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Anyone plow with an '80-'90's K5 Blazer?

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by Big7.3Ford, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. Big7.3Ford

    Big7.3Ford Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Hey all, I'm new here, and this place is an absolutely awesome resource for info. I'm not new to plowing, I work at a rental car company, and when the snow comes, I'm the company's plow guy (getting a new plow truck and boss plow this year too, an upgrade from our old '99 1500 silverado ec stepside with a beat to hell front end) and have been plowing that lot and often neighboring companies if needed, for a few years now. However, i've decided I also want to get my own truck to start doing residential driveways that I currently snowblow and shovel by hand, with a monster ariens loaded on a Harbor Freight hitch-mounted wheelchair carrier. I'm looking at mostly older trucks, and have been especially looking at the '80-'90's bodystyle K5 Blazers/Jimmys. I like the removable top for the summertime (would like this truck to be a fun year-round truck too) and they seem like a pretty rugged truck. I would be looking for a 350/700r4 setup mostly, but in my searches on this site haven't seen many post about guys plowing with the K5's.

    How are they for use in plowing? Like I said my purposes will be mostly residential driveways, probably no more than 20 or so give or take. Would this truck be a good candidate? I will be looking for a clean, stock truck too, prefer no lifts or mods unless I do it myself. Does anyone have any experience plowing with these trucks, and is there anything in particular I should correct or upgrade for plowing purposes?

    Also with these trucks, are they capable of running an ez-mount style plow (by that I mean the type that leaves on the low-profile plow brackets on the front of the truck, and the plow, pump and assembly can be stored elsewhere, with easy on/off) because I'm not crazy about the look of the style that mounts behind the bumper and has to be left on year round, but I will if I have no other options. What plow types are available and effecient for these trucks??

    Sorry for the long post, just very curious and want to make the right choice.

  2. t-sig

    t-sig Senior Member
    from 607
    Messages: 121

    Hey Big7.3,

    I have put a lot of hours in the seat of an '85 K5 and an '87 Dodge Ram Charger. There are good and bad points for this type of vehicle. The short wheel base is great for tight areas. Unfortunately, that is almost negated by the poor visibility caused by the rear passenger compartment. You wind up relying 100% on your side view mirrors. I hit more things with that Blazer than with any of the pickups I've had. Power, drive train, suspension etc. is all about the same as with a 1/2 ton pickup of the same erra.

    To be honest, 95% of the vehicles you see plowing commercially are pickups. There is a reason for this. They have the best visibility, are the easiest to add ballast to, and are the most versatile for summer time work. If you don't intend to do too much plowing, then a blazer/jimmy/ramcharger/bronco, is ok. Most people like having a pickup for hauling work stuff in the summer, but, a k5 without the top is pretty cool.

    Good luck with whatever you go with.
  3. Big7.3Ford

    Big7.3Ford Junior Member
    Messages: 3


    Thanks, I appreciate the insight on that type of truck. Thinking about that through reading some other posts, I realized blind spots may pose a big problem, and that pretty much answered my thoughts. That being said, I'll probably look for a similar era k10 or larger pickup.

    Tony you seem to know the older trucks quite well, how did they stand up to plowing (comparing models such as '80s- early '90s gas k10/silverado's, ram 150/1500's and f150/250's)? These would be my next option to look at. I'm looking at older models such as these for cost purposes, however, if I wait until closer to march to buy a truck, I will go a more expensive route and go with a 2500 or larger, and probably go with a diesel too.

    Of the Big 3, who made the best truck for plowing purposes and what years were the best out there for older model trucks?

    Thanks again for the info guys,

  4. CAT 245ME

    CAT 245ME PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,030

    A K5 Blazer/Jimmy is great for resi's. But one problem is trying to find one with a solid body, not very many of them in the rust belt area's. I have an 89 K5 Jimmy out back and the body is as solid as a cracker.

    You can still buy new plows for the old solid axle trucks, saw a 86 K20 in the spring with a new Fisher X blade.
  5. 496 BB

    496 BB Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    These trucks will outlast the plows. Put one and go to town. Problem will be finding one thats not rusted to hell or they want $20K for it. I got lucky and found mine with not a single spec of rust anywhere. Plows like a charm. No problems at all even with mud tires on. I add about 400lbs ballast in bed but Id doubt you even need it. Only thing I would do to it would be box in the frame since they are not all that strong to begin with. But thats just me being picky as hell as usual. All in all you wont go wrong with these trucks. Any old truck for that matter. Chevys are just cheaper to work on.
  6. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    also if body shot then do a pickup cab swap and 4ft flat bed on the back. the guys in the offroad call them a " trazer " truck + blazer = trazer.

    gets you all the vehicle in 1 with no extra body on the back and pickin up a decent cab to swap on and make a simple rear cab crossmember for is a lot cheeper at times than finding a good blazer body.
  7. Big7.3Ford

    Big7.3Ford Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks guys that's all really good advice I appreciate it. Im probably going to look into an older chevy pickup to handle the job.

