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1991 Chevy K5 Blazer Journey

Cowboy Denny


Just pulled in the driveway and parked the new Blazer. Had fun going through Memphis then down to Tupelo, MS to pick the K5 up then headed to Nashville for the day and night then home bound on Sunday. Sunday was a long drive in a truck I wasn't familiar with but it ran good. Max speed was 80 comfortably and horsepower wise or that 700R4 would have to keep downshifting to please my demand for power.

So I didn't realize how bad the interior was, its not so good. Dash pad is cracked, sliced and butchered. It appears they were trying to replace the speakers maybe since those are the only areas that are hacked. So new dash pad is required. Driver side seat back support is broke so you have a gangster lean to the right if you want to or not. So new seats are needed. Nothing else major except I want to change the wine color to all black which means a complete replacement of the interior which is going to be hell and expensive but look bad ass. Maybe even use billet for accents.


On the exterior all I see is the paint job is crap so I'll remove the moldings and stickers from the windows. Probably get a decent paint job at Maaco since most body shops don't want to touch it but either way I'm leaning on keeping it white.


Right off the start I need shocks and 33's balanced.

My goal is to change them to 3/4 ton or 1 ton axles (roughly $3100 for front G2 D44 with eaton e-locker and another $3400 for back G2 D44 with eaton e-locker)

Also I am not sure if I should keep the interior the red wine color (which is cool because no one does unique colors for interiors anymore) or change the interior to all black. It desperately needs a paint job (not decided color... leaning towards blue like my cutlass but considering keeping the original white)



Once interior is done and then the paint job is done then I'll start looking at suspension lift, possible a new engine like this monster



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April 28, 2016


Price to get exterior painted. It looks like someone did a very cheap paint job (not removing moldings) paint is chipping off (probably didn't stick good to the wax underneath. Anyhow, Maaco said they will give it there best paint job, body work making it look like factory with it baked on for $5700 and they'll need it for a month.

Just had the suspension double-checked at Mr. Front End today to confirm what I saw. They found a bent front spring shackle and the rubber grommet on the front springs are deteriorated. Both of these are fixed with a Pro Comp Suspension Lift ($1800). Also found are some bad wheel bearings in the front which I'll do when I replace the front rotors with EBC Rotors ($300 for the pair on Summit) and EBC pads ($80).

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March 01, 2016

Just ordered EBC Stage 3 Rotors and Brake Pads from EBC for $296.35

Now wheel bearings...
Timken or National or SKF (or are they all the same?)
I ordered from Summit, Timken 6408 - Timken Wheel Bearings for $37.94 and since I wanted the free shipping I also ordered a replacement Dorman 49284 - Dorman Turn Signal Levers for $68.97 since mine is broke.

Once I get my wheel bearings, I should have what I need to fix the front end... partially. I still need $1800 for the Pro Comp 4 Inch Lift Kit with MX-6 Shocks (EXPK1053BMX).

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May 11, 2016

Got the rotors and pads.. waiting for a couple of parts to show up for the bearings since I have to take all that off anyhow to replace the rotors.

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June 8 2016

Long over due update... Bearings, not the easiest to find USA made. I went with what I could get. Bearings didn't look too bad but I replaced them anyhow. I believe why the thought the bearings were bad was you could grab the tire while the Blazer was jacked up and you could move the tire back and forth (side to side) which is usually a bad bearing. I believe the issue was the nut holding the bearing on was only finger tight and it should be tightened to around 100 ft lbs. The lock nut not the nut touching the bearing, that nut should be tightened then loosened or you'll burn up your bearing.

Put the new EBC rotors and pads on.. look good and excellent braking power at the moment.


So what's next?
I really wanted to get the Blazer painted but I have to fix the suspension. The 33" tires are grabbing the fenders and chewing them up on the stock suspension. Going with a BDS Suspension 6" lift which should look "okay" with 33" but sets me up for the ability to go to 35" tires later. Not using blocks but there soft ride springs which should help with maintaining a nice ride.


