I need some K5 info

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Toywheeler, Dec 8, 2001.

  1. Toywheeler

    Toywheeler Newbie

    Dec 8, 2001
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    I have been a long time owner of toyota's. I just recently sold my 85 4runner, which had alcan 5" springs, dual t'case, 4.88's, rear detroit locker, allpro bumpers, and 35" MTRs. I love toyotas product and have always been satisfied with them, but I want to do a new build up on an American vehicle. The other day, I went wheelin in my buddies 72 K5, and I tell you, that was one of the funnest vehicles I've driven. I have narrowed my search to three different models. A 73-90 K5 is one of the three, and at the top of my list. I just need some info about these beasts, as I don't know much about them. What kind of manual transmissions did they come with, and what kind of tcase. How reliable of a vehicle are they, and how builder friendly are they? What is the gear ratio on them and what kind of axles do they come with? My next vehicle needs to be dependable, and very trail capable, yet, a good street driver as well. I will be driving the thing every day, as well as wheelin in Moab fairly often. I also do all of the mods to my trucks myself, so, how easy are K5's to modify and work on? Thanks. Sorry, I don't know much about K5's, but I'd really like to own one of those bad boys.
  2. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

    Sep 1, 2001
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    Peoria, AZ
    The K5 is the greatest truck ever. The parts between K5's, K10, K20, K30 pickups, and Suburbans all interchange. The manual that came with most K5's was a SM 465. It is super strong, and a NP 205 tcase it is stout. The axles under most k5's are suspect though. But back to the above. A 14 bolt out of a 3/4 ton pickup will bolt in and is almost unbreakable. Then a Dana 60 from a 1 ton chevy (front) will bolt in to make the front stout too. Offroad Design has the doubler that mates an NP205 tcase to a NP203 range box for a 4:1 low range. These trucks are very reliable.

    My Chevy isn't broken, its just out of gas.
  3. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

    Feb 17, 2000
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    Doesn't get any cheaper or easier than a K5. You want 1 ton running gear it's totaly bolt on. Lifts are dirt cheap. Parts in general are dirt cheap and available anywhere. None of that Dealer only crud where you have to supply your own KY before you go to the parts counter ( I own a supra I know the routine).
    Well K5's that make good wheelers were made from 69-91.
    69-71 is the first Gen. That's what your bud has. They came with a D44 front
    , 12bolt rear, TH350 tranny or either a SM465 4 speed manual or a Saginaw 3 speed. The TH350's and the 465 were mostly mated to a NP205. About as bulit proof as it comes. The 3 speeds had a D20 case and not very desirable.
    Engine wise they came with 252 and 292 I6's, 350's or 402's.
    In 73 was the start of the 2nd gen. 73-75 were still full convertables. The 402 was gone. The 292 was still available but rare. The D20 went away as far as I know. The NP203 was behind most auto tranny trucks. this is a full time case. if they are taken care of they are nearly as strong as the NP205. They can be converted to part time operation and most are. same axles.
    76 the hafl hard top came in. No more full convertables built after this year. Drivetrain options were the same.
    77-78 The D44 was replaced with the Corp 10b front. Really about the same as a D44 and was manufactures by Dana..
    78 rear seat passengers got a foot well.
    80 the NP203 went away. ALL trucks should have NP205's with slip yoke.
    81 the 205 was replaced with the NP208. Better low range but a little weaker than the 205 and 203. Rear axle was replaced with 10bolt (not good). Front sheetmetal was redone. tub the same.
    81-82 TH350 replaced with the 700r4 OD tranny. Some love it some hate it. did improove economy. 305 engines came onto the option list. Try to find a 350 engined truck if possible 305 is a little weak.
    Also got an electric control Quadrajet. prone to problems. Replace with a carb speced for a 79 if you have problems
    86 was a odd year. GM did something weird with the engine and suposidly that engine is unique to that year.
    87 Fuel injection, Galvanized boddies. Same drive train but I think the 305 went away. the FI made a big improvment in economy.
    89-90 the transfer case went to a new NV.
    92 Gen 4 IFS Fullsize blazer. K5 dropped from name.

