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96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver

  #1  
Old 01-24-2017, 06:52 AM
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Default 96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver

This is my second “Build Post.” I plan to keep this baby so it may go on for years since I have a tendency to “upgrade” when I make repairs or get a great inspiration lol. I’ll try to use good grammar & punctuation.

Since my ’79 GMC Jimmy, I’ve had two Jeep 4x4s but just could not get used to driving and working on Chrysler products. I’m much more comfortable with GM products. Right away on the test drive I liked that BIG TRUCK feel in such a small compact truck. It’s a ’96 Chevy Blazer LT 4wd 4door. It is black w/ tan leather upholstery and I named her the dark one. Kinda like a kid that names his pet turtle “Shelly,” no mystery there. No heavy thought at all. lol Standard 4.3 V-6 Vortec engine and 180k on the odometer. Worn but not worn out 10.5 x 31 tires all around, Automatic transmission and I think it has an “open” rear end. The sticker in the glove box has been spray painted over so all that data seems unattainable at this point.

I noticed some petty things to fix or replace before I bought it but got a real deal on her anyway. She was missing the plastic screen between the hood and the windshield, the center caps on the passenger side wheels. The 2wd light would not come on. When I pushed 4w-Hi the light came on but I couldn’t feel the tire “grab.” 4w-Lo only flashed when I put it on. I was told that was the actuator for the front diff/axle. The cover for the jack was missing a fastener so using the roll out cargo cover was gonna be tricky. The 50/50 coolant mix turned out to be just dirty water. I asked why the vacuum ball was disconnected and the seller said it was leaking and didn’t go to anything anyway. I told him that it usually is part of the cruise control. He looked at me like I was from Mars. I guess he never knew it had cruise. I am putting up pix of my “starting point” right from his CL ad.
 
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96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-clpsinterior.jpg   96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-clrearseat.jpg   96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-ds-exterior.jpg  

Last edited by DARK1; 01-24-2017 at 07:10 AM.
  #2  
Old 01-24-2017, 08:40 PM
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First things first. A trip out to my PnP salvage yard was in order. I had no idea how rare or plentiful parts would be. I have an 88 GT Convertible Mustang that is as rare as frogs teeth for body/trim parts. I was very happy to find that my new project truck was gonna be easy to get parts for. I could afford to be real picky and come back often. New inventory is in weekly. The plastic screen between the hood and the windshield was the first piece of the puzzle to obtain and judging by the others I saw that day; I got a heavy duty aftermarket one. Next on my list was a trailer hitch. I didn’t want some klunky universal U-Haul hitch. I wanted to keep the rearward trajectory angle to a minimum while sticking with OE parts if possible. Apparently GM had two styles – square tubing or round/oval tubing. The square tubing was rated at 2400 lbs and the round 1700 lbs. Even with most of the suspension mods I have seen on this forum; I don’t think I would ever want to carry 2400 and the round curvy lines of the 2nd gen S-10s looked a lot sexier with the round/oval hitches than square. The wiring harness sucked on the donor truck so I grabbed a long/never used one from a Bravada. On another trip to the yard I found a big black rubber boot for the big square receiver hole. It also had a smaller rectangular boot molded into it to plug in the trailer wiring connector and keep out the “road crud” and moisture. I put that on the bottom side and plugged in. I saw a pair of Nerf Bars (round running boards) on a GMC Jimmy but they were branded “KIA.” The thought of putting KIA parts on her was just out of the question. I passed up a pair of GMC center caps too. Nothing against GMC; just figured I would wait on Chevy. I found a black cover for the jack with all its fasteners I grabbed the fasteners even though they were black and my entire interior was tan to match the tan color leather. It looked so cool that I vowed to do more Black trim pieces.
 
Attached Thumbnails 96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-new_hitch_w_coversi.jpg   96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-cargo-cvr.jpg  

Last edited by DARK1; 01-26-2017 at 12:18 PM.
  #3  
Old 01-25-2017, 09:21 AM
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Nice looking blazer. It looks pretty much the same as my 2000 other than the tan interior and the 95 - 97 front end. Also mine is currently mildly mangled. Those center caps are hard to come by around here. Mine were pretty mangled, but I have since sold my stock wheels.
 
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Old 01-25-2017, 06:43 PM
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Tajohns34

Thank you. I consider myself damned lucky that these wheels were factory issue. My local yard seems to get several of these GM 4x4s every month. When I saw an opportunity to grab four more I just took the two really nice ones and three caps. The fourth cap was very loose and sloppy. The way I drive; it wouldn't last long. lol
 
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Old 01-25-2017, 08:27 PM
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While tinkering with the front axle actuator; I think I got 4Hi working but I needed to see my 2Hi start point so I grabbed a few little light bulbs from the three button switches in other GMs in the same configuration. The button lit up as soon as I turned the key! In 2wd I left a single long rip in the grass along a side road. In 4wHi I could barely spin them so I went to 4WLow. I pegged it up to the red line and left double rips but I don’t know if the open rear end hooked up or one rear and one front. I’ll have to do it under adult supervision next time to see it from outside the truck. This little Hot-Roding event blew my water pump. Spraying all over the intake manifold. I wasn’t sure if the temp gauge was stuck to go no higher than 180 until now. It’s kind of a critical item so no salvage parts this time. I cannot believe how incredibly easy it was to change this pump. Maybe I have been working on fords and Jeeps too long. Glad to be back in a GM !

Funny thing. 80% of the replacement pumps are sold with a new fan clutch. You almost have to special order just the pump. I just followed the trend but now I think the clutch is working 100% of the time. When the engine is cold I can hear that fan roaring. I gotta get to the bottom of that.

