The season opening cruise of American Cars in Estonia took place in Tallinn on the 4th of May. It was an awesome event since the amount of cars was a lot more than last year and the whole event was arranged very well. We began the cruise from a large parking lot at Ülemiste and cruised through the city finally reaching Rocca Al Mare parking lot. Since the Corvette was totally out of service then, we decided to take my girlfriend’s K5 Blazer and we got several compliments on that truck. As always, we stayed together most of the time with the Corvette Club of Estonia and used the club flag on our truck.
The Vette had been sitting in my home garage for the whole winter since last September or so when the engine decided to end the partnership with me. Since then I decided to build a new engine for it and the Stroker 383 project is going to be ready quite soon. I will write more about it in a day or so. Anyway, since the home garage is just a bit too low for proper engine lifting and there isn’t much room to work on the engine when the car’s inside, we decided to transport the Corvette to our countryside where we have a much larger garage and an electric winch in the ceiling. I was a bit scared of the transportation process since I hadn’t transported the car before on a trailer but the process went unbelievably smoothly. The guy who helped us out with the trailer was really familiar with his job and the Vette was on the trailer in no time. I just had to make sure before that all the stuff loose in the engine compartment was secured not to loose any parts in the wind on the motorway. The Vette is now safely in our countryside garage and I am ready to build the engine at home as soon as all the parts are ready.
The engine block is currently being bored, honed and cleaned with new cam bearings installed also. They promised to get it ready for today but I guess that’s not going to happen so I have to wait until the beginning of next week. Basically all of the parts are here except the AFR heads which had a really long delivery already inside the States and still have to fly all the way to Estonia. I really hope they arrive within 2 weeks. The other parts I still need are the pushrods which I have to measure once the engine is almost assembled up to the heads. Then I will place a quick order from Summit to get them here as quickly as possible and finally finish the engine assembly.
As some of you might already know, my girlfriend bought a pretty nice K5 Blazer a couple of months ago and we’ve been doing quite a lot of work on it. We captured this video a while ago and I finally had the time to edit it. It’s just short clip of the Blazer driving in snow in the countryside. Hope you like it!
My girlfriend needed a car and she had always wanted something cool. We are all gearheads and won’t settle for a boring lease car. We were browsing the classifieds for some American iron and in our pricerange we came up with two – a 1994 Blazer S10 4×4 and the 1985 K5 Blazer. Actually the K5 was a bit out of our league in terms of the cost but we still wanted to give the seller a try. We firstly looked at the S10 and set up a meeting with the owner. The car was quite nice all around, especially the interior. All leather and very well taken care of. However, there were the usual rust problems you’d expect on the bottom of the rear hatch and in the wheel wells. And the S10 really is pretty small, to be honest! After having driven the S10 we drove to the other side of the county to see and drive the Chevy K5 Blazer. Now that was an animal of a different breed! That’s what you call a truck – it’s even more of a truck than my 97 Suburban. Just pure steel everywhere except the interior and you can feel how tough it’s made. That’s proven by the fact that the machine weighs around 2.5 tons empty! That’s near the weight of the Suburban and the K5 is a lot shorter. The owner fired up the 6.2 Detroit Diesel V8 and smiles came to our faces right away. He backed the truck out of the garage and while warming it up, I immediately said to myself – now that’s the real USA! Although not so long, the Blazer was still huge. We went for a test drive and the owner drove it up a steep snow covered hill and we had fun offroading in the winter weather. That’s when we really fell in love. Although with a few issues here and there, we knew that’s the car we actually want. We left ourselves some time that evening to think what we would do and the next day we met the guy again to take the truck for an inspection. I drove it myself for the 20 kilometres and it was awesome. However, the car died on an intersection after having turned up the blower motor and some other electrical things. There was a 25 amp fuse for the whole system which simply blew. That’s when a normal guy would call the deal off. But what did we do? We re-wired the cable to pass the fuse directly (I know, not always the best idea) because I thought the 25 A fuse for the whole car could be a little too small and we didn’t have a spare. The cable didn’t even get warm after having turned on all the devices so we considered it safe. The car started up and we were on our way. At the inspection we found that the diesel did have some injector issues but everything else was very OK. A couple of leaks – one in transfer case and the other in front of the transmission, but the brakes were perfect, also the suspension and the rest of the underbody.
So we thought – there are things to do and we just won’t pay the full price the owner asked. But we would take it if he would take 500 EUR off the price. And he agreed! So we now have a Blazer! The truck has got a new paint job except the hood which was meant to go for rat-style but we will paint that too – maybe matt black. The rear end part of the floor had rusted out somewhat and the previous owner had it all welded. The rear window mechanism is broken like on 90% of the other K5′s. The motor is running but seems like the teeth are worn. We also need a new weatherstrip for the rear window. There are also electrical issues although I wouldn’t consider these problems too bad. I guess I can take care of them by myself. The biggest issue which I noticed already before buying is that the flexplate was somewhat damaged (worn teeth) and since I had such issues already on the Suburban with the starter and the diesel is a lot worse in this matter because of the 21.5:1 compression, I knew that’s something that needs to be taken care of. The 2nd day we had the problem I expected – on cold start the starter got a bit loose and the engine stopped where the teeth were very worn on the flexplate. That resulted in starter spinning around on its own and no engine start up to happen. I realigned the starter (thank god this vehicle has a good ground clearance!) and the engine spun a few other rotations before the same thing happened. I finally managed to start it up after several starter realignments. There was no other solution but to drive it to my friend’s repair shop American Beauty. These guys know their way around these machines like no-one else here and since some serious works were about to be done, I better had them do it.
The truck has been sitting there now for 3 days and we are hoping to get it back today. What I’m afraid of is that one of the bolt threads inside the block was somewhat worn and I hope they are able to fix it in an easy way. Since the transmission came off with the transfer case, I had the rear seal of the case replaced and also the front shaft seal of the 700R4 transmission. The rear main seal on the engine was also leaking and we had that replaced also. Better do all the important things that need to be done when the transmission is off. They replaced a u-joint and today they are about to change the u-joint on the front left driveshaft to the wheel. I hope they finish the job today and get everything working. We want the truck back so badly!
I also figured out the possible cause of the starter issue – there is a bracket that needs to be attached to the end of the starter – it fastens it to the engine block to avoid excessive play due to the additional torque from the diesel starter. The bracket was even there but somebody had forgotten to fasten it. What a shame… I guess people are used to working on the gasoline engines and they just don’t know about the diesel differences. I read awful stories where starter bolts have cracked when not using the bracket and even chunks of engine blocks coming off! Now that would be bad.
I’ll let you guys know how things are going and I’ll try to take a video of driving it as soon as we get it back in running condition.