    Women dig dents and flat paint!
    75 Jimmy, Dollar
  4. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

    Feb 21, 2001
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    CA (LA/OC area)
    Welcome to the board!
    73-75 were full convert. if that is what you are looking for.
    76-91 only the back half of the top comes off (the part that stays is quite strong and can withstand a roll-over)
    for axles you will be looking D44 front and 12 bolt in the rear, around 78 they changed the front to a 10 bolt, and the rear got changed to a 10 bolt sometime thereafter.
    Because you like to wheel in moab none of this matters because you will want to swap out the axles to gain some more beef. The best swap would be a D60 (out of a 77-87 K30 w/ single rear wheel) and a 14 Bolt FF (from a 73?-87 3/4 ton 4x4 or van if you want the rear to be the same width as the front). These axles will be almost a direct bolt in (shock mounts on the rear need to be swapped and a conversion u-joint used). They came from the factory in 3.73, 4.10, and 4.56 (a few 3.08 might be out there too). The Detroit locker for a 14 BFF is around $300 and only replaces the spiders so no re-setting of the gears is required.
    There arn't too many manual trans K5's out there but the ones you can find will have the SM465 which is a 4 speed w/ a granny low 1st gear. It is cast iron and very strong. If you get a early K5 it will have a NP205 (part-time) or a NP203 (full-time). The NP205 is the one you want (or if it had a 203 behind it you could bolt a 205 behind it using ORD's See it Here
  5. big d

    big d 1/2 ton status

    Oct 24, 2001
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    id pick a late 80's to early 90's k5 if you are seriously looking for one. most are prone to serious rust problems and obviously the newer you find less the rust. due to the fact that these vehicles (series using same engine parts and most simular body parts,) as pu's and sub's)), parts are generaly easy to come by. after market parts are generaly easy to come by and you can find many listed on this site. body panels can be picked up for reasonable from jc whitney. since you must be mechanicly inclined , you can save yourself additional expense. if your prefference is fuel injected go newer, if you want carb, go older, unless you plan on doing some motor mods also. many of the people on hear will argue the point with me, but the simpler you leave things, the less that can go wrong. there are some things that should be addressed if you plan to offroad agressively, and you can find this stuff on this site also. no matter what vehicle, it all depends on how one treats it, maitenece performed on it, and how much money you choose to spend on it. of the 73-91 blazer series there where only moderate changes.changes where a completey removeable top,half removeable top, grill &headlite changes, and interior changes. basicly body-wise stayed the same. engines was the lesser v6 and the 305, 350 and 400 v8's. good luck and welcome to the site.
    darren olander
    1979 chevy cheyenne blazer
    gettin down on all fours, 4 a'little
    4 play !

    SCOOBYDANNN 1/2 ton status

    Sep 4, 2001
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    El Paso, TEXAS
    HUH? where do we start???? We'll start in the front. Motots--everything from a straight 6 to a 400 small block w/ a 350 being the best and easiest available and to modify.

    69~80 Dana 44 front axle w/ usually up to 3.73 gears.~80~87 27 spline 10 bolts (weak axle shafts)~87-91 30 spline 10 bolts (weak carrier.)1 ton dana 60 BOLTS right up w/ no mods. Very easy to do crossover on 60, mods to 1/2 ton axles needed.

    69-72 first generation full convertable (you'r friends) 73-75 second gen. full convertables (look like regular ones but w/ full convt.) 72-91 half convert.

    trannies--autos up to 86 turbo 350s, after 86 700r4 (overdrive w/ the later ones being stronger)--standard--i know some early k5s came w/ sm 420s but not sure on years. after that sm465 w/ a granny gear ratio of 6.55:1

    Transfer cases--autos up to~79 (i think the year is wrong) came w/ NP203 (chain and gear driven) pretty strong but weak llink is chain. all 1980s (auto and standard) came w/ NP205. burliest one ever made. all standard up to ~81 or 82 came w/ NP205s, ~82~89 yr? came w/ NP208s (aluminum case and slip yoke but low gears. not as strong as older TCs. 89-91-NP241(alum, low gears andslip yoke, easily converts to fixed yoke)

    Rear end--69~80--12 bolt--strongest 1/2 ton
    80-91 --10 bolts---love to break when needed[​IMG]
    14ff off of 3/4 slaps on w/ no mods, 1 ton= moving spring perches.


