The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

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woody90gtz
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The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

Postby woody90gtz » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:03 pm

Brought this rusty hunk of garbage home...but I like it! It's a 2000 Blazer 4.3/5spd 4x4 83k mi for $500...pretty nice score for an offroad beater. There's zero chance it would pass inspection to be road legal, but I'm just gonna pound on it until the frame breaks beyond repair and then keep the parts I want and sell the rest. Probably do the Gambler 500 too. I figure a Z71-2 cylinders is a Z69. haha

Needs front leaf spring brackets to really even be functional...and I'm gonna crank the torsion bars and put lift shackles in the rear to fit some 31s. It's rusty enough I won't even have to cut clearance for the tires, I can just bash it with a sledge. A mini spool for the rear is $45 so it's getting one of those, and I looked at welding the front diff, but the people who have tried it on the Blazer group say the steering flexes too much and binds. I am going to mount a 2" receiver tube for my hitch winch and build something in the back to gain some departure angle.

Once it's dead, the 8.5" rear end will be going in the Beretta for my RWD drift conversion project. Maybe the NV3500 too, gotta see how involved it is to swap 4WD to 2WD.

We got some more snow the day after I got it home so I took it for a rip as-is and it surprised me. Not too bad! Gonna be a lot of fun with tires and a locked rear.

https://youtu.be/Q6MMFaFaR8Q

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91 "SS" WOT 3400/5spd - 13.57@100.7 GEARHEAD dezign

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Re: The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

Postby woody90gtz » Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:09 am

Got some pretty meaty 31s on ZR2 wheels from facebook for $250. I would rather have the black steelie style like my old truck, but you can't beat the price of these. Fitment was pretty easy since a sledge had no trouble bashing the corners and finding spray foam repairs. haha
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I got about 2in of front lift by cranking the torsion bars up. Driver side needed another 1.5 turns of the bolt compared to the pass to get it even. Why? Who knows...haha. Didn't have time to mess with the rear shackles yet. I did buy new front spring hangers for $39. Those should be here about the same time as the rear spool. I also figured out a rusty fuel line fix. $50 total from Amazon for the 3/8 and 5/16 nylon line and couplers. So I'm still well under the original asking price for the Blazer. haha
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The hitch looked like it couldn't be trusted, so I hooked my tow strap to the tree to give a yank and see if it was solid enough. And to my surprise, the hitch was fine. But the last few inches of the frame broke off on one side. haha. If it held up fine I was going to be lazy and not do the bumper delete/skid plate/hitch mount I had planned. But it looks like I'm going forward with it! It actually killed the truck too and it wouldn't restart. So I had to winch it with my truck to unhook the strap and then drag it back. But it was just a fuel pump ground that ripped off. So that was an easy fix and it's purring like an 83k kitten again.
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https://youtu.be/vzPNuMDktXg


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91 "SS" WOT 3400/5spd - 13.57@100.7 GEARHEAD dezign

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Re: The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

Postby Rettax3 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:08 am

Nice! Looks like you at least get to have some fun. Actually pretty clean inside too. I am a little on the jealous side that you keep finding these GMs with stick transmissions... Almost everything I run across that could be a good deal is crippled with a slush-box. I am tired of converting to a 'real' transmission.

As I recall, to reconfigure the NV3500 to 2WD, you obviously need the tail-housing, but I think there is an output shaft that needs to go too... I am surprised that is what it has though -are you sure it isn't an NV2500?

I've got a Mopar version of that still waiting to go into my 'oldish' Plymouth ('73, not the 'old' Plymouth) behind the 5.9 it runs, and I still need a 2WD NV4500 for the 8.0 V-10 I would like to shoe-horn into it's sibling (Road Runner parts-car that was actually in overall better shape than mine -quite a shocker for $500!). But the V-10 uses the same bellhousing as the Cummins, NOT the SBM as I had been told, so that transmission is very hard to get. The ratios are more favorable than the six-speed that came behind the Cummins, and it is more reliable. With a 2.76 in the rear, I should be loping along near idle anywhere I want to go.

The Gambler 500 sounds like a blast! I almost bought a six-speed Camaro someone had chopped-up to run that, but by the time I got off my back-side, someone had beaten me to it. Would have been a good transmission for $1k...


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1990 4.0L 4-Cam 32-Valve V-8 5-Speed Indy GTi (Project)
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Re: The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

Postby woody90gtz » Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:08 pm

From what I read, the 4.3s came with the nv3500 (just like half tons) and the 2.2 got the nv2500. I put the nv4500 in my old Z71 and it was great.

