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97 Blazer - resurrecting the James dream

  #1  
Old 10-15-2010, 10:18 AM
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Default 97 Blazer - resurrecting the James dream

One build thread this time to maintain continuity and refrain from drawing ire.

Replacement for the James has come to live with us. Pics soon.

The good -
1997 Blazer 4dr 4wd LS trim tow pkg, most power stuff, gray cloth, apple red, tailgate version (I prefer this)
155,000mi - runs stronger as it is (needs tuneup) than the two previous with tuneups and mods
no major leaks of any kind. A small amount of weepage from the t-stat hsg
doors open/close like new. Interior is near perfect. Exterior is pretty good. A couple things need attention, but if it was pristine then it wouldn't get the opportunity to get scratched....
tracks straight and stops well
switches and junk work.
I HAVE A NEAR WHOLE, BUILT JIMMY FROM WHICH TO STEAL PARTS...!!!

The bad -
cracked grill (ordering a new one now)
wiper scratches on windshield
rear wiper motor hung up (see last line from the good)
aftermarket stereo I don't know how to use and is only connected to dash speakers
crap tires
shocks no longer dampen
has 3-bolt flange exhaust and my cat-back is 2-bolt..... Hmmm
some bulbs are out and the backlight on some switches don't work
dirty engine compartment
broken driver's seat back adjuster (ordered fix from witty last night)
Steering wheel foam is chunking

that's it.

It is an early 97 as it has the drum brakes. Looks like I can swap the whole diff from the Jimmy with minimal issue. I'm not sure about the e-brake cables. Anyone know...? The ABS should still be good. I'll look at the master cylinder setups this weekend to see if I need to do some swapping or not. Someone has to have done this before. If it'll be a hassle this part will wait.

I'll check the suspension and brakes out, change fluids and access what to do from there. If the ball joints aren't loose and steering feels fine I'll crank the t-bars to fit my 31s and throw on the shocks and sway bar bushings (incl quick disconnect links) on there. For the rear the diff swap will determine the path. Regardless, the shackles and shocks will move over to fit the 31s and I'll toss the rear sway bar. I will add a steering stabilizer this time. If i can't swap in the disc rear, the locker will move over. I like having the locker.

The CVs look and feel good, but I'll be yanking all this stuff off the Jimmy (the whole front diff is coming out) so I'll have near new stuff laying around when needed.

Got to figure out something for the radio. Not sure if the Jimmy's will go or not. I'd rather the 4 door speakers were used and I had a readily-visible clock.

I'll put the Jimmy's steering wheel in for now. Might go custom later and ditch the airbag. Might not. All I need is the wheel for a S-10 w/ airbag to make nice again.

It has some sticker residue in places and could use a claying. Perhaps a buff to better see the scratches and stuff. Not a show truck, but if it can be easily dealt with I will. One spot on the driver's c-pilar irritates me and will be painted and blended. Probably repaint the front bumper in the spring. Has a wide scratch and clear is peeling.

I'll use the Jimmy wheels/tires at first so I can clean up the 5-spokes (normal blazer wheel) and paint to make nice.

Needs fog and driving lights. Didn't come with factory fogs and I need it for my commute in the sticks. Necessary for deer avoidance tactics.

Once she's on the road and working good we'll continue with the James' plan:
Skidz fender cuts
front control arm bumpers
2" body lift
some trimming

We'll source some 3.73s for spring to ready for 32/33s come tax refund time (if there is such a thing).

There was talk of making the jimmy a buggy project with solid axles from a full-size and just using it for trails. Not sure that will happen. Mgiht just get parted for what I want and get the salvage yard to come pick up what's left to sell (body parts aft the dog house are fine).

I'll update with pics, progress, changes and more as time passes.

Thanks for following along.
 
  #2  
Old 10-16-2010, 01:04 AM
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Welcome back even though you really never left and good luck with the project.
 
  #3  
Old 10-18-2010, 12:58 PM
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Pics will come. I just took some of some things to document where stuff is and its condition. I haven't taken the first picture of the exterior. Sad...

It has a gov-lok. Checked that out Saturday.

the aftermarket stereo is junk. Nice Sony unit, but the main wheel (volume and stuff) is whacked. I have an unused kenwood that we'll use for now. Someone put an XM unit on the truck too and messed up the install. I have the dash apart now.