    up to 4" w/ little mods=steering arm replacement
    4-6" above w/ driveshaft mabye and TC drop
    6-+ above w/ lots of driveshaft mods spring perches moved to fix pinion angle etc ( i figure for you in the 4-6 range)
    CHEAP to lift--i figure you want a mild to extreme flexxer. i like Tuff country lifts cause there soft for the front. if you want a mild lift in the rear go w/ ORD shackle flip, (good ride, good flex, good tow) or do a springer flip (great ride, awesome flex, don't reccomend tow) ORD goes from 2.5"-4" and springer has 4"-6"

    4-6" lift
    estimate front lift at $300 at the most w/ you doing work.
    rear- ord flip=$300
    springer=~$500 (includes soft springs, brackets and all hardware)
    All spring=$300 (stiffer ride, less flex)
    Blocks=$50 (axle wrap[​IMG]

    Reliablilty--you can't get more reliable that a SB chevy, if you wheel it hard gotta get hard to break parts. (not as expensive as other 4x4s.

    ok ill let other people answer.

    look at some of the stuff we do in the south west at the web site below

    Sun Desert Offroad <a target="_blank" href=http://4x4.alloffroad.com>4x4.alloffroad.com</a>

    It's all fun and games till someone loses an eye!
  7. Toywheeler

    Toywheeler Newbie

    Dec 8, 2001
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    Woa, you guys respond fast. Thanks a billion for the info. I love the manuals in those fullsizes with the granny low first gear. But, I'd think about an automatic. What is the low range like on the automatics? It is necessary to do sometype of gear reduction, or does the torque converter pretty much take care of all of that for you when wheeling? If I did get an auto, I'd like to be able to have a part time tcase and manual hubs. Engine wise, I definitely want the 350, but I don't mind if it is carburated. However, some carbs are nothing but trouble, do all carburated K5's come with the QuadraJet? I won't be doing anything to the engine other than K&amp;N intake, a Eldelbrock 4barrel if it is carbed, and maybe a different cam. Drivetrain, I can live with ten bolts for a while, but eventually, I'd throw in a 14 bolt FF, maybe throw in a different front end. Corp 12 and 14 bolts are fairly easy to come by around here. Well, I've pretty much narrowed my search though to two different types of vehicles. 1. A 73 to 90 K5, must have 350, and preferably a manual with a NP205. or, forgive me, but 2. A 86 or newer Jeep Cherokee. The reason why I am cons. a Cherokee is they are but cheap, good size in that they aren't very wide yet have a better wheel base than a CJ or YJ so they are stable on steep hills, they are comfortable, they have a large aftermarket, they are very builder friendly, they aren't too heavy, and they are reliable. But, I don't want a Cherokee because they have a weaker chaindrive tcase, they have wimpy axles, and the fact that they are a "JEEP" and there are just so many jeeps out on the trail. I want a K5 due to They have a very good drive train, they have lotta power, Dana 60s and 14 bolts are easily bolted in, they are a fullsize, they are spacious, and they just look freakin cool. I don't want a K5 because I really don't know dirt about them, I've never owned a fullsize before, they are heavy, and they might be a little wide for some of the trails I want to run. But really, I am leaning more to the K5. So, I'll keep looking and reading and eventually find the right rig. If anyone has more info or comments, please, let me know. Thanks for all the info.
  8. TXsizeK5

    TXsizeK5 1/2 ton status

    Aug 26, 2001
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    College Station, TX
    Yeah i thought they did away with 305's in 87 but guess what... I have a tbi 305 =(
    Anyway, from what ive seen it is mostly reliable, ive only had trouble with my rear end axle mostly from scraping it around and doing really bumpy trails... bassically it leaks and my spider gears are shot (mostly cuz its old), im chaning out the carrier to an eaton posi and getting parts for it ie. ujoints, bearings, axle shafts. Cuz the wheelin we do would hardly require a 12bolt, just some insurance for me when building the axle up. I run the sm465/208tcase and its taken alot of abuse and still runs flawlessly.

    6in 87' K5 w/ 35" BFG muds.
    305/Sm465/ NP208
    Kn, 4.56's.
    In desperate need of a rebuild.
    Next- Eaton mech locker... Flows.

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