))

I decided that now that I had the time and space and money, I was gonna go ahead and build the truck for 'wheeling. I made a conscious decision to do away with the top and go for a truck which would usually get trailered to destination, though it could in a pinch be driven on the highway.

Here's that roll cage out of the truck:

roll-cage-2.jpg


First thing, then, was to lift it. Scored a set of free 4" front springs and got a deal on an ORD shackle flip, so after much swearing, new brake lines, and so forth, she looked like this:

tankie-lifted-2.JPG

tankie-lifted-3.jpg

tankie-lifted-4.JPG


tankie-lifted-8.JPG


I miss that truck too sometimes -- back when I had wheelwells, albeit rusty ones =))

By now my mechanical skills included some welding, brakes, and a lot of reading and posting on CK5.

more...
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
Not only did I get the rollcage from the nice gentleman here (thanks Doug2!) I also got a Ramsey hidden winch:

hidden-winch-9.JPG


Which I decided needed extra battery power :d

dual-aux-battery-3.JPG


winch-wiring-3.JPG


Fits behind the stock bumper, 8000# rated, and those are CUCV shackles.

winch-cabled-1.JPG

winch-cabled-3.JPG


Now I knew I was gonna go for bigger tires than the 33"s, so fender cutting was in order. However, rather than the usual technique of cutting some and seeing what works, I just cut until the rust was (more or less) gone:

tankie-rust-3a.JPG


That's 1/4"-3/8" thick Bondo. :doah: Not MY doing.

tankie-rust-5.JPG



One corner was so bad I just tossed it and got another one

fender-off-2.JPG

tankie-fender-rust-1.JPG


more...
 
Last edited:

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
I figgered if I could weld thick stuff I could do sheetmetal (I was wrong! I suck at it!) ... and wanted half doors:

half-door-mockup-1.JPG


half-doors-7.jpg


That diamond plate in the step area is a nice touch, I tell ya.

half-doors-4.jpg


In retrospect I wish I'd kept the upper door frames... donno why, exactly... I may do another set that way, half door but with the frames.

half-door-16.JPG


half-door-17.JPG

half-door-29.JPG


See what I mean about my welding. :doah:
half-door-33.JPG


Still, they came out okay, and Rustoleum covers MANY sins.

more...
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
There was rust throughout the truck, so in hindsight I'm glad I didnt' try to restore the truck, woulda driven me nuts.

tankie-rust-14.JPG


I discovered you CAN drive a truck sitting on a paint bucket ... but I don't recommend it. (I only drove it up and down the driveway.)

tankie-no-nose-2.JPG


Here's the rear wheel well cut out, much less rust.

rear-wheel-well-cut-1.jpg


And some 1/4" rod bent and welded around the edge, keep it from shredding fingers and tires and make it look ... well, less bad ;)

rear-wheel-well-cut-2.JPG


I decided to forego carpet, since the truck is topless year-round, and cleaned the tub and sprayed in some of that Duplicolor bedliner crap. You get what you pay for. :|

bedline-interior-1.JPG

tub-sanded-2.JPG

bedliner-1.JPG

bedliner-2.JPG

bed-painted-2.JPG


Again, Rustoleum hides many sins ;)

more...
 
Last edited:

blowedupmotor87

1/2 ton status
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
Posts
2,505
Reaction score
22
Location
Charlotte, NC
Sweet, I like being able to see the evolution from what it was to what it is! I really like the fender cutting, the consistent arch you did looks better to me than just cutting away lower corners where the tires hit. :waytogo:
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
Thanka!

Since it was full-topless, I dumped the tailgate I set up this frame to hold stuff in the back:

tailgate-frame-1.JPG


like a Hi-lift (60")

tailgate-hilfit-mount-2.JPG

tailgate-hilfit-mount-4.JPG


and the air tank for the OBA

air-tank-mount-3.JPG

air-tank-mount-10.JPG

tailgate-final-4.JPG

tailgate-final-5.JPG

tailgate-final-6.JPG

tailgate-final-7.JPG


license-plate-mount.JPG



more...
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
And having rattlecanned camo onto my sixpack the summer before, I started into the now-famous Urban Smurf Camo paint job:

hood-camo-begins-3.JPG

hood-camo-begins-4.JPG

tankie-camo-1.JPG

tankie-camo-2.JPG


There she is, with 33"s on 4" lift and major fender hacking, and stands out in a crowd, unless she's surrounded by tall Smurfs =))

Oh yeah, also messed with a third taillight, but decided it was more hassle than it was worth to wire and keep mounted:

tail-light-mounted-3.JPG



more...
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
To support 35"s, new axles were obviously called for. Switched the front to a 10-bolt, as it was easier to put in with 4.10:1's than to switch gears on my Dana 44... and set up a 14BFF with disc:

rear-disc-4.JPG


That's the Blackbird Custom Trucks kit, fwiw, with the Caddy calipers for the parking brake.

Here's some money shots of the 35"s vs the 33"s:

new-tires-for-size-1.JPG

new-tires-for-size-2.JPG

new-tires-for-size-3.JPG

new-tires-for-size-4.JPG


and after wrestling the front axle (oy!)

tankie-on-35s-2.JPG

There she is on 35"s.