And yeah. I read the output shaft needs to be changed to swap to 4wd. So I'll just patiently wait for a rusty 2wd 4.8/5spd Silverado to come around for the Beretta swap. Or just snag any old 4.8 and spend the money on another T56. That way I can sell a blazer 5spd swap kit with pedals, trans, tcase...

I apparently got almost the ultimate blazer. Only the 4.3 manuals got the iron front diff, and only 4.3 manuals and ZR2s got the 8.5 rear. Manual ZR2 would be the only thing better. So the iron front diff goes for some money too.


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Re: The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

Postby woody90gtz » Sun Jan 31, 2021 12:22 am

Parts came in and I started to repair the ripped off bumper, but quickly realized it was not going to be a weekend job at my dad's. Yes the frame ripped off at the driver bumper mount, but it also had big holes and cracks forward of the leaf mounts on both sides. So I kicked the Beretta off the trailer again and hauled it home to dig into it.
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I cut frame and rear crossmember out forward of the leaf mounts. I had some 2in heavy angle laying around, so I made a couple notches and bashed them inside what was left of the frame and plug welded them in. I used some NPT pipe to make new spring mounts and lift it a little at the same time. I was going to just weld the sleeves for the bolts in, but that would have restricted articulation and given less lift. I replaced the rear crossmember with a piece of smaller angle and welded in body mount locations with a couple pieces I cut off the winch mounting plate when I made it a hitch mount. I also cut the body mounts so that they are solid and that rubber is pretty much useless. This gives a solid mount to use the body of the Blazer as a brace for the frame rails. haha
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Fabbed up a rear bumper out of some 1.5 x 10" C channel that came home in the back of the truck from Colorado. I knew it would come in handy for something. I guess I didn't get any pics of the brackets I made, but it bolts to the angle iron and the winch plate pieces with 6 bolts (two of them huge). I also added a hitch tube for the winch and I'm making the rear tire carrier a Hi-Lift jack mount. Put some spacers on too cause I hate the narrow rear track look. Also can't forget the stickers I made! Went more of a Z71-style logo to honor the old beast 94 and after all...the idea is a Z71 minus 2 cylinders.
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Re: The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

Postby woody90gtz » Mon Feb 08, 2021 12:22 am

Got the fuel lines fixed. Using the nylon lines is easier in some ways, and tougher in others. It's annoyingly springy and you definitely have to wrap it in something and secure it often to protect from abrasion...but super easy to cut and compression fit. Pretty ideal for this turd that already had been switched to nylon from about the spring hangar back.
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And the spring hangars were trash! So I replaced them with Ford Ranger ones. Couldn't find Blazer hangars, and the FOrd ones were cheap with a comparable leaf spring size. Once I mocked them up my suspicions were confirmed and they did give a little bit of lift. But first I had to get the bolts out of the leaf spring bushing sleeves. I absolutely wailed them with no budging at all, but found a trick on youtube to cut the head off and use the threads as a removal tool. Worked like a charm.
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Made some lift shackles at work for free - came out pretty nice. Had to machine 7 of the surfaces of the cheap ebay mini spool to get it to fit. Killed two carbide end mills doing it, but it's done. Then finally pulled the thing out and drove it back in so I could start fab work on the front end.
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Welded a bar between the frame rails for my front hitch. Welded up on of the bolt holes, so I just welded the bumper on too. gently caress it. Hit it with 80 on DA and fogged it with some rattle can bedliner. Good enough!
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I got a couple more things in store for it, but it's ready for some snow wheelin right now. Probably hit my sister-in-law's place next weekend, and teach her two boys how to drive stick.


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Re: The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

