1974 Chevy K5 Blazer Buildup - Recreating The K500Posted in How To on August 1, 2010 Comment (0)
When I landed at OFF-ROAD a couple years back, I told myself I'd only bring one truck with me from my last gig at a different 4x4 magazine. And it wasn't hard; most of my trucks had been built for different purposes than what OFF-ROAD magazine is geared towards. I figured the one truck I did bring over-my red Dodge, Jinxy- didn't count since it had barely run the entire time I was at the last rag. But sometimes, over these past couple years, I've needed one other truck from the old days that I'd never quite finished-an old K5 Blazer that was intended to be a jack of all trades.
And since we've been receiving a larger percentage of mail asking for older Chevy tech, I figured resurrecting this old Premudder project (its former name) and finally completing it as the K500 would make for some good Chevy tech to start off with.
To give you a quick history on this truck: it was created because I've always had a love for Blazers (a '74 K5 was my first 4x4), and I needed something finished in seven weeks to go on Petersen's 4 Wheel & Off-Road's Ultimate Adventure. With some major help from Fabworx Offroad in Santa Rosa, California, we completed this truck enough to leave Friday night at 10 p.m. before the Ultimate Adventure started in Idaho on Saturday. As for shakedown runs to make sure everything worked right...well, when the engine turned over, the shifter actually engaged the transmission in "reverse," and the truck backed out of the Fabworx shop under its own power at 9:45 at night, we figured that was a sign that no shakedown run was needed (besides, there wasn't time for one anyway).
The Blazer was built with the name "the Premudder"-a truck that was supposed to be used for hardcore trails and good mud while still being able to keep a decent pace through the desert. We adorned it with 39-inch Krawlers, 1-ton running gear, remote reservoir shocks, and a four-linked rear end. The truck did a good 10,000 miles accomplishing various off-road trips and tire tests, and then basically sat for the next few years due to tranny problems and a severely bent frame. It was occasionally taken out for a trip to the dunes or the desert, but otherwise it was just keeping pavement from floating away.
During these last few years, I've been adding little things here and there, and recently spent a good couple months at Xtreme Unlimited in Oceano, California getting this truck ready to go again. The frame has been straightened, the rollcage has been taken through the firewall to strengthen the frame, some more mods have been made, and some problems were addressed.
Currently, the truck is ready to go, save for a still-bad transmission. The fuel-injected 500 hp big block (a K5 with 500 hp-thus the name "K500") seems to still be able to rip apart TH400 torque converters, and it's still spewing some transmission fluid into the cab through the shifter hole. Obviously, the next mod on this truck will need to be a badass tranny build. I've got a few other plans bouncing around in my head as well, but for now, let's just concentrate on what's been done already and we'll go from there.