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.