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99blkx 11-10-2018 12:51 AM

2001 PNW Ski Rig and maybe a little overland...
Everyone loves a story, right?

My username dates back to 1999. I was just a young pup graduating high school and I finagled my way into a full academic scholarship. My loving parents decided I deserved a nice new vehicle to make sure I got to and fro safely. My dad was a GM employee and I was soon the owner of one of the first S10 Xtremes to land in Missouri. I felt fast and furious, but was really just... slow.

After some bumps and bruises, mods, repairs, etc. here she is in her heyday.

And here is the last picture I ever took. A guy drove from Jersey, rented a Uhaul tow dolly one way, and headed out. The engine was seized but the body was straight. He had rolled his S10SS and was going to swap drivetrains. I asked for updates but never heard a peep. :(

I took a break from modding cars. Then I moved to Washington state. I drove a stock Cherokee for a bit and it was an awesome rig. It's not worth pictures.

Then one day I bought a Miata. Not totally on a whim, but a bit of an impulse buy. The obsession spiraled from there. I modded my 96, bought a 91, modded the 91 some more, sold the 96, bought a 90, cleaned it up, bought a 99, sold the 90. Now the 91 is for sale and the 99 is just a clean daily driver. Here's some pics along the way...

The 96 pictures are on Photobucket. F that...

The 90 when I bought it.

The 90 when I sold it.

The 91 doing what it does.

The 99 as it sits today, although the winter wheels and tires go on tomorrow.

Now... how did I end up here? I went skiing for my first time a few years ago. I picked it up fairly quick and fell in love. I made friends and we do a yearly ski trip. Last year I took the plunge and bought a season pass. So... now I should probably have a ski rig. I like platforms I'm familiar with so the Jeep search has been hot and heavy. One problem... price. Oof. I've turned to Pathfinders, Blazers, and anything that was like $2k or less. Turns out most Blazers have the driver door striker ripped off and welded back from the bushings dying and the owner just smashing ****. Dummies.

Enter Wayne. Wayne listed his Blazer on FB Marketplace for $2k. A little research shows he listed it there and on OfferUp for $3k just 2 weeks ago. Interesting. I test drive it the same day. Body and interior are super clean and straight. The 4.3 is everything it's said to be. And then the test drive. It goes. It turns. 4wd engages. All that. But... there are 2 issues. 1 is intermittent rattle at idle. I'm guessing a bad cat or a heat shield. We'll know soon. Issue 2 is more concerning. It has a speed based groan. It starts at about 20mph and grows a bit louder at highway speeds. I'm guessing bad wheel bearings, bad pinion gear, or maybe the vacuum switch business. I have to get the other car out of the garage and then the fun begins.

Here she is at home.

And some pics of the interior from the ad. So clean!

It has 146k miles. All the LT options but no locking rear RPO code. Sad. And no tow hitch but I'll change that soon enough.

Outside of fixing the groan and rattle... plans are 30" tires, crank the torsion bars, and ski rack of course. It may become a hiking overland rig so we'll see where it goes...

Cheers mates!

christine_208 11-10-2018 11:39 AM

Nice story and nice find. I have almost the identical Blazer, a 1999 LT. Mind does have the locker rear and tow hitch. Those should not be too hard to find. Does yours have the full skid-plate treatment? That is a nice option to have or to get.

I did the basic lift you want to do. I have a link to my notes on it in my .sig file.

As for the rattle, I had that for a while and it was the catalytic converter. If the cat is not integral with the Y-pipe (mine was not), it is a fairly straight forward job to replace.


99blkx 11-13-2018 01:25 PM

Got the blazer out and went for a drive this weekend. The growling gets noticeably quieter when turning left so I'm going to start by replacing that side. And on that note... ordered my first parts: a pair of Detroit Axle hub assemblies. From reading around here about the Dearborn hubs I'm comfortable with this choice. The pair costs about the same as a single of the more expensive units. I may end up replacing both sides depending on what I find.

I'll also check out the ball joints while I'm in there, but haven't ordered replacements. I know it's inevitable. Shocks are on that list too.

Also picked out tires. Going with BFGoodrich KO2's in 30x9.5. They'll run me right at $700 mounted and balanced and, of course, taxed. I may add a 5th down the road, but have to decide if I'm adding a tire carrier from a 2 door first...

christine_208 11-13-2018 10:09 PM

Got a question for you. In the cargo area on the passenger side, it looks like you have compartment under the window. What is in there? I don't have that on my 99 LT.

99blkx 11-13-2018 11:37 PM

Originally Posted by christine_208 (Post 698601)
Got a question for you. In the cargo area on the passenger side, it looks like you have compartment under the window. What is in there? I don't have that on my 99 LT.

I wasn't sure so I went out and popped it open. Appears to be the OnStar electronics. The antenna is mounted on that window.

rriddle3 11-14-2018 07:02 AM

Yep, that's the old analog style OnStar equipment. Completely useless now since they made the switch to digital back in 2007.

DonL 11-14-2018 10:51 AM

I've been trying to find one of thos compartments for a while now. Hard to find in my area. Good place for storage and and other mcgivers...

99blkx 11-14-2018 10:55 AM

Yeah. I obviously wonít be using OnStar since itís sorta 2018, lol. Iíll probably gut that and make some roadside emergency tool kit for that. Trying to find a spare tire carrier first so I donít take it apart a bunch.

99blkx 11-14-2018 07:37 PM

Hubs came in. I'll start the install this weekend if it's nice out. If it's crappy they may wait til next week. My Miata (that's for sale) is in the garage. I prefer not to park it outside because I don't trust the soft top 1000%. Really hoping it sells soon...

I'm picking up a set of stock wheels on Saturday. I like to keep rollers around and will be nice to have a matching spare... or something to mount different tires on. KO2's will be ordered in the next week or 2. Likely going with Discount Tire because they've got a bunch of stores, decent prices, decent warranty, etc.

Before I dig in... have to grab a new torque wrench and breaker bar. I broke the former by using it as the latter... doh! I'll also grab a 36mm while I'm at it since 32mm is the biggest I have now.

The hubs... not that exciting.

99blkx 11-18-2018 01:22 AM

Swapped the left hub. Test drive. Growl still there. Uh oh...

Swapped the right hub. Test drive. Growl GONE! Woot!

Let the record show that it was notably quieter when turning left and the right hub was bad. I know people hear and experience that differently but wanted to share my experience.

I plan to crank the torsion bars tomorrow to get everything level. Iíll take before and after measurements to be sure. Trying to line up the local garage to swap the cat and align the front end. Once thatís done... tires!

At that point itíll just be gliding through winter. Lots of trips up and down the mountain. Maybe fluids along the way.

Iíll post pics after the baby lift. Everyone loves pics.

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