Next stop was the muffler shop. I wanted a nice rumble without any “teeny bopper” noise so I took it to the next county where a family member runs a shop just for mufflers and cats. He warned me that any V-6 is not ever gonna sound like my V-8 Mustang; but said it could sound pretty good. To keep it from sounding like a pissed off bumble bee in a snare drum he recommended an insulated free flow muffler by magniflow. The model was “Thunderbolt” and was designed for V-6s. I have to admit; at idle you really can’t even hear it. When scooting around town it has a nice sporty sound.

They cut the cat all the way to the tail pipe out. Turns out, the guts of the cat had disintegrated into tiny chunks that were clogging up the original 4’ muffler. Now I have a neat, clean pipe with no cat and a much smaller muffler. Overall, I would say it feels quicker and sounds pretty cool too.
 
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Old 01-26-2017, 10:49 AM
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I find it odd that someone would have spray painted over the RPO codes in the glove box, unless it was a replacement. I wonder if there is a way to look it up by the VIN.
 
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Old 01-26-2017, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Tajohns34 View Post
I find it odd that someone would have spray painted over the RPO codes in the glove box, unless it was a replacement. I wonder if there is a way to look it up by the VIN.
yeah. prolly a replacement. I tried getting info off the VIN but I kept running into the same online service that required a membership or money of some kind for a vague promise of results. I type with two fingers and I just got frustrated. Maybe it's less complicated than I made it.
 
Attached Thumbnails 96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-doorstckr-vin.jpg  
  #8  
Old 01-26-2017, 09:01 PM
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OK. New muffler, water pump and fan clutch. Back out to the yard for more black accent pieces.

As luck would have it; a Jimmy had come in with Nerf Bars. These were unbranded and even had that “no-slip” sandpaper stuff they use on diving boards on the steps. The center support was broken on the aluminum [drivers side] but I mounted them anyway and took it to a guy that welds aluminum. He cleaned it up and welded it while I waited. A little satin black later and I got bars I can use to load and unload stuff on the roof.

jpg.gif PsNerf& CenterCaps.JPG (977.5 KB)
jpg.gif DSNerf& CenterCaps.JPG (1.25 MB)

Oh, I got the black plastic stuff too. I am creating a stock pile of "spare parts" now.
 
Attached Thumbnails 96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-psnerf-centercaps.jpg   96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-dsnerf-centercaps.jpg   96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-dsfrnt-small.jpg   96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-frnt-center-small.jpg   96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-ps-frnt-small.jpg  

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Last edited by DARK1; 01-27-2017 at 08:12 AM.
  #9  
Old 01-28-2017, 04:17 PM
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With all the "back & forth" to the salvage yard; I got my rear window jammed pretty good. I pushed a couple of tires in too tight when I closed the tailgate. Window clicked shut just as always but now it's like a Chinese puzzle lol . I removed the two tires (through the back seat) and moved everything else that was touching away from the TG too. I can hear the actuator humming when I push the button but no "click." I even did it while pushing steady on the TG like I was trying to make sure it was shut. I think it's prolly broke.

I was steered by another member over to an old thread by Ravenhurst that was started 09/09. and it was very thorough. The step-by-step process really helped me understand the operation of the rear window latch. Before I started hacking on my truck I went out to my favorite salvage yard to test my comprehension. I found a two door and a four door with broke out rear windows to operate on. I managed to get to the little blue "culprit" on both but could not disengage it from the green plastic portion of the actuator. I had to remove them by chopping the green piece. Even loose [in my hands] I am not twisting them correctly to "unlock" them. Once I get a better idea of how to remove the blue part without destroying the green one I will operate on my patient.

On second thought. I decided to take a whole actuator by disconnecting it from the back plate and rotating it off the blue plastic part. One from a lift gate and one from a two part like mine. I took what I learned from Ravenhurst's thread and popped the window open in 30 seconds. No "click" but I pushed on the window while moving the lever left. Both were the same actuators but screwed in back wards from each other. Kinda clever of GM to have one part that doubles as two.

When I got home I got down to the task of belly crawling to the TG from inside to start on the replacement. I did it really fast in the yard - right? When I moved the lever as in Ravenhurst's thread I can hear the actuator but it is still not releasing the window as it did so easily just an hour before in the yard. Right now I can't get the tailgate to open without opening the window first. Gonna have to think on this for a bit. After acquiring two complete actuators and two more blue tips I don't want to pay someone at the dealership to figure it out. I gotta beat this thing. It's almost like it need an electrical assist.
 
Attached Thumbnails 96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-img_0158.jpg   96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-img_0147.jpg  

Last edited by DARK1; 01-29-2017 at 02:45 PM.
  #10  
Old 01-31-2017, 07:14 PM
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Next was disabling the pesky DRL.

I heard a lot of tricks and "work arounds on U-Tube even ideas on how to disable a fuse [that turned out to be a relay]. Also a lot of comment on the side effects of messin with the fuses. Apparently the 95 and 96 were very different than the other years. Along with a bunch of schematics, I got the "cure."

My truck didn't have the module or a relay under the hood. Then I got the micro-fuse idea. Sure enough, it was as simple as pulling the #15 fuse. There were no side effects either. The 95 and 96 really were very different than the other years. With all the tricks other guys were sharing on how to do it; I guess it came down to simplicity.
 
Attached Thumbnails 96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-drl-fuseboxi.jpg   96 4 door 4x4 Every Day Driver-drl_fusebox.jpg  

Last edited by DARK1; 01-31-2017 at 07:28 PM.

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