Blazer Tech

Lazarus, the reborn Blazer
By Lew Pratt

 

 

Originally, I bought the 1984 K5 Blazer for $500. (Click here for Brochure) The poor kid who owned it before me had replaced the carb, the intake, the fuel pump, timing chain, battery and cables. The truck just would not run for him. He told me the motor was blown and beyond repair. Knowing what the np208 transfer case, the 4-speed manual, the 2 gm corporate 10-bolt axles and other parts are actually worth, I slapped down 500 bucks and towed it home. The first thing I did was to rip the exhaust off of the truck at the end of the stock manifold. I test fired the engine. The poor guy never looked to the catalytic converter. At this point I took the unregistered Blazer out to the street and burned off a set of stock tires doing doughnuts and other tire smoking fun. It ran like a top. (For a 305 that is) The fun soon ended. The body, like many old used vehicles, was rotted heavily. I moved her to the Record Family garage where Aimee and I ripped the old dog apart. Sorry, I did not own a camera at this point in time. I kick myself now for not getting one. We replaced 80% of the flooring, both inner and outer rocker panels on both sides. Both inner fenders, the tires, the windshield, one side mirror, swapped the exhaust manifolds with headers, added new dual exhaust and starter. I had some used 31-10.5-15 junkers laying around, which you can sort of see here.
Just a little snow.

Note the lousy paint. At this point the Blazer is 5 different colors.

We did all the work ourselves, except for the windshield.
Helping dad  Here we go

Ratching

We took our time with the project, taking almost 8 months before we were satisfied it was road worthy. We registered it and drove it for about 10,000 miles or so. At this point we bought the Jeep, (well as it turns out, we borrowed the Jeep). At this point I stopped puttering on it and puttered on the Jeep. It became time to replace the ball joints, as they had some play. So I dug out the ball joint press and got to work. I only needed to replace the lower on the drivers side and the upper on the passenger side, so that means I bought all 4, plus the axle universal joints, axle seals, all tie rod ends and brake pads. What the hell, I already have it apart and it is old enough to buy booze. That took a whole Saturday to do, with the tape measure alignment and front drive shaft replacement on Sunday. Keri, our 9 year old did the driveshaft while I watched. She then helped me do the alignment. (Bang on first time) When I was done, Aimee complained that the truck was too many colors and needed to be just one color. I asked her what color did she want. "Blue" was the answer. Now, we are not very well off and spending any significant amount of money was out of the question. I mean I just totally rebuilt the front end! She persisted and I got thinking about it. The paint looked like hell so I could not hurt it any. I realized that if I did the paint myself I could go bash it up with no real worries, after all I could just do it again right? I took a trip to the hardware store. We finally agreed on the color and spent 36 bucks in paint and masking tape. It took us 3 hours to mask all the stuff we didn't want to paint. Scuff up the old surface and wipe it all down. Hell, the way we did it actually makes maaco look like the know what they are doing. The results....(with some mud!)
 


You can see I did the standard modification of adding an ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher next to the drivers seat with the first aid kit under the drivers seat. It is one I made and would qualify to be a first responders kit even though I am not a first responder. Now that I have done my first paint job I learned a few things. Spend more than $1.63 per can of spray paint. Kryolon is not as good as the $2.85 can of rustoleum. Don't forget to lift the hood and mask the engine area so you can get the entire fender and hood. Don't be afraid of spray painting your old beater! It was fun and it looks fairly good (from 10 feet away!) We are not building a show car, we are building a mud throwing, grocery getter! Now that the paint was done, I started on a modification I had always wanted to do. It is a Chevy, this means you carry tools. The old trucks all have huge engine compartments you crawl into with your whole tool box and sit down to do the tune up! I decided to put that space to good use. I dug out an old craftsman tool box and decided on how to best mount it in there. Some day I will redo the mounting brackets to make them look better and more professional, but they are a protoype and are very strong. The box is fairly water tight and bolted to the homemade frame.
Hidden Tool Box  Bolted to a Home Made Frame

Just in case  Be prepared

I got a moment of inspiration at this point and decided to add the comealong to the other side where the stock jack would have gone had it come with the truck.
Nice and Secure

I was going to paint the box and frame to match the truck, I have some leftover paint, but it was only 15F outside. It will have to wait for the next warm day. I added a Connex 10 meter radio (it covers the cb bands and is way more powerful than the average cb), a tach, some seat covers to hide the duct tape seats. Found a grant gt steering wheel in my parts pile and replaced the door seals all round, thanks to jc whitney. I just put 4 new pep boys 31-10.5-15 Dakotas (their bfg allterrain knock offs). I had to repair the rear window a few times like all old Blazers and think it is time to buy a new one. I had to bypass the safety switch in the tailgate to get it to go up.Click here to read about it.
My wife, Aimee, made me a beautiful headliner out of a night sky fabric.
The Night Sky
I put on some warn hubs. Bolted in a Jerry can. Relocated the primary battery leads so that every electrical system does not get its positive electricity from the starter solenoid terminal. What was GM thinking? Repainted most of the motor components with high temp engine paint. So all together I have a little over 2600 into the truck that I own outright. It is now dependable and in great mechanical condition. It just isn't a looker. That is fine by me, neither am I.


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