Postby woody90gtz » Sun Feb 14, 2021 11:51 pm

Mounted my LED bar with some pieces of steel angle from a couch we got rid of. haha. And it amazes me that anyone in the supply chain profits from a 42in LED bar shipped all the way from China to my door for $46...but I'll take it. I ran the wiring behind the pillar trim to the battery and relayed it with the trigger ground in the cab.
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Took some measurements and cut a couple pieces of 1/8 plastic at work into a sun visor for free. Added bends at the ends to finish the look out and add some rigidity. Came out looking pretty cool.
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One of the rear shocks was completely blown, and they're a little short now anyway. 2 inch lift shocks for a Blazer are almost $200...but the Monroe website has tech specs of all their shocks, so I used the browser "find" tool to source another shock with the same mounting specs and more length and travel. Turns out 88-98 Silverado shocks fit the bill. They're 2.7in longer with 2in more travel than the Blazer stocks. $24 later I'm all set.
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Self tappers and eventually some Gorilla tape work pretty well to shorten the bumper caps. I used the 3in I cut out as the brace behind them to screw into. Looks mint.
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Took it to my sister-in-law's place to bomb around the farm. But it couldn't even get up the trail into the field! Too light I guess...just floated. But I still did get the nephews (10 and 11) to drive it up and down their long driveway. They both did pretty well for their first time driving stick. But, it is damn near impossible to stall in 4L0.
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Brought it back to my dad's and did get to blaze the snow, but had to winch it twice. You'd think spinning 3 knobby tires would work pretty well, but this heavy, crusty snow just isn't a good match for something so light. #failblazer
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Wifey hasn't been a huge fan of this heap taking up some of my time, but she definitely had fun. Little one did too. Videos coming soon.
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Last edited by woody90gtz on Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

Postby woody90gtz » Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:40 am



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Re: The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

Postby Godlike » Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:08 pm

Looks fun! Are manual Blazers rare? I don't think ive ever seen one.


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Re: The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

Postby woody90gtz » Sun Feb 28, 2021 10:02 pm

I would guess they're rare. They're super popular on the Blazer group, but I didn't know they existed until this one popped up on my marketplace. My high school gf had a 2dr 2000 in 2003 when we graduated, but it was a slow auto turd.

So last weekend there was a snow drag race only 1.5hrs from home. It didn't get shared on my Gambler 500 group until Saturday and the race was Sunday. I had loaded it up and spent all day Saturday trying to get a babysitter, but no luck. I actually already had it loaded to bring home when I saw the post...cause it had no front brakes. Blew the steel line going to the pass front the weekend before, but in snow offroad it was pretty driveable anyway. Little sketchy loading/unloading on the trailer, but it worked. haha
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So I ordered hoses (no way any of them were coming apart) and replaced all the steel lines except the 2 that were obviously already new. Broke one bleeder, rounded two and got one to work, but the other three I just bled right at the banjo bolt for the hose. Bled pretty well considering. Might still have a hair of air in there somewhere, but it feels good enough. Whole repair $70. I gotta be close to the $1200 in the for sale sign by now. haha
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Also found it was cheaper to buy a $22 glasspack than a piece of pipe and an adapter (the blazer pipe is 2-3/4 before the muffler and 2-1/4 after...kinda weird. So I'm gonna just jam the glasspack in the 2-3/4 pipe, mark it and cut it back to where the 2-3/4 meets up to the bulge in the glasspack and weld. The fumes were pretty strong with the muffler dumping under the body and the tailpipe rotted off. Also should be easier to hear it with the windows up and the heater blowing. I'm sure the glasspack will sound amazing too. haha
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Re: The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

Postby EPfiffner » Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:57 am

Awesome, you're always up to some mischief, looks fun!



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Re: The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

Postby woody90gtz » Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:43 am

Bought a snorkel for an XJ Jeep on ebay for $69. Nice. Also picked up a universal enclosed air filter element and RTVd it because it looked pretty leaky. So I cut up the outer fender with a step drill and my nibbler and a sawzall for the inside and a crescent and hammer for the inner fender structure.I used 3100 exhaust manifold studs for the snorkel body because the nuts are nightmare because of the fender structure. Ended up cutting another hole to get a socket in there for the top on to tighten it securely.

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Tested it this weekend, but the water probably wasn't high enough anyway. It's a lot of fun to just #sendit. Videos to come.

Little one is fascinated with the trailer ramp.

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Bombed around and got all the way to the top of the mountain. Got stuck about a 1/4 of the way up in my snow testing. It's SO MUCH better in mud and rocks than snow. And the A/C works! That's pretty mint.

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Shakedown did show me I have another fuel leak somewhere. Gonna have to find that. And it seems down on power. Once in a while when it starts it will sputter a little. But it has no codes. I sprayed a can of seafoam in it. Didn't really make a difference. And I don't want to get to dump too much money in it. Probably just check plugs, wires and cap and rotor. The Gambler 500 is June 4-6 in the Adirondacks, so I'll have to get it figured out before then.


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Re: The $500 beater Blazer Z69 offroader

Postby woody90gtz » Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:57 pm



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