Sprayed a lot of bolts with PB blaster yesterday (shackles, shocks, sway bars, etc). Still haven't moved the Jimmy to my house so I can begin the strip down. I don't think I'll leave much.

We won't be swapping the disc rear in right now unless there is a problem with the factory drum rear. I'll take the disc unit out of the Jimmy....but am still thinking on 8.5 later and I don't really want to fuss with it right now.

Need to take a torsion bar off the Jimmy for the Blazer as the driver's-side bar on the blazer is weak. The bolt is just about screwed in down to 2 threads. Not enough.

Picking up bulbs and fluids today. Getting dark early and we had kids' clothes shopping yesterday which helped keep progress to a minimum.

More to come.
 
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:52 AM
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Still no pictures. I fail.

Jimmy is at the house. It is on concrete blocks out on the gravel. It is now missing:
radio
wiper arms
rear wiper motor
throttle body
coil
egr
skid plates
spare and jack
floor mats
tires and wheels

If I get a chance tonight I will take pictures of the new thing and the old.

Parts still to come off -
whole front suspension/axles/diff
whole rear suspension/diff
cat-back exhaust
engine/trans/transfer case
mirrors
perhaps the steering column/front door locks(keys match)

Most stuff will go on my Blazer. Some stuff will go on my old 94 S-10.

What will be left that I might part to sell or just let the salvage yard have:
good interior (no rips or tears)
functional power front seats
all door glass and electronics work
dash. gauges, switches, etc are good and work fine (other than vents)
The body is solid, rust-free, and nearly straight from the firewall back.

If I'd had this when my 99 blazer was hit, I'd swapped bodies and been in the good. I'll miss it, but its time to move on.
 
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:28 AM
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well if you do sell parts i might like to get the interior?? we need pics ..lol
 
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Old 10-20-2010, 01:23 PM
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pics of the interior...? Sure.

All except the driver's door panel are good. I think there is one scratch (gouge...?) on the passenger-front arm rest. The driver's door panel apparently had been off while they worked on the door and either didn't find or didn't want to find the proper fasteners so they used screws to hold part of it. They broke the arm rest boss, but I fiberglassed that back in from the backside to give some support. Morons.

Its the darker gray velour with mulitple colors of interwoven to help hide stains and such. Smells. Previous folks smoked. I've steamed some of it and that helped, but I never got around to steam-cleaning all of it. Rear seats have head rests.
 
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:07 PM
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Quick update.

Worked all day Saturday on it. The shoulder currently causing me the most trouble is now inhibiting much forward progress so its resting. Sucks.

Anyway:
rear is done. Swaybar tossed. Shackles and shocks swapped.

Jimmy is without suspension or drivetrain beyond the transfer case.

The front ball joints on the Blazer are loose so everything from the front of the jimmy is coming over. This will facilitate the 2-piston brake upgrade as the spindles and brake lines up to the frame are different. The blazer has a new RF hub and CV so I will leave those.

When I pulled the RF CV from the Jimmy (replaced both in the spring) the axle came with it. I have not been successful getting it off.

Got the stereo changed out and two speakers replaced.

I need to swap radiators (new one I know is good verses the blazer's existing which I think it leaking) because the blazer is losing coolant. Lots of stuff I will swap, just not all of it needs done before I start driving it.

I have pics.....I still need to upload them. Later.
 
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:26 PM
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What was (almost one week before the end)



How it sat this past weekend -



One showing the differing frame angles. Took the transfer case and tranny out this weekend. Wasn't fun. The wind was blowing hard, the engine is moved upwards and the starter wouldn't come out to give good access to the torque converter bolts. Sucks.



Its a part out fest now. Much of the Jimmy is sitting near the Blazer waiting its turn for reuse.

I will post up progress on the Blazer soon.
 
  #9  
Old 11-01-2010, 10:49 PM
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Oh, and the torsion bars on the Jimmy are 1.160 and the ones on the Blazer are 1.10. The blazer's driver's-side had the key bolt all the way in too and was sagging. Jimmy bars will be going in this one.
 
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:11 AM
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first, elusive images of the rig I call 'Spare Parts' as it uses many wrench-severed parts from the James' dead carcass. More to come.



Progress:




If someone would have told me two years ago I'd owned one of these, owned three of them in that time, and rebuilt the front-end of two by now I'd told them they were crazy. Repetition breeds efficiency. Be happy in your work.

It should be on the ground tonight. More to do before heading to the alignment shop then daily-driver duties as other work continues.
 

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