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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bought this junk this winter and threw it together as an offroad/gambler 500 project. It's rusty garbage, but it's a ton of fun. I'll start with one current pic and go through the progress. These next posts are lifted from my Beretta group, so they're past tense now. I'll do a post every day or two until it's caught up. Let me know what you think. But it already survived the Gambler! (And you can find all the videos on my youtube channel too https://www.youtube.com/c/GEARHEADdezign
preview pic!


JANUARY 2021
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. 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.







 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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





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





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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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not gonna lie... Berettas are pretty terrible build quality, but they look amazing. Honestly though, this Blazer seems to be *** build quality compared to my Silverados though, too.

Since this is past tense, it gets a little funny. I had my last Beretta for 12 years before selling it this summer. I got an absolutely crazy offer for it and took the cash. 3400 swap with 5spd and a ton of mods. [email protected] on 87 and a great corner carver.


I did just pick up a pretty clean stock one though, cause I had the LS swap in my head for a while.

 

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Ha, well I didn't say I liked my S10s for their build quality... my Grand Am has a rusted out firewall, much more pain in the rear on a unibody than it is on a truck. I told myself I was going to use it as an opportunity to learn bodywork, just haven't had the time and motivation to actually do it. I got a new piece I cut out of a junkyard car, haven't welded it in yet.

Finding an F23 or F40 transaxle might make things more interesting, mine's just a 3.1L 4T60e.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Blah. I hate autos. I'm a stick snob. I looked into swapping my Muncie 282 5spd to the F40 6spd at one point, but it wouldn't have been worth the price. I have a friend R&D some swap kits to put F23s in Wbody cars. The N bodies should be easier.
 

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Mine are all lowly 4 bangers, but that's what I like. 2001 x-cab 2.2L 5speed, 1995 RCSB 2.2L 5speed, and a 2019 Fiesta 5 speed. The '01 has manual steering too (both S10s will eventually), and the '95 is getting manual 98-02 Camaro brakes also. Hoping to get that 2.2L up around 200hp and the truck down to around 2400lbs.

You should definitely post more pictures of your stuff, we love that here, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
FEB 2021


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.




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





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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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
In fact I do! I met Geoff at Berettafest 2005 and may have spent some nights sleeping above his garage mahal. Haha. I was sad when he sold that place. Are you a Michigan buddy or Carolina buddy? I'm a couple years past due another trip to NC.

And funny coincidence, I just posted a throwback video on my YouTube today with Geoff and a few Berettas at tail of the dragon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
FEB 2021
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.


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.




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.




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. **** it. Hit it with 80 on DA and fogged it with some rattle can bedliner. Good enough!





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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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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.


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.



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.


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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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oh, it get's more hackery...wait until this thread is caught up! haha

LATE FEB 2021

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 **** near impossible to stall in 4L0.



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








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.

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
MARCH 2021

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


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



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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In fact I do! I met Geoff at Berettafest 2005 and may have spent some nights sleeping above his garage mahal. Haha. I was sad when he sold that place. Are you a Michigan buddy or Carolina buddy? I'm a couple years past due another trip to NC.

And funny coincidence, I just posted a throwback video on my YouTube today with Geoff and a few Berettas at tail of the dragon.
Small world! Geoff and I met back in 2007ish though ClubGP, in NC. That garage was pretty amazing! I was equally sad to see him move.
 
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