Then we can look at Paint and Interior work. Probably hold off on Paint until next Spring (2017) and work on the Interior during the winter. That suspension kit is being put on before winter... hopefully. Just gotta sell the Jeep

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June 27, 2016

While I'm thinking of it, want to jot down so notes on the engine and trans.

Possible engine replacement
GM Performance LS 376/515 HP LS3 Carbureted - $6910 (GM Performance Parts #19301359)


DR525 Accessory Drive System - $414 (GM Performance Parts #: 19329418)


19155067 - CPP Accessory Drive System With A/C - Fits LS2, LS3 & LS7 Engines - $832


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August 4, 2016

Ok, getting real now. What I really needed first was/is a suspension since the leaf springs are busted and the shocks are shot.

Did a lot of research and narrowed it down to Zone Offroad (which uses someone else' springs, I think BDS) or ORD (offroad design) or BDS Suspension.

I chose BDS because of all the research I have read, no one ever says anything bad about there suspension kits besides they are priced higher than others but they have the best warranty (lifetime).

They offer 2.5", 4", 6" and 8" lift kits for my 91 Chevy K5 Blazer.

Today I ordered up a BDS 6" Suspension Kit (Order# 70680) which includes:
Fox 2.0 performance series shocks have been tuned and tested by both Fox and BDS Suspension to maximize performance specific to each application and to every BDS Suspension system. The basic shock design is based on proven Fox Racing Shox race products, but re-designed to maximize the ride quality, handling, and control of your BDS equipped truck or jeep, whether on or off the road.

  • Part# (front)98224650 (rear)98224639
  • Collapsed: (front)15.8" (rear)18.45"
  • Extended: (front)26.2" (rear)30.05"
  • Diameter: (front)2-1/4" (rear)2-3/8"
  • Top Mount: (front/rear)EB1
  • Bot Mount: (front/rear)EB1

Black shock boots to protect the shock shaft and seal from dirt & debris while adding color to your vehicle's undercarriage. These are packaged boots and include shock ties.

BDS Glide-Ride leaf springs will reduce axle wrap and create a more controlled and stable feel when towing. These springs are covered by the BDS No Fine Print Warranty. Actual leaf spring may not be exactly as shown in photo.
Bushings are not included when ordering these leaf springs separately. Order one bushing kit per spring.

Bolt Kits (Front & Rear)
All bolt kits come with Grade 8 bolts, thru-hardened washers, and prevailing torque nuts. All fasteners are yellow zinc plated.

Frame Support Kit. It is very common for the frame of a leaf spring Chevy to crack where the steering box attaches to the frame. This weld on support will eliminate those concerns.

Bolt Kits (Front & Rear)
All bolt kits come with Grade 8 bolts, thru-hardened washers, and prevailing torque nuts. All fasteners are yellow zinc plated.

Anti-Sway Bar Shackle Link Kit. This link kit is designed for 6-8" of lift. The new, unique sway bar links convert the axle mount of the front sway bar to a shackle style link. This frees up the suspension to travel without binding by working with the non-vertical motion of a high-arched lift spring. The shackle sway bar link design uses a large hourglass polyurethane bushing at the axle and includes new 3/4" mounting bolts.

Adjustable Drag Link. This adjustable drag link adds 2" of drop to your steering linkage to improve steering geometry and help correct tie rod end angles.

Base Kit includes Transfer Case Drop kit.

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August 4, 2016

Reached out to Dan at Belle Tire and he checked on price of some Toyo Open Road R/T Trail 37" x 17" tires ($1300 out the door).  Check out the tread on these.


Also reached out to Frayley's Transmission to see what the cost would be to rebuild the 700R4 Trans (also referred to as the 4L60 but not the 4L60e) and put a mild shift kit in and that would be utilizing the stock NP241 C Transfer Case.

Final stop for the day is Unlimited Offroad to bounce some ideas off Aaron which is now checking into...