    Now on a side note im soon going to replace my 1998 grand cherokee with a wrangler and was wondering how these do with a lighter plow setup? Idk if a snoway would be what im looking for but I know its an option. Anyone with wrangler plowing experience? Haha and I would be looking at a yj or tj model (1990's-early 2000's)
  8. t-sig

    t-sig Senior Member
    from 607
    Messages: 121


    As far as older trucks go, as others have mentioned, they are hard to find in good condition. They were built tough, but, I am somewhat partial to fuel injection. I am in the process of setting up a mid 90's chevy 2500. It has a throttle body fuel injected 350. Simple and easy. I personally would look for something in the late 80's or 90's. You won't save much money going any older than that, unless it is in really tough shape. I don't get hung up on brand names, as long as it comes from Detroit. Any of them should do you well. As far as Jeeps go, check out that forum, there are some guys that have some sweet setups. I have had two snoway plows, no real trouble with either of them.

    Take er easy
  9. 496 BB

    496 BB Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    Fuel injection issue is easy for under $2K. Find an Lq4/9 or an LM7 LS motor from any number of vehicles and swap it in. Not hard at all. Was my plan this year but never got around to it so its on next year plans. If you wanna do it super cheap find a TBI engine from the 90's.
  10. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    87-91 in blazer/suburban/crew cab = tbi injection .

    88-up is tbi also.

    and ls engine swaps big time now in the off road stuff . www.ck5.com has a lot of guys doin it in the old square body trucks/blazers. even a few write up threads with tons of pics. good bang for the buck and fuel mileage also much better.
  11. FBN

    FBN Member
    Messages: 40

    The Blazers are great for driveways but as been posted, the vis isn't great. This iss the Blazer I built a few years back. It was an 86, carbed 305, 700r4 and I put the axles from my old plow truck under it. They were 3/4 tons with 4:11 gears. 2" lift springs, 33 12.5 16.5 tires and a Meyer C-8 plow. It could really push some snow! I got rid of it because I needed a pickup.

  12. quicknova

    quicknova Member
    Messages: 48


    Here's mine, and it's for sale. This was my first truck that had a plow on it, picked it up last year until I found a used Western for my 2500HD.
  13. Dondo

    Dondo Senior Member
    Messages: 153

    My 89 K5

    This is my 89 K5 that I currently plow with. My two previous trucks were another 89 K5 and a 90 K5. In my opinion they are the perfect plow truck. I have a 7-1/2' Western Pro Plow Ultra Mount that stores for the winter leaving a fun truck to drive in the summer. They can turn on a dime making residential drives a breeze and they can push at the smaller commercial lots with the big boys. It is all stock except for the manual hubs and the trans cooler that I added. let me know if you have any other questions on plowing with K5's and I'll do my best to answer them for you.

    My 89 K5.jpg

    My 1989 K5.jpg
  14. jchrisk1

    jchrisk1 Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    I don't mean to hijack here, but I have some questions. I have a 76 K5 with the stock 2 leaf reverse arch springs on the front. With the plow on it, it bottoms out to the bump stops. I just picked this blazer up, so I am trying to work out the kinks. I don't really want to put a lift on it, but I will if it is necessary. Maybe just a 2".
    Is there anything I can do to help with the front end weight? I hear some say using weight in the back as a ballast works. Wouldn't that just help with bouncing?
  15. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    thay came comon 2 leaf some you could get 3 leaf. but the flat springs went negitive arch quick. and with a plow = death to them.

    if you had a extra set of stock fronts you could add more to it. but all that work i would just grab a 2-3" suspension lift kit and new shocks and bolt it in and go with no major mods required. 4" and up requires a little work to make it all work 100% on the short wheel base blazers. . lot better in the end and will ride better. and 2-3" lift wont mess with the plow frame angles to much on ya.

    also get new upper shackle frame bushings for the front springs these wear out bad. http://www.offroaddesign.com/catalog/hdshackles.htm

    look here for good parts for these old blazers / trucks and lift kits from tuff country that ride great and good bang for the buck. also thay offer hd springs for extra front weight like plow. http://www.offroaddesign.com/catalog/TuffCountry.htm

    dont be afraid to call them and ask questions. thay will get you what ya need within your budget .

    and welcome to this site. Thumbs Up
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  16. jchrisk1

    jchrisk1 Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    Thanks for the quick reply. Looks like it will be getting a lift. I have never seen springs negative arch like that before. They are new springs, probably last winter, with the plow never removed. They have bump stops attached to the frame so they hit the spring halfway between the axle and the frame. It looks plain scary and I won't drive it with the plow on it. I'm afraid something will break. I have been looking at lift kits and tuff country seems to be the best for the money.

    Thanks for your help,
  17. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    there is cheeper / STIFFER riding lifts outhere. but best bang for the buck is tuff country.

    if you want anymore 73-87-91 solid axle gm info go over to ck5.com. i have the same screen name there also.

    good luck and anymore questions just ask. Thumbs Up
  18. 'Rude Dog

    'Rude Dog Member
    Messages: 56

    plowed for years with a '76 chev k5, 350/ 350 turbo tranny- short wheelbase excellent for small lots, visibility is an issue, also, If you keep your truck outside, in the weather, I used to get a large snow/ ice patch on the fiberglas top , and , usually, at the end of the 1st pass , on my first lot, it would slide right down onto my windshield: - the first time this happened, it scared the ***** outta me !!! - loved that old truck , but always wished it was a 1975, beacuse the tops on 1975 and older came off at the top of the windshield, making a true convertible out of them ...