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1990 Chevy K5 Blazer - In Control

Drivers Side View
Ken Brubaker
| Senior Editor, Four Wheeler
Posted June 1, 2007

Built right, with a plan

When Daniel Palm of Claremore, Oklahoma, purchased this '90 Chevy K5 Blazer in 2000, it was bone-stock. But it didn't stay that way for long. As a matter of fact, Palm, a controller (you know, a financial controller. Said he keeps things on a budget), purchased a thrashed Chevy K-30 just so he had an instant source for stout 1-ton parts to upgrade the Blazer.

Palm's goal was to build the Blazer in such a way that it could conquer brutal Oklahoma terrain like that found around Disney and Poteau. Thus, it had to be rugged, stout, and capable. Conversely, he wanted the Blazer to retain its day-to-day functionality and driveability so he could don his corporate attire and drive the rig to the office if he wished.

We ran into Palm and his Blazer out in Moab, and we got to see the rig in action on the Moab Rim Trail, as well as on a portion of the Kane Creek Trail. After seeing the truck work, it looks to us like Palm accomplished his goals and he's definitely in control of this project.

Palm designed and built the Blazer's front and rear bumpers, as well as the Rock Whore Rock Sliders, which protect the rocker panels. Before the bumpers were attached, Palm removed about 3 inches of framerail from the front and rear of the truck to help improve approach and departure angles. The custom front bumper serves as the mounting point for a wireless Ramsey Patriot Profile 12000 winch with synthetic rope. The rear bumper holds a wireless Ramsey Patriot Profile 9500 with synthetic rope. To ensure that the big 42-inch Super Swamper IROKs have plenty of room to travel without contacting the body, he trimmed some sheetmetal from the lower portion of the front fenders. He also trimmed the rear fenders, including a large portion of the rear of the fenders from the body line down.

The 350ci V-8 engine remains mostly stock with the exception of a K&N air filter, Airaid PowerAid TBI spacer, and 3-inch-diameter exhaust system with Flowmaster muffler. Helping to keep the small-block cool is a CAT aluminum water pump and a four-core Ready Rad Heatbuster radiator. A significant amount of attention was paid to ensuring that there is enough amperage available for the truck's dual winches and its various electronics. With that said, the list of upgrades includes a monster Powermaster 250-amp alternator, dual Yellow Top Optima batteries, and a Hellroaring Technologies battery isolator/combiner. The 350's power is routed through a 700R4 automatic transmission that has been beefed to handle trail duty. It features a B&M shift kit, 28,000 GVW stacked-plate cooler, and 6-quart oil pan. Power flows from the 700R4 to an NP241 transfer case that has been modified with a High Angle Driveline slip-yoke eliminator kit.

A tried-and-true Dana 60 axle resides up front, and it has been built right. It features Yukon 5.13:1 gears, an ARB Air Locker, Yukon chromoly 35-spline inner and outer axleshafts, OX axle joints, and Teraflex 35-spline drive flanges that replace the lockout hubs. The axle gets power from a High Angle Driveline driveshaft with 1350 CV-joint. The Blazer's flexy suspension consists of BDS 5.5-inch-lift leaf springs, ORD greasable polyurethane bushings, and ORD heavy-duty spring shackles. Palm redrilled the spring perches to move the axle forward 1 inch to help keep the tires from contacting the rear of the front fenders during compression and to slightly increase the approach angle of the rig. The ride is dampened by a single Rancho 9012 shock at each wheel, and these long shocks are bolted to taller Ford shock towers. The entire steering system was also upgraded to ensure that it could handle the rigors and challenges of the trail. It includes an ORD crossover steering kit, Rockstomper 1.5-inch-diameter heavy-duty tie rod and drag link, ORD bolt-in steering box brace, and Redneck Ram hydraulic-assist steering.

The hefty Corporate 14-bolt rear axle has been re-geared using Yukon 5.13:1 gears. It also sports a durable Detroit Locker and a TSM disc-brake kit with calipers pirated from a Cadillac. The differential is protected from trail damage by an Avalanche Engineering Rock Ring. The rear suspension consists of 4-inch-lift BDS leaf springs, a 4-inch shackle flip, ORD greasable polyurethane spring bushings, and single Rancho 9012 shocks mounted to a custom Palm-fabricated inboard shock relocation crossmember. In an effort to help keep the tires from contacting the body, and to improve departure angle, Palm fabbed a new rear leaf that he added to the leaf pack that moves the axle rearward 1.5 inches. The axle receives power from a High Angle Driveline CV-equipped driveshaft. Finally, because the axle is slightly narrower than the front axle, Palm installed a pair of Weird Harold's Cool Parts 2-inch hard-anodized wheel spacers to correct the front-to-rear wheel track.

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GENERAL
Owner: Daniel Palm, Claremore, Oklahoma
Vehicle/Model: '90 Chevrolet K5 Blazer
Estimated Value: N/A

ENGINE
Type: 350ci V-8
Aspiration: TBI, Airaid PowerAid TBI spacer, K&N air filter, 3-inch-diameter exhaust, Flowmaster muffler
Output, hp/torque (estimated): N/A

DRIVETRAIN
Transmission: 700R4, B&M shift kit, cooler and 6-quart pan
Transfer Case: NP241, High Angle Driveline slip-yoke eliminator

SUSPENSION
Front: BDS 5.5-inch-lift leaf springs, ORD heavy-duty spring shackles and greasable polyurethane spring bushings, Rancho 9012 shocks, Ford shock towers
Rear: BDS 4-inch-lift leaf springs, 4-inch shackle flip, ORD greasable polyurethane spring bushings, Rancho 9012 shocks, custom inboard shock relocation crossmember

AXLES/DIFFERENTIALS
Front: Dana 60, Yukon chromoly 35-spline inners and outers, OX axle joints, Teraflex 35-spline drive flanges, Redneck Ram hydraulic-assist steering, ORD heavy-duty crossover steering kit, Rockstomper 1.5-inch-diameter tie rod and drag link, ORD bolt-in steering-box brace, Avalanche Engineering Rock Ring/ARB Air Locker
Rear: Corporate 14-bolt, TSM disc-brake kit, Cadillac calipers/Detroit Locker
Ring-and-pinion: Yukon 5.13:1

WHEELS/TIRES
Wheels: 17x10 MRW steel bead lock, aluminum 40-bolt lock ring
Tires: 42x14.0-17 Interco Super Swamper IROK

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