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Christopher Hufstetler’s Reborn Ex-Military 1984 K5 Blazer

Posted in Features on April 10, 2016
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When Christopher Hufstetler purchased this 1984 M1009 K5 Blazer in 2009, it was bone-stock, had badly bent axles, a bent frame, the rear locker was shot, the transmission wouldn’t shift into gear, and the interior was trashed. On top of all that, the 6.2L diesel engine didn’t like to start in cold weather. So why did Christopher buy the ratted-out M1009? “I bought it because I had a lot of parts I could swap over from my old 1983 GMC truck that I've owned and wheeled for 12 years. Parts are cheap and easy to come by nationwide. I wanted something lighter and shorter wheelbase. Something clean bodied. Something that can handle just about any terrain and able to get out of tough spots without the assistance of others,” remarked Christopher. “I usually wheel and camp alone, so it had to be tough enough to not feel like I need a buddy to follow behind me, making sure nothing broke or bad happened on the trail, as well as something I can drive daily without breaking the bank to fill her up.”

So began the build that would address all of the issues with the M1009 and transform the rig into a stout, reliable wheeling machine. His goals included using parts that were easily accessible in a salvage yard when he inevitably broke parts on the often-wheeled rig. “Sure, things will break. But when they do, all I have to do is go to a junkyard and pull the parts and we’re good to go,” Christopher says.

We had a chance to see Christopher’s M1009 function on the trail at a recent Fullsize Invasion in Moab, Utah, and we can say that it appears as though he has done a fine job building this ex-military truck. What does he think of the current state of his rig? “Yeah, it's not the best Blazer out there, but for me it’s my life, pride and joy. My accomplishments have started to pay off after three years, and I'm so happy with it right now!”

On the outside, Christopher’s M1009 has an Offroad Design (ORD) tube bumper, Warn 12,000-pound winch, Bushwacker fender flares, aftermarket hood, Blazen Off Road rear bumper with tire carrier, jerrycan, and Hi-Lift jack, and Trail Ridge Off-Road rock sliders, among other things. The rig is rolling on Boyce Equipment-sourced 37x12.50R16.5 Goodyear Wrangler tires that have custom siping added to the center lugs. The tires are mounted to 10-inch-wide Raceline wheels.

The M1009’s original 10-bolt front axle has been replaced by a stout Dana 60 that has been fit with 4.56 gears, an ARB Air Locker, chromoly 35-spline axleshafts, Warn Premium hubs, and a DIY4X diff cover. The front suspension includes M1008-sourced 56-inch leaf springs. The overload and two leaves were removed from each pack and then each pack was re-arched 4 inches. Also included is 7 1/4-inch ORD shackles, ORD spring plates, and DIY4x4 B52 kit, U-bolts, and eye hangers. Each long Tuff Country shock is fastened to an adjustable upper mount and DIY4X lower mount. The steering system has hydro-assist and includes components from PSC and ORD including an ORD steering box weld-in repair kit to add strength.

Rear 64-inch leaf springs from a 2008 Chevy 2WD truck; a DIY4X shackle flip, 6-inch cross-tied shackles, spring plates, U-bolts, and greasable bushings; and 12-inch-travel Bilstein shocks comprise the rear suspension. The rear axle is a 14-bolt that has 4.56 gears and an ARB Air Locker.

The 6.2L V-8 diesel remains mostly stock with the exception of a dual 3-inch exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers. Amperage is created by a pair of dual alternators and a pair of Optima YellowTop batteries. Engine power is sent through a TH400 transmission to a NP208 T-case where it is split to the custom driveshafts.

Inside, the M1009 has been outfitted with a pair of leather bucket front seats, fire extinguishers, and an LMC Truck steering wheel and headliner. In the cargo area, Christopher carries an array of recovery items and tools.

At A Glance
Vehicle: 1984 Chevy M1009 K5 Blazer
Owner: Christopher Hufstetler
Stomping grounds: Roy, Utah
Build time: Almost three years
Engine: 6.2L V-8 diesel
Transmission: TH400
Transfer case(s): NP208
Low range ratio(s): 2.69
Crawl ratio(s): 30.4:1
Front axle/differential: Dana 60, chromoly 35-spline axleshafts, Warn Premium hubs, DIY4X diff cover, 4.56 gears/ARB Air Locker
Rear axle/differential: GM 14-bolt, 4.56 gears/ARB Air Locker
Front: Modified and re-arched 56-in M1008 leaf springs, ORD shackles, DIY4X B52 kit, Tuff Country shocks
Rear: ’08 Chevy 2WD 64-in leaf springs, 12-in-travel Bilstein shocks
Steering: Hydro-assist w/ORD and PSC components
Tires: 37x12.50R16.5LT Goodyear Wrangler w/custom siping
Wheels: 16.5x10 Raceline aluminum
Lighting: Factory
Armor: ORD tube bumper, Trail Ridge Off-Road rock sliders, Blazen Off Road rear bumper
Cool stuff: Warn 12,000-pound winch, leather bucket seats, LMC steering wheel and headliner

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