Aaron is checking into cost for a 

  • Front Axle: Dana60 with 4:56, 1350 Yoke and ARB Locker
  • Rear Axle: GM 14bolt with 4:56, 1350 Yoke and Eaton Detroit Locker
  • Labor to install both
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August 5 2016

Just got off the phone with Tim and his daughter Shari at Frayley and he is building me a 700R4 transmission with mild shift kit, to attach to my NP241C transfer case, that can handle up to about 550hp and install it for me for $1700

As far as the speedo correction, he can't do anything since its by wire (electronic) but recommended going to Specmo

Transmission should be ready in a week

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August 13 2016

Here is a lesson learned. Double check all your parts before you start the install or you may discover after your blazer is all apart that you have springs from a 2007 2wd truck for your 91 k5 and let me tell ya, not even close. So put it all back together looks like it did

Ended up letting Vehicle Accesories put the lift on after my frustration of wrong parts. They charged me $700 (dropped it off Tuesday at closing time and picked up for day at noon)

Cruised over to Belle Tire and they already had tires mounted and they put some kind of beads inside so it keeps the tire balanced without the need of weights.

They tried to do an alignment and had issues getting the steering wheel to match which I later fixed at home on my own.
Went with 37" x 12.50 be Goodrich KO2 tires on a inexpensive 17" x 9" steel rim with a -12 offset

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August 14 2016

Now on to the next thing

  1. Steering box needs some fixing
  2. Transmission change
  3. Axles (GM 14 bolt in rear and Dana 60 front)
  4. 383 stricken truck motor with holly terminator TBI carb
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September 7 2016

Another update that is long over due.

Not much has changed

Frayley put the transmission in and now the K5 is a dog since the converter is such a high stall it feels like the trans is slipping.  Really need to change from the 3.73 gear ratio to something like 4.56 or 4.88 or ideally I need a new engine. The factory 350 only puts out about 180hp and this trans is built for 300-500hp with tons of torque

Steering Box did get fixed. Here are some before photos.. Haven't taken any after photos but I'll do that. Brett did a fantastic job repairing this horrible welding.


Two tasks I have to complete to make the blazer usable/driveable

  1. Axle upgrades (big tires and the GM 10 bolt don't go well together. It apparently pops the C clips that hold the axle shaft from sliding out.)
  2. New engine. This engine is old, tired and needs an upgrade.

Let's talk AXLE's first

FRONT: Dana 60 is my choice

A high-pinion Dana 60 front axle is one of the top upgrades for truck and SUV wheelers across the board. The 9.75-inch ring gear provides plenty of beef for running 39-inch and larger tires, and since it is a high-pinion front, the pinion churns on the stronger drive-side of the ring gear. The ’99-’04 models have a less invasive differential casting, which makes them a little easier to work with, but, most were equipped with smaller 30-spline outers. In 2005, Ford equipped the Super Duty platform with a radius arm front suspension, which makes the later units easy to spot. The later series Super Duty Dana 60s are fitted with slightly larger/stronger outer components, but the ’99-’04 axles are still easier to come by. All ’99-current SD front 60s are ball joint-type axles. 

Maybe the biggest drawback is the unitbearing hub. The plus side of the unitbearing is that some stock and custom unitbearings can be made to work with ABS, and conversion kits to a more serviceable spindle-style outer are offered in the aftermarket. Another challenge is the 8-on-170 metric bolt pattern, which isn’t an issue if you opt for a Sterling 10.5-inch rear axle. Custom unitbearings or kits that convert to standard hubs can be opted with a more traditional 8-on-6½-inch bolt pattern, so don’t let the metric pattern hold you back. The aftermarket is rapidly growing for the Super Duty 60, with high-steer arms and heavy-duty ball joint options now available from multiple sources.

