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Zr2 best or worst years?

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Old 10-11-2018, 11:25 AM
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Default Zr2 best or worst years?

New guy here. Is there a best or worst year for the Blazer ZR2 package? Was wondering if there is any advantage to the 4 button 4wd vs the 3 button. Also for a vehicle with about 100,000 Mi. that may be for sale with "normal" usage, what kind of things might I be expecting to replace soon? Also was wondering if there are any commercial "builders" that do ZR2 vehicles like there are Jeep "builders". And looking for a list of the RPO codes. Looking forward to getting one of these as it's time to let go of 27 years worth of 2nd generation Subarus.
Thanks.
 
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Old 10-11-2018, 11:07 PM
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Look for something 2002 or later. No egr and they have the 8.625" rear end over the 8.5". As for builders, maybe but you will have to look for one. After market for ZR2's is almost non-existent. Most of the mods I have on mine are either custom or work on non-ZR2's. As for problems, lower intake manifold gasket, heater core, 4wd vacuum switch on the xfer case are the ones off the top of my head that I've had problems with. Take a real good look at the suspension and steering. Some folks beat the crap out of them. I've owned mine since new and have done much more than mentioned. I believe in preventive maintenance rather than corrective maintenance. They are a bit underpowered on the street but preform just fine offroad, even when they are stock.
 
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Old 10-13-2018, 01:01 AM
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General Blazer issues (that I can think of at the moment):
  • Everything AJBert said!
  • Lower intake manifold (LIM) gasket rotting and dumping coolant into the lifter valley ruining the main bearings. (AJBert already mentioned this one but I thought it worth reinforcing the point.)
  • Leaking remote oil filter cooling lines.
  • Worn ball joints
  • Worn idler arm (best to replace with the Moog or Proforged parts)
  • Fuel pumps going bad if gas level in tank allowed to go too low too many times.
  • Vacuum hoses that control both the HVAC and 4wd engagement rotting and leaking. (super easy fix)
  • Loose catalytic matrix inside of catalytic converter body
  • For vehicles with the external spare tire carrier, look for warping of the rear quarter panel where the hinges are mounted.
As for the 4-button vs 3-button transfer case: The 4th button is an Auto-4wd mode that switches the transfer case in and out of engagement as slipping is detected at the front wheels. It is a nice feature to have where you might have open patches of pavement on roads that otherwise are covered with packed snow. The other three buttons are for 2Hi, 4Hi, and 4Lo.

You should be able to find RPO codes listed on this site. What you might want to try to find is a dealer sales booklet with all of the options for the different year ZR2s you are considering. I've attached the one I was able to find for my 1999 LT.
 
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Last edited by christine_208; 10-13-2018 at 01:06 AM.
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Old 10-13-2018, 11:30 AM
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Thank you very much christine-208. That was a boat load of info dealing with the RPO codes and the sore points to look out for. I have a chance to get a ZR2 that has been completely gone through with a low mileage engine swap that I hope to look at next week. has a 2" lift wo it maybe more than I am looking for but it would be good to go for quite some time.

About the RPO codes, if you have the intel, I read somewhere that the G80 was a POSI type rear end a G20 was a locker. The booklet you attached refutes that and says a G80 is a locker. Are these true lockers or a corporate change by Chevy from the 12 bolt Posi rear ends? G80 was the option.

Thanks again for that great intel. And you too AJBERT!
 
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Old 10-13-2018, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by nomoresubies View Post
Thank you very much christine-208. That was a boat load of info dealing with the RPO codes and the sore points to look out for. I have a chance to get a ZR2 that has been completely gone through with a low mileage engine swap that I hope to look at next week. has a 2" lift wo it maybe more than I am looking for but it would be good to go for quite some time.

About the RPO codes, if you have the intel, I read somewhere that the G80 was a POSI type rear end a G20 was a locker. The booklet you attached refutes that and says a G80 is a locker. Are these true lockers or a corporate change by Chevy from the 12 bolt Posi rear ends? G80 was the option.

Thanks again for that great intel. And you too AJBERT!
If your motor has been rebuilt, it might have the upgraded LIM gaskets already. FelPro sells them.

As for the type of differential, that I don't know much about. I'm sure someone else here could help out with that.

Good Luck. Sounds like you have a line on a good vehicle.

P,S. The ZR2 already had a higher suspension than the non-ZR2 Blazers. What you might have been told was that. Or, it had a suspension lift added in addition to it already having a stock suspension that is higher. If the former, than that is no big deal as all of the geomtries in the suspension should be fine. Even if the later is true I would think that at 2 additional inches, any extra strain on the suspension parts will be minimal.
 
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Old 10-13-2018, 12:15 PM
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Here is what I am going to look at...



 
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Old 10-13-2018, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by nomoresubies View Post
Here is what I am going to look at...



Could be a good buy if no rust and at the right price.
 
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Old 10-13-2018, 12:27 PM
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What would be the "right price" in your minds eye???
 
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Old 10-13-2018, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by nomoresubies View Post
What would be the "right price" in your minds eye???
My only points of reference for Blazers are what I paid for mine and a recent example of a 2000 Bravada. Eight years ago I got mine with 80k miles, basically an unmolested example for $3,500. It is an LT and it came with just about every option (4-button transfer case with the Auto-4wd, leather seats, etc) except for the sunroof and 6-CD changer. (It even came with the transmission hump mounted cassette player! LOL).

I recently saw what looked like a very clean example of a 2000 Bravada also for $3,500. I think it might have had ~120,000 miles.

That this ZR2 has had all of the major systems gone through means that it should be worth at least $3,500 but perhaps $5,500??? There are still some unknowns such as the condition of the transmission, transfer case and differentials. According to the ad, the current owner has done everything right in terms of maintenance and the proper parts to use. The parts the previous owner added that would be extra or upgraded to HD, e.g. lift kit, HD oil pump etc., are probably worth $750 to maybe $1,000, not counting labor.

The thing is there are really no other vehicles on the road quite like the 2-dr ZR2s. Everything else is so much larger. Then again, 17 y.o. is 17 y.o. In the end, it might be worth purchasing at $6,500 (or higher??). My searches for a possible replacement for my 4dr 1999 with 140k miles and a upgraded transmission rebuild a few years ago have me looking at Xterras and 4Runners that even at 10 y.o. and 100,000 miles with asking prices of at least $10,000 if not $15,000. It has me thinking it is worth keeping my 1999 for a few more years.

Hope this helps. My guesses on the proper price are likely way off but perhaps the underlying reasoning might provide some useful guidance.

P.S. Unless this ZR2 is rust free, I'd have a hard time justifying buying it at anything but a bargain basement price.
 
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Old 10-13-2018, 02:00 PM
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[/QUOTE] Hope this helps. My guesses on the proper price are likely way off but perhaps the underlying reasoning might provide some useful guidance.[/QUOTE]


Thanks for the insight. I'll keep ya posted...
 

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