Built an angled spare carrier for the bed:

spare-tire-carrier-122.JPG


and here she is all shiny with the 35"s

tankie-driveway-on-35s-2.JPG

tankie-driveway-on-35s-6.JPG


Still had those nerf bars, and the Rancho front springs didn't flex much. Prolly could cranked her a bit more though.
tankie-flex-6.JPG



Here's a now-collectible item, the Jethro-bilt diff cover:
jethro-built-diff-cover-1.JPG


and I built a bracket to hold a York in place of the AC compressor, not realizing that Muddybuddy or Muddytazz (I get the two confused) sells the dang things. At least my welding skills are improving from practice!

oba-bracket-2.JPG


more...
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
I decided that, though I am no expert, when you see smoke coming out of your tranny's dipstick, it's prolly time for a new tranny. Got a low-mile TH350, and decided while I had the damn thing out it was time to go Doubler.

no-tranny-3.JPG


Also set up a transmission temp gauge in place of the dead and useless ammeter. Here I tested the setup:

cooking-sender-1.JPG


And here it is installed

new-gauge-installed-1.JPG


Mmmm, bling from ORD:

doubler-unpacked-2.JPG


And here it is with my spare '203 and a fresh TH400 '205:

doubler-test-assembled-1.JPG


more...
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
The easy way to install a doubler is one piece at a time, i,.e. the tranny, then the t-cases. I discovered last week that it's a PITA to yank them all at once ;)

tranny-foot-mounted.JPG


And of course if you have a Doubler, you should have three sticks for it.

triple-stick-hookup-1.JPG

triple-stick-test-fit-1.JPG


I used a Harbor Freight ATV jack and some scrap lumber (I think pieces of the old a-frame :haha: ) cut to ~18" lengths.

t-cases-in-3.JPG

t-cases-in-4.JPG


Though my '74 has the removable tranny hump, it still took a little fiddling to fit the shifters.

little-bit-of-notching-3.JPG

triple-stick-mounted-1.JPG

triple-stick-mounted-3.JPG


ive-got-three-balls-1.JPG


One of them (I have three) needed a bit of spacing at a funny angle because my Doubler is clocked and, I think in hindsight, my drivetrain angle changed.

tcase-shim-3.JPG


and here are the three of them.

xmembers-mounted-1.JPG


I have a collection of factory skidplates mounted up

skidplates-mounted-1.JPG

skidplates-mounted-3.JPG


Next up, while the whole drivetrain was mounted, crossmembers were in order.

t-cases-in-6.JPG


more...
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: bix

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
I am particularly proud of the tranny tunnel, which had to be modified to fit the triple-stick:

tranny-tunnel-welded-1.JPG

tranny-tunnel-welded-2.JPG

tranny-hump-bondo-1.JPG

tranny-hump-test-1.JPG

tranny-hump-test-2.JPG

tranny-hump-test-4.JPG

tranny-hump-coating-1.JPG


It also got the crappy bedliner and paint treatment.

triple-stick-all-done-1.JPG

triple-stick-all-done-2.JPG


more...
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
I even got in a little 'wheeling at Hollister Hills:

blazerfest-01.jpg

blazerfest-57.jpg


That's about as crossed up as she'd get at that point, I think.

blazerfest-38.jpg


Damn 14-bolt should moonlight as a plow. :doah:

more...
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
Then I started into the rollcage install.

roll-cage-installation-10.jpg

roll-cage-installation-11.jpg

roll-cage-installation-12.jpg

roll-cage-installation-23.jpg


Attached the Smittybilt front cage to my existing rear rollbar... and made an impromptu soft-top ;)

tarp-cage-2.JPG


Also added side runners in front (had a friend of a member here bend them)

roll-cage-before-paint-1.jpg


adn then set up lateral bars on the bottom, front and rear of the bed.

roll-cage-before-paint-2.jpg

roll-cage-before-paint-3.jpg


That engine hoist is sooo useful!

cage-out-of-truck-1.JPG

cage-in-garage-1.JPG

cage-in-garage-2.JPG

cage-primer-1.JPg

cage-primer-2.JPG


more...
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
I had this dumba$$ idea to mount the spare to the cage. On the list of Stuff To Do is to build a rear stinger and mount the spare down lower like normal people, get the COG below my head. Doh.

spare-mount-on-cage-2.JPG

spare-mount-on-cage-4.JPG

spare-mount-on-cage-6.JPG


The paint is an appliance enamel -- great stuff, as long as you want black, white, or almond =))

clampett-1.JPG

clampett-2.JPG


And that, btw, is SCARY ... the seat IS NOT mounted to the tire, so the only thing holding it, and me, there is the weight of my fat butt.

End result, which I do NOT recommend

tire-mounted-to-cage-4.JPG



more...
 

dremu

Officious Thread Derailer
GMOTM Winner
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Posts
16,370
Reaction score
1,111
Location
East of San Francisco
Then I thought about boatsiding and getting rid of those silly nerfs. (NB: I'm gonna keep the nerfs for my CUCV, but it's a street truck and won't get wheeled. They're way too thin to actually wheel on.)

flying-tankie-outside-1.JPG


First you jack the truck up. Lifted trucks are easy to work on, as you can sit in the shade underneath them!

cutting-the-rocker-rust-4.JPG


Lots of rusted crap, even for a CA truck.

Here's one set of numbers off the frame ... the pic is upside down so the numbers aren't

frame-numbers-2.JPG


Rockerless

rockers-cut-out-1.jpg


And here's those rocker bozxes on the 73-75's:
old-rocker-side-1.JPG

old-rocker-side-4.JPG



Got me some 2x6, I think .250 wall

chopping-the-2x6-1.JPG


That ATV jack/lumber combo is priceless!

test-fitting-the-2x6-1.JPG

test-fitting-the-2x6-2.JPG


Godawful bondo mess (and that's the better fender!) reared its ugly head when I bent the metal a bit. ::shrug::

slider-driver-side.JPG


I cut this foot-hold into the doors, which I also regret.

step-cut-in-doors-3.JPG


more...
 
Top Bottom