REAR: GM 14 Bolt

Found under ¾- and 1-ton fullsize GM truck and SUVs since 1973, the sheer number of 14-bolt axles produced continues to keep the cost down. The full-float rear axle has a max torque rating of 6,242 pounds, a beefy 10½-inch ring gear, and a massive 1¾-inch pinion that receives an additional bearing to prevent it from deflecting. Later models can be found with disc brakes, but your more common specimens will have the obnoxiously large and heavy drum brakes. There are plenty of disc brake conversions, so don’t let the drums slow you down.

The biggest downfall of the 14-bolt is the size of the differential housing. Depending on which casting you come across, there are a few methods of shaving or chopping the bottom of the diff to gain ground clearance. Aftermarket support is excellent for the 14-bolt and the 1.5-inch, 30-spline axleshafts are pretty stout from the factory. If you need width, look for the 73-inch-wide van axle. While there is a narrow 63-inch-wide version, the more common ranges span between 65-67 inches.

Now let's talk Engine's

After much research and dreaming of what could be I have decided to go with a GM Crate Motor HT-383 Stroker Motor.  Looks like it will cost about $6000 to get it running if I do the labor of taking out old and putting in new.


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September 10 2016

Just got the price of Engine from my buddy at Al Serra and it looks to be about $5000 for the HT 383 Engine.  Our friend Al will help me swap motors for $500 labor which is a steal.

So I have to figure out ($3800)

  • $500 1 5/8" Hedman Headers LongTube - HED-63890
  • $162 Moroso Spark Plug Wires - 73602
  • $600 Distributor (unknown what we need)
  • $2500 Holly Terminator Stealth - PART# 550-441K
    • 550-441K.png

550-441K_manual.pdf techlibrary199r10555rev17.pdf techlibrary_199r11259.pdf 554-119_manual.pdf

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September 14 2016

Dropped the Blazer off Monday at Al's, gave my credit card to Al Serra yesterday (Tuesday) to pay for the engine which they delivered to Al yesterday so now I wait like a nervous father in the waiting room for my baby to come ALIVE! 

The Transmission rebuild of the 700R4 feels solid except the high stall converter makes it feel like it just won't go but I know that because of the little 180hp stock motor.  I'm sure once this 324hp stock motor gets put in, it should move just fine.

End of next week (Sept 22nd or 23rd) the Blazer will head over to Unlimited Offroad for some axle repairs.  Current GM 10bolt won't be able to handle the big tires and power.  Currently running 3:73 gear and moving up to either 4:56 or 4:88 on 1 ton axles. Using front calipers from a 73-88 pickup truck for rear brakes (since they are so common) and going with ARB for lockers front and back with a big enough compressor to air my tires up which will be on Hutchinson Wheels ($438/wheel 17x9 with a -12 offset to keep everything in wheel well). Still rocking the 37.5 BF Goodrich KO2's

During the axle swap, I'll need high steer installed (about $700) and the axles will need Reid Knuckles which are pricey but I think worth every penny. Get a new Driveshaft, front and rear, from Tom Woods. Current driveshafts are too short since the lift and loosing fluid and getting a vibration.

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September 16 2016

Well looks like we will have to upgrade the fuel pump.  The stock in tank fuel pump only puts out about 9-12lbs of pressure and the new Holly Fuel Injection needs a lot more. So since we have to drop the tank anyways, should I upgrade to a Dorman (576-312) 31 gallon tank and throw in an aeromotive electric fuel pump that can support up to 90lbs of pressure.  It's only about 200 for the both from summit

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September 17 2016

Engine is out, now getting new engine ready to go in

Since headman headers are on back order until sometime in October and I'm not waiting that long, moved to Hooker Competition Headers


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September 20 2016

Waiting for parts to show up today to continue project.

Things to do:

  • Headers Install
  • Fuel Pump Upgrade in Tank (full tank of fuel)
  • Install new DUI distributor
  • Install EFI Computer and run wires
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September 22 2016

Headers on and throttle body on. But have to mount fuel injection computer and fuel pump install.

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September 29 2016

So it runs great but doesn't move worth a crap.  The stall converter is way to tall (3500rpm) is just too much for this rig.  Blazer is at unlimited offroad to hopefully reduce from 3.73 to 4.56 and hoping that will help but I imagine I will need to get this back to Frayleys and get a lower stall like a 2800.

Currently, its not fun to drive and the exhaust needs to be fixed...  $325 at Muffler Man in Lapeer for some Flow Master Super40's on a full exhaust from the hooker headers back...  which is a good deal.  Have to wait for axle repair first.

Thinking of doing away with the sway bar due to going to high steer setup the sway bar is in the way

Also apparently Hutchinson is out of product so they are waiting for a shipment to come in and they have no ETA.  We are 5 of 20 waiting in line.  Looks like I may have to get some cheap steel wheels for now.

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October 6 2016

Did a check on status (anxious to get some driving in before snow)

axles are almost done when with 4:56 gears from 3:73

Here is the front Dana 60

<insert pic of dana 60>

Here is the rear GM 14bolt

<insert pic of gm 14>

I've been told they will be installed and ready for the road by 10/17


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October 8 2016

Looks like a good place to put the switches

<insert pic of locker rockers>

Not starting this yet but I need to fix the gauges in my K5 but having trouble finding the bezel for a 91 as well as gauges.

Here are some options I found on the internet

LMC Truck has these New Vintage Gauges (made in Detroit) that I really like the looks of.  It gives me a sense of factory look


I have used Digital Dakota in my 72 cutlass and they looked pretty good and worked but what a pain in the butt to install. Lots of wires for the module, the actual back of the gauges was a cat5 cable.  It just took a long time but everyone swears by Digital Dakota gauges and what is mentioned most is the lifetime warranty.

Here is what they offer




And I think my favorite from Digital Dakota, the HDX option


What's your opinion


B. Digital



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October 10 2016

Driveshafts are ordered from Tom Woods.. Hopefully here by Thursday.

Just learned front end Dana 60 is from a dodge

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October 18 2016

High steer is done. Waiting on speedy sleeve, different calipers, exhaust (super 40 flow masters, center in and out, Kelly is doing the work) driveshafts are in.

should have it back Wednesday

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November 2 2016

Exhaust is on (sounds good but a bit louder than expected with the Flowmaster Super 40's)

Still have Transmission issues even after it spent a week at Frayley's...  they did discover the torque converter was shot so the new Hughes 3 stage is working good in comparison.

Trans Department I need to figure out where the leak is coming from since I'm seeing drops of trans fluid on my garage floor

Engine Department I need to get some help figuring out how to tune the Holly Stealth Terminator EFI (apparently its more difficult than predicted)

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November 11 2016

So an update.


Learned that the performance issue was due to not getting the required 43psi fuel pressure to the fuel injection. Why? It appears the tank was rusted up pretty good inside the tank. Flakes and rust scales were attaching to the sock and restrictin that needed fuel pressure.


upgrade tank from 25gal to 31gal which included replacing sending unit as well as replacing fuel pump and fuel filter in the event it got any of that dirt/rust from tank.


So very disappointed in Frayley Transmission in Pontiac. They use to be the shop to go to for transmission work but this trans is been there multiple times and every time I have issues.

1st time it was a bad torque converter

2nd time it was something to do with lockup not working so he drilled a hole? It took more than a week to fix.

Now it's throwIng fluid everywhere... So gotta go back.


Unlimited Offroad needs to work on axles. Horrible vibration when u r moving. Some say that you need an angle on the driveshaft and that it can't just go straight in. Simple fix would be to change the shim

Some think it's back lash is set incorrect

Unlimited said motor mounts was the issue but no one else can see that issue

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November 15 2016

The UD1 front Bumper for DIY4x with a mock install

now it needs to go get powder coated the satin black so it matches the back.

some negative comments on the 2" square holes. This was suppose to be for lights but the angle is wrong for flush mount. Hole is to small for any square light. Looks like I'll be using it for hi-lift jack mounting point instead and coming up with something for my lights.

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